Tuesday, November 30, 2010

La Ronde Chapter 9: Knocked Out Loaded by Kassandra Kelly

Patti Abbott's La Ronde is winding down, but that doesn't mean the stories are. This week, Kassandra Kelly delivers a BEAT to a PULP-worthy tale called "Knocked Out Loaded," featuring the return of one our least beloved characters.You'll find it on Kassandra's blog, The Hive Encaustic, right HERE.

Catch up on La Ronde here:
Part 1: The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon by Patti Abbott
Part 2: Blinded by the Brilliance of his Own Reflection by Dana King
Part 3: Provocateur by K.A. Laity
Part 4: Enter the Fat Lady by Sandra Seamans
Part 5: It's a Dog's Life by Rob Kitchin   
Part 6: The Lesser Evil by Evan Lewis
Part 7: Mirror Image by Eric Beetner
Part 8: La Ronde by Nigel Bird

And just for kicks, here are MORE wild and crazy stories by Kassandra Kelly:
Tales of the Zombie War: ValkYra of the Damned
Spinetingler: The Red Tent
Sniplits: The Blesser
On the Premises: The Moon Dreams of Water
Reflection's Edge: Nine- or Ten-Foot Angels
Madison, After: Beadie and the Blesser
clonepod: The Cat, The Desert and Lucky .003
The Future Fire: The Cat, The Desert and Lucky .003

Friday, November 26, 2010

Forgotten Books: Schlomo Raven by Bryon Preiss & Tom Sutton

Anybody remember Schlomo Raven? This was the first volume of Fiction Illustrated, a graphic novel experiment from 1976. This book and the second in the series, a sci-fi adventure called Starfawn by Byron Preiss and Steve Fabian, were published only in this weird little 5 x 6 1/2" format, and printed on cheap comic book paper. Volume 3, Jim Steranko's Chandler, appeared in both this format and in a larger deluxe edition, while the final book, The Son of Sherlock Holmes by Byron Preiss and Ralph Reese, was only offered in the large format. 

Schlomo Raven is a hardboiled dick, but played for laughs in the MAD comic style of Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder. If anything can be said to be more over the top than Kurtzman and Elder, this is it. The first of two stories, called "The Farx Job," lampoons not only the Marx Brothers but Karloff and Lugosi in character as the Monster and Dracula. The other tale, "Rosebug," takes on Orson Wells and Citizen Kane. Sophomoric humor, to be sure, but you're in the mood for it, this delivers.

More amazing Forgotten Books at Patti Abbott's pattinase!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Forgotten Music: Christmas with The Fab Four

When it comes to Christmas music, I'm a Scrooge. Give me anything else, please! But a few years back my friend Drew Bentley, former rockin' deejay idol of the Omaha airwaves, sent me these two 2002  albums by Beatles tribute band The Fab Four. I've since hauled them out at least once a year, and they always give me a smile. Each song is based on familiar Beatles tune, and you'll hear a lot of familiar riffs. I'd challenge you to guess which song is which, but YouTube spills the beans.

I see the original CDs are now pretty expensive (at least on Amazon), but you can get a digital download of Hark! for $8.99. This was a later release combining all 20 songs from the two albums above. It's also available in CD form on the band's website, HERE.

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Joy to the World

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Frosty the Snowman

Jingle Bells

Good King Wenceslas

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Let It Snow

Blue Christmas

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

More of this month's Forgotten Music, Christmas and otherwise, at the blog of Mr. Scott D Parker.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

La Ronde Part 8: "La Ronde" by Nigel Bird

In Part 8 of Patti Abbott's La Ronde, aptly titled "La Ronde," Nigel Bird rocks the house and takes us in a wild new direction. The album cover Nigel used to illustrate his story (left) immediately brought to mind one of my all time favorite LPs (right). And because Nigel's story has sort of a battle of the bands theme, I couldn't resist showing it to you.

Nigel's story appears on his blog Sea Minor, HERE.

Earlier chapters in this epic saga are as follows:
Part 1: The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon by Patti Abbott
Part 2: Blinded by the Brilliance of his Own Reflection by Dana King
Part 3: Provocateur by K.A. Laity
Part 4: Enter the Fat Lady by Sandra Seamans
Part 5: It's a Dog's Life by Rob Kitchin   
Part 6: The Lesser Evil by Evan Lewis
Part 7: Mirror Image by Eric Beetner
Next Week: Kassandra Kelly on The Hive Encaustic!
And don't miss Nigel Bird's other great new story, "Taking a Line for a Walk," now playing at BEAT to a PULP.

Monday, November 22, 2010

NaNoWriMo Halftime Report

On Saturday night, Day 20 of NaNoWriMo 2010, I hit 40,000 words, and have now passed the halfway point. Yeah, I know that doesn’t exactly compute. The official NaNo goal is 50,000 words in 30 days. But I figure a mystery novel should be at least 80,000, so I plan to finish the whole first draft in 40.

This is my second time playing the game, and its been a different experience. Last year, averaging 1700 words a day, my eyeballs were burning after a week. I felt stressed. My back hurt and my shoulders bunched up. I had to force myself to write at strange times, like during the commercials of a TV show. When I reached the end, somewhere around 51,000 words, I was exhausted and didn’t write for a week.

This year is much more relaxed. I’m doing 2000 words a day, usually in two or three sittings. Sometimes I'd rather be grabbing a book or a remote, but the stress is gone. What’s changed? Mostly me, I guess. Last year I learned I could do it, and this year I’m just doing it.

Last year I spent only two days coming up with a story and a four-act outline. This time I devoted two weeks to that task, which helped. But the plotting is still a work in progress. I’ve changed a couple of milestone scenes and added a lot of new wrinkles. After finishing each scene I still have to stop and plan how the next one will play out. 

Anyway, I'm having a great time. Don’t have a title yet, but the basic idea is that Skyler Hobbs and Doctor Wilder square off against a serial killer right here in Portland. What will happen? I’ll find out, along with Hobbs and Wilder, in another twenty days.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gwyneth Sings, Live and Otherwise

Saw Gwyneth Paltrow do this with Vince Gill on the CMA Awards show. She was okay. Not great, but not bad. That's up first. The second video is the official music vid from the movie, layered with voice-enhancing magic. That one, I like.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Forgotten Books: Let Them Eat Bullets by Howard Shoenfeld

I think this is one of the coolest titles ever. Wish I'd thought of it. Anyway, I acquired this book long, long ago and just got around to reading it. It started out great! Here's a passage from the first chapter:

     "Supposing I do it," I said. "What happens if I get a tail?"
     "The deal's off," Guitierrez said.
     "I could shake him."
     "No dice. He'd know it was done, and I don't want that."
     I started to ask him why when I saw the ten one-hundred-dollar bills stacked on my desk. There was something about that money that interested me strangely.
     I knew what it was. I wanted it.

The wise guy patter holds up well for the first few chapters, and we meet P.I. Jerry Nelson's twin brother Danny, a high-minded sociology professor. Jerry asks Danny to impersonate him to ditch the tail. Of course Jerry quickly stumbles across a murder, and a couple of potentially deadly dames, and the story holds a lot of promise.

Along the way, there are some nice scenes, and a few amusing sequences with brother Danny, but the promise of the book isn't quite kept. Somewhere in the middle, the prose loses its sparkle and the story slows down. Worst of all, no one eats bullets. With a title like that, I expect some blazing shoutouts, or at least one bad guy sent to hell with a bellyful of lead. Doesn't happen.

In the end, as you'd expect, Danny catches the bad guy and traipses off with one of the babes. It's not unsatisfying. It just isn't great.

As usual, Patti Abbott's pattinase is your gateway to the gala event known as Forgotten Books.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

La Ronde Part 7: Mirror Image by Eric Beetner

Yikes! It's Week 7 of Patti Abbott's La Ronde - a round-robin tale of jealousy, envy, revenge, murder, venality and doggie-love. This time, Eric Beetner digs up attorney Adam Rubenstein's bloody past in a story called "Mirror Image." Read it if you dare. Click HERE!

Catch up with these links:
Part 1: The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon by Patti Abbott
Part 2: Blinded by the Brilliance of his Own Reflection by Dana King
Part 3: Provocateur by K.A. Laity
Part 4: Enter the Fat Lady by Sandra Seamans
Part 5: It's a Dog's Life by Rob Kitchin   
Part 6: The Lesser Evil by Evan Lewis

Next week: Part 8 from Nigel Bird, with Kassandra Kelly and Graham Powell on deck.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Double Shot of Prosch

Here's great news.

Not only is Richard Prosch's blog Meridian Bridge back in business after a five-week hiatus, but he has a fine new crime tale called "Pretending" now playing over at BEAT to a PULP.

Check him out. Twice. And let's hope he's back to stay!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Lowdown on Charles Willeford

Portland crime writer Doug Levin has a fine new article on crime writer Charles Willeford on the Mulholland Books site. To check out "Charles Willeford's Portrait of the Artist as a Used Car Salesman," click HERE.

But before you go, take a gander at some of Willeford's many books: