Cell at Eastern State

Cell at Eastern State

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bruce Noir at The Showroom in Asbury Park - UPDATE

On Friday, August 23rd, I'll be helping to kick off a weekend of classic films at the Showroom in Asbury Park. “BRUCE NOIR – Darkness, Films and Springsteen" is a celebration of the kinds of films that influenced Bruce Springsteen's music and occupy the same dark landscapes evoked in his songs.
Photo by Danny Clinch http://www.dannyclinch.com/
 Jersey crime writer (and committed Springsteen fan) Wallace Stroby will be hosting fantastic films all weekend at the beautiful new Showroom Cinema on Cookman Avenue just a few blocks from the boardwalk and The Stone Pony, the bar most associated with Springsteen's life and work. Wallace has been following Springsteen's career from the early days, and I can't wait to hear his take on how Springsteen's work reflects the noir aesthetic displayed in the films being screened.

As with crime fiction itself, there's no question about the deep exchange of influences between Springsteen and American film. He's spoken in interviews many times about favorite movies such as 70's action films Rolling Thunder, Cockfighter and Jackson County Line. Many of his songs have lyrics or titles that are loving tributes to his favorite movies, and his songs have gone on to inspire screenwriters and directors such as Sean Penn, John Sayles, Paul Schrader and Walter Hill.

On Friday the 23rd, I'll be joining Wallace (whose next Crissa Stone novel, Shoot the Woman First, will be released in December from Minotaur Books) to introduce and discuss Gun Crazy, the 1950 crime classic directed by Joseph H. Lewis and staring Peggy Cummins and John Dall. We'll kick off the evening at 7:30. Directions and details can be found at the Showroom's website. Following the film there will be a Skype interview with Peter Ames Carlin, author of Bruce, the Springsteen autobiography called 'definitive' by the Star Ledger. Wallace and Peter will discuss the themes and context of Bruce's most noir-inspired songs. 

Saturday the 24th will be the real treat for fans of classic film and Springsteen's music. Terrence Malick's dreamlike Badlands will show at 1:00pm, followed at 4:00 by the timeless Jacques Tourneur's classic Out of the Past with Robert Mitchum at his best. After that film, photographer Mark Krajnak will discuss how both Springsteen's music and Mark's own love of film noir have helped influence his work. At 7:30 is the dark but lyrical Atlantic City (a movie that never fails to remind me of my own family and its Jersey connections) and finishing up with another side of Mitchum in Thunder Road, from 1958.

I hope you'll all be able to come out and enjoy a weekend of excellent cinema and fascinating discussion. Please visit the Showroom Cinema's website to get updated information on ticketing and any last minute changes in the schedule. The Showroom is at 707 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ, 07712. The phone number is (732) 502 0472. 

 UPDATE - If you're coming to Bruce Noir - follow this link to Wallace Stroby's blog to get a printable 20% discount coupon you can bring to the box office. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Noir at the Bar Returns!

"Noir at the Bar" has become an international phenomenon but it started right here in the Delaware Valley. The premise is simple: Crime fiction writers read and answer questions at a good (or wonderfully divey) bar, because while we all love a good bookstore, not many serve 12-year-old Irish Whiskey. Gritty noir and booze are natural allies on the page, the screen and at the end of a working day. The event began in Philadelphia under the direction of Peter Rozovsky and spread from there. St. Louis and Los Angeles picked up the tradition and now host the two largest Noir at the Bar events in the country. Peter Rozovsky and I decided that the East Coast needed representation again and called Farley's Bookstore to see if they'd be interested in resurrecting the original Noir at the Bar format. They couldn't say no.  John and Peter's in New Hope, Pennsylvania graciously gave us the space to hold the event and Peter, William Hastings and the great crew at Farley's set to work lining up talent. May 23rd will mark the re-launch of the Philadelphia area Noir at the Bar series, hosted by Farley's Bookshop, John & Peter's and carefully guided by Noir at the bar founder Peter Rozovsky.

The night's two featured readers will be Asbury Park's Wallace Stroby and yours truly. There are some special guest readers in the works, including Don Lafferty and others whose names will remain secret until the 23rd at 9pm. Wallace is the author of hard-bitten Jersey crime classics like Kings of Midnight, Gone 'Til November and The Barbed Wire Kiss, and his new series featuring tough-as-nails armed robber Crissa Stone is in development at Showtime with Ted Talley, the screenwriter of Silence of the Lambs. Wallace knows crime, having been an editor for thirteen years at the Newark Star-Ledger, Tony Soprano's hometown newspaper.

Come down and join all of us for a great evening of good drinks and great fiction on Thursday, May 23rd. John and Peter's is at 96 South Main Street in New Hope and the event begins at 9:00pm.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Thanks very much to Wallace Stroby, who passed along the opportunity to participate in the Next Big Thing blog round, which I'm sharing this week with Edgar Nominee thriller author Alison Gaylin and celebrated crime writers Scott Adlerberg and Andrew Nette.

As part of the Next Big Thing, every week a new group of writers will answer some questions about their latest work or work-in-progress. Some great writers have already participated, and it's great to be in such august company.

Hope you'll enjoy this, and please visit Andrew, Scott and Alison's blogs for their answers.

1) What’s the title or working title of your new/next book?

The tentative title is The Poor Boy's Game, and it's coming from Minotaur Books late next year.

2) Where did the idea for the book come from?

I think all writers have themes they return to over and over, and for me it's family - how our character is shaped by our history and how we struggle to define ourselves. I also set my books in the Philadelphia area and wanted to play with some local history.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

The book is hardboiled or noir crime, depending on your definition.

Rooney Mara
4) What actorswould you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Or TV series?

I actually thought more about this question while writing this book than I have before. Usually I have only a vague picture of what my charcters are like physically, but this protagonist has a very particular look - she's got red hair and a boxer's physique, though of course anyone can dye their hair.
Christina Hendricks
I picture somebody like Rooney Mara or Lauren Cohan from the Walking Dead. I'm a huge fan of Christina Hendricks, who can project that great dangerous persona, and I think it would be a lot of fun to see her as a lean, physically tough character. The main character has a sidekick named Sleeper that I always picture as Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd. For the father I'd love to see Peter Mullan, a fantastic Scots actor and an amazing director himself.

Lauren Cohan
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The book's premise is that an ex-Federal Marshal has to protect a witness from her own father, an escaped convict and organized crime figure.

6) Will your book be self-published or traditionally published?
My books are all from Minotaur, a great house that specializes in crime and is a St. Martins imprint.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I've been working on the novel for about seven months and it's due in February, so it will be a relatively long gestation for this one.
Peter Mullan

8) What other books within the genre would you compare this story to?

I'm hoping that fans of Wallace Stroby's Crissa Stone books (which also feature a dark, kick-ass heroine) will enjoy my stuff. The story is about a tough woman defending her family and friends, so folks who enjoyed Girl With the Dragon Tattoo might like my lead character, the ex-Marshal Frannie Mullen.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I was drawn to the idea of a woman who was the daughter of this dangerous character but who had become a federal agent, and trying to deal with her family history and understand her own nature. I also wanted to write something rooted in the Roofer's Union scandals of the 80's, which I don't think anyone's written about other than some great newspaper coverage at the time.

I think mostly I fell in love with the idea, but I've also always relied heavily on the masters of the crime genre as a guide, guys like Lawrence Block and James Lee Burke, who I've been reading a lot of recently, particularly the excellent Hackberry Holland books.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

I think folks who know Philadelphia will recognize the landscape, and the little bits of Philadelphia crime history might make it more interesting. One of the fascinating true bits I stumbled on was that some of the guys who were movers in the corrupt union scandals of the 80's recruited guys out of local boxing gyms, and boxing plays a part in the action and history of the characters.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Get the Green Light in StumbleUpon’s Get Discovered Writing Contest

Do you have a screenplay, stageplay, novel, short story, memoir or graphic novel saved on your computer right now? Have you always thought about being a professional writer but never thought you’d make it?

Here’s your chance to change the rest of your life.
Three film industry professionals are running the “Get Discovered” Writing Contest. It's your chance to see what the StumbleUpon community and a panel of Hollywood talent agents and script doctors think of your work. If you win, you’ll get your work shown to a producer, playhouse or other appropriate company for the chance to see your work published, performed or produced! You may end up getting the phone call that amateur writer Isaac Marion got one day telling him that his short story “I Am a Zombie Filled with Love” – adored by Stumblers everywhere – had blockbuster potential.
So get that manuscript out of the drawer and into the hands of some folks who can help you get the word out! Act fast - the contest runs until July 24, 2012.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

RCR Pictures Hires Marc Maurino to Script "Wolves of Fairmount Park"

Marc Maurino
Marc Maurino
  Heard this week that Marc Maurino has been hired to write the script for "Wolves of Fairmount Park." Marc recently sold the script for his thriller, "Inside the Machine" to CBS films, and I think he's an excellent choice to adapt the novel. You can read an interview that Marc did with the screenwriting website "Go Into The Story," where he mentions 'Wolves' at the end of the interview and references a couple of films (Frozen River and Winter's Bone) that I thought were amazing.
'Wolves' is being by developed by Robin Schorr and Dan Seligman of RCR Pictures, who are also in production on a movie called "The Good Time Gang," with Jonah Hill and Mark Wahlberg. You can read about the deal with Marc in Variety and at Collider.com.
It's been a great time for friends and family, too. My daughter Rachel has a manuscript going out to publishers soon, and my buddy Jon McGoran recently got a great two-book contract with Tor/Forge with his new eco-thriller, Drift.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Back in the Game

I'm pleased as hell to announce that I'll be back in print with Minotaur!

From Publisher's Marketplace: Mystery/Crime

Author of Wolves of Fairmount Park Dennis Tafoya's THE POOR BOY'S GAME, starring a female ex-Marshal now working in private "kidnap and ransom" who has to face the most dangerous criminal she's ever encountered: her own father, a gang enforcer who has escaped from prison, to Kelley Ragland at Minotaur, in a two-book deal, by Alex Glass at Trident Media Group (NA).

I am writing the first book now. It's set in Philly again and features a new (and I hope, recurring) character, Frannie Mullen, an ex-Marshal who has to protect a pregnant woman from Frannie's own father, Patrick Mullen, a former enforcer for a corrupt union local. Frannie's life in the Marshals, her father's criminal past and her new job in K and R should yield plenty of material for new stories.

It's been fun so far, researching the Marshals, reading about the old roofers union scandals of the 80's, scouting locations in Philly and learning arcane bits of Philadelphia crime history. This one also draws on some Philadelphia boxing history, too, and I've already been pestering my pals like Greg Gillespie of Port Richmond Books for stories.

For those of you around Philly this weekend, I'll be at Atlantis The Lost Bar at 4 on Saturday, January 7th, after the David Goodis Bus Tour run by our friend Lou Boxer of NoirCon, which should be a great time. See you there!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fundraiser for Leslie "LA" Banks

Come on out to a unique Writers’ Bash on Saturday, August 6th, beginning at 7 p.m. and going on till closing at Smokey Joe’s bar located at 208 S. 40th Street in University City on the University of Pennsylvania campus. You can just show up, or reserve your spot now by clicking here.

At the bash, enjoy music and munchies, discounted drinks, and chances to bid on amazing silent auction items including full manuscript critiques by top New York literary agents and editors! (*Just added to auction list: scholarship to the Backspace Conference in NY!) Admission to the event, which is sponsored by the Liars Club, is $20, $10 for college students with I.D. All proceeds go toward the expenses of ill author, Liars Club member and wonderful friend Leslie Esdaile Banks (who writes under the name L.A. Banks). Leslie is battling a rare cancer.

Leslie (L.A. Banks), a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, has written over 40 novels and 21 novellas. She was honored by the University of Pennsylvania Black Alumni Society as “A Living Legend,” and Mayor Nutter appointed her to the Philadelphia Free Library Board as a commissioner on the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy. In 2010, as a single mom and freelancer faced with a massive increase in her insurance bills, she fired off an eloquent email to the White House. President Barack Obama took notice, and Leslie had the distinct honor of introducing the President when he came to Philadelphia to talk about health care reform.

Ironically, just a few months ago Leslie learned she had late stage adrenal cancer, and that her insurance is inadequate, leaving her family facing massive expenses. Please come out for our event - you can meet some great local writers, network with agents and editors, and support an amazing Philadelphia native. Leslie is a University City resident, and a Penn and Temple graduate. “She’s truly one of our own,” Maberry says, “and we hope everyone will come out in full force to Smokey Joe's on the Penn campus to honor this amazing woman and help her family at this difficult time.”