I think we should try it, IJ. I have a thriller I thought was done, but it's gotten enough rejection to where I know there must be problems. I could send you the first 30 pages of that. I'm going to send you my email privately...
Same here. In fact, I've learned a lot from you. But I wanted to send you a private message this morning -- asking about your ebook sales -- and CrimeSpace said I couldn't because we weren't 'friends." Are we official friends now?
Hi I.J., the discussion on the forum about social commentary in crime fiction has gotten quite a lot of responses. This has inspired us at Noir Nation to add a new section to the first issue of Noir Nation wherein writers opine on the following question: Must crime noir have a moral point? The word limit is 300 to 500 words. Include short bio, and photo. There is a $25 honoraria, payable on publication. Best five get published in Issue No. 1. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Just an FYI: Timothy Hallinan dropped me a note, saying "Shaken" isn't available for the Nook yet, but that people can e-mail him at email@example.com after they buy the Amazon version and he'll send over an .epub that can be sideloaded into the Nook.
I.J., thanks again for the vote of confidence. At this time I have no plans to do anything more with the books, and don't really have an idea for a new one. Because of the painting process it sometimes takes a year ot more to complete one. I had some sketches and a partial text for Cupid & Psyche for maybe 3 years before I actually got motivated enough to start it. I've also revised Persephone three times since I first uploaded it; I suppose that's the good thing about print on demand. I changed the book format from portrait to landscape and designed a new cover. I had done some of the paintings before I knew about Booksmart; originally it was going to be a series of paintings, not a book. The process of making a book was a lot of fun, though! But it seems most people don't want to spend $45 for a hardcover or $30 for soft. I can't sell for lower than the base price, which is $29 for hard and $19 for soft for a 40-page book. If I could have been assured of volume sales, maybe---but unless people order online, it would just cost me too much, with no guarantees. Plenty of people come to my studio and look through the ones I have there, but so far I've only sold a couple. One loyal friend has ordered online. I had hoped there would be a little more support than that, but perhaps it is the wrong venue. But I can't afford to spend big bucks to have Amazon carry them. They're also previewed on my Facebook page---it doesn't help. People may think of them as children's books, but in fact, they're not. Maybe that's why adults don't buy them. One friend came into my studio, looked them over and said, "But I can't give this to my little granddaughter." Imagine!
Adam Dalgliesh's poetry always rubbed me the wrong way, too
It just isn't entirely believable, is it! ....because if he's a poet, yeah, what's he doing in the crime field? When is he fitting in all this poetry writing anyway? Most poets I know have to set aside time every day to master their art! Why isn't A.D. a college professor of literature or something, like his new squeeze Emma? Don't know if I find her enitrely believeable either. I've got nothing against literate cops---Wexford, you know, is always quoting something, very well read man. But he doesn't write the stuff, you know? It just gives him an interesting dimension, I think. He's very human, in every way.
In one post I said that Adam Dalgleish didn't always seem quite real to me either; don't get me wrong---I still wouldn't pass up a new P.D. James mystery,because she really is good. Roy Marsden didn't exactly embody Dalgleish for me in the series, but he was OK. I might have envisioned someone more like an older Clive Owen, as far as physical type goes. We know A.D. writes poetry---but we never get to read any. :) Its' supposed to be "good." Yet I can't imagine what sort of poetry he writes. :) Not sure I want to know. It occurred to me that an interesting post might be to ask writers who they would envision playing their fictional detectives if they were lucky enough to get an offer for a TV series or movie. But then I thought, probably the best actors would be unknowns anyway. Who would have guessed that Joan Hickson (who appeared once as a feather-brained socialite in one of the Poirot episodes) would be the quintessential Miss Marple? Now if I were to read one of the Marple mysteries, I would ONLY see Joan Hickson as Miss M. Her abiilty to convey suspense, to "move the story along" through her facial expressions and gestures, was extraordinary! Unmatched, really David Suchet made a great Poirot too, but a bit comical. But IMO nobody could touch Joan Hickson!
A very young Toshiro Mifune might have played Tora in your series....but he'd be far too old now! He's about the only Japanese actor I'm familiar with.
You said, "the protagonist is more important to me than the mystery. " I agree--the best mysteries have the strongest protagonists. I know exactly the sort of person Reginald Wexford is, for example---and Burden, too. Elizabeth George said that character is the basis for her mysteries, too--although IMHO, Barbara Havers is a stronger character than Lynley. (Although the TV series is WEAK--and their choice of cast, Havers especially, is more of a mystery to ME than anything else about it!) I read a few of that very popular series by Martha Grimes, but gave up on them because Jury never came alive for me--he was like a shadow, and the supporting cast all seemed like stereotypes to me. Character is revealed through action and dialogue mostly, and you do that very well. :)
Not uncommon, I think, among artists and writers who are doing it mostly for the joy of it. But you have a really nice website, and the reviews of your series are glowing. I may have discovered you by chance---but at least I discovered you! And retirement provides you the TIME you need to really be creative, to bring to fruition all those years of work. Most of us (I'm no exception) have been following our avocations for a long time, while working full time.
It will be interesting to see your character grow. Is he based on anyone in particular---a historical personage, or even someone you know? I already like him. I have no objections at all to "a bit" of sex in fiction--we do have to believe in the characters, and the early Japanese, at least in the Heian courts, were very liberal about sex! (They make us look like prudes) And they wrote each other poems as part of the courtship ritual, which i think is just "so cool!" ;) Readers want a fuly fleshed out characters....they have to eat, drink and, er, make merry!
I consider myself a discerning reader---yes, I am choosy about what I read---but I believe in giving credit and praise where it's due. Artists and writers OWE it to each other to give support. Not always easy to do, not always forthcoming. But important!
I actually closed that thread down myself---seems you can do that with your own threads---thought it had probably gone far enough, after 98 posts, and I was starting to get overwhelmed---it was getting difficult to find the new responses. Of course I could always re-open it "by popular demand." But, life must move on---:)
The Kij Johnson novels DO deal with the supernatural---rather with legend and history---but they are so beautifully written, so moving evocative of the period, that I loved them both. "Fudoki" is a frame tale: the fable is the fabrication of an aging noblewoman, written to amuse herself as she feels constrained by her court life.
It's always hard to know which book to begin with. Our library (a very fine one, I might add) had at last 3 of your books, so I thought I'd start a the beginning. That way I can follow the development of the characters. The covers are gorgeous. And I love books that start with a little map....;)
I like your writing style: straightforward, economical and classy. (Too much gratuitous cursing and sex really bores me--and you don't need to resort to that to make your dialog come alive). I see on your website that you started writing rather late---after retirement? Congratulations! Now I have to hurry back to Mr. Akitada!