From the author of the brilliant noir classics They Shoot Horses, Don't They and Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, "The Mopper-Up" is a pulp short originally pubFrom the author of the brilliant noir classics They Shoot Horses, Don't They and Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, "The Mopper-Up" is a pulp short originally published in a 1931 issue of Black Mask.
Ted Bender is a Texas ranger deployed to the prohibition-era boomtown of Rondora, where teeming numbers of oil workers have made money quick, and all manner of criminal doings have sprung up to relieve them of it. It's a hotbed of illegal booze, gambling, and gunfights, and Bender is just the guy to mop it up.
Lacks the characterization and dark quirkiness of McCoy's novels, but then it's pretty brief. ...more
A perfect story that's as tight as the stitches in the protagonist's mutilated back. A convergence of sci-fi, horror, and the post-apocalypse, but theA perfect story that's as tight as the stitches in the protagonist's mutilated back. A convergence of sci-fi, horror, and the post-apocalypse, but the dominant theme is the destructive power of guilt. If you only know Lansdale for his crime novels, you know he's a master plotter. This story is proof that he's just as deft with language. Disturbingly lovely. ...more
Short and wicked story that begins when a woman picks up a man in a bar. If you know Lawrence Block at all, you know there's a nasty twist, and even iShort and wicked story that begins when a woman picks up a man in a bar. If you know Lawrence Block at all, you know there's a nasty twist, and even if you see it coming, you won't see it all. Block always has at least one card up his sleeve.
"If You Can't Stand the Heat" is one a few short stories Block wrote about Kit before making her the heroine of Getting Off, and I defy anyone who reads this short to not seek out more of her.
With that in mind, I do wish Block would make this one a permanent freebie. I'm all for writers getting paid, but this is only 15 pages, and it's such a brilliant promo for his longer works that it would surely pay off in the end....more
Cool and fast-paced book on writing for film. I've never written anything resembling a screenplay, but I believe every writer flirts with the idea atCool and fast-paced book on writing for film. I've never written anything resembling a screenplay, but I believe every writer flirts with the idea at least once or twice, and this seems a good enough place to start. Some of his ideas even seem useful outside of film, especially the segment on dialogue (and why a character should never directly say what's on his mind). Lots of examples from well-known films that illustrate his tips in action. I can't speak to how useful this would be to anyone with experience, but for the beginner, it should be helpful in ratcheting up humdrum scenes into something a little zingier. ...more
I can't say enough about Linda Formichelli. She's a real-world guru for freelance magazine writers. I first stumbled across her Renegade Writer site vI can't say enough about Linda Formichelli. She's a real-world guru for freelance magazine writers. I first stumbled across her Renegade Writer site via a Google search, looking for some specific information on querying, and she's been my go-to source ever since for real information from a working freelancer.
I've found that Linda sometimes says the opposite of what you'll find in more generic freelancing articles, and that's because she's been there and knows precisely what rules can be broken. Those terse guidelines in writer's markets are rarely any help at all, and often seem designed to weed out non-pros. After entering the real world of freelancing myself, I recognize that her tips reflect actual reality.
This e-book is a brief version of her writing workshops, and I gleaned several tips from it that make a difference in my own work day. I appreciate that she recognizes that what works for her won't for everyone, as we all have different styles. With that in mind, she offers her own methods, but also includes contradictory methods used by colleagues. At least some of them should be a fit for almost any writer.
Linda's advice is always actionable. She doesn't simply tell you to cut out distractions like TV, or to organize your files, but offers real ideas you can implement. The most useful sections for me are on beating procrastination, working smarter, and not falling victim to perfectionism (fine when you're crafting a novel, maybe, but not when you're beating out a series of articles for quick money).
If you've moved past the beginner phase in freelancing, but haven't quite cracked the big time, you'll find something usable here. ...more
Completely worthless. This was among the cheap books I nabbed without thinking when I first got my Kindle and went insane with just grabbing free/cheaCompletely worthless. This was among the cheap books I nabbed without thinking when I first got my Kindle and went insane with just grabbing free/cheap books willy-nilly. I freelance for a living, so I'm always interested in learning new tips.
There's nothing to see here, folks, even if you're a beginner. The book is drastically padded (he spends a lot of time telling you what he's going to tell you), but devoid of anything really useful.
The first step to becoming a freelancer, he says, is to decide how much money you want to make. No joke! He also outlines the pros and cons of freelancing, with no surprises (set your own hours, yadda yadda yadda).
The title is misleading, as the only thing really covered is how to start thinking about being a freelancer, if somehow you don't know to think. Save your nickels. There are great (and free) freelancing resources online. (I highly recommend The Renegade Writer.)
Couldn't finish this. I like post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, so I nabbed this when it was either free or very cheap for Kindle (I forget whichCouldn't finish this. I like post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, so I nabbed this when it was either free or very cheap for Kindle (I forget which).
The simplistic writing and heavy-handed Harlequin-esque romance subplot kept me from reading beyond the first story.
"With her stance, stature, and short hair, much shorter than his own, it would have been hard in this blinding light to tell if she were a man or a woman. But he was all too aware she was a woman."
If that sounds appealing, this might for you. It's certainly not for me....more
The best thing I can say about Apartment 7C is that it’s short even for a novella (it’s really more of a short story), so it won’t cost more than abouThe best thing I can say about Apartment 7C is that it’s short even for a novella (it’s really more of a short story), so it won’t cost more than about fifteen minutes of your time. I received a review copy, so it didn’t cost me anything money-wise, but I see that the Kindle price is about $2.50—far too much for something this brief. I should also point out that a chunk of the stated 62-page length is taken up by a preview of one of the author’s upcoming works.
As a point of reference, a Goosebumps novel is almost three times as long. Fans of the young adult series whose reading level hasn’t progressed much further might enjoy something like this: it’s simplistic and completely unbelievable. The biggest difference between the two would be that R. L. Stine has some writing chops, plus the fact that David Bernstein has tacked on an awkward, slapdash torture scene that suggests his short story is supposed to be for grown-ups.
The central character is an elderly woman of 82 who regularly hears her neighbor being beaten and verbally abused by her husband, a caricature of a bad cop. Bernstein tells us that the old lady is, according to her doctor, in extremely good shape. She’s not a fitness buff, an ex-boxer, or anything else that might lead to her doctor’s proclamation that her heart “was like that of a thirty year-old runner’s.” Redundant possessive aside, Beth has been given a young person’s stamina for one reason only: the author needs her to do some pretty physical stuff later.
Beth’s sadness at the death of her daughter (who was beaten to death by an abusive husband) and the ultimate fate of her neighbor don’t spur her into action. Instead, she makes the great leap to planning an insane revenge after a series of dull, ghostly visitations, during which she learns that the cop has killed junkies and prostitutes. Now she's pissed.
The elderly-woman-with-the-heart-of-a-runner then climbs onto balconies and busts out windows in order to exact justice on the cardboard cop. What follows is a torture scene that, while it seems to have been the whole point of the story, is rushed rather than relished. Bernstein appears to have a list of items he’s checking off, and he quickly cycles through them.
While going through the checklist, Bernstein has trouble visualizing what’s happening. Even though his mouth is covered with duct tape, the cop is said to scream about a dozen times before the author later notes that the screams are weak because of the tape—as if he’s only just remembered that it’s there. (And could one even scream at all?) Later, he forgets about it completely, as the victim's pulverized lips are said to resemble “bleeding garden slugs.”
Save your money. There are far better shorts about revenge. For something a little more realistic, I recommend Goosebumps #34: Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes....more