Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You've The Right to Six Words - Week 8

Whew! It's heating up around Northeast Ohio. We've had some pretty toasty temperatures. Actually the temperatures are in the low 90s, but the humidity is a killer. It's these days that I'm reminding myself of the snow and how much I hate it. Then, the heat doesn't seem quite so bad. I'm thinking that there's got to be somewhere that is more moderate on a regular basis, though. Any of you come from a climate like that?

Anyway, this isn't a weather blog, is it? Did you check out the guest review Monday from my friend Jack? Isn't he something? I'm hoping he comes back again this summer. We have another great guest reviewer on Friday, so I hope you'll come to check out her review as well. How about Gregg Hurwitz? Did you check out his "disguised" interview yesterday? I'm learning my video recording lessons, slowly but surely! I just couldn't toss it, though, not with all that great content from Gregg. Tomorrow is his launch party in Brentwood, California. My friend Michael is attending and promises to take some pictures to share with us. Many thanks to Michael! He's wonderful! Oh, and don't forget to enter for your chance to win one of two "Love & Whispers" CDs from John Connolly, the soundtrack music to his books THE LOVERS and THE WHISPERERS.

Let's get on with the show, shall we? You came to see memoirs today, and we definitely have them!

First up is a debut author, sort of. Lou Berney has a good deal of writing experience, but his first novel, GUNSHOT STRAIGHT, was published at the beginning of this year to lots of acclaim and fanfair, including being picked by John Searles on NBC's THE TODAY SHOW as one of the "best winter reads." That of course does NOT mean you can't read it now in the dead of summer! Prior to his publication of GUNSHOT STRAIGHT, Lou published short fiction, wrote feature screenplays and created TV pilots. Since that managed to keep him plenty busy, he eked out some time during the 2007-2008 film and TV Writers Guild strike to write GUNSHOT STRAIGHT. At present, Lou reports that he is working on the screenplay for GUNSHOT STRAIGHT and a second novel. In addition to "writer" on his resume, he can also claim the role of teacher, having taught at the University of Oklahoma, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and in the MFA program at Saint Mary's College in California. Lou has pretty much lived in places coast to coast, but these days he and his wife are calling Oklahoma home again. Just perusing through Lou's website, you can sense a positive, fun outlook on life. But if that doesn't convince you, how about a memoir of:

Lived it like he stole it.

Is there any other way? Looking forward to book number two, Lou. Thanks!

Next up we have a writer who grew up entertaining in different formats. Alexandra Sokoloff acted, sang, danced and played classical piano in the early tween years then took up directing plays at the age of sixteen. This early training prepared her to go off to the University of California at Berkeley to major in theater and minor in "everything that Berkeley has a reputation for." Sounds like she kept busy right? Well she still found time to write, direct, and act in slew of productions. She trained in modern dance. She directed and choreographed musicals. She even did some backup singing at a bar in Glacier National Park. Whew! The icing on that cake? How about graduating Phi Beta Kappa?

Like Lou Berney, Alexandra has ties to Hollywood. She has made her living writing novel adaptations as well as original suspense and horror scripts. THE HARROWING marked her entry into the supernatural and earned her both a Bram Stoker nomination and an Anthony nomination for Best First Novel. This year brought her fourth supernatural thriller to bookstores. Last month, BOOK OF SHADOWS was published. Somehow she also finds time to blog over with the gang at Murderati!

It's quite a feat to wrap this up into six words, but Alexandra does it with

Knew there was something besides sex.

Well, yeah, I guess she found a lot of somethings!

And anchoring our memoir post today is Paul Levine, a man who has truly impacted the crime fiction genre in all its facets. The witty author of several legal thriller series is a journalism graduate of Penn State and a Law School graduate of the University of Miami. Paul made use of that journalism degree for awhile before entering law school while he was a reporter for the Miami Herald. Following his success on the Florida Bar exam, Paul went to work for an international law firm, specializing in "complex litigation." He tried cases, handled appeals (even in front of the Supreme Court), served as a legal commentator for television networks in Miami, he even wrote and appeared on You & the Law. And oh yeah, he taught a little on the side as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Miami School of Law.

You'd think after all that craziness he'd be ready to slow down, but no, this man was just getting started! In 1990 Paul published his first novel, TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD. This is the 20th Anniversary of his first novel and it's just been released as an e-book. To commemorate this landmark achievement, Paul is donating all the proceeds from the e-book sales - 100% - to the Four Diamonds Fund that supports Cancer treatment for children at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

In 1998 Paul wrote 9 SCORPIONS which led to his co-creation of FIRST MONDAY for CBS. While FIRST MONDAY last for only one season, Paul did not. He went on to write 20 episodes of one of my favorite legal dramas, JAG.

While we love Paul on the television networks, we're thrilled to have him back at work on his various legal book series. Last year he added a new character to the mix when he introduced L.A. lawyer, Jimmy (Royal) Payne, in ILLEGAL. Jimmy Payne joins Paul's Jake Lassiter and Solomon and Lord. Paul says,

Small town. Big town. Played around.

I say, thank goodness he did! There would be a huge void otherwise. Many, many thanks Paul!

One of the things that I truly love about this project is that each week I sit back and look at the memoirs and think, "Wow! Can you believe all the talent in this community?" I'm constantly reminded of it each week. And then I think, with all the generosity these people have for each other, for their fans, it's talent very well spent. I'm humbled yet again to have these folks willing to take time and share with us. Thank you so, so much for giving. And all the readers, thank YOU for coming back each week, for trying out new authors, and just for having fun in this crime fiction sandbox with me. What a tremendous gift!

Happy Reading everyone!

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Serena July 7, 2010 at 12:08 PM  

I love this one: Lived it like he stole it.!

Jen Forbus July 8, 2010 at 6:24 AM  

I do, too, Serena! That's for stopping by!

Naomi Johnson July 12, 2010 at 11:23 PM  

I'm looking forward to Lou Berney's second book. I really enjoyed GUTSHOT STRAIGHT.

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