Saturday, May 08, 2010

Checking the Traps

• Naomi Johnson of The Drowning Machine has chosen the 10 “lucky recipients of an invitation to the next phase of the Watery Grave Invitational Short Story Contest.” They are: A.J. Hayes, Chad Eagleton, Liam Jose, Matthew McBride, Kathleen Ryan, Chad Rohrbacher, Kieran Shea, Dan Ames, Joe Hartlaub, and Nigel Bird. As Johnson explains, “These 10 writers will join Keith Rawson and Jimmy Callaway (top five finalists from last year’s competition) in creating original crime stories of 3,500 words or less based on the theme of: Baseball.” Stories are due by May 24, with judging and an announcement of the winner to follow.

• How many people out there remember the opening theme from James Franciscus’ 1971-1972 TV detective series, Longstreet?

• Could actress Marg Helgenberger leave CSI: Crime Scene Investigation after the 10th season of that TV series concludes? In an interview with TV Squad, she says that her contract is up and she hasn’t been invited back, “so we’ll see.”

Here’s something you don’t see every day.

• Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, an American holiday that has surprisingly activist roots, and Janet Rudolph has posted a list of mystery novels appropriate for reading on that occasion.

• Irene Fleming submits her colorful new historical mystery, The Edge of Ruin, to Marshal Zeringue’s revealing Page 69 Test. The results are here.

• I like what Richard Robinson wrote about the care-taking of books.

• Last spring, author, critic, and blogger Jim Winter began writing a novel online called Road Rules, about a “hapless repo man,” a used-car dealer and loan shark, and a couple of hit men on the wild and weird trail of a missing relic. That book--all 34 chapters, plus Epilogue--is still available on the Web. But now Winter has plans to bring out a downloadable e-book version as well.

Elaine Viets’ latest scheme to publicize her books, including the latest, Half-Price Homicide? She’s offering to marry people. That is, she’s holding a contest through which one happy couple will win her assistance in getting married. As Viets explains on her Web site,
Besides being a bestselling mystery author, I am also an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church. I will marry a couple anywhere within the continental United States ...

Let me help you start your new life together. Whether you and your beloved want a romantic wedding by the sea, a mountain meadow, a luxurious garden, a grand hotel or a private home, I’ll be honored to marry you. Because true love defies labels, I will marry either a traditional bride and groom or a same-sex couple.
Entries to this competition will be accepted until midnight on June 1. To enter, simply send your names, “the proposed date and time of your wedding,” the location, and your mailing address to The author says that “The winning couple will be chosen by the Elaine Viets advertising team.” (Hat tip to Oline H. Cogdill.)

• The Associated Press, which has often demonstrated a right-ward tilt over the last few years, applauds the Obama administration’s “aggressive” response to British Petroleum’s gargantuan oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. So much for the right wing’s sniping about this disaster somehow being “Obama’s Katrina.”

• The science fiction/fantasy Web site io9 lists what it says are the “Top 10 Greatest Science Fiction Detective Novels of All Time.” That rundown includes Philip Kerr’s 1992 novel, A Philosophical Investigation, but somehow manages to leave out Alfred Bester’s astounding and classic 1953 crossover, The Demolished Man--the very first recipient of the Hugo Award for Best Novel.

• A couple of years ago, two boxed sets of the 1960-1962 TV series Checkmate, which starred Doug McClure, Anthony George, and Sebastian Cabot as San Francisco sleuths, were released. But now a “complete series” set is due to go on sale on June 22. (Hat tip to Crime TV.)

• Interviews worth reading: J. Sydney Jones chats with Adrian Hyland, author of the new Australia-set mystery, Gunshot Road; Craig Sisterson fires questions at Linwood Barclay (Never Look Away); Mysterious Writers’ Jean Henry Mead goes one-on-one with both Hallie Ephron (Never Tell a Lie) and Linda Barnes (Lie Down with the Devil); and Paul D. Brazill questions editor-writer Keith Rawson.

• Finally, even though it has squat-all to do with crime fiction (though it does concern historical crime), I want to plug The Barnes & Noble Review’s interview with Daniel Okrent, the author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. My association with Okrent’s writing dates back to well before he served as The New York Times’ ombudsman, back to when he was the editor of New England Monthly, an exceptional, award-winning publication that educated me in the northeastern United States long before I had the chance to spend much time there. Okrent’s remarks in the Review exchange about links between Prohibition, women’s suffrage, and America’s income tax would be enough to sell me on this book, even if I didn’t already appreciate his prose.


Naomi Johnson said...

Thanks so much for the shout out.

Okrent's book sounds fascinating. Thanks for that info.

Keith Rawson said...

And thanks for the shout out for Paulie's interview with me. But I'd also like to direct you to my interview with the legendary Charlie Stella over at Spinetingler:

dick adler said...

As I've said before, Ed Gorman is the tooth fairy of the mystery world. It was because of him that I got to write the intro to a new edition of one of my favorite books: MADBALL, by the fabulous Fredric Brown. (Another great sci fi mystery).

Thanks again, Ed.