Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too!

There’s a word used among professional writers that describes those who refuse to write anything for which they do not feel a deeply emotional connection: unemployed.

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to manage on occasion to make a living putting words to paper understand that writing is first and foremost a job, and not a form of personal expression. On occasion, you may be lucky enough to work on a project that you love, but it will almost invariably pay far fewer bills than the ones you loathe.

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The Jury Series

Lee Goldberg, who has made a nice career out of writing TV and TV tie-in novels, goes back to his college days of writing, reprinting the hard-to-find .357 VIGILANTE series he created then, but now with an added bonus: the fourth book that never saw print, since the publisher went out of business.

This four-book collection, THE JURY SERIES, is straight-up men’s adventure material. Don’t expect complex plots; these were all about body counts and vengeance, and there is plenty of both to go around. Originally credited to Ian Ludlow, they were actually Goldberg in disguise — a mild-mannered college student testing out his writing muscle.

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Bull Spec #6 / Shock Totem #4 / Tales of Blood and Roses #2

Love. Exciting and new.

There’s the love I have for a delicious meal. There’s the love I have for a good movie. There’s the love I have for good music. There’s the love I have for finely crafted literature. And then there’s … well, I’ll get to that.

In addition, there’s a special place in my heart for the small press. I love that there are places where literature that does not necessarily appeal to the general reading masses can still find a home and be enjoyed by those of us who like the offbeat. And generally when I speak about “offbeat,” I’m talking about genre fiction, specifically stuff that falls somewhere out on the fringes of such.

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Amazon announces four new Kindles

With Apple’s iPad not killing the Amazon Kindle after all, Jeff Bezos’ book lovers’ online paradise has released not one, but four new models of its popular e-reader. Bear with us so you can figure out which one works for your wallet.

The all-new Kindle for $79 is the lightest, most compact Kindle — it can even fit in your pocket. This new design weighs 30 percent lighter at just 5.98 ounces, measures 18 percent smaller, and turns pages 10 percent faster. What hasn’t changed? The 6-inch electronic ink display still reads like real paper, even when the sun is shining directly upon it.

• The Kindle Touch is $99, with a touchscreen (natch) a la many an Apple device. Kindle Touch is also lighter and smaller, boasts an extra-long battery life and can hold thousands of books. Its new “X-Ray” feature, invented by Amazon, allows users to explore the “bones of the book” — i.e. more info about people, places or topics mentioned, including detailed descriptions from Wikipedia and Shelfari. This model starts shipping Nov. 21.

• The Kindle Touch 3G is the same model as the Kindle Touch, but with the added convenience of free 3G access, regardless of whether a Wi-Fi spot is around. For that, you pay a little more: $149. It also starts shipping Nov. 21.

The Kindle Fire, at only $199, is the Kindle to end all Kindles … for now. On it, you have access to more than 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, apps, games, magazines and — yes! — books. This high-res, color-screen model also boasts the new Amazon Silk cloud-accelerated browser. This one starts shipping earlier, on Nov. 15.

Buy them at Amazon.

A Single Shot

Mulholland Books is supplementing its list of newly published works with occasional reprints under the “Mulholland Classic” banner. The first such offering is 1996’s A SINGLE SHOT by Matthew F. Jones. Its character, setting and plot are all superb examples of what Daniel Woodrell (who fittingly provides the edition’s foreword) used to call “country noir.”
John Moon is a hunter and lives alone in a trailer on land in a wooded mountain region that was once part of his father’s farm. Moon’s father, long since dead, lost the farm is foreclosure. Moon earns a meager income from local construction and repair jobs, but still feeds himself from what he hunts in the nearby woods.

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Boardwalk Gangster: The Real Lucky Luciano

As the old-school strippers tell a young Rose Louise Hovick in GYPSY, “You gotta have a gimmick.” A catchy name helps, too. Salvatore Lucania? Nope. Charles Luciano? Nuh-uh. Lucky Luciano? “Lucky” because he once took a three-layered ass-kicking from the cops and didn’t die. Alliterative and provocative. That’ll work.

In BOARDWALK GANGSTER: THE REAL LUCKY LUCIANO, you do get a sense from author Tim Newark that Luciano’s posthumous reputation needed some kind of boost. For the first half of his criminal life, he was a smart guy, rising through the mob ranks as a hitman and body guard for Joe Masseria. But by the end of the 1920s and the retirement of Johnny Torrio in Chicago, who handed the Outfit over to Al Capone, Luciano had been wooed from the old way of doing things.

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Grim Reaper: End of Days

Patrick “Shep” Shepherd is having a bad decade. The former rookie pitcher for the Boston Red Sox turned gung-ho Marine has been deployed to some of the worst spots in the world. He hasn’t seen his wife and daughter in 11 years. His left arm has been blown off below the bicep. And if that weren’t enough, the Black Plague is about to be unleashed on his current home of New York City.

Author Steve Alten is primarily known for his man-vs.-prehistoric-shark series MEG. Now, in the new-to-paperback GRIM REAPER: END OF DAYS, he ventures into a potential end-of-the-world scenario: What if the U.S. government tried to weaponize the bubonic plague, and what if it then fell into the wrong hands? The last time the Black Plague ran rampant back in the 14th century, nearly half the world’s population perished as a result. But what if it were unleashed on a population of 7 billion with access to faster means of travel?

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BOOK WHORE >> 9.27.11

book whoreShe’s back each Tuesday, pimpin’ out notable new releases to place on your radar, so let the tempting, publisher-provided plot descriptions begin!

FEAST DAY OF FOOLS by James Lee Burke — Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border town with a deep and abiding respect for the citizens in his care. Still mourning the loss of his cherished wife and locked in a perilous almost-romance with his deputy, Hackberry feeds off the deeds of evil men to keep his own demons at bay. When alcoholic ex-boxer Danny Boy Lorca witnesses a man tortured to death in the desert and reports it, Hack’s investigation leads to the home of Anton Ling, a regal, mysterious Chinese woman known for sheltering illegals.

THE DOVE OF DEATH by Peter Tremayne — In A.D. 670, an Irish merchant ship is attacked by a pirate vessel off the southern coast of the Breton peninsula. Merchad, the ship’s captain, and Bressal, a prince from the Irish kingdom of Muman, are killed in cold blood after they have surrendered. Among the other passengers who manage to escape the slaughter are Fidelma of Cashel and her faithful companion, Brother Eadulf. Once safely ashore, Fidelma, sister to the King of Muman, is determined to bring the killers to justice.

WEREWORLD: RISE OF THE WOLF by Curtis Jobling — Imagine a world ruled by Werelords, men and women who can shift at will into bears, lions and serpents. When Drew suddenly discovers he’s not only a werewolf, but the long-lost heir to the murdered Wolf King’s throne, he must use his wits and newfound powers to survive in a land suddenly full of enemies. Drew’s the only one who can unite the kingdom in a massive uprising against its tyrant ruler, Leopold the Lion. But the king is hot on Drew’s tail and won’t rest until he’s got the rebel Wolf’s head.

GANDHI: A MANGA BIOGRAPHY by Kazuki Ebine — The life of a true 20th-century hero told in a vibrant graphic novel format. Through his quietly powerful leadership and influential use of nonviolent resistance in India’s struggle against the British Raj, Mahatma Gandhi became one of the most revered figures of the modern era. While history has recorded Gandhi’s words and deeds, the man himself has been eclipsed by maxims of virtuosity that seem to have little resonance in our everyday lives.

I LOVE LUCY: A CELEBRATION OF ALL THINGS LUCY: INSIDE THE WORLD OF TELEVISION’S FIRST GREAT SITCOM by Elisabeth Edwards — Upon the 60th anniversary of the landmark television show’s debut and the 100th birthday of superstar Lucille Ball, I LOVE LUCY includes rare backstage photos and images from the stars’ personal collections, Ball’s personal commentary on her favorite episodes, trivia, character bios, fashions, music, recipes and more.

Buy them at Amazon.

The Eloquence of Blood

The timeframe and setting of Judith Rock’s THE ELOQUENCE OF BLOOD will appeal to many readers. Set in 1686 in the heart of Paris, the series character of Charles du Luc attends to his duties as a teacher of dance and rhetoric at the Jesuit-run Louis le Grand school. Once a soldier, du Luc has turned to the comforts of religion and routine and he seems quite comfortable in his role at the school.

Well, if by comfortable, you mean eating bean pottage every day and living in cold, dark rooms. For the school is running low on funds, and belt-tightening (or cassock-tightening) will be a necessity. News comes of an enormous bequest that will be made to the Jesuits from the Mynette family as the matriarch has passed away peacefully, and the school’s leaders are cheered. But there’s a hitch.

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Dead Light District

Jill Edmondson’s debut novel, BLOOD AND GROOM, was a delightful discovery, as it featured the tough-as-nails, but still self-aware and flawed Sasha Jackson as a private investigator uncovering heinous crimes. Her follow-up, DEAD LIGHT DISTRICT, stays true to the characters but falters a little in its predictability and a few trite scenes.

Jackson is asked by the madame of a bordello masquerading as a bed and breakfast to locate one of her workers, who has gone missing. The madame just wants to make sure she is safe. Jackson starts the investigation and is very quickly warned off the case as someone paints “Back Off, Bitch” on her garage door. As readers of this series will know, this just excites Jackson and makes her work even harder to find the missing prostitute, one Mary Carmen.

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