Tag Archives: The Same Old Story

Books for the Holidays

51Gn70L5MALIt’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

By which I mean, crass commercialism and holiday insanity (pagan cup of Christmas-hating Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee anyone?) are in full bloom, making life, shopping, and social media things to be, if not feared, at least avoided.

And, seeing as I’m at a point in my life where I’ve been trying to divest myself of the endless cartons of stuff I’ve accumulated and have been schlepping around with me for almost fifty years, the thought that this time of year could bring new stuff to replace it is sort of disturbing. (My need to shed that useless tonnage of paper et al found voice, albeit in the extreme, in a short story “Unburdened,” found here.)

But never let it be said I was a holiday…I’m sorry, Christmas (‘cause I don’t want to be accused of waging a war against Christmas in this, a nation that’s about 85% Christian) buzzkill, and, c’mon, seriously, who doesn’t like getting presents? Especially books.

51oqzCTobLSo, in that spirit, and ‘cause that’s the theme of these holiday season posts, here are some books I think readers who have enjoyed my work (which you can check out here…y’know, just to refresh your memory…but, hey, come to think of it, any of ’em would make fine holiday gifts in their own right!) might be pleased to find under their trees, menorahs, or kwanzaa candles: Continue reading

Have You Heard the One About…? It’s THE SAME OLD STORY

The following is meant strictly for entertainment purposes…well, entertaining to me anyway. I managed to work a favorite joke into The Same Old Story, my murder mystery set in the world of the comic book industry in 1951 (and available just by clicking here!). Fun fact: The character of Robert Konigsberg was loosely based (though greatly exaggerated) on prolific DC Comics writer Robert Kanigher, one of my favorite real life characters. And no real world comic book creators were harmed in the writing of this story…

51oqzCTobLDeciding that being only half-drunk after receiving the news from Murray was worse than being sober, Guy was desperate for coffee. We stopped at the Automat on 44th Street, feeding enough nickels into the slots for a couple of cups of joe and a matching set of doughnuts.

Guy was lighting a cigarette when Robert Konigsberg sauntered up to the table. Tall and handsome in a rugged Robert Taylor sort of way, Bob had been an editor at National before leaving to write freelance. He was, for all intents and purposes, the top writer at the top company, responsible for a large chunk of their super-hero and romance lines. And he knew exactly where he stood in the pecking order. In a brushed camelhair coat and always freshly blocked Homburg, a bright and natty ascot as a dashing alternative to a tie, Bob was a fashion-plate, a teller of self-aggrandizing tall tales, a playboy, an often surprisingly good and creative writer, and a certified lunatic. There were too many Bob Konigsberg stories to tell, but the least bizarre of his traits included his habit, while writing during his lunch hours while still an editor, of suddenly leaping up on his desk, brandishing an umbrella or cane as a sword and sprouting ersatz Shakespearean dialogue at the top of his lungs, then calmly climbing back down to his seat and resuming his typing. His office mates thought he was eccentric. The headshrinkers at a psychiatric facility in Valley Stream thought he was a danger to himself or others. Twice. Once for sixty days, then again a year later for five months. Continue reading

What’s Best?

LWA-34_1Having been born without the sports (or math) gene, I’m not much into statistics. Numbers make my head hurt and, frankly, I’ve got enough problem with the manipulation of words that I don’t need addition headaches trying to keep track of numbers too. Personal best? In prose, I’ve had a couple of 6,000 word days and a few more 4-5,000 word days, while in comics, I once wrote an entire twenty-two script overnight.


Shortest blog post. Ever.

Still, I like to think it’s the quality of the words one produces, not the quantity, that counts. I’d rather have a few hundred really great words than several thousand merely serviceable ones. But unlike word counts, that’s tougher to quantify. It’s more a matter of how a sequence fits in and works with the story as a whole, what it reveals about a character or a relationship, and how it serves as a pretty but relevant little ornament on whatever story you’ve been knitting together.

Several years ago I wrote JSA: Ragnarok, a novel based on the DC Comics title (and don’t go searching Amazon for it; due to technical difficulties beyond anybody’s control, it’s yet to be published). At some point, the good guys, as is their wont in such tales, fall into the clutches of the bad guys. One of the heroes, Mister Terrific, aka former Olympian Michael Holt, blames his becoming distracted for their plight, which triggers a memory of an earlier incident in his life in which distraction cost him a victory. It’s a compact little vignette, all of about 650 words long, telling how Holt allowed a Kenyan competitor’s behavior in the 400 meter race to distract his focus from his own performance, thereby losing to the Kenyan by .05 of second, but it’s a nice, tight little piece of writing that sheds some light on the character’s personality. I don’t recall if I wrote it in the middle of a longer run of prose or as its own separate section, but if all I produced that day had been those 650 words, I would have been a happy writer. Continue reading