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  His latest novel is Rosedale in Love: A Gilded Age Novel. Raphael's web site is 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.

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.

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: