May 30, 2014 Leave a comment
Some of you know I have been working on a book deal with a new publisher in Chicago. I’m happy to say that I inked the deal today with Stay Thirsty, a great ebook publishing house run by Dusty Sang.
“At that moment everything changed,” Dusty told Publishing Perspectives. “Suddenly I felt the need to leave my work as a lawyer behind and do something for Ryan.”
That’s when he started StayThirsty.com, an online magazine devoted to great writing. A few years later, he started Stay Thirsty Publishing. The name is a tribute to his son, whom Dusty says always had a thirst for life.
As my mother used to say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
I feel really lucky to have found Dusty. He’s part father, part Father Confessor, and part press agent and promoter for his writers. In my brief experience with him, he’s taken a sincere interest in my new project, explaining the ebook market like no one ever has before, giving me a few gentle nudges in the right direction in terms of storyline and edits. In short, he has kept me from shooting myself in the foot.
So what is this new project, you’re asking?
Dusty has what I think is a brilliant idea: Short novels — novellas, really — that are the perfect read for a two-hour plane ride (or people who are just too damn busy to read “War and Peace”). It was the perfect fit for me.
I’ve put Nick Mattera aside for awhile (but not forever) and created a new character. Rick Crane is a somewhat flawed private eye in Upstate New York — think Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade with a better right cross. Rick handles the usual cases.
Tonight was the third night I was getting a cramp in my thigh from sitting across the road made wet by the melting snowbanks that line the shoulders of the roads up here from November to April. My car, a black 1987 Buick Grand National, was nudged up against a line of bushy pine trees. Small clumps of snow still clung to the lower branches, making them look like Christmas trees that had been only half-decorated with tinsel. The strip mall has a tanning salon, a second-hand consignment shop, and a convenience store that probably makes the worst coffee in Chemung County.
Guys who borrow money from the local mobster and don’t pay on time.
Before he could stop laughing I put my hand on the back of his head and slammed his face down hard into the scratched up Formica tabletop, shattering his coffee cup with his cheek. His natural instinct was to pull up when the hot coffee scalded his face and neck and stained the top of the white undershirt that peeked out just above the top button of his blue bowling shirt. When he reared back, I let his momentum carry him and all it took was a light shove from me to send him onto his back. Before he knew what had happened, I delivered three sharp jabs to his midsection, knocking the wind out of him. Two more quick jabs to his face and one of his eye teeth was loose and blood was starting to trickle out of his nose.
But in each of these books, Rick will find himself on a case involving a minor-league or college sports team in Upstate New York.
The first story is “Cooper’s Daughter: A Rick Crane Noir.” (All the books will be subtitled: A Rick Crane Noir)
Darlene Cooper was a fast girl who hung out with the wrong crowd. Lately, she’d been hanging with Hector Rios, an up-and-coming pitcher for the Broome County Bats. When she’s found dead in a rail yard on the wrong side of town, no one seems to care, except her father. He hires the one man that he knows can get to the bottom of what happened to his only daughter.
“Cooper’s Daughter: A Rick Crane Noir” should be out this summer. Dusty and his crew are working on the cover now.
Stay tuned for updates. I’m really excited about this project — and think I’ve found the right publisher to make it the best that it can be.