Wednesday, March 30, 2011


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....

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."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Detective Lankford speaks

Triple Emmy winner Bryan Cranston discusses THE LINCOLN LAWYER, in which he plays the suspiciously named Detective Lankford. I've seen the flick, which is great, but there is definitely some Lankford abuse going on throughout the picture. More on the movie in a few days.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The late, great Jerry Fielding

David Speed sent me the link to this cool montage he created for this early piece by one of my favorite composers, the great Jerry Fielding. I really dig it. Here's how he describes it:

Hi Terrill,

I posted this on Nick Redman's wall yesterday; in addition, I mailed it out to Elizabeth & Hillary Fielding, Mark Hendrik and another handful or so of potentially interested FB friends.

Since your bona fides as a JFAS member are easily discernible, I thought you might also be interested in this artifact of Jerry's early career, which I believe was not only the first recording under his name but also the LAST recording he would make before his arranging and bandleading career, both in and out of the studio, received a big-time - if not exactly welcome - boost by virtue of being blacklisted by his erstwhile Hollywood employers.

A sobering note: recorded in 1953, this album has now reached the ripe old age of 58, one year older than Jerry ever got to be. 

Anyhoo, aside from the exemplary arrangement, featuring solos from Fielding friends, Buddy Collette on alto and Joe Howard on trombone (preceded by tenor saxophonist Don Lodice, about whom I can find little in the way of info, much less ANY images), my modest vid features a couple of short but sweet JF-related LA Times articles w/ pics, circa '47 and '52. I do hope you enjoy it.

David Speed

Friday, March 4, 2011

Another day, another cover

JT designs covers a lot faster than I can edit old manuscripts.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

JT Lindoos strikes again!

Here's the proposed cover for the new edition of SHOOTERS, courtesy of JT Lindroos. This one is proving a bit more controversial than NORTH OF SUNSET, so I thought I'd give my "followers" a sneak peak and see what you all thought. There will be some tweaks and changes along the way, so all comments and suggestions are welcome.

Me? I love it. But don't let that sway you....

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It begins

I've been wanting to do a follow up post to my "line in the sand" rant but let's face it, I'm not much of a blogger. I'm going to try to get better. A lot has happened since that blog. A slightly different version of it ran in the back pages of Publisher's Weekly yesterday, thanks to Wendy Werris and Lynn Andriani. A number of Blogs also reposted the original post, sometimes only reprinting parts of it, which led to some confusion, but it also made me aware that I had left quite a bit out of the story in the first place. I'll try to fill in the gaps in the weeks to come, but right now I am working on bringing some work to the Kindle and its cousins. I'm putting together a team to help guide me through this new land. So far the most important member of this team has been Lee Goldberg, who knows just about everything there is to know about this stuff. He has been my e-Guru and has been an invaluable resource. His blog can be found here: and at the right side of this page under the title "A Writer's Life."

The second member of the Seven Samurai is JT Lindroos, who kindly dropped me a note after the blog post and said he'd like to help me with the cover designs. I sent him a photo that I wanted to use for a short story collection I'm preparing and he quickly sent me back a number of different designs. I think we've settled on the one up above. Click on it if you want to see it larger. I think he did a great job.

I'll try to post updates as I go along and introduce you to all the people it takes to do this "on your own." Right now I am editing the scanned versions of my first two novels, SHOOTERS and ANGRY MOON. The plan is to get them on Kindle, along with the short story collection, by the end of the month.

So let me know what you think of the new cover. There is still time to make changes. That's what's turning out to be the most fun about this. The quickness and flexibility of not going through committees has a lot going for it.

JT Lindroos can be found here: