|It's a long story|
29 October 2020
28 October 2020
We have a mixed attitude toward history, and toward historical fiction, particularly fictionalized biography. I think the issues are compounded when the subject is familiar to us, through myth or received wisdom, and we take it personally. We can mislike having our habits of mind disturbed. Look at Shakespeare. He rests in a somewhat shallow grave; we know so little about him, the early years, certainly, that we’re each free to imagine him on our own image.
Which is what Kenneth Branagh does in his movie All Is True, not Shakespeare early on, but in old age. I don’t agree with much of Branagh’s speculation, but I don’t fault him for it. We can conjure up ownership out of affection for the plays, or the poetry, or fixed ideas, and resist a different interpretation. The difficulty I have with Branagh’s reconstruction isn’t that his Shakespeare is unconvincing personally, but his characterization of a working writer is inauthentic and reductive.
By contrast, Shakespeare in Love seems right to me, but probably because the filmmakers were less constrained by known quantities, and both convention and hard facts were elastic. They used playfulness to their advantage, and the picture lets in air and light.
My personal favorite is Anthony Burgess’ extraordinary Shakespeare novel, Nothing Like the Sun. He later published a straight-up biography, which I also devoured.
Burgess characterizes the late Elizabethan as a word-drunk age, and Nothing Like the Sun is profligate. Burgess was always drunk on words – Clockwork Orange, anybody? – but his Shakespeare book is written in a headlong Elizabethan stream-of-consciousness that bends the laws of physics. It was like nothing I’d ever read, and still is. It takes some balls to write Shakespeare in first-person, to imagine yourself into Will’s doublet and hose, and his voice.
That being said, All Is True has a lot of good stuff. The candlelit interiors were apparently shot by candlelight, for one, which is no small trick. The settings and the art direction are terrifically authentic. People were paying attention. The cast is wonderful: Branagh himself, Judi Dench, Kathryn Wilder as the older daughter, Ian McKellen’s cameo as
There’s one close to sublime moment in All Is True, a little past the halfway mark, when McKellen shows up as the Earl. It’s already been established in a conversation between Will and wife Anne that Southampton is widely thought to be the Dark Lady of the sonnets – they’re dedicated to him – and late at night, the two old boys slightly in their cups, Will reels off the whole of “When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,” as a sort of swan song or even perhaps reprimand. And then, astonishingly,
This is the last piece I’ll be posting before November 3rd is upon us. I’d ask that each and every one of us exercise our responsibility to vote. Take care and be well.
27 October 2020
Paul here. One of my favorite mystery authors is Ross Macdonald and one of my favorite characters is his Lew Archer. I like them for a variety of reasons, but I’ll leave those for another time. Today’s guest post is by Tom Bergin, who runs the The Name is Archer Facebook group. It was started in 2014 by John Aaron, and is currently run by Tom, Lila Havens and Mike Langston. With a name like that, it’s clear that the focus of the group is Lew Archer, but it’s expanded over the years to include many other crime writers and crime films.
Tom is a lifelong reader and has been reading mystery novels since he was in grammar school. Retired now, he’s able to devote more time to a life of crime—in books and films anyway. He grew up and still lives in San Francisco with his wife. They have five children, ranging in age from 28 to 42.
So, without further ado, Tom Bergin talks about Ross Macdonald and Lew Archer:
Ross Macdonald - Connecting With The Past
Ross Macdonald has been my favorite mystery writer for forty years. One day I walked into a bookstore and spotted a volume of Dashiell Hammett’s novels. I was living in San Francisco at the time so it seemed like a sign that I should buy the book. Hammett led me to Raymond Chandler and Chandler led me to Ross Macdonald. I liked Hammett and Chandler but I loved Ross Macdonald. His writing touched something in me and I’ve been reading him ever since.
The first few Archer books were in the hard-boiled Chandler tradition. They were good books but Macdonald was eager to make his own mark on the genre. Macdonald wanted less violence in his books and more psychological insight into his characters. He wanted to write about families and family tragedies rather than gangsters and mobsters. Most critics contend that this change took place with the publication of The Galton Case in 1959. The Galton Case and the books that followed cemented Macdonald’s position next to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler in the pantheon of hard-boiled writers.
There are many things I love about Macdonald’s writing. The first book of his I read was The Galton Case. I was hooked and quickly read everything of his I could find. The first thing that struck me about Macdonald’s novels was the complexity and ingenuity of his plots. Plot was important to Macdonald. In his essay The Writer as Detective Hero Macdonald writes: “Chandler described a good plot as one that made for good scenes, as if the parts were greater than the whole. I see plot as a vehicle of meaning. It should be as complex as contemporary life, but balanced enough to say things about it.”
Another important theme of Ross Macdonald is that things are connected in life. People are connected, ideas are connected, the past and present are connected, what one person does directly affects other people. In The Far Side of the Dollar Lew Archer says: “Life hangs together in one piece. Everything is connected with everything else. The problem is to find the connections.”
The thing I like best about the Archer books is the character of Archer himself. He’s a good man. He’s compassionate and empathetic. Archer cares about people. He has a connection with young people. Lew worries about Stella in The Far Side of the Dollar: “Generation after generation had to start from scratch and learn the world over again. It changed so rapidly that children couldn’t learn from their parents or parents from their children. The generations were like alien tribes islanded in time.” Archer’s empathy for people is one of the qualities that sets him apart from other private detectives. Even though Archer was a compassionate and caring man, he was also a realist. He knew life was hard. In The Far Side of the Dollar Stella tells him that she doesn’t see how she and Tommy are ever going to be happy. Lew replies: “Survival is the main thing.” It was a hard saying to offer a young girl. “Happiness comes in fits and snatches. I’m having more of it as I get older. The teens were my worst time.”
One of my favorite lines from all the books comes from The Far Side of the Dollar. Lew says: “Other people’s lives are my business.” The line has a dual meaning. The line is true in a literal sense. Archer’s a detective. It’s his job to investigate people’s lives but I prefer to think of the line in a different way. Other people’s lives are Lew’s business because he’s a human being. They are his business because he cares about people. Because he’s connected to them.
I’ll continue to read Ross Macdonald’s books because I’m still entertained by, and learn from, his books. In this crazy, angry, divided world we’re living in, it’s good to be reminded by a wise voice that we’re all connected and that other people’s lives are our business too.
Thank you, Tom. I really enjoyed that. And people can check out The Name is Archer at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1734000126825677
26 October 2020
by Steve Liskow
by Steve Liskow
Several weeks ago, I got an idea for a short story that needed a little refresher on Shakespeare. During my theater days, I directed six of his plays, acted in nine, and assigned about a dozen more. When I donated most of my acting books to the theater several years ago, I found the Arden, Oxford, Pelican, Penguin, Bantam and Signet editions of plays I directed on my shelves, along with four hard-cover complete collections. I kept those.
Reading outside your genre makes you see things differently, and revisiting Shakespeare was the writing equivalent of a six-pack of Red Bull. Remember, the majority of his audience--who paid well and often to see his productions--was illiterate. They came for a good story and they got it. He knew his audience and gave them what they wanted. He owned a shared in the theater and retired at age 46, returning to Stratford and buying the second-largest house in town.
Since looking up what I needed, I've reread The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Love's Labour's Lost and Romeo and Juliet. Even 2 Gents (Possibly his first produced work) shows us how to tell a story. Only in his late 20s, Will gives us plot and character arcs that are clear and strong. OK, the ending is a little hard to buy, but the structure and dialogue rock.
By the time I'd read the first act of 2 Gents, I understood the language again. Shakespeare wrote in modern English, and his punctuation is surprisingly contemporary. If you don't understand a line, stand up, read it out loud, and let the rhythms show you when and where to move. Trust me, it works.
In Romeo and Juliet, look how Shakespeare differentiates Paris, Tybalt, Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio, all teen-aged boys, by their speech patterns. Notice how everything in the plot is logical and leads to that wrenching finish.
Learn from the constant vivid images that deepen the characters and carry the themes. Shakespeare wrote that play when he was about 30, so his "great" works are still to come.
In the middle of my career, I took an intensive (One-day) workshop on performing the plays from the First Folio text. It was so helpful that I bought a copy of the First Folio, and I kept that, too.
The introduction makes an important distinction. "[This] is not a collection of plays, but a collection of scripts." Shakespeare wrote his plays to be performed, not to be read (remember, most of his audience couldn't read), and the difference matters. His actors often had only their own lines along with the cues (Today, we'd call these "sides"), but they could interpret the writer's verse, prose and rhythms for acting hints. If all English teachers took the workshop I did, students would come out of their classes loving Shakespeare instead of hating or fearing him. A theater group my wife still works with calls this phenomenon "Shakes-fear."
Alas, English teachers need no involvement with theater to get their degree. Most of them have none, and they teach Shakespeare as literature. It makes as much sense as a blind man teaching photography.
Just as an aside, most editions of Romeo and Juliet put Mercutio's "Queen Mab" monologue in blank verse. The First Folio prints it in prose, and it flows better and is easier to follow. Actors could learn it more easily.
Will can teach crime writers how to do it better, too.
You want noir? See how Lady Macbeth drives a good guy over the edge, 350 years before James M. Cain penned The Postman Always Rings Twice.
I won't reread all the plays, but I will revisit several others. I've been away a long time.
25 October 2020
by R.T. Lawton
Back in the 90's, another short story author proposed that he and I should write a private investigator story together, a story set in the corrupt river-town of Sioux City during the Prohibition Era. At the time, the proposing author had several more published short stories than I did, but he had also received several rejections from AHMM. So, our plan was to co-author the story and submit it to AHMM and he would then get a story into their magazine, well, at least half a story. Since he and I liked the same authors and the same type of stories, it should have been easy working together.
I wrote part of the story and passed it to him. He wrote the next part of the story and passed it back. And, so on until the story was finished. Were there any problems? Of course there were. We didn't agree on the title, the private eye's name or even his height, among some of the important issues. Consulting with other fellow writers as intermediaries resulted in evenly divided opinions or else a third suggestion which neither co-author wished to implement. In the end, there was a lot of coin flipping. I submitted the story with both author's names for the byline to AHMM. They rejected it. The editor must've had her own coin. At separate times afterwards, my co-author submitted our manuscript to two small press magazines he had previously been published in. In turn, each magazine accepted the story, but then went toes up before a contract could be signed. The story never saw print. With all the fun I'd had on this joint project, I swore to myself to avoid any short story collaboration in the future. This worked for about twenty years.
Now, we move forward to the 21st Century. An author, whom I highly admire and was already in AHMM, inquired about the two of us co-authoring a short story for AHMM. I explained my prior situation and declined the proposal. A couple of years later, the inquiry came again. By the third request, I decided what the hell, give it a try, see how it goes. I then created a partial story outline proposal involving a bent cop and a gangster during the Prohibition Era, but a completely different plot than the story in Strike One. Next, I wrote about 1,000 words in the POV of one of the two main characters and passed the partial outline and story start to the other author for his turn to write about 1,000 words in the POV of the other main character. After the pass, other projects seemed to have come along and everybody went their separate writing ways. No harm, no foul.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a story about a gangster in 1930's New York City during (you guessed it) the Prohibition Era. Completely different plot than the ones in Strike One and Strike Two. I shipped the manuscript off to AHMM via e-mail in August 2017. The rejection came back in July 2018 with the editor's comments that it looked like I was setting the story up for a series. (Remember her comment for later.) And, the editor was correct, I had intended for the story to become a series.
Looking through my story starts one day for something to write, I came across my old 1,000 word start from the abandoned Strike Two project. Years had passed without any progress, so I blew the dust off and continued the story. Only now, I changed the story to be written solely from one main character's POV, the bent cop. I finished the outline and the story as I wrote. The manuscript went to AHMM in February 2018 and was accepted in January 2019.
The Ball Keeps On Rolling
In the early part of August 2020, I got an e-mail from the Managing Editor of AHMM saying that I will have a story coming out in their Nov/Dec 2020 issue, but she had been on vacation and was trying to catch up, so she didn't yet know which story it would be. Since they had at the time six of my purchased-but-not-yet-published stories setting in inventory, I obviously didn't know which one it would be either.
The Home Run
In last August, Rob Lopresti e-mailed me with a link to the preview of the Nov/Dec 2020 AHMM issue. The last line in the 2nd paragraph in the Editor's Preview section says: "And R.T. Lawton introduces us to a new series in "A Matter of Values."
And yep, that's the bent cop and gangster story from Strike Two and The Bunt, but I wrote that one as a standalone story. Let's see now, one is a standalone, two is a sequel and at least three is a series, unless you count that as a trilogy, in which case it takes four. This means that in order not to disappoint the editor, I now have to come up with two or more new stories involving those same two main characters and then get contracts for each of those stories.. What a problem to have. Goes to show, you just never know how things will go in this game of ours.
24 October 2020
Setting is important in helping to establish the mood of your story. It should be treated with as much attention as you would give any other character.
In the 14 week Crafting a Novel course I teach at Sheridan College, we spend most of one class talking about setting.
One of the first things you must decide when writing your novel, is the reality of your setting. Is it a real place that exists today, or that did exist in another time? A place you can research? Or is your setting completely from your imagination?
The trouble wtih many beginning writers is they set their novels in 'Anytown USA.' Thus, no character, no unique feel to the place...the 'why it is different from everywhere else?' is missing.
For this reason, I usually opt for a real setting, even in fantasy novels. No, you may not be able to go back to 4th century West Country in England (when WILL they come up with a time machine that works, already? I'm waiting...) But you can visit the area now, take in the beauty of the countryside, and particularly, visit the local museums to get more details on how people lived and how the land looked at the time.
That's what I did. Here's how the location for my time-travel trilogy came about.
All of our families have pasts. Have you looked into yours to see if there might be inspiration there? That's how I found my setting for Rowena Through the Wall. In a corner of England called Shropshire, more known for sheep than people, there once stood a Norman castle of fantastic 'character.'
The original castle, erected after Harold fell to William in 1066, went to ruin in the early 1500s. The new abode, Hawkstone Park, was built in 1556; it was forfeited in 1906 to pay off the gambling debts of my rakish relative.
My late cousin showed me around the countryside. Tony Clegg-Hill was the previous Viscount of Shropshire and Shrewsbury. I adored him. He had that particular dry British wit that reminded me of David Niven. It was his great-grandfather who lost the castle.
Tony would regale me with anecdotes about the family villains: the original Viscount Huel, who was basically a henchman for William the Conqueror. More recent rogues like Sir Rowland Hill gambled away anything that could be taken as a stake. It's a damning history, but a vibrant one. But not all the family were black sheep. One Lord Hill distinguished himself as the second in command to the Duke of Wellington at the battle of Waterloo. When Wellington was made Prime Minister in 1924, Hill succeeded him as commander in chief of the British army.
So when it came to writing Rowena Through the Wall, I leaned back into the family history. The original Normal castle with it's rounded turrets, crenellations and merlons had been waiting for a writer to bring it back to life. Rowena walks through the wall to her ancestor's land, and she falls in love with it too.
"Outlander meets Sex and the City"
"Game of Thrones Lite"
Rowena Through the Wall was featured on USA Today, and was an Amazon Top 50 Bestseller (all books.)
23 October 2020
For me, it's Edgar Allan Poe.
I have a few things in common with the Father of the Detective Story. We both have called Richmond, Virginia and New York City home. We both share an affinity for ravens. And we both studied at my alma mater, the University of Virginia.
If you aren't familiar with Poe's UVA college days, here are a few factoids you may enjoy:
- Seventeen-year-old Poe enrolled at UVA on February 14, 1826--yes, Valentine's Day--and remained through the full academic year, which ended in December.
- Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, former US president, and founder of UVA passed away five months after Poe moved to Charlottesville. Though not confirmed, it is likely Poe met Jefferson at school functions and attended the memorial services held to honor the University's founder, including by wearing a black arm band.
- Poe had an impressive athletic record while at UVA. He was a record-breaking swimmer, having swum six miles against the current on the James River. His running broad jump distance was 21' 6" with a running start of twenty yards.
- Of the eight academic schools possible to enroll in at the time, Poe registered for two (modern and ancient languages). Of note, most students in those days enrolled in three schools, but Poe couldn't afford the extra fifty-dollar fee.
- He was secretary of the University's Jefferson Debate Society.
- Poe lived in a section of UVA's original academical village called The Range. His single dorm room, coincidentally and ominously No. 13, is now referred to as The Raven Room.
- Mary Stuart Smith described Poe's dorm room (May 17, 1899) ~ There was one window, and opposite it, a door, both furnished with green blinds. There were two closets, one on each side of the open fireplace, with a book shelf, a single bedstead, a table, a wash stand, and a small travelling trunk. The walls were whitewashed, and adorned with quantities of spirited sketches in charcoal, drawn by the skilled fingers of the two-fold artist who was its occupant.
- While living in 13 West Range, Poe etched a verse on the glass pane of his window:
- His nickname was Gaffy, the hero of a short story he wrote and read allowed to several classmates who had gathered in his room one night. According to legend, Poe flung the pages into the fire, destroying the only copy, after a friend noted it had repeated too often.
- Poe wrote Tamerlane while at UVA. Later the University influenced two of his short stories, "William Wilson" and "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains."
- Poe had a strained relationship with his uncle, John Allan, who was his guardian at the time and limited Poe's funding. By the end of the 1826 academic year in December, Poe had resorted to burning his furniture to keep warm. When he left for winter break, Poe had every intention of returning to UVA the following February, but . . .
- Allan refused to continue financially supporting Poe at school, so he never returned to the University. Thus, he never graduated from college.
- Poe left behind many personal debts, which Allan refused to settle. Worth noting, a century later, the University's librarian, Harry Clemmons, paid Poe's outstanding library fines.
- UVA commissioned the sculptor George Julian Zolnay to create a bronze bust of Poe to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his death. The bust was displayed in Alderman Library before the renovations commenced this autumn.
- If you ever visit Charlottesville, Virginia, stop by No. 13 West Range. UVA restored and furnished Poe's old dorm room to its period-appropriate spartan glory, though I suspect the raven statuette was added later.
22 October 2020
by Eve Fisher
- Nazis are bad.
- White supremacy is bad.
- People who say they plan to start a race war are often telling the truth.
- People who say only they have rights – to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, not to mention the Constitution – are dangerous.
Look, even I know who the Proud Boys are. You can read some summaries of their "beliefs" here:
Meanwhile, we had some more proud militia types - the Michigan Wolverine Watchmen (???? - obviously they've been reading too many Marvel comics; that or they all went to UofM. Although I doubt it...) - who decided kidnapping Governor Gretchen Whitmir and trying her for treason at a kangaroo trial and then executing her on national television was a great idea, along with attacking police officers and starting a civil war “leading to societal collapse”. (NYTimes)
NOTE: Why, why, why do so damn many white militia types want societal collapse? Where do they think they can buy their favorite gummy bears? And lest you think these are rugged survivalists, remember that most of this gang was involved in the armed protest / assault / invasion at the Michigan Capitol building back in April as they sought... <checking her notes...> access to haircuts and hardware stores. (The Guardian)
Update: turns out the Michigan Wolverine Watchmen were planning to not only kidnap, try and execute their governor, but also the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam. Listen, you rugged semi-constitutionalists, if states' rights are the most important of all, what the hell gives you the right to interfere in the governance of another whole state?
And what is that they really want, anyway? I've noticed that most white supremacist organizations - including the Proud Boys - have quit using the term "white supremacist" (puts people off) and instead call themselves "Western chauvinists". And there's a key right there - because the mind set of these groups is predicated on a false idea, a toxic nostalgia, for a world in which (white) Americans (men) ruled the world, we were the wealthiest and strongest nation in history, everyone did what we said (except, of course, the Russians who back then were mortal enemy #1), and life was perfect. Gas was cheap, a man - any [white] man - could earn enough to support a family, and the women could stay home and take care of the family as God intended. Our suburban way of life was the envy of the world, and only we had it and we deserved each and every bit of it because we worked hard for it.
Granted, people did work hard for it - but the reason for our prosperity of the late 1940s through much of the 1960s was because we were the only industrialized country which had not had its major cities bombed to rubble in the almost 7 years of WW2. 70-80 million people worldwide died in WW2. Some 60 million Europeans became refugees during the entire World War II period. According to the United Nations, a million people had yet to find a place to settle by 1951, more than five years after the fighting stopped. There was a need for massive rebuilding all across Europe, Asia, north Africa, and the Middle East: buildings, infrastructure, factories, homes. After a war that long, everybody needed consumer goods: clothing, shoes, cars, furniture, etc. And for years, the United States - relatively untouched by war - had a monopoly on production and sales of just about everything. That was the economic miracle of the 1950s. Based on the desperate poverty of almost everyone else in the world.*
And that is why I call it toxic nostalgia, because to bring back the glory days of the 1950s and 60s would require a return to that level of global poverty. Instead, what we're seeing today (pandemic aside) is a world in which poverty is decreasing, countries are increasing production and prosperity - and instead of accepting it and joining in, some Americans are waxing way too nostalgic about when we "ruled the earth". And dreaming about how to get back there.
And that's not even nearly as bad as the superfund toxic nostalgia about the good old days of the ante-bellum South, in which slavery wasn't so bad, and somebody needed to pick all that cotton, and at least the slaves all got converted to Christianity and were saved. That, too, lingers on - along with all the old BS about how slaves deserved to be slaves, because they were so inferior to whites. Iowa Rep. Steve King asked a while back, "which nonwhite subgroups had contributed more than white people to “civilization.”
Well, I taught a year-long class every year on World Civilizations which would have answered his question; but I think he would have flunked for citing Ancient Aliens as a source.** See also SLATE on "Why It Makes No Sense to Judge Groups of People by Their Histories of Invention."
This, and far too many other reasons are why we have a serious white supremacist problem in this country. Thanks to Wikipedia, here's an incomplete list of White Supremacist Groups in the United States:
- 11th Hour Remnant Messenger was a group founded by two wealthy retired entrepreneurs who believed that whites were the true biblical Israelites.
- American Renaissance, is a "race realist and white advocacy website", formerly a monthly magazine, published by the New Century Foundation.
- American Freedom Party, formerly known as the American Third Position Party, is an American political party which promotes white supremacy. It was founded in 2010, and it defines its principal mission as representing the political interests of white Americans.
- American Nazi Party, is an antisemitic, neo-Nazi organization based largely upon the ideals and policies of Adolf Hitler's NSDAP in Germany during the era of the Third Reich. It also supports Holocaust denial.
- Aryan Brotherhood of Texas is, according to the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the largest and most violent white supremacist prison gangs in the United States, responsible for murders and other violent crimes.
- Aryan Republican Army was a white nationalist terrorist organization.
- Aryan Nations, is a white supremacist neo-Nazi organization founded in the 1970s by Richard Girnt Butler as an arm of the Christian Identity group known as the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has called Aryan Nations a "terrorist threat", and the RAND Corporation has called it the "first truly nationwide terrorist network" in the US.
- Asatru Folk Assembly, part of the racist ("folkish") branch of the Heathenry movement.
- Atomwaffen Division, a Neo-Nazi terrorist organisation.
- Council of Conservative Citizens, is an American political organization that supports a large variety of conservative and paleoconservative causes in addition to white separatism.
- Creativity Alliance, (formerly known as the World Church of the Creator) is a white supremacist political organization that advocates the racialist religion, Creativity. Mainly religious rather than political, the radical Creativity Alliance or Church of Creativity, founded by Ben Klassen in 1973, worships the white race itself rather than any deity, and advocates a radical form of white supremacism known as RAHOWA.
- EURO, is a white separatist organization in the United States. Led by former Louisiana state representative, presidential primary candidate and Grand Wizard of the KKK David Duke, it was founded in 2000.
- Hammerskins, also known as Hammerskin Nation, are a white supremacist group formed in 1988 in Dallas, Texas. Their primary focus is the production and promotion of white power rock music, and many white power bands have been affiliated with the group.
- Identity Evropa is an American neo-Nazi and white supremacist organization established in March 2016.
- Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as The Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present  organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy and nationalism. The Klan is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is estimated to have between 5,000 and 8,000 members, split among dozens of different organizations that use the Klan name as of 2012.
- National Alliance, is a white supremacist political organization. It was founded by William Luther Pierce, and is based in the Pierce family's compound in Hillsboro, West Virginia.
- National Association for the Advancement of White People, was a white supremacist organization in the United States incorporated on December 14, 1953 in Delaware by Bryant Bowles which presents itself as a civil rights organization such as the NAACP.
- National Policy Institute, is a think tank based in Augusta, Georgia in the United States. It describes itself as the right's answer to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- National Socialist Movement (United States), a party founded in 1974. Since 2005 the party has become very active, staging many marches and demonstrations.
- National Vanguard, was an American National Socialist organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia, founded by Kevin Alfred Strom and former members of the National Alliance.
- Nationalist Movement, is a Mississippi-based, white supremacist organization that advocates what it calls a "pro-majority" position. It has been called white supremacist by the Associated Press and Anti-Defamation League, among others.
- Occidental Quarterly, is a printed far-right quarterly journal with a web segment, TOQ Online, including interviews, essays and reviews on the website.
- The Order, or Brüder Schweigen ("Silent Brotherhood") was a white supremacist Revolutionary organization founded by Robert Jay Mathews, active 1983-1984, probably best known for the 1984 murder of talk show host Alan Berg. Berg's killing was to be the first in a planned series of assassinations, followed by attacks on the United States government, all meant to bring about a race war which would result in fulfillment of White Separatist ideals (see Northwest Territorial Imperative).
- Pacifica Forum, is a controversial discussion group in Eugene, Oregon, United States. It has been listed as a white nationalist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
- Patriot Front is a neo-fascist american nationalist group and an offshoot of Vanguard America
- Phineas Priesthood, is a Christian Identity movement that opposes interracial intercourse, the mixing of races, homosexuality, and abortion. It is also marked by its anti-Semitism, anti-multiculturalism, and opposition to taxation.
- Pioneer Fund, a white supremacist non-profit that funds scientific racism research.
- Volksfront, describes itself as an international fraternal organization for persons of European descent. It has been called "neo-Nazi" and a "racist-skinhead group" in press reports. The Anti-Defamation League has called the group "one of the most active skinhead groups in the United States." The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has added Volksfront to its list of hate groups.
- White America, Inc., a group founded in Arkansas to prevent racial desegregation of the state's schools.
- White Aryan Resistance, is a neo-Nazi white supremacist organization founded and led by former Ku Klux Klan leader Tom Metzger.
21 October 2020
The special all-private-eye issue of Black Cat Mystery Magazine is out and I am delighted that my story "The Charity Case" is in the lead-off position. (And by the way, I just realized that this is my seventh published story this year. I believe that breaks my previous record by two.)
The story features Marty Crow and he has been hanging around my life for thirty years. Here is how he came to be.
I was born and raised in New Jersey. Every fall we would go down to Atlantic City for the teacher's convention Dad always attended. Being a shore town, A.C. was not at it's best in late autumn.
Like a lot of shore resorts it fell on hard times and in the seventies someone had the brilliant idea that the solution was legalized gambling. None of the tacky slot-machines-in-every-diner like they do it in Nevada. No sir. Gambling was only allowed in casinos which also had to be hotels. The first such house opened in 1978 and I have not liked the place as much since. Casinos, full of bad luck, bad judgement, and bad air, depress me.
My reaction was to create Marty Crow. He is an Atlantic City native, a private eye, and he has a gambling addiction. That would be bad enough but what makes it worse is that he is firmly in denial, which is like having one short leg and refusing to use a cane. A police sergeant friend called him the fourth best private eye in the city and Marty replied that he was the third best, because one of the others had gone back to parking cars.
The first three stories about Marty appeared in P.I. Magazine in 1989 and 1990. Amazingly that journal is still going, although it gave up on fiction long ago. Probably the best thing that came out of that for me was meeting S.J. Rozan, whose first private eye stories appeared in some of the same issues as mine.
In 1991 Marty leapt to the big time with the first of two appearances in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Two years later "Crow's Feat" showed up in a British anthology called Constable New Crimes 2. That got me one one-and-only Anthony Award nomination.
When Michael Bracken announced a collection of P.I. stories related to food I sent him "Crow's Avenue," in which a bottle of soda is the main clue. It appeared in Hardbroiled, and yes, that is spelled correctly. (Alas, reviewers and readers assumed it wasn't.)
Even cooler, it was one of two of Marty's adventures which the Midnight Mystery Players adapted for radio. The Players have vanished, but thanks to James Lincoln Warren, the dramatization of "Crow's Avenue" can still be heard at Criminal Brief.
Marty then took a decade off until Criminal Element proclaimed what they hoped would be a new series title Malice Occasional. The first (and, alas, only) volume was titled "Girl Trouble," and I knew "Crow's Lesson" would be a perfect fit. It was inspired by a story in the New York Times about a school board hiring private eyes to follow certain students home to make sure they were living in the district. What could possibly go wrong with having strange men following little children through the streets? I figured Marty could find out.
But what about his latest appearance? In "The Charity Case" Marty is hired by a hardware store owner, in the City for a conference, who has given eight hundred dollars to a beggar on the street and now regrets it. Why did he do that? Well, read it and find out.
I suspect that this will be Marty's last dance. I am a long way in time and space from his origin and we don't seem to connect anymore. But I wish him well, the poor fool