Thursday, September 30, 2004

Squirrel Evolution

As I was saying before Blogger ate my last post . . . I live out in the country, so I see a lot of squirrels. For years, they’ve been running in front of my car and almost making it safely to the other side of the road before they suddenly stop and dash back in the direction they came from. Sometimes they make it, and sometimes they don’t. But lately I’ve noticed that they don’t stop running anymore, they just keep going. Which makes me wonder if the instinct that makes them go suddenly stupid is being bred out of them, at least around here. Squirrels that keep running will live longer and have more babies, after all. Genetics was never my strong suit, but it makes sense to me. When I mentioned to Livia that I had been pondering this matter, she said, “Why don’t you put it on your blog?” So, for what it’s worth, here it is.

I haven’t posted the past couple of days because I’ve just been sitting and writing and thinking about squirrels (but the less said about that the better . . . oops, too late). I did manage to finish Terrill Lankford’s EARTHQUAKE WEATHER. Aldo and Vince are correct in their comments below: this is a very, very good book. I’ve been on a run of good fiction in recent weeks: Connelly’s Harry Bosch books, Hickam’s World War II novels, and now Lankford, who writes some of the smoothest prose I’ve run across. It makes me glad I have his two earlier novels, so I can go ahead and read them.

Currently I’m delving back into the pulps and reading “Company of the Damned”, a good riverboat novella by Harry F. Olmsted (one of my favorites despite the fact that he farmed out a lot of his work to ghosts) in the October 28, 1939 issue of Street & Smith’s WESTERN STORY. This looks like an excellent issue, with stories by Peter Dawson, Norman A. Fox, and Ryerson Johnson in addition to the Olmsted novella.

I’ve tried not to dwell on my page production recently, but since it’s the end of the month . . . 15 pages today, giving me a total of 379 for September.

Squirrel Evolution Redux

Blogger ate the whole blasted post, and it was a good one, too. Maybe I'll try to reconstruct it later. Right now I'm too disgusted.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Library Day

This was one of those errand-running days, including stops at a couple of libraries. Dealing with traffic and people wears me out worse than sitting and writing all day, yet another reason I'm glad I don't have a real job.

I finished that Eagles book by Johnstone and am about to start EARTHQUAKE WEATHER by Terrill Lankford, which is gotten a lot of good comments from people whose opinion I trust most of the time.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Catching Up

Today was a day for catching up on various things. I went over the pages I wrote yesterday, worked on my zine for the OWLHOOT Western apa, and wrote part of that outline for my next book. I had trouble with it and had given up on getting any of it done today, but then while I was just sitting around I started getting ideas and made some notes in longhand, which is unusual for me. After that I was able to write several pages of the outline and may finish it later tonight.

Still reading that Johnstone book.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Wrapped Up

I've been waiting for the usual end-of-the-book sprint to kick in, and yesterday and today, mostly today, it finally did. I finished the first draft of the current project late this afternoon. Still have some editing and polishing to do, and Livia hasn't even started going through the manuscript and finding all the things I screwed up yet, but still, it's a good feeling. Tomorrow I plan to write an outline for the next book. I have a short plot written up for it, but I need more than that to write an 85,000 word book.

Tonight I was pawing through an old stack of videotapes, rewinding stuff I'd taped years ago that I'll never get around to watching, and I found a movie called PRINCESS OF THIEVES, starring a pre-PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN Keira Knightly as Robin Hood's daughter. With nothing better to do, we sat and watched it, and it turned out to be okay. The plot was completely predictable, but the production values were good and Knightly makes a good swashbuckling heroine. Since it's a made for TV movie, and a Disney one at that, the action sequences are fairly tame, making this sort of the movie equivalent of a young adult historical novel. An entertaining couple of hours, and another blank tape to go back on the stack.

Yesterday was one of the rare -- very rare -- days when I didn't read a word of fiction. Just never got around to it. I've remedied that today by starting RAGE OF EAGLES by William W. Johnstone. The Eagles series is probably my favorite of Johnstone's work. The books are what I call kitchen-sink Westerns, which means the hero meets a lot of historical characters and takes part in a lot of historical incidents, and the books usually have several different standard Western plots crammed into one. (My favorite of this type of Western is Louis L'Amour's TO TAME A LAND, which is probably also my favorite L'Amour book.)

Thursday, September 23, 2004


For the past three and a half weeks, ever since ragweed season started, I've been alternating between wanting to claw my eyes out of their sockets and blinking furiously because they were watering so bad I couldn't see straight. Being both frugal and lazy, I kept hoping they'd get better on their own. Well, they weren't, so today I gave up and went to the doctor. The nurse, the medical student who was working there, and the doctor himself all looked at my eyes and winced, so they must have been pretty bad. But now I have steroid/antibiotic eyedrops, and in the words of Johnny Fever, "I can see!" The old optics are still pretty sore, but at least they've started to improve already. I can type without the words looking like they're underwater, and I can read well enough so that I finished the manuscript of Hickam's THE AMBASSADOR'S SON, which is an excellent book, well worth reading when it's published next spring. But read THE KEEPER'S SON first, which is even better, probably because it has a broader scope in its story and a greater range of characters.

I wrote a little today and should finish the current book tomorrow or the next day. I thought I could "see" the rest of the book in my head a couple of days ago, but today I discovered I still haven't figured out quite all of it. I don't foresee any problem wrapping it up, though.

So far I've managed to keep to my goal of watching a chapter a night of ZORRO'S BLACK WHIP and have enjoyed it a lot so far. There's a nice touch of perhaps unintentional humor in the first chapter. The bad guy's henchmen go to the newspaper office to wreck it, but the hero shows up to stop them. Unfortunately, he stops them by engaging them in one of those epic, set-destroying, Yakima Canutt-directed brawls so typical of Republic Pictures, and the office winds up wrecked anyway (although by the next episode it's back to normal as if nothing ever happened).

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Duke

So I'm standing in line at the post office today, waiting to mail that copy-edited Trailsman manuscript back to the publisher (I went over it and answered the queries this morning). It's John Wayne Day at the post office because the new stamp bearing his likeness came out today. The employees are wearing Western clothes and there's a TV and VCR set up in the corner playing a tape of RIO BRAVO. For a visit to the post office, not so bad, though the line is still too long. But then some jackass in line behind me announces loudly that he doesn't see why John Wayne should even have a stamp and declares that people shouldn't make such a big deal out of John Wayne because "he wasn't even in World War II!" Well, no, Wayne wasn't in the war. He was 33 years old when it started, married with a family, and hardly draft material. I don't know whether he had any physical problems that would have disqualified him or not. But this guy (who was in his forties, which means he wasn't in World War II, either) kept going on about it, and I kept thinking about Lucy Van Pelt taunting Schroeder with "You never saw Beethoven's picture on bubble gum cards, did you? How could Beethoven be so great if he never got his picture on bubble gum cards?" Everybody ignored the guy and he finally shut up, but I'm still puzzled by the whole thing. How could somebody have such an irrational hatred for John Wayne that they make a scene in public just because there's a John Wayne stamp?

Other than that I wrote a little, but not much, and I'm still reading that Homer Hickam novel, which is very good so far.


As you can see below, I've finally figured out how to post pictures on this blog. (Of course, the question remains as to whether or not I can muddle my way through the process again.) George Lewis is kind of a bozo -- no offense, George, wherever you are -- but Linda Stirling is well worth posting.

Linda Stirling and George Lewis from ZORRO'S BLACK WHIP Posted by Hello

Monday, September 20, 2004


Someone on one of the Robert E. Howard Yahoo groups (I think it was David Gentzel) mentioned a few days ago that the DVD of THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD, the film from a few years ago about REH and Novalyne Price, had shown up in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. Since I was at Wal-Mart today, I had to paw through the bin and see for myself if it was there. Sure enough, it was, and I bought a copy. I've seen this movie only once, and a fairly poor video copy at that, but it was at the Cross Plains Public Library during Howard Days one year, so that's gotta count for something. Anyway, I'm looking forward to watching the DVD, even though this is the 106-minute version that omits a couple of fairly important scenes that explain why Hester Howard refers to Novalyne as "that Indian girl". Apologies to the non-REH fans out there who have no earthly idea what I'm talking about.

But since it's too late tonight to watch a feature-length movie, and since I probably won't get off my ass long enough to go see SKY CAPTAIN while it's still in the theaters, I thought I'd start watching one of the serials I have on DVD, one chapter per night. I'm leaning toward ZORRO'S BLACK WHIP, starring the beautiful Linda Stirling.

I didn't get any work done today. A visit to Wal-Mart pretty well wipes me out for the day. Plus I had copy-edited MS of a Trailsman novel waiting for me when I got home that I'll need to go through, probably tomorrow.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Not Much

This was one of those days when I didn't do much of anything except sit around and write. I'm closing in on the end of the current book, should have it finished by next weekend (I hope). Tonight I watched the Dallas Cowboys game, which I'd taped earlier in the day, and I've started reading THE AMBASSADOR'S SON by Homer Hickam, the sequel to THE KEEPER'S SON.

I'd really like to go see SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW this week. Maybe if I finish the book I'll treat myself.

Saturday, September 18, 2004


Half Price Books is having a sale this weekend, so I had to stop by and see if I could find anything. Pickings were pretty slim, but I picked up a few things:

X. JONES OF SCOTLAND YARD, Harry Stephen Keeler -- I find Keeler totally unreadable, but I wasn't going to leave it on the shelf. I know there are some Keeler fans in the world. Maybe one of them will want this on eBay someday.

THE SECOND ATLANTIS, Robert Moore Williams, and S.O.S. FROM THREE WORLDS, Murray Leinster -- Ace SF from the Sixties, nearly always worth picking up and reading.

HONOLULU MURDERS, OLD LOVER'S GHOST, and THE GIRL FROM THE MIMOSA CLUB, all by Leslie Ford -- I didn't know Ford's books were controversial until I read the last couple of issue of MYSTERY*FILE. I also don't know if they're any good, but they were cheap.

THE BIG MIDGET MURDERS, Craig Rice -- I like her work, though I haven't read any of it in a long time. This is a John J. Malone novel.

SHOCK III, Richard Matheson -- The best find of the day. A Dell paperback collection of thirteen stories, including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet". I've liked just about everything I've ever read by Matheson.

The writing continues to plug along. I feel like crap tonight due to what seems like an allergy attack. The pollen this time of year always bedevils me despite being on medication for it.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Milton Lesser

I got around to starting SECRET OF THE BLACK PLANET by Milton Lesser, a Sixties paperback reprint of a couple of novellas originally published in AMAZING STORIES in 1952. I've read about half of the first one, and it's already obvious that this is a science fiction version of a Gold Medal crime novel. We've got an amnesiac hero who evidently is supposed to be in possession of some valuable secret, a couple of rival gangs (Martians and Venusians, in this case), seedy spaceport bars, and a beautiful girl who may well be the key to the hero finding out who he really is and staying alive. Lesser went on to become Stephen Marlowe, one of the better authors of private eye novels for Gold Medal with his Chester Drum series, and you can sure see the roots of that later work here, with his two-fisted hero hopping around the solar system just like Drum globetrotting in the later books.

Recently there's been some discussion on several blogs I read about a generation gap among readers of mystery fiction. I'm sure it's there among science fiction readers, too. If you gave SECRET OF THE BLACK PLANET to most SF readers under the age of thirty, I suspect they would sneer at the scientific gaffes, the pulp-like plotting, and the admittedly shallow characterization. But I grew up reading SF where most of the planets in the solar system were populated by their own native races, and I can put myself back in that mindset with no trouble at all and enjoy a book like this for the swift pace, the colorful writing, and the sense of fun to be found in it. The same thing is true of most of the old mystery and Western fiction I read.

But there's no getting around it. My name is James, and I'm an old fart.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Keeper's Son

This book by Homer Hickam is the best one I've read so far this year. I finished it a little earlier tonight, and it was a thoroughly satisfying experience. This is an old-fashioned -- in the best sense of the word -- novel with plenty of action, believable characters, and a vividly depicted background. And it's not even the book I was supposed to blurb! I plan to take a short break and read something else, then move on to the manuscript of the second book in this series. (I hardly ever read books by the same author back to back, just a quirk of mine.)

The writing continues to go pretty well, and I got an e-mail from my agent today saying that she had the contracts for this book and was sending them out to me. That's always good to hear. Sometimes I wind up getting the books written before the paperwork makes it through the contract department at the publisher. And I nearly always write the books faster than I get paid for them! One of the drawbacks of this business, I guess.

Soundtrack for this post: SECOND WIND by Herb Alpert (with a track called "Fandango" that's just beautiful)

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

More on Meares

In one of the comments on a previous post, Steve Mertz mentions Leonard Meares and his very prolific career. In addition to 700+ Westerns, Meares wrote enough mysteries to bring his total output up to more than 800 books. I think the final count was either 814 or 822, I don't remember which. However, every Meares book I've seen (and I own several hundred of them) was very short, in the 35,000 to 40,000 word range. Len once mentioned to me in a letter that his manuscripts usually ran about 175 pages in manuscript. At that rate, two books per month is only 350 pages. Granted, that's still a lot of pages, and it's even more impressive when you realize that he maintained that pace, or close to it, for several decades. And a book is a book is a book, each one requiring its own plot and set of characters. Even in a series with continuing characters, like Larry and Stretch, for each book Meares created a whole new set of supporting characters, and there are usually quite a few of them. Many of the books have complex plots as well, with several different storylines intertwining and finally coming together just at the right place and time. That required fairly detailed outlines, as Len also told me. All in all, a heck of a lot of work. I don't know what his writing habits were, but I'd be willing to bet that he wrote nearly every day.

Me, I'm just poking along, worked a while today but had other things to do yesterday. Still reading Hickam's THE KEEPER'S SON, which is an excellent book so far.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Homer Hickam

A week or so ago I got a package in the mail from St. Martin's Press. Since I'm a judge in this year's Spur Awards contest for the Western Writers of America, I figured it was a Spur entry. Nope. It was the manuscript of Homer Hickam's new novel, THE AMBASSADOR'S SON, which will be published next spring. Seems the editor sent it to me asking for a blurb. Took me a while to figure out why he sent it to me, since I don't know Hickam and don't have any connection with him that I know of. But THE AMBASSADOR'S SON is a World War II novel, and I finally figured out that the editor must know I've written some World War II novels of my own. So I think, sure, I'll blurb it, whether they ever use my comments or not (a big name in WWII fiction, I ain't). But I start reading it and realize it's the second book in a series. Well, old obsessive-compulsive me can't read the second book in a series without reading the first one first, so I go out and find a copy of THE KEEPER'S SON. That's my long-winded way of explaining why I started reading THE KEEPER'S SON today. So far, it's very good. I hadn't actually read any of Hickam's work before, although I've seen and liked OCTOBER SKY, the movie made from his memoir ROCKET BOYS. Also, Livia has read his previous novel BACK TO THE MOON and liked it. I've meant to read it but never gotten around to it. By the way, OCTOBER SKY is one of my daughter's favorite films, so I thought she might be at least a little impressed when I mentioned casually, "I've got Homer Hickam's new novel in manuscript." Nope. Dream on. Hard to impress these young whippersnappers.

Another pretty good day of work on the current book. For some reason, I seem to have productive weekends and always have.

Soundtrack for tonight's post: "Welcome Interstate Managers" by Fountains of Wayne

Leonard Meares

I finished reading HOLD 'EM BACK!, a Larry and Stretch Western by Marshall Grover (Leonard F. Meares). I read a bunch of Meares' books in the Sixties when they were published by Bantam under the pseudonym Marshall McCoy and really enjoyed them. They were short, fast-paced Westerns with likable characters, surprisingly complex plots, and plenty of action. It wasn't until many years later that I discovered Meares' real name, the fact that he was Australian, and that he had written over 700 Westerns for Cleveland and Horwitz, a couple of Australian paperback publishers. I even got in touch with him through an Australian friend of mine, Graeme Flanagan, and corresponded with him for four or five years before he died unexpectedly in '92 or '93. Len was the pro's pro, as far as I'm concerned. He flat-out loved writing and never lost his enthusiasm for it. For forty years he wrote at a killer pace, never made much money, and yet never stopped caring about the books and never stopped trying to produce the best work he could. HOLD 'EM BACK! is a good example of that. Published in 1990, late in Len's career, it finds his two drifting troubleshooters, Larry Valentine and Stretch Emerson, helping a small handful of soldiers and civilians defend a besieged fort from hundreds of Comancheros. Good stuff all the way through, with some great battle scenes and an epic feel to the story that must have been difficult to achieve in a novel that's probably not more than 45,000 words, if that much. I said above that Len never lost his enthusiasm, but that's not strictly true. At the end of his career, his publisher cancelled the Australian editons of his books but insisted that he continue writing new ones for the Scandanavian market, where they had sold subsidiary rights. Many of Len's last books were never published in English, and I think that bothered him. At the same time, though, he was writing a couple of new series for Robert Hale in England, and that kept him energized to a certain extent. While some of the books from a forty-year career are better than others, of course, I've never read a Len Meares book that failed to entertain me.

I was able to get back to work today and had a fairly productive day. The current book is a little past the halfway point, so I hope it rolls right along to the finish from here.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

The Girl Next Door

This was another day when real life reared its ugly head and kept me from working any. Maybe tomorrow.

Meanwhile, we watched the DVD of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (the unrated, even sleazier version, of course). I don't recall what sort of reviews this movie got, but I enjoyed it. It takes a lot of its inspiration from RISKY BUSINESS (basically decent kid gets involved with a beautiful, more experienced young woman and winds up doing lots of crazy, dangerous stuff). At times the movie descends a little too far into silliness, and some of the plot twists make no sense at all (very common in modern movies, whether from a lack of plotting ability or a tendency to edit so ruthlessly that important stuff gets left out, I don't know), but there are some funny lines and situations, the cast is good, and for a movie that's really smutty, it's also rather kind-hearted. Worth watching, I'd say.

Still reading that Larry and Stretch book. There's just not enough time in the day anymore. Books that I used to read in an evening now take me two or three days.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Sam Merwin Jr.

I didn't even set foot in my studio today, first day this month I didn't work any. But I'll be back at it tomorrow, I'm sure. Ran errands instead, couple of libraries, the post office, Wal-Mart (or as I call it when I'm in a bad mood, Hell-Mart).

I finished Merwin's "House of Many Worlds", which also finished off that issue of STARTLING STORIES. This is a pretty good parallel universe/alternate history novel, written long before such things were as popular as they seem to be now. (Although alternate history seems to have faded a bit in the past year or so.) It's a little slow at times, especially for a pulp novel, but the characters are good and the set-up interesting. There are also a couple of things that are pretty daring for 1951, such as an offhand mention that the heroine is bisexual and an interracial romance. Nothing is done with the former and the latter doesn't go anywhere, but still, just the fact that they're there at all took me a little by surprise. After all these years, Sam Merwin is still one of my favorite editors. He bounced a lot of my early stories when I sent them to MSMM, but he never sent me a printed rejection slip. Instead, he would scrawl a personal note on any scrap of paper he could find or tear off of something else and tell me why he was rejecting the story. I learned a lot from Sam about keeping my stories believable and not letting the plots get away from me. And after he'd bought a few stories from me, he asked me to try my hand at a Mike Shayne novella. That led to my first regular writing job. I wouldn't go so far as to say that if not for Sam Merwin Jr. I wouldn't be a writer today, but he sure helped me get started.

Now I'm reading a Larry and Stretch Western by my old buddy, the late Len Meares, called HOLD 'EM BACK! Very entertaining so far. But then, Len's books nearly always are.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Glitches; Comics

I thought Blogger had eaten yesterday's post, but it's finally up tonight, along with a comment or two I posted yesterday as well. I hope all the glitches are out of the system for now.

I'm still reading that Merwin novel in STARTLING STORIES, didn't have much time to read today. Yesterday I forgot to mention that I finished reading LIFE IN THE BIG CITY, a trade paperback collection of the first six issues of Kurt Busiek's great comic book series ASTRO CITY. I'd read these stories before, when they originally came out, and loved them then. I think I liked them even better on rereading them. ASTRO CITY is my favorite comic book of the Nineties. Well, come to think of it, MARVELS would have to be right up there, too. And Busiek wrote that, too. Then there was the great UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN, also written by Busiek. Definitely a pattern there. (But then, CONCRETE was a great comic book, too, and it was written and drawn by Paul Chadwick, so Kurt didn't quite have the market cornered.)

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


My dad moved into a nursing home today. It's close, it's a good place, and the fellow in charge is a family friend, so the whole thing went smoothly. We've known this was coming but tried to put it off. It'll be an adjustment for him, but we're hoping he'll like it once he gets used to it. For one thing, there are all those people there who have never heard all his stories. And he's already discovered he can get around all over the place in his wheelchair. We're hoping for the best.

Meanwhile, I've been reading that issue of STARTLING STORIES I mentioned last night and thoroughly enjoying it. There's quite a line-up of authors in it: Jack Vance, John D. McDonald, William Campbell Gault, and a full-length novel by Sam Merwin Jr., "House of Many Worlds" (I also have the Galaxy Novel version of this book and a later Curtis Books PB reprint; there's an Ace omnibus edition of it and the sequel, THREE WORLDS OF TIME, but I don't have it). Merwin was my first editor, back when I started selling short stories to MSMM in the Seventies, so I have a real soft spot for him and his work. The Vance story and the JDM story could have been published now with only minor changes. The Gault story hasn't aged as well, but it was still fun. I think the Forties and Fifties are my favorite decades for science fiction.

Monday, September 06, 2004

F&SF; Jigsaw Puzzles

The past few days I've been reading the double-sized October/November issue of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION. After two pretty good issues in a row, I was a little disappointed in this one. There was no stand-out story like Cowdrey's "The Tribes of Bela" or Denton's "Sergeant Chip", and most of the stories were fantasy rather than SF. I like fantasy; I just like SF better most of the time. And too many of them were plotless, literary-type stories that just left me saying, "Hunh?" Still, there were several stories I liked quite a bit, such as Lisa Goldstein's "Finding Beauty" and Michael Bishop's "The Angst of God". My plan now is to read the September 1951 issue of STARTLING STORIES next, which I suspect I'll find more enjoyable overall. What can I say? I'm just a pulp kinda guy.

I spent a lot of the day at my folks' house and got a little work done on the laptop. I also checked on those jigsaw puzzles, which Cap'n Bob Napier asked about in a comment on a previous post. I said I thought they were made by Whitman, but I stand corrected. They were actually made by Built-Rite.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

George Harmon Coxe

I'm reading a novelette by George Harmon Coxe called "Guiana Gold" in the August 1935 issue of BLUE BOOK. Coxe probably doesn't qualify as one of those almost forgotten authors I was talking about a while back. His career lasted a long time and he was reasonably prolific, so a lot of older mystery fans probably remember him. But I'd wager he has a lot lower profile now than he used to. I've read some of his pulp stories -- he appeared in BLACK MASK quite a bit with a character called Flashgun Casey -- and maybe a dozen of his novels about crime photographer Kent Murdock. My favorite of the ones I've read is THE JADE VENUS. Coxe could be depended on for solid plots and good terse writing. Characterization wasn't as important in mysteries in his era, but he did okay with that, too. I need to read more of his novels.

Tonight we watched the DVD of NEW YORK MINUTE, starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. My daughter has been a big fan of theirs since they were on the TV show FULL HOUSE and has seen all their movies. This was their first attempt to play slightly more grown-up roles. The movie is a silly, contrived time-waster, largely a rip-off of FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, with a couple of scenes that are direct swipes. But I sat there and watched the whole thing, didn't fall asleep or wander off to do something else. The Olsens were pretty good in it, and I've never been impressed with their acting. This is one of those odd movies where you wind up saying it's pretty good because it's not nearly as terrible as you thought it would be. And like in 13 GOING ON 30, New York City is clean and non-threatening and just about the spiffiest place in the world to be.

My brother stayed over at my parents' house this weekend, so I was able to get in two good days in a row on the writing. I needed them, too. The current book is going well, which encourages me to hope that it'll be done on time and the next one will only be a little late.

It occurs to me to ask, where else are you gonna find a blog entry discussing both George Harmon Coxe and the Olsen Twins? And why would you want to?

Friday, September 03, 2004


I finished THE CONCRETE BLONDE earlier today. I was right: I didn't have it figured out. Every time I thought I did, Connelly threw in another twist. I'm not sure I liked the ending, but I liked the book and will continue to read the series. One thing I wondered about: several times in the course of the book the phrase "the black heart" is used by one of the characters, and Bosch broods about it quite a bit. I think maybe Connelly intended at first to call this one THE BLACK HEART, following up on the first two books, THE BLACK ECHO and THE BLACK ICE, but either he changed his mind or somebody else persuaded him not to get tied down in the pattern of using "black" in all his titles. Since then, there's no pattern at all to his book titles, at least none that I can see.

Thursday, September 02, 2004


I had to spend the day at my folks' house, but this time I was able to take the laptop and some of my research books with me and get some work done here and there. I wound up with 18 pages for the day, although I'm not quite sure how. My dad and I also put together a Buffalo Bill Jr. jigsaw puzzle that was still there from when I was a little kid. Copyright date on it was 1956. Boy, talk about life being a big circle. Funny thing is, I have no memory of that TV show. (There's also a Range Rider puzzle over there. I do remember the Range Rider.)

I'm still reading THE CONCRETE BLONDE. Unlike the first two books in the Harry Bosch series, where I had all the major plot twists figured out well ahead of time, I don't have a clue what's going to happen in this one. I'd like to finish it tonight, but I'm afraid I'll probably fall asleep first.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Ah, this was one of those days where I kept trying to write but never could get any traction going for one reason or another. I wound up with 6 pages, but it took all day to get them.

Still reading and enjoying Connelly's THE CONCRETE BLONDE. Also, today's mail brought a copy of Leland Jamieson's novel ATTACK! that I got on eBay. Looking forward to reading it.