Friday, May 2, 2014

Five on Friday - Johnny Shaw

Happy Friday my reading friends! I hope you've had a great week. Is there good reading on your weekend to-do list?

I'll start out today by congratulating all the 2014 Edgar® winners. And of course a special mention to Grand Master Robert Crais! He's one of the main reasons I love crime novels so much, so I'm happy to see this recognition for him.

I'm going to quickly run through the contest links because I have Johnny Shaw as our Five on Friday guest today and I can't wait to get to it. So...

You still have time to enter Criminal Element's Dread Half Dozen Sweepstakes which includes a copy of Hilary Davidson's Blood Always Tells which I reviewed this week. It also includes The Intern's Handbook which I am listening to on audio right now and completely loving, so go enter this one for sure!

Friday Reads has Bred in the Bone and Natchez Burning to give away.

And Lesa has a Southern Women's giveaway this week. You don't have to be Southern or a woman to enter by the way!

Now hurry and enter those but come right back because I'm thrilled beyond measure to share with you a talented writer by the name of Johnny Shaw. I met Johnny before his first book was published, he now has THREE books out and is an Anthony Award winner. Book number 3, Plaster City was released yesterday and I'm in the midst of reading it right now. The subtitle to this book and it's predecessor tell you a lot before you can even get started. They aren't the Jimmy Veeder mysteries or the Jimmy Veeder thrillers or anything like that. They're the Jimmy Veeder fiascos.

In addition to his novels, Johnny is responsible for a quarterly magazine of adventure stories called Blood & Tacos.

Johnny Shaw cut his writing teeth as a screenwriter and still teaches screenwriting. I, for one, am glad he's now contributing to the crime fiction world. But let me quit my yammering and let him take the blog reins. Please help me welcome Johnny Shaw!

Johnny's and fans?!? Photo courtesy of Rose O'Keefe
1. The #1 item on my bucket list right now is: For me, it all revolves around travel. I would love to live in Europe for a year or two. Somewhere on the Mediterranean. As much fun as jumping around from one place to another can be, I tend to prefer staying in one spot for a while and really getting to know it. It’s a completely different experience than a day or a week. Right now, I’m really drawn to Italy and Croatia, but the list of possible destinations is a very long one.

2. The best gift I ever received was: This will date me a bit, but I have to say the portable electric typewriter that I got for high school graduation. The old typer. At the time, I had no aspirations to be a writer, using it for papers in college. In my third year, I started writing. I wrote everything longhand first, which allowed for a mini-rewrite as I typed. It was the beginning of finding my process as a writer. I wrote my first five screenplays on it, one of which was produced. Even when I was essentially homeless for a year after college, I lugged that thing around with me wherever I went. By the time I could afford my first computer, it was battered: a big crack in the casing, a mischievous T key, and one corner melted from being left too close to a radiator. I kept it for a long time after that, using it less and less. When the ribbon got discontinued, I sent it to a farm where it could run around with the other typewriters. I miss you, old friend.

3. If I won the lottery tomorrow, the first thing I would do would be: See Question #1. I would grab that bucket list and start checking things off the list. Angkor Wat. Done. Wreck diving off the Istria Peninsula. I’m on it. Dessert in Vienna. Every night for a week. That’s the great thing about writing. I get myself a new typer and I’m good to go. See the things I want to see. Eat weird food. Experience the world. In style.

4. The most daring thing I ever tried (to date) was: I’ve done a lot of nutty stuff. I’ve driven from Santa Barbara to Kenai, Alaska in a Volkswagen Rabbit. There and back, actually. I don’t know how daring that was, but it was definitely stupid, so I’m going to stick with that for the sake of this question. Drove the 3,000 miles of the ALCAN Highway to make my fortune after college in the canneries or on a boat or whatever the plan was. I love a hare-brained scheme. You got a dumb idea, I’m your man. That drive is absolutely gorgeous. A bit repetitive after a while, but gorgeous. I wasn’t in Alaska long though. Ended up there was a big fishing strike going on when I got there, so I turned around and drove back. The moral: it pays to call ahead.

5. When I’m feeling under the weather, I…. like to get on the couch and watch cooking shows on TV. The more elaborate the preparations, random the ingredients, the better. Chopped, Iron Chef, I’m all in. I really enjoy watching people do things well. It really doesn’t matter the activity, but seeing someone perform at the top of their game is mesmerizing to me. I can watch a bricklayer or a cheese sculptor for hours, if they are great at what they do. To me, the ease and care a great artisan or craftsman puts into their work is a manifestation of the divine. Watching a chef work with food in an imaginative way is pure artistry. I get completely lost in it. 

I think I know that typewriter farm! So much fun. Many, many thanks to Johnny for his great contribution to the series. You'll be hearing more about Plaster City here soon, but you don't need to wait for me...go get your own copy. I'm already loving it, so I'm feeling safe recommending it. :-)

I hope this is only the beginning and we'll see Johnny Shaw back here on the blog again.  Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a spectacular weekend and remember that we start the Caught Reading series next week, so be sure to stop in and see all the heroes reading this month. Happy Reading!

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