Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hammett, Inventor of the Hardboiled Detective

I've been mulling over my next mystery novel.  I've shifted from my past works and taken on paranormal themes. Right now I have a novel with the literary agent, called The Witch's Daughter.  The story revolves around a cold case murder and an unlikely trio looking for the killer.  A down on his luck newspaper reporter, a disturbed psychic and a Gothic witch team up to find the killer.

I'm also finishing a new novel called The Blood Bond about a small hidden community run by shapeshifter with a thirst for blood. Although I first planned to send this one off to the literary agent, I am starting to think going it alone from the beginning. My agent does a great job but publishers are not readily buying. Or rather they want someone with a proven track record, a band of loyal followers, and some big sales under his belt. The problem I see is most writers who are doing well on their own probably don't care about taking on a publisher.  Unless the publisher is a big name with a multi-million dollar advance who wants the added baggage?

Recently I've been kicking around something paranormal but hardboiled.  Perhaps a period piece from the 40's or earlier.  A time when gumshoes swilled cheap booze, and thugs carried gats, and a dame with great gams could go places.  I started looking around for a movie, and found a 1982 flick about Samuel Dashiell Hammett. Here is a trailer for the movie.

Although the movie is fiction, the man led a life as daring as the characters he wrote about.  He served in WWI and WWII. Had TB. Drank hard and chained smoked.  Worked as a private detective. Was married. Had a few lovers. Was blacklisted as a communist in the 1950's.  He died in 1984 leaving behind a legacy of short stories and novels that included The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man.

Raymond Chandler said about Hammett: "He was spare, frugal, hard-boiled, but he did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Spotlight on Paul Draker and Author Marketing Book Club

Spotlight on Paul Draker

I had the pleasure of reading of Paul Draker’s debut novel, New Year Island, prior to publication, and all I can say is WOW!  Ten strangers are plunked down on an isolated Island as part of reality show.  Ten strangers with ten secrets. Then one dies in a horrible accident and now there are nine.  If you are fan of Agatha Christie’s who-done-it, And Then There Were None, this one is for you. Only be warned this read is gritty, fast-paced and sure to keep you reading late into the night. A great read for $2.99. Eight…Seven…Six… The countdown continues. Who will survive New Year Island?

Author Marketing Club

I joined recently the Author Marketing Club and am overwhelmed by so many ideas to promote my novel Claws of the Griffin.  I just redid the Book Description using their Amazon Enhanced Description Maker. Stop by and check it out.

Also, the price is still 99 cents for until the end of the month.  October first it goes back up.  Don’t hesitate. Grab your copy today.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A dark figure, an old wound, and grass seed

This week I offer another cut from Claws of the Griffin.  In this excerpt, Sheriff Stacey Goodnight and Deputy Poole investigate a break-in at the local home and garden center.  They are walking down an aisle in the store, checking for the intruder.

     In the recess between the rack of garden tools and shelves of insect spray was an emergency door. The shelf of cans blocked the light of their flashlights, making the exit dark and forbidding. She squinted, staring into the black. Something didn’t look right. The shadow bulged and swelled against the rack of tools.

     A shovel arced overhead, the spade end targeting the back of Poole's head.

    She lunged and tackled him. His gun and the flashlights slid down the aisle. The shovel clanged against floor. The shadow leaped out, crashed into the cans of insect spray, and caused an avalanche.

    “What the—?” came Poole's astonished cry.

    Stacey groped for the gun, crawling over his body, grabbed it and a flashlight. She rolled to her stomach and aimed the light down the aisle.

   The dark figure raced toward the back room, knocking over a display advertising the perfect lawn. Boxes split open and dumped grass seed across the aisle.

   She scrambled to her feet and ran after him. Her old leg wound flared up. The pain shot into her hip like someone stabbing her with an ice pick. Bouncing along with a noticeable wobble, she raced toward the back room.

Claws of the Griffin is available from Amazon.