Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Meet Hilary Davidson and Reed Farrel Coleman

If you're a crime and mystery fan or, heaven forbid, a writer of such things like The Famous Author, I can think of at least two big reasons why you'd want to attend next week's Deadly Ink Mystery Conference at Hyatt Regency hotel in New Brunswick, N.J.

1. Hilary Davidson
2. Reed Farrel Coleman

These two crime writers are among the best in the business. They sell tons of books. Each will be available next weekend -- Friday August 5 through Sunday August 7 -- to meet and greet, answer questions, and perhaps sign a book if you're interested. Deadly Ink's 2016 line-up may be the best ever! Other authors in attendance will include Jeff Markowitz, Jeff Cohen, Steve Rigolosi, Susan Solomon (now known as S.A. Solomon) and New Jersey's fabulous Sisters in Crime chapter, sponsors of the event.

You can catch both Hilary and Reed Saturday morning at 11:20 a.m. when Toastmaster Davidson interviews Guest of Honor Coleman.

Hilary Davidson has won the Anthony Award, the Derringer Award, the Crimespree Award, and two Ellery Queen Readers' Choice Awards. Her life of crime started when she published her first short story in Thuglit in 2007. She has published more than 30 short stories Beat to a Pulp, Spinetingler, All Due Respect, Ellery Queen and many other publications. Her debut novel, THE DAMAGE DONE, won the 2011 Anthony Award for Best First Novel.





Called a hard-boiled poet by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan and the noir poet laureate in the Huffington Post, Reed Farrel Coleman is the New York Times Bestselling author of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series. He is also the author of the recently released Where It Hurts, featuring retired Suffolk County cop Gus Murphy. Reed is a three-time recipient of the Shamus Award for Best PI Novel of the Year and a three-time Edgar Award nominee in three different categories. He has also won the Macavity, Barry, Audie, and Anthony awards.





I'll be there, too, hanging out inside The Famous Author's briefcase. If you ask to see me, you'll win a prize. TFA is pretty excited this year. He's bringing me along because our 2015 release from Down & Out Books, BIG SHOES, was nominated for Deadly Ink's annual David Award -- honoring the best mystery published during the prior calendar year. The prize is in memory of David G. Sasher, Sr.

The David Award nominees for the best mystery of 2015 are:

Ornaments of Death by Jane K. Cleland
Big Shoes by Jack Getze
What You See by Hank Philippi Ryan
Forgiving Maximo by A. J. Sidransky
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

If TFA wins there'll be no talking to him for months. The egomaniac. But my money's on Hank Philippi Ryan.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

F Y I -- Sake

They serve sake in Japan however you like it -- hot, cold or room temperature -- although the quality of the sake and the season are often factors. Heated sake -- a wine made from rice -- is a winter drink, but the best is rarely consumed hot because taste and smell are reduced. Old sake and the lower-quality stuff are often heated before serving.



Friday, March 25, 2016

Patricia Highsmith On Being an Artist

This book offers few tips on writing suspense fiction, which was the reason The Famous Author picked it up at a used book store, but few books on writing have inspired him more than this one.

Ms. Highsmith was an artist in every sense of the word, and through her own thoughts and explanations of the subject, the reader gets to know her own singular artistic sentiments and temperament. What a wonderful time it would have been to sit with her during a meal, although TFA suspects she would have found him boring.

The writer of the Mr. Ripley sagas gives readers much outdated information about agents and publishers and contracts, although perhaps hanging onto your film and foreign publishing rights will always be a good idea for writers. Most important to TFA were the passages on art and how an artist should live her/his life. Few artists will ever be rich and famous, Ms. Highsmith says, so it's best to focus on the art itself.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Redhead of the Week Calls Badlands Home

Though still a little shaky in high heels -- at least stomping through futuristic wastelands -- actress Emily Beecham is fast becoming a triple-A-list television star. As The Widow in AMC's brand new martial arts drama series, INTO THE BADLANDS, Emily is without a doubt TV's prettiest villain in this reporter's recent memory.

I mean, what's more fun than a redheaded evil queen? Not only can she kick your butt with her karate, her smile, and her sex appeal, Ms. Em plays a murderer with a serious reputation for offing everybody and everything -- a real taste for blood.

Born in Manchester England in 1984 to an English pilot and his American wife, Emily is already a well-known English film and television actress, best known for her roles in The Street and The Village. But methinks her role as The Widow will make her a superstar.

Of course, you people know well I'm partial to redheads.

John Rankin, Esquire magazine's glamor photographer, said Emily had "that something special, that thing you just feel about someone ... she's one of the most exciting actresses out there."

We agree.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

TFA Sneaks into Fancy Party

Everybody knows The Famous Author writes screwball mysteries, right? The Austin Carr series is more about laughs than it is solving murders, and if there's any smart deductions going on, they happen in the brain of Mama Bones or Luis, not me, Austin Carr.

You know my weakness -- I'm always thinking with the wrong organ. Thus it will come as a shock to many in the world of crime publishing that TFA finds one of his stories inside a new anthology, LAST WORDS, and that his story contained therein is without a laugh. In fact, it's violent and cringe-worthy, in that a young prostitute shows readers one terrible night of her life. LUCHA, he calls it.

You can order a copy of the anthology from Amazon right here.

Edited by ace crime writer and designer Liam Sweeny, LAST WORDS is published by Joyride Press, and features short stories by Les Edgerton, David Jaggers, Paul David Brazill, Steve Weddle, Court Merrigan, Todd Robinson, Tess Makovesky, Christopher Pimental, Gareth Spark and Angel Luis Colon in addition to TFA. The anthology is described as a "collection of hard-hitting stories from eleven of the best writers in the crime, pulp and noir genres."

Tell me how TFA got in that group, I'll tell you where Judge Crater is. He's sneaky, that's all. In other startling news, TFA isn't getting paid: all monies from the sale of LAST WORDS are going to the prison-reform organization, Nation Inside. Also, in case you're wondering, TFA likes the above back cover better than this front cover.

Can't imagine why.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

How a Fortune Teller Got TFA Published

TFA --  I can be lazy, so when several scribe friends wanted to waste a whole day of our one-week writing retreat by visiting Cassadaga, Florida, the Psychic Capital of the World, I quickly agreed. I thought the whole idea of psychics to be silly: "Don't they already know we're coming?" But we'd been working long hours for several days and any reason to goof off sounded good, even a road trip to a town of mind readers.

Guess who had his life changed.

No, I am not kidding. And I'm sharing this personal a story because I hope the lady's lesson for me might also help other writers. A swift kick in the pants never hurt anybody I know.

Maybe you've heard of the place, or even been there. I first learned about Cassadaga during the drive from a sunny Florida beach into the state's swampy interior: Seems the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp was founded over a century ago by a self-proclaimed "trance medium," George P. Colby from New York State. George said he was guided to the spot by his Indian spirit guide. Today, Cassadaga is a busy, apparently thriving home for professional fortune tellers, psychics, palm readers and true spiritualists -- men and women who, according to their guidebook,  practice "science, philosophy and religion based upon the principle of continuous life."

That doesn't mean they're vampires; it's more of a reincarnation thing. And I learned a lot more about it during my private session.

A dozen places offered to tell our future or mend our psychic cracks, but three of us were drawn to one place in particular. We all said it looked friendly, welcoming. One of my friends went first, and she came out twenty minutes later astonished and speechless. I paid my money.

I walked into an odd but warmly decorated room. Brightly colored blankets and trinkets and colored rocks covered all surfaces. Incense burned near an empty chair, and I sat across a cloth-covered table from one of the most astonishing people I've ever met. Not her looks; not her dress. Not even the words she eventually spoke to me. What I encountered in her presence and no one else's, before or since, was a physical sensation of caring. This benevolent, welcoming lady exuded a golden spirit of kindness. She was there to help me.

She held my hand and asked why I'd come. Did her touch feel magical? No. It was the feeling I had from being in her presence -- what I've already described. Maybe her assistants pumped drugs into the air vents. I don't know exactly, but when I explained why I'd come -- a lack of success at my fiction writing -- she told me about an internal conflict and pointed out the correct path. I knew instantly she was right.

"Your spirit guides are a monk and a Viking," she said. "You must listen more to the Viking."

I'm not going to talk about my family's history, or say another word about spirit guides, but if there are such things, monks and Norsemen could easily be following me. I took her advice in a less supernatural way, however: I decided Vikings work harder than monks. They also try harder. By listening to the Viking, she meant I needed to write more stories, read more books, study more craft, meet more people, go after my dream with a sword as well as a pen.

It shouldn't surprise readers to hear the technique worked. I had an agent in a year or so, a book published not too long after that. Clearly, something about that visit to Cassadaga changed my life. I believe that Viking kicked me in the ass.