Friday, August 31, 2007

Going to DCon now!!

Lots to post this week, I'm guessing, but for now I'm just sitting in the Charlotte airport, one hop away from Atlanta and Dragon Con. Enter the nerdery!!

Quiet time in the Berkshires and I have no idea how I'll post a bonus episode this weekend. But we'll see...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Continuing with the SSF Profiles: Swierczynski

Yes, you read that right. It's Swierczynski. Say that 5 times fast.

Duane Swierczysnki appeared on This Is Life #4 to read the story so far. I first heard Duane on Shannon Clute and Richard Edwards’ superlative Behind the Black Mask, where I basically heard most of the authors from the show first interviewed. Got to give it up to Clute and Edwards, they’ve been a huge part of my introduction to contemporary crime/noir.

Back to Duane: when I heard him talking about The Wheelman, I ordered it the same day. For fast thrills, quick exciting turns and action, it’s your book. Good stuff.
Not only is Duane a killer writer, he’s also the editor of the Philadelphia City Paper full time and a serious Philly-buff non-stop. Now that I’ve looked him up some more, I see Duane’s written way more books than I knew about. He's written the crime novels, The Blonde and The Wheelman in addition to a TON of non-fiction including books about bank robberies, spies, espionage, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fraud, Scams and Cons, and several books about drinking. Even The Big Bad Book of Beer. How did I miss these?
If you want more Duane, start with his blog and read his fiction at The Thrilling Detective Website.

Wow. I also just found out he's written a Moon Knight comic books for Marvel! Damn. In his words, "enter the Nerdery." But then again, who isn't these days!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hard Day's Computer Junk

Hey hey hey,
I hope it's all working now, but today it all went sour with the site and the RSS feed. Mostly it was iWeb, but even beyond that there seemed to be more going on with problems. Anyway, now I hope I've gotten it all taken care of. I still owe blog a Duane Swierczysnki bio, but today was all computer hacking to get the site (and the RSS) back online and to get the new ep (12) out the gates!!

So I'm hoping here's some mud in the eye of the iWeb08 gods. Apple put out an "update" 2.0.1 on Wednesday or Thurs that just about killed my whole site. Thanks Apple. And the good news is that with all this messing and fluxing going on, I figured it's as good a time (better probably) to move over to libsyn!! So I did it. Here you go Libsyn!
I'm on board!
Shouldn't (fingers crossed) be any more crazy changes to the Feed or your subscription or extra file downloads that you weren't expecting.
(Though I might put out an extra bonus this week if all goes well.)
Sorry if this tanked your Palms Sunday. It sure tanked mine. Thanks for hanging in.

Please Bear With

iWeb 08 is doing remarkably bad things to my website files. I think I got up this week's episode (the RSS file should be OK) but a few other things on the site probably don't work.

So please be patient while I try to right this ship.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sarah Weinman: Uberblogger

SSF Profile #2
When it comes to crime blog-writing, Sarah Weinman's the Ace #1. Her blog Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind is fast becoming THE source for all things Crime. Fact is, in a world where newspaper readership is dropping (and Sarah's got her opinions about this) lots of folks want a single source for a lot of info and Sarah brings it. She gives weekly updates from EVERY major book review, specifically focusing on crime, keeps her ear to the ground and her fingers typing about the most recent moves in crime publishing--the deals and the sales--and writes about most everything else you'd like to know. Anything else you want? There's plenty of random posting that gets even the most frustrated blog reader to want to subscribe.
With currently over 2,000 dedicated RSS readers, Sarah's blog is the place to look for all things crime.
With all of this going on, it was a real pleasure to have her join me for JP2-03.

Monday, August 13, 2007

SSF Profiles: Charles Ardai

Aka: Richard Aleas
Charles Ardai, the original founder and CEO of, is now a publisher and editor with his own noir imprint, Hard Case Crime. HCC has been bringing out great old-time-look pulp noir books (all around $6 or 7) with cool femme fatale covers since September 2004. With a new book coming out EVERY MONTH, you can bet Charles keeps busy. If you'd like to subscribe to the series, you can get a standing order to have every new book sent to your home by calling 1-800-481-9191.

One of the first books Charles published in the Hard Case Crime series was Little Girl Lost, which he wrote under the pen name Richard Aleas (not only does the surname tell you the meaning of the moniker, but the name's a rescramble of the letters in Charles Ardai), an awesome book about a series of murders in the Manhattan sex trade that ultimately involves lead character John Blake's first love. Not only do I think this was a good book, it was nominated for two awards: the Edgar and the Shamus.

Charles' second book under the name Richard Aleas is Songs of Innocence, which was dubbed "an instant classic" by the Washington Post. No shit. So I had to go out and read that one. Not only did I love it, but I'm currently writing a review of it for this month's installment of the Thrilling Detective Website. It brings us back to John Blake and an even nastier tangle of thorns involving Manhattan's Craig's List sex trade women.

I highly recommend both of these books and any of the titles from Hard Case Crime. With so much going on around him in the name of Crime/Noir, it should be plain to see why Charles was an obvious choice for JP2's first Story So Far.

Here's to you, Charles, you Palms Daddy.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

All this week: Special Guest Profiles

So far I've been fortunate to have some very special guests on the JP2 podcasts to introduce the Story So Far: some great members of the crime and podcast communities.
This week I'll be going into more detail about who these folks are, providing a profile of each of the here, hopefully every day.

I'll be talking about Charles Ardai, Sarah Weinman, Duane Swierczynski, Sandra Ruttan, Brett Battles, Robert Gregory Browne, Shannon Clute and Richard Edwards, Jen Snyder of, Rob Walch from podcast411 and today in iphone, and Al Guthrie.
This week I feature listener Gomyo of the hoodie monks out of Japan.
Next week Jason Pinter joins us for the fun.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Guest-blogging today on writing/podcasting

Hey, so I'm still working on getting to my special feature, which will be profiles of all the great writers and net personalities who've cameoed on JP2 so far for the SSF's. First up will be Charles Ardai. Hopefully this weekend.

But for now, for today, here's a link to a discussion I had/some writing I did about Podcasting and how it's helped me as a writer.

Thanks to Angela Wilson for asking me to contribute to her blog.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Wao! Word for word?

So, what do you say about a writer whose work you love, whose first book stands at the top of your list, whose second book took eleven years in coming? Add to this the feeling you get when that second book is great, fantastic, groundbreaking and features language totally charged to the moon. But this is until you hit the parts you've already read, way before you get to the ending, which, like most of the last 50! pages of the book, you already read a long time ago in a magazine.

Yes, I'm talking about Junot Diaz's long-awaited second book, his first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Yes, my eyebrow went up when I saw the title and remembered that original story back in the Dec. 00 - Jan. 01 Winter Fiction Issue of the New Yorker. Yes, the fact that the title was the same worried me just a little. But when I started reading this book, Diaz' language packed so much energy, clapped such an embrace on the disparate vernacular of American Nerds, New Jersey street slang, Latin American Spanish, and smart English, that I fell in love with his writing all over again. I blushed at the addition of Nerd-ish (read: not less than 50 references to Lord of the Rings), and then it occurred to me that in a country where this trilogy's movies are some of our most popular, when people wait in line at midnight to buy a book about a geeky young wizard who fights with magic, that we're all ready to come out of the vestibule and embrace our inner nerds--that this addition makes a great deal of sense.

Beyond the language I couldn't help but think of Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude when Diaz started jumping generations of the Cabral family to give generational background on Oscar, his sister Lola, and their family's longstanding Fuku (curse). It makes sense for a young American writer to pay tribute through imitation to one of the greatest writers to ever walk the Americas and he even dips into Magic Realism here and there, more than once. We're also treated to a history of the Dominican Republic in quick bites (footnotes!) since the inception of Trujillo's reign--all of it crisp and interesting and necessary-seeming. We even find out that the dictator himself ("the T-zilla") played a role in slapping on this family's this curse.

All this is wonderful: great shining flying language, a new focus on Oscar's sister, mother, and grandfather... and then we get back to Oscar. And with about 75 pages to go, I remembered the details of the old New Yorker story and knew how it would end. I could only hope the book wouldn't end the same way, that the new ambition and energy Diaz had brought to this novel wouldn't dissipate in the familiar, smaller ending of the story, that he'd tie together his larger themes and make the ending about more of the family than just Oscar.
Being pretty nerdy myself, I pulled out my old copy of the 00-01 New Yorker as soon as I finished the book. (There are only 3 writers I would keep something like this for, and Diaz is one.) What did I find?
I found some lines had been added, some transitions. But the bulk of it, the story, the facts and events and their descriptions...
Word for word. From six-and-a-half years ago? To quote Oscar, "Word."

When you look at these lines, the familiar, and compare them to Diaz' newer, crisper, more electric prose, there is a difference. Just slightly less of the dynamo. But can you really expect anything more of work he did six years ago?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Shirts, Swag, Stuff (What you've all been waiting for)

Yes, yes, yes you Palms Daddies and Mommas!
Now you can sport your JP and gear all over the world and let people know you are one of the devoted. Bring it, sport it, rock it, whatever you want to say, this is the crap that you want to be wearing!

Bet you'll see me in this stuff. If I see you wearing any of this I'll buy you a beer or something. Even sign it. ESPECIALLY at Dragon*Con.
Get some for your kiddies. The coolest part is that once you choose a design you like, you can customize it on the site to be any style, size or color shirt you want. There's really a big selection. You can even set up the designs for your babies and your kids. Want that Onesie or Creeper? I've got it. Trucker hats? Got that too.
Even mugs and a bumper sticker.

Totally out of sight!! Drop in and see!

Pub Crawl #2

Pub Crawl #2 was a big success and a lot of fun. This time the venue was more lively, louder and we had more of a rocking time. A few repeat offenders were there in Benedict and Stephen, and also some new folks.

Scott actually drank a coffee at around 10:30 after a few beers to keep going. Dude is just that rugged. I gave him a really hard time the whole night, as I seem incapable of not doing and he takes it really well. Our next pub crawl will be in San Jose. Not sure when.

Highlights of the night were Sean Robertson showing up and asking Scott and I to sign his laptop with a Sharpie, an honor that I don't expect to repeat anytime soon. Longest commute award goes to Rich and Judy Berry who drove down from Redding (200 miles) for the Crawl and stayed overnight in a Berkeley motel to boot. They get major props!
We had an iPhone off as well.
Yes Stephen, I finally got a Flickr account. Now how do I friend people?
For now, here are some pictures.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Other sweet lines for Jack Palms T-shirts

Ian Sim won the T-shirt contest this week with his cool Jack Daniels design. I love it. Here are a few other great entries and potential lines for T-shirts. Write in your comments to vote on which you like best and to add more of your own!

1) Front: You Don't Know Jack (Palms)
Back: But You Need To - with a logo of a smoking gun underneath

2) Nothing Says "Tough" Like a Fastback With Bullet Holes
3) Who's Your Palms Daddy?

4) Junius Ponds has a posse

5) Shake 'em Down
Jack Palms Crime

6) What Palms reading is all about

7) Are you a Palms reader?

8) Jack Palms is my homeboy

9) Front: What Would Jack Palms Do?
Back: What Would Junius Ponds Do?

10) Jack Palms Crime: Shaken 'em Down on

11) Original Palms Daddy/Original Palms Momma

12) Give me my Palms Sunday!

13) Can't Wait for Palms Sunday

What others?
Thanks to Ian Sim, Jeremy Osborne, Stephane Hubert and the other who wrote in.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Ich ben ein Palms Daddy

Yes, it's the first blog in German about Jack Palms and! Good Daddy Ralph Inselsbacher blogged about JP this week from Austria. He's a loyal fan with this to say: Nachdem ich die Missionen 1, 2, 5 & 5 für Seth Harwoods Podcast-Romane “Jack Wakes Up” und “Jack Palms 2: This Is Life erfüllt habe, bin ich nun ein offizieller “Palms Daddy”!

I think it means he's an official Palms Daddy. Look here for his first JP post.

Also, Pub Crawl #2 is Tonight in Berkeley at Jupiter. 8PM for you in the Bay.

Also, I'm doing my best to get this T-Shirt thing together and it'll happen soon. I know it will.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Pub Crawl Time Again!!

ok. This is the time to bring out your frosty mugs and your drinking hats. Leave the sportsman's buddies as home. It's time for Sigler/Harwood Pub Night #2 this Friday night at Jupiter in Berkeley. It's just across the street from Downtown Berkeley BART on Shattuck. We'll be there from 8:00 on, most likely camped out up on the second floor.
Looking forward to seeing who can shake themselves on down! Hope to see you.

This is blog #100 for me and the first I've ever written from my iPhone! Woo hoo!