Monday, July 27, 2009

Back from my tour

Finally back and trying to catch up. I'm so far the world's worst blogger. But the book tour was great and a lot of books were sold. I got to see a lot friends and visit and hang out in hotels with cheese plates. Hey, I'm from East TExas, it was a big time. In case you might not know, Delacort has accept an idea of mine for a young adult book, to be written the end of and the beginning of next year. It's called ALL THE EARTH THROWN TO THE SKY, and has to do with the Dust Bowl and The Great Depression, takes place in Oklahoma and Texas. I'm really excited about this one, and look forward to it. Also a couple of unannounced and forthcoming projects are in the works....Last night I was on FUNKY WEREPIG, which is an on line "radio" show, and it was a lot of fun, though I probably rambled more than I meant to. Still tired from all that traveling. Currently working on a short story, then I'll dive into the Hap and Leonard project that I'm currently calling DEVIL RED. Hope I do better blogging on a regular basis, but, alas, I'm easily distracted. Will be in Austin at Armadillo con August 14th through the 16th. Drop by the dealers table where either my daughter of myself will be selling books to pay for the massive amount of dog food my dog, Buffy The Biscuit Slayer consumes, and then watch for me at KillerCon in September, 16th-20th, in Las Vegas. Over and out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vanilla Ride Review

The Dedication to Vanilla Ride reads as such:For all you Hap and Leonard fans. Bless your little weird hearts. Who you calling weird, Lansdale?If that's true, there's a lot of weird people out there. The Hap and Leonard books are among the most universally loved pieces of fiction I've ever known about. I've turned a lot of people on to them and every one has loved them. Every single individual. Even those that either don't read or barely read. They love Hap and Leonard.I got on board early and I bought Savage Season immediately upon its publication. I was already a huge fan and had been since the first book I read by Joe, which was The Drive-In. I was later blown away by other Lansdale works like The Magic Wagon, Act of Love, Dead in the West and especially Cold in July. But Savage Season was special. Its lead characters captured my heart and it became an instant favorite.Luckily for Joe's readers, Savage Season was not the last time we would see Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. They returned in Mucho Mojo and again in The Two-Bear Mambo. Over the course of eleven years six Hap and Leonard novels were published. The ones I named as well as Bad Chili, Rumble Tumble and Captains Outrageous. And they also made an appearance or two in short stories.Then there was a hiatus in which there were no novels coming out about the baddest pair of Texas ne'er do wells since Augustus McCrea and Woodrow Call. Captains Outrageous was released in 2001 and the fans had to wait a long eight years before Hap and Leonard resurfaced. Which they just have, in a new novel called Vanilla Ride.A new novel and a new publisher. Now Joe is putting out books with the prestigious Alfred A. Knopf Publishing House and it's a suitable home for his awesome skills.The first question interested parties are likely to ask is, was Vanilla Ride the wait? My answer is, what do you think? Vanilla Ride is everything that Hap and Leonard fans love about the series. It's funny as hell, there's breathtaking action, there's mood and careful attention to the details of the locations in the book. And as always with Lansdale, the characters rise above the simple stereotypes that might at first seem obvious.The best things is that there is as much introspection and, dare I say it, philosophy in Vanilla Ride as there is violence and bawdy humor. Which is to say there is a great deal of it. The first person narration is always by Hap Collins, who constantly questions his own motives and impulses while his wisecracking exterior masks his inner turmoil.This one is as tough and hard as any and Hap and Leonard face their deadliest (and sexiest) opponent yet in the enigmatic and beguiling Vanilla Ride.Joe R. Lansdale has made a habit of bringing past characters back into his stories, much to the delight of his readers. Longtime Lansdale fans will be overjoyed to learn that Jim Bob Luke makes an extended appearance. And this reader holds out hope that we'll get to see Vanilla Ride again.Hap and Leonard are officially back and it's up to the readers to help ensure that the series will continue. Publishing is a business like any other. If the books make money, more will probably come. Skip the library and don't wait for the paperback with this one. I don't want to wait eight more years for another ripping Hap and Leonard adventure.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Excerpt from Vanilla Ride

Vanilla Ride

Big Guy said something and then two of his guys, one with the shotgun, the other with a pistol, went back toward where they had parked the Ford. Big Guy eased toward us slowly, and one of the other guys started around the cabin, toward the back.
“Who you want?” I asked.
“The big motherfucker,” Leonard said.
I hurried into the kitchen and stepped up on the counter that was near the door and pointed my weapon, waited. There was a slight sound at the back door, and then it was pushed back gently. I saw a hand with an automatic poke in, and then I heard a shot from the front of the cabin, Leonard or Big Guy’s weapon. I didn’t know for sure. And then the guy at the kitchen, perhaps smelling blood in the water, charged in and I shot him above the ear and he fell back against the wall and his head stayed propped against it while the rest of him spread out in that relaxed manner only the dead have. There was blood on the wall.
I jumped down and charged into the other room. Big Guy had Leonard by the neck and was lifting him off the floor with both hands. Leonard’s gun was on the floor between Big Guy’s legs, and Big Guy’s weapon was thrown up against the wall. I wasn’t sure how things had got that way, who had fired and who was hit, but before I could blow Big Guy’s brains out, I heard a shotgun blast outside, and then another, and then Leonard went sailing across the room, slammed onto the bed hard enough for the slats to break and the girl to scream from under there, and then Leonard was up and the kids were crawling out from under the bed, cowering in the corner.
I lifted up my .38 and shot Big Guy directly in the chest. He stepped across the room quickly and grabbed my gun hand, and slapped the hell out of me with the back of his other hand. I did a nice backwards roll, and when I got it together, Big Guy was firing at me with my .38.
Leonard leaped like a panther and hit big Guy above the knees with the side of his body, trying to clip him. Didn’t work. He bounced off.
I got the gun from the dead guy in the kitchen, a nine-mil, and went back to help Leonard. Leonard was grabbed again, and Big Guy was slinging him around like wet laundry. I couldn’t get a good aim.
All of this was going on at the same time there was a lot of racket outside. Gunfire, cursing, screams.
Finally Big Guy tired enough that Leonard, still hanging high while this guy choked him, was able to slap his hands over Big Guy’s ears. Big Guy dropped him. I tried to shoot Big Guy as he came rushing toward me, but the gun jammed.
He grabbed me around the waist and pushed me backwards and slammed me into the wall so that the back of my neck hit a bookshelf and the shelf came loose and fell and the one above it fell too, hitting me on top of the head dead center. At least the owner wasn’t a reader; no books fell on my head.
Next thing I knew I was pitched against the far wall next to the open front door. I got up and saw Leonard throw a right hook into Big Guy’s body and jerk his hand back with a sour look on his face.
I knew then why my bullet hadn’t hurt Big Guy. He was wearing a bulletproof vest.
The kids, both barefoot and Tim bare-chested, yanked a duffel bag out from under the ruins of the bed. They headed out the door before I could get off my ass, and when I did, the cabin felt as if it was moving.
I started to go after them, but when I looked back, Leonard was being slammed by a punch that might have killed a steer. My head was mostly back together, so I rushed the Big Guy and threw a hard round kick into his thigh. It was a perfect kick, hitting right on the nerve in the outer thigh, and I had used it before, dropping the leg right out from under strong men, but if it bothered Big Guy his expression didn’t show it. He came rushing at me, and without really knowing I was going to do it, I started backpedaling and went right out the front door.
A gun barked to my left and I saw one of Big Guy’s team on the ground and Jim Bob walking over. I got a glimpse of Tonto, but I didn’t see the other bad guy. The two kids and their duffel bag had disappeared.
Big Guy had lost his gourd, came charging out into the open, practically foaming at the mouth.
I’m a little ashamed to say I turned and bolted. I thought I was running like a goddamn deer on steroids, but Big Guy was tight on my ass as a dingleberry, and the next thing I knew he had me and we’re tumbling down the trail, rolling like a couple of doodlebugs. When we came to the bottom of the hill, I got hold of his ear with my teeth and bit as hard as I could, taking off a chunk big enough for a small sandwich.
He jerked his head up and came to his knees and let out a bellow. I tried to make a quick exit, stage right, spitting out the chunk of ear as I went, but he got hold of my rain slicker with one hand and hit me so hard with the other I thought I had accidentally stepped onto train tracks and been hit by a locomotive.
He was about to hit me again when I heard a grunt, and Leonard, doing a Superman, flew down the hill and hit Big Guy. The two of them went tumbling down some more, covered in mud, and ended up near the water’s edge. Big Guy came up on top and he was giving Leonard a pounding.
I ran down there and kicked Big Guy in the head. It was a pretty good shot, and it did more damage than the kick to the thigh. He was knocked over and into the water. He tried to get up and I kicked him again, but because I had to step out into the water to d it, it wasn’t as good a kick, and it only knocked him back. And then Leonard got hold of the minnow bucket and slammed it over Big Guy’s head. It was a tight fit. Leonard chopped Big Guy across the throat, twice in rapid succession. Big Guy stood up. Leonard slipped behind him with one smooth motion and tried to choke him with his forearm. The guy’s neck was like a tree, and Leonard might as well have been squeezing one. The guy shook like a dog and Leonard went into the water, scrambled up and out of it and onto the shore to meet me. We both stood there looking at the monster with the minnow bucket on his head. Big Guy clawed at the bucket, started pulling it loose. Leonard said, “Run like a motherfucker.”
And we did. We ran. We were like little girls being chased by the Big Bad Wolf.
Leonard said as we ran, “Where the fuck is that guy from?”
“Hell,” I said.
We were coming up on the boathouse. I said, “Goddamn it. Let’s take the boat and get away from that sonofabitch.”
Looking back, I saw Big Guy minus his bucket, and he was really coming. When we got to the boathouse the kids were there with the bag of money. They had the other rain slickers on and the towels over their shoulders. They were just standing on the platform looking at the boat as if they thought they might be magically transported into it. The rain was really coming down outside the boathouse, and it could be seen through the big opening at the back where the boats went out and came in, peppering the water like buckshot.
“What the hell are you waiting on?” Leonard said to the couple. “Get in the boat.”
“I’m scared of water,” the girl said.
“Something coming through that door you’re gonna be a lot more scared of,” Leonard said, and at that moment Big Guy came in, flinging the door back so hard it slammed against the wall.


Thanks to everyone who has ordered the book. Hope to see you on tour.


On Tour

Schedule for VANILLA RIDE
Thursday, July 2
Joe in Italy
Tuesday, July 7 HOUSTON
6:30 p.m. -- Murder by the Book. This will be a reading/book signing. 2342 Bissonnet St. , Houston , TX 77005 . murderbooks. com Arranged with David Thompson, murderbk@swbell. net, (713) 524-8597 / (888) 424-2842 / Fax: (713) 522-7945.
Wednesday, July 8 AUSTIN
7:00 p.m. -- Book People. This will be a reading/book signing. 603 North Lamar Blvd , Austin , Texas 78703 . Arranged with Alison Kothe Nihlean, BookPeople Marketing Director, 512.472.4288 x207, www.bookpeople. com, events@bookpeople. com
Thursday, July 9 DENVER
7:30 p.m. -- Tattered Cover. This will be a reading/book signing. Colfax Avenue, 2526 East Colfax Avenue, Denver CO 80206. Arranged with Charles Stillwagon, Event Manager, (303)322-1965 ext: 2736, charles.stillwagon@ tatteredcover. com.
Friday, July 10
Tuesday, July 14 PHOENIX
7:00 p.m. -- Poisoned Pen. This will be a reading/book signing. Arranged with Barbara Peters, barbara@poisonedpen .com and Lorri Amsden, Lorri@poisonedpen. com, 888 560 9919.
Wednesday, July 15 SAN FRANCISCO
7:00 p.m.-- M is for Mystery. This will be a reading/book signing. 86 East Third Ave. San Mateo , Ca. 94401. Arranged with Ed Kaufman, ed@mformystery. com / info@mformystery. com / 650-401-8077
Thursday, July 16 SEATTLE
12:00 noon -- Seattle Mystery Bookshop. 117 Cherry St , Seattle , WA 98104 . This will be a formal book signing and “conversation” event. Arranged with J.B. and Fran, staff@seattlemyster, 206-587-5737, www.seattlemystery. com
Week of July 29 – date tk
Time tk -- Hastings Entertainment in Nacogdoches . 3601 Plains Blvd. , Amarillo , TX 79120 – arranging with Sylvia Everitt, Sylvia.Everitt@ goHastings. com.