Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bouchercon Blues

Another year, another absence from Bouchercon. In 2008, the World Mystery Convention hits Baltimore, a scant four- or five-hour drive from home. Maybe I'll see you then.

Doctor No

I'm reading Ian Fleming's Doctor No for the first time in a handsome Penguin paperback edition. Fleming blends detail and nonchalance perfectly, exposng those who've tried to pick up Bond as pretenders to the throne.

While the Bond authors and films are a testament to the character's popularity, it pays to remember a huge part of Bond died with Ian Fleming in 1964.

"Thank you kindly, Moneypenny."

By way of Lee Goldberg's A Writer's Life, I learned Paul Haggis has been tapped to rewrite the script for the planned Bond film Casino Royale.

Before his success with Million Dollar Baby, Haggis created the excellent due South and the guilty pleasure Walker, Texas Ranger.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

AP: Firm Tests Gaming on Movie-Style Screens

HAMPTON, N.H. - Ever wish you could experience the "holodeck," the 3-D virtual environment aboard the Starship Enterprise? There's a company that believes it's come close, letting video game players play with huge, high-definition screens that envelop the user.

HoloDek, which takes its name from the "Star Trek" series, has been testing out the concept in Hampton for about a year.

Ready to Go

My poem "Ready to Go" appears in the September 2005 issue of Brevities, edited by Joyce Odam.

Remember the episode where...

I watched a few episodes of the first season of Doogie Howser yesterday and was surprised how well I remembered one episode in particular, down to the beats between lines of dialogue.

It was the third episode overall, "A Stitch Called Wanda," in which Doogie asks Wanda to be his girlfriend and she accepts. Later that night, as they're watching the 1989 Batman at a drive-in, Wanda has an attack of appendicitis. Due to a series of dramatic twists, Doogie is forced to ask about her personal history and examine her in a clinical tone.

After her appendectomy, Wanda feels violated and can't bear to look at Doogie. They eventually make up, as episodic characters are wont to do, but the actors' range is terrific and I was right back in the moment.

A word to DVD case-makers: Please build cases that actually hold the DVDs in place. I played the wrong side of Doogie Disc 2 at first because it had inverted before I even opened the case. The case for Discs 3 and 4 had more dependable holders. Odd.

Monday, August 29, 2005


Retraction and Apology Regarding Teri Hatcher Story

On August 2, 2005, WENN ran a story entitled "Hatcher Shocks Neighbors with Passion Sex Wagon," which claimed Teri Hatcher had "amorous encounters" with men in a van parked outside her home. Originally published in The Sun newspapers in the UK, WENN has been informed by by Ms. Hatcher's legal representatives that the story has no basis whatsoever in truth. According to WENN's official statement, "WENN retracts this story and apologies (sic) unreservedly to Ms. Hatcher."

I blogged the story under the title "I'm Averting My Eyes" and have retracted it as well.

I'm somewhat relieved. I can't help having any but brotherly feelings toward Hatcher since her days on MacGyver and Lois & Clark. Whaddya gonna do?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

We'll Always Have Murder by Bill Crider

We'll Always Have Murder by Bill Crider is DetecToday's featured novel for September.

In the late 1940s, Terry Scott is a PI working for Warner Bros., helping the studio's stars avoid scandal. Scott is asked to talk with fellow PI Frank Burleson, who's threatened to blackmail Humphrey Bogart. Scott and Bogart arrive to find Burleson shot dead, a pistol belonging to Bogart lying nearby.

While unraveling who had means, motive, and opportunity for the shooting, Scott and Bogart must sidestep aggressive cops who'd like to pin the crime on them. Writing from Scott's P.O.V., Crider leaves just the right air of mystery around Bogart himself. Crider's style is crisp and his plot well paced. I enjoyed putting Bogart's voice to his lines. While I sometimes skim books as I near the end, We'll Always Have Murder held my attention to the very last line. Thanks, Bill.

Friday, August 26, 2005

My Cyborg Name

General Electronic Replicant Assembled for Logical Destruction

Thanks to my brother H.E.N.R.Y. (Humanoid Engineered for Nocturnal Repair and Yelling)


Arizona Diamondbacks commentator Mark Grace jinxed Met pitcher Pedro Martinez's bid for a no-hitter last night when he stood up in the sixth inning and yelled, "Hey, Pedro! It's Gracie up here! You got a no-hitter going!"

I wouldn't mind Grace trash-talking to break up a no-hitter if he were still playing. From the booth, his antics seemed classless.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

AP: Ariz. Prof Spends Year As an Undergrad

By MICHELLE ROBERTS, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 35 minutes ago

PHOENIX - As a professor at Northern Arizona University, Cathy Small was baffled by undergraduates. They seemed less engaged, less likely to do assigned reading and more likely to ask questions like "Do you want it double-spaced?"

So she decided to study them as anthropologists research any foreign culture — she lived among them.

Beloit College Mindset List


For the fifth year, Beloit College, the liberal arts college in Beloit, Wisconsin, is distributing the Mindset List to its faculty and staff as an indicator of the many ways in which entering 17 and 18 year-olds see the world differently from their professors, coaches and mentors. The list is a reminder that the world view of today's new college students is significantly different from the intellectual framework of those students who entered only a few years earlier. Beloit College Prof. Tom McBride, one of the list's creators, says "It is an alert for those of us who may be suffering from hardening of the references."


Most students entering college this fall were born in 1984.

1. A Southerner has always been President of the United States.

2. Richard Burton, Ricky Nelson and Truman Capote have always been dead.

3. South Africa's official policy of apartheid has not existed during their lifetime.

4. Cars have always had eye-level rear stop lights, CD players, and air bags.

5. We have always been able to choose our long distance carriers.

6. Weather reports have always been available 24-hours a day on television.

7. The "evil empire" has moved from Moscow to a setting in some distant galaxy.

8. "Big Brother" is merely a television show.

9. Cyberspace has always existed.

10. Bruce Springsteen's new hit, Born in the USA, could have been played to celebrate their birth.

11. Barbie has always had a job.

12. Telephone bills have always been totally incomprehensible.

13. Prom dresses have always come in basic black.

14. A "Hair Band" is some sort of fashion accessory.

15. George Foreman has always been a barbecue grill salesman

16. Afghanistan has always been a front page story.

17. There has always been an heir to the heir to the British throne.

18. They have no recollection of Connie Chung or Geraldo Rivera as serious journalists.

19. Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, and Tom Brokaw have always anchored the evening news.

20. China has always been a market-based reforming regime.

21. The United States has always been trying to put nuclear waste in Nevada.

22. The U.S. and the Soviets have always been partners in space.

23. Mrs. Fields' cookies and Swatch watches have always been favorites.

24. Nicolas Cage, Daryll Hannah, Eddie Murphy, and John Malkovich made their first major film impressions the year they were born.

25. The GM Saturn has always been on the road.

26. The "Fab Four" are not a male rock group, but four women enjoying "Sex and the City."

27. Fox has always been a television network choice.

28. Males do not carry a handkerchief in a back pocket.

29. This generation has never wanted to "be a Pepper too."

30. Ozzy's lifestyle has nothing to do with the Nelson family.

31. Women have always had tattoos.

32. Vanessa Williams and Madonna are aging singers.

33. Perrier has always come in flavors.

34. Cherry Coke has always come in cans.

35. A "hotline" is a consumer service rather than a phone used to avoid accidental nuclear war.

36. The drug "ecstasy" has always been around.

37. Genetic testing and DNA screening have always been available.

38. Electronic filing of federal income taxes has always been an option.

39. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has always been available to doctors.

40. Trivial Pursuit may have been played by their parents the night before they were born.

41. The U.S. has always maintained that it has a "clear right to use force against terrorism."

42. The drinking age has always been 21 throughout the country.

43. Women have always been members of the Jaycees.

44. The center of chic has shifted from Studio 54 to Liza's living room, live!

45. Julian Lennon had his only hit the year they were born.

46. Sylvan Learning Centers have always been an after-school option.

47. Hip-hop and rap have always been popular musical forms.

48. They grew up in minivans.

49. Scientists have always recognized the impact of acid rain.

50. The Coen Brothers have always been making films.

And in 1984, perhaps it was "Too Soon to Tell"...

* Technology analysts questioned the need for briefcase-sized computers.

* The National Children and Youth Fitness Study announced that children were overweight and underactive.

* A CPA organization heralded that computerized audit systems were being used to avoid errors and they were doing much better at spotting mistakes and providing internal audit controls.

* Film critics declared that George Lucas was looking for new directions because Star Wars interest was waning.

* Videotape technology was said to be killing the film industry and slowing cable network development.

* Analysts stated there was no market for Direct Broadcast Satellite systems.

* The U.S. Supreme Court declared sleeping to be a form of free speech.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

And a Time For Every Purpose

I wasn't going to blog about work in progress, but today turned into a long day including a few hours of Net outage, so I almost have to blog to remember I've done anything.

I said I was looking to write gritty. I have the start of a Chris Harvey story. It's not too gritty so far, but I'm not complaining.

I spent the afternoon working on two compassion-themed poems for WORDs DANCE.

I'm going to sleep on these projects now, and probably submit the poems tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

AP: 'Mockingbird' Actor Brock Peters Dies

By GARY GENTILE, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES - Actor Brock Peters, best known for his heartbreaking performance as the black man falsely accused of rape in "To Kill a Mockingbird," died Tuesday at his home after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 78.

Peters was also a recurring Star Trek actor, appearing as Starfleet Adm. Cartwright in Voyage Home and Undiscovered Country and Ben Sisko's father Joseph in Deep Space Nine.

Not Yet

Still brainstorming my idea for a new Chris Harvey story. In the meantime, I'm feeling the pull to write something, anything, so I'm starting with this entry and seeing where it leads. Most likely it will lead offline as I am not one to ramble virtually. Will return when I've satisfied the writing bug for the day.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Nitty Gritty

I've spent the past week or so scrounging for my next project. It started, as you might expect, with a gut feeling: I wanted to work on something longer than a poem and grittier than the stories I've published of late. Sometimes I discover what a project is by eliminating what it isn't.

For a while now I've wanted to write a follow-up to my Chris Harvey P.I. story, "Forgive Me Not". The dilemma was how to bring more out of Chris's character. The simple answer is to add trauma to his life, but I wanted to do it in a way that wasn't too out-of-the-blue. Where would I need to go in terms of subject matter to do this?

I think I've hit on the solution, so I'm off to draft it. My target market is Crime Scene Scotland.

Twinkie Trivia

Just now on Food Network I learned Hostess Twinkies were originally filled with banana creme. A banana shortage during World War II forced the switch to vanilla.


One of my favorite baseball players, Paul Molitor, turns 49 today.

Rockford Files writer and Sopranos creator Dave Chase is 60.

Giants, Patriots, Jets, and Cowboys coach Bill Parcells is 64.

Science fiction legend Ray Bradbury is 85.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Non-Fortune Fortune

Visited friends of the family in Somerset, NJ and had lunch at Kam Garden Chinese Buffet.

You've probably gotten non-fortune fortunes before ("A good horse is like a member of the family," "Time is precious, but truth is even more precious"). Mine was "Wishing you a long life." Not a guarantee of long life, only a vague wish for one.

Cote de Pablo

Cote de Pablo

Cote de Pablo, seen here in FOX's The Jury, will play Israeli agent Ziva David on CBS's NCIS. Pauley Perrette Ponders Life's Puzzles

(Sunday, August 21 12:02 AM)

By Kate O'Hare

LOS ANGELES ( No matter how many forensic dramas "CSI" producer Jerry Bruckheimer puts on the air, they're unlikely to have a character quite like crime-lab technician Abby Sciuto, played by musician, poet and former criminology student Pauley Perrette, on CBS' Tuesday-night drama "NCIS" (short for Naval Criminal Investigative Service).

This profile of Perrette includes news of two female characters joining NCIS, new director Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly) and Israeli terrorism expert Ziva David (Cote de Pablo).

Saturday, August 20, 2005

AP: Oldest Active-Duty Navy SEAL Retires

CORONADO, Calif. - The oldest Navy SEAL in uniform has retired at age 60 after a career that included a tour in Vietnam, 24 years in the reserves and a return to active duty to help reorganize the reserves.

Capt. William "Wild Bill" Wildrick signed on with the SEALs in 1968, before the highly specialized Sea Air Land commandos became a household name. He served all but two of his 39 years in the Navy with the SEALs.

Jenny McCarthy, Husband Split

First reported in Us Weekly, Jenny McCarthy and husband John Mallory Asher have filed for divorce after nearly six years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences.

More detail from E! Online.

Friday, August 19, 2005

AP: Can't Wait for a Book? Paris Can Help

By JENNY BARCHFIELD, Associated Press Writer

PARIS - Readers craving Homer, Baudelaire or Lewis Carroll in the middle of the night can get a quick fix at one of the French capital's five newly installed book vending machines.

Doogie Howser on DVD

As the son of doctors and a contemporary of Neil Patrick Harris, I was particularly interested in Doogie Howser M.D. I had given up trying to follow in my parents footsteps two years before the show premiered, but I remain fascinated with their profession, not to mention with Doogie's first love, Wanda Plenn (Lisa Dean Ryan).

I just ordered the first two seasons of the show on DVD for $19.17 each. I'm looking forward to seeing the show again and examining the writing more closely than I could as a teen. With Steven Bochco and David E. Kelley at the helm, I have a feeling it will hold up.

The Man Who Would Be Duke

Gerald McRaney, best known for playing Rick Simon and Maj. John D. MacGillis, turns 57 today. McRaney also tested for the role of Luke Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard (1979).

IMDb: Head of Pixar's Story Department Killed in Auto Crash

In a blow to Pixar Animation, whose success has been attributed to its story-telling skill as much as its computer creativity, Joe Ranft, head of Pixar's story department, was killed in an auto accident on Tuesday. The driver of the car also died when it plunged off Highway 1 in Mendocino County into the ocean. A third man escaped through the car's sun roof. Before joining Pixar, Ranft, 45, worked at Disney, co-writing Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

Ranft also has story credits on Toy Story and A Bug's Life.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Hunt For Alec Baldwin

I watched a little of Spike TV's broadcast of The Hunt For Red October last night and couldn't help thinking what might have been had Alec Baldwin stayed on as Jack Ryan. Baldwin shied away from the franchise because he didn't want to cash in and become an action hero. That aside, I thought he made the most believable Ryan.

The second film, Patriot Games, whose source material was set before Red October, had to be refit for an older Ryan when Harrison Ford stepped in. Ford made the role his own in his second go-round, Clear and Present Danger, but Patriot Games definitely sputtered.

Clancy intended Ryan precisely to break from macho spy tradition; he was an analyst, not a field agent. I think Baldwin could have tapped into this and satisfied his artistic sensibilities.

The cast of Red October was great across the board. Sean Connery's Ramius was backed by Sam Neill as his executive officer. Scott Glenn played the tough but fair sub skipper Bart Mancuso. Courtney B. Vance played inventive sonarman Jones.

Spenser Rebooted?

On his excellent Spenser homepage, Bullets & Beer, Bob Ames reprints Kenneth J. Souza's recent interview with Robert B. Parker. The following exchange was most interesting to me:

Souza: Any plans for future Spenser movies? I know Joe Mantegna starred in a few made-for-TV movies recently.

Parker: No, not at the moment. There is some very pie-in-the-sky talk about bringing it back as a series with new actors in a sort of upgraded, modern, hip 21st century version. But, we'll see. Most of the things that are said in Hollywood don't happen. Fortunately, I have a day job and I stick with it!

Hmm. Could Spenser and friends be updated and still retain enough of their personalities to satisfy fans?

I'm interested in anyone's attempt to adapt anything from print to the screen. I don't think it diminishes legacies—except perhaps in the case of Star Wars Eps. 1-3.

I'm reminded of a late 90s Mike Hammer TV movie, Come Die with Me starring Rob Estes (Silk Stalkings, Melrose Place) as Hammer and Pamela Anderson as Velda. I didn't actually watch the movie, so I don't know how well it worked.

To discuss Spenser and Parker's works further, feel free to join Spenser's Sneakers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Behind It All: Why Do I Write?

Dave White is trying once again to get to the heart of why writers write:
So, maybe I'm issuing a challenge to the writers who blog and read this one. Why do you write? What is it about the craft that draws you to it? I don't want to hear about selling that book and how you're going to do it. I want to hear about why you wrote it.

I commented:

I tend to write whatever is clearest in my mind's eye, whatever is closest to the surface when I begin...[G]oing in with too many preconceived notions is a sure way to stall.

"Whatever is clearest" is another way of saying I write about characters and events that seem most vivid, most real to me. The theme doesn't matter at the start. I've tried to write a variety of stuff, not to repeat myself. If anything, I hope my writing reflects my goal to keep exploring, to see my surroundings in as many ways as I can.

It's hard to pin down what interests me; so many things do. What doesn't interest me? Repetitiveness, ignorance, laziness, lack of imagination.

Writer vs. Editor, Magic vs. Bird

On Sarah's blog, Kevin Burton Smith addressed the writer-editor relationship. I commented:

Having worked both sides of the desk, I find submitting to editors to be the only true litmus test for writing. Even if an editor makes no comments at all, I will see the piece a bit differently each time I go over it, and eventually the piece will be right for the market I have in mind.

I'm glad to be on good terms with the writers who submit to TD and the editors to whom I've submitted. But just as Magic and Bird always played each other hard, I give my best and hope to get your best. And like Magic and Bird, we'll raise each other's game

AP: Pierce Brosnan Out As James Bond, 007

A single, surprising phone call and it was over. That's how Pierce Brosnan says he learned that his services as James Bond would no longer be required...Brosnan says he's grateful to have had the role, but adds: "It never felt real to me. I never felt I had complete ownership over Bond. Because you'd have these stupid one-liners which I loathed and I always felt phony doing them."

I'm glad to hear Brosnan say this. He deserves better than Bond.

The Other Mystery Guest

In other news, reports Kevin "Chasing Amy" Smith will guest-star on Veronica Mars next season as a convenience store clerk.

The Mystery Guest

Sarah Weinman's guest-blogger today is none other than...

Thrilling Detective's head honcho, Kevin Burton Smith. He's a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk.

IMDb: P. Diddy Shortens Name to Diddy

Rap mogul Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs has unveiled his new stage moniker - he wants to be called just Diddy. Combs - who changed his name from Puff Daddy and Puffy before adopting the name P. Diddy in 2001 - announced his moniker change in New York City yesterday. He tells MTV News, "It's five letters, one word. The name is changed. We made it simpler. We removed the P. The P was getting in between us. We're entering the age of Diddy. A lot of my peeps in music been calling me Diddy, so it's not a drastic change for them. But people around the world didn't know what to call me. We was at (Madison Square Garden) rocking with Jay-Z. The last time I was there, half the crowd was chanting 'P Diddy', half the crowd chanting 'Diddy'. We gonna stop the confusion. 'Diddy. Diddy, Diddy!' Simple. To the point and it sounds strong. It sounds like something is about to happen. It sounds like something is about to go down in history." Combs plans a special "unveiling of Diddy" ceremony when he hosts the MTV Video Music Awards in Miami on August 28. He adds, "You gonna see that in the entrance. You gonna see that swagger. You gonna see how I'm gonna navigate you through the journey."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Fiction Is Fiction

From IMDb:
Hanks Faces 'Da Vinci Code' Protestors

Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks was faced by protestors including nuns, as he began filming scenes for the upcoming film adaptation of Dan Brown's best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code in England yesterday. The demonstration took place outside Lincoln Cathedral, which is doubling for London's Westminster Abbey, where religious leaders only agreed to allow filming after the movie's producers made a $180,000 donation. Hanks, who will only be in Lincoln for two days, was chauffeur-driven the short distance from his five star hotel to the historic location - and he briefly waved at a small gathering of fans, who vied with demonstrators for his attention, before disappearing inside. The cathedral's Dean, The Very Reverend Alec Knight, has dismissed Brown's 20 million-selling book as "a load of old tosh", but he was unable to turn down the offer which gives priceless publicity to his spiritual home. However, demonstrators outside the cathedral have taken exception to Brown's questioning of their religious beliefs, and were led in a 12 hour prayer vigil by Catholic nun Sister Mary Michael. The 61-year-old says, "I just don't think it is right that they are filming this story here. I know the Bishop and Dean argue that it is fiction - and it might even be brilliant fiction - but it is against the very essence of what we believe."

While I appreciate Sister Mary's passion, identifying a work as fiction should be a signal to people that it is untrue and therefore does not have to stick to what anyone holds to be true.

The danger is in audiences who believe that anything in fiction, gossip columns, or movies must have some basis in fact. Then again, is it worthwhile trying to prove matters of faith to people so easily led?

"This never happened to the other fella."

Every weeknight in August, AMC is running Bond movies in pan-and-scan followed by widescreen presentations. On Her Majesty's Secret Service was on last night, and I have to admit I've never given it a fair shake (not stir).

Years ago, I couldn't get past George Lazenby's Australian accent. The DVD seems rare, and I haven't had the patience to sit through commercials when the movie is broadcast. Maybe someday.

IMDb: No Man Is an 'Island'

DreamWorks film execs Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald have learned that no man is an island -- and neither is any website. Writing on their website last week, the husband-and-wife team blamed the stars of The Island, Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson for the film's quick collapse. "Those are superstars of the future, those two actors, they're not superstars of the present," said Parkes. Of Johanson, the two said, "Even lesser television actresses, quite honestly, would have more connection to [the moviegoing] audience." The remarks did not go unnoticed by Johanson. A spokesman for the actress told the New York Post: "This is a clear-cut example of the producers' passing the buck and not taking responsibility for their part in making calculated mistakes throughout the film's marketing." The Post, citing unnamed insiders, said that the producers were only on the set three times during the movie shoot and were "basically uncontactable" just before it was about to open.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I Can't Quote You on That

Good dialogue is important to me, both in writing and reading. That said, I can't rattle off passages from books or movie quotes from memory. I can tell you what a good character might say, but not always what she did say.

Good characters are dynamic. Pinning them down to a line or two said in a previous book or episode seems to place more value on the speech than the characters. This may sound strange coming from a writer, but I like to get to know characters so well that any one thing they may say at any point in time doesn't matter as much as the whole.

IMDb: Gellar Desperate To Star in Husband's TV Show

Sarah Michelle Gellar is constantly begging her husband Freddie Prinze Jr. to let her star in his upcoming TV series Freddie. The She's All That heart-throb writes, produces and stars in the ABC show, which is set to debut in October. Prinze Jr. enthuses, "She's asking me more than I'm asking her... Not in season one." Freddie stars Prinze Jr. as a Chicago chef who has to adapt to living with his niece, sister-in-law and grandmother.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

AP: Experimental Hybrid Cars Get Up to 250 Mpg

By TIM MOLLOY, Associated Press Writer

CORTE MADERA, Calif. - Politicians and automakers say a car that can both reduce greenhouse gases and free America from its reliance on foreign oil is years or even decades away. Ron Gremban says such a car is parked in his garage.

We Never Sleep

My creativity worked the night shift, 10 PM last night to 3 AM this morning, resulting in a leaner (under-1000-word) "Lost and Found" submitted for consideration to

And We're Back

After myriad real-life delays, Thrilling Detective's Summer 2005 issue is live, featuring new fiction from Tapani Bagge, Ray Banks, Stephen D. Rogers, and Dave White, non-fiction tributes to Raymond Chandler and Ed McBain, and an interview with Rob Kantner.

Thanks as always to Kevin Burton Smith for wrestling the thing onto the Web. Enjoy with our compliments.

Note: We are currently working out kinks viewing some pages of the site in Mozilla Firefox. Any expertise is welcome.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Sweatin' to the Oldies

Sorry to conjure up Richard Simmons, but it's 99 Fahrenheit in New York, and I've rediscovered where to get my oldies fix since the passing of WCBS FM 101.1: Long Island's own B 103 (WBZO FM 103.1). Rock on.

I, I Will Revise...

MudRock: Stories and Tales has rejected my story "Lost and Found".

Editors Brady Allen and Scott Geisel offered good feedback. I'll revise the story as soon as my doing so doesn't feel reactionary.

Happy Birthday, Hitch

Alfred Hitchcock was born August 13, 1899.

I watched Shadow of a Doubt in a film class in college and remember liking it, but I'm not well versed on the motion picture side of the mystery genre. Didn't have the chance to see many movies growing up.

I've heard good things about North by Northwest. What else would you recommend?

Friday, August 12, 2005

AP: French Couple Celebrates 81st Anniversary

CHATEAUROUX, France - A French couple who celebrated their 81st wedding anniversary Friday offered this advice on love and longevity: Keep arguments to a minimum, eat well and wash it down with a glass of wine.

Andre and Marguerite Debray met shortly after the end of World War I, in which he served, and got married on Aug. 12, 1924.

Mr. Debray is now 107 years old and his wife is a few years younger at 101. Retired for several decades, the Debrays spent their careers as teachers.

AP: Carter Takes Dive in Namesake Submarine

By RON WORD, Associated Press Writer

KINGS BAY, Ga. - Former President Carter completed his first submarine dive since he left the Navy in 1953 aboard a new nuclear vessel that bears his name.

The USS Jimmy Carter pulled into this Navy submarine base Friday after a night of cruising below the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the Georgia coast.

It is the first submarine named after a living ex-president. Carter, 80, was a submariner during his time in the Navy after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy.

End-of-Summer Reading

I'm currently reading Black Maps by Peter Spiegelman, and I just ordered the following from, taking advantage of $1 shipping:

78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published And 14 Reasons Why It Just Might by Pat Walsh

I've heard good buzz about this book, and I appreciate sober takes on the business.

The Death You Deserve by David Bowker

I've wanted to try Bowker since Sarah Weinman recommended one of his books on her blog.

Murder Is My Racquet edited by Otto Penzler

I'm a tennis fan and a mystery fan, so this is a good bet. It features some of my favorite authors: Lawrence Block, James W.Hall, Jeremiah Healy...and I'd like to write a tennis mystery.

Branded Woman by Wade Miller

Another touted Hard Case Crime reprint, featuring a femme fatale and tropical locale.

Cleaning House

The Summer 2005 issue of Contemporary Rhyme is now available, featuring my poem "Cleaning House" in .pdf format.

IMDb: 'Island' Producers Blame Actors For Flop

The Island's producers have blamed the movie's stars Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor for the critical-mauling its received. Producer Walter Parkes and his wife Laurie have used their website to stage a vicious attack on Johansson and McGregor, claiming their half-hearted efforts have resulted in a poor reception for the high-budget sci-fi epic. And Johansson's talents take the biggest beatings, with the husband and wife team claiming a television actress could have done a more professional job. They write, "Listen those are superstars of the future, not superstars of the present. Even lesser television actresses, quite honestly would have more connection to that audience."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Keep Your Eye on Lynx Eye

My contributor's copies of Lynx Eye have arrived, featuring my summertime poem, "Walking On Water".

Co-Editor Pam McCully has announced the magazine will be on hiatus during 2006 to explore new financing options. Best of luck.

"Shall we play a game?"

US officials go to hackers' convention to recruit

By Andy Sullivan

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Attention hackers: Uncle Sam wants you.

As scam artists, organized-crime rings and other miscreants find a home on the Internet, top federal officials are trolling hacker conferences to scout talent and talk up the glories of a career on the front lines of the information wars.

"If you want to work on cutting-edge problems, if you want to be part of the truly great issues of our time ... we invite you to work with us," Assistant Secretary of Defense Linton Wells told hackers at a recent conference in Las Vegas.

IMDb: Fox: "'Lost' Will Run and Run"

Actor Matthew Fox has laughed off doubts TV desert island drama Lost has a limited future due to the nature of its plot, insisting it could go on for years. The screen hunk is convinced the series has years of success ahead of it, because despite the fact it is set on an isolated island, it has so many characters to explore. He says, "When we'd just done the pilot, everybody was asking, 'How do you make a series out of this?' All I kept thinking about was that I did 144 hours of a show (Party Of Five) about five people in a house in San Francisco, and you're going to tell me you have issues about making a long-term show out of 14 main characters, 46 survivors on an island, with this huge, epic story to be told? This show could easily do an eight-year run."

First, did you catch the usage error? Fox laughs off (i.e. dismisses) doubts (i.e. disbelief) the series has a limited future. The deceptive double-negative. This article incorrectly states that Fox believes Lost has a limited run.

Now to the gist of his comments. I didn't see Lost last season because it was slotted against Smallville. For those who have seen the show, how long do you think it will run?

Monday, August 08, 2005

IMDb: Marilyn Monroe Planned To Do Shakespeare

Screen siren Marilyn Monroe dreamed of starring in a film based on a play by William Shakespeare and enlisted Laurence Olivier to help her achieve her dream. Monroe was determined to revamp her image and prove herself as a serious actress, according to tapes former Los Angeles prosecutor John W. Miner claims to have made for the late star's psychiatrist shortly before her death in 1962. According to the recordings, Monroe had already spoken to legendary method acting coach Lee Strasberg and Olivier about her plans. Miner's transcript reads: "I'll take a year of day and night study at Shakespeare with Lee Strasberg. I'll pay him to work only with me. He said I could do Shakespeare. I'll make him prove it. That will give me the basics Olivier wanted. Then I'll go to Olivier for the help he promised. Then I'll produce and act in the Marilyn Monroe Shakespeare Film Festival."

IMDb: 'Superman Returns' Halted by Walkie Talkie Jokers

Filming on the highly-anticipated Superman Returns has suffered a slight delay after thieves stole a batch of walkie talkies - and set about impersonating crew members. Last week, the mischievous jokers set about saying 'Cut!' and 'Action!' over the walkie talkies, forcing filming on the Bryan Singer-directed comic book adaptation, starring Brandon Routh, to be temporarily stopped. The pranksters' fake orders were proving dangerous as the movie crew were shooting an action sequence involving a Mustang hurtling down some steps and landing between a gaggle of extras. When the sports car stopped in a dangerous position a couple of times following the shout of 'Cut!', movie bosses decided to stop shooting rather than risk serious injury. Crew members on the Australian set then changed the radio frequency on their walkie talkies before recommencing the shoot. News of the robbery wasn't reported to police. A source says, "That film's got so much money, a couple of missing walkie talkies wouldn't worry them."

ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings Dies at 67

By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer

NEW YORK - Peter Jennings, the suave, Canadian-born broadcaster who delivered the news to Americans each night in five separate decades, died Sunday. He was 67.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Still the Same Old Story

Actually, this is a post about returning to the story form after working on poems for most of July. It's always been easiest to work on what's fresh on my mind. Coming off "Gypped", I thought I'd look over my first C.J. Stone story, "For Old Times' Sake", and sell it as a reprint.

Revising after a long period of time is about reconnecting with the basic emotions each scene tries to convey. If the emotion is right, does the scene's logic flow? If there is a better way to phrase anything, this is my chance to do it.

AP: All 7 Rescued From Russian Mini-Submarine

By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, Russia - Seven people on a Russian mini-submarine trapped for nearly three days on the Pacific floor were rescued Sunday when a British remote-controlled vehicle cut away undersea cables that snarled their vessel, allowing it to surface.

Forbes: The Best (Worst) Foods

Featuring a slideshow of the most decadent, deleterious foods.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Mahalo For Your Kokua

Off to a luau party in my backyard wearing a quasi-Hawaiian shirt and shades. Pictures are a possibility.

Friday, August 05, 2005


Well, it is Friday after all. Just now flipping channels I mistook Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin in The Big Easy for Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton in Terminator. Not expecting Quaid's Cajun dialect, for a second I didn't know what I was watching.

I don't drink, smoke, joke (much), or toke. Imagine how much worse it would be if I did.

AP: U.S., Britain to Aid Trapped Russian Sub

By YEVGENY KULKOV, Associated Press Writer

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia - A Russian mini-submarine carrying seven sailors snagged on a fishing net and was stuck 625 feet down on the Pacific floor Friday, and the United States and Britain were rushing unmanned vehicles there to help in rescue efforts.

Private Eyes Are Watching You

The wife of Dodgers pitcher Derek Lowe hired a private investigator who turned up evidence Lowe was having an affair with Fox Sports Net reporter Carolyn Hughes. The story from the's Inside Track.

To the Nines

Jonathan Silverman is 39 today. Maureen McCormick, TV's Marcia Brady, is 49. Loni Anderson is 59. And famed director John Huston would have been 99.

A man walks into a bar...

This familiar setup begins my story in Thieves Jargon Issue 57. Let me know what you think of what ensues.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

AP: Navy Jet Has Severe Brake Problems

By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The front-line fighter jet of the Navy and Marines has suffered a series of recent accidents blamed on brake failure, exposing a problem that has spurred urgent warnings from commanders, military documents obtained by The Associated Press show.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Is Blogging Publishing?

Today on her blog, Sarah Weinman announced the release of the Summer 2005 issue of Hardluck Stories Zine. This issue features "Familiars" by Bob Tinsley, which Bob originally posted on his blog as part of an online writing project.

A debate has ensued whether it should be mentioned that the story previously appeared elsewhere.

Hardluck's submission guidelines state, "Only previously unpublished works will be considered," but editor Dave Zeltserman defends HLS's publication of "Familiars," reasoning that there was no editorial process involved in the online anthology. Participating authors drafted, revised, and posted stories on their own.

Many reputable print and online markets warn that the act of posting on a blog or homepage is publication, and they respect it as such. Other markets specify exactly what they take "published" to mean.

If Hardluck does not consider blog-posting to be publication, this should be spelled out in its submission guidelines. If Hardluck makes an exception for work posted without an editorial process, this should be spelled out in its submission guidelines. Neither stipulation appears in the guidelines as of this post.

UPDATE (08/04/05): Dave Zeltserman has added to his Hardluck Thoughts commentary as follows:
About Bob Tinsley's terrific story "Familiars". I fudged my guidelines to accept it. At the time I wasn't thinking I was fudging, but I was. The story was originally posted on Bob's personal blog as part of the "Going Twice" project run by Mr. Dave White and Mr. Bryon Quertermous, which I also participated in. This project involved having a number of authors who blog taking a story seed (in this case a story somehow involving an item involved one way or another with a police auction) and posting their version simultaneously. It's a fun project to be involved with, with some very interesting outcomes, but since there is no editorial process other than who Mr. White and Mr. Quertermous invite, I viewed Bob's story more as a self-published story and still eligible for Hardluck publication - my main reason being I hated the idea of this story not being eligible for Edgar or best of anthology considerations, and anyone who reads this story I think will concur that it deserves to be eligible for both. Anyway, I fudged, and have since learned the errors of my ways, and have updated my submissions guidelines to exclude any story in the future for Hardluck consideration that has previously been posted on a blog, on a web-site, critique site, or anywhere on the Internet.

The amendment to Hardluck's guidelines reads:
New as of 8/03/05: Hardluck will consider a story previously published if it has appeared in print, on the web, in audio or in any other form. That means if a story has been previously posted on a critique site, on a blog or on any web-site, it will be ineligible for publication by Hardluck.

A Little Bit More

Submitted three short poems to Joyce Odam's minimalist mag, Brevities, this morning.

Now for a two-hour nap until DetecToday chats with George P. Pelecanos at 3. With any luck, a transcript will follow.

UPDATE (5:42 PM): You may have detected some apprehension in my tone above. The improvised chat location proved to be too buggy. My apologies and thanks to George Pelecanos, Jan Long, and all who tried to attend.

Rafael Palmiero

Yet more egg on the face of Major League Baseball as news spreads of Rafael Palmiero's postive test for steroids. I don't know what's more despicable, that Palmiero may have boldly lied to Congress ("I have never used steroids. Period.") or that MLB conveniently held off reporting Palmiero's test until after the All-Star game, after his 3,000th hit, and after Sunday's Hall of Fame inductions.

IMDb: Reynolds Still Regrets Bond Snub

Veteran actor Burt Reynolds holds such a deep regret about turning down the role of James Bond in the 1970s, he still wakes up in a cold sweat thinking about it. Late James Bond producer Albert R 'Cubby' Broccoli offered Reynolds the chance to follow Sir Sean Connery as the slick sleuth, but the actor rejected the opportunity - an action he has lived to regret ever since. He says, "Sean Connery had said he wanted more money and left and (Cubby Broccoli) came to visit me and said, 'We want you to play James Bond.' "And I said, in my infinite wisdom, 'An American can't play James Bond. It just can't be done.' "Now, in the middle of the night, you hear me wake up in this cold sweat going, 'Bond, James Bond.'"

Monday, August 01, 2005

IMDb: Zeta-Jones and Bullock 'Too Old' for 'Wonder Woman'

Hollywood beauties Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sandra Bullock have been dismissed as too old to play superheroine Wonder Woman in a new movie version of the TV series - by the show's original star. Lynda Carter, who starred in the original 1970s show, would prefer to see Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon cast a young actress in the lead role rather than any established stars who have been linked with the part. She says, "It should be an unknown actress who's about 20." The OC's Mischa Barton and Tom Cruise's fiancee Katie Holmes are said to be amongst Whedon's prime candidates for his 2007 release.