Monthly Archives: July 2011

Next stop, Metuchen

The Thursday night book launch party for my novel We All Fall Down couldn’t have gone better. The event drew a capacity crowd (bearing in mind that my version of a capacity crowd isn’t exactly Madison Square Garden), and after I read the second chapter many people stayed on to hear Matt DeBlass and Neil Fein do their mandolin and guitar thing. I also sold quite a few books, which is always nice.

I’ll be doing the author thing next week on Thursday, July 21, at a 9 p.m. appearance at The Raconteur bookstore in Metuchen with fellow Black Angel Press author John Marron. We’re billing ourselves as the Black Angel Revue, and a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

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Three and one

So far, my novel We All Fall Down has garnered three very complimentary reader reviews on the book’s Amazon page and one on its Barnes & Noble page. Thank you, O Reviewers, and thank you to the people who’ve been buying the novel. I can’t encourage people enough to post their own reviews, because I’m told by regular readers of GalleyCat and similar sites that at least ten reader reviews are needed to create the impression of a happening book. A Happening Book. That’s got a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

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Bob Dylan videos are their own justification

Great videos for great songs. For no particular reason.

I owe this one to Michael Gray, who used it in his “Bob Dylan: The Poetry of the Blues” performance some years ago:

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Seeing Blue

My old compadres at Blue Jersey have given my novel We All Fall Down a much-appreciated plug. Though I have stepped down my rate of political blogging, the Blue Jersey crew still lets me sit in the lounge every now and then as long as I empty the wastebaskets and agree not to panhandle people outside the cardio room. The review is extremely flattering and even throws in the Simon Armitage quote I used to class things up. The campaign to establish the book on unsuspecting beaches everywhere continues!

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‘Post’ plug, ‘Post’ dug

My novel gets a nice plug in today’s “Required Reading” column of the New York Post. Wheeeee!

We All Fall Down

by Steven Hart (Black Angel Press)

They say the long arm of the law doesn’t reach the Soprano State. A fictional New Jersey town with a cabal of crooked cops provides a fruitful backdrop for author and journalist Hart’s first novel, the story of a policewoman’s hunt for a killer. As Bridgeborough, NJ’s only woman police officer, Karen McCarthy must earn her co-workers’ trust. But the more she learns about corruption on the force, the more tempting it is to split. First, though, she’s got a host of personal demons to battle — not to mention a murderer who wants to meet her face to face.

Incidentally, I’m doing a book launch party for We All Fall Down this Thursday at Nighthawk Books in Highland Park. I haven’t mentioned that too many times, have I?

And if you want to see what the fuss is about, here’s a link to some online buying opportunities, to which more will soon be added.

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The Moebius strip of memory, or, Paging Oliver Sacks

In the spring and summer of 1993, while I worked and worried obsessively at a novel-length story idea, I also listened obsessively to two recordings: Beaster by Sugar, and Ingenue by K.D. Lang.  And I really do mean obsessive: Beaster came out on a two-sided cassette, so I kept it going as a loop while I drove back and forth  between home and Shore.  Believe it or not, the combination  made sense as background music for my thoughts at the time.

I brought the novel along as far as I could, but I could see it was not yet ready for prime time, and the manuscripts went into a carton.

Race ahead to last week, when the idea once more started gnawing at the back of my skull. The gnawing grew so insistent that I started writing things out. As the idea returned, so did the music, and I’m once again listening to Ingenue and Beaster on a heavy basis.

Stranger still, I’m re-experiencing some of the inchoate emotions that accompanied the work. I’m not entirely comfortable with this — if I bring it to a proper conclusion, the novel will be one of the least comforting stories ever written — but there it is.

I’m sure Oliver Sacks would have something to say about this.

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Payback McGee

Writers — journalists in particular, but writers in general — have a finely honed instinct for payback. So it’s no surprise to learn that John D. MacDonald, creator of Travis McGee and scores of superb suspense novels, spent the later years of his career sending sarcastic rejection letters to editors who approached him for stories after having turned him down during his scuffling years.

I don’t know what trapdoor slips were like in the Forties, when MacDonald got started, but his parody letter is far more personable and intelligible than the bizarro-world corporate-speak rejections going out these days. But that’s John D. MacDonald for you. The man never wrote a dull sentence in his life.

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Blue (Independence Day) Monday

This version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” isn’t as widely known as the one from the Woodstock festival, but it’s every bit as awesome in its own right. Better still, the cameraman (and the director) had the sense to focus as often as possible on what Jimi Hendrix is doing to the guitar. One of my biggest beefs with the Woodstock film is that Michael Wadleigh kept the camera on the man’s face instead of his hands.

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Re: Kindle

The Kindle edition of my new novel We All Fall Down just went live this afternoon. It takes its place on the e-book shelf alongside my first book, The Last Three Miles: Politics, Murder, and the Construction of America’s First Superhighway. Yee-hah!

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‘We All Fall Down’ on Facebook

Considering the novel’s content, maybe we should call it the anti-social network.

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