Stay Thirsty, My Friends

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.

Dusty Sang, the founder and brains behind Stay Thirsty.

Dusty Sang, the founder and brains behind Stay Thirsty.

Dusty is a great story. He’s a former entertainment lawyer who worked with musicians and writers until he tragically lost his son, Ryan, who was just 24, to bipolar disorder.
“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, 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.
Cheating spouses:

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.

Me standing outside the house in the Hollywood Hills where "Double Indemnity" was filmed.

Me standing outside the house in the Hollywood Hills where the noir classic, “Double Indemnity,” was filmed.

I chose Upstate New York because I know the terrain, I know the people. And, sadly, the industrial decay (OK, Rene Bixby, decline) that has been eating away at towns like Binghamton, Elmira and Corning lends itself to some very dark, very noir tales. And I chose sports because I’ve been writing about it, in one way or another, for 30 years.
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.

About Mark Yost
Mark Yost is the author of the Rick Crane Noir series, published by Stay Thirsty Press. Rick Crane is the classic, anti-hero private eye in the spirit of Sam Spade and Jim Rockford. He works in the unmistakably noirish underworld of Upstate New York, running errands and fixing problems for Jimmy Ricchiati Sr., one of Upstate New York's most notorious crime bosses. But readers quickly learn that deep down, Rick Crane is one of the good guys. "Cooper's Daughter," the first book in the widely acclaimed series, is a fast-moving tale in which a heartbroken father comes to Rick and asks him to find out what really happened to his daughter, who was murdered and the details buried in the Unsolved Crimes File of the local police department. The second book in the series is "Jimmy's Nephew," which begins with the death of Joey "Boom Boom" Bonadeo, an up-and-coming boxer and the nephew of Rick's underworld boss. What starts out as a routine investigation turns into a case that will test Rick's faith -- in the Catholic Church and his fellow man. Book No. 3 in the series, "Mary's Fate" is due out in August 2015. Mark Yost also writes for The Wall Street Journal Arts in Review page, as well as the Book Review section. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America -- Midwest Chapter, International Thriller Writers, and a number of other author groups. He is also a member of the Amazon Author's Program. Mark lives in the Loyola neighborhood of Chicago, but he and his son, George, call the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn "home."

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