Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2011's Hottest New Authors: A Prediction

"Les Edgerton on the edge of some serious fame with "The Bitch" and an ice cold Bud!"

I'll be on the road for a couple of days, but I wanted to get one more post in before I take off for America. I haven't been home other than for a few nights since Oct 16, so when I finally do land I'm gonna sleep for a while...

Anyway, it's getting towards the end of the year and in terms of professional advancement, it's been my best year ever thanks to some new associations with a great new forward thinking publisher and the hard work ethic of my soon to retire agent, Janet Benrey.

What will the new year bring?
My prediction is that Kindle sales will double or perhaps even triple this year's sales. Same for other e-book readers. Paper will remain strong however, but there will be shorter runs as the old model of bookstore returns goes the way of the dinosaur, and indie presses go from little and obscure to formidable and much sought out. One thing that won't change however, is great writing. So who are the authors who will be leading the way? I can't say I really know for sure, but I can wager a few intelligent guesses. Here's a list of just a few authors who via indie press, traditional small press, self-published press or even major New York press, are absolutely going to turn the hard-boiled lit scene on its head. They are as follows, off the top of my head:

1. Heath Lowrance. Heath is fast becoming one of the most sought out experts on noir and all things hard-boiled. He's also one hell of an author, and the good people at New Pulp Press are putting out his first novel, The Bastard Hand, early next year. Watch and see this one hit the number 1 spot in hard-boiled fiction.

2. Richard Godwin. Richard's English but he doesn't right cozy Victorian mysteries. He writes dark, horror-filled, police procedurals with a poet's grace and accuracy of language. His first novel, Apostle Rising, is blurbed by me and it was an honor to do so.

3. Dean DeLuke. Who's Dean DeLuke you ask? An upstate New Yorker like me, who decided to dust off a manuscript he'd been storing in his drawer to maybe try and get published. When there were no takers, he put up the dough to self-publish it on Kindle, and in hardcover. Now Shedrow is a bestseller in hard-boiled, medical thrillers, and one of "Suspense Magazine's" top Medial Thriller picks for 2010. Mr. DeLuke is currently writing another.

4. Aaron Patterson. I love this guy because like me, he started out as a construction worker. Also like me, he can't spell worth of crapp, but boy oh boy, can he write serious thrillers or what. He also writes "clean" thrillers, a concept that was only introduced to me some months ago. At first, I didn't think a hard-boiled "clean" novel could be done, but he's proven not just me, but the whole freaking world wrong. His Sweet Dreams has been in the top 10 for bestselling hard-boiled thrillers for months and months and months, and he sells way more Kindles than many majors like Harlan or Mr. King.

5. Charlie Huston. Actually Charlie has already made his mark as a major player backed by a major house. I include him here however because he hasn't peaked. Not by a long shot. I've said it before and I'll say it again, young Mr. Huston writes the best noir prose word for word, sentence for sentence, graph for graph, than anybody in the business, never mind me. He is, quite simply, the best of us all. And he's only just getting started with books like, Caught Stealing, that have already become classics.

6. Les Edgerton. I just read his newest hard-boiled effort, The Bitch, and I realized I didn't once breath through the entire thing. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but it is one of the most fun, dangerous, if not pyromanic literary performances of the past year (word up is that parts of it are taken from Les's own life. Holy crap, this guy shouldn't be alive!). From what I understand, he's looking for a publisher. I would try and persuade the old school bestselling pro to perhaps seek out a new, e-book-based, indie pub like New Pulp or StoneGate for this novel, but I think Les wants to try and persuade one of the New York editorial cats to take a gamble. Listen up NYC, The Bitch ain't a gamble. Like Les's previous bestselling nonfiction effort on writing, Hooked, this novel is a sure bet.

Well, obviously there are another 100 authors that aren't exactly coming to mind right now, but I also don't know what freakin' day it is. But you can take my word for it and look these guys up. Buy up their books for the holidays and tell all your friends that you got in on the ground floor of hard-boiled fiction's future.

See ya when I get home!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Month in Tuscany

"Veeeenceeent...you rawwwk!"

Sounds like the title to a cheesy romance novel doesn't it. You know, writer comes to Italy to be alone and work on a new novel, and meets up with some ravishing Italian woman who is years younger, unbelievably drop-dead gorgeous, and can't speak a lick of English other than something like, "You rock!." So even if she's angry with you, she screams, "You rock, VEEENcent! You very very rock!" Something like that.

Ok, I'm not going to comment on whether or not I did actually meet the ravishing Italian woman (in other words, I'm not going to deny or confirm such an event took place). But I can tell you this: I came to Italy for a month to work on my new novel, which now has a title I'm going to stick to (unless you guys tell me to change it): Death by Moonlight.

That's right, it's a new Moonlight thriller, and just as a teaser, it's a story based on real events that took place in Albany just a few years ago when a clean-cut college boy decided to take a fireman's axe to his parents while they lie asleep at night up in the bedroom of their quiet suburban home. He managed to kill his father (who curiously enough, got up in the morning, made the coffee, retrieved the newspaper, wrote out a check to his "perp" son, and then laid down and died, with his brains bashed in), but only horribly wound his mother (he cut her right eye out). Speaking of his mother, initially she pointed her own son out as the axe man, but then later recanted. So this is truly a story of how a mother's love for her son can override just about anything imaginable. Even a murder Stephen King couldn't begin to invent. I thought it would be a great case to put Dick Moonlight on, since the unreliable suicide survivor is usually hopelessly unemployed. He does however, own a bar now. How did this happen? Check out Moonlight Mafia, the brand new digital short published just last week by StoneGate Ink!. If you like it, maybe you'll want to read Moonlight Falls, the first Moonlight story.

In any case, I'm sitting at my desk in my 6-flight walk-up apartment that overlooks Firenz and already I'm contemplating the big plane that will take me back to New York on Wednesday. What I have I accomplished since I've been here?

-a new good draft of Death by Moonlight
-a rough draft/outline of what will be Moonlight III (God willing)
-33 short journalism pieces plus 3 pro blogs
-two or three interviews for my bestselling thriller, The Remains, new Virtual Tour which is currently in mid-swing.
-Marketing for all my newly published and republished novels, like The Innocent.
-Half a dozen good bottles of Chianti emptied
-150 jogged miles along the banks of the Arno (5 per day)
-3000 pushups, and an equal number of situps
-Enjoyed countless plates of pasta, countless panini, bowls of soup, etc.
-Thinking. Yes, I've got a lot of thinking done here.

Regarding the thinking thing. This is the third year in a row I've been coming here to write and I now have some very good friends, if not best friends. We shared thanksgiving together inside a villa in Tuscany where one of my friend's lives. And although we share a pretty big language barrier, we still manage to laugh so much we are often brought to tears. In a word, we're silly people. And I like being silly.

The Thanksgiving was perhaps one of the best I've ever had, and it might have been the best if only my kids were with me. I guess you can't have it all. But it's because of those friends, and Florence's ability to inspire me, that I have been thinking a lot about setting up a permanent home here. Perhaps now would be the time to spend half a year here and half the year in the New York? Is that possible? Maybe. I can work from where ever I am in the world. I'm sure I will give it more serious thought on the long plane rides back home this week. I'm 46 now, and my oldest son is 20 and will be out of school come the spring. And wouldn't it be great for my younger ones to spend part of their year in Europe. The ties that used to bind me to one place are not so tight anymore.

I'll keep thinking.

Now regarding that ravishing Italian woman. I'm not going to confirm that I might have met someone who is maybe a tall, Italian beauty. Someone who can't understand three-quarters of what I'm saying but somehow gets the message anyway. Someone I might have hit it off with immediately. I'm not going to confirm that I met someone like that. But I'm not going to deny it either. Because hey, it's entirely possible. But then, I do make things up for a living.

Now about the future....what exactly should I do?