Monday, October 29, 2007

The New TV Season...

Here's the thing - I may be getting old. It turns out that not only have I not latched onto any of the new TV shows, but some of my favorites from last year have been left by the wayside as well. For instance, last year I watched HEROES pretty faithfully, thought it was fun, liked the ending. This year, I just haven't been able to make time for it. Not extra busy (well, I am, but that didn't stop me last year) just not interested in watching a series about how the X-Men formed. Even the Law and Order franchises have been getting more passes from me than not. The real test for returning shows will be whether I make time forTHE AMAZING RACE, my favorite reality series.

As for the new shows, I watched several episodes of CHUCK, but I can take or leave it. Was it on tonight? Then I left it. I watched an episode of JOURNEYMAN. Decent concept. Left it. Saw about four minutes of THE BIONIC WOMAN. Saw the first episode of PUSHING DAISIES, then I saw about five minutes of the next one. I assumed CANE would last one episode since the commercials for it looked dull as dishwater that was poured out onto the ground a few days ago and has since evaporated so that it's not even there though it might have left some streaks of dirt...on the dirt so you can't even tell really.

I watched an episode of LIFE because I like the main actor though I can't for the life of me remember his name. The episode was okay. I'm sure there have been other episodes on, but I haven't caught them.

I can't even say that these shows are bad - I'm sure there's goodness out there. I just haven't been able to commit and nothing has twisted my arm on that front.

I realize that many of these shows have been picked up for extended stays in the big leagues, but I honestly do wonder if a lot of that has to do with the looming writer's strike. Most of the shows I tuned into seem gimmick-filled. Not real drama, not real comedy, just an extended gimmick. CANE may not have a gimmick, but that doesn't make it any better. Like I said, maybe I'm just older and like my sleep more...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

There's Still Time...

Did you want a copy of THE CONCRETE MAZE? I still have a few though I have to admit the stockpile is beginning to dwindle. Let me know.

Here's my new sig line:

"powered by tremendous empathy and insight."

-Jennifer Jordan, CrimeSpree Magazine

"tightly plotted… gripping, intelligent and dark."

-Russel McLean, Crime Scene Scotland

"A vivid, gripping piece of slow-burn suspense… harrowing and heartbreaking."

-Megan Abbott, Edgar nominated author of Die a Little

"…being invited into places we've never been, having doors propped open into other minds, other ways of life. That is what good writing does -- and what Steven Torres does, wonderfully."

-James Sallis, Edgar nominated author of Drive

"A fresh twist on the classic quest tale set in the concrete canyons of New York City. Gritty, believable and surprising."

-Wallace Stroby, author of The Barbed-Wire Kiss

"The Concrete Maze is a harrowing, gut-wrenching journey of the soul and of the city streets… a tough, fast-paced tale of loss and retribution."

-Reed Farrel Coleman, author of Anthony and Shamus award winner The James Deans

"The Concrete Maze is a solid novel that shows that Torres can write excellent hard-boiled mysteries. I look forward to his next novel."

-K. Robert Einarson, Spinetingler Magazine

"Brilliant, beautiful, and ultimately devastating."

-Sara Gran, author of Dope and Come Closer

"It's tough, fast-paced, gripping, and hard-boiled to the bone..."

-Jason Starr, author of Lights Out

"The Concrete Maze has all the clockwork of a tightly-wound thriller, but Steven Torres knows where to find the beating heart inside the machinery."

-Sean Doolittle, author of The Cleanup

"Steven Torres writes honest fiction about real people, real pain, real fear, real life. The Concrete Maze is a sweet, soulful, heartache of a book. I loved it."

-Anne Frasier, author of Pale Immortal

"Beautifully written, a true elegy of noir despair… There is a strand of agonizing compassion all throughout this elegant sparse novel. This is a dark, wondrous jewel of a book."

-Ken Bruen, Shamus award winning author of The Guards and American Skin

"…a tough, brutal and disturbing story. This is fiction that hurts."

-Manuel Ramos, Edgar nominated author of Moony's Road to Hell

"The Concrete Maze is a remarkable book. Torres brings his characters to life with passion and conviction and makes you care deeply about their fate."

-Richard Aleas, Edgar winning author of ittle Girl Lost

"Tremendous novel. As tough as it is heartbreaking. Beautifully written -- controlled, poised and confident throughout. You have a new fan."

-Al Guthrie, Edgar nominated author of Hard Man

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Book Giveaway!

If you haven't heard, I'm giving away copies of THE CONCRETE MAZE. There are still some left, so ask me.

So far, I've got books going out to California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Connecticut, Germany, and Australia. I'd like to see more states and countries represented, but what can I do?

It is all, of course, part of my master plan to get myself nominated for an Edgar...Or an Anthony. I could use one of those also. Or a Barry. Anyway, I had an epipahny the other night - I can't be nominated for anything if people haven't read my book. So I figured I'd do something to ensure people had the books on their TBR piles.

I've been told by a couple of people that if they were to compile end-of-year 10 best lists, THE CONCRETE MAZE would be on it. These are people who have compiled them before, so that's encouraging. Still, I won't rest until I've mounted Edgar Allan Poe's little, shrunken head onto my wall...

Impossible, you say? You're probably right.

A dreamer you call me? Maybe.

Setting myself up for heartbreak? Of course.

Breathing in the toxic air of a competition driven atmosphere? Now you're just trying to confuse me.

Give the book a try then let me know how foolish I am.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Back to L.A....

I have been traveling about as much as anyone would want, but with a lot less purpose. This weekend (only Monday - plenty of time to dread it) I'm headed to Los Angeles. Why? Book signing? No. Sight seeing? No. Research? Nope. Visit with old friends? No. Meet with assistants to assistant producers who will sit bored while I pitch them my stories at a huge writer's cattle-call known to the world of wannabes as Sreenwriter's Expo so that they can forget who I am as soon as I leave the chair and the next desperate writer sits? BINGO!

Now, you might say "Steven. Why go if you're down on the whole thing days before you even board the plane?" Well, mon ami, there's a perfectly good reason...No, not that*. I mean, I've paid for it already.

I did this last year and got a couple of people interested in seeing more - they emailed me the following week asking for pages from my script, etc. That was interesting for a short while, but it turned into nothing which is essentially what it was at the start of things. I thought I'd be going with a bit more purpose - more polished scripts, great story ideas, more knowledge of what, exactly, I want out of the trip. I was wrong. I have one extra script, one polished idea. I'll also take along a couple copies of my latest book since several people seemed disappointed last time that I hadn't brought any along.

The hard thing is that I know my chances are microscopically slim. I don't live in L.A. That means no connections. It also means no TV since you kind of have to be in LA to work on TV (with rare exceptions). So I'm trying to convince these assistants to the assistant producers that they should gamble the budget of a motion picture on something by an unknown, untried writer.

On the other hand, if my movies were to get made, I'd guarantee you kickass entertainment.

Hardest part of writing a screenplay? Pacing.

* There's always a chance, no?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Nominate me!

Over at Spinetingler, there's a contest running - nominate me! I know, I know. You're saying to yourself "Who is this guy?" Good question. The best answer will come from you reading my book. Contact me right here in the comments section, and I will arrange to send you a copy of THE CONCRETE MAZE while supplies last. So far I have two takers. Anyone else game? All I ask is if you like the book (and it is hardboiled so not to everyone's taste) then please nominate me over at Spinetingler.

Of course, if you've already read the book, just click here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ted Likes the Book. Why don't you?

Ted Fitzgerald, reviewer for Deadly Pleasures, tells me he likes The Concrete Maze. He liked that I was able "to make credible this story of ordinary citizens going up against professional criminals and that the story didn't end in a cinematic bloodbath".

Now, the book is hardboiled, so there is some blood. Just not a blood bath. That's important. I write action sequences well, so tossing in a bloodbath is a strategy I have sometimes relied on. Not necessarily a bad thing. The first Precinct Puerto Rico novel has a blood bath. Two, in fact. Still a good book. Those scenes fit that book. The Concrete Maze is a bit more nuanced.

Anyway, if you want to see for yourself, I've got a few copies I can give away here. Let me know and I'll send you one while supplies last.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I'll be in L.A....

Strangely, I'll be in L.A. on Sunday for the Latino Book and Family Festival being held, this time around, on Sunset Boulevard. I fully expect to see William Holden....

After my segment (from noon to 1pm if I understand correctly) I'll wander about aimlessly with my suitcase in tow. I'm hoping to see Grauman's Chinese Theater to see if any of the stars have bigger feet than me.

Then, almost immediately, it's back to LAX for the journey home. The hope is to do some writing along the way.

Stop by if you live in the area. It'll be fun*.

* Not intended as an actual guarantee of fun...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I forgot...

Were we supposed to go to war with Iran? I ask because I just drove in to work listening to a radio program where they were talking about the likelihood of war with Iran and one of the guys seemed pretty convinced it was going to happen. On the other hand, the president of Iran - He Whose Name I Cannot Spell - was recently talking about sexuality at a major American university. And the top button of his shirt is always undone...Perhaps not quite stylish (otherwise I've been stylish for decades) but certainly relaxed.

Also, since Colin Powell is no longer around, who will convince Americans and the world that there is a case for war? Does Iran have nukes or not? Anyone know? I would ask the president (of our country, not Iran) but as the feather duster said to the candelabra in Beauty and the Beast "I've been burned by you before."

If Iran does have nukes, or even if they might have nukes, wouldn't invading them or bombing them give them a reason to use them? Of course, if they don't have nukes, then is there another reason to attack them? There are roadside bombs, of course. Those are bad, but I could almost swear those bombs were going off in Iraq years before Iran was mentioned as devising them, no?

We don't have to invade Iran. We could just bomb the crap out of them. Expensive, but no need to yet again deploy troops that have already gone into the field of battle three times. Or four. And we'd also get more footage of smart bombs pinpointing targets; haven't seen that in while. But then we'd better get the president of Iran with one of those bombs like we were supposed to "get" Osama. And Saddam. Otherwise, I imagine he'll button that top button, roll up his sleeves, leave the bedroom talk aside, and get serious...

But then weren't we also supposed to invade North Korea? A possible FOURTH front. That would make us truly busy indeed. I was surprised to find that the Korean War never officially ended. The sound of the movie announcer - "THE KOREAN WAR...This Time It's For Real!" No need to even declare war really; Truman took care of that detail.

People ask when we're going to get our troops back. Tired of war and death even if it is 10,000 miles away and relatively anti-septic (I mean relative to previous wars, not normalcy). Frankly, at this point, if the current president (of America) can get through the rest of his term without opening up a third front, I'd consider that a victory.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Last of Bouchercon...

The best part of it - organized part, I mean, not the running into people in the hallways stuff - was the live auction. Chris Grabenstein was hilarious. I wonder how much people would bid for a critique of their manuscript by me. I think one critique went for something like $350. Could have been more. Someone bid $500 to have their name immortalized in an SJ Rozan novel. Don't think I'd raise that kind of scratch...More was bid for inclusion in a Charlaine Harris novel. Frankly, I'd never heard of Harris. Not a knock except perhaps at my own ignorance. The roll of duct tape used as a gavel went for $125. That seemed excessive. I think the print of the conference logo with dozens of signatures on it ent for a good sum.

One item went for over $1,000. Can't remember what it was...Oh wait. it was an autographed first edition of a first novel by an Alaskan author. Still don't have a name.

Not as many items to bid on as what I've seen in previous B'Cons, but a great time anyway.

Of course, talking with Ted Fitzgerald or Gary Warren Neibuhr or Jeri Westerton or Juan Carlos Arias or Jim Huang or Ted Hertel or Ruth Jordan or Jen4 Jordan or Emily Bronstein or Judy Bobalik or any of the many I'm forgetting right now was the real fun of the conference. Always is.

I think I got Jim Huang and Ted Hertel to agree that if they read THE CONCRETE MAZE and liked it, they would not refer to it as either "Heart Breaking" or "Gut Wrenching." We decided on "Bone Crunchingly Good!" Of course, they are also free to say "THE CONCRETE MAZE... It will blow you away!"

Monday, October 01, 2007

Things I Didn't See in Alaska...

Just got back from Bouchercon late last night. The conference itself was wonderful, the trip was Hell. I had always wanted to go to Alaska and I had thoughts when I signed up that I might make a full week trip of it. I was wrong. Life got in the way and the seven days I was going to use turned into six then five then four - two of the four were spent in airports and on planes. Ah well.

One of the disappointments was in the stuff I didn't get a chance to see. For instance, I was hoping to see a glacier. Nope. Or a polar bear. Nope. Even better, a polar bear on a glacier. No luck. Or a penguin. Wrong continent. The Northern Lights. Nope. Denali. No can do. Ken Bruen. No show (with good reason I take it - I pray for him). Or Jonathan Santlofer.

The part of Ken Bruen was played by Declan Hughes instead. A nice chat we had. And in true Bruen form, he walked off with a major prize. Of course, so did Bruen - a couple of them, in fact - and he wasn't even there. Just goes to show no one can out-Bruen Bruen...

The part of Mr. Santlofer was played by Ross Hugo-Vidal, husband of Julia Spencer-Fleming. We strategized for an hour about how to make Julia into a NY Times Bestselling author. Since I thought she was one already, I'm not sure how helpful I was. Of course, since the closest I come to being on the Times' radar is when I actually buy a copy, I'm not convinced Julia should take any of the advice I offered anyway. I talk a good game though...

There was also James Sallis who was there to get a lifetime achievement award but apparently thinks he has yet to make it big. Of course, from my perspective, his career looks pretty good. He wasn't complaining, just explaining that he hasn't broken out to the mainstream and probably never will. Makes me think that the mainstream doesn't know what it's missing.

Who else did I meet? That's my next post...