Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Hi folks,

Just want to alert everybody to a book that's just hit the market that I think you'll really like.

It's a rocking comedy crime caper by one of my former students, Janey Mack wrote it while in our novel-writing class. She has one of the most original protagonists in literature--wannabe-cop Maisie McGrane who works as a meter maid after getting bounced out of the police academy. She works with a cast of zany characters who Tim Dorsey might wish he'd invented. Janey was able to secure a three-book deal with Kensington and the second in the series comes out in December.

This is one of the funniest books I've read in a long, long time! Our class loved each week's installment as they came and couldn't wait for the following week.

Here's part of our class in Scottsdale a few years ago. L-R are Joe Beaumont and his lovely, talented wife, Maegan (who also has a three-book deal with Midnight Ink), moi, Linda Thompson (who is finishing up her novel in class for her agent), Suzana Orozco (working on her novel and screenplays), and Janey Mack, our newest author!

One of three of Maegan's novels--each one is fantastic!

We've got a fantastic class and fantastic group of alumni! As of now, there are five other writers either currently in class or who finished their novel while in class who are poised to publish their novels. I'll keep you updated when they come out.

But for now--get TIME'S UP! And wear your Depends--there are places where you'll wet your pants laughing!

Blue skies,

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Hi folks,

I was going over some old blog posts I'd made in the past and ran across one I ran a few years ago. Since there are new people on here now, I thought I'd rerun it for some giggles. It's about me and Charlie Manson and his celly just chinnin'... Hope you enjoy it.

Blue skies,

Former post from April 15, 2012:

Hi folks,

I thought you might be interested in a recent exchange I had with author Richard Godwin. Richard is interviewing me for his blog feature “Chin Wag at the Slaughterhouse.” It’s a fantastic feature, where he interviews authors and asks the most fascinating and “deepest” questions I’ve ever been asked by any interviewer. Richard is interviewing me at the suggestion of noir master, Paul D. Brazill, a mutual friend.

Richard conducts his interviews by posing one question at a time. Once you respond to that question, he sends you another. It’s an exhausting process but when we’re done, it’ll be the most comprehensive interview I’ve ever had the pleasure of participating in. I’ll be sure to let you know when it appears.

I had just sent him my replay to his second question and he sent me the third. When he emailed me, he asked me the question below and I thought you might be interested in the answer, since it’s about an old acquaintance, Charlie Manson, and I know there are people out there who are interested in Manson. (This isn’t the interview question—it’s just a personal question he asked in response to Paul Brazill’s suggestion that he do so.)

Be advised there are a few instances of strong language.

Here’s Richard Godwin’s question and my reply:

Paul (D. Brazill) suggested I ask you about Manson. I do not mean to put you on the spot, this is not part of the interview. My first novel Apostle Rising was mentioned by a few reviewers in the context of the Manson killings, as this review shows
All the best
Richard (Godwin).

Hi Richard,

Well, Charlie and I have a bit of a history.

About ten years ago or so, a professor at the University of Toledo—Dr. Russell Riesling--was writing a book about the drug experiences of famous people during their youth. He had folks like Big Brother of Big Brother and the Holding Company and some other folks. For some weird reason, he had a chapter on me. I’d done drugs but definitely wasn’t famous!

Anyway, Russ interviewed me for his book (which hasn’t been published yet, alas), and we became friends. I sent him a copy of my story collection, Monday’s Meal. About two weeks after I sent it, I got a phone call from him. Seems he’d been out to Corcoran Prison to visit with and interview Charles Manson (who also had a chapter), and during the visit, Charlie spotted the copy of Monday’s Meal that Russ had with him. He asked if he could “borrow it” and Russ loaned it to him. A few days later, he called Russ and was really excited (according to Russ). He said he’d read the book and loved it and that I was “the real deal” meaning a real-life outlaw, ex-con. He asked Russ if he’d ask me if I’d mind if he (Charlie) called me. I told Russ, sure, and thus began a series of phone calls from him to me.

Now, when I was in prison, we weren’t allowed to call folks. At all. One of the many things that have changed. Because of that, I wasn’t aware that all such phone calls are made collect. At the end of the month, after which he called 3-4 times a week, I got the bill and it was astronomical! My wife had a cow and I told Charlie we needed to dial it back a bit. (Pun intended…)

Mostly, Charlie talked and I listened. He’s not hard to figure out. He’s a nutcase, pure and simple. Knew lots of guys like him in the joint who just weren’t as famous. We swapped stories and he may have told me a few things he’d done that he hadn’t been nailed on and I may have returned in kind, but I won’t talk about that. Anyway, I kind of got tired of talking to him—it was same-o, same-o all the time—and was about to disassociate myself, when he told me his cellmate, Roger Smith, really wanted to talk to me. I said okay and thus began a series of phone calls with Roger.

Roger bills himself as the “most-stabbed inmate in U.S. history—and he is. As of that time, he’d been shanked over 300 separate times. The reason he was Charlie’s cellmate was that both were in protective custody as there were hits out on both of them from just about everybody in Corcoran. Over the years, Roger had hired himself out as a hit man for every single gang in the joint and now all of them had a hit out on him. The reason he wanted to connect with me was that he thought I was a “great writer” (his words and they had little effect on me—I’ve been on the receiving end of a shuck job attempt more than once…), and he wanted me to write his life story. According to Roger, he’d had his “come to Jesus” moment and wanted to right all the wrongs in his life. He said he wanted his life story out there to help keep young kids from following in his footsteps. He’d been locked up ever since he was a juvie and all that. Grew up in one joint or another.

I had to laugh when he told me he was “saved.” He sounded contrite… but every other word out of his mouth with “fuck this” or “motherfucker this” and he didn’t sound much like the converts I’d met down at the First Baptist… But, I’ve been inside with a lot of guys who had these jailhouse conversions and he wasn’t unusual.

He told me Charlie was letting him use his personal secretary—some gal who lives in North or South Carolina (forget which) who has all of Charlie’s journals and communications and writings and such and who handles all his commercial business. He can’t profit by books and interviews but he does take checks from the networks and publishers and the proceeds all go to charity. Roger told me he’d kept journals from when he was a little tad tyro outlaw and they were with Charlie’s secretary and he said he’d have her send them to me—from what he said, a LOT of journals(!)--and that he’d answer any questions I asked.

I told him I was just too busy with my own work and really couldn’t do this project, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Called me incessantly, trying to persuade me to write his life history. Finally, one time, he said, “What’s the real reason you don’t want to write it, Les?” I asked him if he wanted the real reason and he said yeah, so I told him. “Roger,” I said, “you’re like a serial killer. In fact, you are a serial killer. Three hundred hits, dude.” “Yeah,” he said. “and why would that prevent you from writing my story?” To which I answered that serial killers just flat-out bored me (and they do). I told him serial killers just keep doing the same exact thing, over and over and over, ad nauseum. After about the third one, they’re just boring. And, I didn’t want to tie up a year of my life on writing about some boring-ass serial killer.

There was a silence and then he exploded. Called me everything but a white man. Sounded kind of like he’d kind of backslid on the “saved” deal. Screamed that if he ever got out of Corcoran my house was the first place he was heading. I listened to him ranting and screaming at me and then said, “Roger?” He got quiet and then said, “Yeah?” I said, “Roger, you’re not ever getting out of there unless there’s a major earthquake and that isn’t likely. But, if somehow you do get out, I’m aware that you prefer using a shank on your hits and if you come to my house to nail me, I won’t have a shank. It’ll be something that makes a louder noise. So, it’s been nice talking to you and have a nice life, loser.”

And that’s the last I’ve talked to either Roger or Charlie. But, for awhile we were all jam.

So that’s the story of me and Charlie Manson, Richard.

Hope you enjoyed this little anecdote, folks. And, if you haven’t read Richard Godwin’s books you really should. They’re fantastic.

Here’s a link to his latest, Mr. Glamour. I highly recommend it.

Blue skies,

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Hi folks,

Just received this review for THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING, by Derrick Horodyski and I'm stoked! Just flat-out made my day.

Edgerton is a Writing Genius

The last two books I read by Les Edgerton were books that cemented him onto my must-read list of authors. Both The Bitch and The Rapist were insightful, wonderful books that had plot depth, characters that jumped off the page, and that little something extra that changes a book from something you simply read into an experience for the reader. When I read the blurb for his latest release, The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping, I saw that it was more of a crime-comedy mix and I wondered how Edgerton would handle this genre change and I wondered if he could reach the bar he set so high with his previous two books.

I am pleased to say that this book was a wild and fun read. I prefer dark noir books, so while this book didn’t quite reach the heights of his previous two books, it still stands above many books that are being put out by other authors. I think it is just a personal preference in genres that make me make that statement.

The strength of this book is a strength I noted in other Edgerton books; character development. The cast of characters that he parades in and out of the plot of this novel makes reading this book a pleasure. Edgerton has a knack for writing dialogue that rings true for the characters and leaves the reader laughing out loud. His ability to have the reader actually begin to care for his characters and feel invested is the same feeling I had reading his previous books. In other words, the man has great writing chops.

If you haven’t read Edgerton before, you should be ashamed of yourself. He is a great author and should be on everyone’s must read list. If you have read him in the past and were unsure if this switch to a crime-comedy mix would yield a book worth reading; put your worries aside and grab a copy of this outstanding and entertaining book. Edgerton will leave you laughing out loud and have you awaiting his next book, regardless of what genre he chooses to write. Take it from a regular guy who loves to read noir, this book will have you fiending for more Edgerton, even if it isn’t a noir book.

Highly recommended

This will leave me with a glow that will last for a long, long time!

Blue skies,

Monday, June 8, 2015


Hi folks,

If you get a chance, slip on over to a guestpost I'm doing for Jenny Hansen at http://writersinthestormblog.com/2015/06/how-actions-determine-character-and-arc/

She's taking comments and I'll be replying to questions all day. Would love to see some of y'all there!

Blue skies,

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Hi Folks,

It’s time to report on my two weeks in Texas! I’m a bit late on doing this as when I returned home a bunch of things happened. First, I had to decompress! Still doing that, but almost fully recovered.

And, then, my son-in-law, Ray Robinson notified me that he’s interested a financial group in Louisville to hopefully finance a short version of my novel, THE BITCH, which he hopes to enter at Cannes and Sundance in an effort to interest investors in the full-length version. He’s writing the screenplay now.

I’m also about to begin strategizing the promotion of my screenplay of THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING with Voyage Media and producer John Crye. I’m very excited about the possibilities.

And, I needed to get back up to speed with my brilliant writing class—it’s a true labor of love to be able to work with such a group of extremely talented writers, each of whom are going to end up with publishable novels.

But… Texas was wonderful! And, I get to do it again next year.

First, I flew in to San Antonio a couple of days early, to stay with my good friend, novelist Marjorie Brody. She’d arranged an appearance in her home with her San Antonio Writer’s Group. We had about twenty-five writers appear and I had a fantastic time. Hopefully, we’ll get to do it again next year.

(Photo of Marjorie and me at WRW--taken by Gail Provost)

Then, Marjorie and I went on to the Oblate Renewal Center for the Writer’s Retreat Workshop  with Jason Sitzes and Gail Provost, where Marjorie was a participant and hosted the Early Morning Sessions and I was on the staff.

Marjorie leading a Morning Session.

What a gorgeous place!

Above, the back row at a class and below, presenter Carol Dougherty.

There, I met up again with fellow staffers and old friend Don Maass, and a guy I met in Oklahoma a couple of weeks before and recommended to Jason that he ask him to present at WRW—Richard Thomas, editor for Dark House Press and writer extraordinaire. I was anxious also to meet one of the members of our private online class who was attending—Connie Fulmer. Connie turned out to be as wonderful a person in real life as she is in cyberspace in our class, and I’m so darned proud of her—fellow staffer Carol Dougherty showed a movie and asked everyone to point out the inciting incident and Connie was the only one to nail it. Yes! Connie also had a major breakthrough in her writing while there and is already enrolled in next year’s WRW. It’s a life-altering experience for a great many of those who attend.

Don Maass teaching a class.

Richard was a huge hit with everyone and the more I get to hang with him, the more I know it’s gonna be good times whenever he’s in the vicinity. Just a great literary mind and a terrific person—the kind of guy you want to have beers with.
I also got to meet a young lady I’d met in the class I co-taught via Skype with Jenny Milchman for the New York Writer’s Workshop a couple of years ago, who came up and introduced herself with the name I’d given her in class—Apple. Her real name was Jacqui Wolf and she turned out to be one of my new best friends. Got to hang out with a bunch of new friends and old ones as well. Terrific people and writers such as Alexandra Marbach, Barbara Clarke, Camile Di Maio, Carol Dougherty, Diane LaCombe, Connie Fulmer, Ellan Otero, Joni Hahn, Katrina Stonoff, Larry Brill, Linda Moore, Linda Zimmerman, Lisa Pirc, Macaire Hill, Marilyn Tucker, Marjorie Brody, Mary Bowers, Matt Brock, Michalea Moore, Patty Mayeaux, Rick Bylina, Suanne Shafter and Wondra Chang.

Got to meet and hang out with Matt Brock, one of the presenters and an old friend of Jason’s. Matt teaches at the University of Tennessee and went to school at Ole Miss, where he took classes from and hung out with the likes of Barry Hannah! Man! Doesn’t get any better than that! And, he’s a fantastic writer and was the only other one besides me that smoked so we logged a lot of “bench time.” In fact, Wondra told me she had a visual image of me sitting on the bench outside the rooms, smoking, and that would appear in her novel… Can’t wait… maybe…

Matt Brock giving talks at WRW

Several of us got to go down to the Riverwalk and that’s always a fun time!

Katrina “Hurricane” Stonoff (I gave her the nickname and she was… a hurricane), did what no man or woman has ever done before—embarrassed me by singing to me in the cafeteria… I played it off, but she really did embarrass me. Now she knows… J I have wonderful memories of each and every person!

During the retreat, I rented a car and traveled to Austin for a day on May 16 to deliver my Thelma&Louise presentation to the Writer’s League of Texas  and there were about twenty-five people in attendance—a terrific group! I got to hang out with Rodney Sprott and when we were done, he took me to the oldest bar in the U.S. where they were filming a documentary and we had an adult beverage and really connected.
Giving my Thelma and Louise presentation

After the week at WRW, I got to go home with Jason and his beautiful fiancé, Lisa, to their home in Austin where I got to hang out with them and Lisa’s three terrific kids, 
 (Working with Jack on his batting stance and throwing mechanics)

and then, on Saturday, spent all day with Scott Montgomery at the BookPeople Bookstore https://mysterypeople.wordpress.com/ as a guest of his and Gale Albright, Vice-President of the Sisters in Crime, Heart of Texas chapter, sitting on a panel with fantastic writers Reavis Wortham and George Weir, and then doing a signing. I was totally surprised when one of the participants at WRW, Camille Di Maio, showed up with her husband. Camille has one of the most interesting stories of the century! She’d written a novel based on the Paul McCartney song, Eleanor Rigby, and during a concert she’d attended in San Antonio, McCartney brought her up on stage and read a page from her novel! Just a wonderful person and wonderful writer. Look for her book—it’s gonna be a mega seller when it comes out next year.

George Weir, Reavis Wortham, Scott Montgomery and moi...

After the signing, I got to go out with Scott and George Weir and his wife, Jason and Lisa, and a few other of the attendees for a bite to eat and some adult beverages and they all bit the bullet for me, sitting out in a misty rain so I could do my bit in keeping the tobacco industry flourishing… All I can say is I appreciate it but if anyone develops pneumonia it wasn’t my fault… I have an alibi…

Jason and Lisa took me to some really cool places and I got to eat some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had… since the last time I was in Texas. The weather wasn’t typical. During the two weeks I spent there, I saw the sun a total of about two hours… But, that was a good thing. Last year, it was hot, hot, hot and allergy season was in full bloom and I lost 25 pounds and came home half-dead. This year, I gained weight! (An ounce and a half, at least…)

It was just a wonderful couple of weeks and the best thing is I get to repeat it all next year. Plus, I’d suggested to Jason that he consider asking my hero Joe Lansdale to appear as a presenter and unless something changes, Joe will be there next year! I frickin’ can’t wait!

So much more happened that I just don’t have room to report on. Just an absolutely mind-blowing two weeks. If you can swing it, I’d recommend attending WRW. It’ll change your live. And, if you’re considering it, I wouldn’t wait long—they’re already filling up all the spots for next year.

Hope to see some of y’all there!

Blue skies,

 Jason Sitzes and Camille Di Maio during a class.
The grotto at Oblate Renewal Center
Part of the audience at my T ^ Louise presentation.
More folks in class.