Tuesday, May 24, 2016

THE BEST BOOK I'VE EVER READ

Hi folks,
This is the best book I've ever read.

REVIEW
FIRST BORN OF AN ASS
William Joyce
I’ve never written a review like this and am unlikely to ever do so again. The reason is I’ve never been totally thunderstruck by a book such as William Joyce’s First Born of an Ass. In lieu of a review, in which I am unable to do its genius even close to suitable justice, I’m going to use the email I sent to William Joyce, upon reading its last page. I cannot say what this book did to me better.
Mr. William Joyce, I just finished FIRST BORN OF AN ASS. I am utterly unworthy to write a review, but I shall try. This is the book God would have written if He could write.
Your book has leaped over all books I've read in my lifetime. I cannot talk about it now. I don't know if I'll ever be able to talk about it.
I am going to go to bed and try to figure out who I am. To be honest, I am shattered. I don't think I'll ever be able to write again and that is the truth. One thing I do know; when I am able I am going to do everything in my power to get this book reissued. This is far, far beyond Nobel Prize worthy.
Thank you for the gift of your genius.
Respectfully,
Les Edgerton
That is the email I sent him. I realize this opinion is firmly attached to whatever small literary reputation I may have and that may be considered risky and even foolhardy. But, I fully stand by it. I will not compromise what I feel about this book in the least, reputation and all that be damned. If you can point out a better book, I’ll read it. And, if there is a better book out there, then we all might as well give up.
The only action people should take is to get this book reissued or republished. Please read it.
--Les Edgerton, Author, The Rapist, The Bitch, Monday’s Meal and others.
End of review
P.S. William Joyce is still alive and living in St. Augustine, FL. He embodies the very concept of "writer." He is virtually destitute and has been making his living by playing his harmonica outside of restaurants for coins until the police made him cease. The only place you can buy most of his books are from used copies via abebooks and the like... of which he doesn't realize a cent. He has a new novel written, but it's in a storage locker in Miami and he's trying to get enough money to get down there and retrieve it and send it to an agent and publisher. If anyone is in a position to help him out, please let me know. In my opinion, he's a national treasure. He does have one book available as an ebook, a collection of essays, under one of his pen names, Guillermo O'Joyce, titled MILLER, BUKOWSKI & THEIR ENEMIES. He does realize royalties from this one, so please consider glomming onto a copy. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

AUDITORS FOR MY ONLINE WRITING CLASS

Hi folks,

I'm about to climb on a plane tomorrow to head to Austin and San Antonio (they're in Texas, case you weren't aware) for eight days of the marvelous Writer's Retreat Workshop (WRW) at the Oblate Retreat Center in San Antone.

Just read a FB post by Craig McNeely, who audited my online writing class last session, who wrote in it:

I've been working on a novel for the past three-four years. Sometimes the work has been heavier than others but still, the fact remains that the book hasn't truly "worked" in this time.
Then, this year, I audited a workshop from Les Edgerton. Learned a few basic but crucial things about storytelling and discovered ways in which I've been too precious about my own work, unwilling to really consider what does or doesn't work, the way I would with a client or an old DLP author.
Now, for instance, I know that this novel really begins on page 34. Got a long way to go to the finish line but it's better now than it ever was before.
So what I'm saying is: you ever get a chance to do this thing with Les in the future, you take it. I promise you'll get something out of it. Maybe not the same as what I got, but there is much insight to be had.
Craig McNeely

And, that reminded me I hadn't sent out a call for auditors for the current session. We had just begun Week 1 of our 10-week session when I had to suspend class for two weeks for my Texas trip. Which means if anyone's interested in auditing this session, we can get you in and you won't miss any of it. We'll pick up with Week 2 after I return on May 22. The fee is $50 for auditing, as opposed to $400 for active participation. We are rarely able to take on new class members as people keep taking it and the ones already in it always have first shot. This last time was a bit unusual as we had two openings from folks who'd finished their novel and are taking a bit of a hiatus while they sell their books. When we do take on new members, we always go to our auditors for the first chance.

If you're interested and would like more info, just shoot me an email at butchedgerton@comcast.net. You won't even miss what we did on Week 1 as it's all archived. You'll see everything we do in class and the only difference between an auditor and an active class member is that, just like in a college class, auditors sit in class but just don't participate. But, they see everything we're doing and just about everyone who's audited has told me it was a remarkably profitable experience for their writing.

So... there ya go. Hope if any of you are in or near Austin tomorrow night, you'll stop in for the Noir @ the Bar reading I'm doing with three other terrific writers at Threadgill's Bar at 7 pm. It's gonna be fun!

Blue skies,
Les

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

STUFF'S HAPPENIN'!

Hi folks,

Lot of stuff going on! Just returned from Indy where I gave a workshop on Thelma & Louise and then had dinner with Joe Lansdale. And now, it’s gonna get busy up in here!

Me and Joe Lansdale in Indy.

On May 12, I fly to Austin, Texas where that night at 7 pm I get to take part in a Noir @ the Bar event, hosted by Scott Montgomery of Texas largest independent bookstore, Book People, at the Threadgill’s Bar on Riverside Drive. If you’re in the area, stop in and listen to me, Jesse Sublett, Con Lehane and Jordan Harper reading our stuff. For details, check here: http://www.bookpeople.com/event/noir-bar-feat-les-edgerton-jordan-harper-con-lehane-jesse-sublett


Scott Montgomery and Reavis Wortham at BookPeople


Then, as soon as we’re done, Scott is going to drive me over to San Antonio where I’ll be for the next week at the Writer’s Retreat Workshop (WRW) at the Oblate Retreat as a staffer. Bunch of really good folks appearing there, including Reavis Wortham, Tex Thompson, David Corbett, Michelle Johnson, Matthew Brock, Carol Dougherty, Jason Sitzes, Marjorie Brody, Carl Brush, Scott Montgomery, and Lisa Pirc.

 Marjorie Brody leading a morning session at WRW.

 Carol Dougherty in a one-on-one session with a participant at WRW.

 The Grotto at Oblate Renewal Center. Just a peaceful, gorgeous place... and the food is fantastic!

 Me and Reavis Wortham at MysteryPeople at BookPeople.

 Matt Brock leading a class at WRW.

 Me, doing my thing at WRW.

Some of the back row "bad boys" at WRW...

As it turns out, four more openings for participants for WRW just became available. If interested, just go to their webpage for complete info. If you can swing it, I think you’ll find it to be an experience truly transformative for your writing career. At http://www.writersretreatworkshop.com/index.html


Yesterday, I was honored to have my book BOMB! reviewed on the Booked Podcast. Check it out at:http://www.bookedpodcast.com/304-bomb/


And, a few days back, I had a ton of fun being interviewed by Tom Pitts on his podcast, Skid Row Chatter, on the Authors on the Air podcast. Check it out at:

That’s all, folks! Hope to see some of you at some of these events. And, I know it's short notice, but if you can make it to WRW I think you'll discover it to be a major turning point in your writing career.

Blue skies,
Les


Thursday, April 14, 2016

NOIR AT THE BAR, SKID ROW ON THE AIR WITH TOM PITTS AND WRW!

Hi folks,

Got a few things coming up shortly you might want to check out. First, I’ll be on the air with Tom Pitts for an interview on his podcast, Skid Row on the Air on Authors on the Air. We go live on Wednesday April 20 at 9 pm EST. It’ll be up later if you can’t make that time. Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsOnTheAir/

We'll be chatting about my newest novel, BOMB! and a life of crime...



Then, in May, I head down to my home state of Texas for a couple of events. The first is a wild night at the very first Noir at the Bar at Threadgill’s Bar to read along with writers Jordan Harper and Jesse Sublett, hosted by Texas largest independent bookstore, Book People and Scott Montgomery. It’s gonna get nasty up in here?

JUST BOOKED: NOIR AT THE BAR with 
JORDAN HARPER, LES EDGERTON & 
JESSE SUBLETT

Thursday, May 12 at 7 PM
 
Noir at the Bar has moved! Come to our very first Noir at the Bar at Threadgill's for music and readings from Jesse Sublett and readings from Jordan Harper and Les Edgerton. 
  


When we’re done there, Scott is going to drive me up to (or is that down to?) San Antonio where I’ll be the next eight days as a staff member for this year’s Writer’s Retreat Workshop. Scott’s going to hang with us there for a day or two so he can get the chance to hang with Joe Lansdale and the others. Still some openings if you’re interested. This is one of the premier writing retreats in the country! Below are some links and info about the annual event.

Writers Retreat Workshop 2016

WRW 2016       May 12 - 19
Oblate Retreat and Conference Center
Heart of San Antonio, TX

WRW 2016 Agents and Editors Yet TBA:

Author (8 Bram Stoker Awards, Edgar Award, etc) Joe Lansdale 
Author (Children of the Drought series) Arianne"Tex" Thompson
Author and Instructor Les Edgerton
Short Story Author and Instructor Matthew Brock

Author and Editor-in-Residence Carol Dougherty
WRW Program Director, author, instructor Jason Sitzes
WRW Coordinator Lisa Willars-Pirc 

Our History

The WRW story begins in June of 1987 in a Victorian retreat center tucked away in the sleepy countryside village of Woodstock, Connecticut. There, a small group of pre-published novelists and writers of narrative non-fiction gathered for the first Writers Retreat Workshop. Their purpose: to study with one of the leading teachers of writing for publication- Gary Provost, known to them as “The Writer's Writer.” And the purpose of the WRW: to teach these students all that Gary knew about the art, craft, and business of being a novelist.

"Until his untimely death in 1995 at the age of fifty, Gary Provost was arguably the leading teacher of writing in the United States.”—Writer's Digest Books

"When I planned our first WRW, I had an ideal vision of how the work sessions would go, but because we were doing this for the first time, naturally I worried. As it turned out, things went better than I had even hoped. The work sessions were lively, thoughtful, and constructive. The writers who came were all the serious-minded, dedicated people we had tried to reach. Though we enjoyed fun and good conversation each day, nobody forgot why we were there: to bring our books closer to publication. For me, it was exciting to see writers abandoning poor writing habits and breaking through to new levels of ability.

WRW was the most satisfying teaching experience of my career, and I believe that for the writers it was the most successful learning experience. Perhaps the best measure of last year's success is the fact that all of our writers continued to work on their books... and are in touch with each other still."--Gary Provost

For these serious writers, Gary simplified the complex with his unique blend of warmth, wit, and wisdom; creating an easy-to-absorb, step-by-step course that has become the hallmark of WRW instruction. He was a master communicator, and of his more than 24 published books covering most genres, seven were written specifically for writers. Included in that list are such top sellers as Writer’s Digest Books’ Make Every Word Count, Beyond Style: Mastering the Finer Points of Writing, Make Your Words Work, and the more recent How To Tell A Story: The Secrets of Writing Captivating Tales.

Because Gary Provost was an inspiration to writers around the globe, his sudden death in 1995 left the writing world shaken. At WRW, however, his indomitable spirit endures as his legacy lives on. Founded by Gary and Gail Provost to provide writing students with as much current nuts and bolts information as possible in the short amount of time, WRW continues to offer an abundance of advice, tips, and guidance; ensure a nurturing supportive environment free of “real life” distractions; and include a hearty dose of fun.

So, who are these WRW participants who feel compelled to attend these cherished opportunities to learn and grow as writers? They are dedicated students, committed to learning to improve their craft in order to publish their novels. Although they arrive at varying levels of ability and experience, all make dramatic leaps and leave WRW as far more confident writers. Without exception.



Oblate Retreat and Conference in the heart of San Antonio is the home of WRW. Your eight days of intensive learning, writing, workshops, ample 1-1 meetings with industry professionals, and making life-long memories will be held against the backdrop of a gorgeous Texas retreat center.

Co-founded in 1987 by the late Gary Provost (author and internationally acclaimed teacher of writing for publication) and his wife Gail, WRITERS RETREAT WORKSHOP is an intensive learning experience for small groups of serious-minded writers who are committed to improving and completing their novels for submission. For those who consider their writing to be a vital part of their lives, one they wish to develop as fully as possible, WRW provides the ideal experience.

Visit our photo page for past WRW events memorable moments. Read more about the history of the internationally acclaimed Writers Retreat Workshop.

What exactly happens at the Writers Retreat Workshop?

At WRW you will find a forum in which to express yourself and your creativity, your ambitions and fears. You will be made to feel at home so that nothing stands in the way of your success during the eight days.

This is a workshop, and you will work.

You'll attend class each morning and be taught WRW's in-depth, step-by-step course for crafting your novel, of any genre, for publication. This is not formulaic novel instruction. There is no such formula. Gary broke down novel structure scene-by-scene, dissected characters, taught how to choose words with impact, and shared many other fine details novelists must learn as second nature. Here, at WRW, we review these stylistic tools over and over throughout the week until you leave feeling equipped, inspired, and revitalized about your novel. We don't teach the art-- we teach the craft and instruct you on how to nurture the artist. Class instruction uses examples from classic to bestsellers of that day. Prior to the workshop you will be given a list of books used and a series of pre-workshop assignments. During the workshop you will be given assignments, then go back to your private room or one of the various outdoor spots to write. All work focuses on your novel, so while you work on your story's structure, our dedicated staff will be available to brainstorm with you on your plot. In small group sessions, while learning how to diagnose your own and others' style strengths and weaknesses, you'll also boost your editing skills.

Other optional activities include 7am Early Bird sessions, evening wine and appetizer Shop Talks (featuring agents, instructors, students, and authors), Book Signing night, 10pm Night Owl Sessions, and ample 1-1 opportunities with core and visiting staff. WRW is as close to an eight-day, 20+ hour workshop as you can get. It's unparalleled in what it offers. And most of all, if you want only a nice writing retreat in which you work on your book and socialize when needed-- it's that as well. The only request of new participants is that you attend the morning sessions based on Gary Provost's groundbreaking course-- and you'll want to anyway. WRW is immersion in the writing world whether you're writing genre, literary fiction, children's literature, memoirs, short stories, or any number of creative writing endeavors. That's why top agents and authors return year after year.

Assisting you throughout the eight days will be WRW mentors and In-Residence guests, including authors/agents/editors who will share with you the truth about today's publishing "business" and --when they meet with you -- how best to market your novel-in-progress.

Where and when is the next Writers Retreat Workshop?

WRW 2016  May 12 - 19
Oblate Retreat and Conference Center
San Antonio, TX

Rides from the San Antonio airport (very near the the retreat center) will be available.

Do I belong at the Writers Retreat Workshop?
The decision to attend the WRW should, of course, be a considered one. After all, it is an emotional and financial commitment that you will be making.

Over the years, we've found that the most important prerequisite for making that decision is the belief that you deserve to be there; that you deserve to make an investment in your future as a writer. By signing up, you are proclaiming that your writing is a vital part of your life, one that you wish to develop as fully as possible. You'll understand, intuitively, that attending the WRW will mean you'll be giving the best gift you can to yourself . . . a week filled with work-and-fun- crammed days of writing and learning.

The key criteria for a successful eight days is to keep an open mind and have a willingness to expand your horizons. Through classes, assignments, diagnostic sessions, feedback, guest speakers, discussion groups, readings, informal gatherings, movies, and more, you will learn more than you had ever dreamed was possible.

What should I expect from the experience?
First of all, that you'll make dramatic improvements in your writing, editing, story sense and marketing skills. Also, that you'll meet a group of people with the same dreams and aspirations. That you'll laugh a great deal. That you'll be well-fed, nurtured and challenged. Expect to give yourself wonderful stretches of time to do the work you are meant to do--write. Expect that you'll be welcomed into the growing WRW family. Expect that your dreams will be revitalized.

Here are some comments from some of our recent Writers Retreat Workshop participants.

"WRW is a unique blend of writing craft education, and the development/enrichment of the spiritual side of writing. Until this retreat, I never realized one suffered without the other. Since WRW, I’ve found a deeper creativity, and a confidence I never had before.  I’ve carried some of the spiritual practices into my daily writing routine and have become a richer writer as a result." - Joni, TX (2015)

"If you are a writer, and you want to be a published author, you need the best instruction, feedback, and information necessary to accomplish that goal. WRW is the place to get all three from well-placed and well-respected industry experts in a nurturing environment with members of your own tribe—the nation of writers." – Rick, NC (2015 and previous)

"I learned more about craft- about the elements of story structure and scene development in ten days than I have from years of reading writer's books and attending conferences. And I did it in a warm, supportive community in an idyllic setting. Can't beat that!" - Lynn, KY

"There is no value like this anywhere else that I've been able to find. The returns for the writer's time, money, and creative efforts are immense." - Marilyn, OH

"The perfect mix of classes and writing time. I'll be back fro my fourth year." - Lynn

"The first year gives you the nuts and bolts. Returning provides more of the tools needed to build and create your story." - Kathy, Maine

"Always dreamed of spending time with other writers, just honing your craft and sharing creative ideas? WRW gives you the luxury of doing just that." - Pam

"WRW creates a new world for the writer's pen." - Brian, Seattle

I want to sign up. What should I do?
First- Feel free to email us. Request any information you need.

To participate in the WRITERS RETREAT WORKSHOP, visit the registration page.

Tuition for the 2016 session is as follows and all rooms are private with private bathrooms. 

Tuition for WRW includes: One on one consultations with all staff members, three excellent meals daily with fruit, beverages, and snacks available 24/8, nightly Shop Talk wine and beverage, your private room with private bathroom, all classes, and classroom materials. Probably more.

Everything but your transportation costs to the retreat center. There are a limited number of rooms, so you must send at least a deposit to hold your room. If you would like to make your full payment, or your deposit (second payment of $600 due two months before workshop, and the final payment of $600 due one month before workshop) by mail, send payment along with your name, address, e-mail, phone numbers (daytime, evening, fax), and a one-page summary of your novel-in-progress.

Our address is:
Writers Retreat Workshop
PO Box 170657
Austin, TX 78717

Hope to see some of you at these events!

Blue skies,
Les


Monday, March 21, 2016

My new novel, BOMB, released today!

Hi folks,

Big day at our house! My newest novel, BOMB, was just released from Gutter Press. Tom Pitts and Joe Clifford and the gang there did a bang-up job! It's already gotten two great reviews and we're expecting more. To order, just click on the cover image. It's available both as a paperback and as an ebook.


Dieter Kalteis just posted a great review as the guest editor for Crime Syndicate Magazine, a great honor. Check it out at http://crimesyndicatemagazine.com/2016/03/21/crime-on-crime-review-series-17-bomb-by-les-edgerton/

My good buddy, Elaine Ash (Anonymous 9) also posted a great write-up at https://ashedit.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/les-edgerton-drops-bomb/

Hope you glom onto the book and enjoy the read.

Blue skies,
Les

Saturday, March 19, 2016

New Book Comes Out on Wednesday, March 23

Hi folks,

My newest novel, BOMB, will be released next Wednesday, March 23, from Gutter Press. Don't have a link yet but will post it when I do. Just go to Amazon and it'll be there! I think you'll enjoy the read.

(Just click on it to enlarge the photo)

Personal news: Just got back from four days spent in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I was conducting interviews with Jerry Ford, the founder and owner of the baseball scouting organization, Perfect Game USA, for material for an updated version of my book by the same name.

Got home and discovered I'd forgotten about a workshop I'm to do Sunday on story beginnings for the Indiana Writer's Center in Indianapolis, but am excited to go.

Blue skies,
Les

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

GET READY FOR A RIDE ON THE WILD SIDE!

Hi folks,

Have I got a humdinger of a book to recommend to you!



Review—Anthony Neil Smith’s HOLY DEATH

Gotta front this with a bit of a disclaimer. Anthony Neil “Doc” Smith is a good, good friend as evidenced by the dedication of this book… to moi! This is without a doubt one of the biggest and most cherished honors I’ve ever received as a writer. Neil is one of my biggest heroes and in my opinion, one of the best writers churning out stuff today. All that said, all I can say is this book is one helluva wild ride.

Most of us writers take from our own lives to furnish the populations of our books. Billy Lafitte in HOLY DEATH is one of the best examples of such. Neil Smith suffered a major heart attack and nearly died before he recovered to write this book and then he did what any writer worth his salt almost always does—turned a truly horrifying and dark personal experience into the gold of literature. It’s what we do, and Neil does it perhaps better than anyone I know. Billy Lafitte is the baddest ass of all time, just as Neil Smith is one of the baddest ass writers I know. There are great characters in thrillers and noir, and while I greatly enjoy following the exploits of a guy like Jack Reacher, I frickin’ LOVE following the adventures of Billy. That’s because the situations he gets himself into more closely resemble the places and are peopled more by the people I know and have interacted with. In other words, Billy is a totally real guy. Just badder than most real guys. He doesn’t posture, he doesn’t come up with tricky karate moves, he doesn’t leap from tall building to tall building; he just kicks major ass while in the middle of an ongoing major heart attack. He’s like a fricking cockroach—you can’t kill the guy. He reminds me so much of guys I used to run with and who I was in the joint with. Just no quit in ‘em. It’s the nature of us hillbillies—they just don’t quit when they’re in a fight.

I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. There’s not a single page that you’re not racing to read to get to the next. It gets dark quickly, and then darker, and then even darker, and just when you think it couldn’t get an iota bleaker… the lights all go out and that’s when the real blackness kicks in. I’ll use this novel to show my students how to create tension.

And, how to write real-life sex scenes. Like everything else in this novel the sex itself is down and dirty and the way it goes down in the mean streets. Nothing like it that I know of in most of the books I read. I’m pretty sure Georgette Heyer didn’t have folks like this between her covers. Love is in here as well—love of the sort that real people experience. The love of a man for a woman who will grant her the grace of death out of that love.

Not to give away spoilers, but my biggest fear was that Billy was going to end up dead. That he doesn’t and that there’s yet another novel coming with him is the best news of all.

Neil was at his absolute lowest point when we talked and he tells me I convinced him to keep going with this series. I’m so damned glad he did. This is a masterpiece. Get it and read it—I guarantee you I wouldn’t steer you wrong on this.

Then, when you finish this one, you’ll find yourself back at the bookstore or on Amazon, about to buy all of the Billy Lafitte novels. I’ll lay odds on that.

Blue skies,
Les