Lawrence Block http://lawrenceblock.com Fri, 05 May 2017 18:26:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 58490121 LB’s German Newsletter http://lawrenceblock.com/lbs-german-newsletter/ http://lawrenceblock.com/lbs-german-newsletter/#comments Thu, 04 May 2017 14:16:58 +0000 http://lawrenceblock.com/?p=5442
spacer.gifLawrence Blocks Newsletter
Guten Tag zusammen! Es ist schon eine Weile her seit meinem letzten deutschen Newsletter und beim Thema Übersetzungen hat sich ziemlich viel getan – weshalb ich viel zu berichten habe.

nighthawks german coverZunächst freue ich mich, verkünden zu dürfen, dass In Sunlight or in Shadow, die von mir zusammengestellte Anthologie mit Kurzgeschichten, die von Gemälden Edward Hoppers inspiriert sind, am 2. November in deutscher Sprache unter dem Titel Nighthawks erscheinen wird (und bei Amazon bereits vorbestellbar ist).

Die Anthologie konnte in den USA und in Großbritannien ein sehr positives Echo hervorrufen, was sich sowohl in guten Verkaufszahlen als auch in lobenden Rezensionen niederschlug. Drei der enthaltenen Stories wurden außerdem schon mit zusätzlicher 2017-03-26_Ebook Cover_Block_Ein Ticket fur den FriedhofAufmerksamkeit bedacht: Jeffery Deavers »The Incident of 10 November« wurde für den Jahresband Best American Mystery Stories ausgewählt, während Stephen Kings »The Music Room« und mein »Autumn at the Automat« unter den Nominierten für den Edgar Allan Poe Award der Mystery Writers of America waren. (Zu meiner großen Überraschung durfte ich als Gewinner des Awards nach Hause gehen.)

2017-04-22_Ebook Cover_Block_Tanz im SchlachthofUnter den in der Anthologie vertretenen Autoren befinden sich außerdem Megan Abbott, Jill D. Block, Robert Olen Butler, Lee Child, Nicholas Christopher, Michael Connelly, Craig Ferguson, Joe R. Lansdale, Gail Levin, Warren Moore, Joyce Carol Oates, Kris Nelscott, Jonathan Santlofer und Justin Scott, und jede Geschichte ist mit dem Hopper-Gemälde illustriert, durch das sie inspiriert wurde.

Frauke Czwikla hat den Band übersetzt, der Verlag ist Droemer – ich freue mich, dass Nighthawks bald erscheinen wird, und hoffe, Sie werden Gefallen daran finden.

2017-02-24_Ebook Cover_Block_Am Rand des AbgrundsUnd jetzt zu Matthew Scudder, von dem immer mehr Heldentaten auch auf Deutsch nachzulesen sind. Vor Kurzem haben wir Sepp Leebs Übersetzungen der Bände 8 und 9, Ein Ticket für den Friedhof und Tanz im Schlachthof veröffentlicht. Sepps bei Heyne erschienene Übersetzung von #10, Ruhet in Frieden, ist seit der Verfilmung mit Liam Neeson wieder im Handel, und unsere Veröffentlichung von #11, In Teufels Küche, steht kurz bevor.

2017-03-28_Ebook Cover_Block_Batmans GehilfenAußerdem freue ich mich, Ihnen mitteilen zu können, dass Stefan Mommertz seine Übersetzung von Matthew Scudder #4, Tief bei den ersten Toten (A Stab in the Dark), abgeschlossen hat. Wir werden den Roman veröffentlichen, sobald er korrekturgelesen ist. In der Zwischenzeit hat sich Stefan auch einer weiteren Matthew-Scudder-Kurzgeschichte gewidmet: »Batmans Gehilfen«, die vierte Story, ist nun für den Kindle erhältlich. (Sobald alle elf Kurzgeschichten übersetzt sind, werden wir sie in einem Band sowohl als E-Book als auch als Taschenbuch anbieten.)

Cover2-Block-Drei am HakenHier ist eine Liste aller meiner zurzeit erhältlichen deutschen Titel. Die Links führen auf Amazons deutsche Homepage, amazon.de, aber alle Titel sind auch weltweit auf den anderen Amazon-Seiten zu finden.

Die Romane als E-Books und Taschenbücher:
Die Sünden der Väter
Drei am Haken
Mitten im Tod
Acht Millionen Wege zu sterben
Nach der Sperrstunde
Am Rand des Abgrunds
Ein Ticket für den Friedhof
mit_leichtem_gepackTanz im Schlachthof
Ruhet in Frieden

Die Kurzgeschichten:
Aus dem Fenster
Eine Kerze für die Stadtstreicherin
Im frühen Licht des Tages
Batmans Gehilfen

Eine Novelle ohne Scudder:
Mit leichtem Gepäck

Und die Anthologie:
2016-12-23_v3.5-Ebook Cover-Block-Mitten imTodNighthawks

Ich möchte Sie darauf aufmerksam machen, dass die folgenden Bücher auch bei anderen Online-Buchhändlern (u.a. Thalia) erhältlich sind: Die Sünden der Väter, Mitten im Tod, Acht Millionen Wege zu sterben, Nach der Sperrstunde, Am Rand des Abgrunds, Ein Ticket für den Friedhof und Tanz im Schlachthof. Scudder #2, Drei am Haken, wird noch für ein paar Wochen exklusiv für den Kindle angeboten werden, aber gegen Ende dieses Monats sollte der Roman auch bei Thalia zu finden sein.

Alles Gute,

LB_logo

Eine unserer Schwierigkeiten besteht darin, potentielle Leser auf die Romane und Kurzgeschichten aufmerksam zu machen. Dabei können Sie uns helfen – indem Sie Besprechungen auf Amazon und anderswo posten, indem Sie auf Blogs und in den sozialen Medien Mundpropaganda betreiben und, am wichtigsten, indem Sie Ihre Freunde aufmerksam machen. Lassen Sie sie dabei auch wissen, dass sie sich auf dieser Mailingliste zu Ihnen gesellen können, indem sie einfach eine Mail mit dem Betreff NEWSLETTER-DE an lawbloc@gmail.com schicken. Vielen Dank!

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Finally! LB’s April newsletter! http://lawrenceblock.com/finally-lbs-april-newsletter/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 21:51:15 +0000 http://lawrenceblock.com/?p=5418
spacer.gifFinally! LB’s April Newsletter…
I know, I know. As the governor of North Carolina said to the governor of South Carolina, it’s a long time between newsletters. (That doesn’t sound right. I quote from memory, and memory’s an artful Ananias.) But never mind. It’s been a while.

So let me get to it. Much to report, and I’ll number the items, to provide the illusion of order and design.

8 million ways to die scan1.  LB’s eBay Bookstore is no more. In an era when the average retail bookstore has the lifespan of the average Drosophila melanogaster, this shouldn’t shock anyone. But I can’t blame the store’s demise on online competition, trends in the marketplace, or the political situation. I’d set up my eBay store to sell autographed copies of my own work, and it succeeded well enough in that respect, but it was always more trouble than it was worth. I closed it over a year ago for vacation, and never got around to re-opening it, and that’s no way to run a railroad.

(Come to think of it, isn’t that what the governor of North Carolina said to the governor of South Carolina? “Sir, this is no way to run a railroad.” No, that doesn’t sound right either.)

Never mind. The point is the store’s a thing of the past. But the books—signed first editions, special printings, small-press rarities, all the goodies from the eBay store plus many others I never got around to listing—are now in the capable hands of The Mysterious Bookshop. Its proprietor, the amiable Otto Penzler, bought me out lock, stock, and Dumpster, and the van load that went to 58 Warren Street included half a dozen cartons of original manuscripts, along with signed hardcover firsts of my scarcest books.

To find out what’s available, I’d suggest a phone call to 212-587-1011. Eventually they’ll have the books listed on their website, but by then the choicest rarities will probably be gone.

KellersFedora-cvr1 22. Keller’s Fedora is out—and sold out! This novella, a hit Kindle Single and a strong seller in audio, has just come out in a gorgeous hardcover edition from Subterranean Press—and it seems to have been fully subscribed by the time it came off press. You can find it at bookstores, online and off, but Subterranean reports the trade edition as sold out. (They may still have a few copies of the Limited Edition.)

It’s a short book, and not cheap at $25, but it’s beautifully designed and printed. The ebook’s just $2.99, the author-narrated audio just $5.95—but if you want the physical book, this is it, and Subterranean doesn’t reprint titles once they sell out, so it won’t be around for long.

(Maybe I got the states wrong. “As the governor of North Dakota said to the governor of South Dakota…” No, that’s not right either.)

EbookCover_Block_TCOOL3. TCOOL’s in the 2017 Write Stuff StoryBundle. Now there’s a sentence I’ve never written before, although some governor might have said it to another governor. (Maybe they were senators. No, I’m positive they were governors.) What it means is that my book, The Crime of Our Lives, has been bundled with 11 hugely useful books for writers, on sale for a short time for the giveaway price of $15. That’s what, $1.25 a book? Click here to see what’s in the bundle and how it works; click here for more information on TCOOL.

4. AISAC’s on the way, right behind ISOIS! Oh dear, there’s another sentence that requires explanation. ISOIS is In Sunlight or in Shadow, the anthology of stories inspired by works of Edward Hopper, and superbly illustrated with reproductions of the paintings themselves. Pegasus Books brought it out in December, and no book of mine has ever generated as much media attention. It’s available now in hardcover, ebook, and audio.

AISAC coverAnd, hot on its heels, is Alive in Shape and Color, wherein the contributors have selected paintings by the artists of their choice. As you can see, the cover painting is by the enigmatic René Magritte, whose work inspired a stunning effort by Jonathan Santlofer. Many of the writers from ISOIS have re-upped for AISAC, and they’re joined by David Morrell, Sarah Weinman, Thomas Pluck, and SJ Rozan. Pegasus will bring it out in December, on the anniversary of the publication of ISOIS, and they’re taking pre-orders. A couple of mouse clicks and you can cross no end of names off your Christmas list, and guarantee first edition copies in the process.

2017-03-26_Ebook Cover_Block_Ein Ticket fur den Friedhof5. Matthew Scudder speaks German. Which is to say that my partnerships with translators are starting to show results. Newest German edition is Ein Ticket für den Friedhof, #8 in the series and A Ticket to the Boneyard in English. Sepp Leeb has updated his original translation, my Goddess of Design and Production has come through with a nice boozy cover, and the book’s available in paperback and ebook form on all Amazon sites worldwide; here are links for the United States and Germany.

2017-03-28_Ebook Cover_Block_Batmans GehilfenThat brings our German Scudder titles to 11—7 novels and 4 short stories. Stefan Mommertz has translated the first three novels and the short stories; the translations for novels 5—8 are Sepp Leeb’s. The gap in the sequence is #4, A Stab in the Dark, and Stefan’s translation is in the proofreading process and should be ready soon, along with Sepp’s A Dance at the Slaughterhouse. (There’ll be a German-language newsletter soon, with more details; if you’d like to be on the German list, just email lawbloc@gmail.com with Newsletter: DE in the subject line.)

2017-04-04_Ebook Cover_Block_Il Ladro in Caccia 26. Bernie Rhodenbarr speaks Italian. After translating the Matthew Scudder short stories (La Notte e la Musica)and The Burglar in the Library (Il Ladro nella Biblioteca), Luigi Garlaschelli has moved on to Bernie Rhodenbarr #10, The Burglar on Prowl. Il Ladro in Caccia is available on all Amazon sites in ebook and paperback. Luigi’s at work on another Burglar title, and—yes? Do I see a hand?

I have trouble finding your foreign editions. The ebooks and paperbacks don’t always show up on the same page, and sometimes I leave out an umlaut and Amazon shows me Harry Potter in Swedish instead. Am I doing something wrong?

Cover-Block-La noche y la musicaProbably, but you’re not alone. I have the same problem, and I’m the one who wrote the damn books. Here’s a trick—in the Amazon search box, pair the names of the author and the translator. For German titles, say, try first Lawrence Block Stefan Mommertz and then Lawrence Block Sepp Leeb. For Italian, Lawrence Block Luigi Garlaschelli. For Spanish Scudder titles, translated by Ana and Enriqueta Carrington: Lawrence Block Carrington. For other Spanish titles, try pairing my name with Mª Carmen de Bernardo Martínez, Jordi García, and Eduardo Hojman.

Harry Potter in Swedish? Really?

2017-01-02_AudioCover_Block-Holland_The Thief Who Couldnt Sleep7. Evan Tanner speaks English. And many other languages, including Basque, as you may recall. But you can listen to him in his native tongue, voiced superbly by Theo Holland, in our new audio of The Thief Who Couldn’t Sleep. Theo, who’s at work now on Tanner’s Twelve Swingers, has also narrated Resume Speed, Four Lives at the Crossroads,  and The Adulterers.

8. Lawrence Block can read. Not without moving my lips however, at least when I’m reading out loud. As I’ll be doing from 5 to 7pm on Saturday, April 29, under the auspices of Enclave. The venue is Lovecraft, on Avenue B and East 4th Street, and I’ll be sharing the stage with Bradley Spinelli and Jim Freed.

I’ve been avoiding public appearances of late, and especially those where I have to perform, but I guess the Enclave folks caught me at the right moment (or maybe the wrong one) and I find I’m actually looking forward to the gig. Not sure what I’ll be reading—possibly my Edgar-nominated story from In Sunlight or in Shadow, possibly a portion of Keller’s Fedora.

Or something else. But I’m pretty sure it won’t be this.

You know what? That’s enough from me this month. As the governor of East Timor said to the governor of Western Samoa, I’m out of here.

Cheers,

LB_logo

PS: As always, please feel free to forward this to anyone you think might find it of interest. And, if you yourself have received the newsletter from a friend and would like your own subscription, that’s easily arranged; a blank email to lawbloc@gmail.com with Newsletter in the subject line will get the job done.

LB’s Blog and Website
LB’s Facebook Fan Page
Twitter:  @LawrenceBlock

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Q&A mit Die dunklen Felle http://lawrenceblock.com/qa-mit-die-dunklen-felle/ Mon, 27 Mar 2017 21:05:48 +0000 http://lawrenceblock.com/?p=5412 LB answered some interesting questions from the German crime fiction blog Die dunklen Felle, and Christina was good enough to translate them.

Click here to read the Q&A in German and English

 

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The Guardian: Dames, detectives and dope: why we still love hardboiled crime http://lawrenceblock.com/the-guardian-dames-detectives-and-dope-why-we-still-love-hardboiled-crime/ Thu, 23 Mar 2017 18:25:36 +0000 http://lawrenceblock.com/?p=5409

The archetype was born: men out for justice and/or revenge, pounding perpetually rainy streets in a dark American city. But isn’t he an anachronism today?

“I suspect he always was,” says author Lawrence Block, who has been writing noir for 60 years. “Which is not to say that there aren’t a fair number of such lads walking around at present. I suppose the character owes much of his appeal to being the sort of person the reader would be if he could.”

Click here to read the article

 

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Mountain Times Interview http://lawrenceblock.com/mountain-times-interview/ Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:07:27 +0000 http://lawrenceblock.com/?p=5407 In this interview, LB talks about IN SUNLIGHT OR IN SHADOW

When you spend half a century honing your craft, winning awards and publishing more than 100 books, your oeuvre commands the type of gravitas that can call upon nearly two dozen celebrity authors and not only invite them to consider an unusual literary project, but actually get them to commit to it. So it was with Lawrence Block, a New York author who has been writing crime, mystery and suspense fiction since the late 1950s.

Yet, in an interview with Mountain Times, Block is quick to deflect the credit for luring names such as Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver and a baker’s dozen of like-authors to submit a short story based on a simple premise — an Edward Hopper painting of his or her choice.

Click here to read the interview

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A dozen roses? A box of chocolates? Well, not exactly. http://lawrenceblock.com/a-dozen-roses-a-box-of-chocolates-well-not-exactly/ Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:43:39 +0000 http://lawrenceblock.com/?p=5388
A dozen roses? A box of chocolates? Well, not exactly…

That would certainly be a nice way to mark Valentine’s Day, but I’m already several days late, and fresh out of flowers and candy. So all I can offer are my heartfelt best wishes—plus my usual self-serving news report.

skua 2And the first item to report is that we’re back. In mid-January my Frequent Companion and I flew to Queenstown, New Zealand, for a Zegrahm Expeditions cruise of that nation’s sub-Antarctic islands aboard the Caledonian Sky. We saw great quantities of penguins, no end of other seabirds, and a dead whale. And we saw this bold fellow, a skua. He and his fellows were a not entirely benign presence at the penguin rookeries, strutting around like thugs and functioning as quasi-scavengers; they didn’t necessarily wait for their dinner to die of natural causes. Nor did they show any concern at the presence of humans, beyond looking at us as if wondering about our possible nutritional value.

It’s good you made it back.

Gym RatAnd it’s good to be back. It’s been a long time between newsletters, so let me lead off by reporting the ePublication of a brand-new short story, Gym Rat. It’s part of a new venture by The Center for Fiction, an indispensable NYC institution combining a superb library and an energetic cultural center, all devoted to the reading and writing of fiction. I was invited to contribute a story, to be paired with another by a gifted new writer and offered in tandem by Amazon as a Kindle Single. I think you’ll like Matt Plass’s story, and I hope you’ll like mine; you get ’em both for a mere $2.99, and you’ll be supporting TCF in the process. (I believe some of your $2.99 will find its way to me and Mr. Plass, though I doubt either of us will be taking skua-seeking cruises on our share of the proceeds.)

That’s all I’ve written since last year’s two novellas, Resume Speed (just out from Subterranean Press, whose site shows both the limited KellersFedora-cvr1 3and hardcover trade editions presently out-of-print) and Keller’s Fedora (due in April from Subterranean, and last I checked they were still taking orders for both the limited and the trade hardcover. The limited, I can assure you, will be gone soon, and the trade edition may be fully subscribed by publication date.)

Note too that both of these novellas are available in ebook and audiobook form. Theo Holland’s audio of Resume Speed has drawn nothing but raves, in which I concur; Keller’s Fedora is narrated by the author, so I can’t comment on its merits, but am able at least to assure you it’s been well received by the listening public.

It’s very satisfying to have so much of my work in audio, and the program’s an ongoing one. Theo Holland, who’s also voiced Four Lives at the Crossroads and The Adulterers, is wrapping up the first Evan Tanner novel, The Thief Who Couldn’t Sleep. Here’s the web page with all our audios presently available, and a list of what’s coming soon.

hindi_sins 2And now for something completely different:

Wow! That’s plenty different, all right. What is it?

What does it look like?

Well, it looks like a Scudder book, but I don’t see Matt’s name on the cover. Or yours either, for that matter.

That’s because you can’t read Hindi. Neither can I, but millions of people can and do, and now they have the opportunity to meet Matthew Scudder in The Sins of the Fathers.

And how did this come about? As some of you know, I’ve been teaming up with translators to self-publish some of my books on a co-op basis. German editions of Scudder books have been leading the way, with a good showing in Spanish and Italian as well.

I mentioned all this on social media, as the trickiest element lies in getting the word out. (My fans and followers are almost entirely English speakers, so how do I find a likely audience in another language? And yes, that’s a good question.) And two Facebook friends, Ishan and Alka Shrivedi, said I really ought to publish in Hindi. Fine, I said. Wanna do some translating?

Then it got complicated. While ebooks in Hindi are available on Amazon for Kindle, their self-publishing platform does not support the Hindi alphabet; Ishan and Alka delivered a translation, my six-armed Goddess of Design and Production bought a Hindi font and managed the Herculean task of creating an ebook—and I found myself incapable of publishing the damned thing.

101816_Ebook-Cover_Block_El SicarioUndaunted—well, not overly daunted, anyway—we decided we’d do it as a paperback. That meant the Goddess had to produce a pdf in an alien alphabet, a task which was neither a walk in the park nor a dip in the Ganges. But she got it done, and I published it via CreateSpace. The product description’s in English, not Hindi, as it turns out one can’t upload the Hindi alphabet to CreateSpace’s platform, but the book itself is all-Hindi-all-the-time, and I now have a work in print in that language for the first time in six decades as a published writer.

The cover art, as shown on Amazon and bn.com, has a word misspelled. Not to worry; the book itself has the correct cover, which you can see for yourself in the CreateSpace store.

Will you and the Shrivedis be doing more Scudder books?

That depends. If the demand’s there, we’ll keep going. Y’all can help—by letting Hindi readers know about it. Readers in Mumbai and Bangalore are a natural audience—they can order right here—but Hindi speakers in the US might prove even more receptive; I know from Russian and Turkish and Chinese New Yorkers how keenly they appreciate books in their native languages set in the city in which they now live.

I don’t think I know any Hindi speakers. But there’s an Indian restaurant I’m crazy about. You think the book would be a good tip for my favorite waiter?

What a wonderful idea! I wouldn’t be surprised if it got you a side of bhindi bhaji along with your next order of rogan josh. Worth a shot— and so’s any other method you can think of to spread the word.

2017-02-08_Ebook Cover v2-Block-Acht Millionen Wege zu sterbenAnd I’m happy to say that the word’s beginning to get around in Spanish and Italian—and especially in German, where our Scudder self-publishing list stands at three short stories and five novels…and counting. The newest additions, both translated by Sepp Leeb, are Acht Millionen Wege zu sterben (Eight Million Ways to Die) and Nach der Sperrstunde (When the Sacred Ginmill Closes). Both are available in ebook and paperback form, and on all Amazon platforms; here, for convenience, are links to amazon.de for Acht Millionen Wege zu sterben and Nach der Sperrstunde.)

We have more of Sepp’s fine translations in the pipeline, starting with #7—Out on the Cutting Edge, and Stefan Mommertz’s translation of #4—A Stab in the Dark—is due soon.

Turning to Spanish, MªCarmen de Bernardo Martínez is working on a translation of Hit List to follow El Sicario, her rendition of Hit Man. La noche y la música is picking up readers for Ana and Enriqueta Carrington, now hard at work on A Stab in the Dark. Ditto Jordi García’s
Los ladrones no pueden eccoger.

2016-12-03_Ebook Cover_Block_Il Ladro nella BibliotechaIn Italian, Luigi Garlaschelli followed La Notte e la Musica with Il Ladro nella Biblioteca. That’s The Burglar in the Library, and he’s at work now on another Bernie Rhodenbarr epic, The Burglar on the Prowl.

You know what, LB? It would be nice if there was one place where we could find all your books in other languages.

Actually, you’re not the first person to have that thought. There’s now an area at lawrenceblock.com called In Translation with pages for the various languages; it is very much a work in progress, but you might want to check it out and bookmark it for future reference.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d update you on In Sunlight or in Shadow.

That figures.

In Sunlight or in Shadow_CVR-01Well, how could I not? In all my years on the job, I’ve never written anything that’s drawn anywhere near as much press as this anthology. Reviews, blog posts, interviews—all sorts of media attention, and all for a book I wasn’t sure anyone would want to publish.

Pegasus Books not only published it, they did so while putting their shoulder to the wheel and their nose to the grindstone—and kept their eye on the ball all the while. It’s a gorgeous book, and while I can understand why you might prefer to read the stories in electronic form, or to listen while voice artists read them, you’ll still want to have the physical book in your hands—and on your coffee table of bookshelf.

When I got the idea for ISOIS, I knew it was a good one. Once my wish list of writers signed on one after another, I could see we’d have a hell of a lineup. What I didn’t know, because it’s never knowable, is that the stories themselves would be of such a high level of excellence. Yes, good writers tend to write good stories, and yes, Hopper’s paintings provide plenty of inspiration. That made my expectations high, but they were exceeded. There’s not a clinker in the bunch.

Of the five stories nominated for MWA’s Edgar Allan Poe awards this year, two (Stephen King’s and *blush* my own) are in ISOIS, while two others are by ISOIS authors (Megan Abbott and Joyce Carol Oates).

Who’s the fifth?

Laura Benedict—and next time I do an anthology, I’ll see if I can get her to come to the table.

I heard your next anthology is in the works.

You heard correctly. It’ll be coming from Pegasus in December, and it’s organized on the same principle as ISOIS—great writers with great stories inspired by great paintings. But instead of a single artist, each writer has chosen a painting by a different artist.

Title is Alive in Shape and Color, and almost all of the ISOIS contributors have re-upped for AISAC; they’re joined by Thomas Pluck, Sarah Weinman, David Morrell, and SJ Rozan. And I’ll mention just a few of the painters: Paul Gauguin, Rene Magritte, Hokusai, Vincent van Gogh, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Norman Rockwell, Salvador Dali.

I won’t oversell the book at this stage. I have all but two stories in hand, and I think they’re terrific, but why hype the book when it’s still too early to pre-order it? Rest assured I’ll give you ample notice.

And, while it seems to me that there was something else I was bursting to tell you, I can’t think what it could have been. If it comes to mind you’ll find it in the next newsletter—which will no doubt be cluttering your inbox before you know it.

Until then, Happy Valentine’s Day—and think of me not as five days late but 359 days early. No chocolates, alas, but scroll down for a rose. Mind the thorns now…

Cheers,

LB_logo

PS: As always, please feel free to forward this to anyone you think might find it of interest. (Especially if you know folks who might want to know about our Hindi, German, Spanish and Italian editions!) And, if you yourself have received the newsletter from a friend and would like your own subscription, that’s easily arranged; a blank email to lawbloc@gmail.com with Newsletter in the subject line will get the job done.

LB’s Blog and Website
LB’s Facebook Fan Page
Twitter:  @LawrenceBlock

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It’s winter. Dress warm and read something… http://lawrenceblock.com/its-winter-dress-warm-and-read-something/ http://lawrenceblock.com/its-winter-dress-warm-and-read-something/#comments Sun, 15 Jan 2017 02:28:19 +0000 http://lawrenceblock.com/?p=5143 Ideally, something I wrote. Three books of mine came out last month, and let me briefly commend ResumeSpeed-SubPress_cvr4Athem to your attention. The most recent is Resume Speed, just out in hardcover from Subterranean Press. It’s a novella about a fellow who wakes up one morning in Galbraith ND, packs a bag, and hops on the first bus out of town. He gets off in Cross Creek MT, finds a room and a job and starts a life. I wrote his story a little over a year ago, published the novella as a Kindle Single, and love what Subterranean has done with it now. The 200-copy limited edition sold out in a heartbeat, and the trade edition is going fast at $25, and won’t be reprinted. (In fact, copies may even now be hard to locate.) The ebook, of course, will remain in good supply, as will the suberb audio version narrated by Theo Holland.

I wrote Resume Speed in December of 2015, approximately 55 years after I wrote Sinner Man. As AudioCover2_Block_Sinner-Man 2the book’s afterword explains in detail, some eight years passed before my agent was able to foist it off on a low-rent paperback house, where it was published in 1968 under a pen name and a different title. I searched for it, as did Hard Case Crime’s Charles Ardai, and we both came up empty until, like a corpse in a millpond, it bobbed to the surface. Now Hard Case has brought it out—in hardcover, paperback, and ebook, all at once—and the reviews have been so good it’s hard to figure out why the hell Random House didn’t publish it 55 years ago. (They thought about it, as my afterword recounts.) The illustration, you’ll note, is of the audio version, which I heartily recommend; it’s by the Voice of Noir, Mike Dennis.)

The third book is one I didn’t write—except for the introduction and one of the 17 stories. It’s In In Sunlight or in Shadow_CVR-01Sunlight or in Shadow: Stories Inspired by Paintings of Edward Hopper, and it’s received more attention in the media than anything of mine since I first learned to type. Let me feign modesty by assuring you that the concept and the participating writers deserve the lion’s share of the credit—with much of the rest going to Pegasus Books, for backing up their faith in the enterprise by producing a genuinely beautiful book. (It’s available as well in ebook and audio form, but you really want the bound book; even if you’d rather listen to the stories, it’ll enrich the experience to have the physical book—and Hopper’s paintings—in front of you.)

I’ve been hearing rumors of a sequel.

Is that a fact.

That’s my question. Is it?

Well, yeah, but I’m a little reluctant to talk about it at this stage. The working title is Alive in Shape and Color, the contributing writers include most of the Unusual Suspects from In Sunlight or in Shadow, with a few more crashing the party, and the paintings inspiring their stories are the work not of a single artist but of eighteen different artists. I won’t name the writers or the artists, that can wait until the book’s available for pre-order, but I’ll say that I already have over a dozen finished stories in hand, and I couldn’t be happier. Pegasus has the book scheduled for December, and I’ll keep you posted as the date draws nigh.

Meanwhile, I should bring you up to date on our efforts to publish foreign-language editions of some 2016-12-23_v3.5-Ebook Cover-Block-Mitten imTod-1of my books. A week ago I got out a German-language newsletter, detailing what’s available and what’s coming soon. Stefan Mommertz’s translation of the third Matthew Scudder novel, Mitten im Tod, has joined #1—Die Sünden der Väter—and #2—Drei am Haken—as ebook and paperback. Stefan’s at work on #4—A Stab in the Dark—and I’ve arranged with Sepp Leeb to publish his excellent translations from years past. By this year’s end, we hope to have almost all of the Scudder series available.

I speak German but I never got the German-language newsletter. Was bin ich, gehackte Leber?

Wir entschuldigen uns für die Unterlassung. Send an email headed Newsletter—DE to lawbloc@gmail.com and we’ll add you to the German list.

And now a quick round-up of our other titles. In Spanish: La noche y la música, Los ladrones no pueden escoger, Matando a Castro, El Sicario, y Excitación.

In Italian: La Notte e la Musica, Il Ladro nella Biblioteca.

The links are to amazon.com, but all of these titles are available on all Amazon sites. Most are available in both ebook and paperback, but Amazon doesn’t always manage to put both editions on the same page, so you may have to scout around a bit. Eventually I hope to have all of this information on my website, with a page for each language and a full assembly of links, but that will have to wait…

It’ll have to wait, will it? For what?

Well, for me to get back home. In a couple of days my Frequent Companion and I will be flying halfway around the world for a small-ship cruise, with a return date in early February. I don’t expect much in the way of email access while we’re gone, and I’ll be devoting the first several weeks after our return to recovery from jet lag. So it may all take a while.

For now, a few more links to help y’all get through the winter…

If you enjoy reading with your ears, check out my page of audio titles. Audio’s said to be the fastest-growing area in publishing, and it’s certainly growing around here; at last count, I had 90 titles available, and there are more in the works.

Navigating my website can be tricky; there’s a lot of stuff there that’s hard to find. Here, for example, is everything you might want to know about my Collection of Classic Erotica, in ebook and paperback and—sometimes—audio. I can’t even find the Jill Emerson titles on the website, so here’s an Amazon link to the series. Ah, well. Poke around, see what you can find.

Bundle up, keep warm, stay out of drafts.

Cheers,

LB_logo

PS: As always, please feel free to forward this to anyone you think might find it of interest. And, if you’ve received the newsletter in that fashion from a friend and would like your own subscription, that’s easily arranged; a blank email to lawbloc@gmail.com with Newsletter in the subject line will get the job done.

LB’s Blog and Website
LB’s Facebook Fan Page

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One painting from Edward Hopper. 1000 words from Jonathan Santlofer. Plus a sketch. And a video… http://lawrenceblock.com/one-painting-from-edward-hopper-1000-words-from-jonathan-santlofer-plus-a-sketch-and-a-video/ Mon, 26 Dec 2016 21:08:19 +0000 http://lawrenceblock.com/?p=5133 Jonathan Santlofer was an almost inescapable choice for an anthology of stories drawn from paintings. Both visual artist and fictioneer, he delighted me with his quick agreement to contribute a story to In Sunlight or in Shadow, and delighted me even more when he delivered “Night Windows,” which bears the same title as the painting that inspired it.

NIGHT WINDOWS

By Jonathan Santlofer

There she is again, pink bra, pink slip, in one window then the next, appearing then disappearing, a picture in a zoetrope, flickering, evanescent, maddening.

Yes, that’s the word: maddening.

Then he thinks of another: delicious.

And another: torture.

He hadn’t expected a replacement so soon. The last one, Laura or Lauren, her name hardly matters, gone now four or five months, not like he’s not counting. They’re all replaceable, one as good as the next. Though he liked the last one, her innocence—and taking it away. He tries to picture her but her features are already blurred, like she was a watercolor and he’d run a moist finger across her face, smearing her features, erasing her, creating her then destroying her. Exactly what he did. What he always does.

The woman in pink bends over, her rear end aimed right at him and he would laugh but she might hear, might look across the alley and spot him, the man in the window opposite, the man in the dark, and he’s not quite ready for that. The meeting has to be planned. And it will be. Soon.

The woman stands up, turns and leans on the window ledge, her blond hair backlit, and he thinks: The gods have sent me a new one.

That last one was lucky to have known him, a rube like her, easy to manipulate, almost too easy. He’d broken her in; just plain broken her.

So how did she have the strength to get away?

No matter. He was tired of her anyway, her whiny voice, her all too eager need to please.

This new one looks perfect, the way she glides past the windows oblivious to the fact that she is being watched.

This one will be easy.

He wipes sweat from his upper lip and stares at the three bay windows shining in the dark, his own private theater. He lets out a deep breath and a curtain in her window billows out, as if it is breathing along with him.

Ahhhh…

The dark covers him, a veil; he can see her but she sees nothing.

He watches her bare feet on the ugly green rug, the same rug. This new one hasn’t bothered to change it. He feels a tingle in his toes and a tug in his groin remembering his own bare feet on that rug, and the last one’s ankle, cuffed to the old steel radiator.

Heat oozes in through the window he’s opened for a better view, soggy warm air that dissolves around him into the apartment’s central air conditioning, half his body cool, the other half sweating, as if he’s in the middle of a weather pattern, cold front meeting warm, a storm brewing deep inside him. He reaches for the bottle, pours more Scotch into his tumbler, the ice mostly melted.

He spots the small metal fan behind her, rotating but not doing much good, he’s sure of that, though he likes it, the way it blows her slip and her hair and it means her windows will remain open in this heat.

He brings the Scotch to his lips, the liquor sharp on his tongue but smooth in his throat and he stares across the dark as if it’s something physical, a runway that transports him directly into her apartment, can feel his eyes, like hands, on her body, soft then hard, harder till it hurts.

The woman moves away as if she feels the pain, the pink of her drawn into the back of the apartment, away from the window.

He waits.

Pictures the apartment he knows well, the drab interior, cramped bedroom, cracked tiles in the bathroom, tiny kitchen, the outmoded fixtures.

He can see the naked radiator in the living room, the apartment old and not yet renovated, an anomaly in this city. Of course he owns his brownstone, four-stories, turn of the century, a backyard he never uses. He’d bought it during the economic downturn though it was still expensive, now astronomical, even by his standards. Still, not the kind of place he ever imagined he’d be in, had always lived on the Upper East Side, in high-rise doormen buildings. But he’s grown to like it here, the privacy.

He finishes his drink and pours another, impatient, Scotch spilling onto hishand in the dark.

What’s she doing? What’s taking so long?

He checks his watch; thin gold face on a thinner gold mesh band. Damn it, she’s going to make him late for his business dinner.

Come on. Come on.

Is she taking a shower, a pee? He imagines both, wishes he were there to watch. Knows he will be soon.

He lights a cigar, no one around to tell him not to, not wife number one or two, so long gone they’re not even bad memories, or that one from a couple of years ago who dared to say his cigars were a disgusting habit. Well, he showed her disgusting habits, didn’t he?

A picture of his father—a big man smoking a cigar—sparks in his brain, the man’s face florid with blood-filled rage, looming toward him with a belt or a fist or the smoldering tip of a cigar, though it’s possible he’s made it up or these images were supplied by his mother, who said his father had died when he was five, a lie he discovered years later though he never saw the man again.

A flash of pink, like a brushstroke of paint in her window and he sits forward, head jutting like a turtle from its shell. Then she’s gone but the pink of her lags in his mind, and he thinks of meat, tender veal, juicy pork, saliva gathering in his mouth like a dog.

He drags on his cigar, holds the smoke in until he’s about to cough, then lets it explode, a gray cloud in front of his face. When it clears she’s there again, further back in the apartment, unhooking her bra beside a lamp that bathes her body in a soft gold light. He squints through the smoke trying to make out details, but cannot. She’s an impressionist painting. Shimmering. Beautiful. Something he wants to put in a frame and hang on his wall, or in a cage, or strap to a wall.

Then she’s gone again, and he thinks about the last one, young and pure, and how he stripped that away, watched the purity slake off her like old, dead skin….

##

You can find the rest of Jonathan’s story, along with 16 other tales and the paintings that gave rise to them, in In Sunlight or in Shadow.

As noted, Jonathan has earned recognition in the visual arts as well as in literature, and Hopper’s story inspired him in this area as well. Here’s his portrait of the artist, a pencil sketch that manages to look as deeply into the essence of the man and artist as Hopper himself has looked into the Night Windows.

Jonathan was able to appear at the book’s two launches, first at the Whitney Museum, then the following night at the Mysterious Bookshop. Here’s a video clip from that second evening.

 

 

 

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One Painting from Edward Hopper. 1000 words from Joe Lansdale. http://lawrenceblock.com/one-painting-from-edward-hopper-1000-words-from-joe-lansdale/ Wed, 21 Dec 2016 17:52:20 +0000 http://lawrenceblock.com/?p=5125 Edward Hopper painted “New York Movie” in 1939; three-quarters of a century later, Pegasus picked it for the cover of In Sunlight or in Shadow. Joe Lansdale doesn’t specify the town in which “The Projectionist” takes place. It could be set almost anywhere, and could take place at almost any time.

THE PROJECTIONIST

by Joe R. Lansdale

There’s some that think I got it easy on the job, but they don’t know there’s more to it than plugging in the projector. You got to be there at the right time to change reels, and you got to have it set so it’s seamless, so none of the movie gets stuttered, you know. You don’t do that right, well, you can cause a reel to flap and there goes the movie right at the good part, or it can get hung up and the bulb will burn it. Then everyone down there starts yelling, and that’s not good for business, and it’s not good for you, the boss hears about it, and with the racket they make when the picture flubs, he hears all right.

I ain’t had that kind of thing happen to me much, two or three times on the flapping, once I got a burn on a film, but it was messed up when we got it. Was packed in wrong and got a twist in it I couldn’t see when I pulled it out. That wasn’t my fault. Even the boss could see that.

Still, you got to watch it.

It ain’t the same kind of hard work as digging a ditch, which I’ve done, on account of I didn’t finish high school. Lacked a little over a year, but I had to drop out on account of some things. Not a lot of opportunities out there if you don’t have that diploma.

Anyways, thought I’d go back someday, take a test, get the diploma, but I didn’t. Early on, though, I’d take my little bit of earnings and go to the picture show. There was old man, Bert, working up there, and I knew him a because he knew my dad, though not in a real close way. I’d go up there and visit with him. He’d let me in free and I could see the movies from the projection booth. Bert was a really fine guy. He had done some good things for me. I think of him as my guardian angel. He gave me my career.

While I was there, when I’d seen the double feature and it was time for it to start over, he’d show me how the projection was done. So when Bert decided he was going to hang it up, live on his social security, I got the job. I was twenty-five. I been at it for five years since then.

One nice thing is I get to watch movies for free, though some of them, once was enough. If I ever have to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers again, I may cry myself into a stupor. I don’t like those singing movies much.

Even if you wasn’t looking at the picture, you had to hear the words from them over and over, and if the picture was kept over a week, you could pretty much say all the stuff said in the movie like you was a walking record. I tried some of the good lines the guys said to the girls in movies, the pick up lines, but none of them worked for me.

I ain’t handsome, but I’m not scary looking either, but the thing is, I’m not easy with women. I just ain’t. I never learned that. My father was quite the ladies man. Had black, curly hair and sharp features and bright blue eyes. Built up good from a lot physical work. He made the women swoon. Once he got the one he wanted, he’d grow tired of her, same as he did with my mother, and he was ready to move on. Yeah, he had the knack for getting them in bed and taking a few dollars from them. He was everything they wanted. Until he wasn’t.

He always said, “Thing about women, there’s one comes of age every day and there‘s some that ain’t of age, but they’ll do. All you got to do is flatter them. They eat that shit up. Next thing you know, you got what you really want, and there‘s new mountains to conquer.”

Dad was that kind of fellow.

Bert always said, “Guy like that who can talk a woman out of her panties pretty easy, gets to thinking that’s what it’s all about. That there’s nothing else to it. It ought not be like that. Me and Missy, we been married fifty years, and when it got so neither one of us was particularly in a hurry to see the other without drawers, we still wanted to see each other at the breakfast table.”

That was Bert’s advice on women in a nutshell.

Well, there was another thing. He always said, “Don’t sit around trying to figure what she’s thinking, cause you can’t. And when it comes right down to it, she don’t know what you’re thinking. Just be there for one another.”

Thing was though, I never had anyone to be there for. I think it’s how I carry myself. Bert always said, “Stand up, Cartwright. Quit stooping. You ain’t no hunchback. Make eye contact, for Christ‘s sake.”

I don’t know why I do that, stoop, I mean, but I do. Maybe it’s because I’m tall, six-six, and thin as a blade of grass. It’s a thing I been trying to watch, but sometimes I feel like I got the weight of memories on my shoulders.

The other night Mr. Lowenstein hired a new usherette. She is something. He has her wear red. Always red. The inside of the theater has a lot of red. Backs of the seats are made out of some kind of red cloth. Some of the seats have gotten kind of greasy over time, young boys with their hair oil pressed into them. The curtains that pull in front of the stage, they’re red. I love it when they’re pulled, and then they open them so I can play the picture. I like watching them open. It gets to me, excites me in a funny way. I told Bert that once, thinking maybe he’d laugh at me, but he said, “Me too, kid.”

They have clowns and jugglers and dog acts and shitty magicians and such on Saturday mornings before the cartoons. They do stuff up there on the stage and the kids go wild, yelling and throwing popcorn and candy.

Now and again, a dog decides to take a dump on the stage, or one of the clowns falls off his bike and does a gainer into the front row, or maybe a juggler misses a toss and hits himself in the head. Kids like that even better. I think people are kind of strange when you get right down to it, cause everything that’s funny mostly has to do with being embarrassed or hurt, don’t you think?

##

Pick up In Sunlight or in Shadow to read the rest of “The Projectionist,” along with 16 other Hopper-inspired stories. For more of Joe Lansdale’s work, two current choices are Paradise Sky and Honky Tonk Samurai. A new Hap-and-Leonard novel, Coco Butternut, is available for pre-order.

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One painting from Edward Hopper. 1000 words from Jill Block. (Plus a video…) http://lawrenceblock.com/one-painting-from-edward-hopper-1000-words-from-jill-block-plus-a-video/ Wed, 21 Dec 2016 01:12:11 +0000 http://lawrenceblock.com/?p=5121 Jill D. Block, who by the sheerest coincidence bears the same surname as the editor of In Sunlight or in Shadow, wrote several promising short stories while in college at Clark University. She went on to a career in corporate real estate law, until an interfering relative suggested there was no need to confine her fiction to legal briefs. Her first story appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, her second in the Three Rooms Press anthology, Dark City Lights. This, her third, was inspired by Edward Hopper’s 1947 painting, “Summer Evening.”

THE STORY OF CAROLINE

By Jill D. Block

HANNAH

 Once I decided it was finally time to look, it really wasn’t so hard to find her. After so much anticipation, having prepared myself for the frustrations and disappointments, the false leads, dead ends and wasted money that I assumed were inevitable, it actually took me less than a month. Massachusetts’ open adoption laws helped, and I made some lucky guesses. And then Google and Facebook helped bring it home.

 The hard part was figuring out how I was going to get close to her, close enough to look into her eyes, to hear her voice. I wasn’t looking for a big emotional reunion. I certainly didn’t want or expect to forge a relationship at this late date. I didn’t even intend to let her know who I am. This isn’t about her, and I’m not here to answer her questions. I mean, if she was so interested in knowing who I am, she could have looked for me, right?

That sounds like I am mad at her for having given me away. But I’m not. All I really mean is that I don’t assume she has any interest in knowing what became of me. And that’s ok. Look, I’m almost 40 years old. I get it. I learned a long time ago that you can’t blame someone for not loving you.

She was sixteen when she had me. So pretty much wherever I ended up was going to be better than with her, right? And it was fine. The people who raised me, my parents, were perfectly nice, well-meaning people. They were older, in their forties, when they got me, and they took me into their home and made me a part of their family. Well, sort of. Looking back, it seems like once they got me they couldn’t quite remember why they’d bothered. Let’s just say, there was not a lot of love in that house. They raised me, gave me shelter, food and clothes and an education. I know exactly what they did for me, and I appreciate it. Lots of kids grow up with a lot less than I had. But now I need to see what I’d missed.

GRACE

She sat at the kitchen table and listened to him breathing in the next room. She took a sip of coffee. Cold. She should be in there with him. She should be cherishing this time, spending these final days with him, these final moments. She knew that there would come a day, soon, when she wouldn’t remember what kept her paralyzed in here, in this room, when she could have been by his side, and she would be left with nothing but regret.

Missy and Jane had decided when he came home from the hospital that he should be down here, in the family room, and not in the bedroom upstairs. They’d come roaring in like a storm, waving cellphones and Starbucks cups, throwing open the windows, unpacking groceries, rearranging furniture, directing the guys who delivered the bed, acting like they own the place. Like they live here. Like this was their problem to solve. When she brought him home, they sat with him, sometimes together, sometimes taking turns, holding his hand, smoothing his hair, speaking softly to him, kissing his forehead. And then, blinking back their tears, telling her they’d be back soon, they got in their cars and they left.

That was two days ago. Since then, she’d mostly sat here, at the kitchen table, drinking coffee and listening to him breathe. Aside from the feedings every few hours, when she busied herself with detached efficiency, mixing and measuring, chirping and clucking like an idiotic bird, asking him questions she knew he wouldn’t answer, she couldn’t bear to be in the room with him.

The one-sided conversations don’t really bother her. She is used to it. He hasn’t been able to speak for more than two years, not since the last big surgery. He’d tried in the beginning. He would say something, and she would guess, trying to understand what he was saying. She had about as much success as she would have had having a conversation with the cat. They sometimes laughed about it, back when it still felt like they were in this together.

Eventually, they stopped trying. After repeating himself three or four times, and shaking his head no to each of her guesses, he’d dismiss her with a wave of his hand, never mind, and turn back to the newspaper. That was when she felt most like she was failing him. If their bond was really so deep, shouldn’t his words be able to reach her?

If it was important enough, he would write her a note. The house was filled with his notebooks, their spirals crushed, and the pencils he used, sharpened with a knife. What would she do with the notebooks when he was gone? She wondered if the girls would want them. They probably imagined that they would find them full of poetic declarations of love, essays on the singular joy he’d known being their father. In fact, they were mostly reminders of things she needed to pick up at the store. Q-tips and Kitty Litter.

There had been fewer and fewer notes the last few months before he’d gone into the hospital. He responded to her questions with a thumbs up or down, the occasional shrug (which she took to mean “I don’t know” or “I don’t care,” depending on her mood), raised eyebrows (“really?”) or a smile. There hadn’t been many smiles lately.

José had told her he would come everyday, that he would bathe him, and change the bed. He told her he had put a box of medications in the refrigerator, that she could administer as needed, and he stuck a note to the door with a magnet. He left her with a stack of pamphlets, and said that he would arrange for a volunteer to come by every few days.

HANNAH

 My plan had been to show up at the gallery where she worked. I figured I would recognize her from her Facebook pictures, and I could just say I was new in town, act confused and ask for directions or something. I would be gone before she noticed if anything I said didn’t make sense…

##

You can read the rest of Jill’s story, and sixteen others, in In Sunlight or in Shadow. In a year or two, if all goes well, you may be able to read the novel on which she’s currently at work. For now, here’s a short video, filmed at the recent ISOIS launch at the Whitney Museum, in which she talks about “The Story of Caroline.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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