Saturday, June 30, 2007


Henry and I are just back from a matinee of Pixar's latest release. The point of the movie is that people (or rats) can rise above their station and follow their ambition. I don't find rats anywhere close to cute, neither could I believe Remy the personified rat could control hopeless non-cook Linguini by pulling on his hair from under his hat. Still, I enjoyed Ratatouille. If you don't have my quibbles, you'll probably love it.

Friday, June 29, 2007

TV Last Night: Burn Notice

USA Network's latest summer premiere is about Michael Westen, a suddenly-disavowed spy who puts his talents to use as a private investigator in Miami. I liked the depth Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) displayed. I've been a Donovan fan since he played Jarod's sociopathic younger brother Kyle on The Pretender. Likewise I've been a fan of Gabrielle Anwar, who co-stars as Westen's ex, a former IRA soldier—since she appeared opposite Richard Grieco in a little movie called If Looks Could Kill.

The pilot was well done all around, chock full of nifty spycraft and self-defense advice provided in a voice-over that actually works (speaking as someone who's come to hate voice-overs). More, please.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The things we do for lust

Zygote in My Coffee Co-Editor Karl Koweski has accepted my story "Rocky Road", one teen's quest for sex and ice cream, to be posted in August.

I love a rainy night.

Pretty severe thunderstorms last night knocked out my Net access. Luckily, TV was clear enough so I could flip between a tribute to Paul Simon on PBS and another Yankee loss to the Orioles. The TV was only completely out for about thirty minutes this morning (which didn't matter because I was eating breakfast). I love it when a plan comes together.

Monday, June 25, 2007

It's the little things

The Summer 2007 issue of Mysterical-E has gone live, featuring a reprint of "Lonely Too Long", my story of a husband's efforts to eliminate evidence of an affair.

Thanks to editor Joe DeMarco.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Keeping ahead of the Joneses

While the buzz from the fourth installment of Indiana Jones should last through next summer, somewhat more quietly, a story called "Faith" marks the fifth appearance of my pilot-for-hire C.J. Stone.

My thanks to editor Kevin Struck of BURST, a magazine for mobile devices.

Can't Stop the Signal

Just noticed a 2-disc Collector's Edition of Serenity will be released August 21, featuring an audio commentary by Joss Whedon, Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass, and over 30 minutes of new special features, as well as all the bonus material from the previous release. Gotta get it.

Block's Birthday

Lawrence Block turns 69 today and in tribute I've posted to Nasty. Brutish. Short. a review of his story, "Change of Life". Possessed of the notion he'll live to 76, Royce Arnsletter takes drastic action the day after his thirty-eighth birthday, believing he's wasted half his life.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Signs of Summer

The sun was up at 5:30 this morning. A short shower just passed. From my CD player, Jimmy Buffett is singing "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes".

That was easy.

For my first snail mail submission under the new rates, I sent a batch of four poems to Barbaric Yawp using one 39¢ and two 10¢ stamps. While there was some extra folding, I didn't need any do-overs.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Superman They Call Jayne

I've just learned of the direct-to-DVD, animated Superman: Doomsday, based on the death and return of Superman in the comics. With Bruce Timm at the helm, the look will be akin to Justice League, which bodes well. Duane Capizzi serves as writer, which may not bode well considering he was behind Superman: Brainiac Attacks! Interestingly, this will be the first DC animated feature to be rated PG-13.

Adam Baldwin voices Clark Kent/Superman, Anne Heche voices Lois Lane, and James Marsters voices Lex Luthor.

The DVD is due out September 18.

Monday, June 18, 2007

"Drive" (not to be confused with "Ambition")

Finnish writer-editor Juri Nummelin is putting together a print flash fiction zine called Ässä. He's asked and I've granted permission to reprint my Muzzle Flash story "Drive".

Thanks, Juri.

Father's Day

Had lunch and dinner at my cousin Alan's house, courtesy of his new gas grill. It seemed like I went lighter than Mother's Day, smaller chicken and veggie skewers, cucumber salad, mango salad, one hot dog, punctuated by some basketball.

Time was most family occasions took place at our house. In 1983 my father, a partner in BSK Pediatric Surgical Associates, moved us from Queens to Nassau, "away from civilization," I complained at age 8. In fact, our block was brand new, our house one of the first built.

When on-call, which was most of the time, my father would wake up in total darkness, answering the phone in a maximum of two rings. He would have instant coffee and a navel orange and be on his way. Luckily I got to know the sounds of him getting up, and I'd sit with him before he left.

My father was a Yankee fan, but he never played baseball with the kids at school functions. That was okay. He was working. My father enjoyed gardening and fishing; I didn't. My father never praised me while I was in earshot. That was okay. I understand now how important it was to him that I carry myself properly. While my mother would do anything to help me, my father wanted me to do as much as I could. It was a good parenting mix.

Growing up, I often argued with my father and complained to my mother about his sternness. Behind it, I wanted nothing more than to meet his standards. Only later would I look back on our time together and understand how much he loved me, so much he never found the words. Perhaps as a doctor, my father knew how precious life was, and with the time he had, he'd motivate his sons all he could.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I've Finally Seen: KISS KISS BANG BANG (2005)

Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) is a petty thief discovered by movie people when he ducks into an audition room on the run from police. Moved out to L.A. and taking detective lessons for a movie role, Harry reconnects with his childhood sweetheart Harmony Lane (Michelle Monaghan). Mistaking him for a P.I., Harmony hires Harry to prove her sister's suicide was murder. Hijinks ensue.

Having panned writer-director Shane Black's ludicrous dialog in The Last Boy Scout, I was pleased to find Kiss Kiss Bang Bang nicely understated. The plot was a mostly-plausible mix of comedy and noir, the far-fetched bits carried off by Downey's deadpan fast-talk.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Having foiled an animal activist's attempt to free a pair of trained dolphins, Steve Solomon finds himself morally obligated to defend the naive activist against a felony murder charge. As the activist's uncle, D.A. Ray Pincher is conflicted out and calls on his former employee, Victoria Lord, to prosecute. Can Solomon and Lord overcome their professional and personal conflict to get at the truth?

All the Solomon vs. Lord novels show Levine's talent for layering and then unfurling mystery, yet each adventure is memorably different from the last, satisfying returning fans and winning new ones.

UPDATE: All four books in the Solomon vs. Lord series are now available for Amazon Kindle.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Spring Thrills

The Spring 2007 issue of Thrilling Detective has gone live with stories from Patricia Abbott, Michael Bracken, Fleur Bradley, Barry Ergang, and Stephen D. Rogers, and an excerpt from Peter Spiegelman's Red Cat.

Also, editor Kevin Burton Smith asked to reprint my poem "Mickey Spillane" as seen in Anthony Rainone's Mystery Scene article, "Raven in a Trenchcoat".

Thanks to all our contributors. Enjoy


Surprising very few, the San Antonio Spurs beat the Cleveland Cavaliers for their fourth NBA title in nine years. They are a very good team, but to my mind their titles are too widespread to be called a dynasty. The 60s Celtics, yes. The 80s Lakers, yes. The 90s Bulls, yes. The 1996-2001 Yankees, yes.

Spider-Man, Spider Man...

Well aware of the bad reviews, my friends John, Deshant, Matt, and I went to see Spider-Man 3 last night. It is indeed very bad, bringing to mind the phrases "tragic farce" and "dangers of excess."

The action scenes were good enough, but in between, the pacing was all wrong. Too much dialog of the forced, on-the-nose variety found on Smallville.

Four times I turned to Deshant and said, "Roll credits." I was wrong every time.

After the movie, we headed for the Carle Place Diner, where John and Deshant impressively managed to eat two large cheeseburgers each. With no one at the surrounding tables, Deshant called our friend Christine in L.A., and in all the catching up we almost managed to forget the movie.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ambitious Again

Conceived for Paul Guyot's Bogarmoredcarstory contest, my story "Ambition" has been reprinted in Mouth Full of Bullets. Thanks again to editor BJ Bourg. Supergirl Swoops Into 'Smallville'

"One of the joys of creating 'Smallville' has been our ability to reinvent and reinterpret classic DC Comics characters," says executive producer Al Gough. "Miles and I believe that Supergirl will give our series the mythic jolt that it needs as we head into our seventh season."

The latest season will premiere with the arrival of Kara, Clark's (Tom Welling) 19-year-old cousin born on Krypton. As the daughter of Zor-El, Jor-El's brother, Kara also has superpowers, including one that Clark has yet to develop: the ability to fly. On the more mundane side, Kara butts heads with Clark, is sweet on Jimmy Olsen (Aaron Ashmore) and draws Lex's (Michael Rosenbaum) attention.

(Full article)


Having won a copy of The Mark in April, today I won a copy of Brett Battles' espionage thriller, The Cleaner.

THE MARK by Jason Pinter

After a fight with his girlfriend Mya, 24-year-old New York Gazette reporter Henry Parker is in no mood to interrupt a sobbing voicemail from her, when in fact Mya was calling for help after being attacked. Guilt over his inaction drives Henry to intercede when the ex-con he's just interviewed is threatened by a man with a gun. In the ensuing struggle, the gun goes off, killing the man.

The next day, Henry picks up the paper to learn the man was a cop. The ex-con and his wife have lied to reporters, framing Henry as a cop killer. So begins Henry's desperate quest to evade capture, uncover the truth, and clear his name.

Pinter's crisp prose and tight plotting pace his debut novel of an everyman thrown into extraordinary circumstances. Reminiscent of Six Days of the Condor.

Have you heard the news, makin' all the headlines

This bit of chorus from "Bit by Bit," featured in the first Fletch movie, leads into news that Steve Pink has replaced Bill Lawrence at the helm of the upcoming Fletch Won, and Joshua Jackson is slated to star. Lawrence's enthusiasm for Fletch had me hoping, but as Crimespree's Jeremy Lynch says, Pink may be able to bring in some Grosse Point Blank flavor. We'll see.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Nutty Cereal

I'm slogging through what I hope is my last box of Newman's Own Cranberry Macadamia Nut cereal. Once a upon a time, this cereal appealed to me, but even before my dental surgery in February, I did not think macadamia nuts had a place in cereal. They are too much work too early in the day, and milk is no help at all.

While I'm at it, almond slivers are only slightly more acceptable. They soften in milk, but I'd rather not threaten my esophagus with the occasional unchewed sliver.

Let's be careful out there.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

If this sounds like you...

From's Ausiello Report:

One of my Smallville moles tells me that producers are looking for an "extremely hot" thirtysomething actor to play the new editor of the "Daily Planet" - presumably replacing that slacker Princess Leia, er, Pauline Kahn. He'll appear in six of the first eight episodes and, per my Super spy, will be a love interest for Lois Lane.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Make it So.

You are Jean-Luc Picard

A lover of Shakespeare and other fine literature. You have a decisive mind and a firm hand in dealing with others.

Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Test

Thanks to my fellow Trekkie, John D.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sunday, June 03, 2007

NBA, Meet LeBron James

I've had a hard time catching NBA games since they moved to ABC and ESPN, but it's good to hear of the Cleveland Cavaliers' triumph over the Detroit Pistons. Despite the Cavs' 3-2 edge going into last night, I expected the Pistons to storm back and take the series in seven. Apparently the Pistons expected the same.

I hope this series has proven LeBron is not the next Michael or the next Kobe. He's a different player altogether. I think the Cavs' defense could match up well with the Spurs' offense.

Meanwhile, the Pistons shockingly come up short again. Let the finger-pointing begin.

Friday, June 01, 2007

storySouth's Top 10 Notable Stories of 2006

As selected by editor Jason Sanford:

* "A Letter from Home" by E. C. Osondu (Agni)
* "Spectral Evidence" by Gemma Files (ChiZine)
* "Urchins, While Swimming" by Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesword Magazine)
* "13 Halloweens" by Michael K. White (The Deepening)
* "All the Way to Grangeville" by A. Ray Norsworthy (Eclectica Magazine)
* "Burning Bush" by E.P.Chiew (In Posse Review)
* "Dream Engine" by Tim Pratt (Intergalactic Medicine Show)
* "Vertically Divided, Blue-Red-White" by Mark MacNamara (Southern Gothic Online)
* "Spinning Out" by Jamie Barras (Strange Horizons)
* "The Infinite Monkey Theorem" by Marshall Moore (Word Riot)

Go here to click through to the stories and vote for your favorite.


Who else confuses Jared Padalecki (Supernatural) with Johnny Galecki (Roseanne)?

Recurring dream

One of my personal favorite poems, "Realizing the wet dream is about you," is back online for your perusal. Thanks to the editors of