Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

Camel Press Announces the October Release of A BLACK SAIL, by Rich Zahradnik: A Corpse Surfaces as Boats Fill the Harbor for NYC’s Bicentennial

Camel Press logo

Seattle, WA—On October 1, 2016, Camel Press will release A Black Sail ($15.95, 264 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-211-5), by Rich Zahradnik, book three of a mystery/thriller series featuring newsman Coleridge Taylor and set on the mean streets of Manhattan and surrounding boroughs in the ’70s. While covering Operation Sail in 1976, Taylor witnesses a heroin-laden corpse being fished out of the New York Harbor and concludes the woman was a pawn in a drug war.

Book 1, Last Words, won Honorable Mention in the mystery category of ForeWord Reviews’ 2014 Book of the Year Contest, was a Bronze Medal Winner in the mystery/thriller eBook division of the 2015 IPPY Awards, and a finalist in the mystery division of the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. RT Book Reviews gave it 4 stars: “Hours of engrossing entertainment…. A thoroughly satisfying read.”

Book 2, Drop Dead Punk, was a finalist in ForeWord Reviews’ 2015 Book of the Year Contest, a Gold Medal winner in the mystery/thriller Ebook division of the 2016 IPPY Awards, and a finalist in the mystery division of the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. ForeWord Reviews called it “fast-paced, deeply entertaining and engrossing.”

On the eve of the U.S. Bicentennial, newsman Coleridge Taylor is covering Operation Sail. New York Harbor is teeming with tall ships from all over the world. While enjoying the spectacle, Taylor is still a police reporter. He wants to cover real stories, not fluff, and gritty New York City still has plenty of those in July of 1976. One surfaces right in front of him when a housewife is fished out of the harbor wearing bricks of heroin, inferior stuff users have been rejecting for China White, peddled by the Chinatown gangs.

Convinced he’s stumbled upon a drug war between the Italian Mafia and a Chinese tong, Taylor is on fire once more. But as he blazes forward, flanked by his new girlfriend, ex-cop Samantha Callahan, his precious story grows ever more twisted and deadly. In his reckless search for the truth, he rattles New York’s major drug cartels. If he solves the mystery, he may end up like his victim—in a watery grave.

Says Zahradnik, “I love Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels about the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and have read all but one. When I looked ahead after Drop Dead Punk left off in November 1975, I realized I had the chance to put ships of sail in the next Taylor mystery. I lived near New York during the Bicentennial and remember the tall ship parade in New York Harbor—flickering images on TV up in Dutchess County. I needed to do a great deal of research on those craft, using newspaper coverage and books published at the time. Unlike Mr. O’Brian, I knew little or nothing about jibs, staysails, and ratlines. Lucky for me, there were only 16 ships—not an entire navy—and I’d be writing through the eyes of Taylor, who knows as much as I and cares a whole lot less. This was one of those times when I could bring in one of my oddball interests to dress the set, while still telling a story of heroin dealers and murder in the NYC of 1976. Taylor’s frustration at having to cover the Operation Sail events is typical of reporters who don’t think of features as serious journalism. His bad attitude helped propel the story.”

Rich Zahradnik has been a journalist for 30-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine, and wire services. He lives with his wife, Sheri, and son, Patrick, in Pelham, New York, where he teaches kids how to publish online and print newspapers. For more information, go to www.richzahradnik.com.

A Black Sail is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com. After October 1st, it will also be for sale in both eBook and 5×8 trade paperback editions on BN.com, the European Amazons, Amazon Japan and select independent bookstores. Bookstores and libraries will be able to order wholesale through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, or by contacting info@camelpress.com. Libraries can also order from Brodart Company. Other electronic versions will be available on BN.com, Kobo, and iBooks.

ABOUT Camel Press—Based in Seattle Washington, Camel Press is an imprint of Coffeetown Enterprises, Inc. We publish genre fiction: romance, mystery/suspense, science fiction, and fantasy—the books that grab you and hold you in their grip long into the night.

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DROP DEAD PUNK named Finalist in Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards

March 7, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DROP DEAD PUNK named Foreword Reviews’ 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards Finalist

SEATTLE — Today, Camel Press is pleased to announce DROP DEAD PUNK has been recognized as a finalist in the 18th annual Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards. Here is the complete list:

https://indiefab.forewordreviews.com/finalists/2015/

Each year, Foreword Reviews shines a light on a select group of indie publishers, university presses, and self-published authors whose work stands out from the crowd. In the next three months, a panel of more than 100 volunteer librarians and booksellers will determine the winners in 63 categories based on their experience with readers and patrons.

“The 2015 INDIEFAB finalist selection process is as inspiring as it is rigorous,” said Victoria Sutherland, publisher of Foreword Reviews. “The strength of this list of finalists is further proof that small, independent publishers are taking their rightful place as the new driving force of the entire publishing industry.”

Foreword Reviews will celebrate the winners during a program at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida in June. We will also name the Editor’s Choice Prize 2015 for Fiction, Nonfiction and Foreword Reviews’ 2015 INDIEFAB Publisher of the Year Award during the presentation.

About us: Based in Seattle Washington, Camel Press is an imprint of Coffeetown Enterprises, Inc. We publish genre fiction: romance, mystery/suspense, science fiction, and fantasy—the books that grab you and hold you in their grip long into the night.

About Foreword: Foreword Magazine, Inc is a media company featuring a Folio:-award-winning quarterly print magazine, Foreword Reviews, and a website devoted to independently published books. In the magazine, it features reviews of the best 170 new titles from independent publishers, university presses, and noteworthy self-published authors. Its website features daily updates: reviews along with in-depth coverage and analysis of independent publishing from a team of more than 100 reviewers, journalists, and bloggers. The print magazine is available at most Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million newsstands or by subscription. The company is headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan.

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Old newspaper movies about today’s journalism

I’ve been deep diving into movies about newspapers. There are more than a few. I think I may have found the best. Oddly, it’s one of the oldest. “Five Star Final,”released in 1931, is about the destruction caused by a do-anything-for-circulation tabloid. The competition was tight between that feature and “Deadline – USA,” another black and white picture, though this from 1952. Both include as leads men better known for playing gangsters and good guys during crime films of the noir era. Both portray troubling behavior in the newspaper business that could have happened yesterday.

five star finalEdward G. Robinson is the managing editor in “Five Star Final,” while “Deadline – USA’s” top editor is Humphrey Bogart.

In bad journalistic tradition, I’ll bury the lead and talk about the second-place movie first. In “Deadline – USA,” Ed Hutcheson (Bogie), the editor of the The Day, goes after a mobster for a murder. The only hitch: He has three days until the newspaper will be sold by the family that owns it and closed by a competing publisher. (We call this the Gannett approach.) In a way, it is the more traditional of the two newspaper movies, with its crusading journalist chasing a bad guy. A few things make it better than most of the others I watched. Actual scenes are shot among the printing presses. Most movies cop out and use b-roll or even acquired footage of presses rolling. You’re going to do a newspaper movie, you’ve got to play some scenes in the pressroom.

This happens in “Deadline – USA,” including the death of one character, crushed when he falls into the spinning metal rollers and web of newsprint.

The movie features some good lines from the pressroom.

Bogie tells the gangster Tomas Rienze what’s going to happen from the phone with the presses rolling behind him:

“That’s the press, baby. The press! And there’s nothing you can do about it. Nothing!”

Or maybe I’m just obsessed with printing presses.

In spite of the crusade, The Day is done. The last shot is of Hutcheson reading his paper’s story on the murder as The Day’s neon sign dims and goes out. I can’t leave this film without quoting Hutcheson’s eerily prescient lines on what readers want from newspapers:

“It’s not enough any more to give ’em just news. They want comics, contests, puzzles. They want to know how to bake a cake, win friends and influence the future. Ergo, horoscopes, tips on the horses, interpretation of dreams so they can win on the numbers lottery. And, if they accidentally stumble on the first page… news!”

As dark and realistic as it feels, “Deadline – USA” has nothing on the older “Five Star Final” for portraying the destruction caused by a tabloid paper determined to get a story by any means. New York Evening Gazette managing editor Joseph Randall (Robinson) pursues a woman 20 years after she shot her unfaithful husband and served her time. She’s married, living in anonymity. It’s the day before the wedding of her daughter, who doesn’t know her mother’s past. A reporter poses as a minister to get the mother’s story. The mother, then her husband, commit suicide. Lives are destroyed. I will admit scenes come off as melodramatic in our era of more naturalistic storytelling. But the havoc wreaked by tabloids in search of circulation could, as they say, be ripped from today’s headlines.

The film is based on the stage play by Louis Weitzenkorn, who worked at one of the city’s nasty tabs of the time. That might explain the double-suicide histrionics. Yet the film is dark in a real way. No one at the newspaper, not even Robinson’s character, looks good in this story. Isopod, the reporter who masquerades as a minister to get the story, is played as a real journalistic monster by Boris Karloff, just weeks before the release of “Frankenstein.” How do you like them metaphorical apples?

If you’re into thundering newspaper presses, reporters screaming “get me rewrite” and the disturbing thrill of newspaper people behaving just as badly as they can today, check either film out. As all good oldies, they only run 90 minutes a piece.

I’ll finish with an interesting bit of trivia. “Five Star Final” was remade as “Two Against the World” just five years later. This time, Bogart had Robinson’s role and the setting was switched from a newspaper to a radio station. Storytellers were already considering the destructive power of tabloid journalism when put in the hands of the new broadcast medium. I’m going to have to watch that one.

LAST WORDS wins Bronze Medal for mystery/thriller ebook in IPPYs

 

Last Words tied for the Bronze Medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the IPPYs, the awards given by Independent Publisher. Here’s the release:

(May 6, 2015 – Traverse City, MI) – The world of book publishing keeps changing, as technological progress brings instant access to news, knowledge and entertainment. All of this information overload can make us yearn for the old-school technology of the book — but how to find the best new reads? The 19th annual “IPPY” Awards will spotlight the year’s best independently published books at a gala celebration on May 27th during the annual BookExpo America publishing convention in New York.

Gold, silver and bronze IPPY medals will be awarded in 78 national, 24 regional, and ten e-book categories, chosen from nearly 6,000 entries from authors and publishers in all 50 U.S. states, eight Canadian provinces, and 34 countries overseas. The winners make up a reading list that is extensive and diverse, featuring new voices and viewpoints passionately expressed through soulful memoirs, insightful self-help books, and penetrating critiques of our social and political systems.

National category winners include breath-taking photographs from around the world, such as those of gold medalist Earth Is My Witness: The Photography of Art Wolfe (Earth Aware Editions); delicious recipes from cherished neighborhood restaurants like the ones in cookbook gold medalist Backstreet Kitchen, by Tracy Vaught and Hugo Ortega (Inwood Publishing); and charming drawings used to tell an intimate life story in Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir (Zest Books), by Liz Prince.

The Regional categories highlight books from all over the U.S., Canada, Australia, and for the first time this year, Europe. The inaugural non-fiction gold medalist is The Glow of Paris: The Bridges of Paris at Night (Marcorp Editions), a dreamy new take on the 35 bridges that span the Seine, all photographed at night. Gary Zuercher, an American businessman, pilot and commercial photographer whose wife is French, spent five years on the project.

E-books are the new frontier of publishing, and the gold medal-winner in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror category is Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus (East India Press), a refreshing take on cyberpunk that calls to mind sci-fi greats with a thoughtful allegorical streak. In another pioneering effort, one of this year’s Outstanding Books of the Year, Super Power Baby Project (Evie’s Book Club) portrays toddlers suffering from genetic disabilities and malformations — in exquisitely photographed settings and poses that bring forth all their beauty and joy of life.

Congratulations to all the medalists for their independent spirit and dedication to excellence in an always-changing world of publishing and bookselling. See the complete results listing at http://www.independentpublisher.com/article.php?page=1936

The Independent Publisher Awards are presented by IndependentPublisher.com, “THE Voice of Independent Publishing,” operated by publishing services firm, Jenkins Group of Traverse City, Michigan.
For more details about the IPPY Awards, please contact:

Jim Barnes, Managing Editor & Awards Director
IndependentPublisher.com / Jenkins Group

Ph: 1.800.644.0133 x 1011 / JimB@BookPublishing.com

Camel Press announces release details for DROP DEAD PUNK

My publisher has put out the release on Drop Dead Punk. Here it is:

Seattle, WA—On August 15, 2015, Camel Press will release Drop Dead Punk ($14.95, 254 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-209-2), by Rich Zahradnik, book two of a mystery/suspense series featuring newsman Coleridge Taylor and set on the mean streets of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs in 1975. As New York City teeters on the edge of financial ruin, Taylor falls for a policewoman who is a key player in a crime story he is investigating.

The first book in the series, Last Words, was a finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s 2014 Book of the Year Contest. It was enthusiastically received by the critics:

drop_dead_punk_300“A fast-paced, deeply entertaining and engrossing novel. Last Words is the first book in a mystery series featuring the intrepid investigative reporter. Readers will be glad these aren’t the last words from this talented author.” —Robin Farrell Edmunds, ForeWord Magazine

“Mr. Zahradnik did a great job portraying the color and culture of the time. If you want to read about a slice of New York history during the 1970s then you’d probably enjoy this mystery for that reason alone. It’s fast paced and the dialogue is natural sounding and I felt true to that era.” —Long and Short Reviews

Coleridge Taylor is searching for his next scoop on the police beat. The Messenger-Telegram reporter has a lot to choose from on the crime-ridden streets of New York City in 1975. One story outside his beat is grabbing all the front page glory: New York teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, and President Ford just told the city, as the Daily News so aptly puts it, “Drop Dead.” Taylor’s situation is nearly as desperate. His home is a borrowed dry-docked houseboat, his newspaper may also be on the way out, and his drunk father keeps getting arrested.

A source sends Taylor down to Alphabet City, hang-out of the punks who gravitate to the rock club CBGB. There he finds the bloody fallout from a mugging. Two dead bodies: a punk named Johnny Mort and a cop named Robert Dodd. Each looks too messed up to have killed the other. Taylor starts asking around. The punk was a good kid, the peace-loving guardian angel of the neighborhood’s stray dogs. What led him to mug a woman at gunpoint? And why is Officer Samantha Callahan being accused of leaving her partner to die, even though she insists the police radio misled her? It’s hard enough being a female in the NYPD only five years after women were assigned to patrol. Now the department wants to throw her to the wolves. That’s not going to happen, not if Taylor can help it. As he falls for Samantha—a beautiful, dedicated second-generation cop—he realizes he’s too close to his story. Officer Callahan is a target, and Taylor’s standing between her and some mighty big guns.

Says Zahradnik, “When I wrote the first Coleridge Taylor novel, I touched on the pending New York City financial crisis. I wanted to set the next book during the critical weeks when the city almost collapsed—a period kicked off with the now famous Daily News headline ‘Ford to City: Drop Dead.’ Taylor being Taylor, he remains obsessively focused on his next crime story, a double murder with one of the victims a cop. He thinks the city will survive no matter what. Eventually he realizes the financial disaster could impact him in a big and personal way. It may even be wound up in the crime he’s trying to solve. Sometimes not even journalists are aware of the historical importance of events as they unfold. The release of Drop Dead Punk coincides with the 40th anniversary of the financial crisis—a good time to remind the public how close NYC came to disaster and how badly it had deteriorated at that time.”

Rich Zahradnik has been a journalist for 30-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine, and wire services. He lives with his wife, Sheri, and son, Patrick, in Pelham, New York, where he teaches elementary school kids how to publish online and print newspapers. For more information, go to www.richzahradnik.com.

Drop Dead Punk is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com. After August 15th, it will also be for sale in both eBook and 5×8 trade paperback editions on BN.com, the European Amazons, Amazon Japan and select independent bookstores. Bookstores and libraries will be able to order wholesale through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Partners West, or by contacting info@camelpress.com. Libraries can also order from Brodart Company. Other electronic versions will be available on Smashwords, BN.com, or at any of the major online eBook stores.

 

ABOUT Camel Press—Based in Seattle Washington, Camel Press is an imprint of Coffeetown Enterprises, Inc. We publish genre fiction: romance, mystery/suspense, science fiction, and fantasy—the books that grab you and hold you in their grip long into the night.

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One old comic book turns into a time machine

519TGRT5JZLI flipped through one 40-year-old comic book the other day and was suddenly reminded of books I’d read and music I’d listened to way back then.

My time trip happened when I rummaged through the small collection of comic books from my youth to find the handful of “Guardians of the Galaxy” books I’d read in 1975. I was curious  to see how they compared with the film. They didn’t. Not at all.

I did find something  more interesting: reminders of other books I’d read, as well as the “lost” Spider-Man rock opera that really should have been the basis of a Broadway show, not that overwrought thing put together by Julie Tamor, Bono and The Edge.

I turned pages of bright four-color ink on yellowed newsprint. No. 3 in the series officially titled “Marvel Presents.” (The Guardians lasted about six issues in this run. They were never the heavy hitters of the Marvel Universe. Even Howard the Duck did better back then.)

First I came to an ad for the trade paperback “Son of Origins of Marvel Comics.” This was a follow-up to “Origins of Marvel” by Marvel editor-in-chief-of-everything-(still) Stan Lee. I’d devoured both books. I’d started reading Marvel Comics in 1972 or 1973, and felt most definitely late to a party that began in 1961 with “The Fantastic Four.” Stan’s books included anecdotes on how the first Marvel heroes were created, their origin story and another issue from Marvel’s great age of superhero creation. Reading the books then made me feel like I was inside the club rather than a late arrival. They’re still on my book shelf.

weirdheroes1Below the ad for “Son of Origins” was one for “The Mighty Marvel Bicentennial Calendar,” with Spider-Man, The Hulk and Captain America trooping with drum, fife and flag. This I did not buy. Here’s what I missed out on: “A glorious, full-color, 12-month trek through American history with the Marvel superheroes. Join The Hulk at Valley Force. Conan the Barbarian at the Battle of Lexington…” You get the point.

Near the back of the comic book was, as always, “Stan Lee’s Soapbox,” a must-read for teases on upcoming titles, crossovers and key collectible editions like “Giant Size Man-Thing” (that is, the comic book was giant size). In the column, Stan tub thumps for two Marvel writers, Archie Goodwin and Steve Englehart, who had contributed stories to a paperback anthology Weird Heroes. This really sent memory spinning. I don’t remember reading about Weird Heroes in Stan’s column. I’d discovered the first of the series in Book & Record in hometown Wappinger, N.Y. The cover, seen here, leapt off the shelf at me. In the books, editor Byron Preiss set out to create new American pulp heroes. What were the old American pulp heroes, you might ask? These crime fighters came before comic books or radio and were featured in magazines and books published on cheap pulpy newsprint. They included The Shadow, Doc Savage and The Avenger (pre-dating the Avengers of Marvel or British TV fame). Also the Bat, said to have been an inspiration for a certain Bat Dude. The Spider, said to have been an inspiration… Well you get the point.

Some of the new pulp heroes included Adam Stalker, Guts the Cosmic Greaser and Gypsy. Preiss put out eight volumes, though a renaissance of American pulp heroes never did happen (unless you count three-quarters of Hollywood’s output).

The highlight of this tour through my adolescent media consumption via one little comic was the full-page ad at the back for the record album, “Reflections of a Rock Super-Hero.” The banner at the top called it the “The Biggest Rock Event of the Year.” Don’t know about that, but the LP told Spidey’s tale better than the now defunct Broadway musical. Songs included “No One Has a Crush on Peter,” “Gwendolyn” and “A Soldier Starts to Bleed,” with narration between the tracks by Stan the Man himself. This I also still own a copy of.

One comic book pulled out because of a movie I saw in August, and I stumbled across all kinds of memories. It’s funny where the past finds you.