Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Around 11:59 tonight click on the video below and let the JAFO house band play you into 2012.



Then you can finish off the champagne with an encore by the boys.



 Don't forget to hit the tip jar on the way out. That's how they stay in guitar picks.

Have a safe and prosperous New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Did you get a book shaped device for Christmas?

If so, and you are trying to jam it to the gills with affordable books, here's a simple reminder that you can buy this baby and get change back from your three dollar bill:




















If Santa brought you a Kindle you can find it here:

http://www.amazon.com/Shooters-ebook/dp/B004ZULGKY/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1304896440&sr=8-6

If he brought you a Nook, this is the place to go:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shooters-terrill-lee-lankford/1100458730?ean=2940012406798&itm=1&usri=lankford+shooter

You can tell by the cover that it's the perfect holiday read. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Here's a cool new e-book collection - give it a look

I don't write a lot of short stories (but that's something I'd like to change) so it's very flattering when someone asks me for one. My pal, Brian Thornton, did just that for the new e-book collection he edited for Michael Wolf's brand new company, BSTSLLR.com.  I was glad to comply. They reprinted my story DETOUR DRIVE, along with many other fine stories that put my scribbling to shame. It's only $3.99, so you get change back from your four dollar bill. What are you waiting for? As Lev Raphael used to say, "Let's get criminal!"





Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our new neighbor

We recently moved about forty miles north of our old house. We're now about a block from the beach. We left the kids in the city to fend for themselves but took the dog and cat. Now that we are empty nesters it is a bit ironic that this character has taken to hanging out at our place in the afternoons.



Heidi and our new friend have spotted a mouse. Who will get to it first?


I'm going to have to start wearing hats when I go up on the roof.



This bird is part ham. It posed for hours before finally going back to work.




Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The good old days....

Crumb talking about the state of things in 1994:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Attention all Kooks with Nooks!

Did I mention that SHOOTERS is also available for download to your Nook at Barnes & Noble.com? Well, it is. What are you waiting for?

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shooters-terrill-lee-lankford/1031106285?ean=2940012406798&itm=9&usri=shooters




Sunday, July 24, 2011

After another rough week for Earthlings...

A message from one of the founders of Club 27:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday's song of the day: SOUL

If you don't know who Rocco is, you should. Here's his TV debut from a few years ago. If there hadn't been a roof on the building, I think he would have gone into orbit. Check out his CDs. They're great.

Friday, July 15, 2011

People of Nacogdoches, I salute you!




CHRISTMAS WITH THE DEAD was a tough shoot. (Aren't they all?) I think the only reason we managed to pull it off at all was because we received amazing contributions from the townspeople of Nacogdoches, Texas. They were unbelievably helpful and supportive of the production.

Everywhere we went people let us shoot on their property for free. People came out to be "zombies" (we call them "snappers" and they are a bit different than your average zombie) and cult members by the dozens, often staying on set until 5 or 6 in the morning. People donated food and services to help us get our picture made. It was all a bit unbelievable.

But the most amazing thing about it all was that after they would perform these good deeds to help us they would come up to us afterwards and thank us for letting them be a part of the show. Can you believe that? Anyone who shoots in L.A. or New York won't buy it, I'm sure. But it's true. So I want to take this moment to say something to all those good people who helped us so selflessly and for some reason thought we had done them a favor:

THANK YOU!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Healing

I made it home on the 4th of July, then collapsed for the better part of the week. This flick was a hard one to recover from, but I know I'm almost there now because last night, for the first time in two weeks, I managed to sleep without dreaming I was still on the set. Filmmakers out there know what I'm talking about. You work 14-18 hours, go home, finally get to sleep and you dream you are still working. It's exhausting because you never stop working, even in your sleep. But hopefully that part of rehab is now over and my dreams will be replaced by images from BLUE VELVET, like in this classic clip from the past. Go get 'em, Roy!

Monday, June 27, 2011

This is the palm tree in my backyard....



And this time next week I hope to be sitting near it, drinking rum, surrounded by my family.

I can not wait.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Jumping into (and hopefully out of) the fire....




This guy looks like I feel...

Things are getting intense on the set as we close in on the last week of work on CHRISTMAS WITH THE DEAD. We've had some crazy times on this flick. And shot some wild stuff. The pressure is on as I try to bring this baby in by next Friday so the cast and crew can enjoy the July 4 holiday without fear of having to return to the set afterward and I can point my car west and achieve escape velocity in time to hold my dog's paw during the fireworks. He hates loud noises and likes to sit on my lap when he hears any. Which would be okay if he didn't weigh 90 pounds.

If you want a sonic glimpse into my current emotional state, this song comes pretty close:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Texas with the Dead (and near dead)



We've just barely crept past the halfway mark on Joe R. Lansdale's CHRISTMAS WITH THE DEAD. Two more weeks and we should be finished. I haven't had the time to look at all the footage yet, but what I have seen has been terrific. The Texas weather is even more brutal than I thought it would be. We shot a big scene out in the woods a few days ago and it was near triple digits in the middle of the night - and that was before we got the lights going. That's what's left of me in the picture above, sitting around with a zombie. I'm the one on the right.

Below is a shot of the crew after a long day.




If I have time I'm going to post some individual shots of the crew and introduce them to you over the next couple weeks. We have quite a few interesting characters working with us.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Graduate Part 2

I posted the last set of photos from Brandon's high school graduation while waiting for the plane back to Texas. I didn't have a lot of time then and no time since, but I have a spare few minutes now and wanted to drop in a couple more shots of the big day.



Brandon with one of his favorite teachers, Ms. Zwick.




Another favorite teacher, Ms. Gregorio.




Brandon and his friend Brittni.




After the Graduation we went to Monty's Steakhouse for filet mignons.



Our waiter, vying for an extra tip, took this shot. Left to right: Our best friend, Sandra Petersen, Sterling, Brandon, Heidi, me.

You'll notice Sandra has a bandage around her hand. She has a tendency to reach for other people's food at the table. She tried to poach from the boys and she took a few forks in the arm.  Luckily Monty's is always prepared for this kind of thing and they managed to wrap her arm in about 30 seconds while she continued to eat. Pure professionalism from all parties involved.

That'll teach her. (Probably not.)

It was a great day.



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Graduate!


Hard to believe, but my youngest son, Brandon Alexander Barkley Lankford, graduated High School yesterday.


Here he is with his brother, Sterling, after the event.

Brandon with what's left of his father.


I couldn't be more proud. Congratulations, buddy!




Sunday, June 5, 2011

Texas

We're four days into shooting on CHRISTMAS WITH THE DEAD in super hot Texas. So far it's been a crazy, intense, brutal and often funny experience, which I think perfectly mirrors the film we are making. The footage is looking great. I hope we can keep it up for the duration. It's hard to put what's going on down here into words but this video of The Wasp (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)/Love Me Two Times manages to do it very well. At very young ages, Jim Morrison and Robby Krieger knew how things worked in this wild world. I leave for L.A. tomorrow to see my son, Brandon, graduate from High School, but I'm back here on Thursday to keep sweating it out with the zombies.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Sing Along

I'm in Texas, prepping the movie and drinking plenty of gin and Quinine to fight off potential malaria attacks (I've been bitten by every creature imaginable since I arrived) and my family knows I've been a little homesick, so Kiley sent me this video tour of the city next to ours to cheer me up. This is my hood!



I'm just about cured now. Thanks, Kiley!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It seems some people are taking this Rapture thing more seriously than I was

Just got these pics sent to me from home. Our dog put on his favorite cap at 5:59 pm and looked skyward (to no avail). He's still waiting.



In the meantime, the cat just cut to the chase and started drinking again.



I guess there is a reason why some people refer to these two knuckleheads as "dumb animals."

The Case of the Ruptured Rapture

The chosen were taken around six pm today, but I didn't notice a sizable decrease in traffic on the road. My guess is that real estate prices will remain flat next week as well. They say the end of the world is in October and those not taken today will have to sweat it out until then. I bet there are a lot more of us left down here than expected. The standards must be higher than most people thought. (Although I knew I was not going anywhere, no matter what happened.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Aloha (and SHOOTERS of course)



I'm leaving for part 2 of my Texas adventure today, but I wanted to flog the eBook of SHOOTERS one last time in the hopes of raising some gas money. For those of you who have the print version of SHOOTERS and think you can save $2.99 by rereading it instead of getting the shiny new Kindle version you should know that the text has been revised for the eBook. It's stronger, sleeker, sexier. Well, not sexier. But I do think it's stronger. For more info about the differences between the two versions, here is the note I added at the end of the eBook:


                                         A NOTE ABOUT THE TEXT

   General wisdom suggests that writers - like parlor magicians - should not discuss their work for fear of destroying what small illusion they may have been able to create for the audience. I've always been an advocate of that philosophy, despite the fact that we now live in an era that demands wheels squeak loudly or die quickly of rust. So I will try to keep this brief and leave out any details of the literary prestidigitation I may have been attempting to achieve with this book.

Reading SHOOTERS fourteen years after it was first published was a daunting task. I rarely look back at any of my work. What's done is done and revisiting these projects can only lead to painful realizations of mistakes made and opportunities lost. So it was with great trepidation that I looked at SHOOTERS again after all these years. It was a necessary step towards bringing it to e-publication. I had long ago lost the original files somewhere in the horde of dead computers that rest in my garage, so the novel had to be scanned. When this happens you have to read through the pages to correct all the scanning errors. So much time had elapsed since I put this project behind me that it appeared to be the work of a different person altogether as I read through the pages. I'm mystified at what the hell I was thinking back then. Mystified, and occasionally horrified. Being a notorious tinkerer, I was warned by my longtime partner, Heidi Sobel, that I should just do the corrections and not start rewriting the book, because that would be a process that might never end.

I tried my best, but....

Anyone who wants to waste time comparing the text of the 1997 edition of SHOOTERS with this e-volume will find that there are many minor changes made to the text. I've cut some lines and simplified others. Typos have been corrected (and possibly new ones introduced!). But my main contribution to this version of the story is an attempt to correct what I now consider an error of judgment made just prior to the publication of the book. My editor at the publishing house suggested that I should strip out any specific references to the time in which the story took place so that the novel would not date poorly (which is ironic, because I used to date poorly myself all the time). I went along with this plan and I think the book suffered for it. Clearly the story is meant to occur in October of 1993, during a period when some of the worst wildfires in the last hundred years ravaged Southern California. To remove it from that specific date causes all kinds of story problems that I won't detail here, because that would violate the “general wisdom” mentioned above and possibly bore the pants off of you (if you are still wearing any).

SHOOTERS began life as a screenplay way back in 1985 (the many journeys that project took could fill a book of its own). I began writing it as a novel in 1993 (I think). At least that's when the wildfires became part of the text. I had the hope that my publisher would put the book out quickly. My dream at that stage in my life was to write books fast, chronicling the times in which they were being written, and have them hit the streets a few months later. I soon found out that neither my publisher nor I were up to that task. It took two and a half years for them to publish SHOOTERS and a lot had changed by then. My editor felt we now had a period piece on our hands and he asked me to take the edge off that element of the novel. It seemed somewhat logical back in 1996 when he made the request, but I performed the changes reluctantly. I was trying to be a team player. It was a mistake. Many topical touchstones laced throughout the book were obfuscated and others were added that could not have taken place until after 1993. By altering these events to make the book more generic I think we weakened the reading experience. I've done my best to recreate the draft as it was when I first sold it to the publisher. Other than that I tried to leave the book alone, per my sweetheart's request.

So if you don't like it, please blame Heidi!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Brunch with some L.A. Women

Enjoy this video while noshing on your Sunday treats or reading your brand new eBook of SHOOTERS. This song plays a big part in the novel. It opens the piece and even makes a return appearance or two. If that book had a soundtrack, this would be the theme song.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Before...and after

19 years ago today I watched my son, Sterling, get yanked out of his mother's womb via Caesarean section and I haven't been the same since. The picture above was taken a few minutes later, after he had a hot shower and got into some warm clothes. As you can see, he adapted to life on the outside very quickly and immediately took a liking to the TV remote. He's been pushing my buttons ever since.

(You can also see our coyote dog, Jill, keeping watch from the outside, and the hole that she chewed in the screen to make travel easier for her. )




Here Sterling is rolling around on the couch while I go out to get some diapers and formula. I always kept the fake ghost head from my first movie in the room with him so he wouldn't feel lonely when I went out on errands.

It must have been tough having me for a dad, but he stuck around - mainly for the grub. With a lot of food and water he turned into THIS a mere 18 years later:


That's him dressed for the prom a little less than a year ago. Looks a bit surly, doesn't he? The handcuffs he's wearing behind his back will do that to a young man. His girlfriend's father insisted - and I agreed it was for the best.

A few months later I introduced him to Adrienne Barbeau at a book signing and he managed to slip out of the cuffs long enough for this to happen:



So I guess life hasn't been ALL bad for the boy. (I sure wish I could have put my arms around Adrienne when I was 18!)

But today he turns 19. So Happy Birthday, buddy! Just two more years until the big blow-out in Vegas!

(It's David Pecchia's birthday today as well, but he's still hiding out in Detroit, so he can't come to the party. Happy Birthday to you too, Dave. Clear!)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lev Raphael

Lev Raphael was one of the first critics to really jump on the SHOOTERS bandwagon back in 1997. Not only did he write a glowing review of it for the DETROIT FREE PRESS, he made it one of his TOP TEN NOVELS OF THE YEAR (a list that only included nine titles, by the way). He has mentioned the book in interviews and blog posts over the years, so when it came time to reprint SHOOTERS for the e-world, I felt he would be the perfect person to write an afterword for the piece. Thankfully, he agreed with me.

I started writing a pithy list of Lev's accomplishments and then realized I was leaving half of it out, so I'm just going to reprint his bio from the Huffington Post:

Lev Raphael is the author of the memoir-travelogue My Germany and nineteen other books in genres from mystery to memoir. Notoriously cranky Kirkus Reviews called it "cleansing and passionate." Raphael is best known as a pioneer in writing fiction and creative non-fiction about the children of Holocaust survivors, which he's been publishing since 1978. His books have been translated into a dozen languages and he's done hundreds of invited talks and readings on three continents. His work has appeared in dozens of anthologies in the U.S. and England and will appear soon inPromised Lands: New Jewish American Fiction on Longing and Belonging. 

Raphael's academic mystery series has earned raves from the NYTBR and many other newspapers and magazines and he has been the keynoter at international conferences. Raphael is also the winner of the Lambda Literary Award among other prizes and has written hundreds of reviews and essays for The Detroit Free Press,Jerusalem Report, Forward, The Washington Post, The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram,Boston Review and Lambda Book Report. He escaped academia in 1988 to write and review full-time. A former radio talk show host and DJ, he currently reviews for WKAR 90.5 FM in East Lansing, MI and writes the Book Brunch column forBibliobuffet.com.  His latest novel is Rosedale in Love: A Gilded Age Novel. Raphael's web site is http://www.levraphael.com. Follow him on Twitter @LevRaphael.


And here is the AFTERWORD Lev wrote for SHOOTERS:



In the decade or so that I reviewed mysteries and thrillers for the Detroit Fee Press, I may have enjoyed lots of them, but there are only a few that I've ever bothered to re-read, and the only one I've read three times is Shooters.

My editor used to send me boxes of books from various publishers and because I got so many at a time, and was only reviewing 4-5 for my monthly column, I had to make quick decisions based on only a few pages. Shooters won me over immediately. It brilliantly captures the gleaming, seductive menace of that city built for noir in a voice that's so crisp and haunting that I've used the opening pages in creative writing workshops more than once. I can still remember scenes and lines--that's how dazzled I was.

It is in my mind one of the best LA thrillers ever written, a book that more people should know about, a book I continue to recommend wherever and whenever I can. Sexy, dark, fiercely intelligent, it's a novel of deep and lasting power.

Lev Raphael, author of Rosedale in Love: A Gilded Age Novel
newly available on Kindle & Nook

Thanks again, Lev!

Monday, May 9, 2011

T. Jefferson Parker



T. Jefferson Parker is one of my favorite writers and a really great longtime friend. If you're not reading his Charlie Hood series right now you're missing out on something great. (The picture above was taken while he was doing research for the books in Veracruz.) Jeff graciously wrote an introduction for the new e-book of SHOOTERS and I'm posting it here just in case you're still not sure about parting with that $2.99 on Amazon.



INTRODUCTION
by
T. Jefferson Parker

Shooters is a noir tour of L.A. that only Terrill Lee Lankford can guide. He's got one finger on the pulse of high fashion and another on the world of hardcore and when they meet – well, it's hard not to look. Although this book was first published in 1997, its roots stretch back to the roaring 80s, as narrator Nick Gardner says in the prologue to Shooters:

This story is a by-product of the eighties, the Reagan years, when the wrong people made a lot of money the wrong way. I was one of those people. The seventies had been rough. The late-seventies recession made work in my chosen profession – photography – difficult. When the economy opened up a few years later, I didn’t stop to ask stupid questions, I started panning up the ore like every other jerk. I never thought about the mine playing out or someone showing up with a huge bill. I felt charmed.”

Of course, Shooters is all about paying the huge bill, and the waiter who presents the bill is history itself. Perhaps not oddly, our current republic feels sunk in the same kind of morass that Lankford invokes from decades past -- our freewheeling days resoundingly defeated by moral and economic turpitude. We sense parallel hangovers. There is a sense in Shooters that the goodwill of the fates has run thin and all hell is about to break loose. Sound familiar?
It's wonderful to read a crime novel that embraces and reflects a specific time and place. As a longtime L.A. filmmaker, Terrill Lee Lankford knows the city and its decades well. Through Nick, who is part American Gigolo and part American Psycho, Lankford has created a perfect voice of America's Los Angeles in the 1980s. I think it's a tale with legs, one that will continue to resound.
But doubt not that Shooters is built for speed and handling, not for soccer transport or sensible gas mileage. It's thrill a minute sexy and bad to the bone. It's an authentic part of the L.A. canon.

-- T. Jefferson Parker

author of Iron River and The Border Lords

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's up! (So to speak.)

We didn't think the link would be active until Monday or Tuesday, but Amazon got the job done in record time. SHOOTERS is now available for your Kindle or your Kindle for Mac if you don't have the device itself.

Now that the book has been unleashed on e-society I should post a warning: SHOOTERS has a lot of sex in it. A lot. If you don't like that sort of reading wait to pick up one of my later books. They just have a little sex in them. And if you don't like THAT sort of reading, I guess I'm out of luck.

http://www.amazon.com/Shooters-ebook/dp/B004ZULGKY/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1304896440&sr=8-6

Saturday, May 7, 2011

E-Book Update



Okay. I'm finally getting my act together on the e-book front. Work on the movie put a lot of sand in my e-gears, but we're making some progress now. With the help of my e-guru, Lee Goldberg, I uploaded the files for the new version of SHOOTERS onto Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords today. It takes a few days for these accounts to activate, but we should be rocking the e-world by Monday or Tuesday. That's only a few months later than I promised at the beginning of March.

As you can see by the revised cover (courtesy of JT Lindroos), T. Jefferson Parker provided a new introduction for the book and novelist, scholar, and critic Lev Raphael wrote an afterward. I can't thank them enough for their generosity, not only now but throughout the years since SHOOTERS was first published. They have been two of that novel's most vocal supporters.

Hopefully in the next week we will also be bringing ANGRY MOON online. It's in the works. NORTH OF SUNSET, however, will be delayed for quite some time. I've had second thoughts about publishing two of the four stories and I think I'm going to have to write some new stories to replace them.

I'm very excited to announce that the rights to EARTHQUAKE WEATHER and BLONDE LIGHTING have reverted to me. I hope to have them online by the end of the month. (But I've been wrong about these things before!)

I'll drop a note on the blog when SHOOTERS is done cooking on the various sites.

Over and out!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The latest poster for our little Christmas flick

We haven't shot a foot of this movie yet, but it's already spawned dozens of posters. None of them are official, but most of them are pretty cool. Below is the most recent one. (Click on it to make it larger - if you dare.)



For more info on the movie go to: http://www.christmaswiththedead.com/

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Big Sunday

The Smothers Brothers bring you something to watch and listen to with your bacon and Easter eggs this morning. Hope the big bunny brought you lots of treats.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In honor of road trips

It's Sunday. I'm back in L.A. after two weeks on the road. Here's something to watch and listen to with your beer and breakfast this morning.



That looks like it was a hell of a concert.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Elvis sighting!

On the way back from Texas I stopped by The Palms in Vegas and spotted this sign out the window of my room.

Mystery solved.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let's all go to the Drive-In!

I wonder how many of the Texans I met last week wouldn't even be here if not for this great old place?

Much love was found in the ghost light of an AIP double feature.

(Click on the pix to see them full size.)






Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's hot in Texas!

Here are three versions of RING OF FIRE to go with your Sunday morning tea and strumpets. Take your pick or enjoy them all.





Saturday, April 9, 2011

Now, more than ever

"Are they yelling in Atlanta, Ted?"

They should be, but we are even more asleep now than we were in the 70s.



Farewell, Mr. Lumet. You always knew how to get the most out of a great screenplay.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Vote early, vote often!



I'm in Texas prepping CHRISTMAS WITH THE DEAD, but my buddy Duane Swierczynski sent me an e-mail today about a neat book poll that the L.A. Times is running where you can pick your favorite novel set in Los Angeles and somehow my book, EARTHQUAKE WEATHER, has been nominated. It's a big field and I'll need all 41 of my "followers" to cast their votes for me if we hope to knock off the likes of Nat West and Tommy Pynchon. But I know we can do it!

Please click on the link below and start stuffing the ballots now!

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/04/your-favorite-la-book-round-3-ross-macdonald-octavia-butler-thomas-pynchon-nathanael-west.html

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

THE FIFTH WITNESS



Mickey Haller's latest adventure hits the stores today. Start reading! (And don't forget to get your free Eric Clapton download.)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A tune for Sunday afternoon

I missed breakfast this morning, but maybe you can play this with your afternoon Tequila and beer.



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Clapton/Connelly



Here's the interesting tie-in that I was talking about last week. (You can't see me in this shot because I'm behind the camera - where I should always stay.)

Read all about it from Michael Connelly himself, then listen to the cool interview linked below:


Clapton & Me

     I first heard the sound of Eric Clapton's guitar in a friend's garage in 1969. It was the only place we were allowed to turn it up loud. Needless to say, I've been a fan ever since. I've tracked his career, read his autobiography, watched him play live and listened to his recordings it seems for all of my life.
     As a writer, music is important to me. It is routine for me to place the music I am listening to and care about in my books. Harry Bosch's taste in jazz comes from me. Cassie Black's love of Lucinda Williams was inspired by my love of Lucinda Williams. And Mickey Haller's musical interests that wander from Tupac Shakur to Ry Cooder and everywhere in between once again come from me.
     It doesn't matter to me that a musical reference on a written page cannot impart the audible journey to the reader. I was on the journey when I wrote that page and that is what matters most. I had to listen to that music to write that page. And if the reader gets something from the reference, if it helps the reading experience or plants a musical suggestion, then that is just icing on the cake.
     So with all of that in background, it was one of best moments of my writing life when three years ago I received a message purportedly from Eric Clapton and delivered through this website. It simply said, "Tell Mr. Connelly I appreciate the mention in the new book."
     I have to admit I was tantalized. Could it be him? Could it be the real Eric Clapton? The Eric Clapton of Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek and the Dominoes? The man who sang "Bell Bottom Blues" and "Layla" and "Wonderful Tonight"?
     I wrote back, cautiously. On guard in case I was being victimized by an imposter or a prankster. It led to a tentative email relationship and then a friendship. And now it leads to this unusual cross promotion of music and written word. In The Fifth Witness, Mickey Haller listens to Clapton. Not just Eric Clapton but Clapton, the new album. In particular he's listening to "Judgement Day" when in effect it is a judgment day in the story. And now you can too, thanks to the free download of the song offered on this page.
     I hope you enjoy the song and my interview with Eric that took place recently at a Los Angeles recording studio. I hope it all helps you enjoy riding with Mickey Haller through the book. I've been riding with Eric Clapton's music for forty-two years. Maybe your journey has just begun.
 Michael Connelly





Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Morning Listening



If you can overlook the title, this blast from the past should go well with your coffee and doughnuts this morning.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A different kind of Christmas Story....

http://www.christmaswiththedead.com/

About two weeks ago my buddy Joe Lansdale gave me a call and asked if I wanted to come to Texas this summer and direct a movie he was producing based on his short story, CHRISTMAS WITH THE DEAD. I said, "Of course," took a sip of coffee and we immediately began pre-production work. Hollywood deal makers could learn a lot from Texans.

Joe's son, Keith, wrote the script and it's a humdinger. Check out the website listed above to get a hint of things to come. I'm looking forward to this Texas adventure, but this means my plans of world domination via the e-book will once again face delays. I've been so busy with video projects, photo shoots and prep work this month that I haven't even finished the copy editing on the e-book reprint of my first novel, SHOOTERS. Hopefully I will be able to get it to the formatter soon. But ANGRY MOON and NORTH OF SUNSET probably won't happen until late next month. As for new works? I gotta go shoot this movie first.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer interview part 2



After we finished the main interview, Matthew wanted to talk a little more. We kept the camera rolling and this is what happened.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2 auctions for a good cause

(Even if you don't need a cool chair, try to give something to the American Red Cross. They're doing a lot of good out there in these tough times.)

Michael Connelly is auctioning off two director chairs with "The Lincoln Lawyer" movie logo. Both chairs have been autographed by Michael Connelly and Matthew McConaughey. All proceeds will go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Efforts. Michael Connelly will cover all auction fees and the cost of shipping to any country. Both auctions are on eBay through the Giving Works program. They expire on Sunday, March 27.
signed director chair
American Red Cross
eBay Giving Works program

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Morning Listening



I was lucky enough to see Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood play this song (and dozens of other classics) last year at the Hollywood Bowl and I think it makes for perfect Sunday Morning "wake-me-up" music, so I hope you enjoy it.

The family and I got to see Eric in concert again about ten days ago at Universal and he played an almost completely different set than he had the year before, but it was spine tingling entertainment both times out.

Then last week I was honored to be able to do a photo shoot with Mr. Clapton and Mike Connelly as they recorded an interview for a pretty exciting tie-in that will be coming up in a few weeks, which I will link to as soon as it hits the street.

Because of Mike I've met Eric Clapton twice now and I'm always fine while we're all hanging out and talking, but the moment it is time to leave I begin to babble like an idiot. I'm two for two so far and can't figure out what comes over me when I'm heading for the door. It's ridiculous. I've met famous actors, directors, writers, politicians, and musicians over the years and none of them ever phased me like that. I even stayed cool each time I ran into Robert Mitchum at our local grocery store when I lived in Santa Barbara back in the 80s. But Clapton is different. His music has been a big influence in my life, ever since I was a kid. The enormity of this guy's work and the depth of his talent is just so friggin' impressive that I get flustered when it's time to say adios. It's embarrassing. Connelly took a shot of me with Eric after the interview and shoot was over and I look like I just got hit with a cattle prod.

You won't be seeing that picture any time soon.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mike and Matt



Check out this cool interview I shot on the set of THE LINCOLN LAWYER.

Speaking of which, how did you like the movie last night?

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer is in theaters today!

You probably won't believe anything I have to say about this flick because of what you can safely assume will be my natural bias, but the reviews are in and lots of the big time critics agree with me. This is a really terrific movie, jam packed with fantastic supporting performances, a tight script based on a great book, gritty L.A. photography, lively direction and a big time return to superstar form for Matthey McConaughey. I've seen the movie three times already and it is surprisingly rewatchable. I'm still not tired of it. Oh, I forgot about the music. The music selection is tremendous as well, mixing perfectly chosen current tunes with pieces from the 70s that sound contemporary and classic at the same time. And that kind of sums up the whole movie in a nutshell: It riffs on the classic crime films of the past while managing to feel fresh and completely contemporary. Watching it, I feel a little of the excitement I felt when watching a new film in the 1970s. There's not much of a higher compliment I could pay to a movie. Don't wait for the dvd, go see it this weekend!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Good morning!



It's Sunday and it's been too long since we visited with this sexy dancer, so enjoy this clip with your coffee and biscuits.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Book in Question


My feeble attempts to condense as much info into the fewest amount of words have led to some misunderstandings during my "running for the hills" posts. A number of people have contacted me asking when the book that I had been discussing with the Publishing House would see the light of day. My short answer: I don't know.

The long answer is more complicated, so you may not want to read any further. I'm about to ramble.

When "The Editor-in-Chief" contacted me about bringing a book to his Publishing House last August I was quite excited by the prospect. But we had to find a project that suited not just my interests as a writer, but the specific interests of the House as well. In other words, we had to find a good blend of what they want to publish and what I want to write. This is not always as easy as it sounds. The Editor was a fan of my previous books, but those are in my past and I, like all of you out there, change a lot from year to year. My current interests are not the same as they were seven, fourteen, or twenty years ago. We had to sift through about a dozen works-in-progress before we decided on a project that looked like it could suit not just each of our individual interests, but the needs of the Publishing House, the marketing department, the Big Box chain stores, and - wait for it - the readers at large. (Yes, they do eventually factor into these equations.) Since the publication of my last book in 2006 I have been wrestling with many story ideas with the hopes of shooting an arrow through all these moving rings at once. It's a daunting task.

Now, anyone familiar with my past work knows it can be difficult on some readers. My last four books have been peopled by unsavory characters doing unsavory things. These are not Airport Bestsellers. I seem to have a small, loyal cult following, but many of them won't be out on parole for quite a few years. I have about fifteen projects in various forms of development and abandonment. The one I felt was the closest to completion - and which would have more mass market appeal than my previous works - was a piece about Beverly Hills bodyguards. The Editor liked this piece, but he liked another one even better. For our purposes here I'll refer to it as Project X, or X for short. And I'm going to call the Editor "Ed" from here on in to keep this post from eating all your bandwidth.

Now X was only a few thousand words long when Ed read it. But it had the scope and scale that he was looking for. It is a book that takes place over a forty-five year time span and deals with the development of the Special Investigations Section of the L.A.P.D. as a backdrop. The book is a private eye story, a cop story, a political intrigue, a family saga and a historical novel all rolled into one. It's ambitious. And it will take a long time to write. Thus we were discussing the "Big Advance."

I've never liked the idea of taking advances on incomplete works. You are always in a stronger position to make a deal when you have a finished book to shop. And it's good to know that you have the ability to actually finish the work before you make a deal you can't honor. But if I was to abandon my current project to work on this one it was understood that a deal would have to be in place. So we talked money and came up with a floor that we were both comfortable with, a minimum that Ed thought he could get from the Publisher and that I could live with to help bring the project to fruition. It would be up to my agent to try to improve on that number when we all entered the squared circle part of the negotiations.

So, we had the book and we had the concept of the deal. (This was after a few months of back and forth on the various possible projects.) Now I had to generate sample pages that could be taken to the Publisher so that the deal could be approved. I had already written the beginning and end of the book and a number of sections in the middle, but now I needed to generate at least fifty pages that began at the beginning. It took me a few months to kick out the first 68 pages of the book. Ed read them, liked them, and was about to work on his editorial notes so that I could tweak the pages before he presented them to the Publisher. It was at this point that we had the unfortunate discussion that led to the e-split reveal that made me walk away from the deal.

Now I know some of you hard-asses out there will say I wasted a lot of this editor's time. It could be said he wasted mine as well. But these are the risks that both sides take when they try to go into business on a project that is not at least 90% there when negotiations start. I think we were both disappointed that it ended up this way, but I bear him no ill will for the "wasted time." I hope he feels the same way, but only he would know that for sure. We still exchange friendly e-mails. But that's not always the truth of things. I know I still like the guy and hope he and his imprint does well.

The bottom line is, I now have about 30,000 words of a book written that I had no intention of tackling at this time in the first place. I like what's there. But the idea of completing it in the immediate future doesn't seem reasonable now that I am embracing the self-publishing e-world. Now that I can write exactly what I want and know it will see print - and then find its own level of success, no matter how minor a success that is - I no longer feel the need to fire that arrow though all those hoops. The only people I need to satisfy now are myself and whatever reading public I can attract with a cover and a synopsis and a daringly low e-price. No more reading boards, marketing boards, big box chain store purchasers who buy your new book based on the sales of your last book (an idiotic law-of-diminishing-returns policy that helped kill the mid-list). No more rules about story length or lowest-common-denominator thinking or marketing. This is incredibly liberating. I dig it.

But now what do I do? I have to go back to the files. Figure out what story I want to write most. And then write it. I can tell you two things: It won't be the book I was working on for Ed. That book is going back into the pot to simmer for a few years. And whatever I do write, it won't be ready any time soon. It takes me a long time to write a book and then, once I do, I rewrite forever. I'm going  to try to break those two habits, but I can't promise anything. And I won't be talking in detail about any of the projects until they are ready to see e-ink. I don't like doing that. (I've already said more about the above two works-in-progress than I usually feel comfortable doing.)

In the meantime, I'll be bringing out my first two published books and a short story collection. It's not much to offer, but I want to dip my toe into the e-pond and see if I get any nibbles.

But for now, X, The Book in Question? "Mistah Kurtz - He dead."