Coward’s Kiss by Lawrence Block

Coward’s Kiss is another of Lawrence Block’s early 1960’s Crime Novels, where everyone is neither black, nor white, but different shades of gray.
Private Detective Ed London is summoned by his creepy brother-in-law Dr. Jack Enright to an apartment on East 51 Street. Jack is not there, but the body of a dead girl is. Jack told Ed he was having an affair with the girl, but he swore to Ed he didn’t kill her. Even though Jack admitted he was cheating on Ed’s sister Kaye, Ed tries to help Jack stay out of jail by moving the body out of the apartment, which was where Jack was keeping the chick for their trysts, and dumping it in Central Park. Not a good move, Ed. Soon people are looking to kill Ed, while his slimy brother-in-law basically crawls into a simpering little ball of mush.
Coward’s Kiss is one of Block’s earliest works, but all Block fan’s will love his famed roller- coaster style, where no one is whom they seem to be, and surprise ending are always in store for the reader.
Coward’s Kiss is a one-night read. But I guarantee you you’ll get bang for your buck, if you buy this book.
If you haven’t read any of Lawrence Block’s novels yet, you’ll get great pleasure in reading his later works. Highly recommended are his fifteen, or so Matthew Scudder crime novels. And also his Bernie Rhoddenbarr/Burglar novels, which are written in Block’s inimitable comedy style. He also has several Keller “Hit Man” novels that follow the exploits of Keller, who is a killer for hire.

Don’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover

Do you ever wonder where the saying came from? “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I’m sure that in the book binding business they don’t say that. The art of book binding has evolved over many years. Scribes in the earliest days wrote on palm leaves that were etched and stained with ink which would leave indentations that were visible. The western writers used bark and leaves for most of their writing but important documents were written on papyrus and rolled and stored in cubbyholes, similar to today’s wine racks.
The Egyptians discovered a method to fold the paper and write on both of the sides and fasten the paper together with a method of sewing the book through the folds. Wooden boards held the book together and it was kept in a goatskin to protect it from the elements. The first books that were actually made of paper had flat spines and over time the humidity would cause the papers to expand and the spine to be contorted so the book took on a wedge shaped appearance. Heavy boards were used to hold the paper together and ties were used to bind the book. Over time the spines were made more round which eliminated the effect the humidity had on the papers of the book. The first books that resemble the book binding of today was developed in Morocco around the 15th century. The books were bound with leather spines and silk threads were used to sew the pages together. About mid century in the 15th century with the invention of the printing press the books were made lighter and more portable than ever. Bibles were made with tissue thin paper and the covers were flexible which made the Bibles easier for missionaries to travel all over the world with them.
Until about the mid 20th century books were covered with cloth. Book binding from the mid 20th century and later used clothette a pseudo cloth which is really a paper. Cardboard was adopted for the hardcover books and the books no longer had threads sewn in the folds like the earlier books had been done.
Different types of modern book binding are the punch and bind technique, which encompasses double wire binding, comb binding, velobind, spiral binding, proclick and zipbind. Thermal binding techniques include perfect pinding, thermal binding, tape binding and unibind. The other type of binding in modern books is stitch binding. Stapling through the center fold is called saddle-stitching and American comic books use this type of binding.

3 Horror Novels That Will Scare You to Death

When it comes to literary horror, there are a lot of different paths that you can take in order to get the most out of the fear created by writers, but it’s sometimes hard to decide which book to read next. In order to help those that are not sure where to venture next, it became important to look into a list of 3 of the scariest books that you can get your hands on for a low cost. The following is a list of the best in horror writing from years past, and can still strike fear into the hearts of even the most jaded of imaginations. Look at the following if you dare, and never stop reading.
Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice – The first book seems innocent enough, but the pages are full of terror and fear. Long before shiny vampires took over the landscape of vampirism, Anne Rice was creating a long-standing record of beauty and terror. The book is filled with real life lamentations that would befuddle a person that had to live forever and feed. While the motion picture made this into a more dramatic and polished version, the book still stands as one of the better examples of what you can do with genre fiction.
The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson – This best selling novel took the haunted house genre and created something bigger, badder, and something that still creeps people out. Could a house really push someone into the brink of insanity and then bring them back with no recollection? The boundaries of real life terror play victim to the genre here and it truly showcases how far a person will go when psychologically tormented by spirits within a house. The house recently sold and hasn’t been an issue, but that hasn’t stopped people from reading, watching and exploring the original big, bad, haunted house.
The Shining by Stephen King – The master of horror has written one of the most eclectic blends of books in the past but in The Shining he really turns up the volume to 11. Here we get everything from psychotic rampages, to telekinesis, and beyond. You thought the movie was creepy? Wait till you get a hold of this epic in nearly 800 pages of length. You just can’t compare the movie to this solid book, which will give you nightmares if you’re not careful.
The above 3 books are novels that were written long ago and are still gaining new audiences. The main reason why it’s important to explore these titles is to preserve reading as a form of entertainment and learning. Remember, everyone spends years learning how to read and write, so why not continue that tradition for pleasure in your adult years? The above are just a taste of some of the better horror novels you can read and love today.

How to Write a Detective Novel

Thousands of people have written about solving crime and a greater number of people read about it! People’s interest in this topic fascinates me. Why are so many people interested in solving murders and mysteries? I too am interested in reading this genre and I enjoy watching the television shows and movies that depict successful crime solvers. It does not matter whether the person was poisoned, suffocated, drowned, drugged, driven over by a truck or thrown out of an airplane; the wily detective has a case.
Detectives come in all shapes, sizes, ages and nationalities. Each one has foibles that make him or her different from the others. There are thousands of fictitious detectives. Witness the many television detectives over the last twenty years. There were Colombo, Jonathon Creek, Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, and Poirot as well as shows like CSI, Pie in the Sky and countless others. They had a different process but the results were the same. Yet they all fascinate us.
In my mind there are several components that lead to an interesting novel of movie in this genre. The first trait is that the detective must be unique. Most detectives are confident and sure of their work. Many times they need to have an accomplice who asks them questions so that the reader can keep up with the detective. The detective must be smarter than the reader. Usually the novel must contain at least one person, usually a beautiful woman who is wronged in some way by an ‘evil’ person. There also needs to be money involved in some way. Although these are not absolutely necessary in my opinion, many of the successful novels include them. In my novel “ONE,” I have created a young humble detective who uses technology as his weapon against crime. He is solving a puzzle that involves the death of a beautiful woman who has accumulated an inordinate amount of money.
The internet is a marvellous place to research how to describe ways to harm people. I fervently hope that the information from these sites is not used in real life. Other places for research include libraries. Become a ‘library junky’ and your writing will improve.
I find that writing detective novels is most rewarding because the ‘evil’ person can be dealt whatever punishment that seems appropriate. The number of twists and turns in a detective novel is only limited by your imagination.
Like all forms of writing, practice will help you achieve better outcomes. Become the most interesting detective writer of all time!

The Best Horror Novels

There used to be a time when I hated reading. I just could not tolerate anything other than my biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. I never liked reading novels. But then one day, I came across a novel that was written by R.L..Stine. R. L. Stine is a great writer who has written hundred of horror novels targeted for teens and adults. Most of his novels have been best sellers and he had received several awards for his contribution as well. But then at that time, I was not aware of who R.L. Stine was. I had never heard about him. Somehow I had found a novel that was written by him.
Since my interest had always been watching horror flicks, I wanted to start with the novel. I didn’t know whether I will be able to finish the novel or not or even go half way or not. Anyway, I started reading it because i knew there was some suspense in the story. The name of my first novel was “The Boyfriend”. I started reading it and then I started finding it interesting as well. In two days I had finished the whole book and believe me it was a great read. I was thrilled. It was just fantastic. I couldn’t believe the creativity of the author. All along I kept wondering where he got that idea from. It was simple mind blowing. There was mystery, horror, suspense, love and everything. I just loved the book.
Then I decided to read more of the author’s books. I got more. Believe me, the best horror novels that I read were Beach house, Call Waiting, The New Years Party, Party Summer, The Dead Lifeguard, The Boy Next Door, Secret Admirer, Silent Night, The Betrayal, The Stepsister, The Burning, The First Evil and many more. The list is endless. This author has created so many interesting horror novels that are really worth reading. If you are a fan of such novels, then it is definitely worth reading some of his novels. Once you read a few you will feel like reading more and more. And then you will wait for his next novel to release.

Writing Your Novel Is The Easy Part

“Michael, are you crazy?”
Maybe. What about it.
Sometimes an idea just comes out of nowhere and won’t leave me alone until I write about it. So, I write about it.
Then what?
Isn’t that enough? Can’t I just write?
No. Time to do the real work now.
Next comes self-editing. Truth be told, that’s really my favorite part. But it is more workmanlike than “the fires of creation.”
What’s my goal as a writer? I want people to still be reading my stuff centuries after I die.
Self-editing matters. Do you want to know why? Because it’s a novel, not a blog. Make it easy to read, easy to understand, easy to enjoy, easy to edit, and easy to publish. And easy to hate, as the case may be. Easy.
Then you have to decide among dozens of publishing options. Big press, small press, hardback, paperback, ebook, traditional print, self-published, print-on-demand, straight to a publisher or through an agent or acting as your own publisher…
Oh, and rejection happens. A lot.
If you involve an editor in this, he’ll teach you how to write better and how to self-edit better. If not, oh well.
Authors don’t pay publishers. Readers pay publishers. Publishers pay authors.
Writing is a calling but publishing is a business.
Writing your novel is looking easier all the time, isn’t it?
I haven’t even mentioned self-promotion after you’re published. Just one more source of aggravation to steal your time and your focus away from writing your next novel.

Writers! – Keep Your Characters Off the Streets!

All writers have favorite characters from history, and exploring them through story-telling is, at times, difficult to resist. I know, having fallen in Mark Twain quicksand and getting out only by making him share the spotlight with two other characters. Here, then, is rule number one, unless you’re going to put a new slant on an old face – seek that character’s era, then seek out an utterly anonymous story from behind your famous figure. Great hits have come from exploring rats that sailed with Columbus – and one famous cricket has out-earned many a flesh-and-blood human. So, if Napoleon’s your man, go for the assistant cook that peels his potatoes, the roach who lives in one of them or the wayward soul who either made or shines his saber. The minor to anonymous figure in a famous era is nothing less than an undiscovered vein of literary gold.
No one should be dissuaded from choosing an era that most fascinates them. Once chosen, however, it must emit at least a “faux” reality, unless it is off-world. If it’s foreign, find someone of that country, literary works and recordings from their story-tellers. More important than the way they do they think? How do they communicate with those around them? How do they feel about those around them? Are they short and curt, broad and chatty, poetic or basic? Upon which “power words” are their conversations based? Do you have a sense of THEIR humor? Are they intimately familiar with the situation in which you put them? Could you act it out in front of a mirror, mastering all of the voices?
If you are writing in a dialect that people recognize or, in most cases, think they recognize, go overboard, far overboard… in the privacy of your studio at the computer. Before you publish, however, “consult consult consult” – then reexamine your copy and “retreat retreat retreat” until you have reached a satisfactory level of subtlety. Then, retreat even further, until you’re certain that every nuance of their speech is no more than a hint and natural byproduct of the character’s milieu.
Getting the twenty first century out of historical speech is like getting rid of ants or termites, and you can’t pass over one word without careful inspection. Many of our colloquialisms have moved to the center of our lexicon, but are still examples of misplaced slang to someone from the eighteenth century. Much of history is based upon class distinction saturated with minute variations of speech. From the hog-slopper to the Stubenmaedchen and on to the queen herself, you’ll have to comb out the obvious and overblown in multiple passes. For pieces such as Elizabethan settings, you’d best go the extra mile and have it read aloud with one person per character and a narrator.
Being drawn to a specific slice of life in a specific time is the very best reason to write about it, but have your passport in order and don’t write like a tourist. Until we’ve worked it out to the minutest detail, they always see us coming a mile away.

How To Develop The Plot When Writing Thriller Novels

When writing a thriller novel, how does the author set up and develop the plot and build more detail?
The theme can start out with one central idea. Then, it can develop from that idea, as the writing progresses.
Others will start with the idea and map out the plot in detail, before writing. That can be seen as formulaic. Once the plot is laid out in a plan, then some would say that it becomes writing by numbers. Keen readers will see these patterns in many thriller novels.
My preferred approach is to start out with a central idea, and let the story flow. With ‘Gate of Tears’ it was the extraction of gold from seawater.
Of course, that way, you don’t know how the story will go. With thrillers most authors will know that the main character will live for another day. Why let him or her live? Well, it enables them to use the character in a sequel. Obvious.
‘Gate of Tears’ is set mainly in the Middle East, where the Strait known as the ‘Bab el Mandeb’ – ‘Gate of Tears’ – guards the southern entrance to the Red Sea. There are other storylines in Alaska and London besides the Yemen, and the geography helped the plot development. I would find it much more challenging to write a thriller novel that was set in a fairly constrained environment – say a prison.
Then there are other challenges. How can an author deal with a stage in the action where a character has been put in an apparently dead-end situation? Well, firstly, the author backtracks. ‘Unwriting’ is, for me, a copout and also loses an opportunity for further plot intrigue. So, I wait and think, and sometimes it takes a few weeks to work out an answer (I might need to develop another thread to help resolve the situation). I’ll take a notebook and go for a walk. And another walk.
Another issue is ‘what happens next’?
An author could do as the main character does in ‘The Diceman’ – identify some options and let the dice decide. That’s an interesting way of moving the plot forward. That’s the creative bit.
A newish approach is to let the readers decide, issuing one or more chapters at a time and inviting reader input. I don’t favour that.
Technology Input
With techno thrillers the technology itself can tell a story. And, then, if the author has some nous, the writer can extrapolate existing technology. I have a defence equipment blog feed which I follow, and that pours out new technology for me. Then, recently on the television I saw the new Honda robot which can hop on one leg and pour a drink. It was scary, and the weapons possibilities are disturbing (or not – maybe they’d save lives). It’s not sci-fi anymore – it’s here.
The approaches I describe here all help the plot evolve, whilst allowing room for the mystical creative aspect. My favourite though, is when I tell the main character ‘Now, get out of that”!

Magic in Stories For Younger Readers – Part Seven – Magic and Reality

In stories for children, it is the boy or girl who solves the problem, rather than the adult, which children reading the story find it much easier to relate to. Harry Potter is just like his young readers, an ordinary child with admittedly extraordinary powers. Even those of his friends who come from magical families have the same things to deal with at Hogwarts, such as homework, embarrassing parents or annoying siblings, making it more believable and thus rooted in the real world, despite Harry’s enrollment in an exclusive school for wizardry.
Harry even has trouble becoming a wizard and struggles at school with some of his subjects, while his classmate Hermione consistently streams ahead of him. On more than one occasion, Harry curses himself for not having studied the history of the magical world or some other topic more deeply.
In the earlier novels too, Harry is quite simply not good enough to take on more powerful wizards. Much of the strength of the novels is the journey of Harry from the age of eleven to manhood and his complicated learning curve along the way, which is reflected not just in his relationships with his friends and teachers, but also in his growing comprehension of the laws of magic. Although magic is the predominant theme running through these and other novels, the hero still has to overcome his difficulties though his own efforts. Magic should never be used simply as a way to solve all problems and just wish them away.

How to Write a Romance Novel

Love is timeless and stories of love transcend time. We still wonder at the romantic tales of the olden days and appreciate those of modern times. Even children’s tales are splashed with romance; the prince and princess riding off into the sunset to live happily ever after. If you are interested in how to write a fantasy novel, you should probably start with writing a simple romance novel. Everyone, even the hard-hearted likes a good tale splashed with a good amount of romance. The following tips will show you how to write a fantasy novel, but especially how to write a romance novel.
Before you even embark on the actual plotting and writing, you ought to develop a taste for reading romantic literature. Read novels by famous writers and take note of how these writers have structured their plots. You should also read current releases. This will give you an idea of the latest trends in romantic writing and the type of material editors are looking for in modern writing.
You will also need to carry out thorough research on the market. Get to know what guidelines different publishers have, their standards and topics they prefer as well as those they will have nothing to do with.
You are now ready to begin with the planning of your romantic tale. Decide on the characters you will have; the hero and heroine. Decide on the basic plot of your novel and the theme. You will have to carry out thorough research to ensure that your plot is credible. Researching will help you include real facts and places as well as help the reader understand the theme better.
Having gone through all the above simplified processes of how to write a romance novel you should be better prepared to write.