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A week of memorable titles – Part 5

I write the James Early Mysteries, a crime series set in Kansas in the late 1940s and early 1950s. James Early is the sheriff of Riley County. I titled book 1 Early’s Fall. A reader at one event said, “That title is so appropriate because your book is about the fall of James Early, the [...]

A week of memorable titles – Part 4

Maddy Hunter created a cozy mystery series that features a group of Iowa senior citizens and their tour guide who go trooping around the world, and, of course, they find dead bodies along the way. “It’s amazing how many people fall off of cliffs,” Hunter says of her Passport to Peril series. Fall or are [...]

A week of memorable titles – Part 3

I was doing a bit of online research last week on James Cain’s crime novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and up popped Bruce Hale’s mystery novel for kids, The Possum Always Rings Twice. One look at the cover and I was hooked. A Chet Gecko mystery . . . Chet Gecko, Private Eye: “Trouble [...]

A week of memorable titles – Part 2

I first came on Diane Mott Davidson when I picked up a collection of short stories written by the top women mystery writers in the country. In there was one of Davidson’s Goldie Schulz stories. Goldie, Davidson’s sleuth, is a caterer in the fictional town of Aspen Meadow, Colorado. Aspen, in reality, is Evergreen, Colorado, [...]

A week of memorable titles – Part 1

Sue Grafton launched her alphabet series of Kinsey Millhone crime novels with A is for Alibi, 30 years ago. Over those 30 years, Grafton’s written 21 Millhone novels, with number 22 coming out in paperback at the end of next month. The title? V is for Vengeance. Three more books and Grafton will have finished [...]

A week of Damon Runyon – Part 5

Life and society in the cities had changed by the time Damon Runyon decided to try his hand at writing fiction. The automobile was here . . . this was the first two decades of the 1900s. We were moving faster, living faster . . . and that pace increased even more in the Roaring [...]

A week of Damon Runyon – Part 4

Damon Runyon wrote a mountain of short stories, but never a novel . . . and one cannot help but wonder why he didn’t. Runyon biographer Jimmy Breslin provided the answer. It was Runyon’s writing style. He mastered the past-present tense where his fictional gangsters spoke in a stilted way, without contractions. And they spoke [...]

A week of Damon Runyon – Part 3

The Algonquin Round Table is famous in literary circles. Writers and wits such as George S. Kaufman, Ring Lardner, Woolcott Gibbs, Robert Benchley, and Dorothy Parker were regulars, gathering daily for lunch at New York City’s Algonquin Hotel between the years 1919 and 1929. Damon Runyon biographer Jimmy Breslin isn’t high on them. He believed [...]

A week of Damon Runyon – Part 2

When Damon Runyon wrote his first short story, “The Defense of Strikerville,” his only thought was to sell it to a magazine, to McClure’s. Twenty-five dollars, that was the amount of the check he got for it . . . and it was free money because he was supporting himself with a paycheck as a [...]

A week of Damon Runyon – Part 1

I’ve just finished reading Jimmy Breslin’s biography of Damon Runyon, and you should see my copy . . . dog-eared page after dog-eared page. Of course, there are reasons for that. – Runyon was born in Manhattan, Kansas. I lived and worked there for eight years. – He was a newspaper reporter in Colorado before [...]