For the first time (I think) I forgot on Saturday to write this blog for Sunday.
All I can do is claim the only semi-valid excuse for a writer: I was working.
The fifth Poke Rafferty book, THE FEAR ARTIST, will be published by the amazing people at Soho Crime on July 17. This was the most difficult book I ever wrote, even harder than THE QUEEN OF PATPONG, so it's very reassuring to me that early readers and reviewers seem to like it quite a bit.
I've already had unofficial peeks at three raves that will come out in July, and one of the most important book trades has apparently called to request cover art for their table of contents, which usually guarantees that the review will be enthusiastic. My fingers are crossed.
So I've been caught up in the pre-publication whirl on THE FEAR ARTIST, which is enough to devour substantial portions of any writer's energy and time. But at the same time, I spent something like nine uninterrupted hours yesterday finishing yet another book, and that's what really made me miss my deadline.
This is the first-draft copy of the cover of the new Junior Bender ebook, THE FAME THIEF. The things that will change are the handcuffs, which will become standard-issue police cuffs, except they'll be gold, the Hollywood sign, which will be just a tad brighter, and the Junior Bender Mystery line at the bottom, which will be a color with a little more pop to it.
This is Junior's third adventure. (Junior is a Los Angeles burglar who moonlights, often reluctantly, as a private eye for crooks.) In it, he's more or less compelled by the world's oldest still-dangerous gangster, Irwin Dressler, to investigate who destroyed the budding career of a "starlet" -- in 1950. Dolores La Marr had just made the cover of Life Magazine above the cut line, "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World," and her first starring role, in a B movie called "Hell's Sisters" was packing them in, at least in the sticks, but she had a wee secret: she enjoyed the company of gangsters. "It was nice," she tells Junior, "to be around men who wore less makeup than I did."
The assignment sends Junior back to the last days of the studio moguls, the days when the mob still held sway in Los Angeles, and when bad publicity could destroy a career (as opposed to now, when it just sells tickets). to find out who wecked the life of Dolores La Marr, born Wanda Altshuler. With a cast of suspects who are all in their eighties and even nineties, Junior--himself a callow 37--discovers that the great regrets of many lives arise not so much from who we were as who we weren't.
So anyway, I finished it yesterday (almost 3600 words!) and everything else went by the board. It should be available on the Kindle in a month or two.