Saturday, April 28, 2007

Son of Elmore

First Deal for a New Leonard - 4/27/2007 - Publishers Weekly: "Elmore Leonard’s son Peter Leonard has made a deal for his first novel, titled Quiver, with Peter Wolverton at Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Minotaur, via Jeffrey Posternak at the Wylie Agency. This crime caper is set in and around the Leonard family’s home turf of Detroit and centers on a recent widow struggling with her teenage son when her first love, an ex-con, reappears. The elder Leonard, who was reportedly unimpressed with a short story his son wrote in college, has enthusiastically endorsed this new literary effort. No pub date yet. SMP holds North American rights."

Gonzales, Texas

Yesterday I was sitting in a cab stuck in traffic trying to get in the tunnel between Manhattan and Queens. Today I cruised through the Texas countryside on the way to Gonzales with not a human, house, or even another car in sight.

Not many Texas towns can boast of a history like that of Gonzales, which was the site of the first Anglo settlement in the state. It was also the site of the first battle of the Texas Revolution, and the town was burned to the ground in 1836 by Sam Houston, who feared that the buildings and supplies would fall into the hands of the Mexican army. The town was later rebuilt, and today there are a lot of interesting old buildings. The statue on the left, which sits on the town square, is a memorial to the Confederate War dead. It was dedicated in 1909. Not many statues like that one around in Texas these days.

The signing was another humbling experience because Elmer Kelton was signing, too. I think Elmer outsold me easily four to one, but it's always a pleasure to talk to him. He's one of the nicest guys in the writing game.

New Issue of Crime and Suspense Now On-Line

The May issue of Crime and Suspense is now on-line. Check it out here.

At the Edgar Reception

Sandy Balzo chats up Stephen King while Dave Barry talks to someone else. I got to talk to Barry quite a big because I mentioned Jeff Meyerson's name; that was the key. I also introduced Ted Hertel to Barry by using Jeff's name. So if you ever meet Dave Barry, you know know how to start a conversation.

I got to talk to Stephen King quite a bit, too. I reminded him that we'd met before, at the World Fantasy Convention in Ft. Worth, Texas, back around 1979 or so. He signed my copy of Night Shift in an elevator. Surprisingly, he didn't remember the incident. Even more surprisingly, he didn't even remember the convention.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Mike Ripley's Latest Column Posted at Shots Magazine

Shots eZine, Mike Ripley's Column April 2007: "I never realised until the other day that my all-time favourite (and campest) Viking film, The Long Ships, was co-scripted by thriller-writer and former Chairman of the Crime Writers Association, Berkely Mather."

Anybody who likes The Long Ships is all right by me. Check out this post to see why. (You'll notice that I long ago discovered that Mather wrote the script and that I, too, appreciate his novels.)

I'd Blog about This, . . .

. . . but I've sworn off. Still, it's nice to see a certain body being put to such a good use.

Thanks to John Duke for the link.

We're Home!

Exactly 11 hours after leaving the hotel, we walked into our house. What a relief. I never thought we'd make it. Of course many of the people who were delayed were in worse shape than we were, including the woman who missed the van to Galveston by about 45 minutes. I have a lot more pictures, and maybe I'll get around to posting a few. Eventually.

And the Crider, Never Flitting. . .

Still is sitting, STILL is sitting,
On the dirty airport floor.

Okay, not the floor, but "sitting" is accurate. So far the delay has been an hour and a half, but the posted ETD is clearly a lie, since the plane that's taking us out hasn't arrived yet. I figure another hour, at the best. I'm not a patient guy, even at the best of times, and this isn't the best of times. But I'll get by. I hope.

Sitting in JFK Airport

JetBlue has free wifi, and our flight is delayed. I guess this is good news/bad news. I knew when I saw the weather this morning that a delay was likely, but when I checked with JetBlue, the flight was on time. Now that I'm here, it's delayed. Figures. Here's a cheerful shot of me in my tux to brighten the day.

Judy and Stephen King

We' re packing up, but here's another Edgar story. At the nominee reception last night there were only a few tables, so Judy and I grabbed one. I left to go talk to some people, and when I came back, Stephen King was in my chair, chatting up Judy. She didn't even try to save my seat.

The weather's lousy this morning, so I'm just hoping that JetBlue won't have us sitting on the runway for hours. I have to do a signing tomorrow in Gonzales, Texas, a long way from Alvin. Not much if any posting until Sunday, I expect.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bobby "Boris" Pickett R. I. P.

Thanks to Scott Cupp for the link. NewsFlash - 'Monster Mash' singer Pickett dies at 69: "NEW YORK (AP) — He does the 'Monster Mash' no more. Bobby 'Boris' Pickett, whose dead-on Boris Karloff impression propelled the Halloween anthem to the top of the charts in 1962, making him one of pop music's most enduring one-hit wonders, has died of leukemia. He was 69.

Pickett, dubbed 'The Guy Lombardo of Halloween,' died Wednesday night at the West Los Angeles Veterans Hospital, said his longtime manager, Stuart Hersh. His daughter, Nancy, and his sister, Lynda, were at Pickett's bedside.

'Monster Mash' hit the Billboard chart three times: when it debuted in 1962, reaching No. 1 the week before Halloween; again in August 1970, and for a third time in May 1973. The resurrections were appropriate for a song where Pickett gravely intoned the forever-stuck-in-your-head chorus: 'He did the monster mash. ... It was a graveyard smash.'"

Edgar Winners

And the winners are:

ImageIt gives us great pleasure to announce the winners of the 2007 Edgar® Awards (for books, short stories, TV episodes, etc.) published or produced in 2006.


The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson (Random House)


Snakeskin Shamisen by Naomi Hirahara (Bantam Dell Publishing – Delta Books)


Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson
(HarperCollins – William Morrow)


The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear
by E.J. Wagner (John Wiley & Sons)


"The Home Front" – Death Do Us Part by Charles Ardai
(Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)


Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)


Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready (Penguin YR – Dutton Children's Books)


Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure by Steven Dietz (Arizona Theatre Company)


Life on Mars – Episode 1, Teleplay by Matthew Graham (BBC America)


The Wire, Season 4, Teleplays by Ed Burns, Kia Corthron, Dennis Lehane, David Mills, Eric Overmyer, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, David Simon & William F. Zorzi (Home Box Office)


The Departed, Screenplay by William Monahan (Warner Bros. Pictures)

My Fifteen Minutes are Over

In brief, Charles Ardai won the Edgar for best short story, but it was an honor just to be nominated.

Thanks to all for your support!

Today's Walk

We toddled off to the Empire State Building this morning. We'd been up to the deck before, so we didn't to that, but we wanted to drop by and go inside the building. On the way back we saw the Pierpont Morgan Library, but only from the outside. We also went back to the Chrysler Building just for fun.

This afternoon I'll go to the EQMM/AHMM party and then the MWA reception for the Edgar nominees. And finally the banquet. I think my Internet subscription expires before the banquet's over, so I won't be letting you know whether I won or lost for best short story. I truly don't expect to win, but since I was told that there were over 500 stories in the category, it really is an honor just to be nominated. Not that anybody's going to remember beyond the weekend, anyway.

Tomorrow we'll be heading home. It's about time. The cats are probably missing us.

Grand Central & the Chrysler Building

Judy at the Empire State Building

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Today's Tour

We mostly rested today. However, since the hotel is joined to Grand Central Station, we decided we'd like to explore it a little more than we had time to do with Jeff and Jackie. We didn't know until later that many trains were delayed today because of an accident, so we were surprised to find that the terminal wasn't very crowded.

This suited our purposes perfectly because we wanted to test out the acoustics near the Oyster Bar restaurant. Walter Satterthwait had told me that because of the construction of the ceiling spanning the hallway in front of the restaurant that it was possible to stand on one side of the hall, speak in a quiet to normal voice, and be heard perfectly by a person standing on the other side. We tried it out, and, sure enough, Walter wasn't kidding. Judy was amazed. (The photo is of Judy in the main terminal, not near the Oyster Bar.)

It took me two days (I'm quick on the uptake) to realize that the Chrysler Building was across the street from our hotel. Since that's one of my favorite buildings, we went across to have a look. The entrances are great, and so is the lobby. So are the elevator doors and lobby ceiling. That's the only part of the building that's open to the public, but I really enjoyed seeing it.

Late this afternoon I went to the MWA reception. The hotel is on 42nd Street, and the reception was on 59th. I asked the concierge how to get there. "You can walk it easily," she said. "Ten minutes." So I took off, in a light drizzle. I had an umbrella and felt like a native. But I need to find that concierge and say, "Liar, liar, pants on fire." I'm a good walker, but no way could I cover 17 blocks in 10 minutes. Of course the traffic lights may have had something to do with that. And the crowds. I did get there, though, and I got back, too, so all's well that ends well.

The Apollo

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Judy at the Chrysler Building

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Discovering New Mysteries

At the International Mystery Writers' Festival: Kentucky resident Gary Sandy may be most well-known for his role as Andy Travis, the handsome WKRP in Cincinnati Program Director, but his true love for the theatre is no longer a mystery!
Following Sandy's years on the CBS sitcom, he made numerous TV guest appearances in Murder She Wrote, F.B.I. the Untold Story, L.A. Law, and Diagnosis Murder. But, his true passion has come from his more than 70 theatrical productions, including Milo Tindle in Sleuth, Mortimer in the Broadway revival of Arsenic and Old Lace, the Pirate King in the Broadway production of The Pirates of Penzance and Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire.
The International Mystery Writers' Festival is pleased to have Kentucky's Gary Sandy joining the cast for Ed McBain's Final Curtain to play in the main theatre, Cannon Hall at RiverPark Center, during the week of the festival.

Long Day

We've been sightseeing again. Today we went on the harbor cruise and took in the UN. Among many other things. What with yesterday and today, we've seen most of Manhattan. Now there are only four more boroughs to go.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Jackie and Judy at the Library

On-Line at Last

Okay, after a mere 20 minutes or so with the T-mobile help line, I've managed to get the wireless network beamed to my computer. Nothing is ever easy when it comes to me and computers. Probably everybody in the U.S. could come to the Grand Hyatt and get on the network instantly. Not me. But all seems to be working fine now. Life is good.

The Naked City

We just got back from our whirlwind walking tour of a small portion of NYC. Are there 8 million stories in the naked city? I think there must be even more. There must have been 8 million people on the streets today, at least.

We saw, among other things, Grand Central Station, the Flatiron Building (where we paid a surprise visit to Ruth Cavin, my editor at St. Martin's), Washington Square, a bit of Greenwich Village, Ground Zero, St. Paul's Church, and Chinatown.

Without Jeff and Jackie Meyerson as our indefatigable guides, we'd never have seen 1/10 of that, much less survived the subway at rush hour. Thanks, Jeff and Jackie!

The Internet

Now they tell me that I can get an "Internet kit" at the front desk that will allow me to have wireless access. I have my doubts, but I'll check into that tomorro evening. Right now I'm pounding away on this keyboard that might or might not produce a letter or space. I figure it works about 75% of the time or so.

The weather looks great today, and we're meeting the Meyersons soon.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

So Here We Are

We're in the Grand Hyatt right next to Grand Central Station, paying an ungodly sum for a night's stay. And guess what. The only Internet access is through the TV set with a keyboard that's almost as sensitive as an anvil. And it costs extra. In a La Quinta you get free wireless. Here in the Big Apple you're sort of back in the dark ages. Sad, when you think about it.

The good news is that we're very happy with our flight on JetBlue. Very comfortable seat, lots more legroom than on any flight we've taken lately, and even satellite TV at every seat.

This Internet deal really sucks, though.

Gator Update

Alligator found basking in Huntington Village - "All spring's harbingers were on display on Saturday afternoon -- gorgeous blue skies, budding flowers, birds fluttering through the trees, an alligator sunbathing by a Huntington Village pond.

Wait a minute.

'Generally speaking,' said Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk County SPCA, 'alligators are not found in ponds in Long Island.'

Yet there it was -- 30-inches long, toothy and leathery green with yellow stripes -- sitting on the side of Pauldings Pond, a small pool of golden reeds at the intersection of Southdown Road and Tanyard Lane.

To be exact, it was an American alligator, 3 years old, gender unknown, native to the South and illegal in New York State, Gross said."


As I get older, I like traveling less and less. My father, by the time he'd reached this age, had a firm rule: he never went anywhere that would require an overnight stay. I'm getting more like him every day. In fact, I'm perfectly happy right here in this little room where I'm sitting in front of my computer, surrounded by books. Why should I go anywhere?

Nevertheless, Judy and I are leaving today for New York City, where we'll be until next Friday. We'll see what we can see, and I'll probably have time to do a few little reports about our trip for the blog. Tomorrow, Jackie and Jeff Meyerson (a frequent commenter here) will be showing us around town a little, for which we're grateful. On our own, we're totally lost. We're such yokels that we can barely find our way around a hotel, much less a place like NYC.

After we get home next Friday, I have to go to Gonzales, Texas, for a book signing the very next day. It's about a three-hour drive, so I'll be able to come back home that evening. That's good. Anyway, if any of you happen to be in Gonzales next Saturday, stop by and say "hey."

The following Wednesday we have to drive up to Judy's hometown and take Judy's mother to the doctor in Waco. I'll have to stay overnight, but I can manage that.

Then on May 6 we're going to Galveston for a show by Bernadette Peters at the Grand Opera House. After that, maybe things will settle down a bit. I sure hope so.

Baseball Card of the Day