Saturday, December 11, 2010

Just in Case You Haven't Had Enough of Me

Ed Gorman's blog: Pro-File: Bill Crider

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Believe :: Lina Zeldovich

Part 6 of the Top Suspense Group Round Robin Story

Top Suspense Group: The Chase--Part 5

And don't forget the contest. Have you figured out which episodes I wrote? Or maybe only one of them has appeared. I forget. Anyway, have fun.

How To Train Your Dragon

Yet another dandy animated film from Dreamworks. Lots of heart, lots of laughs, lots of action. And lots of dragons. What's not to like? The setting is a Viking land where people speak in lots of different accents and dragons don't speak at all. Berk is the young, misunderstood son of Stoick, the Viking leader. The dragons are a menace, or course, and they must be killed at all costs. Or maybe not. Maybe the dragons, like Berk, are just misunderstood. That's about all I have to say, except that I liked this one a lot. Check it out.

In Henry Melton's Contest, You Can't Lose!

Idle Thoughts: Christmas Contest: "Two weeks until Christmas, just time for a quick giveaway. This time, EVERYBODY WINS."


Will Duke (William Campbell Gault), Fair Prey, Graphic, 1956

Yet Another List I'm Not On

The 10 Best Books of 2010 -

Knowing My Readers, I Expect You'll all Score 100%

The Movie Quote Quiz

Today's Western Movie Poster

Wisconsin Leads the Way

Teen charged with child abuse after fight with classmate - JSOnline: "A 17-year-old girl has been charged with child abuse after fighting with an older student at their high school in Wisconsin."

Both My Careers Are Included

10 Careers With High Rates of Depression

Sheriff Rhodes Could Have Handled It

A sheriff’s job is tough.

Custer Update

Custer battle flag sells for 2.2 million dollars - Monsters and Critics: "A flag flown by George Armstrong Custer's ill- fated battalion at the Battle of Little Bighorn fetched 2.2 million dollars at auction Friday.

The battered, blood-stained guidon was bought by a private collector at Sotheby's in New York, the auction house said.

The flag is known to be the only one flown by Custer's troops that was not destroyed or captured by the Native Americans who overwhelmed the US troops in the battle in what is now the western state of Montana."

12 Most Bizarre Mug Shots Of 2010

Even if you've seen these before, they're worth another glance.

12 Most Bizarre Mug Shots Of 2010 -

A Muppet Christmas Carol

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stu Shiffman Wins Rotsler Award

Stu Shiffman wins Rotsler Award - SFScope - Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror: "Mike Glyer announces that Stu Shiffman (of Seattle, Washington) is the winner of this year's Rotsler Award, which is 'given annually for long-time artistic achievement in amateur publications of the science fiction community.' The award, established in 1998, carries an honorarium of $300. It was formally announced on 27 November 2009, at this year's Loscon."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Guanabee | Texas Film Commission Denies Tax Incentives To Machete For Negative Image Portrayal: "The Texas Film Commission has denied a tax incentive to director Robert Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios for their production of Machete, the Mexploitation film set in that state which was shot in Austin in the summer of 2009. The letter cited part of the code that says incentives can be denied to films 'because of inappropriate content or content that portrays Texans or Texas in a negative fashion.'"

Texas Doesn't Lead the Way

America's 25 Coldest Cities

The G-Word Controversy!

Women of Mystery: Geezers, Mollydookers and Pheasant Pluckers: "Toni Kelner, over at the Short Mystery Fiction Society list, mentioned that one library refused to buy Damn Near Dead 2, because some of its patrons found the “g” word in the cover copy offensive: An Anthology of Geezer Noir. That’s too bad because this sounds like a great collection of stories. The book is edited by Bill Crider and features some fine writers including Toni Kelner, Patti Abbott, Denise Mina (amusing that geezer was more offensive than Denise’s title, but maybe no one bothered to look inside the book), S.J. Rozan, Marcia Muller, Declan Burke, and Bill Pronzini. I look forward to reading it."

The Twelve Days of Bookmas -- Day 8 #12daysbooks

Don't forget about the big contest at BookEnds. If you know the answer, click on the link and leave your answer in the comments to win free books. Or just click on the link to show the agents that I'm a power in the blogosphere. Another incentive is that one of my clues led to the winner the other day. Here's today's puzzle, followed by my clue.

In four years’ time — between my senior year of high school and junior year of college — I had to write three different papers for three different classes on the same freaking classic. On paper (so to speak), this book seems like it should be one of my favorites. But I hated it. I thought it was “ehhh—okay” the first time I read it. But by the third time I read it, I absolutely loathed that book and still kinda do to this day. And no...I wasn’t one of those students that was good at “winging it.” I couldn’t write a whole paper without re-reading. So yeah... It got pretty tired.

Then in my junior year at Penn State I discovered a lit class I loved so much that I actually decided to audit it (take it again without receiving any credit) the following semester. So yes...I read a lot of the same material twice in one year and didn’t mind THAT one bit. Did everybody in the class think I was a total geek? Um yeah.

So I need two answers from you on this one...

What was the title and author of the classic I quickly learned to hate? And what was the subject of the literature class I took twice?

My clues: Laurence Olivier. And Laurence Olivier.

And Stay off Her . . . oh, Never Mind

Cher dares to bare as demure Christina Aguilera laughs off nude photo scandal

Photo at the link, if you dare.

Monopoly for Guys

JOHN WAYNE MONOPOLY GAME IS HERE! - Celebrating Films of the 1960s & 1970s: "Forget about that digital shoehorn with the image of Elvis on it that you were going to get for the guy in your life - here's a far better gift idea: The Official John Wayne Monopoly Game. Authorized by Wayne Enterprises, the set includes key films, stills and locations based on the Duke's classic films. Tokens include: John Wayne's Cowboy Hat, John Wayne's Cowboy Boot, John Wayne's Belt Buckle, John Wayne's Director's Chair, Duke the Dog, Stagecoach."

Hat tip to Maurice Powell.


Malcolm Douglas (Douglas Sanderson), Murder Comes Calling, Gold Medal, 1958

Have It Your Way

Man Dies After Altercation With Burger King Employee: "An altercation between a 20-year old Burger King employee and a 67-year old man has led to the death of the customer.
[. . . .]
According to Detroit Police, the employee allegedly punched the customer, who then fell to the floor.

The man apparently began choking on his dentures. The man was rushed to a hospital where he died a short time later."

Here's the Plot for Your Next Serial Killer Thriller

Debbie Harry: I escaped sex killer Ted Bundy | The Sun |Showbiz|Bizarre: "BLONDIE star DEBBIE HARRY has claimed she was almost murdered by notorious serial sex killer Ted Bundy.

The singer, 65, said she accepted a lift in the early '70s from the maniac - who bludgeoned, strangled and raped 30 women."

Part 5 of the Top Suspense Group Round Robin Story

Top Suspense Group: The Chase--Part 5

And don't forget the contest.

Texas Has Two in the Top 10

Most Charitable Cities

Today's Western Movie Poster

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas to Build Experimental Green Community: "The Texas A&M University System and a Dallas-area developer are creating a 1.1-million-square-foot sustainable community 15 miles north of downtown Dallas on a 73-acre lot owned by the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, a network of research stations that together make up an agency of Texas A&M. The Urban Living Lab will be equipped with 800 apartments, retail space, hotels, office buildings, farmers markets and community gardens. The community’s green technologies — ranging from refrigerators to lighting systems to landscapes — will be monitored over a 50- to 75-year period."

You Be the Judge

NBC33 See it, Shoot it, Share it: Crazy hunting pic | NBC 33 TV - WVLA: "The viewer claims this is NOT a hoax"

Time to Decorate!

Get your ornament here.

Forgotten Books: AS TOUGH AS THEY COME -- Will Oursler, Editor

This 1951 anthology features some names that are familiar to everybody, some that are familiar to fans of hardboiled pulp fiction, and some that might not be familiar at all. The only writer represented by two stories is Bruno Fischer, a guy whose Gold Medal originals I find highly entertaining, though judging by the prices the bring on eBay, I'm the only one who does. The story that opens the book is a crime tale, but it gives plenty of evidence of Fisher's experience in the shudder pulps. Surely by now everyone's read the Hammett selection, and the Cain story is pretty easy to find, too. The Day Keene offering is one I haven't seen elsewhere (that doesn't mean much, though). It has a sure-of-himself narrator who's not quite as smart as he thinks he is. The reader is always a step or two ahead of him, but that's what makes the story so much fun. Brett Halliday's first-person narrator's not much like Mike Shayne, but he tells a fine story of greed, gold, Mexican bandits, and revenge. I knew what the old switcheroo would be in Hugh Pentecost's story almost from the start, but that didn't make it any less fun to read. I'm saving the other stories for later, but I've read enough to be glad I picked this book up. I've had it for years, but for one reason or another I'm just getting around to reading it. I'm glad I finally did.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Not Everyone Is Proud to Claim the Title

Bea Arthur Was A Truck-Driving Marine | The Smoking Gun: "For some reason, Arthur did not speak about her time with the Marines. In fact, in a videotaped interview (excerpted below) conducted as part of an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences archives project, Arthur flatly denied serving in the military. When an interviewer said that she had read somewhere that Arthur had once joined the Marines, the actress answered, “Oh, no. No.”"

Will the Persecution Never End?

Alligator allegedly sparks fire in R.I. apartment - Local News - Boston, MA - "An alligator is taking the heat for sparking an apartment fire in Rhode Island.

Firefighters that responded to a Central Falls, R. I. home got more than they bargained for. Inside the second floor apartment was a three-foot alligator, a 10-foot Burmese python, two other 10-foot snakes, a smaller snake and a large iguana.

The tenant blamed the alligator for starting a small fire, claiming the reptile knocked over a small heating lamp."

Will the Persecution Never End?

Paris Hilton Not Invited To Nicole Richie Wedding

Hat tip to John Duke.

'Terriers': Why Good Shows Fail

'Terriers': Why good shows fail -

Bank Job of the Day

Man robs downtown bank during snowstorm | "A bank robber took advantage of Wednesday's snowstorm when he robbed a downtown bank and fled on foot through gridlocked traffic."

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

The Twelve Days of Bookmas -- Day 7 #12daysbooks

Don't forget about the big contest at BookEnds. If you know the answer, click on the link and leave your answer in the comments to win free books. Or just click on the link to show the agents that I'm a power in the blogosphere. Here's today's puzzle, followed by my clue.

When I was an editorial assistant I helped my boss with a number of licensed books, books that were based on television shows or movies. My boss’s job was to hire writers for the projects, obviously edit, and work on the books and obtain all permissions and approvals from the licensee with regard to the books. That meant approval over who was writing the book, approval over the storyline, and approval over the final manuscript (among other things, like covers, advertising, etc.). My job was to spend a lot of time at the fax machine waiting for approvals to come through and sending material that needed approval.

During my five years at Berkley Publishing we published a series of licensed books that were so successful the show actually ended the year I started working at Berkley, but the books went strong for the entire five years I was there and, in fact, continued to be published long after I had started BookEnds. What was this series?

My clue: Spring in the air.


Body cameras: The new eyes of the law | "The arresting officer was one of Burnsville's so-called 'Robo Cops,' a group of about 20 officers who since July have been using portable video recording devices attached to their headgear to record just about every traffic stop, vehicle search, domestic dispute and arrest."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Traffic Tickets Going High-Tech | NBC Dallas-Fort Worth: "Now, it looks like we could have motorcycle traffic cops issuing citations from a little handheld device, called an E-ticket machine, rather than whipping out the ticket pad and writing a ticket by hand.
[. . . .]
The Dallas Police Department plans to use 50 E-ticket gadgets in a test program involving motorcycle officers because statistically they write more tickets than other patrol officers."


Paul Merchant (Harlan Ellison), Sex Gang, Nightstand Books, 1959

Part 4 of the Top Suspense Group Round Robin Story

Top Suspense Group: "The Chase--Part 4"

And don't forget the contest!

Here's the Plot for Your Next Mysterious Disappearance Thriller

Illinois man dies in crash; wife leaves car, vanishes - "An Illinois woman walked away from a car crash that killed her husband, authorities believe, but they have found no trace of her other than footprints in the snow leading to a road.

A search was in its third day Tuesday for Tanya Shannon, 40, of Ransom, Illinois, according to the LaSalle County, Illinois, Sheriff's Office."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Yet Another List I'm Not On

Ten Weirdest New Animals of 2010

Today's Western Movie Poster

What the Internet Killed

What the Internet Killed - Newsweek

Arsenic-Based Life Update

The NASA study of arsenic-based life was fatally flawed, say scientists. - By Carl Zimmer - Slate Magazine: "As soon as Redfield started to read the paper, she was shocked. 'I was outraged at how bad the science was,' she told me.

Redfield blogged a scathing attack on Saturday. Over the weekend, a few other scientists took to the Internet as well. Was this merely a case of a few isolated cranks? To find out, I reached out to a dozen experts on Monday. Almost unanimously, they think the NASA scientists have failed to make their case."

She Might Have a Point

KC police’s raid, use of stun grenade draw probe - "JeTuan Jones said the use of force — breaking open her door and throwing a “flash bang” device past her niece’s head — was unnecessary, considering that the search warrant was for a cell phone used by her brother, who had moved out four months earlier and was in police custody."

Crocodyliform Update

Bizarre Reptile Challenges Notion of Crocodiles as ‘Living Fossils’: "The 20-odd species of living alligators and crocodiles are nearly all that remains of what was once an incredibly diverse group of reptiles called crocodyliforms. Recent discoveries of fossil crocodyliforms have revealed that some of these reptiles, instead of conforming to traditional crocodile norms (long snout, conical teeth, strong jaw and long tail) possessed a dazzling array of adaptations that resulted in unique and sometimes bizarre anatomy. These discoveries have provided new information about a large and important group of extinct animals, while simultaneously helping to dispel the notion of crocodiles as static, unchanging ‘living fossils.’"

Rosemary's Baby

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I Stopped Bidding at $25.50

Rolex Owner Gets A Christmas Surprise: Posted His Watch On eBay For $9.95, Final Bid Was $60,000

One More Sign of the Impending Apocalypse

Snooki to Drop From Ball in Times Square on MTV New Year's Special - The Hollywood Reporter: "Snooki will have a ball this New Year's Eve on MTV.

The Jersey Shore star (real name: Nicole Polizzi) will be placed inside a ball that will drop in New York City's Time Square as the click ticks down to midnight."

New York Leads the Way

Eldelry Manhattan woman slapped with $100 ticket for throwing away newspaper - "An elderly Manhattan woman living on Social Security was slapped with a $100 ticket -- just for throwing away a newspaper in a city trash can."

Yet Another Interview that You Should Read

Some different stuff on this one, and you'll like the website. Trust me.

Crime Time Preview: Third Degree: Bill Crider

Panda Update

Researchers dressed as giant pandas prepare panda cub for the wild in Chinese reserve | L.A. Unleashed | Los Angeles Times: "At the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in China's famous Wolong Nature Reserve, this 4-month-old cub is something of a pioneer, and the human researcher in a panda suit is helping to prepare him for life in the wild."

Hat tip to Cullen Gallagher.

No Comment Department

The Twelve Days of Bookmas -- Day 6 #12daysbooks

Don't forget about the big contest at BookEnds. If you know the answer, click on the link and leave your answer in the comments to win free books. Or just click on the link to show the agents that I'm a power in the blogosphere. Here's today's puzzle, followed by my clue.

You learned in my last post that I spent my college internship at Berkley Publishing. Well, about a year later I was working at Dorchester Publishing when a Berkley editor called to tell me an editorial assistant position had opened up there. After interviewing with the two senior editors I’d be working with and writing a few reader reports they offered me the job! I would be working with Berkley’s two “boy book” editors. I learned a lot from those guys and they always kept things fun and interesting.

Soon after one of them would leave editing to become an agent and he became a great source of advice all over again when I decided to “go to the dark side” myself. The other is now an editor at a different house and he and I’ve had more opportunities to work together in an agent/editor capacity. They both have taught me a lot about publishing and I’ll always be grateful to them for giving me my first job at a big publishing house.

My clue: Wolf man's dad. And westerns. Lots of westerns.


Samuel R. Krasney, A Mania for Blondes, Ace, 1961

Seepy Benton Is #11

Top 10 Greatest Mathematicians

Today's Western Movie Poster

Part 3 of the Top Suspense Group Round Robin Story

Top Suspense Group: The Chase--Part 3

And don't forget the contest!

They Should Just Work on their Lawns

Older men want more sex, study finds | Reuters: "The very oldest men are still interested in sex but illness and a lack of opportunity may be holding them back, Australian researchers reported on Monday."

John Lennon Update

My Way News - Rolling Stone releases Lennon's final interview: "[John] Lennon's final interview was released to The Associated Press by Rolling Stone on Wednesday, the 30th anniversary of the musician's death. The issue using the full interview will be on magazine stands on Friday. While brief excerpts of Jonathan Cott's interview with Lennon were released for a 1980 Rolling Stone cover story days after Lennon's death, this is the first time the entire interview has been published."

25 One-Scene Characters That Ought to Have Their Own Movies

25 One-Scene Characters That Ought to Have Their Own Movies

The Dude Abides

Disney's 'Tron' movie reverse-ages Jeff Bridges - Yahoo! News: "In 'Tron: Legacy,' which opens Dec. 17, 61-year-old actor Jeff Bridges will play Kevin Flynn, at his natural age, and a computerized avatar called 'Clu,' who hasn't aged since around the time he was first created in the original 'Tron' in 1982.

Clu bears Bridges' face, altered to make him about 35 years old, but it's grafted onto a younger actor's body.

While it may be eerie for audiences to see a new performance from a younger-looking Bridges, it was no less strange for the actor himself.

'It's bizarre. It's great news for me, because now it means I can play myself at any age,' Bridges said."

Demon Seed

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

And Stay off Her Damn Lawn!

U.K. Woman Ordered to Wear Electronic Tag for Poisoning 47 Cops With Sandwiches - "A former British cafe owner was ordered to wear an electronic tag as punishment for poisoning 47 cops with contaminated tuna sandwiches, the Birmingham Mail reported Tuesday."

Miracle Drug

Daily Aspirin Linked to Steep Drop in Cancer Risk - Yahoo! News: "Long-term use of a daily low-dose aspirin dramatically cuts the risk of dying from a wide array of cancers, a new investigation reveals."

Part 10 of Patti Abbott's Round Robin Story Challenge

La Ronde, Part 10: “It’s Raining Down in Texas”

The Fifth Day of Bookmas #12daysbooks

Bookends has another installment in the contest today. As usual, if you think you know the answer, go to the link and put it in the comments. There will be lots of additional links with clues there, too, so check it out. Let them know how popular I am by clicking in the link. My clue is way down below.

As an editor I loved creating ideas for new books or series. In fact, as an agent I do the same today. The difference is that as an editor I could get pre-approval from my boss, which meant if I found the right author I knew I could buy the book. As an agent it’s more of a risk. I am often asking the author to write a proposal in the hopes that we can sell it to an editor. However, we’ve come up with some great ideas at BookEnds and we’re proud of the authors who have been able to execute them with a great deal of success.

The thing about an idea created by someone else is that it’s not your idea; the truth, though, is that it is your book. No matter how great an idea, the success or failure depends entirely on the author’s ability to make it so. I can have the most amazing, marketable idea in the world, but if the author can’t execute it brilliantly, it’s not going to be that great. And of course, the success of a book depends entirely on the author’s brilliance to create the characters and stories that will grab the readers.

Many years ago I read Caleb Carr’s
The Alienist and fell in love. I was a young editor in a terrific new romance, a romance with New York City, and I couldn’t get enough of anything to do with that city, especially the city’s history. I read The Alienist, all of Edith Wharton’s novels, The Mole People by Jennifer Toth, and Low Life by Luc Sante, to name a few.

During that period of time I developed an idea for a series of books based on this romance of mine. Can you name the series that is still being published today and its author? Keep in mind, other than coming up with the idea, I take no credit for its success. That’s entirely in the hands of brilliant writing.

My clue: A tough turn-of-the-century cop forms an unlikely alliance.

Top Notch Thrillers

Top Notch Thrillers, the new imprint of print-on-demand publisher OSTARA ( celebrates its first year in operation with the re-issue of two classic British thrillers.

John Gardner’s debut novel The Liquidator was originally written as an affectionate spoof of the James Bond genre and featured the cowardly, accident-prone agent ‘Boysie’ Oakes. Originally published in 1964, shortly after the death of Ian Fleming, the Boysie Oakes books were seen as a natural successor to Bond and in the 1970s, John Gardner (by now an established thriller writer) was approached by the estate of Ian Fleming to continue the 007 franchise. In total, Gardner wrote over 50 novels, the last of which was published posthumously in 2008.

Victor Canning (1911-1986) was one of Britain’s best-loved popular novelists, whose first book was published at the age of 23 and whose writing career spanned more than 50 years. The Rainbird Pattern is probably his most famous thriller and won the Crime Writers’ Association’s Silver Dagger in 1972. It was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock (his last film) as Family Plot.

Top Notch Thrillers aims to revive Great British thrillers which do not deserve to be forgotten. Each title is carefully chosen not just for its plot and sense of adventure but for the distinctiveness and sheer quality of its writing.

Free e-Book!

Well, you can't go wrong here. I mean, hey, it's a free book. Here's the info:

Register at to get ITW’s #Watchlist free. Written by 22 authors including Jeffrey Deaver, Joseph Finder, Gayle Lynds, John Land, Lee Child, Lisa Scottoline +more


Jonathan Craig, Frenzy (aka Junkie), Lancer, 1962.

Sarah Monette on Ellery Queen

Introductions All Around: Ellery Queen and Me | | Science fiction and fantasy | Blog posts: "My intention is to write a series of posts about Ellery Queen’s transformation from a deliberately assembled (or jumbled, as Dickinson says) detective to a three-dimensional character, and about the ways in which Ellery’s metamorphosis is reflected in the novels surrounding him. Or, to put it another way, the process by which Ellery Queen (Dannay and Lee) went from writing typical Golden Age detective fiction to writing quirky, self-interrogatory mystery novels."

Link via SF Signal.

Part 2 of the Top Suspense Group Round Robin Story

Top Suspense Group: The Chase--Part 2

See if you can guess who wrote what. Contest details are here.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Scorpion-Spider Bug Hybrid: New Pseudoscorpion Species, Parobisium Yosemite, Documented For First Time By James Cokendolpher (VIDEO): "The Parobisium yosemite, commonly known as the Yosemite cave pseudoscorpion, has quite the fearsome appearance. However, coming in at a little under half an inch, the arachnid is not capable of doing much damage to anything larger than an eighth of an inch.

Texas Tech University researcher James C. Cokendolpher recently documented the pseudoscorpion, which was discovered in the granite rockfall caves of Yosemite National Park three to four years ago, according to Texas Tech University. The tiny predator has the pincers of a scorpion, but the body of a spider. It has eight legs, but no post-abdomen stinger. The creature does not move often, nor does it require a lot of nourishment."

Hat tip to Seepy Benton.

Something to Look Forward to in the New Year

New Essay by Robert Skinner

Crimeculture: "Into the Shadows: The Role of the City in the Roman Noir"

Check it out.

Today's Western Movie Poster

10 Most Infamous Female Criminals

10 Most Infamous Female Criminals


Teens in U.S. Rank 25th on Math Test, Trail in Science, Reading - Bloomberg: "Fifteen-year-old students in the U.S. ranked 25th of 34 countries on an international math test and scored in the middle of the pack in science and reading, raising concerns the U.S. isn’t prepared to succeed in the global economy.

Teenagers from South Korea and Finland led in almost all academic categories on the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment, according to the Paris-based Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, which represents 34 countries. U.S. students ranked 17th in science and 14th in reading. The U.S. government considers the OECD test one of the most comprehensive measures of international achievement."

Kill Bill (Shakespeare, That Is)

Shakespeare Superheroes Suffer Slings and Arrows in Comic Book: "Two Canadian writers have taken Shakespeare's most famous characters and put them in a 'Lord of the Rings'-type quest, and that has lovers of the Immortal Bard grumbling whether it is to be or not to be.

The comic book in question is called 'Kill Shakespeare' and features Shakespearean celebs like Hamlet, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet battling it out against Lady MacBeth, Iago and Richard III to see who can find a mysterious wizard named Shakespeare."

12 Amazing Authors Who Died Far Too Young

12 Amazing Authors Who Died Far Too Young

How Do You Cook . . . oh, I See

Deals: Week of 12/6/10: "DeCaro Gets in the 'Celebrity' Kitchen

Laura Dail at the Laura Dail Agency sold world rights to a humorous cookbook by comedian Frank DeCaro called The Dead Celebrity Cookbook. Michele Matrisciani at HCI acquired the book, which includes recipes from dead celebrities, and which Dail described as 'a mix of nostalgia, food, pop culture, and cooking.' The book will contain actual and fake recipes, everything from Liberace's sticky buns to Dinah Shore's brisket."

Pearl Harbor

Monday, December 06, 2010

No Joke

Priest, rabbi and monk bless 'cursed' burger joint - "A catholic priest, rabbi and Buddhist monk walked into a new burger joint in Chelsea today to bless the place.

The Buddhist monk turned to the priest and said, “This is my first time blessing a burger joint.” The priest doesn’t say much, just sprinkles some holy water, but the rabbi said, “The last restaurant I did was a hot dog joint in New Jersey.”


The religious men gathered to try to break a curse on 470 W. 23rd St., the new home of New York Burger Co.’s third franchise. Over the years, about ha
lf a dozen restaurants have opened and quickly closed there."

Hat tip to Art Scott.


Breaking News - FX Cancels "Terriers" | "FX is not renewing its drama series 'Terriers' for a second season.

Don Meredith, R. I. P.

Don Meredith, Cosell’s Foil, Dies at 72 - "ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Don Meredith, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback who served as a folksy foil for Howard Cosell on ABC's 'Monday Night Football' and helped carve out the niche for colorful ex-athlete broadcasters, has died. 'Dandy Don,' as he was known, was 72.

Meredith's wife, Susan, told The Associated Press her husband died Sunday in Santa Fe after suffering a brain hemorrhage and lapsing into a coma. She and her daughter were at Meredith's side when he died.

'He was the best there was,' she said Monday, describing him as kind, warm and funny. 'We lost a good one.'

Update: Click here for a nice photo restrospective.

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

The Twelve Days of Bookmas -- Day 4 #12daysbooks

BookEnds, LLC — A Literary Agency is ready to go again. Here's today's game. If you want to guess, go to the link and post your answer in the comments. I'll give my clue at the end of the post.

Way back in the dark ages when I was in college (before cell phones, Google, and corporate websites), it wasn’t easy to find a publishing internship. I sifted through 1,000-page books to find companies that might be open to hiring a summer intern. I wrote to about 15 companies. I received only one positive response. Most of the other houses didn’t even have an internship program at that time. But Putnam Berkley was interested. They requested I travel from Penn State to New York City for an interview.

When I walked into the Human Resources office, I started to get really excited. The walls were adorned with blown-up covers of my two absolutely favorite authors. When I sat down with the HR director (right after my typing test — yes . . . on an honest-to-goodness typewriter), she asked me about my reading preferences. Bursting with enthusiasm, I spit out, “Well, I’m just so thrilled, because my two favorite authors are “Joe Schmo” and “Jane Doe” and I see that you publish them both!” The HR woman looked back at me grimly and just said, “Joe Schmo actually moved to another house last week.”


Well, “Jane Doe” is still there, and with the same editor. So I was one for two, anyway.

My clue: Huge sellers for Putnam Berkley in paperback in the typewriter days.

And Stay off Her Damn Lawn!

Woman held on bail after cop shoots himself with Taser - Chicago Breaking News: "A 56-year-old woman was ordered held on bail today after being charged with resisting arrest and causing a police officer to Taser himself by mistake, officials said."

A Contest and a Story

Top Suspense Group: TSG's round robin short story contest starts!: "For the next 12 days we'll be posting a story segment written by the original members of the Top Suspense Group (Max Allan Collins, Vicki Hendricks, Ed Gorman, Bill Crider, Harry Shannon and Dave Zeltserman). After 12 days the story will be finished (one way or the other), and we'll be offering free books to the first 5 people who can match each segment to the author who wrote it!

The rules for us in writing this story: no planning, no coordination, no safety nets. Each day one of us wrote up to 250 words of a short story and passed it onto the next writer, with each writer eventually working on two segments. The only leeway was the last writer got to go past the 250 word limit to try to finish up the story, and the only editing done was for consistency errors."

Here's the Plot for Your Next Big Caper Novel

$100 Bill: The Fed Has a $110 Billion Problem with New Benjamins - CNBC: "A significant production problem with new high-tech $100 bills has caused government printers to shut down production of the new notes and to quarantine more than one billion of the bills in huge vaults in Fort Worth, Texas and Washington, DC, CNBC has learned."


Dan Cushman, Jewel of the Java Sea, Gold Medal, 1959.

Art Imitates "Art"?

If you've read the book, you must have been reminded of it by this panel in yesterday's Beetle Bailey.

What the World Has Been Waiting For

'American Psycho' musical in the works - "Move over, Sweeney Todd -- another singing psycho is nearing his Broadway debut.

The tale of Patrick Bateman -- a fictional Wall Street banker obsessed with designer clothes, Phil Collins, rape and murder -- is going to drench the Great White Way in blood in 'American Psycho: The Musical,' producers of the show told The Post."

And Stay off Her Lawn!

Quirky News | Orange UK: "An 82-year-old great grandmother has amazed fitness fans in China with her astonishing feats of kung fu.

Zhao Yufang performs her eye-watering feats of flexibility every day in a park near her home in the Chinese capital Beijing.

She is a master in Shaolin kung fu and T'ai Chi, and has also studied yoga for more than 70 years."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Croc Update (Romantic Tribute Edition)

Love-struck crocodiles at Aussie tourist spot renamed William and Kate | "A CROCODILE park in northern Australia has paid tribute to Britain's Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton in true style, by naming two love-struck crocs in honor of the Royal couple."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Will the Persecution Never End?

Brooke Mueller Enters Sober Living Facility | "'[She] is doing it to maintain her health,' attorney Yale Galanter says.

Kathy Hilton told Us Magazine that her friend was 'fine and taking preventative measures' for her health.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, rumors spread that Mueller had entered a treatment center after partying too hard with Paris Hilton. 'I did not go to rehab. The story is ridiculous,' Mueller told Us at the time. 'I am healthy and happy.'"

If You Haven't Finished Your Christmas Shopping . . .

Rare U.S. national anthem score on auction in New York | Mail Online: "A first edition of the U.S. national anthem sheet music, with its signature typo in the title, is set to go on sale in New York along with dozens of presidential letters and rare American documents.

The 1814 lyrics and music of The Star-Spangled Banner, the last of 11 total copies to be in private hands, will be sold later today at Christie's auction house in New York.

Christie's estimates it could fetch up to $300,000."

The Contract

Sunday, December 05, 2010

No Comment Department

Accused mink, bronze and copper thieves, rapists, robbers, burglars and drunken driver who killed a man: Court Watch | "Nakita Norman, 44, and Annette Murchison, 42, both of Cleveland: Hearing today on theft charges. They are accused of taking two mink coats Nov. 16 from Sword Furs on Center Ridge Road in Westlake. Prosecutors say Murchison and an unidentified man distracted employees while Norman stuffed the coats, valued at $5,000, in her pants."

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

Dave Barry’s Guide to Holiday Gifts

Dave Barry’s Guide to Holiday Gifts - Dave Barry -

I wouldn't ordinarily link to this, but this year is special because Jeff Meyerson, a frequent commenter here, contributed one of the items. Check it out.

Lawrence Block Update

I highly recommend clicking the link and reading the entire thing. - Earl Kemp: eI53 - e*I* Vol. 9 No. 6: "Let me plunge right in. I’ve recently inked a deal with an e–book publisher, Open Road Media, and by the year’s end they’ll be bringing out forty backlist titles of mine in that medium. Included are the five early crime novels recently reissued by Hard Case Crime, along with all the other out–of–print crime fiction I published under my own name, or under the now–transparent pen names of Chip Harrison and Paul Kavanagh.

But that’s not all. They’ll also be reissuing the seven books I wrote as Jill Emerson, my very first novel (Strange Are the Ways of Love, by Lesley Evans), a romantic espionage novel nobody knows I wrote (Passport to Peril, by Anne Campbell Clark), and a couple of books each by Sheldon Lord and Andrew Shaw.

Toward that end, I volunteered to write afterwords or end notes for each book, and that’s been an interesting couple of weeks’ work."


David DeReszke, The Nine Dragon Man, Pyramid, 1975

Georges Simenon Update

Georges Simenon: Review of Pedigree by Nathaniel Rich - The Daily Beast: "Where do popular novelists go when they die? Harold Robbins, author of The Carpetbaggers and A Stone for Danny Fisher, sold 750 million books during his lifetime, but 13 years after his death his heirs struggle to keep him in print. Barbara Cartland, who sold more than a billion romance novels, was barely known outside of her genre even while she was alive. Sidney Sheldon, Enid Blyton, and Gilbert Patten, each of whom sold several hundred million books, are careening toward oblivion as rapidly.

Then there’s the case of Georges Simenon, whose nearly 200 novels have been purchased half a billion times. Simenon is now, 20 years since his death, enjoying a renaissance—not as a popular novelist, but as a critical darling. Simenon would be gratified by this. At 34, he predicted he’d win the Nobel Prize within 10 years, but he was dismissed as a hack by critics and the academy for the rest of his life. The fact that he published so often (about six titles a year) no doubt aroused the suspicion of critics who subscribed to the old myth that great novels require years of brooding concentration. Simenon boasted that writing a novel took him two weeks."

Hot Enough for You?

World’s hottest pepper is ‘hot enough to strip paint’ - Yahoo! News: "Fiery food mavens seeking to one-up each other now have to gear up for a whole new test of culinary bravado: the world's hottest chili pepper.

Yes, the Naga Viper, the latest claimant to the world's-hottest-pepper crown, outdistances its predecessor, the Bhut Jolokia, or 'ghost chili,' by more than 300,000 points on the famous Scoville scale of tongue-scorching chili hotness."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Yet Another List I'm Not On

Notable Crime Books of 2010 -

There's One I'm Not Sure About

Weirdest Gifts For Your Nerdy Loved Ones

Here's Plot for Your Next Prison Thriller

Tobacco ban blamed in prison violence | Front page | - Houston Chronicle: "A long-standing ban on tobacco in Texas prisons meant to curb smoking-related disease is fueling a black market economy that breeds jailhouse violence and corrupts correctional officers, according to a new study examining inappropriate relationships between guards and inmates."

Here's the Plot for Your Next Cremation Thriller

WLS-AM 890: "A north suburban funeral director will spend six months in jail after pleading guilty Thursday to an elaborate scheme to cover up a mix-up involving the cremated remains of two people."

The Loch Ness Horror