Friday, May 29, 2009

More writerly news

Jen Jordan has put together another of her excellent anthologies for Bleak House and I'm in it. Ms. Jordan is a supporter of my writing which pleases me greatly since she's a woman of otherwise great taste. In any event, the book is called UNCAGE ME, and my story is titled "The Biography of Stoop, the Thief, Chapter Three: Stoop and Elizabeth."*

In any event, this is an anthology with one of the most stellar lineups of writers that you'll ever come across. To quote the product description: "Scott Phillips, Allan Guthrie, Christa Faust, Victor Gischler, J.A. Konrath, J.D. Rhoades, Declan Burke, Brian Azzarello, Steven Torres, Stewart Macbride, Simon Kernick, Patrick Bagley, Greg Bardsley, Stephen Blackmore, Tim Maleeny, Nick Stone, Martyn Waites, Talia Berliner, Maxim Jakubowski, Gregg Hurwitz, Blake Crouch, and more!"

Usually "and more" or "and others" refers to me...

In any event, here is what Publisher's Weekly had to say about the collection and my story in particular:

Publishers Weekly- -
While John Connolly ("The Reapers") rightly notes in his introduction that this all- original anthology isn't for the fainthearted, noir lovers will find plenty to savor among the 22 stories from both familiar and unfamiliar names. Steven Torres offers the most moving selection, The Biography of Stoop, the Thief, in which a 14- year- old boy tries to save the mother who abandoned him for a life on the streets as a substance abuser. Tim Maleeny's Prisoner of Love not only features twists and betrayals but manages to make an ambiguous resolution satisfying rather than frustrating. There are some duds, like Maxim Jakubowski's shocker We Mate in the Dark, with its pointless savagery, but on the whole the contributors demonstrate the ability to create believable and memorable characters as well as settings in a few pages.

Now, if you visit Jen Jordan's site, you get an explanation for the one negative comment. (Scroll to the May 22 entry.) Here I'll say a word about the positive comment about my story...It is the first positive thing PW has had to say about anything I've written so I'm quite excited. In the past, they accused me of writing gratuitous sex and violence (that of a book without a single sex scene... The next week another review called my writing "music for the soul". Study in contrasts...) and called one of my books "pointless." (Either that or useless, can't recall... Possibly both.) In any event, it is nice that PW has finally hopped on the Steven Torres bandwagon. A wagon which carries myself, my mother, Jen Jordan, and now PW...

More business news tomorrow.

* The long title is a little more than an affectation - There is a "Biography of Stoop, the Thief, Chapter One: Stoop and Clyde" out there (published by Crimespree some years ago) which is one of my favorite stories. Chapter Two is unpublished.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The New Book

Blackout in Precinct Puerto Rico. As I said yesterday, the title wasn't my idea and I kind of like it though there really isn't a blackout in the book...yet.

I still owe St. Martins a few thousand words on it. Here's the thing...The book is the first one I wrote and the third one I sold to SMP, but the fifth that they're publishing. And, unlike many first novels, I think it is actually quite good. In fact, I think it's the strongest of the Precinct Puerto Rico novels. I'll go a step further and say that this PPR novel beats the other PPR novels with a stick. I won't say it leaves them for dead since I'm partial to the first published (third written). Is it good? Yes. Not quite at the contractually required length, so I'll be adding a couple of scenes to make it less an inverted mystery and more straightforward.

But if it's not actually about a blackout, then what's it about? (I hearing you thinking that.) It's about Luis Gonzalo trying to figure what happened to this teenaged girl he found beaten and naked in the middle of the night - she won't say a word, so he has a bit of guesswork he has to conduct and it's about what happens when his guesswork leads him to the possibility (not the conclusion, just one possibility among several) that the girl's father was responsible. The father can't remember what he was doing at the time except to say it involved a lot of drinking (see? blackout).

Now I've said a fair bit about the story, but not the good bits. And of course what we all want to know (we meaning you, not me since I've read the thing already) is whether Gonzalo figures things out at all because I'll tell you since the victim won't say a word, this one's a puzzler. Well, you'll have to wait until April.


More writerly news tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Writerly news...

Well, if the first four Precinct Puerto Rico weren't enough for the world (and frankly, were I to judge from sales I'd have said the first one was more than enough) then there is going to be a fifth to satiate a demanding public. I've been given a pub date from St. Martins Press, and we're looking at April of 2010. This is great news for me since, of course, having a book published a very nice thing. Also, it means I'll get more money from SMP as they pay out the other half of my advance. Baby needs a new pair of shoes and by next April, she'll be able to get them...

The book will be called...Get ready... BLACKOUT IN PRECINCT PUERTO RICO. Readers of this blog and of my books, or even just people who've run into me casually will know that I don't name my books. SMP does that. I was surprised by this particular title for two reasons - 1. given that we have to have the phrase "precinct puerto rico" in the title (their idea, not mine) this title isn't really all that bad, but 2. there isn't actually a blackout mentioned in the book. Of course it has been a while since I wrote the thing so I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

Anyway, for that part of the world that has been waiting for another Precinct Puerto Rico book, it's coming.

Tune in tomorrow and, if I remember, I will tell you something about the storyline and whether or not I think this is the greatest of the Precinct Puerto Rico books yet.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another Bronx Puerto Rican done good..

And it's not me. Ah well. Still it is a pride filling day for Sonia Sotomayor and all her family. And as a Puerto Rican, of course, I am familia too. No doubt she'll be grilled. Almost no doubt, however, that she'll be confirmed. The neighborhood she grew up in was quite rough back when the Bronx was the Wild East. It's still not that nice a place. Still, she gives hope, no? It's hard, but it can be done. You can move up, move out, make a difference, control your destiny. Good for her. Good for me.

Tomorrow, if I'm lucky, a little news about that whole writing career thing...