Sunday, June 28, 2009

Current Events

Having received the first Lineup shirts from CafePress last Monday, I spent much of the week perfecting their design and gladly missed the media blitz of Michael Jackson's death. The Michael I miss is the seemingly normal, smiling kid who was in a group with four of his brothers. That Michael has been gone for ages.

I'm maybe five years too young to have fully appreciated Farrah Fawcett at the height of her fame. Even with the age gap, hers was the iconic female look of my youth. Having lost some family members to cancer, I don't wish the experience on anyone.

And finally, most jolting to me, informercial king Billy Mays reportedly died this morning at age 50. I know the least about Mays, but I'll miss his booming voice and enthusiasm (even if it was an act) filling hours of insomnia.

To end on a happy note, my friends John and Kelly Ricotta welcomed their first boy, John Stephen Ricotta, early Friday morning. May he not face too much hazing from his older sisters.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

What's Going Heron?

Over the weekend, I upgraded to the Hardy Heron distribution of Ubuntu Linux and am able to stream podcasts way more easily with SMPlayer. I've been catching up with Seth Harwood's CrimeWAV and Richie Narvaez's Asinine Poetry. Feel free to recommend others.

Friday, June 19, 2009

KILLER SUMMER by Ridley Pearson

At the center of Pearson's third thriller featuring Sun Valley, Idaho sheriff Walt Fleming is a plot to steal rare wine bottles in the middle of an auction. There's more to the theft than meets the eye, and when the crooks' getaway plan goes awry, it's impossible to guess what happens next. Maintaining suspense in a multi-viewpoint thriller is no small feat. The mix of perspectives has to be just right.

Killer Summer succeeds as a high-stakes thriller in a small town, a page-turner with heart and human interest. In stores June 30.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reaper Remembered

I received Reaper Season 2 on DVD this week and caught up on the episodes I missed when the show was in competition with NCIS. Sam continued to chase leads on breaking his deal with the Devil, but none of these panned out. Frustrating, but on the other hand I appreciated that no typical heroic solutions were available to Sam. That in itself made Reaper's series arc different from previous man vs. devil tellings.

Part of me wishes The CW had cancelled Smallville instead of Reaper, but alas.

My full review of Reaper Season 2 is at Crimespree Cinema.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009


My brother and I finally had the chance to see Up. Very well paced, it follows Carl Fredricksen from his childhood idolizing 1930s adventurer Charles Muntz, to meeting his future wife Ellie, to his present-day adventure—moving to South America by tying hundreds of balloons to his house.

Of all the Pixar movies I've reviewed on this blog, Up is my favorite. It has something for everyone, but I was most impressed with how much of Carl and Ellie's story was conveyed without dialogue.

UPDATE (06/14/09): I've posted a full review to Crimespree Cinema.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Merchandising, merchandising...

This week I opened The Lineup Gift Shop at as another way for fans of our annual crime poetry anthology to show their support. Luckily we had a snazzy logo by John Collis to start with, but I still spent three days deciding how it should look against the backdrop of t-shirts, mugs, a messenger bag:

Next in our master plan is to book a live reading where we can actually wear the stuff. Also, I may not be in Indianapolis for Bouchercon in October, but organizer Jim Huang is interested in doing something with The Lineup, so the shirts may make an appearance there.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

"Where have all the cowboys gone?"

This flashback to Paula Cole introduces my latest Nerve Cowboy Chapbook Contest loss. I was almost too busy to ponder my chances this year. I didn't get the Nerve Cowboy news until I'd arrived home from Seth Harwood's signing of Jack Wakes Up at Mysterious Bookshop. Anyway, I predicted my fate by the weight of the envelope.

Reflecting on this, I can't believe there was a time I feared rejection. Rejection only means something if it stops me. As committed as I am to writing, I know I won't stop, so eventually what was rejected will improve enough to be accepted. I just have to keep showing up, and I've got nothing better to do.

Cinco de Flash Fiction Challenge

On May 6, Patti Abbott challenged the blogosphere to write stories under 1,000 words involving a wedding cake in the road. The road could be anywhere, and the story could take any tone. My contribution, "Once Upon a Wedding Cake" can now be purchased as part of my ebook Call Me Cupid: Six Screwball Stories of Love (February 2012). Reader comments on the story remain here to pique your interest.

Others Tackle the Topic

Patricia Abbott, "The Wedding Cake in the Middle of the Road"
Paul Brazill, "The Man from Esperanto"
Cormac Brown, "Let Them Eat Cake"
Jan Christensen, "Smoosh"
Dana King, "The Long and Winding Road"
Todd Mason, "White Icing on the Blacktop"
Eric Peterson, "The Empty Fake Cake Caper" and "Sins of the Mother"
Keith Rawson, "Having His Cake"
Randy Rohn, "The Sacred Cake"
Sandra Scoppettone, "Tit For Tat"
Sandra Seamans, "Susie's War"
Kieran Shea, "Executive Action"
WellesFan, "Love Lost"
John Weagly, "Friday Night on Radio Road"

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Lawrence Block's Last Book?

Tweeted by Jon Jordan, Lawrence Block announced on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson that his memoir Step by Step will be his last book. Never the hottest or flashiest of mystery writers, Block remains one of the most solidly entertaining and fundamentally sound. His ability to demonstrate his process in Telling Lies for Fun and Profit and Spider, Spin Me a Web helped me stick with writing when my confidence was lowest.

As in professional sports, it's difficult to retire when one can still make good money writing. If this is indeed Block's last book, I applaud him for knowing when to walk away. As so many said during Bouchercon 2008, thank you, Larry.

Flashing In and Out

In case anyone worries if they don't see a post here for a few days, it's usually because not much is going on personally (Ah, the single life.) and I haven't had time to reflect on things I would post here. On the other hand, it's good to be busy.

Tomorrow I'll post my contribution to Patti Abbott's "Wedding Cake in the Road" flash fiction event. The other participants are:

Sandra Seamans
Sandra Scoppettone
Scott Parker
Keith Rawson
Dana King
Charles Gramlich
Kieran Shea
Paul Brazill
Cormac Brown
The Walking Man
Absolutely Kate
Eric Peterson
Kevin Michaels
Randy Rohn
John Weagley
John McAuley

I'll have links to each story as I find them.