Wednesday, November 19, 2014

BOUCHERCON 2014


Hi folks,
Well, I just got back from Bouchercon in Long Beach, CA and am decompressing. This is what I looked like just before I left and was looking at the bottom of a Jack Daniels' bottle (courtesy of Jack Getze--no relation to the other Jack...).



 I had a magical time. One of my best friends ever, author Jack Getze, picked me up at LAX and we drove to his condo in West Hollywood where we stayed the first night. The next day, we spent nineteen hours on the freeway driving to the convention in what in Ft. Wayne would be a twenty-minute drive. Well, maybe it didn't take nineteen hours but it mostly felt like it...

Once at the Hyatt, we checked into the room Jack provided and let me stay in. If not for Jack, there's no way I could have afforded the convention. Not to mention, I wouldn't have had a tenth the fun!

And then... first things first... to find the bar. Which didn't open until 2 pm. Two pm! For a writer's convention! Who plans these things??!!

Just a few minutes ago I tried to download my camera and found out I couldn't. I'll get my son Mike to figure it out and then post those photos. But, until then, here's a shot of my panel. From L-R, Tim O'Mara, Sara J. Henry, Bill Loehfelm, Hilary Davidson, yrs truly, and Joe Clifford.

And, here's a shot of me reading some stuff at Eric Beetner's Noir at the Bar event. Will try to see if I can find a shot of me reading at Dana King's event. Wait! The shot of me in the mask was during Dana's Noir at Breakfast readings!

And here I am with the infamous Anonymous 9...

And, a shot of one of my publishers, Jon Bassoff of New Pulp Press...

And, one of my biggest literary heroes, Duane Swierczynski...

Got to meet Duane and act like a fanfool, and was able to give him a copy of The Rapist to get on his radar a bit and to suggest that he let his grandma read it...

Saw Katee Sackoff... yeah...

And, then... on Sunday, Jack and I spent half the day on the set of Girl Flu, starring Katee Sackoff (above), courtesy of Jill Flanders and her mom, my buddy Carson Flanders and Jill's boyfriend, Jay, the producer. Met a cool guy there, the assistant to the director, Orson Ossman, who was named after Orson Welles. With a background like that, a guy has no choice but to become a filmmaker...

 Above shot of cast and part of the crew of Girl Flu...


 And got to talk a lot with the mom (above) of the co-star, Jade Pettyjohn.

Met just lots and lots of old friends and made cool new friends. Watched part of the Notre Dame game with Craig Fenech, a baseball agent and ND grad. Had to leave when the Irish were still up to attend the panel of my former writing student and now super literary star Meagan Sampson, only to return and find out they blew the game... That's when the bottle of Jack really got hit...

Met just all kinds of folks. Robert Gussin, the publisher of Oceanview who invited me to send him my next thriller (yes!), Elizabeth Kracht, uber-agent, Dave Zeltzerman (in person--we already knew each other online), and a bunch of others. I'm going to try to write more about B-Con tomorrow when my head has cleared a bit more and hope I can remember to mention everyone then.

Had a really fun experience the first night. Met Bob Truluck and his lovely wife, Cornflake. We had dinner in the hotel with Jack and Carson and her hubby Paul. When we sat down, Cornflake fell onto the floor. Hard. Broke her pelvis and three ribs and punctured a lung. Well, not really, but she should have as hard as she fell.  Turns out she'd had three beers and said she never drank. Plus, her shoes were tied together. Some fun! And, I couldn't remember her given name--which was Leslie, a hard name to remember--but she really goes by Cornflake. And her husband Bob goes by Crazy Bob. Well, not really... but he should... They were truly a fun couple and I'm not being sarcastic at all. They really were!

My Down&Out Publisher, Eric Campbell, went balls-out in doing stuff for his writers. He took a bunch of us out to eat at a barbecue place that was awesome and mostly ran and ran and ran--delivering books for us to sign at various places, manning the Down&Out booth and showing everyone what a whirling dervish in human form looks like.

Among others, I met and gabbed with writers and other industry figures: Greg Randall, Janie Ghodosh, Charles O'Brien, Lindsay Faye, David Stout, Jacques Filippi, Mike Befeler, Sinclair O'Malley, Brian Sweany, Sunny Frazier, Shannon Baker, Reavis Wortham, Terry Irving, Robert K. Lewis, Dana and Corky King, Russell Lester, Rob Pierce, Gerard Brennan, George Mathews, Sandy Harding, and my new best friend, Lisa Fernow. Saw old buds, Todd Robinson, Joe Clifford, Tom Pitts, Rob Brunet, Tom Pluck, Charles Salzberg, Mike Monson, Sabrina Ogden (with lopsided hair...)Ed Kurtz, Michelle Turlock, Bob Rotstein, Scott Adlerberg and a bunch of others. I'm forgetting so many and I apologize! I'll try to remember the ones I forgot for tomorrow's entry.

Missed seeing Jenny Milchman and Holly West among others and that sucks! I did get to hang out with my ol' pal Tanis Mallow and try to explain to her why hockey sucks... I think she won the argument. Tanis wins everything she sets her mind to...

And, when I got home, I found an email from a writer I've admired forever, Brian Evenson, who reached out to me after reading an interview I did with Richard Godwin in Grift Magazine and my week is complete!

Tomorrow, I'll try to add the folks who slipped my Halfzeimer's mind today and talk about what I actually got to do. Including both my Airline Trips to Hell and Back...

Blue skies,
Les









Tuesday, November 11, 2014

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR BOB STEWART

Hi folks,

I just heard from Dr. Bob Stewart III, Bob's son, as to the funeral arrangements and other details.



Services are Friday morning, November 14 at the mausoleum chapel. Viewing at 9:00 am and service at 10:00 am. 
Services will be at:
New Klein Chapel-Mausoleum
& 50 Acre Memorial Park
F.M. 2920, Klein Texas, 77379
(281)320-2674
Flowers are definitely appropriate and appreciated. Or a plant that can live on his memory!
Delivery address is
Klein Funeral Home
16131 Champion Forest Drive
Klein, Texas 77379
(281)320-2674
If one is interested, contributions in Bob Stewart's name will be gladly accepted by the American Diabetes Association for charity.


Thanks, everyone.

Blue skies,
Les


P.S. If anyone has any photos of Bob, his son, Dr. Bob III would greatly appreciate them. Just send them to me and I'll make sure he gets them and who they're from. Thank youl

Monday, November 10, 2014

My dear friend Bob Stewart has passed on--sad, sad day.



Hi folks,

One of my dearest friends, writer Bob Stewart, passed away last Thursday. I’ve spent the past two days struggling with how I could best pay my respects to him and keep finding myself without the right words. So, instead of writing some kind of effort at great prose, I thought I’d just talk about what he meant to me.
Author Grant Blackwood and Bob at the WRW event at the Purple Sage Dude Ranch (I was taking the picture)


There are people we meet along the way that make an immense impression on us. People that are truly bigger than life. Such a person was Bob. A hugely gifted writer, he befriended me several years ago and we became instant friends on the spot. A fellow Texan, it was immediately evident when you first spoke to Bob that he was a man who had a heart as big as his home state. And, although possessed of a huge talent, he was totally without an ego. I can’t even begin to list his accomplishments—he wrote bestselling true crime books, wonderful novels, even wrote award-winning scripts for the television show that was a staple of my childhood—Gunsmoke. He wrote for national magazines such as People, Time, Life and Latina. There wasn’t a single thing he couldn’t do and do well in the writing world. He even invented a new genre—“feline noir.” At is passing, he had just finished cowriting a new novel with our mutual friend, Carl Brush, titled The Yellow Rose of Texas.

This past spring, I was asked to be a presenter at two Texas events, the DFW Writer’s Conference and the nine-day retreat at the Purple Sage Dude Ranch outside of San Antonio, presented by Writers Retreat Workshop, with whom I’ve worked before, led by Jason Sitze and Gail Provost (widow of Gary Provost who began the retreats). I asked if Bob could join me in presenting and both directors gladly agreed. We spent the days in between at Bob’s home in San Antonio. Later, I found out that he had planned to sell the house months previously, but decided not to until after I left Texas so we could stay there and hang out together. I only found that out by accident when a neighbor of Bob’s told me what he’d done. Typical of Bob, when he did something for someone he never sought out any credit.
We had an absolutely wonderful time. I went through a really bad bout with my health. Texas was at the height of their allergy season and that, plus the intense heat, sapped all of my energy. When I got back home, my doctor told me if he’d seen me there he would have immediately put me into the hospital. I lost over 20 pounds in a week and could barely walk. Bob got me through it. Although suffering himself from diabetes and heart problems, he wouldn’t let me lift even my luggage, would drop me off at the entrances of places we went to and found parking places and walked back rather than allow me to. I didn’t really know how bad of shape he was in himself, as he never complained with a single word, but just went out of his way to assist me.

At the DFW Conference, Bob was a huge hit with his own presentations with a completely-filled up meeting room. After the conference, we went to his home and just hung out, telling each other war stories. Mostly, Bob talked about his late wife Martha, his son Bob III, his daughter-in-law Kim and his grandkids, and his current girlfriend Dixie. He wasn’t a guy to ever talk about himself, but I learned so much about Bob just from listening to him talk about his family. And his religion. He was an intensely religious, God-fearing man and he gave testimony to that faith in his every utterance as well as his very example of how he lived his life. Myself, I don’t know if I believe in the same God as Bob did, but if He exists as Bob firmly believed He did, Bob’s in a good place and where he deserves to be.

We talked often on the phone before my Texas trip and about every week thereafter. And then, he didn’t call for a few days. Now I know why. He’d passed away in his hotel room doing what he loved doing—attending a writer’s conference in Massachusetts. A mutual writer friend of ours, Scott Morales, emailed me that he had passed away. I called up Carl to see if he’d heard anything and he hadn’t either. We eventually were able to get in touch with Bob’s son, Bob III, and found out that it sadly was true.

That was one of the darkest days of my life. But, I started remembering Bob’s indomitable spirit and knew what he’d say to me if he saw me grieving for him—I could hear his booming laugh as he’d grin at me and tell me to get off my butt and start writing. That he was fine and in the home he’d planned all of his life to be in when his days ended and to simply celebrate life. After all, that’s what he’d done all of his life—celebrated being alive and on earth and at work in the grandest calling of all—being a writer.

So, here’s to you, old friend—you may be temporarily gone from the physical plane, but you’re alive in our memories—your family and your many, many friends--and always will be. You made the world a much, much better place because of your presence and I’m a very lucky man to have been blessed to have known you as my friend.

Rest in peace—you’ve earned it.

Blue skies,
Les
Me sitting on a rock, Mr. Spender, and... Bob! At the dude ranch just before we went in to chow down.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Eric Beetner's Noir at the Bar at Bouchercon

Hi folks,

Eric Beetner just sent the poster for his event at Bouchercon 2014, the Noir at the Bar, that I'm very proud to be invited to participate in. It's like a Who's Who of crime and noir writers. For those going it'll be held on Thursday at 5:30 in the Regency C room.


Can. Not. Wait!

Blue skies,
Les

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bouchercon and Fayetteville, NC



Hi folks,

Just got back from an appearance at the public library in Fayetteville, NC and had a truly magical weekend! Robin Deffendall was my gracious and wonderful hostess and I met so many truly nice people—writers and readers—while there. I’d go back in a heartbeat! Found out they have the best barbecue, hands-down, in the universe. Weather was a bit hinky, but…

When I got ready to come home, I found out they’d overbooked my flight and the ticket guy said I was so nice about it he was going to issue me a check for my inconvenience. I was bowled over when I saw the amount--$1300! I told the guy if he’d just bought me a cup of coffee I’d be fine… You can bet I’m going to fly American Airlines every chance I get!

Resting up now and getting ready for Bouchercon 2014 in Long Beach, California. For those who are going to be there, I thought I’d post my appearances. When I’m not at those events, you can probably for sure find me in the bar at the host hotel… Bring bail money…

On Thursday, Nov. 13, I kick off my appearances by doing a signing of my books at the Down&Out Books booth from 12:00 to 12:30. Be there or be square! And, remember… Christmas is just around the corner so I’d stock up and get at least 10 copies of each book—they make great stocking stuffers for presents—especially The Rapist and The Bitch for Granny and Aunt Edna… Later that day, I get to participate in a reading with a bunch of other noir/crime writers at Eric Beetner’s Noir at the Bar event at Regency C from 5:30 – 6:30. Gonna be dark up in there!

Friday’s a full day! First, I get to read some of my stuff at Dana King’s flash fiction event, called “Author Focus” in Harbor A from 9:00-9:20 am. Got a wicked story to read here…


I go from there over to Regency C where I’ll be participating in a panel titled “The Crime Novel as Social Novel, with Hilary Davidson, Joe Clifford, moi, Sara J. Henry, Bill Loehfelm, and Tim O’Mara. These are high cotton folks! That’s from 11:30 to 12:30 am and then I run over to Regency EF to do a signing from 12:30-1 pm.

For a handy print-out form, here’s my schedule:

Thursday, Nov. 13
12:00 – 12:30 Book signing at the Down&Out Books booth.
5:30 – 6:30 Noir@Bar reading at Regency C – author readings with Eric Beetner

Friday, Nov. 14
9:00 – 9:20 Author Focus Breakfast@Noir at Harbor A with Dana King and others—reading our flash fiction.
11:30 – 12:30 The Crime Novel as Social Novel panel in Regency C with Hilary Davidson, Joe Clifford, Les Edgerton (thas’ me…), Sara J. Henry, Bill Loehfelm and Tim O’Mara.
12:30-1 pm – Book signing in Regency EF

And, I get to room with one of my best buds, writer Jack Getze--I'm bringing the Jack and he's bringing... Jack...

Hope I see lots of you folks there!
Blue skies,
Les



Friday, October 31, 2014

FAYETTEVILLE, NC PUBLIC LIBRARY... AND HALLOWEEN

Hi folks,

Well, in a few hours, I'm going to climb onto a plane and wing my way east to Fayetteville, NC. I'm really excited about this. I've been invited to speak at the Cumberland Public Library and they've promised me the best barbecue in the country! I'll also get to see a couple of my students and colleagues from my online novel-writing class--Mary Edelson and Jeff Meyer--can't wait!

And, almost as good, I get to skip Halloween. Just not my favorite holiday... But, I have prepared treats for the neighborhood kiddies. This year I've opted for triple shots of expresso and a brand-new puppy to give to each of the tykes. I will miss my favorite trick-or-treaters--these guys...


(Can't wait to see what the PC contingent has to say about this...)

See ya in the funny papers!

Blue skies,
Les