Friday, August 22, 2014

Pro-File Mary Daheim CLAM WAKE

Mary Daheim

1. Tell us about your current novel/collection.

Clam Wake , No. 29 in the Bed-and-Breakfast series, debuts Aug. 12. Cousins Judith and Renie have covered a lot of ground and encountered a lot of corpses since 1991. (Wouldn't you think they could find a less gruesome hobby?)

The cousins are house-sitting on Whoopee Island for Auntie Vance and Uncle Vince at Obsession Shores on Whoopee Island. Big beach, great view, fridge full of food. What could possibly go...okay, so it's gloomy January, most of the residents are retirees who pass the time drinking cocktails and having extramarital affairs. But Judith and Renie are duty-bound to cast their aunt and uncle's proxy votes against changing the septic tanks to a sewer system. Before they can attend the meeting, the go for a stroll along the beach and discover a...yes! A dead body.

For once, Judith isn't reluctant about finding out whodunit, having felt she didn't bring her A Game in Gone With the Win. The hunt is on, including one for buried treasure and a mystery boat that appears at midnight from who knows where or why. There's also a spooky old house where the nonagenarian land owner rules with an iron fist--when he's not face-down in his lunch plate.

2. Can you give a sense of what you're working on now?

 I've just finished The Alpine Zen which, as so many people assume is the end of the Emma Lord series. I do not assume this and plan to flip future titles (eldest daughter's idea) as in A______Alpine, B ______Alpine, etc. There are still tales to be told in Skykomish County. The story starts with the arrival of a strange young woman from California seeking her roots. Abandoned by her birth mother, but left with items indicating Mom had a special attachment to Alpine, Ren Rawlings seeks Emma's help. There's not much she can do for Ren, especially with the distraction of Sheriff Milo Dodge's deputies digging up a long-dead body at the dump site on the edge of town.

3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?

The writing. I love what I do. I get cranky if I don't write for a couple of weeks. The other pleasure--let's call it a surprise--occurred in 2009 when I learned that two men had found the long-lost site of the real Alpine where my parents, grandparents and several other family members had lived from 1916-1928. A native of this area, Pat Burns was close to retirement at a college in Georgia and longing to get back to his native turf. He told old friend Tim Raetzloff that the only way he could ease his homesickness was by reading my Alpine series because the books evoked the region so well. Tim got hooked on the series, too, so when Pat retired, they went searching for the abandoned town site--and found it. I now have my own treasure chest of Alpine relics and have been to the old site just off the Stevens Pass Highway. The goal is to create a historic marker trail that would link two existing trails in the Cascade Mountains.

4. What is the greatest DISpleasure?

I have to think about this...I guess having to read through my own mss. 5-6 times during the writing and the production process. I've convinced it's all junk. Then I see the actual book and decide maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought.

5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?

Honor Thy Author. My complaint is the same as that of most other authors. Publishers' ad/marketing budgets seem tilted toward the Big Names that will sell without the hype. Yes, I get it that those best-selling authors help pay the freight for the rest of us. But it'd be money well-spent to toss more $$$ at less well-known writers. Of course there's also the complaint that publishers should never have let e-books be sold for half or even less of the price of a hardcover. But it's too late to do anything about that.

6. Are there three or four forgotten mystery writers you'd like to see in print again?

There are too many to mention, but the one that rankles most when it comes to recognition is Mary Roberts Rinehart, known as the American Agatha Christie. Rinehart, in fact, was published first and like Christie, wrote books other than mysteries (romance novels. plays, travel books). Yes, her books are dated, but so are Christie's. However, the mysteries are solid, the characters are engaging, and the settings are well-done. I should add that many of her books are still in print.

7. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that moment.

Okay, so I'm contrary by nature. I am NOT a morning person. My husband, Dave, and I had only been married for a few days before he told me that if I continued to get up to make him breakfast our marriage wouldn't last a year. I was noisy, sharp-tongued, and cussed a lot. I said, "Fine." And stomped back to bed. Fast forward to 1981: I was sound asleep at 7:15 a. m. (PDT) when Dave woke me to say that my agent, Donald MacCampbell, was calling from New York City. I staggered downstairs and picked up the phone. Donald announced that he had sold my historical romance (titled The Royal Mile by me, re-titled Love's Pirate by my editor) to Avon Books. I said, "That's nice. Thanks." Donald asked--in surprise--why I didn't sound excited. I replied, "Because I'm not awake and won't be until about 10:15. I'll call you back then--and be excited." I went back to bed, back to sleep--and woke up at 10 to (excitedly) call Donald. 

a short one Headlines that shouldn't be true but are

Keith Ablow still calling Michelle Obama a fattie and tells Fox women
to drop 5 pounds too

Mother finds Seattle school district ignored ‘numerous’ rapes,
including her daughter’s

Elementary teacher suspended for asking white student ‘cops’ to shoot
black ‘Michael Browns’

Study: ’50 Shades’ readers more prone to eating disorders, binge
drinking, abusive relationships

Interstate closed after truck loaded with chickens and ammo overturns...

CNN host calls out Ferguson mayor for referring to Michael Brown’s body
as an ‘it’

Alabama man cites ‘stand your ground’ law after killing cousin over
‘Fast, Furious’ DVDs

‘Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur blasts Hannity on Ferguson: ‘Why don’t you
shut the f*ck up?’

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Three Novels by Peter Rabe - Stark House

Ed here: Before we get to the extremely important Peter Rabe trio I want to give a shout-out to the man who wrote the single best utterance I've ever read about Rabe. That would be Rick Ollerman. And that utterance leads off this trilogy.

Rick's got cred not only as one of the savviest and wisest critics you'll find anywhere; he also has the same kind of cred as a novelist. A while back Stark House published two of Rick's novels Turnabout and Shallow Secrets. If Gold Medal was still in business today these would be in their top ten bestseller list. The key word here is "today" because while the noirish elements may echo the Gold Medal masters the stories and the settings are very much contemporary. Nastily so. You want grim, you want fast-paced, you want in-your-face moments you'll find them here. But you'll also find nuanced characters and a style that serves the story yes but is capable of giving us real resonance and even a kind of ugly beauty.  I not only enjoyed them I admired them.

From Stark House:

Daniel Port Omnibus 1: Dig My Grave Deep / The Out is Death / It’s My Funeral

  • 978-1-933586-65-6
  • Peter Rabe created the archetypical gangster in Daniel Port and wrote about him in six different thrillers. These first three books introduce us to Port and his criminal world. Here is Port the mastermind, trying to get out of the racket he helped create, and Port the savior, defending an old criminal against a younger, meaner hood. Rick Ollerman provides another one of his exceptional introductions. Pub date: November 2014.


Headlines that shouldn't be true but are

Pat Robertson calls for anti-Obama ‘revolution’ because computers make
his doctors slow

Minnesota Democrat to gun rights lobbyist: ‘Come near me, and I’ll blow
your head off!’

Florida county bans atheists from delivering invocations at public

Woman Allegedly Beats Man Who Farted In Her Face

7-year-old turns in mother for cooking meth...

84-Year-Old Jaywalking Outlaw Roughed Up by Cops Is About to Be Rich
He’s filed a $5 million lawsuit.

9-Year-Old Boy Struck By Lightning While Doing Homework...

Ohio anti-Common Core bill eliminates non-English literature,
encourages creationism

MD trooper suspended after accused of being naked in bar...

Armed Clown Robs Gas Station...

Police cars smeared with human feces in NYC...

Research shows species overlapped in Europe for up to 5,400 years...

Doctors baffled by boy with 30-pound hands...

Man pelted to death with oranges...

Cops: WALMART voyeur cut hole in shoe, filmed 'upskirt' videos with

Teen Crushed To Death Trying To Steal Metal Rods From Construction

Woman Feeds Tapeworms To Daughter

Man Steals Shopping Scooter To Meet With Parole Officer: Cops

Man Gets Stuck In High Chair, Acts Like Big Baby Trying To Get Out

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Tokyo KillJapantown


1. Tell us about your current novel.

TOKYO KILL is the second Jim Brodie novel after JAPANTOWN, which has received three nods for Best First Novel of the Year and has been picked up for a television series by J. J. Abrams, of Lost and Star Trek fame, among many others. 

In TOKYO KILL, Jim Brodie returns for another outing.  Brodie is a Japan expert saddled with half-ownership of a P.I. firm his ex-MP father left him in Tokyo.  But his main line of business is an antiques shop he owns in San Francisco.  He’s an American who happened to be born in Japan to American parents, so he spent his formative years in the Japanese capital, where he learned the language, the culture, and the mindset of the people. 

In TOKYO KILL, he returns to Japan for some long-overdue R&R after the trials of the Japantown case.  He is soon caught up in the life of an old Japanese World War Two veteran, who claims Chinese Triads in Tokyo are killing off the last of his old war buddies one by one.  Brodie takes a liking to the kind old army vet, agrees to help, and soon finds himself neck-deep in long-buried war secrets, far-too-clever spies, deadly kendo martial artists, guys wielding butcher knives, and one brutal murder too many. 

2. Can you give us a sense of what you're working on now?

I’m wrapping up the third Jim Brodie mystery, which, like the first two, will explore original territory.  This time the topic is current and very alarming.  I can’t say more than that now.  I’m sworn to secrecy. 

3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?

Two things wrapped into one.  Being able to get out of bed, come down the stairs, turn a corner, and be at my desk.  No more Tokyo commute, sardine style.  No more nine to five with endless meetings.  No more being chained to an office desk.  All that—AND I get to write what I want.  It’s brilliant, and I’m having great fun writing the books. 

4. What is the greatest DISpleasure?

Before I began writing full time, I was a book editor in Tokyo, where I’m still based.  I worked for one of Japan’s biggest publishers and acquired and developed books in English that we sold around the world—the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere.  It was a great job (despite my answer to the previous question) and allowed me entry into many traditional and cultural worlds most foreigners and Japanese never see.  Every place I went, everything I saw, and every bit I learned is now potential material for the Jim Brodie series.  I hadn’t really thought in those terms, but that’s the way it’s turned out. 

Even though it was a great job, there was a downside—far too many meetings, some of the world’s nastiest office politics I’ve ever run across, and a number of other oddities.  But those, too, have or will probably find their way into the books in one form or another.  That’s as bad as it gets for me, which isn’t too bad at all.

5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?

To aspiring writers, I’d say stick with it “on a daily basis.”  Do something every single day, even if you can only find five minutes to write.  This keeps the work in your head, keeps your subconscious spinning, and builds a desire to forge on and do more.  (See the Writers’ Corner on my website for some other tips.)

To publishers, I’d say, be more proactive.  When impressive new ideas come along like GoodReads, bring it in under your umbrella to promote reading and books. The lines have been blurred.  Strengthen your positions.  Make some acquisitions jointly if you have to, but be adventurous and forward looking in your thinking.  Don’t let the growing number of online purveyors snap up all the good publishing-related sites. 

6. Are there two or three forgotten mystery writers you'd like to see in print again?

Until recently, my answer to this would have been “James McClure,” author of the Kramer and Zondi series set in apartheid South Africa—nearly as foreign as the culture of Japan I write about.  These were also written while apartheid was still being practiced.  Fortunately, the good folks at Soho Crime rescued his works, and have put them out one by one.  So I’d like to say, buy them and keep them in print

7. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that moment.

My first choice for an agent, after a number of false starts, was Robert Gottlieb, of the Trident Media Group.  Yes, that Robert Gottlieb.  I didn’t think I had a chance, but I sent off a query letter, received a request for the first fifty pages, sent that off too, and then received a second request for the full manuscript.  A short time later Gottlieb called me in Tokyo from New York, and said he wanted to personally represent me if I was interested.  You can guess my answer.  The call came at about twelve midnight, Tokyo time, which was about ten in the morning in Manhattan. I’d been nearly ready to hit the sack, but after the call I stayed up for three more hours—in the company of some good scotch and sak√©.  That was a very good night. 
The next call came from Sarah Knight at Simon & Schuster.  She edits the work of James Lee Burke, Stephen Hunter, and acquires the works of experienced and new authors.  I was still in Tokyo, and Knight, like Gottlieb, called from New York.  Again around twelve.  She was interested in the book, and we talked for nearly an hour and a half.  She knew JAPANTOWN backward and forward.  Even though I’d worked as an editor, I was impressed with her attention to detail.  She was sharp, insightful, enthusiastic, and came up with some surprising observations. A day or two later she made an offer, for one book and as the negotiations progressed, she upped it to two. 
I stayed up even later that night, and I believe there was substantially more libation involved. 


Barry Lancet's first mystery-thriller, JAPANTOWN, was the result of more than two decades of living in Japan as an expat American. His work in Tokyo gave him inside access to many traditional and business circles most outsiders and Japanese are never granted. JAPANTOWN has received three citations for Best First Novel, and has been optioned for a television drama by J. J. Abrams.  Lancet is based in Japan, but visits the U.S. frequently. Simon & Schuster has signed him up for two more books after TOKYO KILL, both to feature Jim Brodie.
For more information, please visit or look for Lancet on Facebook and Twitter (@barrylancet).