Thursday, December 18, 2008

The End of The Punisher Arc



The final book of my Punisher arc, JIGSAW, came out yesterday. I had more fun writing this story than anything I've yet done in comics. It will be collected in a trade shortly, I'd assume.

Look next for a short comedic Wolverine piece I did in SWITCHBACK, coming out Jan 7.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Holidays, Bub


Ring in the new year with some mutant violence.

Swallowed the Spider (alternate title: Flies to a Web) now available at fine comic book establishments everywhere. Art by Jerome Opena, cover by the infamous Tim Bradstreet.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Shield Finale

Now any of you who know me know that I love this show. The final episode was the best ending to any TV series I've seen, and the party proved pretty jaw-dropping as well, particularly when the head of FX read off the list of accolades that the show gathered over its 88-episode run.

My favorite character was Lem, and when Lem was killed off, I was so angry with Shawn Ryan (the show's creator and a buddy of mine) that I refused to speak to him for days. I mean - how could you kill Lem? Even years later, the injustice still smolders. So I began a running joke with Shawn -- "Hey, I have an idea. You should have an episode where Lem comes back from the dead and solves crime!"

"Ever think about giving Lem his own spin-off?"

"Do you think Lem will go with me to prom?"

Et cetera.

So at the finale, where the last episode was presented on the big screen at the Hollywood Arclight, I took my seat, and then left to grab some more popcorn. When I came back, someone was hiding under my coat. I thought it was someone fooling around, so I gave him a good smack and when the guy lowered the jacket from over his head, it was.....Kenny Johnson, the actor who plays Lem! Despite years of harassment from me, Shawn had brought him over to meet me -- an indication of Shawn's graciousness, and proof that no bad deed (harassment) goes unrewarded.

It was also great to see other cast member buddies - Jay Karnes and David Rees Snell in particular - enjoy this time looking back at what they had created. I met Walton Goggins, who was exceptional throughout the show, and I had a good talk with Michael Chiklis about Shakespeare (or as he likes to think of him, Edward de Vere). Thanks to Jason Ryan for the photo.

All in all, it was a remarkable night capping one of the most remarkable shows in the history of television. Congrats to all the cast and crew for what they accomplished here.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Horton Foote

"I live to write."

I've long maintained that writing—for those of us who really write—isn't a hobby or a love or a job, but a compulsion. I came across Foote's quotation today, and I was trying to think what it would be like to live WITHOUT writing. I'd make it a few weeks, I think, and then my head would explode. I suppose there's a certain illness or instability in someone who requires eight to ten hours a day of sublimation to maintain a sense of purpose, but hell, I guess you dance with the one who brung you.

So much of a writer's life is filtered through a narrative lens. Most every exchange, event, subtlety raises questions: Can I use that? How could I tweak that in a plot to evoke the same sentiment? Can I mirror that language for a character? It's distracting, yes, and sets one at a certain remove from life at times, but it's also a lot of goddamned fun. Sort of like playing a game in your head your whole life.

So Foote's line seems particularly apt, since for some of us, there doesn't seem to be any other way TO live.

Monday, December 01, 2008

This Says It All

I thought this quotation, from the cover of this month's Vanity Fair, appropriate for a writer's blog:

"Amateurs dream. Professionals work."
--Garson Kanin

Or, as I've often remarked about Los Angeles: "I meet a lot of people who want to be writers. I meet very few who actually want to write."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Tale of Book Savagery

Check out Bookreporter.com for a holiday tale involved me, my sister, Michael Connelly's The Black Echo, and that dumb-ass, Sandy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Fistful Of, uh, uh, Asskicking



Unveiling today, the final Foolkiller in my second limited series, White Angels.

And the fourth Punisher of my run - perhaps my favorite cover, by artist and devil pig, the Good Reverend David Cornelius Johnson.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

Ten Most Irritating Expressions

Thank you Charlotte Bailey of The Telegraph, UK.

What's your most irritating phrase? Mine is probably the oft-misused "Hopefully."

Oxford compiles list of top ten irritating phrases

A top 10 of irritating expressions has been compiled by researchers at Oxford University.

Heading the list was the expression 'at the end of the day', which was followed in second place by the phrase 'fairly unique'.

The tautological statement "I personally" made third place – an expression that BBC Radio 4 presenter John Humphreys has described as "the linguistic equivalent of having chips with rice."

Also making the top 10 is the grammatically incorrect "shouldn't of", instead of "shouldn't have".

The phrases appear in a book called Damp Squid, named after the mistake of confusing a squid with a squib, a type of firework.

The researchers who compiled the list monitor the use of phrases in a database called the Oxford University Corpus, which comprises books, papers, magazines, broadcast, the internet and other sources.

The database alerts them to new words and phrases and can tell them which expressions are disappearing. It also shows how words are being misused.

As well as the above expressions, the book's author Jeremy Butterfield says that many annoyingly over-used expressions actually began as office lingo, such as 24/7 and "synergy".

Other phrases to irritate people are "literally" and "ironically", when they are used out of context.

Mr Butterfield said: "We grow tired of anything that is repeated too often – an anecdote, a joke, a mannerism – and the same seems to happen with some language."

The top ten most irritating phrases:

1 - At the end of the day

2 - Fairly unique

3 - I personally

4 - At this moment in time

5 - With all due respect

6 - Absolutely

7 - It's a nightmare

8 - Shouldn't of

9 - 24/7

10 - It's not rocket science

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last Shot Now Out....In Russian!


The Russians, I think, make the coolest, toughest covers. This one for Last Shot looks like a movie one-sheet. Having just visited Russia and acquainted myself with various personalities there, I had to laugh at Guy Ritchie's portrayal of the Russian hitmen in Rockandrolla. No matter the injuries, they keep coming! Garth Ennis also had a great Russian hitman in his Punisher MAX run -- one of my favorite new characters he introduced.

So I consider this cover a celebration of everything that's bad-ass about Russia.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Comics on Comics

With Marc Evanier, Asterios Kokkinos, Kathryn Lyn, and Robbie Peron, I did a panel called Comics on Comics at the West Hollywood festival -- comics book creators and comedians discussing (in smart-ass fashion) the state of the comic-book industry. It was a blast and really funny - available for watching here, or iTunes download here.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Smoking in Moscow




I love cigars. In the scene in The Crime Writer, where Drew Danner gets home from court, goes out back, and smokes a cigar on his back deck....well, that's my deck. And it was my cigar too (fictional cigar-swiping bastid!). When I was in Russia, Smoke Magazine interviewed me, and photographer Dima Gushchin took a bunch of pictures for a big feature article. Here's a few of them, showing me puffing smugly away, with furrowed brow and a (I hope) an aura of gangsta gravitas.

On the entertainment front, I suggest you all see Burn After Reading, which embodies the level of brilliant quirkitude we've come to expect from the Coen brothers. Appaloosa has some great scenes and moments (Two men lying wounded in the dirt after a shootout. "Well, that was quick." Reply: "Everyone knew how to shoot.")

And, lastly, if you're not reading Eric Powell's The Goon, why the hell not?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Back From Russia

I went to Russia for the Moscow Book Fair, and for a lineup of interviews, signings, and presentations. Between Moscow and St. Petersburg, I had a lot of adventures and no shortage of fun, and I even got to see Lenin's pickled body on its slab outside the Kremlin. All four Rackley books are in translation there, and it was really interesting to see how different the questions were posed by Russian readers -- a very informed, intellectual crew. I hope to have some pictures to post shortly, but for now, it's jetlag and catch-up!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wizard Interview re: Punisher

Here's my latest interview for Punisher, from the folks at Wizard.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Glasvegas

This is the best new band I can remember hearing. Or, I should say, I can't recall the last time I was so excited by a group.

Out of Glasgow, they're sort of Phil Spector Wall of Sound meets U2, strained through The Jesus and Mary Chain with, uh, du-woop?! James Allan, the lead singer and writer, is a poet.

In particular, you need to check out "Flowers and Football Tops," "Geraldine," and "Daddy's Gone." Find the lyrics on line -- some of you might need a little help with the Glaswegian accent.

As a writer, I don't usually write about bands, but these lyrics are gorgeous with a strong narrative drive. And beside, hell, if I'm this excited by anything....

Many thanks to writer buddy David Young for referring me to them (and I stole part of his description).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Punisher Interview

Here's an interview with the good folks at Comic-Related about Punisher 61, my run on the title, and coming violence.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

One Day, Two Comics



This Wed, the second Foolkiller in the second limited series came out, with a special guest appearance by....the Punisher.

And my first Punisher - cover by Dave Johnson, art by the inimitable Laurence Campbell, also hit stands.

It's a vigilante two-fer....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Coming To You From Chiang Mai, Thailand


One of the more unusual sightings of The Crime Writer, courtesy of Kyle Khasigian...

Friday, August 08, 2008

Some Belated Pics from Thrillerfest



Here I am with Bob Crais and ├ťberagent Aaron Priest. And below is Crais and Coben with the brilliant Lisa Erbach Vance. We had a great time at the awards; our table included me, Harlan Coben, Robert Crais, Aaron Priest, Lisa Erbach Vance, Lucy Childs, David Hosp, and David Baldacci. A good crew.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Comic-Con


Pretty much lives up to the hype. Now I'm not the biggest convention person, but I have to say, the range of cool shit on hand was, well, pretty extraordinary. Among the highlights were sharing a softball infield with Marvel legend John Romita, Jr., then signing next to him a day later, catching up over dinner with the inimitable Howard Chaykin, and wandering the floor to see which artists' work caught my eye. My favorite "discovery" (he's been around longer than I have, but I only discovered him this weekend) is Mike Sosnowski, an incredible artist. Check out "The Culprit" - I picked up a print for the house.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

He's Baaa-acck!




Foolkiller #1 of 5. Short Time. Arc title: White Angels. On stands today.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jesse Kellerman

Jesse Kellerman's novel, Trouble, was nominated in the same category as The Crime Writer for the ITW Thriller Awards (from which I just returned - another glorious six-hour delay at JFK, this one involving a panic-attack-having passenger in a Detroit Tigers jacket forcing our return to the gate, thereby losing us our spot in the lengthy queue for takeoff. In fairness, if I was a Tigers fan this season, perhaps I'd be having panic attacks too. But we digress.).

So.

I thought, in a show of graciousness, I should read said book so I could have something pleasant to say to Jesse should we cross paths, or -- if said book proved unworthy -- so I could generate a suitable compliment ("The font was really lovely." "That book jacket - wow!" "I really like your shoes.")

Well.

About thirty pages in, I had that feeling of excitement. You know the one - where you realize that not only have you hooked into a book that you Love, but that you are reading an author who you know that you will be reading for years to come. It is not an exaggeration to say that his is the most exciting new voice in crime fiction I've read in years.

I gave my copy to a friend I saw in New York. Got another one for my sister. Pitched the lady sitting next to me on the plane. Emailed my agent, and my editor. Mentioned it to a screenwriter buddy at lunch. Yeah, that kind of book. Dark and sophisticated, with a playwright's dialogue and a psychologist's, uh, uh, insight. And good words and stuff, too.

His other novels, Sunstroke and The Genius, are on my list, to be bought on my next bookstore trip. Trouble should certainly be on yours.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thrillerfest 2008

I'm off to ThrillerFest in New York. Should be a lot of fun. It'll be the biggest collection of thriller writers in one hotel in a long time, with David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, Robert Crais, Sandra Brown, James Patterson, Brad Thor, Kathy Reichs, R.L. Stine, Lee Child, Heather Graham, and more. My panel with other Thriller Award nominees is Saturday at 11, but each day will be filled with workshops, panels, and speeches on everything from martial arts to forensics to clich├ęs that piss writers off. I think it not unreasonable to predict that bourbon will be in evidence as well.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Crime Writer Out In Paperback

On June 24, the paperback of THE CRIME WRITER will launch. The cover is more or less the same, with a few added blurbs from Dennis Lehane, Robert Crais, Lee Child, and Brad Meltzer.

Also, in addition to being nominated for Best Novel from International Thriller Writers, the book (as I SEE YOU) has been shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. Which, in addition to being a great honor, has the all-time best name for a literary prize.

On the eve of this wider launch, I wanted to take a moment to thank readers, booksellers, reviewers, and librarians for their stunning support of this book, and their help in making it an instant international bestseller.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Writing Quotation of the Week

File this one in the "show, don't tell" category.

"Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon."
--E.L. Doctorow

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Favorite New Foreign Cover


From Spain. I love this one. It took a few looks to pick up the scalpel in place of the pencil. It's so great when a foreign edition arrives with a really masterful cover like this one.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Nobody's Fool


Today.

The end of the five-comic limited. All five comics will also soon be collected in a trade edition, also available at your nearest comic book store.

Stay tuned for the next Foolkiller limited, which will be called White Angels.

Friday, May 02, 2008

New Sheriff In Town




Some art from my first Punisher (#61).

Thank you, Laurence Campbell (interiors).

Thank you Dave Johnson (cover).

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blurb Bitching II: Bride of Blurbs Bitching

Okay, I got a fair number of emails in response to my Blurb Bitching blog entry (some months back) so I thought I’d answer the main questions being put to me.

What makes you more likely to blurb?

1. A personalized letter from the author. I’ve gotten a few really great letters from editors that made me crack a galley, but for the most part, if the author doesn’t even have time to enclose her thoughts, I generally don’t have time to read her manuscript. So don’t leave it solely to your publicist/editor/agent/friend who walks dogs with Thomas Harris. Have them do the hand-off, but make sure you get your voice in there.
2. If the person requesting a blurb from me is familiar with my work, and makes that somewhat clear in the cover letter. Nothing says arrogance like an unpublished writer asking me to read his manuscript who hasn’t bothered to read one of my books. When it came to the authors I asked for blurbs from, I made sure I’d read virtually everything they had in print. An if their oeuvres were unrealistically weighty, I made sure I’d read at least four or five of their novels.
3. I won’t blurb books from vanity presses.
4. If the damn thing looks good. I don’t care if it’s a social novel or a book of lesbian haiku, the first few pages better sing.
5. (And here I feel like Ms. Curmudgeon, your high school college admissions advisor): Don’t make dumb-ass spelling and grammar errors in your cover letter. If you can’t be bothered to figure out the difference between “it’s” and “its” in a one-paragraph cover letter, you probably shouldn’t be pointing a 300-page manuscript my direction.

Will you always blurb your friends even if their books suck?

No. And Ayn Rand better quit asking.

Do you ever tell people you don’t like their books?

No. They’re not asking for a critique, just a blurb. So I’m not reading looking to be helpful from an editorial perspective. I never want to undermine a young (or old, for that matter) author early in her career with a rejection, so I will often beg off mediocre manuscripts due to exigencies of schedule, etc.. Often this isn’t an excuse; much of the time it’s true.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Punisher

As was announced this weekend, I will be writing the next Punisher arc after Garth Ennis's legendary run on the title. My five-book arc will be called "Girls in White Dresses," and it'll be followed by arcs by Duane Swierczynski and Victor Gischler, both of which I'm really looking forward to. You can tell I'm up for the challenge by the fact that I just wrote "arc" three times in two sentences.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Website for the Sick and Twisted

A buddy of mine forwarded on this link. A pretty amazing look at that most American of conventions: the last meal on death row.

What would you order?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Battlestar Galactica Season 3 Out On DVD

If you don't like Battlestar Galactica, you have no soul.

I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Three Books

I recently finished April Smith's Judas Horse and was blown away by her command of character and language. The book is rich and sophisticated and yet never overdone. There's not a sentence in there that's a stretch. She does something I admire very much; she can give us a perfect understanding of a character in a few paragraphs, while never resorting to stereotype. It's a fine line, and she walks it beautifully.

I also finished Marcus Sakey's The Blade Itself -- such an impressive novel, particularly for a debut. He really knows how to ratchet up the suspense, one step at a time. It's a very capable, tight, well-constructed thriller. He unafraid to locate flaws - and fault - within his protagonists, something a lot of writers shy away from. And that makes his protag so much more easy to identify with. We really feel his predicament. It's also such a lean book. Everything in the service of plot. And yet he still manages to cover his bases and get in enough character work to make it a compelling read. I can't remember the last time I read a book that quickly.

Finally, my boy Ross Macdonald's Black Money. And with him, it's best to let him speak for himself:

"They were innocent eyes, not youthful but innocent, as if they perceived only pre-selected facts."

"He was retreating angrily into bad grammar."

"The pictures on the wall were all religious, and there were so many of them that they suggested a line of defense against the world."

"It was a moral hardship for me to walk away from an unclosed case."

Monday, March 24, 2008

From Russia With Love


The Rackley books have been getting some nice attention in Russia, where The Kill Clause and Troubleshooter have already come out from my excellent publisher, Geleos. In 2008, The Program and Last Shot will be published. A few months ago, I posted the Russian Troubleshooter cover, one of my favorite foreign covers ever. Here's The Program.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

International Thriller Writers Announces 2008 Nominations

ITW just picked their five bests in three categories. Lovely news, and great to be nominated along with my buddy, Robert Crais.

BEST NOVEL 2008
No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay (Bantam)
The Watchman by Robert Crais (Simon & Schuster)
The Ghost by Robert Harris (Simon & Schuster)
The Crime Writer by Gregg Hurwitz (Viking)
Trouble by Jesse Kellerman (Putnam)

BEST FIRST NOVEL 2008
Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell (Dutton)
Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover (William Morrow)
From the Depths by Gerry Doyle (McBook Press)
Volk's Game by Brent Ghelfi (Henry Holt and Co.)
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (William Morrow)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL 2008
The Last Nightingale by Anthony Flacco (Ballantine)
A Thousand Bones by P.J. Parrish (Pocket)
The Midnight Road by Tom Piccirilli (Bantam)
The Queen of Bedlam by Robert McCammon (Pocket)
Shattered by Jay Bonansinga (Pinnacle)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring Training

Ah, there is a new bounce to my step with the return of the smell of freshly mowed outfield grass. Baseball is art. It is opera. With its delightful nine-act structure -- meticulous strategy punctuated by bursts of action -- it is the best sport for the (criminally) literary minded.

I give you two quotations from -- of all people -- George Will:

"Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal."

And to counter the naysayers:

"
Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings."

The prosecution rests.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Mitch Hedberg on Screenwriting

"I wrote a script and gave it to a guy who reads scripts. He said he loved it, but I had to rewrite it. I said, 'Fuck that, I'll just make a copy.' "

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rip Torn and Normal Mailer On-Camera Fight

Really, you must watch this.

During the filming of Maidstone, Torn hits Mailer on the head with a hammer. Then Mailer mostly bites his ear off. This is what we call literary mayhem.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Razzies Announced for Worst Movie Honors

All I have to say for Linsay Lohan is....ouch.

Here they are:

Worst Picture:

I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Actor:

Eddie Murphy, 'Norbit'

Worst Actress:

Lindsay Lohan, 'I Know Who Killed Me'

Worst Supporting Actress:

Lindsay Lohan (as Aubrey), 'I Know Who Killed Me'

Lindsay Lohan (as Dakota), 'I Know Who Killed Me'

Worst Screen Couple:

Lindsay Lohan & Lindsay Lohan, 'I Know Who Killed Me'

Worst Remake or Rip-Off:

I Know Who Killed Me (Rip-Off of 'Hostel,' 'Saw,' and 'The Patty Duke Show')

Worst Prequel or Sequel:

Daddy Day Camp

Worst Director:

Chris Siverston, 'I Know Who Killed Me'

Worst Screenplay:

Jeffrey Hammond, 'I Know Who Killed Me'

Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie:

I Know Who Killed Me


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Quotation of the Week

I got this appended to an email from a Navy SEAL buddy. I think it's a great one:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
--Proverbs 27:17

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Print on Demand - A Dream of the Future?

I just finished reading RETURN FROM THE STARS by Stanlislaw Lem, renowned Polish science fiction writer (I would venture to say he is the MOST renowned Polish science fiction writer, but that sounds too much like a joke).

Published in 1961, this book has this vision of the future of publishing:

"The originals—crystomatrices—were not to be seen; they were kept behind pale blue enameled steel plates. So a book was printed, as it were, every time someone needed it. The question of printings, of their quantity, of their running out, had ceased to exist. Actually, a great achievement, and yet I regretted the passing of books."

Sound familiar?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Smart-Ass Quotation of the Week

"The world is overstocked with people who are ready and eager to teach other people to write. It seems astonishing that so much bad writing should find its way into print when so much good advice is to be had."
--Robertson Davies

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Horror Movie of the Year

Far and away the best horror movie I've seen this year - in fact, in many years, is The Orphanage. I don't want to say anything about it for fear of giving away anything. But it is a staggering psychological study. There are virtually no cheap thrills, just a slow, mounting terror. It is amazing.

And while I'm on movies, I should list my favorites of the past year (since, for the first time, I'm not on any best-film or -script panels, so I'm not sworn to secrecy).

Best Drama: Michael Clayton.
Best Comedy: Juno.

What were your favorite movies of 2007?

Oh, and here's a great little real-life amateur detective story you might enjoy.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Advice of the Day

"Never be the brightest person in the room."
--James D. Watson

Monday, January 14, 2008

On Art and Editing....and Editing....and Editing

"Art is never finished, only abandoned."

Leonardo da Vinci

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Guess the Country...


...and the book.

This is one of my favorite foreign covers for one of my novels.