Thursday, August 28, 2014


Hi Folks,

It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce that you can now preorder the ebook version of THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING! I'm really, really excited about this! Trade paperback isn't yet available for preorder sales, but should be shortly.

This is my favorite all-time book to have written. In fact, I'm writing a sequel to it right now just because I like these characters so much and they have a lot more trouble to get into.

Being able to offer prepublication sales on Amazon is a truly big deal for smaller, independent publishers. It presents an opportunity to compete with the "big boys" on a much more level playing field. I'm hoping that a lot of folks preorder because what happens on the official day of publication is that all the prepub sales are calculated at that time and what that means is that the book begins with a number of sales--hopefully a significant number!--which means it will open on top or close to the top of the best seller lists. And that, leads to even more significant sales, as it gives the novel a lot more publicity out of the gate.
(Official release date is September 30)

I feel this is a laugh-out-loud book and the early blurbs it's getting from respected writers are showing they feel the same way also. Here's some of the blurbs we've been graciously given for it:

“The most unrepentantly funny crime caper you’ll ever find between the pages of a book. Elmore Leonard, eat your heart out!” —Maegan Beaumont, author of Carved in Darkness

“Les Edgerton serves up a gumbo of sexual deviants, small time hustlers, and serious criminals in a caper that reads like a deranged Damon Runyon tale relocated from Broadway to the French Quarter. The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnaping is not for the faint of heart, and that’s just one of its selling points. If you like crime fiction that cracks wise while offering a peek into the darker recesses, this is the book for you.” —Bill Fitzhugh, author of the best-selling novel Pest Control and The Exterminators

“What makes this wild, wild tale so intriguing is the sense that it must be drawing on first-hand knowledge. Edgerton’s sympathetic tough guy narrator gives you an authentic-feeling glimpse into the unique logic of small time hustlers and born losers, with echoes of Ring Lardner and snatches of slam poetry frequently catching you by surprise and making it that much more enjoyable.” —Matthew Louis, founding editor of Gutter Books and author of The Wrong Man and Collision Cocktail

“Masquerading as a novel, Les Edgerton’s newest gem—The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping—is really a debauched weekend in steamy New Orleans, loaded with alcohol, drugs, whores, pistols, and a menacing bookie, all available for your personal and private entertainment between the covers. Narrator Pete Halliday—ex-con, gambler, boozer, ex-baseball pitcher and unwise wiseass—takes us places most don’t really want to go, only to have the time of our lives when we get there. Listen to him: ‘Coming into New Orleans, you could smell it. First day out of jail after thirty days, you could really smell it. Hot and sexy, a couple hundred thousand red hot little mamas, stepping out of steamy baths and showers, their skin sticky from the heat, getting ready for Saturday night...’ Every pitch Pete throws is a hair-raising thrill, a belly laugh or a clue to the wicked and violent puzzle that hangs over his New Orleans adventure. You know someone has to die.” —Jack Getze, Fiction Editor, Spinetingler Magazine

The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping is a dark crime comedy that will have you laughing from page one. It crackles with manic energy and mad thrills. If you’re looking for a different kind of edgy crime novel, this is the one to grab.” —Bill Crider, author of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries

“There are two certainties when reading anything written by Les Edgerton. First you’ll get gritty, hard hitting noir straight out the top drawer that’ll leave you punch drunk on the floor. Second is it’ll be like nothing you’ve ever picked up before. The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping is no exception. Expect the unexpected. Read it, love it.” —Keith Nixon, author of The Fix

“There’s nothing fake about The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping. Les Edgerton’s latest book is the real deal, and has everything to keep you turning the pages. It’s a caper, full of fun and high-jinx, but it’s also bitter-sweet, engendering a full range of emotions. You’ll smile, you’ll wince, you’ll laugh out loud, and sometimes you’ll even cringe, but you’ll come away from the read feeling thoroughly satisfied and entertained. A terrific read.” —Matt Hilton, author of the best-selling Joe Hunter thrillers

“When it comes to writing crime stories, Les Edgerton can do pretty much it all, and The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping finds him in a mood to have fun. This book is like a raucous party for crime fiction lovers, complete with goons, guns, and schemes-within-schemes. Best of all, the comic voice of its ne’er-do-well narrator is a pleasure from start to finish.” —Jake Hinkson, author of Hell On Church Street and The Posthumous Man

“You’re in for some twisted laughs as one of crime fiction’s most authentic voices takes on dark humor. In The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping, Les Edgerton finds every line that oughtn’t be crossed and drags his characters back and forth ’til it’s blurred. You may want to reach in and give his criminal hero a shake, except you’re bound to be aching to see what kind of trouble he can create next. Humor is human, the blacker the better, and Edgerton serves it up nasty and raw!” —Rob Brunet, author of Stinking Rich

The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping is like the fever-dream of a two-bit conman who fancies himself a criminal genius. Add in some seedy and saucy New Orleans locales and you’ve got a gumbo of freaky sex, covert mob men and botched amputations. This the most havoc ever wrought in one man’s quest for a measly ol’ po’ boy shop, and a creole crime caper you won’t want to miss.” —Nik Korpon, author of Fait Ave and Stay God, Sweet Angel

“Imagine Les Edgerton’s writing. Dark, despairing noir. Habitual criminals. Rapists. This is nothing like that. : Edgerton takes a break from The Bitch and The Rapist to exercise his inner Westlake. A ‘no holds barred’ and ‘What else can go wrong’ caper with even more laughs than plot twists. The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping has a plot John Dortmunder would have trouble negotiating, and Edgerton milks it for all it’s worth. Not for the faint of heart, the crime that really sets the story off involved kidnapping a gangster—no, I can’t do it. I don’t want to spoil even that much. Suffice to say kidnapping, sexual fetishes, forced amputation, Tourette’s syndrome, certain death, and one-way tickets to Skagway, AK are all played for laughs, and he pulls it off. Big fun. My daughter described the movie Ted as “Really funny and wildly inappropriate.” It’s like that.Dana King, author Grind Joint and A Small Sacrifice

The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping is a steamy caper novel that reads like an arm wrestling match between Ring Lardner and Quentin Tarantino, while James Lee Burke takes bets on the outcome. I only stopped laughing to flinch occasionally. A terrific novel, for the strong of heart—and funny bone.”—Warren Moore III, author Broken Glass Waltzes

“A hard-driving, relentless story with grab-you-by-the-throat characters.”Grant Blackwood, New York Times bestselling author

“There is nothing quite like reading a Les Edgerton novel. His voice crackles with a lifelike intensity. The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping is the most incredible, entertaining and detailed bar story you've ever heard. Reading it, you can't shake that feeling that you've living a special, unique moment where anything is possible, like that night at the bar.”Benoît Lelièvre,

  I am totally stoked by the early opinions of writers I hugely respect.

Anyway, infomercial over... please click on the cover photo if you want to place a preorder. And, if you want to wait for the trade paperbook version, just keep checking with Amazon until it appears which it should, shortly. It's a really attractive cover that I think you'll be proud to be seen with on the subway...

Thanks, folks!

Blue skies,

P.S. Just got an early review on crime novelist Liam Sweeny's blog (click here).

Friday, August 22, 2014


Hi folks,

As most of you know, I run an online novel writing class that runs for ten weeks at a time and is in operation year-round. We’re coming up to the end of the current session in a couple of weeks, and then will take a couple of weeks off and then begin the next session. Usually, we don’t have openings for new class members, but it looks as if we’re going to have a couple of openings this time, so I just want to let folks know in case anyone’s interested. If you are, please send me an email at and let me know. Below, I’ll give an outline of how it works. When new openings occur, first chance to join is given to the auditors and after that it’s a first-come, first-served basis. To be able to devote the proper time to each student, the class will be limited to ten people. An unlimited number of auditors are taken.

Those interested in auditing the class—which would allow the auditing person to receive and view everything the rest of the class does, but not be able to participate actively, solely as an observer. The fee is substantially less for auditors than participating students. Basically, auditors will sit in on the class as an observer. There can be an unlimited number of auditors. Some writers are uncomfortable with very many observing their work and our exchanges as, to be honest, many of our comments are brutally frank. Students know and welcome this, but to someone not directly participating can see it another way. There won’t be any interaction at all with auditors—they’ll be there simply to use the knowledge they might pick up for their own writing or even their own teaching.

Pertinent info for active class members:
This class will be conducted in a workshop format. What that means is each week participants will send a designated number of pages to both me and the other members of the class. When I receive each person’s work, I’ll provide comments/criticism/suggestions to improve for each student on their work and then send it back to them and the others in class. Each person in class does the same for each other—reading and providing comments on each other’s work and sending that back to the class and me. It’s exactly like being in an “on-ground” workshop. I’ve found over a lifetime of teaching classes—beginning with the UCLA Writer’s Program—that this is the single best method of learning. There is a synergy at work with this model. Many writing classes consist of the student sending work in and the instructor commenting. That’s okay, in a limited way, but when you have ten others plus the instructor or workshop leader commenting, the value of the class increases almost exponentially.

I believe in road maps when embarking on the lengthy journey a novel entails; therefore, I ask each student to submit a 15-20 word outline of their proposed novel. I don’t have the space here to explain how that works, but I send a handout on how to create such an outline before the class begins, and it serves to keep the writer focused on their novel throughout its creation and also helps the workshop leader and his classmates see instantly if the writer is focused or meandering. I’m a firm believer in beginning a novel in the proper place and once that is achieved, the remainder of the novel becomes infinitely easier to create. We’ll spend the most time on a writer’s novel beginning than any other part of their novel.

This class will be composed of students who’ve previously taken classes with me along with newcomers. To be able to serve each level of student fairly, students who are well along into their novel and have taken previous classes, will be able to submit up to eight pages per week. New students who haven’t taken my class, will be allowed to submit up to five pages per week until they’ve achieved a publishable opening, and, once they’ve achieved a proper beginning, will then be able to send eight pages each week thereafter. Please know that this may sound like favoritism, but it’s not at all. The beginning of a novel is the single most crucial part of writing a novel, imo, and I spend more time on that than anything else. I’ve learned over many years, that a great many writers have a poor understanding of a novel’s structure and it’s crucial that a sound knowledge of novel structure (particularly beginnings) be achieved before devoting much time to the rest of the novel. I’ll spend much more time on the newer student’s five pages than I will on the more experienced writer’s. Please feel free to query those in class who’ve been with me before as to their opinion and I feel certain they’ll agree with me. I’ll be happy to furnish names and email addresses for those writers should you wish to ask their opinion.

Periodically, I also send handouts to the class on some element of writing, as well as other pertinent info that’s useful.

Be forewarned that this workshop isn’t for the faint of heart! Some have termed it “Les Edgerton’s Bootcamp for Writers.” In “real life” I’m not a mean person, but with writing I’m not going to hold hands nor hand out false praise. That’s what most local writing groups are for and they do it well. I expect each person to participate fully and comment on each other’s work just as they would want others to do the same for theirs. I don’t tolerate very well, those who keep making the same mistakes week after week. For example, the proper and professional format is explained at the beginning and each class there are always one or two newcomers who keep making the same, easily-fixed mistake. Here’s a common example: One of the format rules is that there is only one space between sentences in computer-generated material. Many older writers, in the typewriter days of yore, were taught to use two spaces. The kernaling in computers is different than typewriters and using two spaces is a sure sign of an amateur who hasn’t kept up with current usages and just another red flag a writer ought to avoid. I understand it’s a hard habit to overcome—I had to do the same myself—but there is an easy way to relearn this which we give, and even if it takes awhile to relearn this, a writer can at least do a final edit before sending work in and correct this. To not do so, indicates to me a writer who doesn’t respect either themselves or their fellow writers or the teacher. Frankly, I don’t want to waste time with this type of writer. I’m not speaking of the writer who makes occasional mistakes, but of the one who continually keeps making the same mistake after it’s been pointed out.

Writing well isn’t easy. It’s hard. If someone has told you that writing is easy, they’ve lied to you. Typing is easy; writing is hard. Our aim in our class is to help writers create publishable work. By reputable publishers, not vanity presses.

If I haven’t scared you off, here are the particulars:

1. Fee is $400, payable in advance and nonrefundable. Auditor’s fee is $50 and is also nonrefundable.

2. Each week, you’ll send to the entire group and me, your pages. You’ll also receive work from your classmates to read and provide comments on. The comments aren’t intended to be scholarly or exhibit some high degree of technical knowledge. We just want to know what worked for you in the person's writing and what didn’t and why.

3. To help make the class run smoothly, there will be deadlines each week. For instance, if the class begins on a Monday each week, you’ll send in your work by the following Wednesday. Then, starting on Thursday, you’ll send in your comments on each other’s work. I’ll send my comments to each of you by Saturday night. Then, the next week begins on the following Monday.

4. Often, the class and I kind of hit a wall. It’s pretty intense. To account for that event, we may take a week hiatus and return the following week. In fact, you can pretty well count on that.

5. We don’t expect a student to be a professional writer at all. It’s a class, not an advanced degree program. Our aim is to help each writer become better at their craft as a result of the class, and to learn how to professionally submit material, and to hopefully end up creating work that is publishable legitimately.

6. While I would never say I would recommend students to agents or publishers, very often I do. The people who finish the class almost always have progressed to the point where their work is, indeed, publishable, and when that happens I’m eager to introduce them and recommend their work to gatekeepers.

7. Required reading will be my book, HOOKED, and Jack Bickham’s book, SCENES & STRUCTURE. Recommended reading will be Janet Burroway’s WRITING FICTION.

If anyone is interested and has more questions, please feel free to email me at

Thank you,


P.S. Some additional info…

We’ll have a couple of new students this time—most writers keep re-upping each time but occasionally one or two will drop out for various reasons: demands of a new job not allowing them to commit the considerable time that is required to participate, needing time off to address the notes their new agent just gave them for the novel he signed, and so on. Most just keep on, even after they’ve gotten an agent and/or sold their novel, and begin writing a new one. Almost all who stick out the entire session come back. The ones who quit usually quit fairly soon into the class. It’s not for everyone. Nobody holds anybody’s hand and every single one of us is focused on but one thing—helping each other write a novel that’s publishable. It’s a tough game and not for everyone.

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.

Here are a few comments by students:

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.

That’s all, folks…

Some of the class at Federal Pizza in Scottsdale.

 Two of Maegan Beaumont's novels written in class. Maegan is now our administrator for the class.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A truly great man has passed...

Hi folks,

The world has lost a great entertainer and a wholly original genius. Robin Williams was without peer.

I never had the good fortune to meet him personally, but I felt I almost knew him because of the dozens of stories my friend Lisa Lieberman Doctor told me about him. Lisa was the person he chose to head up his production company, Blue Wolf Productions, and she acquired dozens of scripts for him, including MRS. DOUBTFIRE. In fact, one of the first stories she told me about him was how they acquired that product.

Lisa Lieberman Doctor

Lisa said that she turned down the script. It just wasn’t that well-written, in her opinion. However, Robin chose to override her rejection of it—which he could because he was… well, the boss… It wasn’t the script he liked, Lisa said, but the concept. She told me that scarcely any of the original script made it to the screen. She said Robin improvised virtually all of it.

She told me a funny story that happened on the first day of principle photography on the set of MRS. DOUBTFIRE. When the cameras begin rolling, large sums of money are being expended, and it’s extremely important nothing slow up the shooting.

Well, Lisa said, everyone on the set was worried when Robin didn’t appear immediately. True, it took several hours to get him into costume and one of the main problems was that Robin was an extremely hirsute man. She said he had hair everywhere and for the scenes he appeared as Mrs. Doubtfire, it took several hours to remove the hair from his shoulders, back, arms, legs… everywhere. His beard was particularly tough and extremely difficult to render smooth.

Anyway, the tension was rising as he failed to appear on the set, everyone getting more and more nervous, and then, all of a sudden, he was in Lisa’s office, in full costume, and with a stricken look on his face. “Lisa,” he said, “I’m supposed to go on camera right now but I’ve got a big problem.” “What?” she said, imagining all kinds of horrible scenarios. “Well,” Robin said. “I don’t know what to do. I’ve got to go on… and I’ve got a woody.”

Now, Lisa is a tiny Jewish woman and I could just imagine her looking up at this large man, dressed in a dress, and lifting her hands helplessly, and saying, “Uh…what exactly do you want me to do, Robin?” And then he laughed and all the tension went out of the room, and the first day of principle photography went well.

Over the years of our friendship, Lisa has told me literally dozens and dozens of stories about Robin. Nearly every one of them made me laugh. Some made me sad. All were stories that couldn’t be told about any other person. Robin Williams was truly a genius, truly a Renaissance man. A true original and a national treasure.

He’ll be sorely missed.

Blue skies,