Monday, July 26, 2010

Mountain View Cemetery

This Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle has an article about Bay Area cemeteries. They rightly point out that Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland is the jewel in the local necropolis crown, but they fail to point out that (according to my warped view of history) Evita Peron is buried there!

Check out this plot summary for my latest novel, The Big Wake-Up, for a hint about why I claim that might be the case.

"Waiting Angel" at Mountain View Cemetery

Another grave for a famous person buried at Mountain View that the Chronicle didn't mention is the one for the Black Dahlia.

Gravestone for the Black Dahlia

Yes, although Elizabeth Short's gruesome murder took place in LA and inspired many films and novels set there--including James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia--her mother lived in Oakland and had her interred in Mountain View.

(Elizabeth Short gravestone photo by Gregory Wild-Smith. CC 2.0 license.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

What's Next?

I've gotten a few questions from readers and friends about what's next for me after the publication of my novel, The Big Wake-Up. Usually the question is phrased more directly: "Are you working on another Riordan?" (Riordan being the name of my private eye protagonist.)

Well, I've got a new protagonist. His name is Coggins.

That's right--I'm working on a memoir of sorts. But rather than coughing up a book-length fur ball about my not-so-exciting life, I'm doing a "greatest hits"--or more accurately, greatest misses--compendium of first person essays a la David Sedaris.

I've tentatively titled it Prom Night and Other Man-Made Disasters and this is a mock cover for the book:

I'm a ways off from completing it, but if you want to get a flavor for the sort of essay I'll be including, check out "Confessions of an Email Forger" on the Huffington Post.

(Photo by Northpolemama. CC 2.0 licensing.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Write Like ...

A site sponsored by Coding Robots and Mémoires, (journaling software for Mac) offers a statistical analysis tool that analyzes the word choice and writing style from a sample you provide to suggest a famous writer whose style is closest to your own.

My initial submission consisted of the text from the first chapter of my latest novel The Big Wake-Up. To be honest, I was hoping the tool would say that I wrote like Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett since I was certainly trying to write like them. Nope. Here's the result from the Magic 8-Ball:

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I decided to give it another sample where I was absolutely, positively--no holds barred--attempting to precisely mimic the style of another writer:

I write like
Arthur Conan Doyle

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Better. The sample in question was my Sherlock Holmes pastiche, "The Adventure of the Black Bishop," which was recently published in the chess fiction anthology Masters of Technique.

Finally, I couldn't resist submitting the text of the first chapter of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep. Is there any excerpt of his writing that could be more quintessentially Chandler? Check it out:

I write like
Vladimir Nabokov

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Oops. Apparently not!


I couldn't resist trying it one more time with a selection from my novel Vulture Capital. As I describe here, Vulture is modeled after Dashiell Hammett's The Glass Key, including the use of the (now less common) "objective" third person POV. If anything I've written should come up Hammett-like, this would be it.

Check out the results:

I write like
J. K. Rowling

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

No sale!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Paranormal Cover

Fog over Colonial Park Cemetery
Originally uploaded by Mark Coggins
The latest Mystery Readers Journal just shipped. It's the paranormal mysteries edition and the cover features my photo of Colonial Park Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. There's some dripping Southern (paranormal) Gothic there for sure.

Check out the cover and the table of contents here.