Tag Archives: Author

Ed, Not Eddie (An Eli Sharpe Mystery) Official Release!

ed not eddie

With no humans in sight, Eli shifted the car into drive and pulled into a small gravel parking lot situated to the left of the house.  There, sitting atop a purple and gold ambulance, sat Leland Leviner, the man who’d made the frantic phone call the night before. The man who was now holding a shotgun.

Got time to kill? Got discretionary income? Like to read mysteries? If you answered yes to all three, then go pick up Ed, Not Eddie (An Eli Sharpe mystery) today. Only $4.95 for Kindle, and $14.95 for a paperback. Oh yeah, Split to Splinters (Eli Sharpe #2) is only .99 on Kindle all through April.

The third installment in the Eli Sharpe series, Ed, Not Eddie is my favorite book I’ve ever written (this month, anyway), so you should go buy it, and if you read it, too, so much the better! And if you review it, well, I’ll simonize your car for you. Nah, not really. Don’t do manual labor. Too old. Too out of shape. Anyhew, here’s what some nice folks have written about my little book:

bribery

“With well-developed characters that are colorful and unique, this enjoyable story has a solid plot that flows smoothly and seamlessly from scene to scene, pulling one in as it entertains…. Rich with a well-written story line, vivid descriptions, wit, and smart, snappy dialogue, this intriguing mystery will appeal to readers of many genres and is a welcome addition to any collection.”

—Janna Shay for InD’Tale Magazine

http://www.indtale.com/reviews/mystery/ed-not-eddie-eli-sharpe-mystery

bribe

Ed, Not Eddie is the best written of the Eli Sharpe mysteries. There are strong characters with an intriguing plot. Best of all the narrative flows smoothly. Pages glide by. It has the potential to be a break through book for Everhart…. Eli has become of my favourite 21st century sleuths. Everhart’s series is the best mystery baseball series I have read since the Kate Henry mysteries of the late Alison Gordon.”

—Bill Selnes for Mysteries and More

http://mysteriesandmore.blogspot.com/2015/12/ed-not-eddie-bymax-everhart-third.html

Famous Writers on Writing

I recently read an article about the work routines of famous writers, and a common theme emerged: discipline and dedication are far more important than talent or skill. I cobbled together the best quotes from some of my favorite authors. Their insights helped me stay motivated.

Tobias Wolff

I know I have to push through. Sometimes when I get to the other end it still won’t be that great, but at least I will have finished it. For me, it’s more important to keep the discipline of finishing things than to to be assured at every moment that it’s worth doing.

Bernard Malamud

There are enormously talented people around but the problem is getting organized to use your talents. A lot of people lose it, they just lose it. Life starts turning somersaults over your back and the next thing you know you’re confronting things that seem to you more important than getting organized to do your writing. And if you can’t get organized, then you can kiss your talent goodbye.

John Gardner

What this means, in practical terms for the student writer, is that in order to achieve mastery he must read widely and deeply and must write not just carefully but continually, thoughtfully assessing and reassessing what he writes, because practice, for the writer as for the concert pianist, is the heart of the matter.

Ernest Hemingway

When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.

Ray Bradbury

My passions drive me to the typewriter every day of my life, and they have driven me there since I was twelve. So I never have to worry about schedules. Some new thing is always exploding in me, and it schedules me, I don’t schedule it. It says: Get to the typewriter right now and finish this.

Below are some good articles about the writing routines of famous writers. Definitely worth reading.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/11/20/daily-routines-writers/

http://jamesclear.com/daily-routines-writers

bradburyhemingway

MacGuffin Revisited

Far be it from me to disagree with Alfred Hitchcock, but I believe the concept of the MacGuffin has evolved sense he first popularized the term with his 1935 film The 39 Steps. Below is a brief definition of the term from the excellent literary magazine The MacGuffin, which is published out of Schoolcraft College:

The moving force (and sometimes the solution) of a work of mystery fiction is referred to as a MacGuffin. . . Alfred Hitchcock used the term and said, “No film is complete without a MacGuffin because that’s what everybody is after.” . . .in short, the MacGuffin is any device or gimmick that gets a plot rolling. The MacGuffin itself has little, if any, fundamental importance, and, according to Hitchcock, is nothing in and of itself.

Now, I am a fan of Hitchcock’s films, especially Rear Window and Psycho.  AIthough I cannot be sure what precisely he means by “fundamental importance,”I interpret it this way: the MacGuffin is purely a way to kick start a story’s plot, and it has no real significance beyond that. Working from that interpretation, I must offer an alternative thesis on the subject: in films and books, the MacGuffin does much more than just get the plot moving. When used by skilled artists (including Hitchcock himself), the MacGuffin has both symbolic and thematic significance.

malteseTake mystery novels, for example.  More specifically, let’s examine The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett for a moment.  The valuable black bird figurine–a.k.a. the maltese falcon–does exhilarate the narrative, but it also becomes a symbol for greed (the figurine is worth a bundle) and trickery (the figurine turns out to be a fake); it becomes a tangible representation of human weakness. To take the idea a bit further, the maltese falcon also not only propels the plot forward, but it helps develop layer upon layer of characterization in the novel. In this sense, the figurine reveals (or helps to reveal) the uglier sides of basically every character in the narrative, sides which would have remained hidden without the introduction of the maltese falcon (the MacGuffin).

dude How about an example from the movies? The Big Lebowski, a personal favorite, has arguably two MacGuffins: the alleged kidnapping of Bunny Lebowski and/or the theft of The Dude’s favorite rug. But let’s discuss the rug as it is the more interesting MacGuffin of the two. When The Dude is employed to give the money to the kidnappers and get Bunny back, he isn’t so much motivated by the fee he will receive; he is more interested in recovering his beloved rug, the one that “really tied the room together.” Because the rug belongs to The Dude, who has precious little interest in material possessions, it takes on an added layer of meaning when he is willing to risk life and limb to recover it, and he does so in such a humorous and imminently watchable manner. Go a step further: I would argue that the rug has a metaphorical significance as well, for The Dude’s life before his rug is taken is tranquil; after the rug is “swept out from under him” so to speak, his life is chaotic and, in many ways, not nearly as happy.

hitchcockBottom line, I think Hitchcock’s definition of the MacGuffin is limited. In many ways, the MacGuffin contributes to a more deeply satisfying narrative in both film and books. I recently turned in my second Eli Sharpe novel to my publisher, and the MacGuffin in that one is a valuable baseball, which has been stolen. I intentionally tried to make the stolen baseball mean something different to every character in the novel, and, in a way, the baseball becomes a character in and of itself. Hitchcock did this also, made MacGuffins more than just plot devices. What’s more, I suspect he did it deliberately. How else would he have become such a master of suspense?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Franklin Book Reading

The idea of an author reading from his or her novel in public had always struck me as strange, bordering on the absurd. But that was the Younger Me, a broody post-adolescent clinging to the belief that an author was required to be a grouchy, reclusive genius who wore tweed coats with elbow patches and only listened to jazz.

So when I went to Francis Marion University last Thursday to hear Tom Franklin do a public reading, I was reminded just how thick Younger Me really was. Franklin, the award-winning author of Poachers, told riotously funny stories about his teenage years, provided thoughtful (and expansive) answers to all questions, and managed to make eye contact with the audience while reading from his 2010 mystery novel Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter.  Best of all, he drew a possum on the book I bought (see picture below). If you get the chance, I strongly recommend you hear Franklin do a reading. In the meantime, pick up Poachers, a brilliant collection of short stories, and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, a literary mystery novel set in rural Mississippi.

To review what I learned from Tom Franklin: one, an author need not be unpleasant and anti-social; in fact, he or she can be funny and friendly and still be a serious writer. Two: elbow patches, while cool, are not required to write a fantastic book; Franklin’s written several great books, and, at least on the occasion in question, his jacket was sans patches. Three: a writer can listen to something other than Coltrane or Davis; during the Q&A, Franklin mentioned that he saw Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg at the same concert venue in Oxford, Mississippi. Jealous I missed that one.

franklinbook

Writing Mystery is Murder

For anyone interested in reading or writing mystery, this blog is excellent. I especially love the most recent post entitled “Success and Writing–What Keeps Us Going.”  You can also find great articles on the ins and outs of writing, editing, and promoting your mystery books.  I recently began following Writing Mystery is Murder and haven’t come across a single post that wasn’t well-written and insightful.  Check out the link below.

http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/2013/11/success-and-writingwhat-keeps-us-going.html#more