February 15th, 2014 01:17 by Albert Tucher
Like much of the U.S., New Jersey got clobbered yesterday. The library was closed, my car was covered, and I wasn't going anywhere. So I banged out not one but two flash stories about Diana. They still need to be cleaned up the way a driveway needs to be cleaned up after the snow plow goes by, but twenty-four hours ago they didn't exist, and now they do.
Not a bad day, even with the shoveling.
January 13th, 2014 16:32 by Albert Tucher
Brittany Royal's boyfriend Boaz Johnson has been missing since her death, and the Hawaii County Police consider him a prime suspect. On January 2 a hiker in the Kalapana section of the Big Island discovered a decomposing body in a kipuka, which is a wooded area within a lava field. Police have not confirmed a neighbor's report that the body has hanging from a tree.
It's tempting to conclude that the body is that of Boaz Johnson, but a Japanese tourist has also been missing in the area since last February.
This is why I can't resist writing about Hawaii, and the Hilo side of the Big Island in particular.
December 6th, 2013 18:09 by Albert Tucher
Last month I returned to Hawaii for the first time in five years. I had three purposes: to check in on my brother Fred and his family on Oahu, revisit some locations that figure in my stories about Detective Errol Coutinho of the Hawaii County Police and find new settings to use, and to put in some beach time.
On the Big Island (aka Hawaii County) my zero-lava streak continued. Every time I touch down on the island, someone turns the lava off. I tried the two main vantage points for lava viewing, which are the end of Chain of Craters Road in the Volcanoes National Park, and the county viewing area at the end of route 130.
I didn't mind striking out on the lava, because I found a stunning setting for a crime story. Route 130 runs through the Puna section, which is the rainiest and least populated part of the Big Island. I drove through the dusk and then full-fledged darkness without encountering a single vehicle. That was eerie enough, but the end of the highways was even more so. "Proceed at your own risk," reads the sign.
The highway didn't used to end there, but some twenty years ago the lava decreed differently. It severed the road near the community called Kalapana, which was also inundated.
A much rougher informal road continues past the sign. It leads to a parking area, which is overseen by a couple of county employees. From there the lava enthusiast hikes for twenty minutes over a field of flat black volcanic rock and ends up at a makeshift platform just short of the ocean. Another county employee is on duty there.
The strangest part of the hike was seeing houses, all looking relatively new, sitting on top of the lava rock like mushrooms. The county representative told me that they were all recently built by original Kalapana residents who have returned to the property that they still own and still regard as home.
The crime writer in me immediately saw a body floating in the surf in this foreboding setting, but reality has beaten me to it. Last May a fisherman found the body of a young woman in the water. Brittany Jane Royal had been strangled. She was traveling with her boyfriend Boaz Johnson, who is still missing. The police call him a suspect.
Since May someone has been posting flyers and writing anonymous letters to the newspapers claiming that Bo Johnson is also dead, and that native Hawaiian militants opposed to any white presence in Puna killed them both. Police discount the possibility, but it is a twist worthy of fiction.
It's not a question of whether I will use this material, but when and how.
November 1st, 2013 22:20 by Albert Tucher
I'm back at Long and Short Reviews, taking part in their celebration of Halloween and the fall season. My post speculates on what Diana might be doing on Halloween, and I invite the reader to share ideas with me. You could win a free copy of the Diana novella The Same Mistake Twice.
Check it out here.
October 16th, 2013 14:07 by Albert Tucher
It's been quite a while since I updated the site. Since the publication of The Same Mistake Twice in July, I have been promoting the book in guest blogs at Coffee Time Romance, Long and Short Reviews, and Patti Abbott's Pattinase. I have also been marketing to public libraries.
It's a very labor intensive enterprise. Because most libraries work hard to prevent mass emailings (as a librarian myself, I sympathize), I must locate each library's website and find the preferred method of contact. Usually it's an online contact form, but occasionally one staff member's email address is specified.
Why do I do it? Each sale to a library is more than a dollar in my royalty account. It also builds my brand.
I know. When did I start talking like that? I'm not sure myself.
In the online discussion groups, writers endlessly discuss how to go beyond talking to each other and reach real readers. News flash: they're at the library.
July 13th, 2013 17:30 by Albert Tucher
Welcome back to the Deadly Ink conference, which has been on hiatus for several years. I will be attending in New Brunswick NJ, August 2-4. I'm looking forward to meeting Brad Parks, among others, and catching up with Jeff Markowitz, Bob Daniher, and one of my favorite people, Kate Gallison.
Thirty years ago I read two of Kate's novels, Unbalanced Accounts and Death Tapes. Both feature a soft-boiled PI in Trenton named Hank Magaracz. Kate's publisher dropped the series after that, and when I met her a few years ago, she told me I was the only reader she had ever met who had read both novels.
I would love to have Hank back.
I will be sitting on two author panels, one on the differences between novels and short stories, and on romance and sex in murder mysteries. I hope I can do a reasonable impersonation of a thoughtful, articulate writer.
July 8th, 2013 16:50 by Albert Tucher
I have just seen a mockup of the cover of the first Diana novel, The Same Mistake Twice, which is due out soon from the ebook publisher Untreed Reads. When the cover is finalized, you'll see it first here.
June 27th, 2013 00:07 by Albert Tucher
Jay Hartman and the crew at the e-publisher Untreed Reads have published three Diana Andrews stories: The Retro Look, Value for the Money, and Calories. They are also set to bring out the first Diana novel, The Same Mistake Twice.
AND, Jay just asked me for a Diana story for an anthology of stories about series characters already published by Untreed Reads. Once again my Technical Consultant came to my rescue. I appropriated her experience with the Baker.
Without spoiling the story I can only say that the Baker was one of the most difficult assignments of her career. He and she both survived the encounter, but the fictionalized Baker does not.
The story sprang into my head almost written. I just took dictation. I love it when that happens. It's rare.
May 23rd, 2013 17:03 by Albert Tucher
For the record, I am a fan of Orphan Black and its star, Tatiana Maslany.
This is the crime/scifi drama on BBC America, in which Ms. Maslany plays ... I lost count of how many characters, They're all clones, and someone is trying to track them down and kill them all. In some scenes the star plays two or even three of the clones, which I understand involves body doubles, multiple takes, careful duplication of tone and gestures, and seventeen-hour shooting days.
The writing is some of the best I have ever seen onscreen, and the supporting cast is also superb. I worry about Ms. Maslany, though. She's not even thirty, and when will she ever have such fun again?
April 23rd, 2013 16:30 by Albert Tucher
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine is the top of the heap when it comes to short crime fiction. After at least a dozen tries dating back ten years, I have finally made it. My contributor's copies of the July 2013 issue just arrived, with my stand-alone story Hangman's Break.
I'm in there with some A-list people, including Bill Pronzini, Edward Marston, Peter Tremayne and Twist Phelan.
I keep opening the magazine and admiring the table of contents, although I try not to do it when I'm driving.