NEW FICTION: Bourbon & Blondes has arrived!

From the bus stations of Rt. 66 to the smoky, neon-tinged jazz dives of the big cities, these wanton tales of longing introduce us to vixens on the fringe and those shifty men that drove them there.

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Watch: The 'Bourbon & Blondes' Book Trailer

Get your shot glass ready because you're about to enter a retro world of showgirls, drifters, barmaids and thieves.

The eternal question for scribes?

In this new social media landscape, the question becomes: Is blogging dead? It just may be...

Watch: The 'Front Page Palooka' Book Trailer

Read the pulp novella that one reviewer called 'A potboiler in the style of old school writers like Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler...'

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

DYLAN NOIR? THE BARD DOES FRANK SINATRA ON NEW DISC; CHANNELS TCM IN NEW VIDEO



Note: The following is a piece I wrote for my web site NJ.com. I'm embedding it here with two new pieces of information or assets - a film noir video above for the tune "The Night We Called It A Day" with Sinatra's recording below.

Three days before Frank Sinatra's 99th birthday on Dec. 12, Columbia Records announced that Bob Dylan's 36th studio disc "Shadows in the Night" will be a selection of tunes culled from The Chairman's "Great American Songbook." Set to be released Feb. 3, the set will boast 10 tracks and were conceived with a different vision than…

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF RICHARD PRICE'S NEW CRIME NOVEL 'THE WHITES'


Win a copy of what Stephen King calls 'The Crime Novel of the Year' right here!

Crime writer Richard Price ("Clockers, "Lush Life") has long been the poet laureate of the gritty, rain-swept streets of urban America and neo-noir. And now he's giving us a new voice in crime fiction with the pen name Harry Brandt and the new novel "The Whites."

VIA PUBLISHER HENRY HOLT: The electrifying debut of a new master of American crime fiction, Harry Brandt—the pen name of novelist Richard Price

Back in the run-and-gun days of the mid-90s, when Billy Graves worked in the South Bronx as part of an anti-crime unit known as the Wild Geese, he made headlines by accidentally shooting a 10-year-old boy while stopping an angel-dusted berserker in the street. Branded as a cowboy by his higher-ups, for the next eighteen years Billy endured one dead-end posting after another. Now in his early forties, he has somehow survived and become a sergeant in Manhattan Night Watch, a small team of detectives charged with responding to all night-time felonies from Wall Street to Harlem.

Night Watch usually acts a set-up crew for the day shift, but when Billy is called to a 4:00 a.m. fatal slashing of a man in Penn Station, his investigation of the crime moves beyond the usual handoff. And when he discovers that the victim was once a suspect in the unsolved murder of a 12-year-old boy—a brutal case with connections to the former members of the Wild Geese — the bad old days are back in Billy's life with a vengeance, tearing apart enduring friendships forged in the urban trenches and even threatening the safety of his family.

Richard Price, one of America’s most gifted novelists, has always written brilliantly about cops, criminals, and New York City. Now, writing as Harry Brandt, he is poised to win a huge following among all those who hunger for first-rate crime fiction.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out Richard Price discussing the work


LISTEN: Richard Price on NPR



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Monday, February 23, 2015

7 QUICK & EASY WAYS TO FIX THE OSCARS

Academy Award Winner from Flickr via Wylio
© 2009 The Oscars are in need of a major reboot and guess what? It's not that hard to figure out., Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

The Oscars came last night but they didn't conquer. In fact, it was the first ceremony ever to put me into a DVR-rewinding coma. The Oscars, like most of the film franchises in the movie biz, are in serious need of a reboot. And guess what? It's not that hard. Even implementing a few of the suggestions below would make for a show svelter than the new Zach Galifianakis.

MAKE THEM SHORTER

I know it's three hours earlier on the West Coast and all but yadda yadda yadda. Quite frankly, the rest of the TV-watching world is on a different clock. Start the telecast at 8 p.m. Eastern (no more of that ridiculous 8:30 p.m. jazz) and cut it off at 11 p.m. sharp. If the Golden Globes can do it, so can The Academy.

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COURT A LEGACY HOST

Doogie was just ... Meh. Ellen and her star-studded selfie was more in tune with what the show needs. The Acedemy needs to find a great comical host and groom him or her to be with the telecast for at least a decade. Sign a multi-deal contract with said performer and allow them to build a rapport with the audience through the years. It's the only way people will stop talking about Billy Crystal and Johnny Carson (no disrespect to either of those excellent masters of ceremonies)

DITCH THE ACCOUNTANTS

Seriously... Who gives a shit?

MAKE IT ABOUT MOVIES

I know we need music and (even dancing) interludes from time to time but something about seeing Maroon 5's Adam Levine crooning makes me think I stumbled onto the MTV Music Awards.

ONLY FILM INDUSTRY TYPES

Why am I seeing TV people presenting the most esteemed showbiz award on the planet? Again, I want this night to be about Hollywood and the film industry glamour that the rest of us in the Rat Race never gets to experience. I don't want my entertainment worlds colliding. STOP!

DUMP THE TECH AWARDS

No disrespect to the sound guy on "American Sniper" but I couldn't give a rat's patootie about sound mixing or sound editing. And I'm guessing the rest of the waking world doesn't either. Sorry, bro. Nothing personal.

CHANNEL THE GLOBES

Yes, that OTHER awards show knows how to let its hair down and it more than shows. The remedy? Booze and food. Make the goddamned show a party.



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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

THE TURBULENT GENIUS OF DAVID FOSTER WALLACE


DAVID FOSTER WALLACE
Note: I will wholeheartedly admit that, while I may not have been the biggest fan of David Foster Wallace, his indelible talent cannot be denied. This fabulous in-depth piece, reprinted with permission, explores the sad and tragic genius of the troubled scribe. 


~Enjoy.

Read what follows with a stern caveat emptor in mind, for it has been written by an unabashed David Foster Wallace fanboy, one of those forlorn, bespectacled young men covertly handed a copy of Infinite Jest in his formative years, and who subsequently recited passages from the novel the way early Christians, hiding in dim catacombs,…

Thursday, February 5, 2015

THE MUSE AND THE BOOZE: WRITERS & DRINKING


"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy." This quote from Dorothy Parker is typical of her sense of humor but also sums up the attitude of a lot of writers who, over the years have hit the bottle hard. Alcohol and writers; somehow in the public imagination they just seem…

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

BOOZERS REJOICE! WOODFORD RESERVE TO RELEASE A RYE


Latest Release and Third Product Extension Demonstrates Brand's Continued Commitment to Flavor LOUISVILLE, Ky., Jan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Woodford Reserve today announces the release of its latest permanent product extension, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, which will be available for purchase in select markets throughout the country beginning in February. The latest release showcases…

IN A WORLD OF SOCIAL MEDIA NOISE, CAN WE HACK THE NOVEL?

Hacking the Novel

The house where the novel lives today had its foundation laid about 1,000 years ago by Lady Murasaki, with a little help from Homer and the ancient Babylonian scribes who punched The Epic of Gilgamesh into clay tablets. Henry Fielding helped with the walls, Cervantes added the windows, warped glass and all. The great 19th century…

Monday, December 8, 2014

HOW I MOVED 700 KINDLE E-BOOKS ON AMAZON IN 3 DAYS


After languishing in KDP purgatory, I decided to run my first free promo on Kindle. The result? I'm happy to report that I was able to get as high as No. 9 on the free chart in the below subset of the Kindle Store.

Kindle Store -> Kindle eBooks -> Mystery, Thriller -> Suspense -> Mystery -> Hard-Boiled -> No. 9

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• pop culture goodies and giveaways
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• Film noir and pulp coolness

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It wasn't as easy as turning on the free Kindle Select promotion, though. That certainly was the first step. What followed was massive exercise in pimping which, for some writers, may be a soul-crushing act (not so much for me). You really have to embrace your inner-huckster (but more on that in a sec).

Importantly, though, my goal was to not spend a lot in promotion and, since it was my first time out of the free gate, I wanted to see the organic power of what a free book could really do.

So ... A few days before the promotion kicked in, I spent the day signing up my book BOURBON  & BLONDES to be on several daily e-mail blasts. You'll be shocked to learn that there are dozens upon dozens of web sites that offer this service for free. That said, you get what you pay for and there ARE paid services (ala BookBub) with robust e-mail lists and a proven track record that writers can easily explore but often they are extremely selective and very very expensive.

I was going to do this on the cheap. My budget was going to be only $21. I would pay BK KNIGHTS (DBS Publishing) to promote my book on their web site and Facebook page as well for as inclusion in their daily newsletter. I found them on the site Fiverr, an online service where users can get all sorts of tasks done ridiculously cheap. After some mild research, they seemed to be very honest and on the up and up.

Once I booked BK Knights, I concentrated on the the freebie sites. They included:

AwesomeGang

Book Goodies

Free Booksy

Book Praiser

Ebook Lister

Indie Book of the Day

Jungle Deals and Steals

Free and Discounted Books

Choosy Bookworm

100 Free Books

Kindle Book Review

Reading Deals

Ebookasaurus

Digital Book Today

The E-Reader Cafe

It's Write Now

Kindle Book Promos

These free sites make no guarantees that your book will be included. Some offer a definite spot on their list for a small fee (usually around $5). I didn't want to pay extra so I took my chances.

That was the first half of this two-pronged approach. The social media onslaught was next as I designed roughly 3 different ads to post each day on several Facebook groups and Google+ Community pages.

FACEBOOK

I'll admit, it can feel icky pimping your own wares by link dumping to your Amazon book page, but most of these Facebook pages are set up for that exact reason. And really, who else will do it for you. That said, my share/post went something along these lines:

DAY 1

☛ CYBER MONDAY FREEBIE ☚ : Snag a FREE copy of 'Bourbon & Blondes' for a limited time. Read the 5★ rated collection that's a boozy mix of old-school pulp, shadowy noir, risky romance and hard-boiled double-crosses. ~ Bottoms up http://amzn.to/12dY5h2

DAY 2

☛ STILL FREE! ☚ : ❝The Cyber Monday deal has been extended. Snag your FREE Kindle copy of 'Bourbon & Blondes.' If your bag is a boozy mix of old-school pulp, shadowy noir, risky romance and hard-boiled double-crosses, be sure to read the 5★ rated collection that splatters onto the page at 90 proof.❞ ~ Bottoms up! http://amzn.to/12dY5h2

and finally, DAY 3:

☛ LAST DAY AT FREE! ☚ : ❝Today is the final day to snag your FREE Kindle copy of 'Bourbon & Blondes.' If your bag is a boozy mix of old-school pulp, shadowy noir, risky romance and hard-boiled double-crosses, be sure to read the 5★ rated collection that splatters onto the page at 90 proof.❞ ~ Bottoms up! http://amzn.to/12dY5h2

Scattered throughout each day (for three days), I would share the post on my own Facebook wall as well as in the following Facebook Groups with my designed piece of art and the link, as shown above:

Books,Readers and Authors
Crime, Thriller & Mystery Reader's Cafe
Pulp,Pulp Everywhere, and lots and lots to read.
KindelMojo
Book Place
The Kindle Hub
Amazon Book Clubs
Authors, Reviewers, & Book Lovers
Amazon Kindle GoodReads
The Book Nest
All About Books
Authors Promoting Authors
Book Promotion
E Books Rock
Creative Designers and Writers
Authors and Book Lovers Discussion Group
Film noir
Online Book Publicity Group
Writers who believe in supporting Writers
Indie Author Book Promotion Page
Books, Books and more Books!!!
Passion for Books
Amazon Books, Likes and Rankings
Indie Author Group
Book Promotions
Film Noir
Passion for Books
Awesome Free Kindle Books Here
Reader Writer Reviewer Co-op
Indie Author Book Promotion page

Since my book was heavily inspired by film noir as well as bourbon, it was also shared on the FB page of the Humphrey Bogart Estate, The Jazz Age, Turner Classic Movies, The Bourbon Review, Maker's Mark, Jack Daniels and Evan Williams Whiskey.

Google+

In addition to a public share on my Google Plus profile, the same was shared in the following Google Plus Communities. I still maintain that Google+ is here to stay and will become even more important as Google's algorithm skews more social in nature. Here are the communities:

Google Plus Books Club
Writer's Discussion Group
Book Club
Book Reviewers
Indie Authors and Readers
Writer's Corner
Books that I like
Reading

PINTEREST

I also shared each of my banners on various Pinterest pinboards that I created.

TWITTER

I have two Twitter accounts and tweeted the announcement at various points of the day.

GOODREADS

I set up a rather unsuccessful GoodReads event announcing the price drop of the book.

MAIL CHIMP

I sent an announcement to my rather small subscriber list. If you're an author and do not have a a mailing list set up, DO IT NOW.

REDDIT

I also posted the announcement in a free book subreddit.

LINKED IN

The post was also shared publicly across my Linked In network.

KBOARDS

I also created a message on Kboards announcing the book as free. By the way, the Writer's Cafe area on K Boards is one of the best and informative communities for scribes anywhere online.

RESULTS:

DAY 1: 342
DAY 2: 250
DAY 3: 105


697 in total

Was that good number? Not sure. I'm happy with it. Only time can tell if it was a good campaign. I would say so, however, if even a fraction of those who downloaded B&B returned to review the book, thus helping to boost it the Amazon algorithm. Another bonus would be if I saw an eventual uptick in my other book 'Front Page Palooka.'

So there you have it ... That's how I moved almost 700 books in three days. Lots of work, but hopefully worth it in the long run.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

'BOURBON & BLONDES' FREE FOR CYBER MONDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY


Through Wednesday, Dec. 3, snag a FREE copy of 'Bourbon & Blondes,' the first volume of the Ladies of Liquor series.

Minimalist in approach but long on mood and atmosphere, the first entry in The Ladies of Liquor series is a boozy mix of old-school pulp, shadowy noir and hard-boiled double-crosses.

Included in the collection are nearly 50 flash fictions and short stories that splatter onto the page at 90 proof. From the deserted bus stations of Route 66 to the smoky, neon-tinged jazz dives of the big cities, these wanton tales of longing introduce us to desperate vixens on the fringe and those shifty men that drove them there.

Get your shot glass ready because in this retro world, showgirls, drifters, barmaids and thieves have one thing in common -- they're all painted on a seedy canvas drenched in a hearty barrel of Kentucky's finest nectar.

~ Bottoms up...

GET YOUR FREE KINDLE COPY FROM AMAZON



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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NOIR COMES TO THE SHORE (ASBURY, THAT IS)


Mark your calendars...

This newbie will be doing his very first reading at the New Jersey Noir At The Bar on Dec. 2. And the coolest part? The event is pegged to a bit of Jerrseyana, specifically Bruce Springsteen.

The event will feature some of lit's top noir scribes reading work from the cool new tome 'Trouble in the Heartland.' Featuring stories by Dennis Lehane, James Grady, Hilary Davidson, tales in the book are inspired by the songs of Bruce Springsteen.

In addition to this humble scribe, the hit list of writers scheduled to read includes: Erik Arneson, Jamez Chang, Jen Conley, Thomas Pluck, Chuck Regan, Joe Samuel Starnes, Kieran Shea, Wallace Stroby and Dennis Tafoya.

Door open at 7 p.m. at The Saint in Asbury Park. Readings start at 8 till 10ish, music to follow.


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Monday, November 10, 2014

'BOARDWALK EMPIRE' RECAPS: THE COMPLETE ARCHIVE

Clockwise for top left, Michael Pitt, Stephen Graham, Bobby Cannavale and Steve Buscemi in the historical drama 'Boardwalk Empire.'

THE COMPLETE 'BOARDWALK EMPIRE' RECAP ARCHIVE

I recapped 'Boardwalk Empire' for my newspaper The Star-Ledger (and its web site NJ.com) since the show debuted in 2010. What follows below are links to very single episode.

Series logline: Atlantic County Treasurer Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) navigates politicos and gangsters in a show set in Atlantic City during the Roarin' 20s and the dawn of Prohibition.

SEASON 1

Episode 1: Pilot

Episode 2: The Ivory Tower

Episode 3: Broadway Limited

Episode 4: Anastasia

Episode 5: Nights in Ballygran

Episode 6: Family Limitation

Episode 7: Home

Episode 8: Hold Me In Paradise

Episode 9: Belle Femme

Episode 10: The Emerald City

Episode 11: Paris Green

Episode 12: 'A Return to Normalcy'


SEASON 2

Episode 1: 21

Episode 2: Ourselves Alone

Episode 3: A Dangerous Maid

Episode 4: What Does The Bee Do?

Episode 5: Gimcrack & Bunkum

Episode 6: The Age of Reason

Episode 7: Peg of Old

Episode 8: Two Boats and a Lifeguard

Episode 9: Battle of the Century

Episode 10: Georgia Peaches

Episode 11: Under God's Power She Flourishes

Episode 12: To the Lost

SEASON 3

Episode 1: Resolution

Episode 2: Spaghetti & Coffee

Episode 3: Bone For Tuna

Episode 4: Blue Bell Boy

Episode 5: You'd Be Surprised

Episode 6: Ging Gang Goolie

Episode 7: Sunday Best

Episode 8: The Pony

Episode 9: The Milkmaid's Lot

Episode 10: A Man, A Plan

Episode 11: Two Imposters

Episode 12: Margate Sands

SEASON 4

Episode 1: New York Sour

Episode 2: Resignation

Episode 3: Acres of Diamonds

Episode 4: All In

Episode 5: Erlkönig

Episode 6: The North Star

Episode 7: William Wilson

Episode 8: The Old Ship of Zion

Episode 9: Marriage and Hunting

Episode 10: White Horse Pike

Episode 11: Havre de Grace

Episode 12: Farewell Daddy Blues

SEASON 5

Episode 1: Golden Days for Boys and Girls

Episode 2: The Good Listener

Episode 3: What Jesus Said

Episode 4: Cuanto

Episode 5: King of Norway

Episode 6: Devil You Know

Episode 7: Friendless Child

Episode 8: Eldorado

EXTRAS

WATCH: Anthony Venutolo on 'Boardwalk Empire'

'Boardwalk Empire' final season: Forever in the shadow of 'The Sopranos'

As 'Boardwalk Empire' ends, watch our favorite moments and tell us yours



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Friday, August 22, 2014

FINALIZING E-BOOK COVER FOR 'BOURBON & BLONDES'


After crowdsourcing on social media which cover people preferred for my upcoming collection, it will be tough to come down to a final decision... There were TONS of responses. I love aspects of both. If anyone has any thoughts, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

COOLEST WRITER APP EVER? HANX WRITER


Writers, rejoice! Here's a cool lil' app, that's currently enjoying the top spot in Apple's iTunes Store.

Self-confessed vintage typewriter collector Ton Hanks (Yes, THAT one) has created the ultimate iPad app that helps you channel your inner-Hemingway or Bukowski by creating the illusion of punching those keys on a vintage typewriter.

Launched Aug. 14, the app,which works even better with a Bluetooth keyboard, features three different models and comes complete with sound effects and that infamous ring at the end of each line of type.

It's currently free. An upgrade is available for all three typewriters, different colors, ribbons, etc.


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Saturday, August 16, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHARLES BUKOWSKI!


The namesake of this blog was brash, crass, drank too much, womanized and fought like a scrapper. But when he hit the keys, the writing had a delicate grace and, most times, the result was indeed poetic. We lost him on March 9, 1994 but the writing, legacy and spirit lives on.

Happy birthday, Buk! Pouring some on the floor for you today. For everyone else, enjoy this definitive documentary, 'BORN INTO THIS' a must for any Hank fan.


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