Monday, May 14, 2012
Update since Noir at the Bar
Sorry I’ve been absent for some time, but have had a series of mishaps ever since I went to read at Noir at the Bar in St. Louis.
First thing that happened was that the day before I left, my brand-new desktop computer took an electrical surge and got fried. Right after that, my laptop took a surge also but I got lucky with it. The battery kept it from getting fried.
Won’t go into all the problems this has caused, but basically I’ve been without a computer up to even now. I teach an online class and a Skype class and it’s been pure hell to keep up. Thank God I have the most understanding students and also, in my Skype class, the most understanding co-teacher in Jenny Milchman, who’s been an angel in all this. As has been Maegan Sampson who facilitates my online class. Thanks, guys!
Since I can’t take the chance of plugging my laptop into an outlet at home until that’s fixed, I work on stuff from the battery for an hour and a half until it dies, then take it across the street to my neighbor’s to charge it… and she’s not always home. For my Skype class, I have to truck across town to my (wonderful!) mother-in-law’s house to use her outlets. Woke up the first day after St. Louis to over 400 emails to answer! Go down to the public library to work on those, which is difficult as we have one car and my wife Mary needs it to go to work so I wait until she gets home. Goes on and on…
We have an electrician coming over Wednesday to install a separate line for my computer and hopefully that’ll get things back to normal. Of course, I’m still without my brand-new desktop and don’t know when I’ll be getting that back. And, don’t know if it’s covered by warranty or not… Hoping, as I’m out of money…
St. Louis’ Noir at the Bar was fantastic! My mentor (and hero and publisher) Cort McMeel put us up at the Cheshire Inn and it was totally awesome. Mary keeps talking about the fantastic kingsized bed we had. Best night’s sleep we’ve had in years.
We arrived on Friday (the reading was on Saturday night) and our host, Jeb Ayres, came down and took Mary and I out to eat at a club near his house. We all became instant best friends. Later, Mary went up to our room, and Jeb and I knocked back brews in the hotel bar and then Cort showed up around midnight and we continued to knock back brews. Turned out, Cort figured he’d grab a room when he got off the plane from Denver, but all the ball clubs were in town, plus some kind of mega science fair that drew over 30,000 kids and their families, so there wasn’t a room left in town. Ended up, he spent the night sleeping on our hotel room floor (in the room he’d paid for—what we writer types call “poetic justice” or some such term). Cort’s a truly tough guy—a former boxer—and claimed he slept just fine. This was the first time we’d met in person and we’d bonded over the years via the phone and internet and the instant we met, I knew I’d met my spiritual brother.
The next day we met Jenny, Jed’s wife and their two little boys, and Mary and Jenny instantly bonded. We spent most of the day with them and then grabbed a nap back at the Cheshire. And then, it was time to do the reading.
One of the single best experiences of my life! If ever Jed Ayres calls you and invites you to do a reading at Noir at the Bar, all I can say is I’d urge you to run with all possible haste and do so. This is the Valhalla of noir writers. A savage storm erupted just before the reading where a tornado touched down what seemed like mere blocks from us and hail the size of golf balls rained down. Really—no exaggeration—golf balls!
First, Cort read from his forthcoming novel, CAGEFIGHTERS, and then (a very funny) Erik Lundy read from his story “Shootout at the KY Corral” (don’t ask…) and then we all took a break and it was my turn. I read my favorite short story, “In the Zone” from THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES, and Cort told me I knocked it out of the park. Not to brag, but I agree.. We finished up with David James Keaton’s reading of his story “Three Abortions, which was maybe a little un-PCist... You know, people with no brains…
Then, a bunch of noir gods showed up, including Scott Phillips, Frank Bill, Matthew McBride and we started to get ripped. A bunch of us ended up going to hit the bar scene and the next thing I remember is getting up to meet Cort, Jed, Scott, Erik and others down at Jed’s café where the readers are held for breakfast.
Get this: Scott-frickin’-genius-Phillips came up to me and asked if he could read and blurb my next book, THE RAPIST! Did you catch that? He asked me! This is akin to Ted Williams coming out of the dugout to wave his cap.
The word before the reading was that Frank Bill was going to drop by with country singer legend, Ray Wylie Hubbard, but while Frank showed up, alas, Mr. Hubbard was unable to as he was shooting part of a video for his new release.
For a more coherent account of the goings-on, hop over to Jed’s blog at http://spaceythompson.blogspot.com/2012/04/doing-more-with-les.html where he tells what really went on. I think it was because he was more sober…
At the end of the reading, we made another plea for votes for my nomination of THE BITCH for the best novel award in the Legends category.
That didn’t turn out as I’d hoped… Yeah, Lawrence Block won. Who’da thunk? But, it was one of the biggest honors of my life to just be nominated. Next year… (I sound like a Cubs’ fan, don’t I…)
Even though I didn’t win, a lot of my friend did and I’m truly delighted they did. It was deserved in all cases. One I was especially happy about was Anthony Neil Smith’s win for his brilliant novel, ALL THE YOUNG WARRIORS for best novel in the Rising Star category. Congratulations, Doc Noir! This was one of the best novels I’ve read in a long, long while.
When I got back, I was interviewed by Benjamin Sobieck for his blog and it turned out to be one of the best interviews I’d ever had. Ben is a master interviewer and asks the kinds of nasty, tough questions many don’t. Check it out at:http://www.crimefictionbook.com/apps/blog/show/14689817-the-bitch-a-hardball-q-a-with-author-ex-con-les-edgerton
And, then, I got to do a fun interview over at Tony Black’s place, Pulp Pusher. A different take on interviews and pure-d fun. Check it out at:http://pulppusher.blogspot.com/
Got some more stuff to report on, but just have a few more minutes here at the library computer, so will try to post again tomorrow.
I’ve missed you folks!