Thursday, February 21, 2013

Talking with the Catskill Review of Books

I was interviewed for a half-hour at dawn this morning by Ian Williams for the Catskill Review of Books. Ian broadcasts from one of those small states in the North East, and I could practically hear the snow piling up outside the recording studio and the cold wind rattling the birches.
Okay, enough of the Robert Frost routine. Ian and I talked about The Girl Who Cried Wolf and some of my earlier works The radio show is carried on the Pacifica network, but to save you the trouble, you can listen here:
Ian's a fine host, witty and urbane, an author himself; he pronounced my name properly, asked questions that convinced me he had read the book and made me laugh. A good way to start the day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Why Somebody Named Steve Dies in All My Books

The Girl Who Cried Wolf is dedicated to my close friend, Steve Plesa, who checked out of the Hotel Flesh way too soon. We  worked together at The Register, a daily newspaper in Southern California, where I got to write about anything I wanted, usually beach culture, fast cars, gun nuts, and petty crooks, and Steve stayed in the office and edited them. Everybody liked Steve and nobody liked me. I thought it was a fair deal.

One day I was standing with Steve in the Register stairwell while he smoked a cigarette and he told me that he hated his job, but having a pal like me there to laugh at the same crazy stuff made it tolerable. I then had to tell him I was giving my two-weeks notice so that I could finish my first novel, The Horse Latitudes. We stayed friends, but he made me promise that I would put him in the book so that in the unlikely event it got published, he would have a bit of immortality.

Quote of the day

"I made it, Ma, top 'a the world!"

-James Cagney, WHITE HEAT

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

National Review podcast coming soon

Good news. John Miller will be interviewing me for a Between the Covers podcast on National Review Online. I'll post when it's available and and give the link. I'll try to be vaguely coherent. If I'm not, John will cover for me.

And you might check out Pundit from Another Planet for additional fun and games. This site is hosted by a son of East Texas, a ferocious cartoonist, and my pal, Michael Dougan.


Got notice at 12:01 that The Girl Who Cried Wolf was released. Released. It sounds like the book was batting its snout against the bars of a cage, slavering fangs bared. Actually, I like that image.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day of the Dogs or My Writing Method

One of the regular questions I get asked is what is your usual writing day like? So here we go...

I usually get up at 4 a.m., no alarm clock, just wake up and go downstairs, slam down a cup of microwaved coffee from the day before while I make a fresh pot. Then I hang out with the dogs. This one pictured is Olive, our weimeraner. She's seventy pounds of determination, very fast, very much in touch with her inner wolf. Every morning when I let her out she races outside and barks at the raccoons who live in the giant fir tree out back. She hates those guys. Squirrels she chases, but raccoons elicit this deep, guttural growl that is pure killer instinct. She actually caught one once, a big one she cornered against the fence, sunk her teeth into its right leg and gave it a shake. The raccoon did not like this. Not at all. Neither did I. I grabbed Olive by the collar and dragged her away while the raccoon hissed, claws bared and limped away.

Anyway, where was I? Okay, once Olive and the new guy, Archie, a border terrier, come back in, we lie around on the floor in a pile for about twenty minutes, just listening to each other breathe. I respect dogs. They're ravening beasts that have adopted the guise of manners for practicality and a meal... just like us.  Then, coffee made, my dog bonding accomplished, I have a fresh cup of coffee while I read what I wrote the day before, making changes and getting into the mental space that I left the day before. Then I write for a few hours while the dogs chase each other around the yard.

If there's reincarnation I want to come back as a dog. I want to write a novel one day from the standpoint of a dog, but not one of those wimpy, wisdom-of-the-pooch books. I did a short story for Vice magazine a few years ago called "Bad Dog," which was a start. Take a read. Woof!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tick Tock to Launch

Launch date, five days and counting. Tuesday, February 19, my new novel, The Girl Who Cried Wolf will launch as an ebook-only. Color me happy. I've been working on the book for several years while also working as a narrative designer in the video game business. (means I write the game story arc and the characters and can actually tell my wife while I'm screaming at the giant scorpions attacking me in Fallout New Vegas, 'I can't take out the garbage, I'm working!")

TGWCWolf is a contemporary comic thriller - at least I think it's funny. You can decide for yourself after reading the synopsis at the homepage link. The plot involves three environmental terrorists who kidnap an heiress, expecting her rich father to turn over his old growth timber holdings in exchange for her safe return. Good luck. It's inspired by an O'Henry short story called "The Ransom of Red Chief," about three kidnappers who snatch a little boy from a wealthy family, but the kid turns out to be such a toxic brat that they pay his family to take him back.

It's been three years since my last novel and I deeply appreciate all of you who have emailed me over that time essentially telling me to get off my ass and write another book. Well, here it (almost) is. Now email your friends and tell them to get off their asses and buy the book.