Jerry Peterson's Blog (46)

Meet the real Inspector Hound

English playwright Tom Stoppard, his plays performed more than the plays of any other dramatist of his generation – and Stoppard’s still writing – is a fascinating guy. He was a newspaperman and a drama critic before he sat down to write his first play in 1960.

I became aware of him when I saw a production of his play, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.”

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are minor characters in Shakespeare’s… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on November 25, 2010 at 4:14am — 1 Comment

Crime trods the boards

Your community theater may be betting, as two near me are this season, that crime pays, that you and I will buy tickets and park ourselves in soft seats to see crimes committed on stage and solved.

But can we solve the crime before the detective does . . . or the amateur sleuth does?

That’s the game.

The proof that we theater goers love a mystery is right there in Agatha Chistie’s “The Mousetrap”. That stage play first hit… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on November 25, 2010 at 4:08am — No Comments

Meet P.J. Parrish

P.J. Parrish, as a crime writer, is a powerhouse – 10 New York Times bestsellers with her Louis Kincaid thrillers, the first, “Dark of the Moon”, out in 2000; and the most recent, “The Little Death”, out just this year.

The pronoun “her” suggests Parrish is one person. She’s actually two – sisters, Kristy Montee of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Kelly Nichols of Houghton Lake, Michigan.

Montee is a former newspaper writer and editor,… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on September 4, 2010 at 6:27am — 1 Comment

Anniversary for a bookstore

On Saturday, Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore in Forest Park, Illinois kicks off a month-long celebration of its 20th anniversary.

Twenty years in the book biz!

What are the numbers? Sixty percent of start-up businesses don’t survive their first year, and 90 percent are gone before the end of their third?

So to make it 20 years, a business has to be really good.

Augie Aleksy has made Centuries & Sleuths vital… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on September 1, 2010 at 1:00am — No Comments

A book you wouldn't know if you weren't reading this

You’ve read family histories. Pretty dry, right?

Not Leslie Huber’s The Journey Takers.

A friend of Leslie, who had read an early draft, handed the manuscript back and asked, “Who am I supposed to be cheering for?”

Georg and Mina Albrecht, Leslie’s Germany ancestors who made the journey to America? Karsti Nilsdotter, Leslie’s great-great-great-great grandmother who came here from… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on August 15, 2010 at 7:00am — No Comments

Mark Twain's autobiography to be in a bookstore near you

In November.

And this will be the unexpurgated edition. In it is everything Twain dictated to his secretary during the last four years of his life. He died in 1910.

Twain specified that the most controversial parts of the manuscript be left out of any printed editions for a century, lest those sections damage Twain’s image or his reputation.

Said he in his instructions back in 1906, “From the first, second, third and fourth… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on August 14, 2010 at 6:24am — No Comments

Two more Roy Rogers stories

Howard Cherry is one of Roy Rogers’ biggest fans. He befriended Rogers decades ago, and, over the years, Cherry has purchased some of Roy’s movie costumes, hats, and revolvers.

The two men are the same size, so from time to time Cherry dons a Rogers outfit for a photo shoot.

Now here’s the surprise. Cherry owns the Hopalong Cassidy Museum in Cambridge, Ohio – Cassidy, another cowboy movie, radio, and television hero.

I met… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on August 6, 2010 at 11:39pm — No Comments

A book you wouldn't know about if you weren't reading this

A rescue helicopter almost wiped out Apollo 11 as the capsule fell toward the Pacific Ocean, says writer Scott Carmichael in Moon Men Return, his new book out from the Naval Institute Press.

Carmichael grew up in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, not far from where I live. He’s now a senior investigator with the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington.

Said a reporter in her story after she… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on August 3, 2010 at 2:17am — 1 Comment

A banker gets his

We crime writers love to cast bankers as our villains. They’ve got money, so who’s going to have any sympathy for them? And they make us grovel when we go in for a car loan.

I cast a banker as my villain in my thumb novel, Iced, last year. I had him running an investment scam.

Fellow crime writer Mike Manno – we’re both published by Five Star – climbed aboard the anti-banker bus this year with… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on July 30, 2010 at 10:36pm — No Comments

William Kent Krueger won't kill off Cork O'Connor

For fans of William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor mystery series – and I’m one of them – Krueger announced big news on his website this month. He won’t retire Cork as he said he would a year and a half ago.

Krueger wanted time to write a big stand-alone thriller that would get him a movie contract. To get that time, he said back then, Cork had to go, that Heaven’s Keep, his ninth book in the series… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on July 30, 2010 at 5:22am — No Comments

Borders now selling e-books

Amazon and Barnes & Noble have the hog’s share of the e-book market.

Yes, you can buy your e-books directly from the electronic book publishers – most of them small houses – but if you want Stephen King’s or Mary Higgins Clark’s latest book in digital, and those of other top-selling writers, you go to Amazon or B&N.

Now, though – as of this month – you can buy your e-books from Borders’ electronic bookstore. The company hopes to get 17 percent of the total e-book… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on July 30, 2010 at 4:21am — 1 Comment

The future of the book

If more of us writers are getting out there with more books, those of us who survive in this business and profit, says Neil Gaiman, are those who hustle. And few writers are more effective hustlers than Gaiman with his sci-fi novels, graphic novels, children’s books, a British television series, and, yes, movies. Gaiman’s written a flock of television and film scripts that have seen production, and two of his long works –… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on July 29, 2010 at 12:40am — 4 Comments

Dan Schorr, we will miss you

Newsman Dan Schorr died last week at the age of 93. He had worked up until two weeks before his death, for the past 25 years as a news analyst and commentator for NPR.

Schorr said public radio hired him because he was a living history book.

“A colleague stuck his head into my office [one day] and said to me, ‘Dan, excuse me, you covered the Spanish-American war, no?’” Schorr told All Things Considered host Robert Siegel in a 2006… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on July 28, 2010 at 4:23am — No Comments

What advice would you give?

Hannah McLay Arnold is 12 and going into seventh grade. Says her grandmother, Jean Arnold, a friend of mine, Hannah is a wonderful storyteller and writer, and has been since she started talking and playing with her stuffed animals.

Hannah’s favorite class? English.

We writers love her.

Said Jean in a contact via Facebook, “I think she [Hannah] should meet a ‘real’ author. I told her I would contact you.”

Jean is looking for suggestions of what her… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on July 22, 2010 at 8:07am — 3 Comments

New edition of Stephen King's "On Writing" out

Anything with Stephen King’s name on it sells, right?

Stack ’em high in the front of the bookstore and watch ’em fly out the door. Everybody wants a copy.

And if it’s a re-issue because of an anniversary, well, the publisher and the stores have another sales hook.

Stephen King’s On Writing is just that, a re-issue.

The book came out 10 years ago and sold more than a million… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on July 15, 2010 at 3:45am — 1 Comment

Meet our new poet laureate

We have a new top poet in our country – W.S. Merwin, the appointment made two weeks ago.

Merwin looks the role – a mop of white hair, somewhat bushy eyebrows. It’s as if he had studied the portraits of Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg and said, “I can look like that.”

But more important than “the look”, Merwin’s a sterling poet who has gathered in a basketful of honors for his work, including two Pulitzer prizes – in 1971 for his… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on July 14, 2010 at 1:37am — 2 Comments

Toy Story 3

Did you love Toy Story, that terrific Pixar movie of 15 years ago? Then you’re going to love Toy Story 3 now out in 3-D.

It’s the story of what happens to Woody and Buzz and the other toys now that Andy is 17 and going off to college. The adventures and misadventures are bigger and badder. For the audience, it’s an emotional roller coaster, if you’ll forgive the… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on July 13, 2010 at 12:58am — No Comments

Memories of Art Linkletter

Art who?

One wouldn’t have asked that a half-century ago. Then Art Linkletter was everywhere – on radio and television, in bookstores, he even appeared in two movies. Linkletter also was a regular on the lecture circuit. For a fee, he’d come to your organization’s convention and regale your members for 45 minutes with stories drawn from his life and his television shows.

The man was born 97 years ago in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on July 12, 2010 at 5:38am — No Comments

War . . . in a book

Sebastian Junger, best known for his book The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea, has a new book out – War. In it he follows a platoon of the Army’s 173rd Airborne brigade in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, a killing zone for the Taliban and Afghan war lords who control the valley and the units of American soldiers sent in hold them off.

Junger… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on July 11, 2010 at 4:53am — No Comments

A master of description

A couple weeks ago, I told you about Gerry Spence, a master of our craft of writing, and I gave you an example of how he describes characters, drawing the example from Spence’s autobiography, The Making of a Country Lawyer.

Today it’s back to Spence and his autobiography for an example of how he describes place, a setting. Spence’s father was a hunter. Every year, he would go into the Wyoming mountains… Continue

Added by Jerry Peterson on July 10, 2010 at 4:48am — No Comments

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