I come by my addiction to crime fiction... um... honestly. As the son of two 1950's era ex-heroin addicts and ex-cons from Los Angeles, crime is in my blood. My dad did a bounce in Soledad for Forgery, and mom was in Norco for Possession of Narcotics. I also had a grandpa in San Quentin, an uncle in Chino, my sister was also in Norco, just like dear ole Ma. One of my childhood friends became a serial killer. That's California for ya!
Because of our upbringing, my older brother is a lawyer. I'm a former skip tracer, journalist, gravedigger, and Hollywood stand-up comic... which was all just prep for my becoming a writer of crime fiction.
I've been writing mystery/crime fiction on and off since 1982. I also wrote a few western stories and some science fiction. I submitted all of these stories to magazines such as Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, as well as mags that don't exist any more like Twilight Zone, Asimov's, Espionage, Louis L'Amour's Western Magazine, Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine, and others whose names I can't remember.
During all this, I apprenticed by reading everything I could get my hands on, even old Fawcett Gold Medal paperbacks from the 1950's that I'd find in junk shops. Among the writers I "studied under," if you will: Hammett, Chandler, Carroll John Daly, James M. Cain, Cornell Woolrich, Horace McCoy, Howard Browne, William Campbell Gault, Ross Macdonald, W.R. Burnett, Earle Stanley Gardner, Jim Thompson, Larry Block, Elmore Leonard, Bill Pronzini, Ed Gorman, and the incomparable James Ellroy.
In all of my youthful churning out of stories and collecting of rejection slips, I never sold a single story. I gave up for awhile, gained some life experience, had some small successes in other genres such as journalism, playwriting, and as a comedy writer. In 1995 I graduated from the Writer's Digest School, where I had been mentored by veteran crime writer Josh Pachter. One of the 2 stories I wrote during that course was actually kept by AHMM for a full 6 months before I received a personal rejection letter from editor Kathleen Jordan. It was the nicest no-sale ever. I quickly sent off the OTHER story I'd written with Pachter's mentoring. This time I quickly received a form rejection slip.
Then I wrote my first novel. I started planning the novel, and the series it was to be part of, in 1995. I wrote the first draft in the Winter of 2005-2006. After several attempts to get an agent, Then I stuck the novel in a drawer, but I'd drag it out every once in awhile to revise it.
I'd pretty much given up on publishing the thing, 'til I read about a guy named John Locke, who writes the Donovan Creed novels, and who had sold over a million copies of his Creed books and his Emmett Love westerns in e-book form. In doing so, Locke had landed on the New York Times Bestseller list... for E-BOOKS but who cares, he can still call himself NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR JOHN LOCKE... even on the covers of his paperbacks.
I dragged my novel out of the drawer and revised it one more time. In July 2011 I published "Death in the Fast Lane," the 1st King Leary novel, on Kindle/Amazon. In early September I pulled it to fix some formatting errors, and then I republished it, for Kindle, Nook, and for other formats. A paperback version is available on Amazon.
What Locke, Chris Culver, J.A. Konrath and others have shown me is that e-publishing is the new Pulp Fiction, the new Fawcett Gold Medal Edition mass-paperback, if you will. I can write about whatever I want, however I want and no one can tell me to do otherwise. This gives me a chance to experiment with my next few books, the King Leary novels and maybe a few one-offs. I can go as dark as I want or as silly as I want, and, since I'm selling these things for 99 Cents, there will be readers willing to take a chance on me.
If you haven't had the chance, please read "Death in the Fast Lane," available on Kindle or on the free Kindle app for iPhone, Android, PC, or Mac.
Once again, the Kindle apps are FREE. So this will only cost you 99 Cents.
Here's the blurb:
When a Rock legend dies mysteriously, it's up to LAPD Det. King Leary, and his partner Det. Millionaire Adler, investigate. On the way, they meet crazed music biz types,the Mayflower Mafia, and a serial killer known as the Angel. On top of all that, Leary has a secret... he sees dead people.
Here are the links: