Bloody Knuckles Newsletter

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

USS Mount Baker AE-4

I spent some time this morning at the RHPL doing a little research into my late father's life during WWII. I didn't know much aside from family folklore. One such tale involved the renaming of my father's ship in Panama so that it could get through the canals after a rowdy shore leave. I knew the name of his ship (originally launched as the SS Surprise out of a Tampa shipyard, then renamed and renamed again as mentioned above), I knew the years he served, and I knew I had some pictures of him during the war years that didn't involve him or some of his shipmates with their arms around topless girls in grass skirts; after I discovered those and asked my mother about them, the pictures mysteriously disappeared.

The Mt. Baker was an ammo ship used to transport munitions primarily in the Atlantic. I'm piecing bits together by looking at time lines to see where he might have been during a given campaign. I know now that at the time he was supplying ships in the north Atlantic waters, the seas were rife with German U-boats. He sometimes spoke about places he had been during the war, including North Africa and southern Italy. There's a chance he was part of the 1400 vessel assault on Sicily. In the winter of 1944, he shipped out of San Francisco carrying supplies and mail to men in the south Pacific theatre.

I've had an idea for a story based on him for a while. I'm just waiting for it to gel.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Craw

Tonight I did all my writing in my head. Well, except for this.

I picked up a couple of ideas but nothing concrete wanted to come out of my fingers tonight. Except this. Really, it's a lament to the procrastination of the actual writing I should be doing.

I have second-guessing stuck in my craw right now. I'm doubting I can do this.

Of course, tomorrow I'll look at this post and think otherwise.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fantasy Football

Two things happened to my team this past weekend. The first was I didn't realize Kevin Walker of the Houston Texans was a game time decision. The second was I needed 29 points from Peyton Manning to win. He got me 27. I lost by one. Had I been paying attention to the rest of my team and not just Senor Bouldin from Arizona, I would have played anyone else and won my week.

Coaching is tough.

Writing is tougher at times. I'm trying to develop a series centered around baseball and murders in game cities. I can't quite figure out who my detective should be: An umpire? A sports reporter? A vendor? Maybe it's a bad idea.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hard-Boiled Detective/B-Girl Day


Long before I knew about Bouchercon, I started posting around places about my idea for a national 'Talk like a Hard-Boiled Detective or a B-Girl' Day, like that 'Talk like a Pirate Day' that everyone was talking about. I was putting it together and looked at first my birthday, but thought that was too much so I went for October 18, which turns out to be the release date of The Maltese Falcon.

So now I'm going to campaign for it at Bouchercon in Indy. Hell, maybe I'll even throw a party at at it.

There's a dozen or so slang sights out here. Drop 'hard-boiled slang' into the search engine of your choice and do a little digging. Otherwise, click here to be taken to one. And don't be a wise apple. I'm not giving you a bum steer, catch my drift?

Celebrate it annually on October 18.

An Introduction

I write professionally under the pen name of Jack Bates. I do this within the crime fiction community. It's something I started to doing in the winter of 2009 after I sold the first in the Harry Landers, PI series to Mind Wings Audio, a start-up publishng company that deals with producing novellas on disk or as an MP3. I was a little skeptical at first but now, as the royalty checks roll in every quarter, I have to say this is a pretty good gig.

I've branched out, publishing on a couple of hard-boiled sites. It's really been a ride finding my niche after writing for thirty some years as a hobby. Mind you, I started when I was eighteen but in those early days, I was trying to be a name, not a writer. Now I'm what I've never thought of being and I'm digging it. Who would have thought after all those years of watching black and white crime films and reading Bradbury, Hemingway, and nearly the entire gamut of the Hard Case series I'd be doing this?

Me, I guess. I mean, writing has always been a source of enjoyment for me. I started with plays and have recently had a few short ones produced. I got a Super 8 movie camera when I was in my teens and copied what I saw at matinees; I never attempted Star Wars, though. I did do a remake of James Brolin's The Car and called it The Bike, starring my nephew as a demonic bike rider with a robot head. We used a mask we had gotten at Disney World, of all places. I was story-boarding before it was in style. In 2007 I sold a screenplay to Triboro Films.

So now here I am the author of a pretty well received series about a rookie PI who is afraid to carry a gun. Not use a gun, just carry it. He's afraid of the power he holds. His dream is to be a private eye in Las Vegas so he's cutting his teeth in Detroit and its suburbs, hoping to toughen up and learn the ropes. Did I mention he's a gambling addict who chases jackpots and even when he wins one he realizes the old addage 'A dollar is too much and a thousand isn't enough' is more truth then he'll ever get out of his clients.

I have nine Landers stories sold. Five are produced. There is one stand alone novella about a drifter with a motorcycle and penchant for finding bad girls. It just might cost the guy his life.