Saturday, September 29, 2007

Keep Your Friends Close...And Your Gat Closer

Keep Your Friends Close...And Your Gat Closer
Originally uploaded by Mark K_NJ
Readers of this blog will remember an entry a few weeks ago featuring a great hard-boiled photo from Mark Krajnak's "Jersey Noir" series on Flickr.

Check out his latest. If you look closely, you'll see that Mark's un-named Jersey Noir protagonist is taking a little break to read my first novel, The Immortal Game.

It's a tremendous shot--and I'm very flattered Mark decided to include The Immortal Game.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ron Hansen

With the release of the movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, it seems like an especially good time to show off my signed first edition of the book by Ron Hansen on which the film is based:

I was fortunate enough to take a creative writing class from Hansen round 1978 when he was lecturing at Stanford and working on his first novel Desperados.

During the class I wrote a short story called “There’s No Such Thing as Private Eyes” which was eventually published in The New Black Mask, a revival of the famous pulp magazine where Hammett and Chandler got their start. The protagonist in the story? August Riordan, the series character in all my novels.

I can still remember beginning the story on my portable manual typewriter (using the always popular Corrasable paper) on summer break between my sophomore and junior year.

Yes, that makes me a one trick pony (and some would say the trick isn’t even that good!), but I’ve always been very appreciative of Hansen’s initial critique of the story, and his encouragement to submit it for publication. Up until that time, I never seriously considered that I could write, and I certainly never considered that something I wrote could be published.

I’m a tremendous fan of Hansen’s work. My favorite book of his is Atticus, with Desperados and Assassination running close behind. It’s great to see a movie—and by all accounts an excellent movie—made from his work.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Runoff Booking Sheet

My new novel Runoff is coming out at the beginning of November and there are several aspects about the design of the two hardcover editions Bleak House Books is putting out that I'm very excited about.

I'll do a little show and tell about the first of them in this blog entry. Bleak House is doing a limited, numbered "Evidence Collection" edition of Runoff that features a sort of jail house booking sheet, including a signature and a thumbprint.

I spent all of last Sunday signing, dating and thumb-printing the sheets (and I have the blackened thumb and cramped fingers to prove it). You can see a sample here:

The booking sheets will be numbered (1-250) and tipped into the books before they are bound.

And if you look in the left hand corner of the sheet, you'll see another little bonus I threw in. When I sign books for individuals at events, I sometimes include my Chinese chop (or seal) with the signature. I did so on the sheets as well.

This is particularly appropriate for Runoff since several of the characters are from--and much of the action takes place in--San Francisco's Chinatown.

In my next post, I'll describe another cool feature of both hardcover editions, the "Evidence Collection" and the regular. Here's a hint: think Dell map-back.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Jersey Noir

Fear and Retribution
Originally uploaded by Mark K_NJ

I'm a member of several online photography communities, including Flickr and JPG Magazine.

I'm always on the look out for photographers who share my film noir/40's private eye sensibilities, and recently I "met" Mark Krajnak on the JPG Magazine site.

He's got a fantastic series of photographs he calls "Jersey Noir." You can see the first photo in the set, "Fear and Retribution" in this post.

Check them all out here. Another don't miss shot is "It Always Starts the Same Way..." which he has captioned thus:

Once the wedding ring comes off, he never knows if the drink--or the gun--should go in his mouth first.