Saturday, April 19, 2014

Uncomfortable Language

As part of a series of posts on novel-writing, this week on Naked Authors, James O. Born discusses dialogue. He relates the common author experience of hearing from readers who object to profanity, asking in conclusion, "How do you feel about reading uncomfortable language in a book? Does it sweep you up in the realism of the story? Or does it turn you off?"

A character's language only makes me uncomfortable when it doesn't fit my impression of the character from the rest of the story (or from previous books in a series). For example, Robert B. Parker's P.I. Spenser has a reputation for poetic repartee, so when I notice him using cliches or old jokes, it bothers me.

On the other hand, it baffles me that readers would pick up books about unsavory characters yet expect them to refrain from dirty deeds and profanity. If readers object to profanity, violence, or whatever, they can choose books about polite, repressed pacifists instead.

Monday, April 14, 2014

At The 5-2: "Fear as Loud as a Mugging" by Linda Lerner"

Our April blog tour today includes a poem by Linda Lerner:



If you'd like to join the tour, April 17 and 26 are open.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Reed Farrel Coleman to continue Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone

Today on his website, Reed Farrel Coleman announced he had accepted the offer last May to continue Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone, following Michael Brandman's Killing The Blues, Fool Me Twice, and Damned If You Do. Coleman's first Stone novel, Blind Spot, goes on sale September 9.

When Parker created Stone in 1997's Night Passage, I liked the challenges he was presenting himself. Younger, flawed, and written from third-person, Stone would be everything Spenser was not. My favorite Stone novel is the fourth, Stone Cold, adapted by Brandman and John Fasano to launch the TV movie series starring Tom Selleck.

After Stone Cold the character went on a three-year hiatus, the Sunny Randall novel Melancholy Baby, period baseball mystery Double Play, and Western Appaloosa filling his usual fall slot. Putnam eventually published five more Stone novels by Parker, but higher paperback prices and weaker-sounding plots kept me from reading them.

Selleck's older Stone became the more compelling portrayal for me. Brandman was chosen on the strength of that portrayal, but a sample of Killing The Blues shows his inexperience as a novelist. I'm glad Putnam and Parker's estate have moved on. I believe, having written the flawed, wounded Moe Prager, Coleman has the right sensibilities to write Jesse Stone.

In the simplest terms, I wasn't interested in the Stone novels, and now I am again.

UPDATE: A further post on Coleman's site reveals he's signed with Putnam for four novels in the Stone series and two in a new series of his own featuring Suffolk County, Long Island cop Gus Murphy.

At The 5-2: "The Stainless Steel Wallet" by Amy Holman

This week, Brooklyn poet Amy Holman brings us a poem that is part Hammacher Schlemmer catalog, part celebrity news:




Our third annual blog tour is underway.

The 5-2 is always open to submissions.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

NCIS: "Crescent City"

Special Agent Dwayne Cassius "King" Pride (Scott Bakula) is called in when the body of his NIS mentor is discovered. As the man was now a member of Congress, the FBI takes the body before the Jefferson Parish M.E. can examine it. Pride goes to Washington to team up with Gibbs on the case.

I've anticipated this episode since early February, when Scott Bakula and Zoe McLellan were cast. The thought of several Bellisario show veterans playing together thrilled me, and the reality did not disappoint.

Agent Pride's openness, established from the start, nicely contrasted Gibbs' gruff silence. That said, their chemistry as a team was also established early. Pride's work in New Orleans, with just one other agent, called to mind Season 1's underdog portrayal of NCIS.

Unlike the others, Agent Brody (McLellan) was closed off, much of her past left for Part Two. As someone who likes to get a sense of characters as quickly as possible, I didn't like that, though I understand it as a technique.

Part Two didn't pick up where Part One left off, instead drawing the characters together when another body appeared to have ties to the same killer. There was little indication how much time passed between the two.

Agent Brody was more open from the start of Part Two, but the time jump made her change of mood seem abrupt. Agent Pride did find out her secret, but they discussed it quickly as they geared up to follow a lead. That discussion was also wrapped in a needless Jeopardy! analogy.

As a whole, "Crescent City" gets credit for keeping the original NCIS characters involved while truly needing to spread them out to solve the case in two locales. As an episode of NCIS, "Crescent City" had star power a spinoff series probably wouldn't have. Time will tell if the New Orleans characters made enough of an impression on CBS execs. The NCIS: Red characters did not.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

30 Days of The 5-2

The 5-2's annual April blog tour begins today. Day 1 features B.V. Lawson and Wilda Morris.

Monday, March 31, 2014

At The 5-2: Randall Compton

Texas teacher Compton offers "Sermon Notes".



Our annual blog tour, 30 Days of The 5-2, begins tomorrow.

The 5-2 is always open to submissions.

Monday, March 24, 2014

At The 5-2: "For Newtown" by Rachel Lynn McGuire

Virginia math teacher Rachel Lynn McGuire reflects on the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut:




Five spots remain open on The 5-2's April blog tour. Join us.