Posts Tagged ‘Tie-Ins’

Please, Sir, More Sex & Violence

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

I did a guest essay for the new Mulholland Books web site. It’s called “Sex and Violence, Please” and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Here’s a short, smart QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE review.

And here’s a tepid BIG BANG write-up, an example of the kind of review that always has me scratching my head – someone who begins by saying he doesn’t like Spillane/Hammer, then reviews the book in that context. Would you send a restaurant critic who hates Chinese food to the Ming Gardens Buffet? Just asking.

If you want to read a really lousy review of BONES: BURIED DEEP, it’s here. I post it as an example of a review by somebody who doesn’t understand the process of writing a tie-in. This novel, written before the show hit the air with only a rough cut of the pilot episode to guide us (Matt Clemens and me), gets beaten up because we are not faithful to the way the characters developed over the many years of the series. BURIED DEEP may not be a great novel, but it’s a better conceived novel than this is a review. And I plead guilty to not being psychic.

On the other hand, at least that site is reviewing tie-ins – mostly they get ignored. I am always surprised by how many “big fans” of mine do not read my tie-ins.

Oddly, some obits of the great actor Kevin McCarthy (who my buddy Ed Gorman knew very well) credit him with appearing in my indie movie MOMMY. I wish I’d had him in any film of mine.

Last week, Matt Clemens and I spent most of the week on the new J.C. Harrow proposal. We like it. And we shipped it. We’ll see.

Barb and I took a quick day-trip getaway to Des Moines on Friday, and on the way talked plotting for both Antiques Disposal (she’s doing her draft right now) and for the Nate Heller JFK novel, which I continue to research. Feels like I’m zeroing in on the plot, the shape, of what George Hagenauer calls “a monster.”

M.A.C.

Perfect Crimes

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

I’ve been working with artist Terry Beatty and editor John Boland of Perfect Crime on the new trade paperback reprints of the first five Quarry novels. Not sure of pub dates yet, but Terry’s covers are knockouts and will be previewed here as soon as I’m allowed. Each book will have a new after word by me – I just delivered those – and the back cover will feature a picture of me in my 1971 glory (the year I created Quarry).

Perfect Crime has also just published two volumes of THE SHAMUS AWARD WINNERS. Volume One features my long-out-of-print Nathan Heller novella, DYING IN THE POST-WAR WORLD. Read about the books here.

Tied InAnother book I contributed to is TIED-IN, a wonderful collection of essays on the novelization and TV tie-in trade edited by the co-founder of the International Association of Media and Tie-in Writers, Lee Goldberg. I’m the other co-founder, and you’ll find a chapter about the writing of the infamous DICK TRACY and ROAD TO PERDITION movie novels, as well as my participation in roundtables about the craft of tie-in writing in general, including behind-the-scenes CSI stuff. Check it out here.

John Looney’s home is up for sale in Rock Island. Have a gander if you’re interested – out of my price range, and anyway, I’m already haunted by John and Connor Looney.

The ROAD TO PERDITION Blu-ray continues to get raves, and my talk about the ROAD TO PURGATORY film project continues to spread virally on the net. No further news yet, although things to seem to be progressing. PERDITION has turned up on another of those “10 Best Comic Book Movies” lists.

Remember, Eastern Iowa folks, to come see Crusin’ at Wilton Founder’s Day on August 27. The XL’s play on the 28th, so it should be a great weekend of classic garage band rock by two Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Bands.

M.A.C.

G.I. Joe & Red Sky in Morning

Monday, August 10th, 2009

GI JOE: ABOVE AND BEYONDGI JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA

By the time you read this, G.I. JOE will have hit theaters, and I’ll have seen it, and so will some of you. This is one of the most eagerly awaited — and vilified — movies of the summer. I have no idea whether it will be good or bad, but I’m fairly confident it will be entertaining. I have written four other novels for Stephen Sommers movies, and none of the screenplays have seemed liked masterpieces to me, and yet they all made entertaining movies…and books.

My two G.I. JOE novels have been out for quite a while, but they should get a boost from the film’s release. I think the books are fun, and am particularly happy with the prequel (which Matt Clemens helped me with). Creating a novel out of an action-heavy, stuff-blows-up screenplay is harder than, say, adapting and expanding THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE or AMERICAN GANGSTER, which are more suspense and character-driven. But getting to do a prequel helped the novelization work better.

Ron Fortier, a terrific reviewer, really got what I was going for in his dual review.

One of the complaints about the film (from people who hadn’t seen it yet, though some had read my novelization, which generated web interest) is that the rebooted G.I. JOE organization is international, not American. The very American term G.I. Joe comes from World War Two and may have been coined by David Breger, who did a cartoon under that name and another called PRIVATE BREGER (which had a long post-war civilian run as MR. BREGER). The film script addressed that problem by making two American G.I.s the central characters, and my prequel novel emphasizes those characters (Duke Hauser and Ripcord Weems) even more.

Red Sky in Morning Paperback

While we’re on this military note, I should point out that my World War Two naval thriller, RED SKY IN MORNING, based on my father’s experiences in the Pacific, is out in paperback with a handsome new cover.

I will use the occasion to reveal that the “Patrick Culhane” penname was not my idea, and was to a degree forced upon me, and I have no plans to use it again. I regret that my real byline is not on this very personal novel, or BLACK HATS for that matter, which is one of my most commercial. And while RED SKY IN MORNING is a title I came up with, my original title — U.S.S. POWDERKEG, which I liked very much — was rejected. One of the great frustrations of the writing life is having a title that you have lived with and woven into a book spurned by an editor (or a sales force). I would be thrilled to see the book reprinted at some point with my preferred title and my real byline…but for now, you need to look for the Culhane byline on this one.

Till next week….

M.A.C.

Message from M.A.C. – September 19, 2008

Friday, September 19th, 2008

This is probably my record year for number of books published (and for me that’s saying something, I know). But I’m really proud of what Barb and I have accomplished of late, and want to make sure you’re aware of what’s out there already, and what’s coming.

Antiques Flee Market

In September from Kensington, “Barbara Allan” (Barb and me) will have the reprint of ANTIQUES MAUL (ISBN 978-0-7582-1194-1) out and the new “Trash ‘n’ Treasures” mystery, too: ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET (ISBN 978-0-7582-1195-8), with a Christmas theme. It’s been getting the best reviews of the series yet. These are funny cozies with an edge, and fans of my tougher stuff may be surprised by how much they’ll enjoy these…and we’ve just signed to do two more!

The Goliath Bone

Very soon Harcourt will publish the first new Mike Hammer novel in over a decade — THE GOLIATH BONE (ISBN 978-0-15-101454-5), which I completed from Mickey Spillane’s nearly finished manuscript. This is the first of at least three Hammers I will complete from manuscripts Mickey entrusted to me. To say this is an honor and a thrill is an extreme understatement. It’s also getting great advance notices. Do not miss this one!

The success of THE LAST QUARRY (which has been made into the film THE LAST LULLABY, on the festival circuit now) has led to the new prequel, THE FIRST QUARRY (ISBN 0-8439-5965-7), which Hard Case will publish in paperback in the fall. This is also getting wonderful advance reviews. This one is definitely not cozy, and could be the nastiest noir novel I’ve ever written….

I’m pleased to report that in December VCI Home Entertainment is bringing out my documentary, CAVEMAN: V.T. HAMLIN & ALLEY OOP on DVD! It’s a great package, with an extended Will Eisner interview and a panel discussion at a Des Moines Historical Museum screen of the film that features me, producer Mark Lambert and the current OOP writer and artist team, Jack and Carole Bender. CAVEMAN has been seen several times on Iowa PBS as part of the celebration of the OOP strip’s 75th Anniversary. (This means all of my indie films will now be available on DVD.)

For the past several months, Barb and I have been out in the midwest, appearing at bookstores and libraries and other events, talking about various books (including those just mentioned) and other projects. Here’s what we’ve been talking about:

Red Sky in Morning

STRIP FOR MURDER from Berkley Prime Crime — a snazzy trade paperback, a Rex Stout-style mystery that combines graphic novel elements (my longtime MS. TREE cohort Terry Beatty did the comic art), and is a lot of fun. The story is loosely based on the notorious Al Capp (Li’l Abner)/Ham Fisher (Joe Palooka) feud.

RED SKY IN MORNING (ISBN 978-0-06-089255-5) is by “Patrick Culhane” — the byline I began with the Wyatt Earp/Al Capone novel, BLACK HATS (in mass-market paperback now, ISBN 978-0-06-089254-8). This one is special to me, a book I’ve planned for decades based on my father’s experiences in the Navy in WW 2 as a young officer in charge of black sailors handling explosives in the Pacific. It’s my CAINE MUTINY, hinging on the infamous Port Chicago disaster, but there is a mystery. You may have this on the way — please don’t miss RED SKY. EQMM’s Jon Breen says it’s one of my best.

In movie/TV world, my New York Times bestseller AMERICAN GANGSTER picked up the “Scribe” for Best Novel at San Diego Comic Con from the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. Current tie-ins of mine included THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR (ISBN 978-0-425-22313-0) and X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE (ISBN 978-0-06-168771-6), and the second CRIMINAL MINDS novel, KILLER PROFILE (ISBN 978-0-451-22382-1). The third CRIMINAL MINDS, FINISHING SCHOOL (ISBN 978-0-451-22547-4), is out in November from NAL (my fave of the 3).

X Files: I Want to Believe
Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz at Forbidden Planet

In non-literary news, I’m thrilled to report that my ’60s garage band, the Daybreakers, has been inducted into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Over the Labor Day weekend, we appeared with seven other inductee bands in concert at Arnold’s Park on Lake Okoboji, to a packed house of over 1000 rock fans. What made this truly special was that the original line-up of the band — guitarist Mike Bridges, bassist Chuck Bunn, guitarist Dennis Maxwell and drummer Buddy Busch (and me) — were able to assemble from around the country and reunite both to be honored and to perform for the first time together since 1968. We did half an hour and, frankly, we killed — a magical set in which we took a major risk, doing mostly original material at an oldies show!

Of course, our major claim to fame nationally (make that our only claim to fame nationally) was our infamous single “Psychedelic Siren”/”Afterthoughts.” “Siren” is one of the most anthologized garage-band songs of the ’60s, currently available on a Sundazed CD called GARAGE BAND ’66: Speak of the Devil. We managed to reproduce the siren sound on stage and the crowd went nuts. We also played live, for the first time, “I Need Somebody,” an original written by our late great bandmate, Bruce Peters.

Daybreakers Hall of Fame Collection

A limited edition of 100 CDs called “THE DAYBREAKERS aka Crusin’ — The Hall of Fame Collection” was pressed for the show. This is essentially the long-out-of-print “Thirty Year Plan,” and is filled with Daybreakers/Crusin’ recordings, studio, demo, live, from 1967’s “Psychedelic Siren” to the ’90s songs from the “Mommy” movies. We have about forty of these left.

For $15 postpaid (plus $7.50 for shipping outside the U.S.), you can get a copy of “The Hall of Fame Collection.” For $25 (plus $7.50 for shipping outside the U.S.), you can get a copy signed by the entire band (there are only 15 of these).

[2013 EDIT: All options temporarily sold out! We’ll recheck our remaining stock and make a new post soon!]

We have uploaded footage of “Psychedelic Siren” from our Hall of Fame performance. Check back soon for more clips!

And Crusin’ has added Daybreaker bassist Chuck Bunn to the mix, and will be performing more in the midwest than in recent years. Stay tuned!

M.A.C.