Stuff & Nonsense 005: Entertain

Last week was busy. It saw the release of THE BLACK HOOD #1 and the announcement of my deal with Polis Books, which signals the re-release of Silent City next year along with two sequels, Down the Darkest Street and Dangerous Ends, all starring reluctant Miami detective Pete Fernandez. This week was a bit more low-key, but involved lots of progress on Pete Book 3, Dangerous Ends.

Now that I know the Pete books are in the pipeline at Polis, I can turn my attention to finishing up a strong first draft of Dangerous Ends. It's probably the most challenging thing I've ever written, so it's required a lot of research and jumping around the manuscript and Pete's timeline. I find myself already marking things up in advance of the eventual next revision. I find this to be fun, because I'm working writing muscles I didn't know existed, and pushing Pete and his supporting cast (plus a few new players) in different and hopefully interesting directions.

I'd originally envisioned the Pete books as a trilogy - three and out. I liked how compact the Nick Stefanos books were and I didn't want to be locked into a long series. But I think/hope readers of the second book will notice a widening of scope - not just in terms of the challenges Pete faces, but the people he faces them with. That change in dynamic made the story itself more interesting for me to write, and made me less interested in having a definite ending.

Also, Pete is extremely hard to get out of my head. Case in point: I'd wanted to write a non-Pete short story, set in Pete's world and in the time between Silent City and Down the Darkest Street. Got a nice chunk of words done. Then decided it might be cool to have Pete cameo. OK, fine. The cameo got bigger. Suddenly I was writing scenes from Pete's POV. Next thing I knew, I'd saved the file as "Book Four Early Draft." I won't get to it for quite some time, but that's the way things go - you have to be flexible and accepting of where the ideas/whatever take you. That's not a promise of a fourth book - because we have a lot of stuff to do first, but there you go.

Speaking of Pete, he has - or will - visit most of these Miami dive bars.

I talked THE BLACK HOOD, Dark Circle and crime writing with my friend Paul Montgomery on the PANELS podcast, Oh, Comics.

My first interview as a guest editor of The Pen American Center's #PENten series kicked off with a Laura Lippman interview. I also spoke to Laura a while back at Do Some Damage. Please do buy Hush Hush. I think it's the best Tess book yet.

RIP, One Herald Plaza - a fitting, honest obit at The Miami Herald.

Two writer friends revealed new book covers this week and I love them both. Check out The Killing Kind by Chris Holm and Zer0es by Chuck Wendig. Now, pre-order the books, too!

My new label-mate Bryon Quertermous got me all teary-eyed with this video of him and his family opening up a box of Murder Boy copies. The book hits at the end of the month via Polis Books. Please do pre-order it, rate it on Goodreads, review it, etc. Bryon's a good friend and, most importantly, a great writer.

I was curious about this Kitty Genovese story on The Line-Up because I have Catherine Pelonero's book on the case in my reading queue and because I walk by the scene of the crime at least once a day. Though it's interesting, Elizabeth A. White smartly pointed out that a lot of the "facts" that continue to be shared in relation to the story aren't true at all. Worth reading this piece in The Nation for a dose of reality. A tragedy, regardless.

Dennis Lehane was profiled by The Los Angeles Times in advance of his new novel, World Gone By. Looks like he's living out west now, too. I'll read anything he writes. One of my top five current crime writers. Hat tip to Sarah Weinman for the link. Please subscribe to her newsletter - you won't regret it.

This Ian Rankin pseudo-profile in The Telegraph generated a ton of chatter among authors and readers on social media this week. I tend to agree. The topic of "literary vs. genre fiction" came up in a discussion a few weeks back at Do Some Damage, too, and seems to be a cyclical thing in most genres. Basically, the idea that literary readers are looking down at crime or fantasy or science fiction. Anyway, my POV is that genre fiction is as "literary" as anything else, and you shouldn't feel like you need to defend what you read. Enjoy it. Reading is good in whatever form it takes.

Boing Boing has an excerpt from the Peter Schilling Jr. Carl Barks/Donald Duck book I mentioned last week.

Speaking of Do Some Damage, Steve Weddle crafts a must-read look at authors and the tricky act of promoting your award-eligible books.

What I'm Reading:

Cracked this ARC open last night. Been looking forward to it. Make sure you pre-order.

Just finished this. Duane's best yet. Go buy a copy.

Also, mark your calendars: NOIR AT THE BAR QUEENS 3 is coming on 3/26 at Odradeks in Kew Gardens. More details (and retro poster image) soon. Hope you can make it!

Lastly, one of my favorite podcasts - Futility Closet - is now on Twitter.