Monday, July 28, 2014

John Shaft’s Mixed Parentage

For years rumors have swirled around about how journalist-turned-author Ernest Tidyman didn’t write all seven of the Shaft novels carrying his byline, but instead turned to ghost writers for substantive work on at least the later entries in that series. Now Steve Aldous -- who is working on a book about Tidyman’s tales of New York City private eye John Shaft and the films those tales inspired -- delivers a fascinating, well-researched piece in our sister publication, The Rap Sheet, that looks back closely at Tidyman’s authorial efforts. Aldous explains at one point:
The success of the films Shaft and The French Connection -- for the latter of which Tidyman received an Academy Award (as well as an Edgar Allan Poe Award) -- significantly increased demands for his time and encouraged him to branch out further into other film writing and production. He set up Ernest Tidyman Productions and began to spread his time across a number of developing projects. The increasing workload encouraged Tidyman to hire writers to help out -- particularly with continuing the Shaft book series.

Tidyman had sketched out story ideas for three further
Shaft books, which he wanted to produce in quick succession so they would fall within the timeframe of MGM’s options agreement. He recruited two writers to help: Robert Turner, a vastly experienced author of pulpish fiction (The Girl in the Cop’s Pocket, etc.) and a contributor to many of the pulp magazines of the 1940s and 1950s; and Phillip Rock, a screenwriter who had also worked on a number of novelizations in the early 1970s (including an adaptation of Dirty Harry). Tidyman had previously used Rock on his novelization of High Plains Drifter, the screenplay Tidyman had written for Clint Eastwood’s 1973 Western.
For all fans of Tidyman’s mostly out-of-print books or Richard Roundtree’s Shaft film series, this piece is well worth reading.


Monday, July 21, 2014

James Garner Dead at 86

So sad to hear of the passing of actor James Garner (The Rockford Files, Maverick). Garner was 86 and died of natural causes.

Partly through the eternal Rockford Files and partly due to the fact that Garner was immensely popular with his peers and friends throughout his career, there has been a tremendous outpouring of grief in the media following the actor’s passing.

To my eye though, no looks at Garner’s life vis-a-vis his career are as poignant as what was put together by Rap Sheet editor J. Kingston Pierce, who interviewed Garner back in 2011. You can read Pierce’s words on the topic here.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

This Just In… Roastmaster (A Coffee Novel) by Janice Lierz

The seventh sister is over the moon for a Costa Rican coffee farmer...

In the spring of 1984, John Mallory, the seventh sister in a coffee family dies a legend when she is uprooted from Kansas City and travels to a coffee farm in Costa Rica to become a roastmaster.

Eighteen years later, Capri is connected to her dead aunt through a surreal sense of smell. When Capri runs away with her boyfriend, she unearths John Mallory’s story and the myth of the Pleiades, a cluster of blue stars known as the Seven Sisters. But her quirky mother, grandfather and five aunts fear love will also lead Capri to an early grave.

A heartwarming story about family bonds, sisters, coffee and the never-ending love of parent and child. It’s a novel about falling in love -- and the different journeys life takes us on… A tale for those who know magic can be found in the bean of a fruit.

You can order Roastmaster here. Visit author Janice Lierz on the web here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Books are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis for a small fee. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

George RR Martin Insists He Will Finish Series

Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is unimpressed with critics who say he’ll never finish his saga. In fact, he has a few choice words. Well, one anyway.

Recently interviewed by Swiss newspaper, Tages-Anzeiger, Martin blew his cool when asked if he thought his health would allow him to finish the saga.
During an interview with Swiss daily newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, 65-year-old Martin was asked what he thought about people who wonder if he’ll live long enough to finish the series (presently two books shy of Martin’s projected goal. “I find that question pretty offensive.”
You can see the full interview here. See January Magazine’s 2002 interview with Martin here.

This Just In… Here I Stand by Jillian Bullock

Here I Stand tells the gut-wrenching and compelling real-life story of a young, African-American woman fights to overcome life with the Philadelphia Italian Mafia, rape, homelessness, drugs, and prostitution to fulfill her dream to become a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, a screenwriter and a filmmaker.

With determination to live, despite the odds against her, Jillian Bullock’s harrowing account tests the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual being of someone who refused to fail.

Through real strength, resilience, perseverance, and what she calls “fighting spirit,” Jillian transformed her life to become a successful businesswoman, journalist, screenwriter, competitive martial artist and boxer, fitness expert, author, actress, empowerment speaker, award winning filmmaker, while raising three children as a single parent.

Jillian’s ability to survive under the most horrific and extraordinary circumstances to go on to completely transform her life makes Here I Stand such an unforgettable story.

Since the book was independently published in 2012, Jillian has been generating great sales and has sparked interest from a few producers in Hollywood, who are interested in turning her memoir into a feature film.

You can order Here I Stand here. Visit author Jillian Bullock on the web here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis or for a small fee. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.


Friday, July 04, 2014

Young Adult Fiction: The Caller by Juliet Marillier

Summer Gathering, when the rebels of Shadowfell are planning to challenge the evil King Keldec, is approaching rapidly. Caller Neryn, with whom we have made a long journey, still has two Guardians to go before her training is complete. But the White Lady, Guardian of air, is not in the best state. The Master of Shadows(fire) is a trickster who may or may not advise her on how to protect the rebels’ Good Folk allies from cold iron, which makes them sick and can kill them. Worse, Keldec now has his own Caller, who is less scrupulous about what he does to the Good Folk he calls. Neryn’s beloved Flint, the rebels’ double agent, known to his comrades as Owen Swift-Sword, is fed up with his life at court and what he's forced to do as an Enforcer, but has no choice. Can he trust his closest friends in the Enforcers or not? 

The story in Raven Flight (Knopf) has been built up over the last two books in this series. Here it comes to a dramatic climax. Neryn has to make some decisions she doesn’t necessarily like. At the same time, she meets people from the other side whom she can like and respect and even finds herself, at one point, pitying the king and wondering what he might have been like under other circumstances. 

You do tend to forget the heroine is only 16, especially in a world where that’s an age where you might easily be married, but I think that any teens who have read the other two books will be happy with this one. 

Don’t read this without having read the first two books, but if you haven’t, I do recommend this series. ◊

Sue Bursztynski lives in Australia, where she works as a teacher-librarian. She has written several books for children and young adults, including Crime Time: Australians Behaving Badly and the YA novel Wolfborn. Her blog The Great Raven can be found at

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This Just In… EXODUS 2022 by Kenneth G. Bennett

Joe Stanton is in agony. Out of his mind over the death of his young daughter.

Unable to contain his grief, Joe loses control in public, screaming his daughter’s name and causing a huge scene at a hotel on San Juan Island in Washington State. Thing is, Joe Stanton doesn’t have a daughter. Never did. And when the authorities arrive they blame the 28-year-old’s outburst on drugs. What they don’t yet know is that others up and down the Pacific coast -- from the Bering Sea to the Puget Sound -- are suffering identical, always fatal mental breakdowns.

With the help of his girlfriend, Joe struggles to unravel the meaning of the hallucination destroying his mind. As the couple begins to perceive its significance -- and Joe’s role in a looming global calamity -- they must also outwit a billionaire weapons contractor bent on exploiting Joe’s newfound understanding of the cosmos, and outlast the time bomb ticking in Joe’s brain.

You can order EXODUS 2022 here. Visit author Kenneth G. Bennett on the web here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis or for a small fee. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.


Thursday, July 03, 2014

Iconic Authors Who Didn’t Like Each Other’s Writing

Think six degrees of Kevin Bacon… but with authors who didn’t like each other’s work. Visually maps it all out in a splendid infographic.

“For every great author, there’s another great author eager to knock him or her down a few pegs. Although the writers on this map are typically deemed canonical by literary tastemakers, there wasn’t much mutual admiration amongst them.”

Apparently, D.H. Lawrence trashed both Herman Melville and James Joyce, who was also loathed by Virginia Woolf. A lot of people didn’t care for Hemingway (not a big surprise) among them Gore Vidal, Nabokov and Faulkner.

The coolest part: click on the connective arrows to see what each writer didn’t like about the other. There are, as Visually suggests, some way harsh comments. For example, of D.H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad said, “Filth. Nothing but obscenities.”

OK, truly? I can't see the benefit of having this particular bunch in an infographic. But it looks cool, it draws your eye and, like everything else Visually does, it’s stylish and makes you think for a moment or two. Maybe that’s enough.

See the full and interactive version here.

January Magazine & CASL (Your Action is Required)

Only in Canada, you say?

Because we take an international view to literature in the English language, not all of our readers realize that January Magazine is based in Canada, but we are, even though our contributors and our readership is around the world.

On July 1, new legislation came into effect in Canada requiring everyone who uses e-mail to update their readerships to have a higher level of demonstrated consent from those who will be receiving the e-mail communication.

Everything we send out to readers has been going via RSS for the last few years and in order to sign up to get that mail-out, you have given what is now being called implicit permission. By this time in 2017, we’ll be needing explicit permission from our readership to continue mailing to them. You’ll be hearing from us in future about that.

For the time being, we’re asking that you consider this notice as your implied consent to continue receiving our electronic communications.

If you do not wish to continue receiving news from January Magazine and you’ve received this in e-mail, please reply and your name will be removed from the list.

Of course, you have the option of unsubscribing at any time by following the appropriate link at the bottom of any message from us.


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Redford to Bring A Walk in the Woods and Climb to Conquer to the Screen

Robert Redford is set to produce a film adaptation of Climb to Conquer, journalist Peter Shelton’s 2003 WWII biography. The story is about the 10th Mountain Division who scaled rock walks at Riva Ridge to conquer a previously untouchable German position. Some experts have claimed it was this pivotal climb that enabled the Allied forces to move forward to ultimate victory.

According to Variety, Kurt Johnstad (Act of Valor, 300: Rise of an Empire) is in discussion to write the adaptation.

Meanwhile, Redford isn’t letting any moss grow on him waiting for the project to come together. He’s currently busy working on the screen version of another, although very different, biography. This one is based on Bill Bryson’s 1997 book, A Walk in the Woods.

Variety reports that Redford has held the film rights since 2005 and that, at various time, Larry Charles, Chris Columbus and Barry Levinson have “been in negotiations to direct at various points.” Things are looking up now, though. From Variety:
Emma Thompson, Nick Offerman and Kristen Schaal have joined Robert Redford in the independent drama “A Walk in the Woods.”
Wildwood Enterprises and Route One Films started production Monday on the film, an adaptation of travel writer Bill Bryson’s memoir. Ken Kwapis (“He’s Just Not That Into You”) is directing from a script by “Little Miss Sunshine” writer Michael Arndt.
Nick Nolte will also star.


This Just In… Baudelaire’s Revenge by Bob Van Laerhoven

It is 1870, and Paris is in turmoil.

As the social and political turbulence of the Franco-Prussian War roils the city, workers starve to death while aristocrats seek refuge in orgies and séances.

The Parisians are trapped like rats in their beautiful city but a series of gruesome murders captures their fascination and distracts them from the realities of war. The killer leaves lines from the recently deceased Charles Baudelaire’s controversial anthology Les Fleurs du Mal on each corpse, written in the poet’s exact handwriting.

Commissioner Lefevre, a lover of poetry and a veteran of the Algerian war, is on the case, and his investigation is a thrilling, intoxicating journey into the sinister side of human nature, bringing to mind the brooding and tense atmosphere of Patrick Susskind’s Perfume.

Did Baudelaire rise from the grave? Did he truly die in the first place? The plot dramatically appears to extend as far as the court of the Emperor Napoleon III.

A vivid, intelligent, and intense historical crime novel that offers up some shocking revelations about sexual mores in 19th century France, this superb mystery illuminates the shadow life of one of the greatest names in poetry.

You can order Baudelaire’s Revenge here. Visit author Bob Van Laerhoven on the web here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis or for a small fee. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.