Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

I spent the last week of 2010 proofreading Issue 4 of The Lineup, which is now ready for pre-order. I had planned to read one last book for the year, but have had a sore throat and back spasms since spending three hours Wednesday morning shoveling snow. Not that I'm moping about it. The shoveling had to be done, and while doing it I could forget about everything else. It's a good reminder that no matter how well thought out our plans, we should also embrace the unpredictable.

I've tried to look at this last week as early for next year, not late for this year. How am I spending New Year's Eve? I've never been one to stay up past midnight. Our family party is traditionally on New Year's Day, so I'll probably get some sleep.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Whadja get?

This year, my extended family decided we would each buy one Secret Santa present, but everyone would buy presents for the current generation of kids as well. We almost pulled it off. A few people labeled their Secret Santa presents like normal presents...

In the Secret Santa draw, I got my mother. She tries to deduce everyone's Secret Santa anyway, so I just told her, and she asked for Saint Peter: The Underestimated Apostle by Martin Hengel.

I was one of two people who didn't receive a Secret Santa present at first and was able to deduce that my Secret Santa was stuck in traffic. He eventually came through with a $50 Amazon gift card.

No bulky boxes. No clothing in the wrong size. Best Christmas ever.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Psych Season 5 Reviewed

Below are links to my BSCreview coverage of Psych Season 5, which wrapped last night:

Romeo and Juliet and Juliet
Feet Don't Kill Me Now
Not Even Close...Encounters
Chivalry Is Not Dead...But Someone Is
Shawn and Gus in Drag (Racing)
Viagra Falls
Ferry Tale
Shawn 2.0
One, Maybe Two Ways Out
Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part
In Plain Fright
Dual Spires
We'd Like to Thank the Academy
The Polarizing Express
Dead Bear Walking
Yin 3 in 2-D

All I Want for Christmas...

As Phineas and Ferb's Buford said when given the chance to ask for anything from the Wizard of Odd, "I don't want nothin'," but I do want to put a Christmas wish out there for The Lineup: Poems on Crime.

Up to now, my co-editors and I have published The Lineup at All along, though, we've courted established small presses to help with cost and distribution. Busted Flush was first on our list, then Tyrus Books (which acquired Busted Flush). While we've given Tyrus the right of first refusal, it doesn't hurt to have backup plans. If we don't find small press backing within the next year, we'll have to consider closing shop after Issue 5 (2012).

More than a matter of money, this is a matter of turning people on to the power of poetry. The four of us can only talk up the concept to an extent. The more readers The Lineup reaches, the more readers talk, blog, and write honestly about it, the further the concept will go.

We are refining the concept in two ways from Issue 5 onward: 1) we will publish all-new poetry (no longer accepting reprints); 2) for variety, we will not publish the same poets two issues in a row.

If you're a fan of The Lineup, write about it, ask your favorite indie bookstore to carry it. If you're a Lineup contributor, write about your experience working with us. All I want for Christmas is for all of you to take part in The Lineup's future.

2010 Best of Me Awards

I didn't have much fiction or poetry published online in 2010, but vote for your favorites in the Comments.


"H-Bomb" (Late entry in Chad Rohrbacher's Free Gischler Contest)
Rimbaud's Request (Needle's First Flash Fiction Challenge)
All Wrapped Up (Do Some Damage Christmas Noir Flash Challenge)


"Best $90 I Ever Spent" (Gutter Eloquence Magazine)
"Coolest Thing about Corey Haim" (Asinine Poetry)
"Dad Killed My Dream" (Asinine Poetry)
"Summer Fling" (Short, Fast and Deadly)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 Best of Me Video Awards

I'd like to inaugurate the Best of Me Video Awards. Not including dated announcements, here is a blog search of the videos I've made since receiving a Flip camera last Christmas. Tell me which is your favorite in the Comments here or on the original posts.

5th Annual Graham Powell Appreciation Day

December 22 was the day chosen in 2006 by bloggers grateful to be tracked on Graham Powell's ever-expanding Thank you, Graham.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Shortnin', Shortnin'

If you're a reader, writer, editor, or publisher of short mystery fiction, consider joining The Short Mystery Fiction Society by December 31 to participate in the 2011 Derringer Awards process, recognizing the best short mystery and crime fiction of 2010.

Derringer submissions will be accepted January 1-31, 2011. SMFS member volunteer judges will narrow the submissions to five finalists in each of four length categories (20 altogether) February 1-28, 2011. The twenty finalist stories will be posted to the Derringers Voting Group March 1-30, 2011. Finally, winners will be announced March 31, 2011.

UPDATE: Speaking of short stories, my entry in Do Some Damage's Christmas Noir Flash Challenge went live at 4:00PM Eastern. You can also read it here with author's commentary. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Burn Notice Season 4 Reviewed

Here are links to my BSCreview coverage of Burn Notice Season 4, just wrapped this past Thursday. I didn't know how the addition of Coby Bell as Jesse Porter would affect things, but overall I think it worked to expand the show's scope.

Stay tuned for Bruce Campbell's Burn Notice prequel movie next spring, directed by Jeffrey Donovan.

Friends and Enemies
Fast Friends
Made Man
Breach of Faith
Neighborhood Watch
Entry Point
Past and Future Tense
Where There's Smoke
Center of the Storm
Hard Time
Blind Spot
Guilty as Charged
Eyes Open
Hot Property
Brotherly Love
Dead or Alive
Out of the Fire
Last Stand

Monday, December 13, 2010

Make Mine Marvel

I've never had the money to collect comic books, so I learned about comic book characters from cartoons. I grew up favoring Marvel over DC. Marvel's characters lived in real-world cities, not Metropolis, Gotham City, Central City, or Coast City. Marvel's characters also seemed edgier, not all-encompassing like Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman. Regular readers of this blog know I'm a Superman fan, but you can probably tell more about me knowing I'm a Daredevil fan.

My allegiance drifted toward DC with the premiere of Batman: The Animated Series. Its animation and acting were impossible to ignore, and subsequent projects have more or less maintained the standard while Marvel's cartoons lagged.

On the live-action movie front, I give the edge to Marvel since Iron Man, and with The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes on Disney XD, Marvel finally has a cartoon of comparable quality. Halfway through its first season, the show is telling classic stories of how the team formed, yet successfully giving them a contemporary spin—something Marvel comics do better than DC, in my opinion.

Though they are a team, the heroes still deal with issues unique to each of them. I don't get the sense of entering a vacuum from Avengers Mansion that I get from DC's Watchtower. Lastly, each episode ends hinting at a season-long arc, mimicking the feel of comics' "See you in 30" more effectively than the all two-parter first season of DC's Justice League.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Best of 2010

Best Read (Novel) of 2010:

Fault Line by Barry Eisler - I was a fan of Eisler's John Rain books but also intrigued by his writing a standalone (now a series). Fault Line struck me as both a high stakes thriller and a very personal story—with the best sex scenes I've read in years.

The Deputy by Victor Gischer

Best Read (Story) of 2010:

"Drive-Thru" by David Dietrich - "Working the midnight-to-six shift alone at the Atlas Burger drive-thru window, the narrator of this story doesn't believe he's being robbed when he hears an unfamiliar man's voice through his piece-of-junk headset. Bored, and perhaps jaded, the narrator engages the would-be robber in conversation."

"The Gun Also Rises" by Jeffrey Cohen

Best Movie Seen in 2010:

The A-Team - The movie evoked the wry, rollicking fun of the series. How often can you say that?

Best DVD Set Purchased in 2010:

Community: The Complete First Season - My favorite show on NBC right now. Not enough for me to flip to NBC from The Big Bang Theory or Bones, but the DVD set—with commentary on every episode, bloopers, and behind-the-scenes stuff—is definitely worth owning.

Best Writing Experience of 2010:

"All Wrapped Up" - I don't want to give away too much about my entry in Do Some Damage's Christmas Noir Flash Challenge, but I hope you can tell how engaging it was to write.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sunday, December 05, 2010

"All Wrapped Up"

As promised, here's my entry in Do Some Damage's Christmas Noir Flash Challenge, followed by the story behind the story:

All Wrapped Up

by Gerald So

I was between Christmas songs at the Pair-O-Dice Club when Oscar, the manager, came backstage, looking even more excited than usual.

"Hey, Bird," he said. Short for what I was calling myself, Songbird Jayne. "'O Come All Ye Faithful' is next, right?"


"Closing number?"


"An old pal of mine just walked in, and I want you to sing it special for him."

"How special depends where he's sitting," I said.

"Yeah, yeah. Center table."

While Oscar re-introduced me, I looked in the small mirror backstage and ignored how tired I felt.

Of all the songs I sing, "O Come All Ye Faithful" is the hardest to do with a straight face. Think how many times "come" comes up.

Anyway, I did my best and stared longingly at the man at the center table. He had the body of a coat rack, and his hair and mustache looked fake. What was so special about him?

When the song was over, I took my bows and saw him smiling and nodding at me. I stepped down and approached his table.

"Merci," he said with an accent as thick as his mustache. Was it fake, too?

He kissed my hand and nodded me to a seat. I'd never sat with a customer so soon after a show. The other men in the crowd had to be jealous, but no one said a word. Who was this guy?

As if to answer me, he said, "My name is Jacques Cartier."

"Old friend of Oscar's."

"Yes. He has spoken very highly of you, so I felt I had to come hear you sing, meet you."


"You are exquisite. May I buy you a drink?"

I was done for the night. What the hell?


He signaled and the waiter came right over. Did they know each other?

He ordered a Cuba Libre. I ordered a vodka martini.

There was no reason I should feel antsy, but I did. "How are you spending Christmas?" I asked.

"Alone, I'm afraid."

"Sorry to hear that." Actually, I was glad he didn't assume he'd be spending it with me.

Our drinks came, and we took long sips.

"Yes," he said. "I've been caring for an injured friend of mine. This is the first time I've left him in six months."

I finished my martini and signaled for another. "How badly is he hurt?"

"Not badly in the physical sense. Mentally, though, spiritually, he may never be the same."

My head felt fuzzy. The only response I could think of was, "Sorry to hear that."

* * *

Someone was calling my name. My real name. "Sonia. Sonia, I'm sorry."

I tried to move toward the voice, but I was strapped down.

"I didn't ask him to find you. I didn't ask..."

As my head cleared, the first name I thought of was Richard Grafer. We were married once. Rich, too. But he was one overbearing bastard. So when I met someone else, someone with the balls to take me away...

I remembered his name. "C.J. Stone." The room was dark, but I saw the lines of his face.

"How are things?" he asked.

"Oh, swell," I said.

"Jock didn't hurt you. You're just his twisted idea of a Christmas present."


"He's not all bad. He's taken care of me since I crashed Grafer's Goose. Both the Goose and I are on the mend, but Jock's always talked about giving me closure." Before I could give a fake apology for not meeting up with C.J., he said, "I'll try to get you out of here as soon as I can, but it's really up to Jock."

"Well, Merry Christmas."

# # #


If you recognize my series protagonist C.J. Stone in a supporting role, this commentary is for you. I first imagined a story from C.J.'s point of view, reuniting him with Kate Holden. However, spending Christmas together is shorthand for more commitment than either C.J. or Kate wants.

Then I thought of Sonia Grafer, from my Shred of Evidence story "A Little Trouble" (2004). I had Sonia disappear at the end, not knowing when or how I'd bring her back. "All Wrapped Up" is from her point of view so as not to give away Jock's or C.J.'s role in the story.

Finally, I wanted to show that Jock's helping C.J. through several stories came at a price. Here, C.J. has to accept Jock's definition of closure.

Trivia: The Pair-O-Dice Club was the first casino nightclub on what would become the Las Vegas Strip.

Here are links to all the C.J. Stone stories.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Do Some Damage's Christmas Noir Flash Challenge

This morning I entered Do Some Damage's Christmas Noir Flash Challenge. If you want to enter for a chance to win free books, the deadline is December 19. The stories will run on Do Some Damage into the new year, but only on my blog will you get my story with writer's commentary. Stop by for that tomorrow.

Hurry Up and Wait

Almost all the poets in The Lineup #4 have approved the text of their poems and bios. The co-editors have agreed on the order of poems in the issue, the cover photo, and the cover blurb. By December 16, the final text will be locked in. An advance PDF will be sent for more blurbs, and somewhere between or shortly after, we will release the finished cover.