Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I'll be on Susan Wingate's show today!

Hi folks,

My Halfzeimer's must have taken over--I just received a reminder that I'll be interviewed today at 1:00 EST on Susan Wingate's show! Sorry for the late notice--if you get a chance, tune in. Here's the link:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dialogue/2017/04/25/join-host-susan-wingate-while-she-talks-with-author-les-edgerton


Hope to see you there!

Blue skies,
Les


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A sad, sad day

Hi folks,

Today is a very sad day for me. One of my best friends, author Lesley Ann Sharrock (who wrote under the pen name, Lesley Welsh) has unexpectedly passed away. Lesley and I worked closely together on all of her novels, including her latest one which is scheduled to be released on June 14.

(Please click on Lesley's photo for the link to take you to her Author's Page and books on Amazon.)

I had just gotten an email from her a few days ago, telling me she was sending me a copy of The Serial Killer’s Daughter and had included me in the acknowledgements as she always did, when I was blindsided from an email from Paul Brazill, our mutual friend, letting me know that her daughter Estelle had just posted the sad news on Lesley’s Facebook page. Then, before I could even read it, I got another email from another mutual friend, Vince Zandri, who gave me the same news. All of us are in deep shock.

I met Lesley about four years ago when she contacted me to see if I would be willing to work with her on a novel she was writing. As soon as I read the first pages, I was in. Just brilliant story-telling. She eventually joined our online novel-writing class, but eventually dropped out as she wanted to just work one-on-one. Over the years, we not only worked closely as colleagues, but became fast friends. An ex-pat Brit, she was living in Spain. Prior to our meeting, she had her ex-husband had edited several of Europe’s top magazines from London, but had decided to move to Spain and work on her fiction.

The world of letters has lost a magnificent writer. Those who knew her have lost a wonderful friend. She will be sorely missed.

Here is information about Lesley from her Amazon Author’s page:

Lesley Welsh was born in Strawberry Field children’s home and raised on a notorious Liverpool council estate. Later she moved to London, where she studied English and drama and worked as a freelance writer specialising in alternative lifestyles. Her articles appeared in Cosmopolitan, Marie Clare, Red, Bite, Forum, Time Out and many others before she established Moondance Media, a magazine publishing company. Her dark and compelling short story Mrs Webster’s Obsession was turned into a film. She now lives and works in Spain. 

Her first crime novel 'Truth Lies Buried' was published by Thomas & Mercer in June 2016 and has been nominated for the CWA Golden Dagger Award as the best crime novel of 2016. Her second 'The Serial Killer's Daughter' will be out in June 2017, published by Bookouture,

Give her books a read—you’ll be greatly pleased.

Blue skies,
Les



Another great review from Germany for The Rapist

Hi folks,

My German publisher, Frank Nowatzke of Pulp Master, just sent me the Google translation of another rave review in a Stuttgart newspaper. You can read the original German version at:

Translation:

“Stuttgart - Frank Nowatzkis Pulp Master is well known as a publishing house for disturbing ones. Seamus Smyth's "Revenge of Revenge" and Gerald Kersh's "The Dead Look" are books that are hard to bear in their artistic and historical truth. Les Edgerton, whose novel "Der Vergewaltiger" ("Der Verwaltiger"), has also looked quite a bit since its appearance - but there is no historical event in the background but only the guilt of an individual (the one with the atonement is in this case such a thing ). The author has not thought of a hero, but an enemy of man who, intelligently and formally educated, faces his surroundings only with hatred and contempt. This Truman Ferris Pinter goes his way, he is financially independent and does not have to work as a teacher, anyway he finds students disgusting.

One night, Pinter watches three men and a woman while sex on the way home in the forest. During the day, the girl dives with him while he is fishing and starts to mock him. There is a quarrel, Pinter rests and rapes his victim. Afterwards, he says in court, he says in the prison, he tells the reader that the girl has stumbled, headed against a stone, and drowned in the river.


Pinter is sentenced to death for murder, in prison, he examines the past, analyzes his presence, paints his future, and mentions, as by chance, authors such as Albert Camus and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. As an "unreliable narrator", he leaves the reader unclear as to what is to be said of all this. True to Truman Ferris Pinter is just his cold - and the fate that is heading for it. Or in the end not? How good that the illuminating epilogue of Ekkehard Knörer classifies this extraordinary piece of literature.”

There have been a dozen great reviews so far!






Blue skies,
Les

Friday, April 14, 2017

TWO OPENINGS IN OUR ONLINE NOVEL-WRITING CLASS AVAILABLE

Hi folks,

*Update: Folks, the openings have been filled so alas I can't take any more for this session. If interested, however, we can add as many auditors as there are applicants. If interested in auditing, please contact me. You see everything we do in class and although you don't participate, what you'll observe are usually the same mistakes almost all writers make and I've gotten nothing but positive feedback from those who've audited in the past. Typical is one auditor who told me that he'd learned more about writing in one ten-week session of watching us at work than he'd learned in the whole of his MFA experience. We teach with the sole goal of publication.*



Well, we’re just finishing up our final week on the current session of my online novel-writing class, “Les Edgerton’s Bootcamp for Writers,” and find ourselves with the rarity of a couple of openings. Our next session will begin on April 30 and consists of a ten-week session, with the probability of taking a week off sometime during the term to recharge batteries.

This is a call for new class members. Not sure how many openings we’ll have as we offer vacancies first to our auditors.

The basics are the course costs $400 and it’s limited to ten people. The $400 is nonrefundable, as if a person quits during the session it would be impossible to fill that vacancy. As this is my primary source of income, it would be detrimental for myself and my family. It’s very rare that anyone opts out once begun, however. In over five years, there have only been two.

We’ve had a remarkable history of success. Nearly everyone over the past six years who has become a part of our class has gone on to being legitimately published and/or secured a good literary agent. In fact, that is our only goal—to become legitimately published.

Some of our current and former class members meet up in Scottsdale, AZ. Each shown has one or more novels out or one about to be sold. Except the big guy! Joe is the husband of Maegan who has, I believe, four novels out now since starting in our class. 

I try to warn people who are thinking of joining us, how tough the class is, but I know from past experience that even so forewarned, at least some are going to be in for a shock when they see that we really don’t hold hands, pat people on the back for minimum efforts, or overlook writing that doesn’t work. I’m not cruel (at least I don’t think so) nor are any of the oldtimers in class, but most new folks haven’t been exposed to a class like ours. The truth is, most writers who haven’t had a class like ours has been praised in other classes or most likely, has been in classes that use the “sandwich” method of teaching. You know—that deal where the teach applies a bit of praise, then a bit of criticism, and then a bit of praise. Well, that ain’t our shtick. Not even close. The comments we all provide on everyone’s work fit one definition only. They’re honest.
This isn’t to be mean or to act like we’re the only folks around who know what good writing is. Except… we do. I’m not aware of any other class out there with the kind of track record ours enjoys. Virtually every writer who stays the course with us ends up with a top agent and/or a book deal. That doesn’t happen in a single ten-week session. About the earliest anyone has earned an agent or book deal in our class has been about a year. And, that’s reasonable.
The thing is, our writers don’t expect things to be easy.

From a student several years ago:
Hi ________. Since Les opened the floor for comments from the "class veterans" I'm chipping in with my two cents. I have a file cabinet filled with stuff I sent Les and then needed asbestos gloves to take the paper off the printer. When I started this journey, I'd never taken an English class past high school. (I was pre-med in college) I figured I love to read, so how hard can it be? Okay, quit laughing at me. Clearly, when I wrote my first version of my first novel, I had no idea about story structure, POV, any of that. I figured I'm pretty articulate and therefore I can write?
Les quickly set me straight. All of this is to point out that we've all been on the receiving end of Les' brutal honesty. I will find some of the comments he made on my work and post them but phrases like "throwing up in my mouth now" and "bury this so deep in the yard no one ever finds it" are seared into my brain and I don't have to look to find those!!! The point is, I took other classes before I met Les and the teachers were kind and gentle and never told me I sucked. If it weren't for Les, I'd still be churning out awful drivel that makes people want to throw up instead of trying not to throw up while I wait to see if my agent is able to sell my book. I would never have gotten an agent without Les. So hang in there. Listen to everything he says and if it doesn't make sense, ask away.

The novel that I am currently trying to sell has been a work in progress since 2009. The first time Les saw it he sent it back and told me to re-write the WHOLE thing!!! My character was a wimp. She sat back and let things happen to her. I argued a little, rewrote a little and then moved on to another book. After a year, I went back and reread it and saw the truth. It was awful. So I took a deep breath and started over. Page one. First sentence. Re-wrote the entire thing. It took a full year and then I revised it again. It's definitely a process. But once you get the Inciting incident and the outline steps down pat, it's a whole lot easier. Trust me!!! And you'll never graduate completely. A few months ago, Les and I went head-to-head on one single passage. I was trying to be lazy and take the easy way out. He called me on it and I resubmitted three or four weeks in a row, revisions on the same passage. I was sure my classmates were so sick of it they were going to stick needles in their eyes rather than read it again! But in the end, the passage rocked!! So hang in there!!!! It'll get better. (Note: This novel sold and the writer is currently working on her fifth novel.)

From Les:
I figured I’d let some of the class members give you their take on our class. They don’t hold back and they all have tough skins. They will all tell you the same thing. It isn’t a class for sissies or for those who need their hands held or lots of pats on the back. Becoming published is hard, hard work and isn’t an undertaking for sissies. To get there, our students know they have to put on their Big Boy and Big Girl pants and expect to work harder than they ever have in their lives—and to never, ever “settle” their standards of excellence.

Class members come from all over the globe. We’ve had students from the UK, Ireland, Taiwan, Spain, all parts of the U.S., Canada, Australia, Luxembourg and many other places. We work with writers in virtually every genre on the bookshelves.

The way class works is that the class is divided into two equal groups. We used to have just one group, but it got to be too much for many students. In the past, everybody in the class was required to read everybody else’s work each week and provide in-depth comments on everyone’s work. That meant they had to read nine other class members’ work and deliver intelligent commentary on each one. We’ve since evolved to a more manageable number where now each class member reads and delivers comments on just four other classmates’ work. I provide comments on everybody’s work and that’s why the class is limited to only ten. With ten writers, I can give each person the quality of time and analysis each deserves.

Each week begins on Sunday evening, when people can begin submitting their weekly pages from Sunday until Thursday. If it’s a new writer to the class, they are allowed to submit their first five pages of their novel, plus an outline which consists of five statements and a total of 15-20 words. Oldtimers in class call this “inciting incident hell.” If the outline isn’t working and their beginning doesn’t represent the inciting incident as provided in their outline, they are required to keep submitting each week until it does. Our feeling is if they haven’t thought through their novels sufficiently and provided a publishable novel structure (evidenced by the outline), then they most likely don’t have a novel ready to be written and to simply plunge ahead will almost invariably lead to an unfinished novel. We don’t want that.

Once they’ve been okayed for the beginning, from thereafter they can submit up to eight pages per week, along with the others in class.

Time zones don’t matter. Everybody’s work, including everyone’s comments and my own comments on each person’s work each week is posted on the class site and folks can go to it any time of the day or night. Class members can begin sending back their comments on each others’ in their group from Sunday through the following Sunday, when it begins again. Although, in practicality, most members send in their work each week on Wednesdays and Thursdays. It’s like being in an “on-ground” class in that everything said or done in class is seen by everybody.

We do have a chat function and people use it all the time, even though they’re in different time zones. One of the best things about this class is that we have lots of oldtimers who know from their own experience what works in a novel and what doesn’t and more importantly… why it works or doesn’t work. It’s like having a group of seven or eight other professionals helping you with your own novel. Probably at any given time in class, there will be four or five who already have had a novel or several published as a result of being in class, so it’s a really rarefied group. And, if you think that you couldn’t operate in a situation like this because you’re a beginner, that simply isn’t the case here at all. Nearly every single person in each class began just the way you did, as a rank beginner. And, they remember and they have complete empathy for your situation, if you’re a beginning writer.

It’s not a situation of simply saying, “This doesn’t work.” Myself and others in class will surely say that, but we then let you know why it didn’t work and give you solid suggestions on how to make it work. We collectively have a nurturing nature and all of us want the newcomer to succeed just about as badly as that writer wants to.

If you are still interested but still feel intimidated, I think if you simply look at how the class works, you’ll quickly see how you’ll fit in comfortably. Since we’ve got one week left in class, for anyone who would like to see up close and personal how we work as a class, I’d be delighted to give you auditor status for our last week. Besides class members, we also have an auditor function which works the same as it does in a “regular” college class. You’re admitted to class and can view every single thing we’re doing and the entire class session is archived and easy to access. Normally, the cost of auditing the class is $50, but for our last week, for those interested in simply getting a look at how we work, just email me at butchedgerton@comcast.net and let me know and I’ll have our class administrator, Holly, get you on board asap.

I know there are no doubt a lot of questions you may have. Please feel free to contact me at any time and ask me anything you’d like.

From past experience, when we’ve had openings like this, they go quickly, so if you are interested, please get in touch, okay?

For those interested in such things, here are a few of my own qualifications to teach writing.

MFA in Writing from Vermont College
Taught writing for the UCLA Writer’s Program
Taught writing via Skype for the New York Writer’s Workshop
Writer-in-Residence for three years for the University of Toledo
Writer-in-Residence for one year for Trine University
Taught writing classes for St. Francis University
Taught writing classes for Phoenix College
Taught writing for Writer’s Digest Online Classes
Taught writing classes for Vermont College
Published 19 books, including craft books on writing, novels, sports books, YA novel, historical nonfiction book, humor nonfiction, black comedy novel, noir, thrillers, literary and existential fiction.
Dozens of short stories published in such publications as The South Carolina Review, High Plains Literary Review, Aethlon, Flatmancrooked, Murdaland and many others.
A lot of living… much of it as an outlaw…

Blue skies,
Les



Monday, April 3, 2017

FAZ REVIEW!

HI folks,

Just got word from my German publisher, Frank Nowatzke of Pulp Master, that the review he'd been waiting for on THE RAPIST, just came out from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DAZ).




Founded in 1949, this major conservative-liberal daily is a reference tool in business circles and among intellectuals, who appreciate its literary supplement, FeuilletonFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, or FAZ for short, is the German daily with the widest circulation abroad and one of the world’s largest networks of correspondents, which makes it by and large independent from the press agencies. 

Frank refers to FAZ as "the NY Times of Europe."

For those of you who read German, here's the link to the review:

 https://scontent-frt3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t35.0-12/17522070_10212206928272114_1281064546_o.jpg?oh=76ee287a6abef65895d72986c614e69b&oe=58E439CC


My agent, Svetlana Pironko, has a translator at work on it, translating it into English rather than use the rather poor version Google furnishes and once they have it, I'll post it here.

But, this is really big news for the book. It's the eleventh German newspaper review and they've all been great reviews. I've always felt this book would do well in Germany and this is just evidence that they "get it." I'm very pleased... actually, ecstatic is a better word!

Pulp Master has purchased the German-language rights for two more of my books, THE BITCH and THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING, and the success THE RAPIST is enjoying is going to provide a great reception in Germany and Europe for these two books as well.

It's a good day!

Blue skies,
Les

Sunday, April 2, 2017

NOIR RULES

Hi folks,

Here's a piece I wrote awhile back you may find interesting...


“REAL” CHARACTERS AS OPPOSED TO “HOLLYWOOD” CHARACTERS:
NOIR RULES

            As writers, each of us comes to our choice of this craft from different avenues and all of us have different motivations and agendas, based on any number of factors. Our life experience is perhaps the largest factor and that involves not only our childhood experiences and relationships, but that English teacher in the fourth grade who encouraged us (or discouraged us—as psychology students learn, there are two possible ways to get the rat to run the maze—punishment or reward). Writing, to my mind, is one endeavor that doesn’t fall under the genetics/environment argument. I don’t believe in something called “the born writer.” If there were such a thing, why didn’t Native Americans and other similar cultures ever produce a single writer before the white man took over the real estate? Story-tellers, yes, absolutely. But, no writers.
            In fact, as a writer, accuracy is important to me, and it’s why I walked out of the movie Dances With Wolves. A third of the way through, a group of Indian boys have stolen Kevin Costner’s horse (obviously not aware of his iconic Hollywood status) and are riding back to their camp. Subtitles inform us of what they’re shouting. One boy yelled, “They’ll write songs about us!” (Italics mine.) Well, not one single North American Indian tribe had the word “write” in their vocabulary; indeed, the concept of writing didn’t exist prior to the white man becoming the landlord. From that moment forward, my disbelief became unsuspended, and I couldn’t buy any of the rest of the movie.
            I looked up the original screenplay and the writer had it right. He’d written: “They’ll sing songs about us.” The writer got it right and the director or editor or whoever changed it. Happens to us writer-types all the time.
            The point I’m trying to make is that writing isn’t a result of genetics. It’s something created by environment. The additional point is that a writer should watch editors very carefully…
            In my case, I’m just following the dictum, “Write what you know.”
            Well… Les knows crime. I spent a considerable portion of my life doing crime stuff. Even spent two-plus years in prison, in one of Indiana’s then-two maximum security prisons, Pendleton, back in the sixties on a 2-5 for second-degree burglary. Did other things afterward, including dealing drugs, using drugs, working as an escort for wealthy women, was shot at and shot back, was involved in high-speed chases with the cops, lived with a call girl whose clientele involved people you’d recognize from People Magazine, was homeless, was involved in stabbings, check-kiting, strong-armed robberies, and some other tricks and stratagems of the hustling trade.
            I also have this weird desire to write true accounts of the criminal mind in novels, something I’ve seen very little of. In fact, the only accurate depiction of the criminal mind I’ve ever seen in a movie was the Woody Harrelson character in Natural Born Killers. Although, it seems that movie turned off a lot of folks, who prefer their criminals depicted in a more romantic and Hollywoodish fashion. In Glitter Town, most filmmakers would have Harrelson love cats or something equally insipid. And, yes, I know—it was a Hollywood movie, but an aberration. Very few novels, other than true noir, ever come close. One of the best novels that gave us a true account of how people become criminals was Scott Smith’s A Simple Plan.
            To be honest, most novels and films don’t seem to come even remotely close to a realistic interpretation of the criminal mind. That’s changing these days as noir makes a comeback.
            What’s the reason most miss the true nature of the criminal mind? That’s easy. Most who write have never been criminals. And, there’s no one to call them out on the inaccuracies as very few criminals read all that much for several reasons. One, limited access to books. When I was in Pendleton, our “library” consisted mostly of Zane Grey paperbacks and was housed in an oversized closet. Two, most inmates are poorly-educated. Again, when I was in Pendleton, the average educational level was third-grade. Therefore, the only people with critical acumen in the subject, don’t have much of a voice or easy entre to the NY Times Book Review.
            The same situation exists in the Mafia. Anyone who has known many Costa Nostra types personally knows that most of these guys aren’t going to cure cancer, split the atom, or invent gravity. The greater numbers are mouth-breathing mesomophs, with the I.Q. power of candles and the achieved educational level of gnats.
            When Mario Puzo wrote The Godfather, he admitted he’d never met a mafiosa. He confessed he’d made just about all the stuff in the book up. He had to. He was living in Connecticut, surrounded by life insurance executives and stock brokers and typing on a door suspended on two sawhorses in his spacious, well-appointed garage. (He said in an interview that if he’d known it was going to be a big hit, he’d have “written it better,”) The “sleeping with the fishes,” the “horsehead” stuff, the “hitting the mattresses” stuff, all came out of his imagination. What happened was the guys in the Mob liked his depiction of them—even though it was all b.s.—as it greatly romanticized them and made them look… human?—even as cool humans?—that they adopted the persona. They adopted the language in the novel (well, most didn’t read well enough to read the novel—most just saw the movie) and life imitated art. Now, until another movie comes out, most mafia guys are going to be cracking wise until they day they “sleep with the fishes” with the bon mots they observed Al Pacino uttering. It’ll have to be a different movie, though, as everything that followed The Godfather seems to have used the same casting director.
            Same thing happens with most criminals when they read a thriller. They adopt the role they see on the page or up on the screen. Most criminals look like your neighbor the accountant in the split-level down the block, but thanks to movies and thrillers, the average citizen is certain that they look either like Steve Buscemi or Samuel Jackson, and that the average warden looks like Robert Redford. Not my experience…
            Let’s look at three of the most common inaccuracies:
1. Inmates in prison hate child molesters.
            Mostly hooey. It seems to be common wisdom these days that people on the bricks (”straights”) believe that inmates in prison hate child molesters and can’t wait to kill them. I disagree… to a point. Back in my time in prison (mid-sixties in a state joint, which is vastly different than a federal prison), nobody much cared about what you were in for. Actually, there weren’t many child molesters back then-child molestations, while they’ve always been around are infinitely more common these days than back then--but as long as they minded their business no one really bothered them or cared what they’d done. I can only remember knowing of one inmate who was a convicted child molester and nobody bothered him or much cared what he was in for. To be honest, a large number of people incarcerated have drinking or drug problems and when they’re on the sauce or high, pretty routinely abuse their own kids.
2. Inmates hate convicted cops.
            Again, hooey. The few cops that were in the joint with me had more friends than anyone else, on average. The thing is, cops and outlaws interact with each other all the time on the bricks--at least the professional criminals do--and most of us like and even respect each other. There’s a very fine line between being a cop and a criminal, in my opinion. We’re both adrenaline junkies and is one of the chief reasons we become what we are in these two “career fields.” When I was “in the life” I used to hang out almost every night at a slop shop in downtown South Bend, before I went to “work,” and half the people there were off-duty cops and half were outlaws. We all got along well and if one of those guys got sent up, we were still friends.
3. Inmates claim to be innocent.
            This is probably the biggest myth of all. Nobody claims to be innocent in the joint--even those few who are. If you were innocent and said so to other inmates, they would take that as a sign of weakness and you’d be in trouble. Where that comes from is when a reporter or researcher interviews an inmate, very often they’ll sing him a sad tale of woe about being bumrapped. The reason is, no matter how guilty the person is, once you’re inside, all hope has vanished. To be interviewed, especially by a sympathetic listener, the hope rises that enough bleeding hearts will read the article or see the show and be moved to do something to get the guy liberated. That it doesn’t happen doesn’t destroy the hope--they know it’s a long shot anything like that will happen, but it’s a glimmer of a hope and so they bring their acting chops to the table--probably even claim to have one of those b.s. “jailhouse conversions” and hope somehow their “story” (and that’s usually what it is--a story)--will affect the right people’s hearts and a miracle will happen. I only knew one person when I was in who was truly innocent and there’s no way he would have claimed that to other inmates unless he really trusted they wouldn’t tell anyone else. That’d be suicide. In fact, when those who appear in documentaries and TV shows claim their innocence, the instant they’re back in the cellhouse they make sure to let everyone know they were just pulling a shuck.
            Another thing they don’t publicize as it would destroy the common misconception. Of all those people who get freed from prison after an investigation or new trial, probably 90-some percent aren’t freed because they were found innocent. They’re freed because of a legal technicality. You can look that up.
            For points #1 and #2, what I suspect has happened to lead to the hatred for child molesters and cops inside the walls is what has happened in just about all the instances of misconceptions about convicts. I think what’s happened is that movies and the media romanticized this (inmates hating and killing child molesters) and inmates bought into this image of themselves for a variety of reasons–-a typical reason being that people in prison are just plain looking for any kind of excuse to shank someone and this is as good a reason as any and even kind of makes the guy shanking a child molester look like a good or moral guy.
            The same thing happened with the cops being in danger in the joint myth. Some individual somewhere told a reporter that and the naive reporter (there’s a lot of those folks!) reported it as gospel and just like the child molester myth, that just gave cons an excuse to shank someone and feel “moral.” Now, of course, thanks to television and the movies, convicted cops are in danger.
            Even worse is the image MSNBC-NEWS is portraying in their prison series of criminals. If a person was to believe what they see on those shows, they’d assume the average inmate is an obsessed weight-lifter or a raging psycho who spends his day fingerpainting with feces between meetings with the Aryan Nation or Black Panthers or Mexican Mafia and learning the secret handshake. And, they’re all doing life… This series is helping create the biggest misconception of criminals in the history of media--the mindset that doesn’t understand the difference between drama and melodrama, except to know that melodrama boosts ratings.
            The truth is, if you put the average cellblock population in a mall food court, nobody would look twice. You’d just see folks mostly like your neighbors. Actually, most of those in jail were your neighbors at one time.
            This is why noir rocks. We see a far greater number of realistic characters in their pages. This is also why it has suffered as a genre for so long. It’s too truthful for some. My experience is that the average person is fascinated by criminals… so long as they can appear to get close but get none of that criminality nastiness on themselves. When the criminal mind is accurately depicted, they begin to sense that these guys aren’t as different as they thought.
            That’s scary.
            And makes for great literature.
*                                                          *                                                          *
            There’s one other thing that noir has going for itself. It isn’t all that concerned with that abomination called being “politically correct.” That, in itself, is a compelling reason to read and write it.

Blue skies,
Les


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Preorder info for my new book, LAGNIAPPE

Hi folks,

For those who like to be the first in on a new book, my new collection of short stories, titled LAGNIAPPE, published by Down & Out Books, is available for preorder. It becomes available on June 12. The more people who preorder it, the faster start out of the chute it can make and all that's good for me, so...

Here's the info on how to glom onto either an ebook or paperback version.


For Paperback, click here.

For Ebook, click here.

The skinny on it...


Twenty years after the publication of his first short story collection, Monday’s Meal, Les Edgerton delivers the goods once again in this collection of harrowing tales of outlaws, ex-cons, frightened men and women, rap-partners throwing back tall boys and taller tales, children forced to become killers, stabbings and shootings, bad asses and sad asses…a wide-ranging collection of distinct and memorable characters who will exhibit a kind of wisdom not obtainable from the halls of academia. This is not a gathering of people contemplating their navels but real people facing the consequences of their actions…and it ain’t often pretty.

Praise for Les Edgerton…

“Les Edgerton has swiftly become my favorite crime writer. Original voice, uncompromising attitude and a pure hardboiled style leap him to the front ranks of my reading list. He will become legendary.” —Joe R. Lansdale, author of Paradise Sky, The Bottoms, Edge of Dark Water, The Thicket, and the Hap and Leonard series, the books behind the TV series of the same name, and many others.

“Reading Les Edgerton’s stories is like listening to those old World War II broadcasts from the London blitz, with the reporter crouching under a restaurant table, microphone in hand, while the bombs drop on the city and the ceiling caves in. Edgerton reports on the world and the news is not good. There’s a kind of wacky wisdom in these bulletins from the underside of life; the stories are full of people you hope never move in next door, for whom ordinary life is an impossible dream. This is good fiction; Edgerton writes lean and nasty prose.” —Dr. Francois Camoin, Director, Graduate School of English, University of Utah and author of Benbow and Paradise, Like Love, But Not Exactly, Deadly Virtues, The End of the World Is Los Angeles and Why Men Are Afraid of Women.

“Les Edgerton is the new High King of Noir.” —Ken Bruen, author of The Emerald Lie, The Guards, Pimp, and many others.

Thanks for considering getting a copy. I'm very proud of these stories! Several of them have been nominated for some cool awards so keep your fingers crossed for me!

Blue skies,
Les

I don't know about Joe Lansdale here, but I know that I thank you! As you can see, I'm down to my last cigarette here so if you buy a copy it helps me out in a big way...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Review for THE DEATH OF TARPONS

HI folks,

A really thoughtful article about my first novel, The Death of Tarpons, just came out yesterday from the Betimes Books blog. The writer, Hannah Keane, really did a bang-up job and one of the things that impacted me emotionally was how she came up with photos from my hometown of Freeport, Texas where the story was set, one in particular, the shot of the Tarpon Inn which I saw every day of my life. It was at the end of the town square where my grandmother's bar and taxi company sat. They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words and in this case it was for me. The day that photo was shot, I know I had looked at the building as I did every day. It put me right there and I could smell the shrimp in the air and just evoked a powerful, powerful memory!


Here's Hannah Keane's article:



By Hannah Keane
On the occasion of the new release of Les Edgerton’s debut novel, The Death of Tarpons, in paperback format by Betimes Books and in electronic format by Endeavour Press, we are taking a look back at what makes Edgerton’s first work of fiction so special. For something which, at first glance, seems so different from his later works, how does it fit so seamlessly in Edgerton’s body of work?

First published in 1996, The Death of Tarpons stands out in Edgerton’s repertoire for how different in tone it is from his subsequent novels. To many, Edgerton is known as an acclaimed crime writer, but his most loyal fans will also know that he has never wanted to limit himself – or be limited – to one genre of writing: from short story collections like Monday’s Meal to young adult fiction such as Mirror, Mirror and plenty of non-fiction, Edgerton has explored writing in its many forms.

Consequently, it should come as no surprise that Edgerton’s first piece of writing is a touching coming-of-age story about a young teenage boy trying to build a better relationship with his father.

“Then, last year, I got this fantastic idea to do something totally on my own, in secret, that would show him once and for all I could do something mechanical. Manly. Then, he would love me and be proud of me and put his arm around me. I decided to build a boat. For him.”

This sounds as far removed as possible from other works like The Rapist or Just Like That but, as one reviewer and fellow author has mentioned, the seeds of Edgerton’s later fiction can indeed be found here.

“Edgerton’s later novels have become Noir classics to many, and ‘The Death of Tarpons’ hints at a moonless childhood that explains the author’s successful literary journeys into darkness.”
Jack Getze, Spinetingler Magazine, 2017

In The Death of Tarpons, young Corey certainly encounters many episodes of darkness. Nearly all of the personal relationships around him are afflicted with violent outbursts or psychological abuse: the regular beatings of his best friend, Destin, and his mother at the hands of his drunken father; the violent reprimands Corey endures from his own father as well as the emotional neglect he and his mother receive from Corey’s father – a neglect that has driven his mother to religious fanaticism.

“Every atom in my body was in fear. I had never seen such a look on his face as there was now, not even at his angriest. It was like the face of God Himself, the face the fire and brimstone preacher Mom listened to, conjured up, Sunday mornings.”

Thus, the darkness one would expect from Edgerton’s work is present in his debut; however, it is tempered by the sweet nature of its protagonist and the loving relationship Corey has with his grandpa.

What allows Edgerton to write across different genres with such success is something that all his works have in common: an honesty that can only come from personal experience. Edgerton has described The Death of Tarpons as being “85% autobiographical” and as being a work which was long in the making, having started writing it at the age of fifteen. The setting of the novel – 1950s era Freeport, Texas – was a place where Edgerton spent part of his childhood and many characters are drawn from real life with, for example, the author’s own grandmother being just as successful and driven a businesswoman as the Grandma character featured in the novel. Just as Edgerton’s own experience as an ex-con gives a realistic edge to his crime fiction, the same truthfulness can be found in his debut.

“The Oyster Bar. The business that had sustained three generations, mine and my sister Doc’s, my parents, and my grandparents. The business that, along with the taxi cab company, my grandmother had created and ruled as her own private fiefdom. Not with some metaphoric iron hand, but with a very real Navy Colt long-barreled .45 on the dash of her taxi”.

Honesty and credibility are what make Edgerton’s writings so distinctive and evocative. When reading The Death of Tarpons, one can really visualise what it was like being a young boy, just out on summer vacation with lots of great plans for how he was going to spend the holidays hanging out with his best friend, fishing with his grandpa and getting closer to his dad.

“All the way downtown, I used lawns, head down, alert for nettles and stickers. When I had to cross a street, leave the coolness of grass, I ran faster, landing on different parts of the soles of my feet. First-day-of-summer-vacation-tootsies were too white and thin-skinned for concrete baked at ninety-plus degrees.”

As with the rest of Edgerton’s work, the vividness of his characters and settings is a result of his personal knowledge of what it was like to be a young teenage boy growing up at this time in the American South. The credibility that comes from writing about places and situations one is familiar with is what gives The Death of Tarpons, as well as Edgerton’s other novels, a distinctive edge.

The Tarpon Inn in Freeport, TX 1954.





Thanks for reading her article. Hope that if you glom onto the book, you'll enjoy the read!

Blue skies,
Les

Monday, March 27, 2017

New cover for my new book.

Hi folks,

Just want to show you the cover for my newest book that will come out in June from Down & Out Books. It's the third cover artist J.T. Lindroos has created for books of mine. He's just a fantastic artist!


Here's what J.T. said about his work:

"A new cover for Les Edgerton and Down & Out Books I’m particularly happy with. I set up this photo in our backyard with a couple of empty bottles, moonlight, two small flashlights and green and white beads from our New Orleans trip.


 The beer bottle up front (Smashing Todd’s Ambergris Reserve Wartime Stout) is a leftover prop from Jeff VanderMeer's  Shriek the Movie."

"Lagniappe" is a word that's very familiar to us natives (and former natives!) of New Orleans--it means "something extra." And, I hope that if you get it you'll agree. It's a collection of new stories that haven't been published in book form until now. All of them have been published by various anthologies.

I'll announce here in June when it becomes available.

Blue skies,
Les

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Article and novel

Hi folks,

Few things happening. I was just notified my short story, Snake Farm, was nominated for an Anthony Award. Please keep your fingers crossed for me and if you are eligible to vote, you know I'd appreciate it!

A good friend of mine, Vince Zandri, just told me his new novel is out... and I'm a major character in it. Cute, Vince... If you'd like to see a truly great character, check out https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2UB7TX

And, Odyssey Press just published an article of mine on their blog. Odyssey is the literary imprint for Endeavour Books, UK's top ebook publisher. They published the ebook version of my novel, The Death of Tarpons. Check it out at http://www.theodysseypress.com/idea-become-story-author-death-tarpons-les-edgerton-tells/




Just sent the final draft--hopefully--of my new novel, Hard Times, to my agent, Svetlana Pironko. Hope she likes it.

And... that's all, folks!

Blue skies,
Les

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Death of Tarpons now in paperback!

HI folks,

I'm jazzed! My first novel, The Death of Tarpons, is now out in paperback. Click on the photo below and it will take you to the site where you can glom onto a copy.



It's now available in both ebook and paperback forms. And, the screenplay I adapted from it and which placed as a semifinalist in the Nicholl's Foundation Awards is getting looks from Hollywood folks. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

This is what I looked like when I wrote this puppy...




The novel is about 85% autobiographical and I wrote about half of it when I was fifteen. It was awarded a Special Citation from the Violet Crown Book Awards which I'm very proud of.

Blue skies,
Les

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Gerald O'Connor's marvelous novel!

Hi folks,

Just want to bring your attention to a novel I highly recommend, Gerald O'Connor's beautiful novel, The Origins of Benjamin Hackett.


This is a book that is very close to my heart. Gerald wrote this book in our online class and we all recognized the genius of the writing immediately. It's a powerful, emotional story and that alone makes it well worth the price, but what really transcends this book is the lyrical, Irish poetic voice that inhabits the book. He has a voice that will move him quickly to the forefront of literature.

It goes on sale tomorrow and I'd urge you to glom onto a copy. It's available in either ebook or paperback format. It's a book that I think you will agree has watercooler value. You know--that kind of book that the day after you read it, you'll go to work, bleary-eyed after staying up all night unable to put it down, and say to your workmates, "You've got to read this book!"

You've got to read this book!

Blue skies,
Les

Saturday, January 28, 2017

THE DERRINGER AWARD

Hi folks,

James R. Tuck, put together a collection of crime and noir stories centered around country music songs and invited me to send him a story which he accepted. Down & Out Books published the book in August. He just told me that the story, SNAKE FARM, has been nominated for a prestigious Derringer Award.


I'm stoked! It's my second Derringer nomination and maybe this time I'll cop one of these things.

You might want to glom onto this. Just click on the cover above. Lots and lots of terrific stories here.

Blue skies,
Les

Monday, January 23, 2017

THE RAPIST reviewed on Austrian television show!

Hi folks,

Just heard from my German publisher, Frank Nowatzki of Pulp Master, that a leading Austrian TV station reviewed The Rapist on the program, Kulturzeit (Culture Time). The review comes on at the 20:45 spot on the program. Here’s a written version of the review. There is also a Google button you can hit to translate it from the German:




 And, here's the broadcast itself. The Rapist review plays at the 20:45 mark of the show.



Blue skies,

Les

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Katja Bohnet review of The Rapist in CulturMag

HI folks,

Just received another wonderful review of The Rapist from German reviewer, Katja Bohnet, in CulturMag. It's in German, but there's a translate button that quickly translates it into English.

At: CulturMag




Me, sleeping with my copy of the German edition and my "buddy"...

Click on the photo for some other reviews from Germany.


Blue skies,
Les



Sunday, January 8, 2017

*WRITERS' POLICE ACADEMY APPEARANCE*

Hi folks,

One of the events I’ll be participating in this coming year is Lee Lofland’s annual one-of-a-kind Writers’ Police Academy in Green Bay, Wisconsin from August 10-13, 2017. There’s nothing like it in the world. It gives crime and suspense writers an up close and personal look at how law enforcement works. Lee has asked me to appear and talk about my experiences on the other side of the law—as a former burglar, armed robber, prison experience and other activities I participated in during my outlaw days.

This is an amazing opportunity for writers who use crime in their writing to “get it right.” This is an unprecedented gathering of both the top crime/thriller/mystery writers in the world along with the top law enforcement authorities.

At least two of my own students have attended this remarkable event—Maegan Beaumont and Mary Edelson—and both rave about the experience.

Go here for all the info you’ll need: http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/


CONFERENCE

·         INFORMATION
·         REGISTRATION
·         PRESENTERS
·         SCHEDULE
Exciting NEWS!
The 2017 Writers’ Police Academy is a One-of-a-Kind Thrilling Experience for Writers!
When:
August 10-13, 2017
Where:
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
International Public Safety Training Academy
Green Bay, Wisconsin
As always, there’s far too much to see and do in a single weekend, so get plenty of rest, wear comfortable shoes, and prepare to be blown away by THE event of a lifetime!
Hotel:
Radisson Hotel and Conference Center Green Bay
2040 Airport Drive, Green Bay, WI 54313
920-494-7300
*The hotel is conveniently situated near Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, and features several restaurants, AND, the famous Oneida Casino!
Airport:
Austin Straubel International Airport
Airport Code – GRB
Shuttles are provided between the airport and the Radisson, our event hotel.
ONEIDA CASINO – Plan to stay an extra day or so to take advantage of this unique opportunity – slots, table games, poker, roulette, craps, great food, and live entertainment!
Even more exciting details for the even bigger and better 2017 Writers’ Police Academy are on the way.
That’s right, we’re pushing our own limits to take 2017 to a level of unbelievable excitement and heart-pounding action. You will not believe your eyes.
This is THE experience of a lifetime!
Registration details TBA.
*This is a one of a kind event, featuring real police, fire, and EMS training at a renowned international law enforcement training academy. Top instructors and experts! It is THE event of the year. An experience of a lifetime!
*Space for the 2017 Writers’ Police Academy is limited. So please register early. Available slots will go quickly.
Registration – TBA
Registration includes transportation from the Radisson to the academy and back (to the academy in the morning and back to the hotel at the end of the day), and to all off-site activities and sessions, lunches at the academy, all workshops, Friday night reception and all sessions at the hotel.
The Saturday night banquet, of course, is extra, and optional. But you will not want to miss the festivities and the fantastic food, as well as the company of your fellow WPA recruits and faculty.
*Sisters in Crime offers a whopping $150 discount for SinC members attending for the 1st time. Join SinC now to receive your discount!
Registration opens – TBA.
Breakfasts and WiFi are free for WPA registrants staying at the Green Bay Radisson. Hotel provides shuttle service to and from the airport.
Our negotiated hotel room rate is TBA.
We will post the hotel reservation link sometime during the second week of February. When calling the hotel to make your reservation please be sure to ask for the Writers’ Police Academy special rate!
Please, please, please reserve your rooms ASAP. Once our reserved block is filled we will not be able to extend it. This is a very popular hotel that’s used by the Green Bay Packers as well as vacationers who like to take advantage of the fabulous casino.
*Again, space for the 2017 Writers’ Police Academy is limited.  So please register early. These slots will go quickly.
Registration opens SOON!

If you’re not yet a subscriber, consider going to Lee’s blog, The Graveyard Shift, the premier site for writers to learn substantive and accurate information about police procedures and all things relating to law enforcement. If you want your book to be accurate, this is the best resource out there.


Hope to see many of my writer friends there! Look for me in the bar or in the casino when I’m not doing a presentation…

Blue skies,
Les