Monday, September 03, 2012

Bullet Points: Labors of Love Edition

I hadn’t intended to play hooky from The Rap Sheet for much of the last week; things just kind of worked out that way. But I’m back in the captain’s chair now, and rarin’ to go again. Here are a few developments worth mentioning.

• Fair Dinkum Crime brings us the winners of the 2012 Davitt Awards, given out by Sisters in Crime Australia. Among the recipients was Sulari Gentill, who won in the Best Adult Novel category for A Decline in Prophets, a historical crime work set partly in 1930s Australia. Best Debut Novel honors went to Jaye Ford for Beyond Fear.

• Author Deon Meyer has won South Africa’s 2011/2012 Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice Award for his latest crime thriller, 7 Dae, which will be released in the States this next week as Seven Days.

• I’m told that the annual Tony Hillerman Writers Conference can be quite enlightening and enjoyable, though I haven’t yet been able to attend. I have, however, stayed in the excellent establishment where guests at this year’s events with be housed: the Hotel Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The convention is scheduled there for November 8–10 and will feature among its faculty David Morrell, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel; Andrew Hunt, winner of the 2011 Tony Hillerman Prize for best first mystery novel; and Jo-Ann Mapson, recipient of the American Library Association’s 2011 RUSA Award for women's fiction. A press release explains that “The conference includes an all-day workshop for authors on pacing their work with plenty of opportunity for writing and discussion, a day on the craft of writing, and a day on the business of writing.” Registration information and a calendar of events can be found here.

• Award-winning short-story writer Patti Abbott has issued a new flash-fiction challenge. “Write a story of 1,000 words or less entitled ‘Frank, Jr.,’” she instructs. “The end date will be September 24, 2012. I will post stories for people who have no blog. No winners or losers. Just good fun. Any genre, any style.” Click here to let Abbott know if you’d like to participate.

• It’s good to see ThugLit back in business, even if it’s now a product you must pay to read, rather than a free Webzine. Buy the new issue for 99 cents here. It contains stories by Jordan Harper, Hilary Davidson, and Johnny Shaw, plus “an exclusive first look” at Tyrus Books’ 2013 release, The Hard Bounce, by Todd Robinson.

• Mike Ripley’s latest edition of “Getting Away with Murder,” his monthly Shots column, includes notes on Ian Rankins’ new John Rebus novel, James Bond book covers, Shelley Smith’s The Ballad of the Running Man, Romanian crime fiction, John Banville’s forthcoming Philip Marlowe novel, and the death of Gore Vidal.

• Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning economist, explains why plans endorsed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, would lead to the death of Medicare.

• Gabrielle Byrne will play the single-named Dublin pathologist, Quirke, in a BBC One TV series based on John Banville’s succession of mystery novels, written under the pseudonym Benjamin Black. “The three feature-length episodes each take their stories from different books in the series, ‘Christine Falls’ and ‘The Silver Swan’ [to be adapted] by Andrew Davies, and ‘Elegy for April’ by Conor McPherson.” Filming is set to begin in Dublin later this year, but no small-screen debut date for Quirke has yet been announced.

• His Futile Occupations has a nice write-up about The Greatest Russian Stories of Crime and Suspense, which was edited by Otto Penzler and released in paperback this last July by Pegasus. I somehow managed to miss grabbing up this collection, which includes work by Boris Akunin, Anton Chekhov, Ivan Bunin, Alexander Pushkin, and others. The reminder of its existence is most welcome.

• Speaking of Otto Penzler (and it seems we do a lot of that here), he lists in The Daily Beast five crime writers he thinks should be better appreciated. I’m surprised he could keep his choices to five.

• And another list: On the Rag Mag’s “10 Reasons You Should Watch,” the 1971-1977 NBC Mystery Movie series McMillan & Wife. That show, of course, starred Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James as “San Francisco’s particularly activist police commissioner” and “his comely, trouble-attracting, and occasionally brilliant younger spouse.”

• R.I.P., Hal David, who “contributed lyrics to songs in three James Bond movies” and became especially famous for his collaborations with Burt Bacharach. David died on Saturday at age 91. Among his best-recognized works is “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” which figured into the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. BuzzFeed has compiled what it thinks are “The 21 Most Memorable Songs Written by Hal David.” Read more about him here and here.

• Good-bye also to Sally Fellows, “a great supporter of everyone and everything in the mystery community,” as Janet Rudolph recalls. Fellowes died last night in her sleep.

• The blog Criminal Element has announced that it will soon begin publishing an electronic collection of original short stories three times a year, filled with fiction submitted by the public. This new journal is to be called The Malfeasance Occasional, aka The M.O. The schedule for Issue No. 1--themed “Girl Trouble”--is pretty tight, with “never-before-published submissions of 3,000 to 6,000 words” being accepted from September 26 through October 10, and a release date of December 6. Authors whose stories are accepted will receive “$350 for a year’s exclusive use after publication.” Submission details aren’t yet available. Visit the The Malfeasance Occasional feature page for updates and further information.

• I didn’t happen to see Quentin Tarantino’s direct-to-DVD flick, My Name Is Modesty, when it was released in 2003. But I stumbled across it on YouTube today. As Wikipedia explains, “The film stars British actress Alexandra Staden as Modesty”--the fictional criminal-turned-spy created by Peter O’Donnell--“and chronicles a crucial event in the character's life some time prior to the start of the comic strip.” As usual with YouTube, one can’t tell how long these videos will be available. But for now, the movie can be watched in several parts: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V.

• A Web site I’d never heard of before today, Odee, looks back at “9 of the Most Brazen Art Thefts” in history. They include the 1911 filching of the Mona Lisa and the 15th-century rip-off of Hans Memling’s “The Last Judgement.”

• If you haven’t been keeping up with Shotsmag Confidential blogger Ayo Onatade’s “Book to Die For” series, it’s lately added several more installments. Check out Mike Ripley’s write-up about SS-GB, by Len Deighton; Jen Forbus’ recommendation of L.A. Requiem, by Robert Crais; Chris Simmons’ plug for Asta’s Book, by Barbara Vine; Jon Jordan’s reviewlet of Dark Chant in a Crimson Key, by George C. Chesbro; Karen Meek’s build-up of Involuntary Witness, by Gianrico Carofiglio; and Onatade’s own remarks on Farewell, My Lovely, by Raymond Chandler. The blog also features an interview with John Connolly and Declan Burke, the editors of Books to Die For: The World’s Greatest Mystery Writers on the World’s Greatest Mystery Novels, which inspired Shotsmag Confidential’s series.

• Citing “health problems,” author-editor Ed Gorman explains in his blog that “I won’t be blogging for awhile. Not sure when I’ll be back.” We wish him the best of luck and a quick return to the Web.

• And because this is Labor Day in the United States, don’t forget to check out Janet Rudolph’s list of labor union mysteries in Mystery Fanfare. Also in celebration of hard work, Blogcritics asked a variety of people what jobs they had before they finally made a go of it as published authors.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Modesty Blaise film is on NetFlix