Posts Tagged ‘Giveaways’

Hey Kids – The Last and Biggest Book Giveaway of 2021!

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021

This is the last book giveaway of the year – ten copies of Fancy Anders Goes to War and ten copies of The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton. Write me at with your order of preference. You pledge to write a review at Amazon for these – I specify Amazon because both books are exclusive with Amazon on Kindle and (for now at least) as physical media…you know, books.

If you hate the book, you are released from your pledge to review it, though of course you may anyway. This is a USA only book giveaway. Be sure (IMPORTANT) to include your snail-mail address, even if you’ve won previously.

Here, by the way, is a link to NeoText and their announcement of The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton, where you can also buy it.

Anybody out there who reads and likes either of these books, your Amazon reviews are vital this time around. As I mentioned last week, neither book went out to the publishing “trades” – Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal and Booklist. The reason is boring, so try not to let your eyes glaze over: NeoText is an e-book publisher, and fairly late in the game I convinced them (they are good people) to do print versions as well. These are Print-On-Demand books (and they look great). But “late in the game” means we weren’t able to get them to the trade reviewers on time.

Some of the Internet reviewers and a few newsstand magazines will get copies, though. But obviously it’s vital that my fans (both of you) review these books, preferably favorably, and get the word out.

Dave Thomas and I are doing our best to let the world know about Jimmy Leighton. We recorded a two-part Gilbert Gottfried podcast last week, which should “drop” (God I hate that expression) soon. We have done other podcasts together and separately, and some online interviews, too. Some links will follow at the end of this update.

Dave and I have become good friends, which I can hardly believe, stone SCTV freak that I am. He is a great guy, warm and funny but also with a genuine streak of Bill Needle (SCTV fans will understand). While we met a couple of times (unmemorably for Dave) before, during the writing of The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton we did not. The plan had been for one of us to travel to the home/locale of the other, before we dug in to the writing – to plot the book, get a synopsis together, in person.

Then Covid came along.

So The Many Lives of Jimmy Lives became a Covid book – developed by Zoom and daily telephone calls (more than once a day, often). Dave did the first pass of each chapter, but called me frequently during the writing – he would read me what he’d written so far, I’d give notes, and we’d kick around where the chapter might go from there. Dave gets bored with just executing the synopsis, so the story became fluid in an interesting and positive way. I have never worked this way, and it was a glimpse into how SCTV and TV writers’ rooms work.

Dave had a bad health scare along the way – not Covid-related, other than the anxiety caused by having to deal with a health crisis when hospitals were overflowing with Covid cases – at a point where we had the first five chapters and a synopsis ready. We had already decided that we would do just that much before taking it out to market.

With Dave in the hospital, quite frankly fighting for his life, I set about to sell our book. I tried a couple of venues where I’ve had some success and got the kind of frustrating responses that longtime pros are used to – glowing enthusiasm and delight leading up to “not right for our list” as the punchline.

I was not prepared for that, though should have been. It is always difficult to sell a genre hybrid, and Jimmy Leighton was exactly that – half contemporary science fiction, half gritty crime novel. I brought my agent on board to try Canadian publishers, because Dave is a national treasure up there – a genuine superstar, as Bob and Doug are among the few Canadian icons. We got nowhere.

My agent was about to take it to other American publishers (only two had seen it) when I mentioned the project to my editor at NeoText, where I had just delivered Fancy Anders Goes to War. He was eager to see the chapters and proposal. The sale came quickly.

The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton, without text, trimmed
E-Book: Amazon Purchase Link
Trade Paperback: Amazon Purchase Link

Fancy Anders was set up to be published as three novellas, and each – although designed to add up to one book – was a stand-alone. We had brought the great Fay Dalton aboard to do elaborate illustrations for the Fancy novellas, so to give her time to accomplish that, we set up a program whereby the publication of the three Fancy novellas would be staggered over six months at least.

Initially we were going to publish Jimmy Leighton the same way. But first Dave – then I – became concerned that the three sections of Jimmy didn’t each stand alone in the way Fancy did. And we had early on abandoned the idea of illustrations for the book, other than the cover art. So – again – fairly late in the game, we lobbied for NeoText to publish Jimmy as a single book. The novel had been written that way and it began to make sense following that path, not the Fancy one.

It’s cost us reviews, which is (as I’ve indicated) where you come in.

I know I harp on this a lot. But the nature of the beast these days is that you nice people who actually still read books need to support the authors you like with reviews online, particularly at Amazon.

I irritated some readers when I complained about self-professed fans of mine who would (in my view) attack novels of mine that didn’t suit what they wanted from me. On artistic grounds, my hopping around from here to there has a lot to do with me staying fresh and also pursuing various interests, which takes me various places, obviously. But on practical grounds, I write a lot to stay in business and bad reviews from people who only like some of my work, and go out of their way to complain about what they don’t like, costs me money. Worse, it can cost me venues.

This is true for all of us telling stories in the very old-fashioned prose fiction way. Support the authors you like. Don’t just write reviews of my stuff, but theirs, too (I’m fine with me being at the top of your list, though). Even a couple of sentient sentences will do, but longer expressions of delight are good also (very Jerry Lewis cadence there)…even balanced, well-reasoned opinions are encouraged. Those numbers – how many reviews and even just star ratings have been logged – are key for the success of a book, and for an author to continue producing.

Novelists are an endangered species, like the spotted owl. Keep us healthy and fed, would you? Spotted owl is delicious, by the way.

* * *

I’ve had some wonderful comments on my ten-part literary memoir, A Life in Crime. I hope to write a few more entries over time, and eventually collect them into a book. Among the things I did not discuss at length in the series are my adventures in indie filmmaking, comics/graphic novel writing, the Spillane novels (Caleb York deserves a chapter of his own), and a bunch of other stuff.

The serialization of A Life in Crime allowed me to focus on the Spillane biography, which I completed my draft of over the weekend. I still have the lengthy “Spillane Files” appendix to work on, although most of that was already put together by Jim Traylor, who has been working on this project literally since Mickey’s passing in 2006.

This will absolutely be the definitive book on Mickey Spillane – the story of his life, and the story of his life’s work. We hope to send it to our publisher, Mysterious Press, this month.

* * *

I was disappointed in Halloween Kills. The same writing/directing team who did the much superior Halloween reboot stumbled here, sacrificing a political allegory about Jan. 6 and the divisiveness in America to a humorless and unpleasant gore fest. I understand this is the second of a trilogy and I liked the first film enough to give the third one a try.

Barb and I watched Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, which is flawed but very entertaining and underrated. Halloween Kills could have benefitted from this much unloved non-sequel’s strong but fleeting gore, and heavy-handed but effective satire.

In the Halloween spirit, I showed Nate The Final Girls, the 2015 horror comedy that has a group of current teens getting stuck inside an ‘80s slasher movie. It’s somewhat little known but is well-worth checking out, if you are at all a fan of the Halloween/Friday the 13th genre.

* * *

Here’s a great Fan Base interview with Dave Thomas on our novel, The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton.

Check out the Dave Thomas Appreciation Page at Facebook.

Finally, here’s the Word Balloon podcast with Dave about the book (and his SCTV adventures).


Not Another Book Giveaway! Plus Covering Ms. Tree

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021
Bombshell, Wolfpack edition cover
Paperback: Indiebound Purchase Link Bookshop Purchase Link Amazon Purchase Link Books-A-Million Purchase Link Barnes & Noble Purchase Link
E-Book: Amazon Purchase Link

We have ten copies to give away of the lovely new Wolfpack edition of Bombshell by Barbara Collins and me.

[All copies have been claimed! Thank you for participating, and check back soon for more giveaways. –Nate]

Bombshell is the historical espionage thriller in which Marilyn Monroe meets Nikita Khrushchev on his visit to America in 1959. It has been published previously with Barb receiving top billing, and again under our joint “Barbara Allan” pen name. I’ve been given top billing here to bring it in line with my other Wolfpack titles, but frankly Barb deserves more credit than I do – the novel springs from a short story of hers and reflects her long interest in (and expertise about) Marilyn Monroe.

Again, the main event this week is another chapter in my ongoing memoir, A Life in Crime, which I’ve done for NeoText to help promote Fancy Anders Goes to War, which comes out on October 5, with The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton (by Dave Thomas and me) coming out October 25.

This week is the story of how Ms. Tree came to be, and includes a fantastic array of Terry Beatty’s cover art (and the covers by guest artists of the DC issues and the current Titan archival collections). It’s right here.

Ms. Tree: The Cold Dish cover
Paperback: Bookshop Purchase Link Target Purchase Link
* * *

Norm Macdonald made me laugh harder than anyone I can think of. His deadpan talk-show delivery of corny groaner punchlines after torturous build-ups seemed at odds with his razor-sharp surprising stand-up sardonic observations that shattered the boundaries of political correctness. With quietly self-amused fearlessness he tested what an audience would tolerate, flirting with the ugliness of dark humor yet consumed by a sunny Canadian decency and integrity. The nasty side of his humor was funny in part because he seemed to have an innate sweetness as well as a sense of his own absurdity.

He was at his peak of popularity when he held the news desk at SNL, with two movies on the way, positioning him to be the next Bill Murray or Michael Keaton. But his gambler’s streak kept him from playing it safe, instinctively knowing that what he had to offer was his willingness to go where he shouldn’t like the class clown who faces expulsion but has one last crack to make about the teacher.

So when the boss at NBC, Don Ohlmeyer, ordered Norm to lay off the O.J. Simpson jokes, and the Michael Jackson digs too, Norm simply smiled that small sly smile and upped the ante. My favorite Norm moments were shared by the victim of those moments, prop comic Carrot Top, who showed real class here by sharing with an audience his own skewering.

Norm only topbilled two movies – Dirty Work and Screwed. Neither was loved by critics at the time, but both capture Norm at his best, in particular the dizzingly bad-taste exercise that is Dirty Work (“Note to self: making love to blow-up doll is not as good as advertised”). And Screwed teams Norm with Dave Chappelle, with Elaine Stritch and Danny DeVito offering delightfully unhinged support.

In this humorless, uptight era, the death of Norm Macdonald is the death of comedy.

* * *

This podcast interview with me becomes available today.


The Book Giveaway Suspense Is Killing Me

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

The time has come…for another book giveaway.

[All copies have been claimed. Thank you for your support! —Nate]

Suspense His and Hers giveaway copies

The book, which publisher Wolfpack describes (accurately) with a secondary title of “Tales of Love and Murder,” collects short stories written by Barb, by me, and both of us together. It’s about 300 pages and includes some of our best stories, including the recent “Amazing Grace” by me and “What’s Wrong with Harley Quinn?” by mostly Barb. The Edgar-nominated Ms. Tree short story, “Louise,” is included, and two Quarry short stories, “Guest Service” and “Quarry’s Luck.”

This is a new collection, a follow-up to Murder – His & Hers (also available from Wolfpack) – and is a plump 300 pages or so. The cover is terrific. I remain very impressed with the packaging that Wolfpack is coming up with.

The point of the exercise is for us to generate reviews in particular at Amazon (the e-book is exclusive to Kindle). We encourage you to support not just us – or us when we send you a free book – by any authors whose work you enjoy through online reviews. That can sound intimidating, but reviews can range from a line or two to lengthy looks. The point (from an author’s POV) is to build the “star” rating up for titles and get more readers to try your work.

That’s why I release you from your obligation, in a book giveaway, to do a review if you hate the book (although of course you still can if you choose).

* * *
Nolan cover collage from Neotext article.
Image taken from NeoText. See the article linked below for much more.

For the weeks running up to the Oct. 5 publication of Fancy Anders Goes to War I am devoting the time usually spent here to doing an essay on something or other to an installment of my serialized literary memoir, A Life in Crime, at the excellent web site of Fancy’s publisher, NeoText.

Response to the first installment – “Why Mystery?” – has been excellent.

This week I focus on “Nolan.”

Read it here.

* * *

The other big project for NeoText is The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton by Dave Thomas and me. I spent much of the weekend going over the final galleys of this 90,000 word novel.

I am not always the best judge, but this feels like a very special novel, combining elements of noir on the one hand and science-fiction on the other. I should add that its time frame is contemporary and not futuristic. I will have more to say about this one soon.

* * *
Reminiscence promo photo

Speaking of noir/s-f hybrids, Reminiscence (in theaters and streaming on HBO Max) is a good one, despite its lousy Rotten Tomatoes ranking. Visually stunning, the film has an effective Hugh Jackman at its center and the always interesting actress Rebecca Ferguson as a mysterious femme fatale. It consciously invokes both Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer (there’s a Velda and also revenge) and Vertigo, and alternates between moody mystery and action thriller.

The dialogue is more than a little arch, and it does occasionally trip over itself in a Chandler-esque narration (minus any humor), but if you can forgive it that, it’s a worthwhile, even haunting experience. The machinations of the plot are clever and it’s a rare film that gets better as it goes along.

Also streaming right now, on Hulu, is the six-part documentary, McCartney 3,2,1 starring (obviously) Paul McCartney and record producer Rick Rubin. The emphasis is on The Beatles with some side trips to McCartney’s solo work and Wings. It’s basically an informal interview centered around revisiting (and fooling around inside) the mixes of various tracks (mostly Beatles). Rubin proves a knowledgeable questioner, though with his bird’s nest bushy white beard he comes across alternately as a homeless guy who wandered in while McCartney waits for the cops to answer his 911 call and a wide-eyed goofball sitting cross-legged before a bemused guru.

That aside, it’s a wonderful ride and, for an aging Baby Boomer like me, a nostalgic trip that invokes grins and tears and all stops between. McCartney comes across as unpretentious and a very successful idiot savant of a musical genius who has a clear-eyed view of what he’s accomplished, and a sense of the luck and magic involved in these four Liverpool kids coming together.

While Yoko is barely invoked, it’s clear Paul and John loved each other, were two puzzle pieces that fit together into one amazing picture, and the break-up of the group (which we all know was Yoko’s fault and I don’t want to talk about it) hurt McCartney deeply. Both Lennon and McCartney did brilliant work apart, but rarely the equal of their collaborations, even when one was mostly just looking over the other one’s shoulder.

Most fascinating is how McCartney has become a self-professed Beatles fan himself now, appreciating the synergy of the group, and how he reflects on his old view that he was making music with a “bloke” named John but now understands he was making music with John Lennon.


Sand, Free John Sand Book & More

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

The Book Giveaway for the third John Sand novel, To Live and Spy in Berlin, by Matthew V. Clemens and me and published by Wolfpack starts right now – ten physical copies are available to the first ten of you who ask for one.

[All copies have been claimed! Thank you for your support!]

In return you agree to write a review at Amazon and/or other review venues (Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, various blogs). Should you dislike the book, you are absolved from that duty if you wish.

I would love to run J. Kington Pierce’s wonderful piece on the John Sand books for January Magazine, but you will need to follow the link here.

But it’s so encouraging to see a really intelligent professional and highly respected reviewer understand what Matt and I are up to in the Sand books. Good reviews are great for marketing, but it’s really gratifying when a smart critic “gets it.” (He also writes about it briefly at the Rap Sheet.)

My pal and Titan editor Andrew Sumner did an interview with me for the at-home San Diego Comic Con. It runs an hour and he did his usual terrific job. We cover all the Titan stuff – the forthcoming Ms. Tree Volume 3: The Cold Dish, the current flurry of Nolan books from Hard Case Crime (including Double Down), and next year’s 75th anniversary Mike Hammer novel, Kill Me If You Can for Titan, which I’m writing now (and which is the reason so little content is available here this week beyond the giveaway and some news items). Generously Andrew asks me about non-Titan projects, including the Spillane bio I’m doing with Jim Traylor for Otto Penzler at Mysterious Press and, yes, the John Sand series (and more) at Wolfpack.

I’m also a guest at the home version of the Sentai con, where I discuss Lone Wolf and Cub and Asian action films in regard to Road to Perdition. Info here.

A couple other pieces of news/information.

First, the rights to the Nate Heller novel Better Dead have reverted to me and I hope to line up a new publisher because there’s never been a paperback edition. And for now the e-book is off the market.

Second, in a bizarre mistake, the paperback edition of the Caleb York western Hot Lead, Cold Justice was published with the art for the previously published Last Stage to Hell Junction. A new edition will be published soon by Kensington with the correct art (the same art as the hardcover edition of Hot Lead). I hope to be able to have a way for anyone with the a copy of the wrong cover to be sent a corrected version. More on this later.

Dead-End Jobs: A Hitman Anthology
Paperback: Indiebound Amazon Books-A-Million (BAM) Barnes & Noble (B&N) Powell's
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

Andy Rausch, editor of Dead-End Jobs: A Hitman Anthology (which features a Quarry short story), is interviewed by Michael Gonzales on the subject of fictional hitmen here.

Book Bub has a $1.99 e-book deal on the Mike Hammer novel Murder Never Knocks, which they describe as a page-turning noir thriller: Legendary PI Mike Hammer scours Hollywood’s dark underbelly for the person who tried to have him killed. “This novel supplies the goods: hard-boiled ambience, cynicism, witty banter, and plenty of tough-guy action” (Booklist).

Check out this excellent write-up on an unfortunately out of print collection of my early Dick Tracy work with Rick Fletcher.

Finally, this should lead you to an excellent documentary about Walter Tevis, who (like Richard Yates) was one of my instructors at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop.