The Stupid 365 Project, Day 69: Break for Commercial

December 8th, 2010

Okay, Crashed is well and truly launched, with great reviews everywhere, and — at the time I write this — it’s #42 in hard-boiled mysteries on Amazon, not bad when you consider there are roughly a million Kindle titles.  It represents a pretty solid number of virtual copies sold.

There have been some really wonderful reviews by online reviewers (since it’s an e-book, some of the standard review sites are, for the moment, closed to it).

Here are a few brief excerpts:

“Hallinan’s Crashed is well-written, cleverly plotted, and downright funny all the way through.  Crashed is a true winner”  (Novelist Jinx Schwartz)

“When I was in graduate school . . . our professors tried to beat certain ideas into our heads. Protagonists should want something concrete . . . a great thriller [should] keep readers on the edge of their seats . . .  Tim Hallinan’s Crashed is almost a textbook for this kind of book. I won’t say I can’t put it down– because I put it down at the end of every chapter to marvel at what’s been done, think about how Hallinan did it, and how I can try to do the same thing.” (Novelist Neil Plakcy)

Crashed is one of the best and funniest books I’ve read all year.”  (Novelist Pat Browning)

“There have been plenty of great reviews already . . . for this book – I will tell you they are all TRUE!  If  you want a good read with plenty of humour – this is the one. Besides Tim’s ability to capture a character with a few deft lines is amazing.”  (Novelist Gina Gilmore)

“Hallinan puts his unique stamp on the hardboiled genre and makes it his own. Whether it’s the description of traffic on a rainy night in LA or the feeling of being up at three AM, unable to sleep, Hallinan writes in a way that’s wholly fresh and memorable, as if it were being done for the first time.”  (Novelist Debbi Mack)

There have been about twenty of these, and like a complete idiot I haven’t been pulling them and saving them for citation later.  But Crashed seems to be meeting with enthusiasm from a lot of people, including, I’m happy to say, writers.

The second Junior Bender book, Little Elvises, will go online in February or March.  The only person other than my wife, the ever-fascinating Munyin, who’s read it is Everett Kaser, who’s just finished reviewing  a manuscript that I thought was perfect and finding 983 mistakes in it. (Everett, as you know if you’ve been reading his comments, is — ummm — finicky.)   But with the correx he sent a cover letter that helped to make my day.  In it, he said, among other things:

“Okay, done now, and what a Fine Ride.  A First Rate Fine Ride, Fucking Right! That’s an FR-cubed award for you, and I don’t hand those out for just ANY old book!”

I’ll take that review any day.  More about e-books — a whole new world — in a later post.

35 Responses to “The Stupid 365 Project, Day 69: Break for Commercial”

  1. fairyhedgehog Says:

    I’m glad it’s doing so well!

  2. Gary Says:

    Finicky, huh?

    Everett, should you tell Dr. Hallinan or should I? About LITTLE ELVISES?

    ELVIS, as anyone who had finished high school would of course know, is obviously an i-stem Latin noun of the third declension. So under the parisyllabic rule, the correct form of the plural would not be LITTLE ELVISES but LITTLE ELVES.

    Not only delightfully ambiguous but, when correctly pronounced el-VAZE, also slips more trippingly off the tongue.

    What would the man do without us?

  3. Gary Says:

    Oh, and by the way: congrats on the wonderful reviews for CRASHED!

    CAPTCHA for today: stoned Ligiew. Meaningful or what?

  4. Bonnie Says:

    Is there a chance the publisher who was initially cool on Junior may come around to reevaluating the viability of paper versions in light of Crashed’s reception? I realize good reviews != sales volume, but they ought to count for something? I personally am just as happy to read everything on Kindle, especially at $2.99, but of course as pervasive as that seems to be, there’s still a huge market out there that doesn’t grok ebooks at all!

  5. EverettK Says:

    ‘finicky’? FINICKY? I take exception to that! I’m NOT finicky. I’m careful. I’m thoughtful. I’m a detail man (I am a programmer, after all). I’m logical, and I pay attention to how things link together, how they look. I’m honest, and I’m not afraid to call a spade a marlowe. I like the paint to cover ALL of the wall, including the cracks and crevices. And when I’m done with a job, I like to wipe my butt.

    Finicky. hpphhh.

  6. EverettK Says:

    Okay, I feel better now, having recovered from having my feelings so badly bruised first thing in the morning. (Sheesh. The sh*t I put up with. I feel like I need to wipe my butt again…)

    I can’t believe there’s anyone who follows this blog who has NOT already read Crashed, but on the off-chance that there is: What is wrong with you, fool?!? Crashed is the beginning of the story; get in NOW while the elevator’s still at the ground floor. Little Elvises does NOT suffer from Sequelitis, as so many series books do. It also proves that Crashed was not a one-time lucky-ass home run.

    Don’t expect the same slap-stick funny scene that opened Crashed, you can only do that so many times before it becomes ‘schtick.’ But Little Elvises has everything else that made Crashed so good:

    1) WONDERFULLY written characters, ones you love, ones you love to hate, and ones that are scary enough to wet your pants.
    2) Two, count ’em, TWO great plots that keep you pressing NEXTPAGE, NEXTPAGE, NEXTPAGE…
    3) Lots more face-time with Junior’s daughter Rina. What a kid! I hope to someday read a story about her when she’s grown up and REALLY come into her own!
    4) The dialog. Did I mention the dialog? I haven’t enjoyed snappy dialog like this since Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday. LOVED the dialogs between Junior and just about any of the other characters.

    I’ve written a review for eventual posting when Little Elvises is released, and it ends with:

    I’d not read any of Mr. Hallinan’s work (nor even heard of him) until four months ago, but he has now jumped onto my “instant buy” authors list, which has fewer than a dozen names on it. HIGHLY recommended!

    It’s hard for me to believe that it was only FOUR months ago that I first became aware that Tim and his works even existed. It’s been kind of like one of those scenes from the old silent film comedies, where you’re walking along happily, step into what you think is a little mud-puddle, and suddenly there’s nothing there but your hat floating on the surface. You don’t stumble upon great writers very often, let alone ones you’d never heard of before.

    I won’t say much more, as I don’t want to spoil any of the plot details, and you can only effuse enthusiastically for so long before people start to yawn and thinking about possible restraining orders. But I am happy to be able to provide a small return service to Tim, that might allow him to get a few more minutes of actual WRITING done instead of doing authorial scut work.

    Bravo, Tim, bravo!

  7. Robb Royer Says:

    Wow, do I get to be the first to congratulate? You’re gonna get another rave here, not for your book (haven’t read it yet) but for your life, but first! – you wanted to hear the Fishing Hat Story. (for those who missed the earlier exchange, we were talking about Tim’s dad’s sense of humor).

    The FHS

    Ken Hallinan had rented a lakefront cabin and boat to do some fishing. As the day wore on it got brutally hot so he went back to the cabin to see if he could find a hat. He found one all right but it was ridiculously festooned and adorned with every imaginable fly and lure covering the entire hat. Thinking no one would see him he put it on and went back to fishing. Of course he ran out of bait and, forgetting about the hat, went to the local bait shop. As he entered, a grizzled vet at the counter looked up and said laconically “what can I do for you, Sport?’
    Followed of course by a huge laugh-at-himself. That’s Ken.

    Now, Tim has been regaling me with a lot of compliments most of them hyperbolic (if I have a thousand hits my BMI is getting lost in the mail) but I just want to return the favor by giving the gang a glimpse of the experience of meeting up with a Tim Hallinan in college.

    I had come to LA from a small high school in the Sierra foothills where the idea of a witty exchange might be…
    ‘Eat Me’
    ‘Yer ma mouth’
    So imagine the experience of coming to college and finding a character not only unbelievably well read
    but at the tender age of 18 encompassing this knowledge into the complex and ironic world view of a scholar thirty years his senior, often brilliantly stated. Miles ahead of the rest of us. After we became friends we were Mr. inside and Mr. Outside. The profs loved him and (with two notable exceptions) hated me. Tim was a favorite of Prof. James Dickey (yeah, THAT James Dickey). You don’t meet many people who are life-changers but Tim was one in a number of ways.

    (Once I started posting these Tim-in-college flashbacks I was engulfed. So, without objection I’ll keep doin’ it for a while)
    Tomorrow: The first glimpse of Tim.

  8. Laren Bright Says:

    Fantastic! How did you generate all the reviews? Did you send e-copies to the reviewers or did they learn about it from some other nefariously brilliant plan you implemented?

  9. Suzanna Says:

    First of all, Tim, congratulations! Thrilled for you!!! I hope that your E book sales just continue to spiral up and up and up. You deserve all praise and great success!

    Robb, thank you for telling us Ken’s Fish Hat story. Most guys would have been too concerned about appearances to have worn the hat in the first place. Ken had the good sense to avoid getting hammered by the sun, and it’s really endearing that he forgot to take it off before he entered the macho world of a bait shop.

    I would love to hear any of your stories about Tim. No disrespect to James Dickey, but I have a hunch that Tim could probably run circles around him in a classroom, even at 18.

  10. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    Congratulations, Tim, it couldn’t happen to a better person. Reading this blog is an adventure. Everett, I like your posts on DorothyL. And Robb, thank you for the insights to Tim and his family. I am picturing Tim running circles around James Dickey-never mind. Thank you both, for the music and the pictures you write.

  11. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    WELL, okay . . .

    How do I begin. By blushing, which fortunately you can’t see. I’m having a Sally Field moment, but not on video.

    To take these notes in the order in which they came in:

    FHH (who’s got a huge jump because her time zone is half a day ahead of everyone else’s, if we don’t count Gary, and why would we) — Thank you. It could go on to sell a lot or it could just simmer along for a while, but people like it, and since this is the first in a new series that’s especially gratifying to me. Two weeks ago no one had read Junior. Now, he has friends.

    Gary, thank you for being so sensitive as to respond to a possible pejorative I aimed at Everett. And thank you also for the finicky correction on the plural of “Elvis.” You know, you could also pluralize “Elvis” as “Elvis,” seeing as how he was pretty much a plural himself in the last decade of his life. (If Munyin is reading this, I didn’t mean that.)

    By the way, the little Elvises of the title refers to all the imitators — same haircut, same sneer, no talent — that sprang up in his wake, especially the Philadelphia kids such as Fabian. I know, nobody here is old enough to remember Fabian, but take it from me, you don’t actually need to in order to read the book.

    Bonnie, there’s always a chance, but I think it’s more likely to happen after LITTLE ELVISES, especially if they both sell. But it would take an absolutely MASSIVE advance for me to take this series out of e-book originals and put it on paper. I love the whole e-book thing, especially the degree of control I have and the AMAZINGLY prompt payment. Publishers can take two years to pay, because there’s always the potential depth charge of late returns from the stores. Amazon does an automatic wire transfer exactly 60 days after each month the book is on sale.

    Everett, you’re not finicky at all, and I can’t imagine which errant muse planted that word in my mind. Finicky?!? Ha. It is to scoff. Obsessive, maybe; persnickety code-writer, maybe; spotter of inverted single quotes and improper-page-returns-before-new-paragraphs, certainly. Until you I didn’t know there was such a thing as an improper page return, etc., and I still don’t know how you spot them, although I’m very glad you do because they totally mess up e-book formatting.
    I’m accumulating a big Karmic debt in your favor, and you should know that if it becomes overpowering I’ll have to have you killed.

    But not before your review of LITTLE ELVISES goes on Amazon and other influential websites. Thanks for all that praise. Coming from you, it almost makes me feel like I deserve it. Oh, and I’ll take a comparison to “His Girl Friday” any day.

    And now we come to Robb. I need to take a break, make some coffee, and essentially rewire myself before I answer Robb. See you all in fifteen minutes.

  12. Bonnie Says:

    Just got back from a little book launch party here at work, where we had cake, and my boss had bought these napkins, which somehow made me think of Junior:

  13. EverettK Says:

    Tim said: I’m accumulating a big Karmic debt in your favor, and you should know that if it becomes overpowering I’ll have to have you killed.

    All I ask is that, when the time comes, you send Junior, not Fronts. Please, NOT Fronts!

  14. Sabine Says:

    “I can’t believe there’s anyone who follows this blog who has NOT already read Crashed, but on the off-chance that there is: What is wrong with you, fool?!?”

    Everett – Please don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with me. Maybe there’s something wrong with amazon Germany – they just don’t have it. This doesn’t bother me at all, though, because amazon became a “you mustn’t buy here shop” recently. But even this doesn’t bother me at all, because for a long time I’ve been using amazon only for the reader’s comments, trying to find out which books to buy, and then buying somewhere else. There are several very enjoyable Internet book stores in Germany, where English books are usually cheaper than at amazon’s. Coming to German books – they have a fixed price here, fixed by the publishing house. Nobody is allowed to sell the book at a lower or higher price. amazon does. Some years ago they’ve invented a so-called “invoice fee”, which they aren’t allowed to charge when there are only German books in the parcel. They don’t care and charge this fee anyway.

    Unfortunately other book shops in this country don’t have Crashed either, though they offer several of Tim’s books.

  15. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    ROBB — This has been a fascinating Robb Royer day. First, I read your amazing (if highly inaccurate) description of me and our relationship, and then I read your album notes to the Jimmy Griffin CD you’ve been working on for so long. (Jimmy Griffin, everyone, was Robb’s primary collaborator for decades, both in and out of Bread, a great singer, a great writer, and a twenty-four carat guy.) They were album notes, as they should have been — they tell you when a cut was recorded and why, and offer a few words about it, and through all of it — even though it’s never front and center — comes Robb’s love for Jimmy and the feeling of loss that he and everyone who knew Jimmy felt/feel at his early and brutal departure. So Robb’s most deeply nursed secret, that he has a center like a Tootsie Pop, is now everywhere.

    Okay, Robb, First, you have no idea how deeply this has moved me. I don’t remember myself being anywhere near as cool or as interesting as you do, and it amazes me that I fooled you so profoundly. If I was a life-changer for you, it seems to me that you’ve got the two of us mixed up.

    I was insecure, loud, capable of improvising complex sentences, and (my saving grace) well-read. I was also certain that I would spend most of my adult life sitting on a sidewalk holding a paper cup in the air. (This is not a joke — the idea of making a living was so alien to me that the secret might as well have been hidden beneath the cornerstone of a temple in Tibet.) I had seen myself as a bum — this was pre-“homeless”– since I was eight and had encountered no data to make it seem unlikely.

    So I was doing my tricks, aiming most of my energy at getting laid (it wasn’t illegal back then), and Not Thinking About The Future, when Robb comes up to me and says, in essence, that I talk good and had I ever thought of writing lyrics. I hadn’t, and I told him so. But Robb’s will power is absolutely tidal, and not long after, we were writing songs. And then we had a contract and we were making money (although in very small amounts) for writing songs, and then we had a band and a manager (a guy I HAVE to write about some day) and we were performing on bills with Sonny and Cher and hanging out at the Troubadour, and I’m suddenly living with an amazing African-American singer in Silverlake, and we make an album, and we hear one of our songs on the radio (once, I think) and we’re playing folk clubs, and my entire life had taken a sharp left, in the direction of interesting. Robb is the first person who ever got me to work creatively with any kind of persistence, and even though it eventually turned out that the entire partnership was based on a simple misunderstanding — I actually couldn’t write lyrics worth a damn, whereas Robb was sensational at it — my life had moved into the creative sphere, and it’s stayed there ever since, give or take a couple of awful but profitable decades. And Robb did that for me. If I hadn’t met up with him, I’d probably be teaching the Lithuanian Short Story or a seminar on Shakespeare’s Most Unreadable Precursors in some third-rank college in one of the flat states (sorry, Riss) that’s got snow. Instead, I live in Santa Monica (yay), Bangkok (yay), and Phnom Penh (yay), and I write books.

    He didn’t help me with any of the books, though — although Miaow’s scorn for coffee (Bean drink) is stolen directly from Robb. And bits and pieces of him are here and there through the books. and no, I’m not telling where or in whom.

    One of the interesting things about living into Old Farthood is that there are suddenly people you’ve known forever, and you’re perpetually realizing that they’re not who you thought they were. Robb has been surprising me since Thailand lay beneath the ice, and this response is yet another surprise. Thanks, Robb.

  16. Bonnie Says:

    Not exactly a propos, ebooks are really livening up the romance market, apparently:

  17. Larissa Says:

    Late I’m a latecomer to this whole thing, but Congrats on the great reviews. And I have to say, with your track record, doesn’t hearing how cool you are just get old after a while? Hehe. I imagine not. Well done! 😀

    Sabine: Yeah, what’s up with German online books and retailers and all of that? You’re the second person to tell me about it (I don’t know how I keep ending up on the subject with Germans…) and it seems sort of strange. On one hand, I don’t mind that they’ve taken away the whole free market thing but simultaneously it sort of goes against everything I’ve understood about business. Who decided that online media can only be priced by the publisher? What do the authors think about it?

  18. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Robb — I’m back. Post all you want, but I reserve the right to go all Rashomon on you and present my side. I’m actually fascinated to see what else I remember wrong.

    Laren — I pitched some websites, but the trouble with e-books is that there’s really no review structure in place yet. All the writers came because two people read the book and posted raves on two mystery groups, DorothyL and 4Mystery Addicts, and a bunch of other people went and bought the books and wrote similarly enthusiastic reactions. (The eight reader reviews on Amazon thus far are all five-star, which is a first for me.) Whoever figures out how to publicize e-books will make a fortune. I’d work on it, but I prefer writing them.

    Suzanna, thanks for the good wishes. You were around when the things Robb talked about were happening, but you were still too short to get on roller coasters. The fish hat story is great, and I had totally forgotten it, so Robb brought a piece of my father back to me. By the way, running a circle around James Dickey took some time. Despite the stereotype of poets as wan and ethereal, Jim Dickey was a gentleman of substantial girth.

    Lil, you’re the kind of person we all need in out lives. The word “gracious” springs to mind. Thanks to you for adorning this discussion.

    Bonnie, those napkins are really funny, and I almost never like “party humor.” The one I laughed hardest at is, “My liquid diet is going well. So far I’ve lost two days.” And the 50s and 60s photos are wonderful. I kind of miss a world in which it was okay to get smashed and behave badly on occasion and political correctness hadn’t raised its dreadful head yet, and “inappropriate” referred to wearing a tuxedo and high heels, or (in certain exalted circles) white after Labor Day.

    Everett, I love Fronts. In fact, when you boil LITTLE ELVISES down, the thing I like best in it might be Fronts. One of the wonderful things about writing Junior is that people like Fronts are plausible in his orbit. But you’re safe — I wouldn’t send him after you because he’s too big a softy.

    Sabine, CRASHED is a Kindle first edition, meaning it’s available only in the Kindle store. It ought to show up on a full-site search, but if it doesn’t, try the Kindle store, and if it’s not there, please let me know, and I’ll send it to you in the format that’s easiest for you to read.

  19. Bonnie Says:

    I could be wrong but I think there are still restrictions on buying ebooks published (even on Kindle in cyberspace) in the US being purchased in other countries. I can buy a German physical book with 1-click from no problem, but as far as I understand it the virtual possibilities are lagging behind the adaptation of contracts governing rights that publishers are used to. In other words, if Sabine tries to buy the book from’s Kindle store, it’s going to look at her IP address and refuse to play. I’ve read on Smartbitchestrashybooks some folks trying to work around it by changing their registered address, but apparently that doesn’t work forever. With any luck a lot of this international copyright and DRM and other nonsense will eventually get straightened out.

  20. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    Why, thank you, sir. I’ve never been on a blog with someone who hung out with so many stars. I actually knew that about J. Dickey, and I imagine you as tall and thin-hence the image. What a wonderful story you told.

  21. EverettK Says:

    Gary said: ELVIS, as anyone who had finished high school would of course know, is obviously an i-stem Latin noun of the third declension. So under the parisyllabic rule, the correct form of the plural would not be LITTLE ELVISES but LITTLE ELVES.

    ROFL-moment. After reading that this morning, I was just skim-reading through “Little Elvises” again this evening, when I came upon a scene set in the Marge ‘n Ed’s North Pole motel at the North end of North Hollywood, a place with a Christmas theme — year-round. There’s an engraved brass plate on the edge of the table in Junior’s room (named Blitzen, of course):

    Engraved on it were the words, For good elves only. “Whaddya suppose they do with the bad elves?” Louis said. “Hang them up in stockings in front of the fireplace and smoke them like hams?”

    Kinda funny after reading Gary’s post this morning, and REALLY funny after having read his post AND the book.

    Well, at least Tim will understand. Maybe. Well, at least *I* got a good laugh out of it! 🙂

  22. Debbi Says:

    Ooh! I’ve been quoted. What fun! 🙂

  23. Gary Says:

    Well, Everett, I did say that version of the title would be delightfully ambiguous. And imaging mingling in literary society and asking everyone, “Have you read Little El-VAZE?” And having such fun sneering at anyone so ignorant as to pronounce it Little Elvz.

    I mean, it would make the whole damn thing so highbrow and exotic. Why doesn’t he ever take our advice, Everett?

  24. Sabine Says:

    Larissa – We have this Fixed Book Price law in Germany since 1888. Many other European countries still have similar laws. Wikipedia has an entry here:

    Simplified it’s about not making blockbusters too cheap, which would lead to making non-blockbusters (but nonetheless important books) unaffordable for most of the readers. It’s also about keeping smaller book stores in business. Well, at least this mission has failed already thanks to the Internet.

    “Who decided that online media can only be priced by the publisher? What do the authors think about it?”

    The lawmakers have decided it, though it isn’t totally clear yet whether the fixed price is also effective for e-books. The Association of the German Booktrade (our watchdog for these kind of activities) are determined to enforce the FBP for e-books via courts, should it be necessary one day.

    I’ve never heard of any complaints about this law by authors, because we are the ones who benefit from this law. It’s difficult enough to find a publisher for a non-blockbuster novel. Without this law it would become really ugly. Please keep in mind that we operate within very small markets with all those thousands of languages in Europe.

    The FBP does not exist for imported books in other languages than German. That’s why I don’t order English books at amazon but elsewhere. amazon is always more expensive than their much smaller competitors. Plus the competitors offer a much better service.

    Tim – I could order Crashed at, but the software complains that I don’t have a registered Kindle. How could I? I don’t have a Kindle at all, neither do I have any other e-book reader. Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are still in the diaper’s age when it comes to e-books. The available number of titles is easily managable. What makes matters worse, I cannot afford an e-book reader, as I’ve been unemployed for some years now.

  25. EverettK Says:

    Sabine: You can download Amazon’s “Kindle for PC” (or “Kindle for Mac” or…) for free, and then you can use it as your “Kindle device”. I don’t own a Kindle either, but I buy a LOT of e-books from Amazon via “Kindle for PC.”

  26. Bonnie Says:

    Everett, Sabine: I’ll bet doesn’t let her/you do it, though.

  27. Sabine Says:

    Everett – Thank you so much! You see, I’m a Neanderthal girl from Neanderthalistan. Sometimes I need some help from civilized humans. Now I’ve got my “Kindle for PC” installed on my PC, but no chance for getting any books on my “Kindle for PC”. amazon demands creditcard payment. And as you might guess, in Neanderthalistan we don’t grow creditcards. We grow potatoes and tomatoes and we pay cash in Neanderthalistan. Small coins preferred.

    I checked with other stores on the net. They accept payment without creditcards and they offer a lot of e-books, English and German ones, for a whole bunch of machines. But, we are so sorry, not for Kindle.

    It’s just madness.

  28. Sabine Says:

    Bonnie, they would let me, but only with creditcard payment. And I don’t have one. Never had.

  29. Sylvia Says:

    Sabine, download the Kindle for PC (or Mac, if that’s your flavour – or there’s an iPhone app) and you can order and buy Kindle books to your hearts desire, which you can then read withuot needing any conversion. The software is free.

    I haven’t read Crashed yet (my to-read list is overflowing and Hallinan is only partially to blame) but I’m certainly looking forward to it. What *great* reviews.

  30. Bonnie Says:

    Sabine, yes, in banking as well as other things we are lagging sadly behind Europe. No concept of paying for something by bank transfer here. If you want, we could try something: I could buy you a gift credit for Kindle (a friend of mine in Hong Kong did that for me to reimburse me for a T-shirt I purchased on his behalf for his son, so I know that works internationally). You could use the gift card credit to see if you can purcahse Crashed, but I’ll bet when they see your address they will still make problems. Still, it’s worth a try, and you could reimburse me via Paypal if you’re interested. Heck, I’d give you Crashed just for the pleasure of it (easy to be generous with a $3 book).

    You could return the favor by answering a question for me: When I was still living in Austria I bought some wonderful books by Strittmatter when I was in Budapest. I think they got the books (published in German) cheap from what was then East Germany. Do you know if they are still in print? The series of about 4 books was called Der Wundertäter. I think Strittmatter’s first name was Ernst? They were wonderful books but unfortunately I lent them out a little too enthusiastically and would now love to replace them.

  31. Sabine Says:

    Sylvia, please have a look at my comment #27.

    Bonnie, Strittmatter’s Wundertäter is in stock at

    His first name is Erwin and the Wundertäter now comes as a bundle of three volumes.

    They send it to the US, shipping is € 14 or approximately $ 19,50.

    And thanks for your kind offer. Tim himself has already offered to send it to me if I couldn’t get it by other means and when I would be able to read it anyhow. paypal is a nice idea, but I’m boycotting paypal, as well as amazon – out of solidarity and anger.

  32. Bonnie Says:

    Ah, thanks for the Strittmatter info. Amazon 1-click is dangerous for me in every country. 🙂

    Good that you will be able to get the book from Tim, then. I enjoyed it a lot though having read through once I think Little Elvises is even better. Now I need to “earn” it by trying to be at least half as picky as Everett!

    Nochmals vielen Dank fürs Strittmatter-Info.

  33. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Sabine — Sorry about all the international complications. You’d think governments and other institutions would get the fuck out of the way when somebody wants something as simple as reading a story. Of course, when you add in no reader (for an e-book), and no credit card (for Amazon), it gets a little cloudier.

    I would still be happy to send it to you, and you can read it on Kindle for PC. And good for you for boycotting PayPal. Amazon is a little different — it just refused them server access, but PayPal cut WikiLeaks’ throat. Anyway (DISCLOSURE), I make money from Amazon, which disposes me more kindly toward them.

    Everett, thanks for the blurb from Marge ‘n Ed’s North Pole, which I loved writing. In MUTHER’S DAY, Junior and Ronnie are staying at Versailles of Van Nuys, which isn’t as funny as Marge ‘n Ed’s yet, but I’ve only begun to play with it. It’s got a moat, though, and Marge ‘n Ed’s North Pole didn’t have one of those. Really glad you like LITTLE ELVISES.

    And Bonnie, same for you, especially since you’re as picky as Everett. (But not quite as picky as Gary). You’re the early readers, and the reactions mean a lot.

    Gary, Gary, Gary. You’ve read CRASHED. Did it strike you as “highbrow and exotic”? Do you honestly think I could pull off “highbrow and exotic”? It would be as excruciating as Robin Williams in Wet mode, you know, whenever he’s got a beard. Enough to send small children whose spirits are still pure and uncorrupted screaming from the theater.

  34. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Gary e-mailed me privately to inform me that the ending he proposed for THE TEMPEST is in fact the ending to Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN. Something I didn’t know now and almost certainly never knew.

    While I apologize for this chink (sorry, Munyin) in my frame of reference,I’m saying it here: Gary Archer’s frame of reference is infinitely broader than mine, and he also has freer access to it. There is essentially nothing that’s even remotely obscure in Western culture that Gary doesn’t have nailed. He’s even good on some of the not-so-obscure stuff.

    This is a tribute. I used to think that I had a really big bag of cultural marbles, but Gary can’t even carry his over his shoulder.

  35. Sabine Says:

    Tim, this thing with boycotting amazon is nothing new to me – I just didn’t call it boycott before. Not buying there was just more convenient for me. English books are cheaper elsewhere, and after a seven-minutes walk from my home there’s this nice little book store, which has a website itself, where you can order every book that is available in Germany. So I’m reading the readers’ reviews on the amazon website, switch to the next tab and order it on-line to be delivered to my small book store across the street. Two days later I go there to pick it up. I could even order it by phone, but they are short of staff and always busy. So usually nobody answers the phone. Perhaps I’m oldfashioned, but I still prefer talking to real people.

    I’d be very happy and grateful if you could send Crashed to my e-mail address. I’m curious to read it because of the praising comments by other writers.

    Today somebody in a forum linked to a one-hour documentary named “Wikirebels”, which has been broadcasted by Swedish television some days ago. It’s in English and only available on-line until Monday, December 13th. If you haven’t seen “Collateral Murder” yet, you’ll need a strong stomach to endure the scenes from it, which they’ve cut into “Wikirebels”:

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