Saturday, May 16, 2015

Two Crime Writers to Read

Hey there, wanted to let you know about a couple of top-notch writers of hard-boiled crime fiction you're going to want to check out, Patrick Shawn Bagley and Mike Miner. I met these guys recently when we all read at Noir at the Bar Boston (a great time for the fans and the authors!).

Just finished Patrick's Bitter Water Blues, a rollicking tale of people and deeds gone wrong. He lives up in Maine, and brings it to life in his book. Here's my review:
The noir genre is noted for bad things happening to bad people, and BWB is a great example of all this. There are beatings and shootings galore, as big-city hoods mix with backwoods Maine rednecks. Start with a retired Brooklyn hit man who now soaks in Chicago blues, and is forced to do a final job, knowing he's marked for death at the end of it. On the Maine side, there's the worst small-town psycho you never want to meet, and his dim, Lenny-like, reluctant partner in crime. Add in a tough and troubled woman police officer who's having man problems and is making horrible life choices. Sprinkle in some more bad characters, and put them into a blender, where their paths and gunfire cross.
Phew. Yeah, that's a recipe for a good kind of disaster you want to read about, and the book brings it all off, in a hail of bullets, booze, and blood. The bodycount gets higher than a Clint Eastwood western, as things spiral completely out of control.
Lots of references to good books and music are put in as subtle seasoning to the mayhem, along with revealing glimpses into small-town life. It's a corker of an action yarn, and one you won't want to miss.

And I also finished Mike Miner's The Immortal Game, another fine example of tough crime fiction. It's not easy mixing chess with rough action, but Mike does well with it. Here's the review of that one:

Sometimes, shorter is better. Especially here, when the action is so wild and woolly, you couldn't take it if it the book was longer. The physicality is so overwhelming, it's like getting socked with a series of body blows.

It's a portrayal of a violent world, and the body count amasses as things spiral out of control. People get betrayed and strike back, even against loved ones.

The dialog is crisp and fun in good noir fashion, the way it should be, with the women talking and acting as tough as the men. Bullets and fists fly in abundance, so if that's your thing, you're going to love this. And you'll see a lot of Boston locales called out. So grab a copy and prepare to get roughed up- in a good way.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Happy Independent Book Store Day- Insanity Tales Example

Hello all- yes, today is the day you've been waiting for, Independent Book Store Day. A day to celebrate those local, independent, community-building, non-megachain, vendors of books.

They must work ever harder to do well in this age of electronic ordering at home with one's computer. They provide a place to come down and see and feel good books, to get a sense of the weight of a story, and the pride of ownership of something other than electrons. Like having a signed copy by an author you know or admire.

So go buy a book today, from someone near to you. Support your local bookbuying community. Many bookstores are having cool events today- readings, author signings, and more.

Here's a few great New England places:
Middlesex Community College Bookstore
New England Mobile Bookfair
Annie's Bookstop, Worcester, MA
Tatnuck Booksellers
Willow Books
Porter Square Books
RiverRun Books
Mainely Murders Bookstore
Letterpress Books
Toadstool Books

And just to show you how cool it is to be an author, one day you're walking down the street, and you see your book in the window of a bookstore! Like we did with the Middlesex Community College Bookstore in Lowell, MA. Our group collection, Insanity Tales, is the feature in their big window!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Bookstore Signing In Lowell

We recently had a signing and author talk at the Middlesex Community College bookstore in downtown Lowell, to celebrate Insanity Tales, the great collection of horror stories.

Lovely time, interested crowd, and an excellent discussion.
Many thanks to Manager Jennifer MacGillivray and the bookstore staff for the opportunity to reach out to readers.

Here I am (on left) with fellow Insanity Tales authors David Daniel, Vlad V. and Ursula Wong

 Some of the audience- just missing out on the photo op is Dan Graffeo, whose novel The Gambling Bug will be out soon from Great Old Ones Publishing

Dave strikes a pose

We talk about writing and publishing and collaboration among authors

Meeting the audience afterward

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Upcoming Book Signings

After a brutal winter, and several snowed-out book signings, things have heated up in the region, and I've got a bunch of book signings lined up with my author friends.

First up is Tuesday, April 14, from 7-8, at the Middlesex CC Bookstore,
at 88 Middle Street, Derby Building, Lowell, MA.
Join me and fellow Insanity Tales authors David Daniel, Ursula Wong, and Vlad V.

Next is Noir at the Bar, on Sunday April 26, from 6-9
At the Pour House, 907 Boylston St, Boston.
Join me and other great authors for a night of crime and mystery- readings and book signing.
Connie Johnson Hambley is bravely appearing with a bunch of tough guys (to see an interview with her, click here).

The one after that is Authors at the Inn, Wednesday, May 6th, from 6-9
At The Victoria Inn, 430 High St, Hampton, NH
Come meet local authors in a lovely setting.
Admission is free, and there will be complimentary appetizers, a cash bar, and more!
I'll be joined by T. Stephens, Scott Goudsward, fellow Sister in Crime Coralie Jensen, and other authors.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Back With a Vengeance- Panel at Monson, MA Library

Sorry for being in absentia, but recently started a new job. The hours are long, and the work demanding. So little time to write for the blog while finishing a novel, writing stories, and trying to keep up with all that's happening.

First off, we had a great night at the Monson, MA Public Library. I was on a great panel of authors: Host T. Stephens, Vlad V., Steve Hobbs, B. B. Boudreau, Slam Poet Joseph Mosby, and his cousin Arthur Strategos Williams.

And a bit of audience participation. Our host discovered there were poets in the audience (including J.H. Curry), and he pulled them up to tell us about themselves.

Many thanks to Hope Bodwell, the Library Director, for setting up a great night of meeting readers. Great snacks, and we even got gift bags! A first from all the library events we've done.
Some photos courtesy of Jennifer Getz Hobbs

Here's the gorgeous Gothic building

Here I am at the podium

Our attentive audience

And more

T Stephens explaining why he thinks I'm wonderful

My cohort in crime, Vlad V.

The Hair Club for Men

Da Gang- author Steve Hobbs between me and Vlad

 Joseph Mosby, Slam Poet. This young man is going places- he performs with power and passion

Joseph's cousin, Arthur Strategos Williams. He has a great talent for spoken word poetry

And B. B. Boudreau, hamming it up. Funny thing is, I see that bust in a lot of libraries. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sisters in Crime Panel

We had a speaking panel on Noir crime along with Marian Lanouette (see an interview here), at a Sisters in Crime event and signing at the Edwards Public Library, Southampton, MA.
They happen to be featuring The Maltese Falcon, one of my favorite books (yeah, and movies, because they shot the dialogue from the book).

Try the funky link here to see the flyer.

It was a lovely night with an attentive audience, talking about noir, mystery and writing, the current state of publishing, and other fun stuff. Marian has great stories to tell, and we had a blast.
Sorry, I didn't get to capture all the crowd in pictures, but we had a respectable attendance.

Many thanks to Barbara Diamond Goldin (a noted children's book author in addition to her library duties) for setting this up, and the the library and its supporters for an excellent night.

 Marian in position

  My tapestry featuring the cover to A Shadow on the Wall

 Marian mixes with the audience

That's Barbara (the library Director) in the middle, who made us feel so welcome.

Fiction Slam Night Contest

Recently attended the Fiction Slam Night Contest, sponsored by the New Hampshire Writers' Project.
The contest was held in the French Building Auditorium Rotunda at the NH Institute of Art in Manchester, with a lovely reception area to refresh the 80-some-odd people who came to hear the 8 winning entrants from the regional 3-Minute Fiction Slam competitions.

Now I've got rather high expectations, and this was a night of extraordinary talent. The stories were top-notch- quick, concise, and sometimes touching. It was a tough task for the three judges to select winners from the terrific stories read.

Thanks to the Institute for hosting this wonderful event, and to all those in the program who made it all possible. There are a lot of people working hard to create excellent fiction, and all in our backyard.
And shoutout to John Herman for being an entertaining emcee for the event. 

Judges: Tim Horvath, James Patrick Kelly (who also generously supplied cash prizes), and special guest Jacquelyn Benson

The contestants- each one already a regional winner

The appreciative crowd

Nashua regional winner Jennifer Valentine and supportive family

Steven Wong, Nashua group coordinator Ursula Wong (middle- the rose between two thorns)- the author of Purple Trees, and Dave, from the Nashua group

I'd say there were a lot of winners, but you can see the ones holding prize checks!

Kent Devreux and Rob Greene

If you'd like an example of one of the superb stories of the night, try Getaway.