One Eyed Jack

27 March 2015

From indie author Christopher J. Lynch:


Christopher says:

I made a video trailer for my novel One Eyed Jack with the purpose of not just selling novels, but of using it as a vehicle to get a movie deal – which I just did. A production company with Lion’s Gate films has picked up an option on my novel, and it is in development now.

Here’s a link to Christopher J. Lynch’s books

Lawrence Block on The Maltese Falcon

26 March 2015

From Lawrence Block via The Murder Room:

Detective stories aren’t supposed to last. They’re genre fiction, like horror and science fiction and Westerns, and everyone knows that the chief characteristic of those genres is impermanence. Oh, they’re entertaining, and they’ll fill an idle hour, or provide relaxation at a hard day’s end, but you read them and toss them aside, and you forget them, and so does the rest of the world.

Guess what? It doesn’t work that way.

The world does indeed forget most books, generally in short order. The most forgettable, it turns out, are the mainstream bestsellers, those works of popular fiction that ride the zeitgeist until it bucks them off. In terms of sales, they flare brightly but soon burn themselves out.

. . . .

On the other hand, Rex Stout died in 1975 and Agatha Christie the following year, and all of their work is readily available – and eagerly read. Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett – I could go on, and so could you. No end of genre writers, with no higher ambition than that of putting food on their tables while entertaining their readers, have, essentially, gained literary immortality. Not just on library shelves, not just in academic halls, but on the night tables of actual human beings. People read them – avidly, and for pleasure.

A corner was turned a few years ago in the literary world’s consciousness when the Library of America, a high-minded and not-for-profit enterprise, took a deep breath and brought out a volume of Raymond Chandler’s novels. Chandler, of course, was the perfect choice for such an experiment, having long enjoyed a special position in intellectual circles; donnish types liked his writing and world view so much that they were willing to overlook the fact that his books actually had stories in them, stories that gave one a reason to (shudder!) turn the pages.

. . . .

A word, before I leave you, about The Maltese Falcon. Three films were made from it, though the one you know – the third, with Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor and Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet, and more names which you or I could reel out at a moment’s notice – quite rightly eclipsed the others. As you may also know, John Huston’s shooting script is a line-for-line copy of Dashiell Hammett’s novel.

What you may not know is that this was very much Hammett’s intention. When he sat down to write it, he’d concluded that film was the medium of the future, and that a novel ought to be written so as to be readily adaptable for the screen. Accordingly, he produced a screenplay in prose form, with not a word in it that a camera could not capture.

And, while so doing, he wrote a perfect novel that is every bit as praiseworthy – and as gripping – today.

Link to the rest at The Murder Room and thanks to Margaret for the tip.

Here’s a link to Lawrence Block’s books


What the English of Shakespeare, Beowulf, and King Arthur actually sounded like

21 March 2015

From The Week:

Let’s hop into a time machine and go back to the England of yore!

If this were a movie, no matter when we got out of the machine, we could walk up to people and start talking. It could be medieval times or the age of King Arthur’s round table, and they’d just say, “Who art thou, varlet?” and we’d reply with something like, “We, uh, would-eth like-eth some beer-eth,” and we’d all party. Yeah, no.

I mean, of course they have to do that in movies, because we need to understand them. But this is reality. We’re going to hear what they reallytalked like. Ready? Buckle up!

. . . .

First stop: the early 1600s. The time of Shakespeare! Of course the English of Shakespeare and the King James Bible may seem flowery, but it’s basically just an older version of what we speak now. In fact, it’s what linguists call Early Modern English. But the way they spoke it was not quite what we probably expect — or what you hear in the movies. Do you imagine some Queen’s English accent? Or perhaps Cockney for the lower classes? Guess what: the way they spoke it would sound to us more like a mix of Irish and pirate. Here, listen to Ben Crystal (son of linguist David Crystal) perform a sonnet in the pronunciation of Shakespeare’s time:

. . . .

Old English is a bit of a misleading name. It’s not understandable at all to modern English speakers; you’d have an easier time learning Dutch or Danish. Some people prefer to call it Anglo-Saxon, since it’s the language that was brought over by the Angles and Saxons, invaders from northern Germany who took over Britain in the 600s.

The most famous bit of literature from the Old English period is Beowulf. I’m sure we all know the beginning of Beowulf, right? No? Well, if you don’t, here it is:

Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum,

þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,

hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.

We’re not with Bill and Ted anymore! Come on, step out of the time machine and let’s listen to the words recited by Benjamin Bagby, who sounds like he grew up then:


Link to the rest at The Week and thanks to Matthew for the tip.

I Was a Child

19 March 2015

PG admits that he finds most book videos predictable and boring. This one was a bit different.

Here’s a link to I Was a Child: A Memoir

A Spider in the Bath

18 March 2015

Nothing to do with books, but when PG observed a spider lurking in a bathtub at Casa PG this morning, he was reminded of Flanders & Swann.


Lifetime’s Brontë Update ‘Wuthering High School’ Is No ‘Clueless’

15 March 2015

From Flavorwire:

There are certain works of literature that make the most sense when you understand their characters as adolescents, even if they were written before teenagers were considered a discrete demographic. Jane Austen’s Emma, for instance, clicks into place when you understand Emma as a teenager figuring out her world and growing up, which is why Clueless is such a perfect adaptation. Romeo and Juliet, and the Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli adaptations which emphasize the characters’ youth, passion and immaturity, bring forth these elements in Shakespeare’s work.

Like Romeo and Juliet, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights explores the fatal consequences of explosive, all-consuming teen love (among other issues, such as gender, race, and belonging). Catherine Earnshaw, its heroine, dies in childbirth at the age of 18. Her soulmate and enemy Heathcliff flees the neighborhood of Wuthering Heights when he is 15.

. . . .

That’s why I had a smidgen of hope for the upcoming Lifetime TV movie Wuthering High School, airing Saturday night. Wuthering Heights relocated to a posh California high school? Crashing waves, misbehaving scions of the wealthy? Count me in.

. . . .

Featuring Cathy Earnshaw as a traumatized young girl who has lost her mother, wandering alone through her family’s mansion and being slut-shamed at school, and Heath as the son of an Earnshaw employee whose entire family has been deported across the border by the US government, the potential for an excellent star-crossed romance is certainly there to be mined. She pouts almost exclusively, he does tricks on his skateboard, they hate authority and the world, and they love each other.

. . . .

Featuring Cathy Earnshaw as a traumatized young girl who has lost her mother, wandering alone through her family’s mansion and being slut-shamed at school, and Heath as the son of an Earnshaw employee whose entire family has been deported across the border by the US government, the potential for an excellent star-crossed romance is certainly there to be mined. She pouts almost exclusively, he does tricks on his skateboard, they hate authority and the world, and they love each other.

. . . .

Brontë’s novel, despite its nested narratives, doesn’t have a succession of intricate plot points. It’s a mood and meaning piece, propelled forward by the strength of a wild and isolated setting that is symbolically rich — as well as by the almost unbearably intense love and hatred its characters experience. In this spirit, Wuthering High School offers moments of anarchic joy, such as when Heath and Cathy tear up the books in their overbearing health class and lead their schoolmates in a rampage, then run away and jump together into the ocean.

. . . .

Link to the rest at Flavorwire

Author Earnings Dashboard

9 March 2015

PG received a tip from from Veronica about Author Earnings Dashboard. She quoted Hugh Howey on Facebook:

No affiliation with the other AE, but I was given a sneak peek at this tool, and it will rock your socks off. If writing is part of your income, this is worth the investment. You feed your KDP Excel spreadsheets in, and this puppy makes it look gorgeous. Check out the site and videos.

Again, not affiliated, just infatuated. Tell your writing friends about it.

Link to the rest at Author Earnings Dashboard

According to the Author Earnings Dashboard website, the product requires that you feed it Excel files that you download from Amazon – one for each month. You download the file and save it, then import it into the dashboard.

PG seems to remember using another product that did something similar a few years ago. Amazon probably won’t let it happen, but a system that automatically imported data from Amazon would be simpler to use.

Feel free to share your experiences if you’ve used this product.

The Elderly Mr. Holmes

5 March 2015

Avoid Cracking the Spine

4 March 2015

43 Words Invented by Authors

3 March 2015

Thanks to Eric for the tip.

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