I’ve been out-and-about a lot the last few weeks and I’m just getting a chance now to catch you up on all the latest news.
Two weeks ago, I was traveling in Memphis to research a new book, and visited Owensboro Kentucky, for a TRUE FICTION booksigning and a screening of the two short films, BUMSICLE and REMAINDERED, that I shot there. At the same time, I delivered the script for a new Hallmark Mystery Movie that I co-wrote with the amazing Robin Bernheim, whose many credits include REMINGTON STEELE, QUANTUM LEAP, and WHEN CALLS THE HEART.
Speaking of Hallmark Mysteries, my friend Phoef Sutton just scored raves, and big ratings, for his latest Hallmark movie, DARROW & DARROW: IN THE KEY OF MURDER. You can read an interview with him about it at Kings River Life magazines.
I was only hone for a few days before I had to jet off to New York, where I was shot some new TRUE FICTION promos for Amazon Publishing. While I was there, I got a chance to see Amazon Publishing honcho Jeff Belle (who has been a big supporter of me and my books for years), and Amazon-bestselling authors Robert Dugoni and Mark Sullivan, who has co-authored five books with James Patterson.
I learned this morning that Scott Brick, narrator of the five Fox & O’Hare books I co-wrote with Janet Evanovich, and HOUSE OF SECRETS (coauthored by my brother Tod Goldberg and Brad Meltzer), has been as the new voice of Lee Child‘s Jack Reacher! (The legendary Dick Hill is retiring). I’m very happy for Scott and hope he’ll still squeeze in time to narrate more of my books 🙂
And, in case you missed it last week, author/editor Steph Cha had the brilliant idea of assigning my brother Tod to interview me for Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB)….the result is probably the most personal, and indepth interview I’ve ever done. I hope you like it.
Three years ago this week, Joel Goldman and I launched our publishing company Brash Books with thirty titles, all of them acclaimed, award-winning books that had fallen out of print…and that we brought back in new print and digital editions.
Our mission was cocky and ambitious: to publish the best crime novels in existence. We believe we’ve lived up to that brash goal. We now have just about 100 titles in print, more than a dozen of them brand new books, many by first-time authors who’ve never been published before. Our books have consistently scored rave reviews from the industry trades… including three STARRED reviews from Publishers Weekly. We’ve also sorted through nearly 900 manuscript submissions.
We want to give our heartfelt thanks to all of our readers and especially to these amazing authors for putting their faith in us:
Leo W. Banks, Robert E. Dunn, Patrick E. McLean,Bill Crider,Bob Forward,Phoef Sutton,Margaret Moseley Burris,Mark Rogers,Jane Waterhouse,Jim Sanderson,Philip Reed,Robin Burcell,Gar Anthony Haywood ,Warren Ripley,Andy Straka, Dick Lochte,Craig Faustus Buck, Noreen Ayres, Michael GenelinGerald Duff, Max Allan Collins, Dallas Murphy, A.W. Mykel, Phillip Thompson Mark Smith, Barbara Neely, Maxine O’Callaghan, Geoffrey Miller, Tom Kakonis, Jack Bunker, Michael Stone, and the estates of Jimmy Sangster, Ted Thackrey Jr. , Jack Lynch, and Stan R. Lee.
This year we made a big push into audiobooks and we couldn’t have done it without our amazing, super-talented narrators. So we’d like to thank Travis Baldree, Harry Dyson, J Rodney Turner, Shawn Compton and John Burlinson for their stellar work.
And finally, none of this would have been possible without the hard work of our office manager Denise M. Fields and graphic artist Jacqui Hair, who created our Brash logo and does all of our advertising. We’d also like to thank the many freelance graphic artists who designed our covers.
We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings for Brash Books, our authors, and our readers.
The “second season” finale of THE DEAD MAN, the series of action/adventure/horror novels that William Rabkin and I began two years ago, premieres on January 21st with REBORN, an action-packed, six-part Kindle Serial written by Kate Danley, Phoef Sutton and Lisa Klink. This story is big in every sense of the word… and if it succeeds, then THE DEAD MAN will most likely return in the Kindle Serial format for it’s “third season.”
Here’s the story:
Tanis Archer is facing a miserable 25th birthday. She’s a part-time barista in her sixth year at Dallas Community College. Her life is going nowhere, fast.
Because on her way to work, she loses control of her car and is killed in a horrific crash. That should have been the tragic end of her story. But days later, she wakes up on a cold morgue slab…and soon learns that miraculous resurrections have brutal side effects. For starters, there are people around her who look as if they are decomposing from the inside-out, victims of their rotting souls. Even worse, it’s no illusion. What she is seeing is real, a shadowy part of the world where the bloody battle between good and evil is being fought every day by Matt Cahill, an ax-wielding “dead man” and his rag-tag army of supernatural freaks.
And she’s being asked to join him.
Obviously that’s not how Tanis wants to spend her after-life–she’d rather party with her new-found abilities–but an unimaginable horror is rising from the Black Sea, and she might just be the only person who can save humanity from an agonizing, never-ending nightmare…
REBORN features a fresh, colorful heroine in an action-packed, darkly funny tale of adventure and terror told by an incredible dream team of award-winning, widely-acclaimed writers: USA Today bestselling author Kate Danley (The Woodcutter), Emmy Award winning screenwriter and novelist Phoef Sutton (Cheers, Boston Legal), TV writer/producer and author Lisa Klink (Star Trek Voyager, Painkiller Jane), New York Times bestselling author and TV producer Lee Goldberg (The Heist, King City), and two-time Edgar-Award nominated writer William Rabkin (Monk, Psych).
About six month ago, I gathered all the authors at my house and we broke the story the way we would in a TV series “writers’ room.” Like Bill and I, Phoef and Lisa are professional television writers…but this was a new way of working for Kate, but I think she liked it. We had a white board up on the wall, plenty of junk food, and only a general sense of where we wanted to go narratively. And then we brainstormed. By the end of the day, we had a story, which we divvied up into thirds for Kate, Phoef and Lisa to write. A couple of months later, when the three parts came in, Bill and I tied them together and smoothed out the rough edges, as we’ve done many times before on scripts on the various TV series we’ve produced.
We think REBORN send THE DEAD MAN series in an exciting new direction….and we hope fans of the series will agree!
I’m always getting asked what the correct order is for the 18 (and counting!) novels in THE DEAD MAN series… so here it is.
For those of you unfamiliar with THE DEAD MAN, it’s an original series of action-adventure-horror novellas created by William Rabkin & yours truly and published every month or so by Amazon’s 47North imprint. Here’s the basic concept:
Matt Cahill was an ordinary man leading a simple life until a shocking accident changed everything. Now he can see a nightmarish netherworld that exists within our own. Now he’s on a dangerous quest for the answers to who he is and what he has become…and engaged in an epic battle to save us, and his soul, from the clutches of pure evil.
Bill and I wrote the first and third novellas…but we’ve brought in some of the best writers in the business, from across a wide spectrum of genres, to work with us on the other books in the series. The roster of acclaimed authors includes bestselling thriller writer Joel Goldman, Star Trek Voyager writer/producer Lisa Klink, multiple Edgar-award nominee Christa Faust, legendary western novelist James Reasoner, and Emmy-award winning TV writer-producer Phoef Sutton (Cheers, Boston Legal, etc) to name just a few.
The DEAD MAN books don’t need to be read in order, so don’t let the number of titles intimidate you. The books are available in Kindle, paperbacks, and audiobook editions. As a special treat, here’s the DEAD MAN theme song by Matt Branham to get you in the mood while you browse the list of titles.
Face of Evil – by Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin
Matt Cahill is a widower leading a quiet, solitary life–cutting wood at a lumber mill in the Pacific Northwest, watching out for his trouble-prone friend Andy, and making his first, tentative attempt at a new romance with his co-woker Rachel. But a getaway to a ski resort goes tragically wrong and he is killed in an avalanche. That should be the end of his story, but for Matt, it’s only the beginning. And now finds himself taking the first step in a horrifying odyssey across a dark world that exists within our own, where he must confront Mr. Dark, a violent, supernatural entity that spreads evil among us like a plague.
Ring of Knives – by James Daniels
Matt believes a madman may hold the key to defeating Mr. Dark and his rotting touch. To find him, Matt must infiltrate a lunatic asylum in Ring of Knives—and his only chance of escaping alive is to face the unspeakable terror deep in the asylum’s woods.
Hell in Heaven – by Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin
In search of Mr. Dark, Matt finds himself in Heaven, Washington, a tiny hamlet in the Cascade Mountains embroiled in a four-family blood feud in Hell in Heaven. Only Matt can stop the bloodshed, but even he is going to have a hard time figuring out why Mr. Dark brought him here.
The Dead Woman – by David McAfee
A serial killer is stalking Crawford, Tennessee, and Matt is determined to stop the killing. But when his new love interest turns out to have his ability to spot evil, and Mr. Dark puts his fingerprints on the town’s terror, Matt is going to need help.
The Blood Mesa – by James Reasoner
An archeological dig on a desolate southwestern mesa unleashes an ancient evil spirit whose insatiable hunger traps Matt and a band of innocents. Now, they must find their way out before an epic slaughter turns the peaceful site into the Blood Mesa.
Kill Them All – by Harry Shannon
Trapped in a Nevada ghost town between its peaceful residents and a marauding band of mercenaries out for the secrets of his immortal blood, Matt must stand side-by-side with the townsfolk.
Beast Within – by James Daniels
Matt’s search for a paranoid visionary who claims to have defeated a supernatural entity like Mr. Dark leads him deep into the Michigan woods. But when he finds himself trapped in a bloody siege between warring factions, his only hope for escape from an unstoppable advance of mayhem, carnage, and black magic is to trust his instincts, grab his ax, and unleash the ferocity of The Beast Within.
Fire & Ice by – by Jude Hardin
A disgruntled ex-employee at a chemical company walks into the plant and starts shooting, trapping Matt and four other workers inside. As the body count rises, Matt realizes the shooter has a much bigger, deadlier plan in mind, one that could leave thousands dead. And just when he thinks the day can’t get any worse, the cunning Mr. Dark raises the stakes to horrifying heights
Carnival of Death – By Bill Crider
Hungry for respite from his solitary mission, Matt takes a gig working security at a traveling carnival. But it doesn’t take long for him to realize that something isn’t quite right. Sure enough, a series of violent events rocks the carnival and a charlatan’s dark prophecies suddenly begin coming true. So when she foresees imminent doom, Matt knows it can only mean one thing: Mr. Dark is here, and it’s not for the cotton candy…it’s to ignite a bloody Carnival of Death.
Freaks Must Die – by Joel Goldman
On a quest to find a kidnapped child, Matt discovers an underworld of people with uncanny powers living in the shadows of New York City, trying to elude a ruthless force that’s vowed that the Freaks Must Die. Matt must run a deadly race against time to save the child, and the entire “freak” community, from bloody annihilation.
Slaves to Evil – by Lisa Klink
Matt goes to a town where all the cops are corrupt Slaves to Evil, terrorizing everyone and allowing crime to run rampant…but before he can battle them, he’s shot by a gun-toting teenager out to avenge Matt’s killing of her brother. Now Matt is trapped between hordes of deranged, killer cops and an innocent girl hell-bent on revenge.
The Midnight Special – by Phoef Sutton
The re-release of a cheesy 1970s zombie flick is sparking horrific bloodshed whenever it’s screened…and Matt Cahill is determined to stop it. His quest takes him to a grindhouse theatre in L.A., where a screening of The Midnight Special begins a night of unmitigated terror that will either put an end to Mr. Dark’s reign of evil…or mark a blood-soaked new beginning.
The Death Match – by Christa Faust
Matt enters the violent world of underground cage fighting where a brutal death match becomes a fight-to-the-undead that could lead him to the truth about his reincarnation…or to a gruesome demise.
The Black Death – by Aric Davis
The Black Death is a deadly new form of crystal meth that turns users into black-eyed, homicidal maniacs. Matt must destroy the virulently addictive drug before the madness spreads from a backwoods community to the entire nation.
The Killing Floor – by David Tully
A hydro-fracking operation resurrects an ancient, terrifying entity that pits Matt against Mr. Dark in an epic battle that began centuries ago and that will end today with the fate of mankind at stake on the blood-soaked dirt of the Killing Floor.
Colder Than Hell – by Anthony Neil Smith
On the road to Fargo, North Dakota, Matt Cahill is trapped in a hellacious blizzard on a frozen, traffic-choked interstate. He’s stalked by an escaped murderer and the guards who were transporting him–all of them seemingly possessed by a mutant virus that spreads quickly among the others trapped in their cars, turning everyone into crazed zombies. Matt struggles with a small band of survivors to find the source of the horrific plague before it claims them all. The odds are against any of them surviving the night….and that includes Mr. Dark.
Evil to Burn – by Lisa Klink
Matt Cahill is travelling by bus through the blasted wilderness of the Southwest to prevent a massacre from happening in Nevada, but Mr. Dark is intent on preventing him from making it there. A terrible crash leaves the bus totaled, and now Matt is injured, stranded, and fighting for his life against the elements…and an insidious evil that has spread through the surviving passengers. It’s a race against time, with Matt struggling to overcome his injuries even as he tries to save the survivors from the horror that they’ve become…because, while the evil surrounding him is bad, it’s nothing compared to the desert hell he needs to cross in order to keep a greater nightmare from unfolding—one that could give Mr. Dark terrifying new powers.
Streets of Blood – by Barry Napier
An elderly, bed-ridden woman in a retirement home is having nightmares of a dark, devilish entity tormenting her and her childhood friends in a dreamscape that’s as familiar to her as it is terrifying. She’s not the only one having the dreams. Matt Cahill is, too, and when he arrives in town, he discovers a community torn apart by gruesome violence, its residents in the grip of an evil force unlike any Matt has encountered before…one that’s even beyond the touch of Mr. Dark.
THE DEAD MAN COMPILATIONS & AUDIOBOOKS
The Dead Man V1 – Face of Evil, Ring of Knives, Hell in Heaven
The Dead Man V2 – The Dead Woman, The Blood Mesa, Kill Them All
The Dead Man V3 – The Beast Within, Fire and Ice, Carnival of Death
The Dead Man V4 – Freaks Must Die, Slaves to Evil, The Midnight Special
The Dead Man V5 – The Death Match, The Black Death, The Killing Floor
The Dead Man V6 – Colder Than Hell, Evil to Burn, Streets of Blood (Coming Soon!)
You don’t get many do-overs in life, but my good friend Phoef Sutton, the insanely talented, Emmy-award winning writer, got the chance with his new novel Fifteen Minutes to Live. And it’s fitting, since the book is also about revisiting the past. But I don’t want to spoil the story, so I’ll let Phoef tell it…
I started writing as teen-ager. Short stories. I still have hundreds of rejection slips from PLAYBOY and ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and ELLERY QUEEN. I took each one as a badge of honor. I knew that one day I’d get accepted…
Well, that day never came. I started writing plays in college because I knew I could put them on – they’d have that much life anyway. This proved an invaluable experience for what came to be my chosen profession. Writing stuff that makes people laugh.
I loved TV as a kid. Who doesn’t? I can still recite episodes of the DICK VAN DYKE SHOW and GET SMART by heart. But I never thought my career would go in that direction. I always wanted to write horror stories and thrillers. Richard Matheson was my idol. And Cornell Woolrich and Robert Bloch. I knew who Carl Reiner and Jim Brooks and David Lloyd were, of course. But I never saw myself following in their footsteps.
But fate had plans for me. I ended up writing for CHEERS, sitting next to David Lloyd and learning from the masters. I guess writing for what TV Guide just named one of the best written shows in TV history is something to be proud of. But I still had that nagging desire to see my name in print.
When I read Oliver Sacks’ THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT and started putting myself in the place of its oddly brain damaged heroes I knew I had a way in to that novel I always wanted it write. It just flowed out of me, unbidden, like a dream.
Writing in complete sentences after a career of writing stage directions was not so easy. But the joy of being able to get inside characters’ heads and tell what they’re thinking and feeling was heaven.
So I wrote FIFTEEN MINUTES TO LIVE, then called ALWAYS SIX O’CLOCK. Imagined that, in the book world, the writer was king and what he says is Gospel. I didn’t know about editors and notes. I made the mistake of selling it to a publisher who wanted to turn it from a noir-ish, Cornell Woolrich-style nightmare into a straight romance. And I agreed. The end result pleased nobody and sank without a trace.
With the advent of electronic publishing, I now have the chance to present the book as I originally intended. People seem to be responding to it the way I hoped they would years ago. It’s very gratifying. Almost like getting one of my stories accepted by ELLERY QUEEN would have been to my high-school self!