I’ve had much happier assignments. Still, I’m privileged to have been part of the team that reported on Orange County’s homeless situation for the just-out May issue of Orange Coast magazine. Those I spoke to included the operations manager for my local library (the Main Library of Santa Ana Public Library sometimes appears to be an unofficial shelter), a Fullerton cop who works a homeless unit, and a young woman who volunteers as a chef for the O.C. Rescue Mission. Her story proved inspiring: she herself was once on the streets.
Have been wanting to make the leap from non-fiction to fiction – and, I finally did it: my first short story, “The Fast and the Furriest,” will appear in an upcoming issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. It features Hollywood “fixer” Casey Cummings, former Blaxploitation star Bad Bobby Baron, and a pack of feisty Chihuahuas. Stay tuned for the pub date! And for word of future Casey Cummings cases.
An article I wrote back in the day, for the Los Angeles Times, is included in David Morrell’s 2016 limited edition of his novelization of “Rambo: First Blood Part II” (originally published in 1985). Very flattering! The character John Rambo debuted in Morrell’s 1972 novel “First Blood,” which became a 1982 film. My piece traces the 10-year battle to bring the book to the screen, including the eventual casting of Sylvester Stallone.
The multi-award winning Morrell (he’s got an Anthony, a Macavity, was an Edgar finalist, etc.) is today celebrated for his mystery thrillers. But it was John Rambo who put Morrell on the map. Thus, this signed, numbered hardcover edition (from Borderlands Press/Gauntlet Press) which includes special features including Yours Truly’s “The Curious Evolution of John Rambo.” Who, thanks to this latest book, continues to evolve. Thank you, David Morrell!
The December issue of BookPage includes my review roundup of the latest, nifty Hollywood-themed books – perfect for gift giving. Fab crazy man Mel Brooks reminisces about “Young Frankenstein”; Natalie Wood and Audrey Hepburn are celebrated in lavish coffee table tributes; there’s a massive study of director Oliver Stone; and, how about a look at TV’s greatest series? (One of our faves, “Breaking Bad,” is in the Top Ten. Yayyy!) Feeling bookish? The piece is at: http://bookpage.com/features/20700-tinseltown-treats-to-put-under-tree#.WEE5ameQzcs
In the November issue of Orange Coast, I examine the literary legacy of mystery maestro Dashiell Hammett, and the granddaughter who’s on the case, representing his work. Sam Spade, anyone? The Thin Man? I first met Hammett family member Julie M. Rivett at an event sponsored by So Cal Mystery Writers of America. When I learned she was a “local,” I knew I wanted to write a piece about her for Orange County’s favorite magazine. Check out www.orangecoast.com/features/dashiell-hammett-julie-rivett/.