One of the things about traditional publishing that has always gotten my hackles up is the genre-specific marketing that rules it. Through the 70s, 80s and 90s there was a very literal plague of novels that were doomed from the outset by being miscast to fit available slots.
In particular, a lot of novels were slapped between paperback covers with raised foil lettering and lots of blood in the imagery that were labeled “horror”. These books came out like clockwork, sat on the shelves a short time, and disappeared to be replaced by another round of the same. I actually had an agent during that period who told me I missed a chance. I was out at sea, and could have been published in the big horror glut of the 80s, but there was a slot, and a time-frame and I missed it. Didn’t matter if the book was good, just that it existed. I’m sort of glad I missed out on that.
Anyway, a lot of good books got labeled incorrectly during that period, and among those books were a series of police procedurals that happened to include serial killers and some violence, by Paul Dale Anderson.
Paul is with Crossroad Press now, and we are re-structuring his series INTO a series and marketing them more appropriately. Don’t get me wrong. Horror readers will enjoy these but they are more accurately categorized in the bigger world of mysteries and thrillers, and they are definitely a series, though until now they have not been marketed as such. We have a brand new book in the series due out soon… so I thought I’d have Paul write about these – where the inspiration came from (shades of Kay Scarpetta). Without further ado, I give you:
An Introduction to Paul Dale Anderson’s Instruments of Death series
I lived in Chicago and worked at the American Society of Clinical Pathologists’ Chicago headquarters, directly across West Harrison Street from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, when I wrote Claw Hammer. My ASCP job was to sell continuing education classes to pathologists, and I got to sit in on many of those classes because I was the person who registered them for various courses. I set up microscopes in classrooms at conference centers, ran the overheads and slide projectors, hawked new books published by the Society or the College of American Pathologists, and hosted elaborate cocktail parties for the Docs at national medical conferences. One of those ASCP classes featured the latest techniques of tool mark analysis available to forensic pathologists interested in identifying the instrument of death, and I was fascinated to learn about the variety of ways people quite often used common household implements to kill beloved family members and friends.
That class reminded me of several terrible tragedies that had happened to grade-school classmates of mine in my own hometown of Rockford, Illinois. I recalled awakening one dawn to the sound of sirens when I was only about eight or nine. I learned that a neighbor had allegedly gone crazy during the night and killed his entire family—all but one daughter who survived–with a claw hammer. The milkman, the same milkman who had just delivered milk to my house, discovered the bodies when he entered the neighbor’s house to put milk in the refrigerator. as he normally did twice a week. In those Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver days of the early 1950s, people were very trusting and nobody ever locked their back doors. All that changed, of course, after an entire family was killed in our close-knit suburban neighborhood. It never dawned on us that locking the doors would do no good if the killer lived inside the house and had keys.
Not long after that first tragedy, the mother of another female grade-school friend was electrocuted in her bathtub. Supposedly, a radio fell off a shelf and added 110 volts to an afternoon bubble bath and fried the lady like a lobster. Police arrested the lady’s husband and charged him with her murder. My young friend had to leave school to go live with her grandparents. I never saw her again.
One of my favorite uncles, Eric Ekebom, was a Rockford police detective sergeant and I remember asking to see his gun when I was too young to know any better. He told me he hadn’t had to use his gun even once in more than twenty years on the police force. He did carry a gun, he explained, but he said he really didn’t need one because “Good detectives use their brains and not guns to catch criminals.” I’ll always remember that. Eric was the detective who reorganized the Rockford Police Department’s record bureau in the 1930s. He became the police department’s forensic and identification expert, and he served as the President of the International Association for Identification, the largest forensic organization in the world, from 1956 to 1957.
When Pinnacle Books bought two of my novels and wanted them delivered right away, I wrote a rough draft of Claw Hammer and sent it off with the expectation I would have time to revise and polish the manuscript. I had one day between the time I received the page proofs and the deadline for getting the completed novel back to New York in time to make the publishing window. I over-nighted the proofs back. I have never missed a writing deadline in my life. In the old days when I was learning the newspaper business, we published what we had in order to make a deadline even if we didn’t yet have the full story. “Go with what ya got,” the editor called out as the deadline approached. Some stories were incomplete or inaccurate. We knew we always had the next day’s edition to round out the details or publish a correction. I’m glad Claw Hammer endured to see a next edition.
Claw Hammer was my first published psychological horror novel, and since its original publication in 1989 I have written nine additional suspense-thrillers/police-procedural novels set in imaginary Riverdale, Illinois. Riverdale is a combination of my native Rockford and Aurora and Oak Park, plus images from a dozen other northern Illinois cities where I’ve lived and written novels. Carl Erickson, the homicide detective from Claw Hammer, also appears in Pickaxe, Icepick, Sledgehammer, Box Cutter, and Pinking Shears. After Carl retires, Troy Nolan and Andy Sinnott take over Carl Erickson’s roles, both detectives appearing in Pickaxe, Icepick, and Meat Cleaver.
My comfort zone is sitting at my keyboard inside my own house writing novels and short stories or reading novels and short stories for review. When Gretta M. Anderson, my wife of 27 years, died three years ago, I abandoned the real world for multiple fantasy worlds where I could control the outcome of human interactions. Writing kept me relatively sane. Andy Sinnott is a lot like me. But you already guessed that, didn’t you?
I write not only for me and to maintain sanity, but I write for people just like me—and like you, dear reader–who love to read a good mystery. I try, first and foremost, to tell a good story because I love good stories. Some of my stories get really weird, and many of my characters bleed and feel pain and some die. I view the world as a dangerous place where bad things happen to good people. Not all of my stories have a happy ending. I hope you’re as glad as I am that Icepick does end happily for most of the characters. You’ll meet many of the same characters again in other novels. Unfortunately, not all of them survive.
I am neither a medical doctor nor a forensic scientist, nor am I a police officer or a civil engineer. I have, however, worked with medical doctors, forensic scientists, police officers, and civil engineers, and I have two earned master’s degrees and most of a doctorate. I have done extensive medical research for more than twenty years. I always try my best to be accurate in my descriptions of medical and police procedures. I also served time in the military, including tours in construction engineer units, and I am familiar with a variety of firearms. Nevertheless, my novels are works of fiction that spring from my imagination, and I do take liberties with verisimilitude in order to tell a good story. For me, story comes first. If you want fact-filled books, I can recommend a few textbooks you might find interesting. If you want good stories, read my novels.
** Editor’s Note**
We are PROUD to bring this entire series of books back in digital, and new additions in all formats, and even happier to bring some very cool mystery thrillers to a new readership who probably would never have picked up a Pinnacle Horror novel back in the day. Gotta love being “the publisher”.
The slightly different bit? The only copies of By the Sea, either hardcover or trade paperback, that will be available that day will be those that you have PRE-ORDERED FROM BOOKFELLOWS by calling Christine at 818-545-0121 by March 25.
Now why in the hell would we do this? Because I’ve arranged with my publisher, Handsome David Niall Wilson of Crossroad Press, to give Bookfellows a larger than normal bookstore discount for those pre-orders. So, every book you buy boosts a bit of the profit going to the store. And you get a discount as well. The hardcover retails at $29.99, but you’ll get it for $26.00. The trade paperback retails for $16.99, but you’ll get it for $15.00.
“By the Sea” is a modern comic adult fairy tale with an ensemble cast of Cinderellas. Instead of a kingdom by the sea, our story takes place in and around a residential hotel by the sea. The architecturally eclectic Briers Hotel is situated on Leech Beach, a not particularly inviting beach, being often fog-bound and always scruffy. But it’s the perfect setting for our Cinderellas, male and female, who put up with the scruffy-ness of life while striving to make it through their various personal seaside fogs. Theater; art; antiques; old movies; sex; more sex; death; fast and slow cars, chicken shit and cow poop; military bearing and erotic emissions — not to mention the wicked witch, the sea serpent by the sea shore, the village ogre, the village idiot, and several Prince Charmings — all figure into this merry tale with a multitude of happy endings.
More information on “By the Sea” can be had on my blog at:http://tinyurl.com/
Bookfellows was Ray Bradbury’s favorite bookstore in his late years, as I detailed in one of my blogs on The Huffington Post, which you can find athttp://tinyurl.com/rbfav. But the important thing to note about Malcolm & Christine’s gem of a bookshop, is that it is the only independent bookstore in the Los Angeles area, maybe in the country, that has an emphasis on fiction. They have a heavy stock of fiction including mysteries, thrillers & suspense; science fiction & fantasy (the Mystery & Imagination half) and mainstream & literary fiction (the Bookfellows half). This makes Bookfellows an incredibly important resource for lovers of this most important of art forms.
Our event will be introduced by Jeff Cannata, fine actor, popular internet TV host, and brilliant podcaster (We Have Concerns — a top iTunes podcast), who also happens to have recorded a wonderful performance reading my novel, “Traveling in Space,” for the audiobook book edition which came out last year.
I will speak on moving from genre to genre in the writing of fiction, and read from Chapter One of “By the Sea.”
We will have munchies and libations, and there will be a RAFFLE!!
When you pick up your pre-ordered copy of By the Sea from Christine you will be given a raffle ticket, and at the end of the event we will raffle off a few obvious and a few unique items — detailed in the various postings below.
If you cannot make it on April 11, or live outside of the Los Angeles area, but would still like to support this maker of fiction and the bookstore that loves my kind of scribbler, call Christine at 818-545-0121 and order the book by March 25, and I’ll sign it for you that day. Christine will then send it off to you poste-haste.
I do hope you can join us on April 11 at 2 PM for a celebration of telling tales, creating characters, crafting scenes, and of this most wonderful of bookstores wherein such arts are cherished and given a clean and well-lighted place.
Crossroad Press would like to take a special moment to congratulate author and poet TOM PICCIRILLI – who have now become the first Crossroad Press author to make the list of finalists for The Bram Stoker Awards, presented by The Horror Writer’s Association … Forgiving Judas is an original poetry collection, available currently in digital in all formats and available soon in print.
Tom has been with Crossroad Press longer than almost any other author. We have been grateful and proud to work with him, and all of us are happy that he has been recognized once again for his talent.
You can get a copy of this award-nominated volume by clicking any of the links above. It wil be available soon in print, and we’ll announce pricing and availability.
Crossroad Press, in conjunction with the good folks over at Webundle.It, are pleased to present a bundle of Thriller novels from some fo the bestselling authors in the field. At Webundle.It you pay what you want for the first four novels. If you reach the $13 bonus level, you get all eight novels for as little as $13. This bundle, bought individually, would cost nearly $40. This is a huge savings. The books are available in ePub / Mobi and PDF formats.
Featured in this bundle are three BRAND NEW original Crossroad Press novels – Case White – by Pulitzer nominated author Thomas Sullivan, City of Knives by NYT Bestselling author William Bayer, and The Boys of The Dixie Pig from Crossroad Press discovery Stacy Childs, who is making quite a splash in the world of medical thrillers (starting with his debut novel Block 10 – also available from Crossroad Press). Adding to this bundle are books available for the first time in digital – John Farris’ Dragonfly, Irving Wallace’s The Seventh Secret, and San Francisco filmmaker and author James Dalessandro’s classis 1906 (a historical mystery / thriller set against the 1906 SF earthquake – the anniversary of which is coming up in April!).
Rounding off this bundle is Advise and Consent, from bestselling author Allen Drury. Great reads from amazing authors, and at a huge savings. Please – pass this along to your friends, share this post – send it to family and friends, and bu your own bundle soon.
Crossroad Press’ own PATRICIA LEE MACOMBER will be curating a storybundle of COZY MYSTERY titles for Storybundle.com starting today. These storybundles are a great way to discover new books and authors at a very reasonable price, while also supporting some worthwhile charities. What follows is the actual blog post that will appear at Storybundle.com – I couldn’t say it better – starting with a note from Patricia Lee Macomber:
I can think of no better cure for the winter blues than curling up with a good book. In that vein, here are fourteen great books by nine great authors. This Cozy Mystery Bundle offers a variety of books to appeal to a broad range of readers, each of them hand-picked by me. And as always, you decide the price you pay. And please keep in mind that a portion of the proceeds goes to charity.
Here there are happy characters and dark, humor and suspense. You can get a good dose of ah-ha moments and a few prickles of fear. The bundle includes my own book, Murder, Sometimes, the first book in the Jason Callahan supernatural mystery series. It also includes books by perennial favorites, Bill Crider and Ed Gorman, as well as some new and rising stars. There are two boxed sets included in this bundle, as well, bringing the total number of books to fourteen.
This bundle only runs for three weeks, so you’d better get ’em while they’re hot. There is no better way to give the gift of reading to your friends, too. The first five books are available for the nominal price of $5 (or more if you’re in a charitable mood) and for $14 (or more if you’re in a charitable mood) you will receive the four bonus books. – Patricia Lee Macomber
The initial titles in the bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:
- A Minor Case of Murder by Jeff Markowitz
- Deadly Blessings by Julie Hyzy
- The Kewpie Killer by Falafel Jones
- Lexy Baker Cozy Mysteries Boxed Set 1-4 by Leighann Dobbs
- Murder, Sometimes by Patricia Lee Macomber
If you pay more than the bonus price of just $14, you’ll get another four books:
- One Dead Dean by Bill Crider
- The McKinleys Mystery Series Boxed Set 1-3 by Carolyn Arnold
- New Improved Murder by Ed Gorman
- Death is a Cabaret by Deborah Morgan
The bundle is available for a very limited time only, via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!
It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.
Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.
- Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
- Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth to you. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
- Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
- Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity. We’re currently featuring Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now.
- Receive extra books: If you beat our bonus price, you’re you’re getting fourteen total books (which includes two boxed sets)!
StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.