Posts Tagged ‘Bouchercon’

Mystery Convention Foto-Fest

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

This is almost an all-photo update.

Barb and I arrived back home late afternoon from the Dallas Bouchercon. We were there only for Friday (including travel) and Saturday, leaving Sunday (today) early. We had not attended the last two because of the New Orleans medical emergency at home that sent me back as soon as I arrived, and last year’s Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame honor at Arnold’s Park, which had us cancelling our planned attendance to the Alaska B’Con.


M.A.C. presenting the Best Novel “Shamus” at the Private Eye Writers of America awards banquet.

Many people, aware of my health issues of a few years ago, assumed I didn’t attend for several years because of that; and I received many nice but kind of amusing compliments about how good I looked (code for: gee, you’re not dead!).

Because of the briefness of our visit, we both had jam-packed schedules. Barb and I did a Kensington signing and I did a Tor/Forge signing – where advance reading copies of Do No Harm were given out! I hadn’t even been able to confirm that there would even be ARC’s of Do No Harm, so I was amazed and pleased to see them. Barb and I did a signing after her panel, and I did one after mine, with Matt Clemens also there to sign our collaborative works.


M.A.C. signing at Bouchercon. Matt Clemens standing.

Barb did a great all-female panel (except for moderator William Kent Krueger), equally divided between cozy writers and thriller/standalone writers. Barb, who was battling a bad cough (doing better now), didn’t show it and put in what I thought was her strongest panel appearance ever – articulate and funny. She was in rough enough shape (though not to the naked eye) that I was prepared to come up and take her place if she had to flee. But somehow she pulled it off.


Kate Moretti, Cathi Stoler, Barbara Ross, Vanessa Lillie, Barbara Collins, Sherry Harris, William Kent Krueger.

Immediately after Barb’s panel (both were Saturday afternoon), I was on a panel about the history of the Private Eye Writers of America and also the first time each panelist came to a Bouchercon. I shared the stage with some great writers who are also pals of mine, including moderator Bob Randisi, my longest friendship in the writing game, going back to 1973 when he was the first person I ever met who had read my books but wasn’t a relative.


Bob Randisi, M.A.C., S.J. Rozan on the Private Eye Writers of America panel.

Robert Randisi. Max Allan Collins Jr. SJ Rozan Reed Farrel Coleman Michael Sears. A legendary group of P.I. writers, discussing the PWA and Bouchercon (according to the Facebook caption!). Credit Chad Williamson.

I am embarrassed and a bit unhappy that I was only able to say quick hellos or exchange a few brief words with my many friends at Bouchercon, but my limited stay at the event and my impossible schedule made that inevitable. I did manage to spend some quality time with Lee Goldberg of Brash Books; Grace Doyle, Liz Pearsons and Sarah Shaw of Thomas & Mercer; and Micheala Hamilton of Kensington. Among other things, I conned meals out of all of them, who happen to be fun people to be around, as well as colleagues in the writing game who help keep me in business.


Bob Randisi (founder of the Private Eye Writers of America) and M.A.C. at the Shamus awards.

M.A.C.

Our Bouchercon Schedule

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

Here’s a photo of yrs truly at San Diego Con in 1982 chatting with the great Hank Ketcham, creator of Dennis the Menace, at the Inkpot Awards (I won one and so did he). It was taken by my old pal Alan Light, and has absolutely nothing to do with Bouchercon, other than I will no doubt again be mixing with my betters.

Barb and I haven’t attended a Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, in four years. Health issues were a part of it, and previous commitments kept us away in some instances.

Most frustratingly, in 2016, when I’d recovered well from my heart surgery, including a stroke on the operating table, I managed to get pertussis (whooping cough) and so did Barb. She had a worse case of it and, with me out of the woods, she sent me off to New Orleans alone for Bouchercon XLVII.

When I got in at the airport in that city, I almost immediately got a call from a neighbor saying Barb had been rushed to the Emergency Room, fighting for breath. I immediately booked a flight home – meaning I spent almost all of that day either going to the airport, in the air, in layovers, and going back home again (picked up by those kind neighbors). So I was in New Orleans for about an hour and fifteen minutes. I was glad I returned, because Barb had a rough weekend and she needed me. She recovered well, but it was a nasty one.

Prior to that, Barb and I went almost every year to Bouchercon. We made both Long Beach and Raleigh. Those were the last times I saw my pal Bill Crider, who this year’s con is rightfully honoring. He is sorely missed.

Now, with luck, both halves of Barbara Allan will be in Dallas next weekend. The con starts on Thursday, October 31. But that’s Halloween and we take that seriously in this suspenseful household, so we won’t be arriving till Friday morning.

Here is our schedule:

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 1

Kensington Books signing (Barbara Allan), 2 – 3 PM

Forge Books signing (Max Allan Collins) 3:00 – 3:30

NOTE: Both are, I believe, in the book room.

Shamus Awards Dinner, 6:30 PM at Hattie’s, 418 N. Bishop Avenue. I am not nominated (boo!) but I will be presenting the Best Novel Award (yay!).

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 2

Barbara Collins, Such a Good Family, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, Reunion F

Max Allan Collins, Private Eye Writers of America, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM, Landmark C

I have had no official notification yet, but the usual order of business is a signing following each panel. Assuming that to be the case, I will be with Barb at the Barbara Allan signing, and she will be with me at the M.A.C. signing. If I can corral Matthew Clemens to join us at the latter signing, I will; in any event, Matt will be there, so bring you Collins/Clemens books for signing.

M.A.C.

Dispatch From the Bunker

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

The audio book of Scarface and the Untouchable, I am pleased to report, is up for a Voice Arts Award, thanks in no small part to narrator Stefan Rudnicki…assisted by two other narrators, A. Brad Schwartz and Max Allan Collins, under Stefan’s direction.

For those of you attending Bouchercon, look to see Barb and me there, Friday through Sunday. The con begins on Thursday, but that’s Halloween, and my four year-old grandson will be in costume, seeking candy, which I do not intend to miss.

Next week I’ll give you the breakdown on our panels and signings (Barb and I each have a panel appearance).

I have been very much burrowed in on the next Mike Hammer novel, Masquerade for Murder. It will be out next March. This is the second Hammer I’ve written from a Spillane synopsis, with only two scraps of Mickey’s prose to work into the book (including the opening, however). That’s an intimidating prospect, but I think it came out well.

The novel takes place in the late ‘80s and is a follow-up (not a sequel) to Mickey’s The Killing Man. Like the preceding Spillane/Collins Hammer novel, Murder, My Love, the synopsis may have been written by Mickey as a proposed TV episode for the Stacy Keach series. This means I had fleshing out to do, and I hope I’ve done Mike and the Mick justice.

I am working with a new editor at Titan, Andrew Sumner, who knows Hammer well – he was the skilled interviewer for one-on-one interviews with me at the last two San Diego Comic Cons. Andrew knows American pop culture inside out, and this is good news for me and the series. I will, very soon, be preparing a proposal for three more Hammer novels – two of which have considerably more Spillane material to work from.

The 75th anniversary of Mike Hammer looms in 2022, and we are already planning for it. With luck, the long-promised Collins/James Traylor biography of Spillane will be part of that. There will be a role for Hard Case Crime in the mix, too, and possibly even another graphic novel, this one based on a classic Spillane yarn.

For Masquerade for Murder, I spent a lot of time with The Killing Man, assembling typical Spillane phrases, settings and passages for reference and inspiration. I try to incorporate a Spillane feel, particularly in descriptions of weather and NYC locations; but I stop short of writing pastiche – I am less concerned with imitating Mickey’s style and more concerned with getting Hammer’s character down.

It’s somewhat challenging positioning each novel in the canon in proper context. Hammer was a shifting character – shifting with Mickey’s own age and attitudes – and I want each book to reflect where the writer and his character were when Mickey wrote the material I am working from. The last two have been later Hammer – specifically, late 1980s. Next time, assuming I land another three-book contract, I will be writing a story set around 1954. I look forward to that, because it’s the younger, rougher and tougher and more psychotic Hammer that many of us know and love.

I also have gone over the galley proofs of the new Heller, Do No Harm, also out in March (as is Girl Can’t Help It!) (yikes)! It was written a while ago and I was pleased to view it from a distance – and pleased to find I liked it very much.

I hope you’ll agree.

You didn’t have anything else to do next March but read three books by me, did you? You can take April off and dive back in, in May for Antiques Fire Sale.

* * *

Here’s a nice, extensive look at Ms. Tree.

Wild Dog has his own Wikipedia entry now – a good one.

One of our best contemporary crime fiction critics and historians, J. Kingston Pierce, has included The Titanic Murders in a fun look at disaster mysteries.

The late, great Paul Newman is lauded in this write-up about the film of Road to Perdition.

And finally, that man Jeff Pierce is back with a fine piece about the subject of last week’s update, actor Robert Forster.

M.A.C.

The New Mike Hammer Audio Rocks (Said the Author)

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Note from Nate: The entire Barbara Allan Trash ‘n’ Treasures series of eBooks are on sale now through April 1. Most are $1.99, but a couple are $.99 or $2.99. The newest novel, Antiques Ravin’ comes out April 30, making this the perfect time to catch up and fill in any you’ve missed! I’ve provided links to all major online eBook storefronts, but if I’ve missed your preferred store, please leave a comment and I’ll add it.

Scroll down for this week’s regularly scheduled update. Thanks!


Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

Kobo

Google Play


Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

* * *


Audiobook (digital): Kobo Audible
Audiobook (MP3 CD): Amazon Nook
Audiobook (Audio CD): Amazon Nook

Barb and I are listening to the audio of Murder, My Love in the car. We had a trip to Cedar Rapids recently (more about that later), which took us through half of it. Another trip, this time to the Quad Cities and back, got us about 3/4’s of the way.

It’s quite wonderful.

I have been very blessed to have perhaps the actor most identified with Mike Hammer – Stacy Keach himself – reading all of the Hammers for audio starting with The Goliath Bone and ending with Murder Never Knocks. I have no way to express how cool it was to hear that voice, so identified with Mike Hammer, reading the books I’ve written in posthumous collaboration with Mickey Spillane himself.

Stacy also was Hammer in the two audio book radio-style presentations of mine in the New Adventures of Mike Hammer series (I wrote volumes two and three of the three produced) – The Little Death (Audie award winner for best script) and Encore for Murder (Audie award nominee for best script). I actually acted with him in a couple of scenes on both. Bliss.

When for various reasons, the very busy Mr. Keach stepped down, another of my favorite readers took over – Dan John Miller, the voice of Nate Heller, who read The Will to Kill and Killing Town. He did a fine job and made a particularly good younger-sounding Hammer, appropriate to Killing Town in particular. (He has just done Girl Most Likely, which I haven’t listened to yet, but definitely will.)

Now Stefan Rudnicki has picked up the mantle. Stefan claims to love my work, and I certainly love his. He’s been the reader of the Quarry novels for a while now, and also did an award-winning job on the massive Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago by A. Brad Schwartz and me. An amazing job by a reader/actor who really knows how to bring a book alive.

Now he’s taken on Mike Hammer, and he is doing a fantastic job. He gets every nuance of the tough-guy and smart-ass stuff, as well as the noir poetry. If you have stepped away from these audios, because Stacy isn’t doing them anymore (and I get that), you need to get back on board. Stefan in particular brings an older Hammer to life, which is perfect in Murder, My Love, a chronologically later book in the canon.

Don’t miss these. Also, we’ll get to keep doing them if you buy ‘em. The problem with a long-running series, particularly on audio, is that at a certain point the audio publisher feels there are enough books in a series – say, Mike Hammer – to suffice.

Speaking of Scarface and the Untouchable, if you’re going to Bouchercon, and haven’t sent in your Anthony ballot yet, shake a leg. That book is eligible, as are Killing Town and Antiques Wanted, and the Spillane/Collins stories “The Big Run” (EQMM) and “The Punk” (Mystery Tribune).

* * *

Last week Barb and I appeared at the Ed Gorman Celebration of Popular Fiction at Coe College in Cedar Rapids. (We were the only guests at the inaugural event. As Miles Davis once said, told he was going to be late for the show, “I can’t be late for the show, man – I am the show”).

Barb and I taught a full classroom of interested and obviously bright students, who took lots of notes and asked plenty of smart questions. That evening I spoke for an hour, a good portion of my talk devoted to my late friend Ed Gorman and what a wonderful writer he was, and what an incredible friend he was to me (and to Barb, whose writing career he encouraged and supported with anthology invites).

Ed’s lovely, gracious wife Carol drove us around and kept us company. We stayed overnight at the DoubleTree in downtown CR, because it was a long day. I mention this because some of you may be wondering why I so seldom do this kind of thing anymore, especially since I tend to be really good at it (no brag, just fact, some asshole said) and so obviously enjoy myself doing such dates. The signing afterward was similarly fun and I loved talking to longtime readers and new ones alike.

But I have to say such events are going to be few and far between now. I doubt I’ll do more than one convention a year, and it will probably be Bouchercon. I am available to be a guest of honor at just about any other mystery or comics con, as I am easily flattered and like to have my hotel room and transportation paid for. Who doesn’t?

Coe made for a long day. We took that hotel room so I could rest between the teaching session and a cocktail party meet-and-greet followed by the speaking engagement. The long day required me to go up a lot of stairs and walk all over the campus, or at least it seemed that way to me. Listen, I’m not really complaining – I enjoyed the hell out of it, and I got a lot of laughs during my speech, which is almost as good as a fat royalty check. Almost.

This is not about my health issues, or at least is only partly about them. The medication I’m on can give me dizziness, and my gait gets unsteady when I get tired, ever since the minor stroke I had on the operating table. People think because I am energetic and charming and witty as hell that I am a Superman. Maybe, if he had pockets full of Kryptonite.

This is something Barb and I are dealing with. I noticed it for the first time in Vegas at the Mob Museum, where at my first of two appearances I felt I stunk up the joint (I was very good at the second event, a day…and a bunch of rest…later.) At the same time, I am preparing for my band Crusin’ and our “season,” which begins early summer and lasts through early fall. Last year we played around nine gigs, mostly out of doors, which makes me wonder if I should make this my last gigging season.

Nonetheless, I am hoping we will make a new CD this summer, all original material.

The one thing that doesn’t seem to be terribly impacted by age and occasionally sketchy health is my writing. I am more prolific than ever, which makes it hard for some readers to keep up with me. But that’s when I feel the most myself and the most alive – at the machine. Making up stories.

I am not looking for sympathy, which I do not deserve, and don’t mean to imply I am unwell, which I am not. I feel very good almost all of the time. It’s a matter of energy, and I think when this dreadful Midwestern winter gets tired of torturing us, and I get out walking again – and gigging again – I will start to feel in shape.

Just know that the reason my book signings and con appearances are more and more infrequent doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It means that I have to watch my energy level and make sure any appearances are infrequent and, when I do take one on, designed to give me time for rest…and to drop me at the door by car of wherever I’m appearing, with Barb at my side.

What I want to spend most of my time doing now is writing books, and short stories and non-fiction pieces and movie and TV scripts. And I think that’s probably how you’d prefer I spend my time, too.

* * *

Here is what I consider a first-rate interview with yours truly, in support of The Girl Most Likely.

Supreme Justice is chosen one of the best 21 legal thrillers of the 21st Century. Hey, Matt Clemens – we are in some heady company, my friend!

The Rock Island Dispatch-Argus lists some men who made their mark who come from the Quad Cities area. I sort of make the list by hanging onto John Looney’s coattails.

Finally, here’s some stuff about Batman: Child of Dreams by Kia Asamiya and me. Looks like some collectibles were generated from that, unbeknownst to me.

M.A.C.