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Well, here it is, September, and I’m back after a long silence, and I suppose the first order of business is to bring you up to date on where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. I spent much of the summer on Holland America’s M.S. Veendam, cruising the North Atlantic. That sounds like a vacation, and it would have been, but for the fact that most of my waking hours each day found me locked in my cabin, glaring at my MacBook Air, and when the ship docked I walked off with a new novel.

And that’s all I can tell you about it for now, except to say that I’m very happy with the way it turned out, and so are the handful of people who’ve read it.

CatchAndRelease2Meanwhile, I’ve got a new collection of short fiction coming out, and I hope you’ve already ordered your copy of Catch and Release. The press run is fully subscribed. Here’s the publisher’s report: “We are holding back copies for individual orders as long as we can. Once we ship the initial wave, we’ll probably release any final copies into the large bookstore and distribution chain. The smart move, if you want to be guaranteed a copy, is to order through us.

I’ve never had a short story collection get such a strong response in the press. “If Block were a serial killer instead of one of the best storytellers of our time, we’d be in real trouble,” Tony Daniel wrote in Publishers Weekly, in a review I reprinted in full when it appeared. A starred review in Booklist adds: “Block’s short stories are intelligent and respectful of the reader yet often take an unexpected turn. He plays fair. If you reread the story, you’ll find that he left you little clues about the final destination but didn’t connect the dots. Block is a master of the long-form mystery, and this collection proves he’s got the short form locked down as well.” And Mario Guslandi in Gumshoe Review says: “Block has actually been responsible for my recent move from reading horror to crime (which is making my life as a reader and a reviewer much more complicated, torn between the two genres). The book is a veritable feast for any lover of good fiction and all the stories included therein are entertaining and captivating.”

If you miss out on Subterranean’s hardcover edition, you can still read the book. The book’s ship date is September 30, and that’s when I’ll be releasing the eBook edition for Kindle, Nook, and all ePlatforms.

Will there be a paperback?

Indeed there will, in handsome trade paperback format, and it’ll feature Ken Laager’s great cover art. I’m not sure of the on-sale date, but it won’t be long, and you may rest assured that I’ll let you know about it.

What about audio?

Dreamscape will be bringing out the unabridged audiobook of Catch and Release, and it’s already available for pre-order. And, days from now, I’ll be in the studio doing the narration. One of the stories, How Far, is in fact a one-act play, a dialogue between a man and a woman, and the woman’s lines will be read by the lovely and personable Lynne Wood Block, making her debut as a voice artist. (She’ll also be reading the vignette Without a Body.)

LB’s eBay Bookstore, closed all summer, is open once again, its virtual shelves packed with signed books at (mostly) bargain prices. (Last I checked, there were 122 items on offer, with 62 of them priced under ten dollars.) We’ll be adding more listings when time permits, and probably offering some choice items at auction.

Four Bernie Rhodenbarr short stories have proved popular as eBooks (A Bad Night for Burglars, The Burglar Who Dropped In On Elvis, The Burglar Who Smelled Smoke, and Like a Thief in the Night) and they’ve just now been joined at Amazon and Nook by The Burglar Takes a Cat. (This account of how Raffles came into Bernie’s life originally appeared in the sixth book in the series, The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams.)

taboo_breakers3A few days ago I’d have told you that all of my John Warren Wells titles are eVailable, and indeed 18 of them are up for sale for Kindle and Nook. Since then, the eminent bibliophile Lynn Munroe has turned up two JWW titles I’d long since lost track of, Any Way You Want It! and Total Sexuality, and as soon as I can get them scanned and formatted, I’ll put them out there. Their fellows have been getting a good reception, with especially strong sales for The Taboo Breakers. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s the subtitle: Shock Troops of the Sexual Revolution. Or do you suppose it’s the cover?

A couple of other eBooks might be worth a mention. The Night and the Music is the complete 11-story collection of Matthew Scudder short stories; I think of it as the eighteenth novel in the series. (It’s also available as a trade paperback an an audiobook.) Ehrengraf For the Defense collects all 11 stories about the criminous criminal lawyer. And, for the philatelists among you, Generally Speaking contains the two dozen columns I wrote for Linn’s Stamp News.

A while back I said to Lynne, as as we returned from an evening out, “We’ve got to learn never to leave the house.”  Alas, I haven’t entirely learned as yet. Here’s what’s on my schedule:

Monday, September 16, 7 pm. As some of you know, John O’Hara’s fiction is a particular enthusiasm of mine, and I’ve been invited to appear on a Brooklyn Book Festival panel to discuss the man and his work. Steven Goldleaf of Pace University will be chairing, and my fellow panelists are Lorin Stein and Charles McGrath. Venue is the Powerhouse Arena at 37 Main Street, Brooklyn. (That’s in DUMBO, my favorite acronymborhood; it stands for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass.)

Saturday, September 21, 11:30 am. I’ll be doing a self-interview and Q&A at Bouchercon in Albany. The day before, I’ll be part of a signing at 1:15 pm.

Tuesday, October 1, 7 pm. I’ll be on a panel on writing and addiction sponsored by Writers Guild of America East at the Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th Street, New York.

Sunday, October 13, 12-1 pm. I’ll be at Gary Lovisi’s annual collectible paperback show at the Holiday Inn, 440 West 57th Street.

It seems to me I had a lot more to report, but I can’t think what it might have been, and I’ve nattered on long enough, haven’t I? And there’ll be another newsletter ere long; as soon as I can, I’ll tell you something about the new book.


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