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,

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,

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:


“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 Kn√∂rer classifies this extraordinary piece of literature.”

There have been a dozen great reviews so far!

Blue skies,

Friday, April 14, 2017


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.

A couple of our current and former class members meet up in Scottsdale, AZ.

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,

Monday, April 3, 2017


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:


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,

Sunday, April 2, 2017


Hi folks,

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


            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,