Posts Categorized: The Writing Life

There are times I get the odd review from readers and critics that my characters are too glib or too articulate to be tough guys.  Or, “real people don’t talk like that”.  Early in my writing career, I wrote a Young Adult novel that was rejected because, “young people aren’t this articulate or humorous” (now you know why more teens don’t read). If you met my four kids and their friends you would find that some people (those with intellect and a sense of humor) do talk like that.  Why? Because they are well-read, articulate and intelligent and each possess a well-developed sense of humor. Second, if you met my friends, you would likewise acknowledge... more

Read More of Real People Don’t Talk Like That

This past weekend was busy and way too much fun. I made two appearances to promote my novel, Double Wide, and both went extremely well. The first, on Saturday, was at Clues Unlimited, a well-known mystery bookshop in Tucson. It has a certain charm, obvious as soon as you step inside and meet the store’s mascot, Bosco, a retired Greyhound racing dog. I had a couple of Milk Bones in my pocket. I have pooches of my own and usually carry treats. My wife, Teresa, thinks I’m nutso about dogs. Doesn’t everyone carry Milk Bones?  The store is cozy and we had a good crowd, so owner Chris Burke moved us next door into a church. Double Wide was excerpted in the Tucson Weekly -- along... more

Read More of Leo Banks takes his “Double Wide” On the Road

As some of you may have heard by now, earlier this year I was diagnosed with stage III prostate cancer. I began hormone treatment seven weeks ago, and a week from tomorrow I will undergo a high dose brachytherapy (internal radiation) procedure at the University of Virginia Emily Couric Cancer Center followed by five weeks of external beam radiation. I'm told my prognosis is good. While the tumor is aggressive and locally advanced, scans have revealed no evidence of metastatic disease, and the cancer at this stage is apparently curable. I'm also feeling well physically; I continue to work and since the onset of my treatment have mostly been able to go about my daily routine. How cancer... more

Read More of Andy Straka: On Cancer, Vulnerability and Action Heroes

According to Otto Penzler, the Grand Master Speaketh too long, actually, in accepting his “Edgar” at the banquet last Thursday at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. I told Otto that maybe I should have dropped the thank you that I gave him for publishing the Mike Hammer short story collection recently. The banquet found me dressed in my James Bond Halloween costume. I was in great company – not only my wife Barb, but my agent Dominick Abel, Barbara Allan’s editor Michaela Hamilton (whose guests we were), Lee Goldberg and Joel Goldman of Brash Books, and Charles Ardai of Hard Case Crime, among others. We had ringside seats, and were right there to helplessly watch M.C. Jeffrey... more

Read More of Max Allan Collins: The Grandmaster Speaketh

Patrick E. McLean is the author of the novella The Lucky Dime, out now, and the novel The Soak, coming in May, both featuring a professional thief named Hobbs. Publishers Weekly raved in their review of The Soak that "Richard Stark fans will relish heistmeister Hobbs, an older Parker in everything but name." In this essay, Patrick discusses why he loves to write and read heist novels. The first part of the answer is I obviously like writing non-heroic or actively anti-heroic characters. It’s a bit difficult to make that sympathetic with a serial killer, but a thief/criminal mastermind is easier to pull off. Deep down, I guess I’ve always loved those kind of stories. And,... more

Read More of Patrick E. McLean: The Lure of the Heist

Thanks to all of you who responded warmly to my update last week about the recently published “new and expanded” Road to Perdition prose novel. The sequel, Road to Purgatory, has just been reprinted by Brash Books in a uniform edition, and Road to Paradise will follow later this year or early next. So, with your patience, I’ll talk a little about how Road to Purgatory came about, and the challenges involved. The original graphic novel concept of Road to Perdition was developed for DC Comics editor Andy Helfer. Initially the plan was to do three 300-page graphic novels, each serialized in 100-page installments (the final book as... more

Read More of Max Allan Collins: Traveling the Long, Winding road to PURGATORY