Interrogation—Leslie Bohem

IMG_2742Who: Leslie Bohem

What: A participant of the great Los Angeles Music Scare of the 1980s. After his burgeoning career in rock and roll stopped burgeoning, Les found a job writing screenplays about rock and roll musicians whose careers had stopped burgeoning. He’s written some movies and television including the miniseries, Taken, for which he won an Emmy. His novella, FLIGHT 505, was just published by UpperRubberBoot, and his new album, Moved to Duarte, will be up and out any minute.  He is currently producing his series, Shut Eye, for Hulu.

Where: Los Angeles

Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited. Leslie Bohem guitar photo by Bonnie Perkinson.

I finished FLIGHT 505 in one sitting. How did you come up with this dark, funny and heartbreaking story? Why was 2015 the right time to tell it?

Well, first thanks. A lot.  I’d had a first chapter for a while—not the Chapter as it is now; a scene of Al, fixing bar games in a bar where he used to play.  And the story just sort of took off.

Why now? Honestly, I just finally got around to telling it. I think I had to get enough distance from my own days in music—and then, a few years ago, I began writing songs again, and that sort of brought me full circle.

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Publication Day*

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Fire up your time machines, kiddies!

November 3, 2015 is the official publication day for my debut mystery novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION. Kinda funny since the ebook has been available for two weeks already and the print version started shipping last Thursday—but still, PUBLICATION DAY*!

If you’re an early adopter, thank you for taking a chance on my Surf Noir novel about a punk rock cop on the beaches of LA. It took five years and tons of revisions—thanks to generous feedback from trusted beta readers, support from the incredible crime/mystery community, my editor Elaine Ash, and the talented crew at Rare Bird Books—but I’m stoked at how the book turned out.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-11-03_at_61708_amI’ve also been blown away by the positive feedback I’ve gotten so far. Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are the best way for you to let other readers know about your favorite books, no matter what books or authors you’re reviewing. So, if you have the time, please leave an honest review of BCC. Also totally understand if reviews are not your thing.

Thanks for all the support either way. It feels like two kittens are wrestling inside my chest right now, all because of you. Yes you.

Now, back to writing the sequel…

Great #writingtips From Authors & Publishers

We’ve had the good fortune to interview some fantastic authors and publishers in the last year. Here’s a collection of writing tips and quotes from the last few months. Please click through to read the whole article and get to know these amazing talents.

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Read my interview with Les Edgerton

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New Podcast Interview—Make It Big!

My friend Paul Stinson has started a cool new podcast called Make It Big! It’s all about exploring the meaning of success in the arts. In my case, he was interested in how a one-time music career led me into writing mystery/crime fiction, and what the similarities are between the two.

He and I spoke for an hour-and-a-half after my Noir Slam reading at The Last Bookstore in downtown LA a week ago. It’s a long interview, but he asks some great questions and it was good to catch up with him. The kind of conversation you’d expect two old friends to have over drinks, only with microphones.

Make It Big! is still pretty new, but it’s a great concept. I can’t wait to see where he takes it. Stoked he let me be part of it. Enjoy!

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published by Rare Bird Books in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Learning How To Read

I did a Lit Crawl LA:NoHo reading last night at the Laemmle Royal in Santa Monica. Probably my fourth or fifth such reading in public. Got another one coming up next Wednesday downtown. It doesn’t make me want to vomit the way it did a couple of months ago—so that’s progress.

I’ve got a ways to go before I’m “good” at it, but I’m starting to figure a few things out. For one, it’s clear to me that the goal should be to read from memory. Looking down at the page for most of the reading, with only the occasional awkward peek up at the audience, just isn’t cutting it. That’s going to take some serious work.

The other thing is laughter. Whether I’m the one doing the reading or I’m in the audience, hitting a comedic moment in a reading is a real ice breaker. Sometimes that can be the actual text, but a lot of the time it’s in the delivery. Those moments when the author reacts to the gruesomeness of their own work, tries to read in a challenging character voice or does a funny hand gesture at just the right moment.

The story I read last night was called “Fix Me,” and at 1,300 words it was probably the longest thing I have read out loud to date. What I discovered is that once I was into the story, I kind of lost all sense of time—like I didn’t know if I had been reading for a minute or twenty minutes. It made me a little self-conscious, worried that I was boring the crowd. And then I reached a funny point in the story, I got a couple of loud laughs, and everything was alright.

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I guess the main thing I have learned, both as a reader and as an observer, is this: writing is solitary, but reading is performance. The two might be related, but need to be approached differently.

Lucky for me, I’ve gotten great advice from a couple of pros. Check out these interviews with Eric Beetner and Johnny Shaw for tips on how to deliver a memorable reading of your work.

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published by Rare Bird Books in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Our. Short. Film.

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A friend of mine is a director. Our families were camping together in June when he mentioned that he liked one of my recent short stories. He said it might be fun to turn it into a short film. We tossed some ideas back and forth as we stood around the campfire that night, but then the guitars came out. We moved on to singing songs by Roger Miller, Violent Femmes and Taylor Swift (“King of the Road,” “Blister in the Sun,” pretty much the entire T.S. catalog—don’t judge).

Fast-forward to last week. A few of us dads were slam-dunking on an 8-foot basketball rim while our kids waged an epic Nerf gun battle nearby. My director friend passed me the ball and off-handedly mentioned my short story again. “I talked to a couple of the production companies I work with,” he said. “They’re gonna help me fund our short film.”

Our. Short. Film.

Last night we sat down and started working on ideas for the script, locations and casting. My experience with movie-making is mostly limited to music videos and student art films. So I came prepared with a list of friends who I thought would “do me a favor” and play one of the two main parts, let us shoot at their house or loan us a song. He pulled up IMDB and told me we were going to aim a little higher. I finally realized I was out of my depth when he started talking about stunt coordinators, filming permits and drones.

I have no idea what the future holds for this project, but right now it’s safe to say that I am incredibly excited for whatever comes next. I just hope they’ll let me come to the parties when it hits the festival circuit next year. Stay tuned…

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

 

Back It Up!

IMG_5761Everything was perfect. My family was going on a long road trip without me while I started a new job. The plan was to spend every minute of free time working on my second novel—sequel to the forthcoming BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION. This meant a lot of late nights and early mornings for a week-and-a-half. It also included an ambitious “10,000 word Saturday” during which I wrote 8,000 words over the course of 12 hours. Not bad for a hunt-and-peck guy.

I had sketched out some test chapters a few months earlier, but decided to start from scratch. I typed word one of the first chapter as my wife and kids pulled out of the driveway. The word count was at 28,000 when I left that Friday to join them for the final weekend of their trek.

I woke up on Monday morning and posted an author Q&A on this blog and left for work, like usual. Everything was fine, until my wife texted me later that afternoon to say that “something was wrong with the computer.” I rebooted the MacBook after dinner that night only to be greeted by the news that my hard drive had crashed and needed to be rebuilt. Almost all of my photos, music and documents are backed up in various ways, but a search for my new manuscript revealed that I was going to need some serious help. That was the one document that I never managed to save to the cloud.

Luckily, a close friend is an IT guy at a local university. He assured me that he had successfully saved files in similar situations many times before. After a couple of days of doing his damnedest, he texted to say that he was handing my machine over to some experts at work. By the end of the week he told me that he was enlisting the help of a company in Studio City called “$300 Data Recovery”. Guess how much it cost to have them extract my data?

Wrong! $382.

Right now I’m sitting at my desk, waiting for the external hard drive with my recovered data to arrive. The drive in my MacBook had crashed so hard that most of the files they recovered no longer had names. The only hope I have is that one of the hundred or so anonymous Word documents might be my manuscript.

I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out, but in the meantime please be smarter than me and back up all of your files. Regularly.

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Two Great Books Out Today

Ladies and gentlemen, today is a good day to be a fan of great writing. There are two new books that I really think you should go out and grab: SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL by Terrence McCauley, and THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR by Angel Luis Colon.

I was lucky enough to interview both authors recently, and here’s what they had to say about their respective works.

Let’s start with Terrence McCauley:

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL FINAL COVERI just read your upcoming Polis Books novel SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL and I thought it was great. What was the inspiration for this novel?

The inspiration for the novel came from the gritty spy thrillers of the 1970s that depended on character and plot development. Movies like ‘Three Days of the Condor’ were gripping because they felt real to me, even when I was a kid. I don’t get that same feeling from modern-day spy tales that rely on gadgets and SWAT team raids and jump-cut fight sequences and the disavowed spy trying to clear his/her name. I certainly enjoy those kinds of stories, but they’re not the kind I wanted to tell.

Read the whole interview right HERE.

Buy SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL HERE.

Next up is Angel Luis Colon:

Fury BlackyI just read THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR in one shot. Totally couldn’t put it down. What dark corner of your soul did the title character emerge from? Where does he go when you’re not writing about him?

Great question. Blacky isn’t necessarily my id, but he’s definitely a creature of impulse. I wanted to create someone dark, but cartoonish enough to love, if that makes sense. Most of Blacky’s decisions are by the seat of his pants and most definitely low-hanging fruit. Though, in the story, we do see Blacky has sort of a moral compass. This doesn’t excuse the things he does, but in most cases you’d have a beer with the guy.

Read the whole interview right HERE.

Buy THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR HERE.

S.W. Lauden is a writer and drummer living in Los Angeles. His short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Akashic Books, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Quick Quotes—The Week In Publishing

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“Fret not: your hardbound books and loose-leaf paper are not under threat. But there’s simply no use clinging to the past when there’s a glut of free resources available to writers at the click of a button.”—Writer’s Circle

“The American Book Association reports that since 2009, the number of independent stores has increased by 27 percent. This good news is somewhat tempered by that fact that while the numerical increase brings the number of locations up from 1,651 to 1,971, this still pales compared with the nearly 4,000 independent stores in operation during the 1990s.”—Jim Raftus at Providence Journal

“Genre is a classification system, subject to change over time and based on trends.”—Brooke Warner at Huffington Post Books

“In most respects, writing for private clients is like working on any other book. One difference, though, is that instead of trying to imagine what my audience might find compelling, or debating some of the contents with editors and publishers, I now had a direct line to the readers.”—William Novak at New York Times

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—Angel Luis Colon at Bad Citizen Corporation

“What truly makes Heinlein one of the great, foundational figures of modern science fiction is his intellectual curiosity, and his willingness to question life and society through his writing. His work in social science fiction was informed by a complex response to culture, and he insisted on following his ideas wherever they took him—even when that meant going against popular opinion or risking book sales.”—Leah Schelbach at Tor

“Before you are close to wrapping up the current novel, begin to think about the next one, and start writing it as soon as you can. When the current novel is released, you should be working on the next. This is your best defense against a void being created as the present excitement dies down.”—Kwei Quartey

“If you like to read, we’ve got some news for you. The second-half of 2015 is straight-up, stunningly chock-full of amazing books.”—The Great Second-Half 2015 Book Review at The Millions 

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Quick Quotes—The Week In Publishing

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“Brilliant one-of-a-kind artists sometimes never find the recognition they deserve because Lady Luck didn’t happen to smile down at the right moment. In fact, they fail to be recognized more often than not.”—Brian Panowich at Writer’s Digest

“I await the day when the compulsion to sort every cultural artifact that comes along into the proper genre category — dismissing a movie because it’s “just a horror film” or a book because it’s “just a Y.A. novel” — becomes as déclassé as it’s rapidly becoming to categorize and dismiss people on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”—Dana Stevens at New York Times

“All writing begins with an idea, but the process between that initial spark and a finished draft can vary considerably dependent on the finished product’s purpose.”—Leah Dearborn at LitReactor

“I believe that books find you when you need them most.”—Michelle Brafman at L.A. Review of Books

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Anthony Neil Smith at Bad Citizen Corporation

“Writing is a solitary act. I think that’s why there’s a certain type attracted to the art. People who want an outlet where they can say things to themselves, and let people take it up on their own time. The thought of getting a crowd to come out to a place and then you stand in a spotlight is scary enough. The idea that no one actually cares enough to show—that’s worse.”—Rob Hart at LitReactor

“It may seem counterintuitive to eliminate your most popular books, but purging erotica and romance titles may be the only way for Scribd model to survive.”—Lincoln Michele at Electric Literature

“In today’s fast-paced dating world, who’s got time to sit down and read a book about modern romance?”—Josh Modell at The A.V. Club

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.