Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Hi folks,

I usually don't do this, but just got a new review on Goodreads that was really nice and thought I'd share it with your indulgence.

17322002 06/25 gave 5 stars to The Rapist by Les Edgerton
status: Read in June, 2013

This is rough going, I will not lie. Not because it isn't written brilliantly, and not because it ever gets boring.

The protagonist is Truman Ferris Pinter who is a psychopath, no kidding with this. It is stomach turning how this guy rationalizes, and harrowing. I really HATE him, but I could not put it down. And the fact that I would put "hate" in all caps is what makes this brilliant. I read a lot, and one out of every 100 novels affects me the way this has. It was beyond the mediocre character villains, the clichés that allow you to sit back and think, "cardboard character" I'm just along for the ride. No, you get so involved with this, that you have an emotional reaction on the visceral level.

I have only read 2 other novels that stayed with me to this extent, "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Lolita". They stayed with me for months, and even years. This one is going to do the same.

It is powerful. Read it.

Thanks! Much appreciated!

Blue skies,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Hi folks,

 This just appeared on the Grift Magazine site. I'm very honored! 


 Grift No. 2 coming soon!

Yes, it probably seems like forever since the debut issue of Grift was unleashed on the world, but it has only been about a year. No, we didn’t intend for Grift to be an annual, but tell that to life, which kept getting in the way of our earnest and heartfelt attempts to get the second issue out to you.
Fret no more: Grift’s arrival is imminent. As we iron out the last few items in preparation of launch, you can prepare yourself… or try, anyway.
The issue includes an exhaustive (yet incredibly captivating) interview of Les Edgerton, another with Stuart Neville, and a look a the film noir woodcuts of Loren Kantor.
The fiction section is beefed up considerably from the first issue with stories from Erik Arneson, Jack Bates, Matthew Brozik, Lawrence Buentello, Holly Day, Salvatore Falco, Andy Henion, Davin Ireland, David James Keaton, Jon McGoran, Chad Rohrbacher, Helen Maryles Shankman, and Martin Zeigler.
Keep watch on the site for word of when the issue will be available for order. And as always, Grift no. 1 is still available.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Literary Sex...

Hi folks,

Got a bit of a treat for you today. My good friend and colleague, author Carl Brush has written an essay on “Literary Sex” which I thought you’d find interesting. Carl and I have been friends for many years and since he lives in Oakland, CA, he’s my source for everything S.F. Giants. Whenever they win the World Series… like twice in the last three years (hear that, Dodger fans?), he sends my son Mike and I all the newspaper accounts and pictures. Thanks, Carl!

Here’s Carl’s thoughts on sex on the page…

Carl Brush

So your characters are in love, or at least lust, and you’ve brought them to that point. What’s next? Maybe a stream of moans and groans and slurps and visions of bodies contorted into circusy gyrations? Or how about the tender embrace followed by the gently-lowered curtain with violins in the background? Or will it be something in between? Pun intended.

Part of the answer depends on your story’s genre. If it’s erotica, you probably need to go for the liquid gold. However, I’m neither the audience nor the writer to talk to about that. I have no moral objection, and I have read some erotica with interesting characters/plots. It’s just that when I get to the carnality parts, I find myself skating on by to find out what happens next in the tale. I’m much more interested in how to make the lovemaking scenes, both exciting in themselves and part of the overall development of action and character. 

You don’t have to go far to find a couple of superb examples. Les Edgerton’s ThePerfect Crime contains one of the most erotic scenes I’ve ever read, yet there’s nary a salacious detail. Our intrepid hero and his lady are on a stakeout in an apartment so empty it’s bereft of furniture or carpeting, and they’re directly above the apartment of their quarry.  A single sound will reveal their presence, leading to serious injury or death, as well as the foiling of their mission. Yet, their brand-new relationship is heating up and is on the brink of the big it. Thus, their decision to yield to their impulses is not only in character, not only crucial to the plot, but is triply erotic because of their need for absolute silence during the act. Mine is a second-hand description, and the experience is in reading Les’s masterful writing, but I trust I’ve made my point about the merging of the lovemaking with character, action, and story.

Staying with Les for a moment, let’s turn to Just Like That, in which the narrator undergoes a male-on-male rape. This time, Les gives us pretty much every in and out and back and forth of the physical event. However, the way he writes it, the main focus is still not the sex so much as the razor that’s poised at Jake’s neck during it. In terms of both action and character, the dramatic tension for the reader comes from wondering if Jake can or will fight back. So action, character, sex all at once, not separate elements.

Of course, both the examples I’ve given are from what the critics might call “gritty” crime novels, and one might assume it’s easier to accomplish such intertwining there than in lighter fare. Well, let me introduce you to a couple of historical thrillers and demonstrate that it ain’t necessarily so.

My “Vendetta Duo,” the recently released The Maxwell Vendetta and its sequel The Second Vendetta take place in 1908-10 San Francisco and the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains amid more “proper” surroundings than Les’s settings. Nevertheless, the course of young love cannot be denied, and I didn’t find it necessary to deprive readers of a share in the proceedings by doing a fadeout when the going got hot and heavy. 

Andy’s been pursuing Virginia for a long time, and the reader (I hope) is wishing he’d just forge past her obviously insincere denials. Finally, in her artist’s studio, the time seems right. His jealousy aroused by the drawing of a nude male model tacked to her wall, Andy strips and assumes poses such as the David, then invites her to follow suit. She’s tempted, but demurs, giggling about his circumcision (unusual for the times) and his awkward positions. He’s made a bit of a fool of himself and is still a long way from home plate with Virginia. End of scene. Failure? Not so. Delay. And we know how tantalizing that can be. Andy’s clumsy efforts prove endearing and, in the end, effective. Consummation follows not long after. I don’t provide more graphic description, though. After all, we’ve already seen the goods, so we can vicariously join the proceedings while Andy gets his romantic groove on. Thus, action, character, sex. All at once. With a bit of the comical thrown in for good measure—always welcome and sadly missing from novels these days, I think.

There are other sex scenes in the Vendettas, scenes I intend to arouse the reader without much play-by-play but still juicy. I guess I prefer my literary sex to be more like a Japanese painting in which the space is as important as the object. After all, what’s the strip without the tease?

About Carl Brush

Carl Brush has been writing since he could write, which is quite a long time now. He grew up and lives in Northern California, close to the roots of the people and action of his historical thrillers, the recently-released The Maxwell Vendetta, and its sequel, The Second Vendetta. A third volume of the trilogy, set in pre-gold-rush San Francisco is nearing completion. Its working title: Bonita.
You can find Carl living with his wife in Oakland, California, where he enjoys the blessings of nearby children and grandchildren.
Journals in which his work has appeared include The Summerset Review, Right Hand Pointing, Blazevox, Storyglossia, Feathertale, and The Kiss Machine. He has participated in the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Tin House Writers’ Workshop.

Hope you enjoyed Carl’s essay! Get his books—just first-rate writing and storytelling!

Blue skies,

Friday, June 14, 2013


Hi Folks,

When I was asked to provide a blurb for Richard Godwin’s new novel, ONE LOST SUMMER, I gladly agreed. I’m a huge fan of his work and looked forward to another great read. Well, I’ve finished it and. I know now that whatever I say about this brilliant novel will be less than it deserves.

This is without a doubt one of the best novels I’ve read in a long, long time. All the while I was turning the pages, it didn’t feel like I was reading but more akin to a physical sensation, like floating on water. And… a particular, unique body of water. I felt myself buoyed up and borne along as in a small raft, floating on an azure sea, not a cloud in the cobalt-blue, brittle ether above me, helpless and alone. For one of the few times in my life, I understand what the term “fictive dream” meant.

This is the perfect example of a “Jungian novel.” It’s a work of the shadow world that inhabits the deepest recess of the human mind and psyche. I’m not going to talk here about the plot. Yes, there is a plot but this is more than a plot and a character and stuff going on. This is a dream and you don’t read it; you experience it the same as you do when you find yourself in a dream and know you’re in a dream, but just as it is when you’re in a fugue state,  helpless and being carried along to where you don’t know until Godwin deposits you there. It’s frightening to be under control like you are by the author, and, at the same time, exhilarating, as the thought first creeps into your mind and then firmly asserts itself, that you are in the presence of greatness and you feel almost unworthy of being there. This is a work of mad genius. And, make no mistake, you are in the presence of true literature.

Godwin has given us a clear and prescient look inside the mind of a madman and how that madness begins and blossoms and how the madman finally gains complete control of his insanity. This is T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” delivered in a contemporary play. Pay attention to the names of the characters and the locales as they provide the keys to understanding this novel. This novel is a paean to the “lost generation” and should, but won’t, become the anthem for these souls. Most scholars admit to not knowing exactly what Eliot had in mind when he wrote his poem, but I think Godwin has come closer than anyone.

This is a novel I will read again and again, but I confess I plan to wait at least six months between each reading as I won’t be able to work for awhile after reading it. It will discourage me too much as I know I’ll fear I can’t begin to approach its magnificence as a writer and that is paralyzing.

Kudos to Godwin—he has achieved a masterpiece!

From the promo:
Rex Allen loves star quality in women. He moves into a new house in a heat wave with few possessions apart from two photographs of his dead daughter. His next door neighbour, beautiful Evangeline Glass invites him to one of her many summer parties, where he meets her friends and possessive husband Harry. Rex feels he knows Evangeline intimately. He starts to spy on her and becomes convinced she is someone other than who she pretends to be. When he discovers she has a lover, he blackmails her into playing a game of identity that ends in disaster.

Hope you glom onto a copy!

Blue skies,

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Hi folks,

Got some cool news to pass on.

First, Jon Bassoff, my publisher for THE RAPIST with his New Pulp Press, has just sold the German language rights for it to Pulpmaster! He tells me it looks favorable that they may also buy the German edition of THE BITCH when he (re)publishes that novel in August.

This is my first-ever foreign rights sale for any of my books and I’m on that proverbial Cloud 9! What’s really cool about this is that my late friend Cort McMeel and I often talked about the German intellectual atmosphere (and Europe in general) and how Germany was the first to publish Charles Bukowski when he couldn’t get published in the U.S. And, how John Martin was the first U.S. publisher to get Bukowski into print here with the press he founded just to publish him—Black Sparrow Press.. We talked often about how we felt Jon Bassoff was our nomination for the John Martin of contemporary publishing, with the books he was publishing.

Years ago, my advisor, Dr. Francois Camoin, at Vermont College when I was pursuing my MFA, was the first to read THE RAPIST, and he told me at the time that he thought I would find it difficult to get it published in this country and that he thought it fit the European sensibility and sophistication in letters and philosophy much better. He advised me to seek out a publisher in Europe (his preference was for a French publisher). The thing is, at that time (1996) there were very few, if any, publishers with the cojones of a Jon Bassoff at the time or it might have been published much sooner.

It’s entirely due to Jon and the reputation his press enjoys that having it published by Pulpmaster is possible. Thanks, Jon!

For those of you who enjoy fiction that goes outside the PC boundaries of “safe” writing, check out the list at New Pulp Press. The folks he publishes are the reason I submitted to him. I read every single one of his books and there wasn’t a single one that wasn’t flat-out brilliant and amazing. Not one!

THE RAPIST is also being considered by an Italian press and is currently being read by a top Italian national reviewer.

Also, my agent, Chip MacGregor just informed me that THE RAPIST was a Kindle Daily Deal recently. I’m not sure what that means, but Chip tells me it’s a good thing.

Other news…

One of my long-time writing clients, Hollywood attorney Bob Rotstein, has just had the legal thriller I had the pleasure of working with him on—CORRUPT PRACTICES-- published this month by Seventh Street Books, an imprint of Prometheus Books. It’s garnering terrific reviews and has been blurbed by such well-known writers as Sue Grafton and Les Staniford (who encouraged Bob to write a book in the first place.) I had the pleasure of coaching him during the writing of it for the past couple of years. He just called me to ask me to take a look at his next book and I can’t wait!

This is a fantastic book. If you like legal thrillers and psychological novels, this one's for you!


A classmate of mine at Vermont College just published his first novel and it's coming out with a big splash. Check out Charlie Lovett’s THE BOOKMAN’S TALE from Viking/Penguin. We had a small class of about a dozen and every single one of us has made some noise in publishing. Charlie’s book looks like it’s going to make some very serious noise! Check it out.

It’s been an exciting week! And yet, after everything that’s happened, I just looked into the mirror… and I’M STILL UGLY!

Life isn’t totally fair…

Blue skies,

Monday, June 3, 2013



            Many billions of years ago, when mankind (men, who were kindhearted and a couple of women) first began to write, there were very few places to learn the craft. This was during the periods we know today as the Palaeolithic Age, the Mesolithic Age, the Neolithic Age, the first Roosevelt administration, Obama’s last term, and the Age of Aquarius.
            There were only a couple of women writers because they had to go to work to support their writer-husbands. There was virtually no money in those days for cave-drawing-writers. Certainly no medical plans!
            Mostly, there didn’t exist places to learn how to write… primarily because we didn’t have words in those days. (Or four-star hotels to host conventions) Writing was a form where we used pictures, carved on cave walls. We had words, but just a few. Maybe a dozen. Words like “ugh” and “booty” and “dinosaur” (English translation—the original word in cave-man language was “big ol’ dog.”) and “self-aggrandizement.” And these few words only existed in oral form. There was no actual “writing” as we know it today, because we didn’t even know such things that we consider basic today, like dangling participles and adverbs. We didn’t even have dictionaries! We were poor, Jack!
            Things were tough then for writers. Not only didn’t we have dictionaries, we had to walk to school ten miles each way… through six-foot snow drifts!
            No, wait. That was something else. That was my childhood.
            The point is, we’ve come a long way, baby!
            Today, we have words and a modern phenomenon we call “sentences.” We have dictionaries and even thesauruses (or is that thesauri?). We have COMPUTERS! We have all these things and we even have schools and other avenues to learn our craft. By schools, I mean MFA schools. Where, when I went, you had to walk ten miles each way… through six-foot high snowdrifts!
            Some things never change.
            Today, as we all know, there are secrets to becoming a bestselling author. And, it’s become ridiculously easy to acquire these secrets, when, once learned, one can quit that bullshit day job at MULTIPLEX CORP and just travel around to bookstores and sign mounds and mounds of our novels and eat at Elaine’s where we can wave across the room to Woody Allen who is a GENIUS. (Like us.)
            We have craft books and better: we have BLOGS which are electronic places we can access easily and learn from incredibly good-looking, incredibly smart, amazingly well-hung writers such as MYSELF, all of those secrets.
            We also have events these days called WRITER’S CONFERENCES. These are the best places to learn those secrets that lead to bestsellerdom. Why? Well, because the bestselling authors themselves ARE THERE IN PERSON and guess what? They are ALL DRUNK and HANGING OUT IN THE BAR. Where, all you have to do is buy them a Jack and water and they will share these vital secrets with you! They are all more than happy to do so. They are happy to do anything if you only buy them a JACK AND WATER, including random sex acts usually only seen in Juarez, Mexico! Unless, of course, you want to glom onto the secrets of a romance writer. Then, you need to buy them a drink which has an umbrella in it. But, if your ambition is to write gritty, crime and noir novels, then you need to stick to those manly guys drinking JACK AND WATER. And, romance writers aren’t in the bar anyway. They’re all up in their hotel rooms with other romance writers DOING RESEARCH in their vibrating hotel beds. (Nobody knows where the sci-fi writers are. Best guesses suggest either men’s bathrooms or hanging with the hotel janitor.)
            What do you suppose Og, back there in his cave, chiseling out his romance novel of his tryst with Moggy on the cave wall would have given to be able to attend a writer’s conference? A LOT, that’s how much! If only for the vibrating hotel beds. Also, to get away from his wife Zelda, who has just found out about Moggy…
            And the umbrella drinks.
            For those of you who have yet to attend a writing conference and are frothing at the mouth to get to one, I’m going to let you in on how they work so that you can maximize your time while there and get a whole bunch of writing secrets that will… you guessed it… catapualt you into the ranks of BESTSELLERDOM! This is all inside stuff, so pay attention. Plus, it’s guaranteed to get you on the list and be interviewed by Grit Magazine and the NY Times! Your reviews will consist of original, truly descriptive words like “riveting” and “page-turner” and “brilliant” and “short.” (Well, the last only if you’re Tom Cruise and have just penned an autobiography.)
            First of all, you should probably attend one of the panels. One is plenty. They’re all pretty much the same and while the organizers seem to put a lot of emphasis on their websites and in their glossy brochures on the panels they’re offering from BRAND-NAME AUTHORS (a clever synonym for BESTSELLING AUTHORS), like they say about Paree: “When you’ve been with one hooker, you’ve been with them all.” No, wait! That’s something else. I meant to say: “When you’ve been to Paree it’s hard to go back to the farm and concentrate on the corn crop.” NO! That’s not it, either! Dang it. I forget what the saying is, but the gist of this is that one panel is all you need to attend. Trust me on this.
            What will the panel be about? It will be some guys and gals sitting at a table in front (get there early and grab a seat up front as there will always be at least one guy who is considered a SERIOUS WRITER who talks really softly and forgets he or she has a microphone so you’ll want to be close enough to hear him/her when they begin to impart their secrets. It will be the best secret of all, but the bad news is that you’ll only be able to make out about every third word as the rest will be drowned out by thunderous applause whenever his mouth opens or he tugs at a pesky nose hair.
            No matter what the topic has been labeled, it will always end up being about ADVERBS and why REALLY SMART WRITERS never use them. Well, hardly ever… Scarcely ever, anyway. Occasionally, at best.
            This will be the only thing you’ll learn from the panel.
            Even if the publicized title of the panel is:
(Hint: If you don’t know who Harold Bloom is, you’re in the wrong room. This is why you’re the only one here, Boobie.)
            …even if the publicized title is the above, that part will only take about 43 seconds and the rest of the panel will be devoted to… you guessed it! ADVERBS. Also, some stuff on what we laughingly call “Writers’ Bumper Stickers of Wisdom.” You’ve probably seen some of these around town on Government Motors (GM) trucks driven by short, redneck guys who look a lot like TOM CRUISE but with fewer teeth. These stickers will be composed of pithy, but true, nuggets of writerly wisdom like: “Show, Don’t Tell.” This means (in literary language) if you find yourself pregnant by a BRAND NAME AUTHOR, don’t tell on him, or you can kiss goodbye his highly-desired blurb on your tome that is guaranteed to sell a bazillion copies of your opus to people who only buy because Frephen Fing (Not his real name—I’m protecting his true identity, out of respect.) or Frichal Fordan has said it was a “riveting, page-turning, brilliant read… and it’s short.” You’ll be showing, soon enough. No need to tell.
            It’s always a sound idea to visit the bar before attending the panel and, if the organizers of the event were smart enough to hold it in a civilized city like NEW ORLEANS where they have GO-CUPS, take one with you to the panel. If, unluckily it’s in a place like CLEVELAND, go early to the bar and drink two more than you normally would. Ideally, you’ll drink enough that you’ll pass out for the entire length of the panel, but even if not, you’ll be able to get through it by realizing:
            How the hell did that happen? Wallowing in the misery that comes with knowing you’re spending perfectly good money to spend a rainy, sleety, windy, COLD-ASS weekend in the MISTAKE BY THE LAKE (clever and revealing Chamber of Commerce proclamation that’s plastered all over their brochures), the panel won’t suck as much as might have in a really cool place such as… NEW ORLEANS! Where you probably won’t bother with panels at all but do the smart thing and just hang out in the hotel bar the entire time. Or any bar.
            Okay. You got through the panel and can breathe a sigh of relief that that’s over and you can tell your wife when you return home that you learned “a ton of stuff at this panel I went to. They covered adverbs pretty thoroughly and the REALLY SERIOUS WRITER GUY said something really profound. As soon as I can find my notes I'll tell you what he said.” It also means you can write it off on your taxes.
            You might be asking yourself why do obscenely-rich, incredibly handsome, extremely well-hung BRAND NAME AUTHORS (such as myself) deign to even sit on these panels and yak about ADVERBS.
            Good question! It shows… you aren’t drunk enough yet if you’re thinking this logically. Go ahead. Grab yourself a JACK AND WATER. I'll wait. It'll help you get through the rest of this. Make it a double--you'll thank me later.
            The answer is that although we’re all OBSCENELY-RICH BEYOND ANYONE’S WILDEST DREAMS, it isn’t through the royalties on our BESTSELLING BOOKS. The truth is, we don’t make squat on those. Are you kidding? It all looks great to the outsider, but the truth is, as they say about almost everything, stranger than fiction. Here’s the truth about royalties.
            Let’s say the book sold a million copies. That’s a lot, right? Well, the joke’s on you if you think the author himself made very much.
            First of all, there are other hands in this pie. (If you think these metaphors and similes or whatever they are crap, don’t forget I’m a BESTSELLING AUTHOR and can do this all day long and you can’t do a thing about it so just shut up and lie down by your dish.)
            To begin with, the publisher keeps 85% of all the money. Yep. Thas’ right. I didn’t stutter. The writer gets to keep 15%. Only he doesn’t.
            His agent takes 15% off the top. This is to pay him or her back for taking your phone call when you inform him you just sold your book to an editor you just met at the BAR IN CLEVELAND. He’ll also do some other valuable work on your behalf when he looks over the contract which basically sells you into servitude for the rest of your natural life, plus ten years and says, “Yep. Looks good. Sign on that line on the last page where your full name is printed out above.”
            Money well spent!
            Then, the publicist takes 20%. What, you say? The publicist? What if I don’t want no friggin’ publicist? Well, go ahead and don’t have one, but how do you suppose your book sold a million copies without one? The answer is, there are only 16 people in the world who have Oprah’s private phone number and can get you booked onto her show which is the only way you CAN SELL A MILLION FRICKIN’ COPIES OF YOUR STUPID BOOK, btw. And, of those 16 people, 15 ½ are publicists. (The other one is TOM CRUISE, which is why he gets a half.) So, you need a publicist. Wake up and smell the pillow, moron! (Smells like drool, doesn’t it?) The other half goes to CHER who hasn't written a book (has she?) but definitely has  a PUBLICIST and her publicist has Oprah on speed dial in case she has another kid like the one in that movie. Go CHER!
            Then, your agent has presented you with a great idea. To get the bestseller deal going, he suggests you take a portion of your royalties (say, 65%) and sneak into various bookstores in various disguises… and buy up copies of your own book!
            It’s a brilliant idea and you glom onto it instantly! Why? Well, the guy giving you this advice is obviously a GENIUS—after all, he just scammed 15% of your money just by answering the phone, so he’s already shown you he’s no dummy.
            All over your geographical area, stores are calling into Barnes & Noble regional centers (Barnes & Noble because they’re the only bookstore left) to report that sales of your opus are “flying off the shelves!” (Bookstore owners use cliches like this all the time because they mostly read bestsellers and that’s where all the clichés are.) Barnes & Noble speaks regularly to the NY Times and Oprah (they meet at Elaine’s at the table just behind WOODY ALLEN’S), and when presented with the news that your opus is flying off the shelves (this is just a highly original way of saying they’re selling a lot and the cashiers are calling in sick with an outbreak of carpal tunnel syndrome from punching cash register keys), they say to themselves, “Hey! This is a bestseller! Let’s get it on the list! Let’s book this guy on the show.” (The NY Times says the bestseller thing and Oprah says the show thing. After which, the waiter brings them all a round of mimosas and they toast each other for their acumen. The B&N person is the last one to leave and she gets the bill. Which is added to your expenses…) Meanwhile, you'll have to start parking your car and snow-blower in the driveway as your garage will be full of books...
            There are other folks who get a piece of your pie. The publisher will want a photograph of you for the back cover, which you’ll pay for. Your wife’s Kodak moment taken at Disneyland when you rode the Small Cups Ride won’t work. They’ll laugh hysterically when you try to foist that one off on them. No, they’ll have to send out a New York photographer, because everyone knows New York photographers are the only people who know which end to look through and where the little button is to click on a camera.
            Except, it’s not that simple. (You saw this coming, didn’t you…) It never is. It turns out that the New York photographer is TOO GOOD! Your photograph looks… EXACTLY LIKE YOU! That will never do. This is against tradition. The author’s photograph should be of him (or her, if the author is a woman), but it has to be of him or her from thirty years ago and nearly unrecognizable. That’s why when you went to the panel, you couldn’t recognize any of the BRAND NAME PANELISTS. None of them look like their photos. This is why. The photos were all taken at a time when they were younger and dumber and full of… (sorry, I forgot this was a family venue).
            Who wants to see an old geezer on a book jacket? NO ONE. That’s why they’re always photos taken just when the author was mustering out of the service just after WWII, still wearing his bomber jacket and looking jaunty (writer’s word that means… I don’t know what it means. It means jaunty. Some kind of peppy look, I think. With a crinkly smile.)
            This means that the publisher will then request one of your wife’s Kodak moments, taken just before you were married that June day in 1954 and still had most of your teeth. They’ll want the one taken just before you were married, where you still knew how to smile. WITH ALL OF YOUR TEETH--THE FRONT ONES, ANYWAY. Those so-called "smile teeth." Unless you're a crime or noir writer. Then, you should never smile in public and never for a photograph! Are you nuts?
            You’ll learn that another massive charge has been marked against your account. They had to Photoshop the picture (they’ll charge you for the price of the Photoshop program, btw. You didn’t think those paid for themselves, did you!). You’ll also note in the itemized charges a fee for the guy who manipulated the Photoshop program to make it look “current.” Which means making the Tiny Cups Ride disappear and changing the sepia tones to color. This is done by a guy in the basement (who writes sci-fi novels when he isn't working the Photoshop machine).
            You’ll be amazed at the skill this guy has brought to the table! Instead of that old snapshot you remembered, where you threw up seconds after it was shot and where to your trained eye you can already detect the glassiness in your stare—now you’re looking at a photo of your old, long-gone self…  STARING OUT TO SEA WITH A SOULFUL, DEEP EXPRESSION, DIGGING YOUR TOES INTO THE SAND. Suitable for a People Magazine cover of… TOM CRUISE. In fact, it looks like almost all photos of TOM CRUISE IN PEOPLE MAGAZINE, except the guy in the picture (you) isn’t short. That’s because it’s shot from ground level, the so-called “power shot.”
            Anyway, I won’t bore you (further) with how your royalties all disappear, but will make a long story short (I know, I know… it’s too late!), by saying the reason BESTSELLING AUTHORS and BRAND NAMES do these conventions and sit on panels discussing ADVERBS and why you shouldn’t use them even if they do and are BESTSELLING AUTHORS in spite of the terrible obstacle which adverbs pose, is because it’s the only way they can make any money. And, the whole reason they’re there (besides the fabulous sums the organizers throw at them), is because there’s always A BAR on the premises.
            Which is where they’ll be when they’re not on their panels.
            This is the end of our discussion today on WRITER’S CONVENTIONS. Why? Because all this talk about bars has made me thirsty and I crave me a JACK AND WATER.
            We’ll pick this up again (when I feel like it), and talk some about writer’s conventions GROUPIES and how to successfully stalk a BRAND NAME AUTHOR.
Until then… happy writing!
            Before I leave you, let me leave you with one valuable piece of advice. If you find yourself at a writer’s convention, and you spot BRAND NAME LEE CHILD, under no circumstance should you approach him and say the name, "TOM CRUISE." Mr. Child is a big guy (contrary to what his name would lead you to believe) and trained in some of the more popular martial arts. Just sayin’…

Blue skies,
This message was brought to you by the publisher of THE RAPIST. Please buy a bunch of copies so that Les can join the ranks of the BRAND NAME AUTHORS! Remember: Christmas is just around the corner and what better gift could Granny ever wake up to than a copy of THE RAPIST in her stocking? (The one on the mantelpiece, not the one she’s wearing…)