Showing posts with label quotes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quotes. Show all posts

18 May 2022


Two weeks ago
I wrote about my adventures at Left Coast Crime in Albuquerque last month.  Those of you who read my column regularly, if such there be, know that that will be followed with my favorite words of wisdom from the con.  As always, I have removed all context to make things more interesting.  Enjoy.

 "There's always someone in the audience who asks about writer's block.  Who volunteers to be that person?" - Reed Farrel Coleman

"Wasn't the world better when it was better for me? Spoiler alert: No." - Catriona McPherson

"I don't start writing chapter one, page one, until I have about ten thousand words of notes."  - Mick Herron

"I wanted to write a book that would be Speed with canoes." -William Kent Krueger

"What the reader wants is not always what the reader needs." -Glen Erik Hamilton

"I've been the eye candy for Torrey House Press." - Scott Graham

"I do the research after I've written the book." - Catriona McPherson

"I'm interested in sharing the things about human beings that make me glad to be a human being." -Thomas Perry

 "I'm a New York Times bestselling author because I buy a lot of my own books." - Reed Farrel Coleman

"I've had people say 'I could read a whole novel in that voice' and I think 'My God, I could never write whole novel in that voice.'" - Amy Drayer

"It looked more like a breakdown than a career move." - Catriona McPherson

"I am addicted to semi-colons. I can hardly write a text message without them." - Mick Herron

"I talk to myself constantly, and I didn't know that until my husband started working from home." - Jamie Mason

"I can always win a contest of who has the most useless dissertation." - Catriona McPherson

"If I could I would write an entire book with a group of people locked in a room being unpleasant." - Mick Herron 

"I may have a tendency to be a preacher, but I don't like being preached at." -Karen Keskinen

"Overreacting in advance saves time later." - Catriona McPherson

"When you're writing a short story you need to distill a character to a single sentence." - Raquel V. Reyes

"Patience is one of the hardest parts of writing." -Amy Drayer

"Someone once said 'You're plots are just this side of ludicrous' and I thought 'Challenge accepted." - Catriona McPherson

"Part of why you write is to find out what you think." -Thomas Perry

"Writing a series about a lot of characters is like there's already a ghost novel waiting." - Mick Herron

"No crying on the yacht." - Catriona McPherson

"I like to think that not all my characters are needy all the time" Laurie R. King

"I love the time when I've finished a book and no one else has seen it so I can live the lie that it's great." - Jess Lourey

"People say that in the past racism was acceptable.  It never was. It was just acceptable to some White people." - Catriona McPherson

"I spent my first Bouchercon behind a potted plant." -Tracy Clark

"I'm barring anyone from saying 'I'm just a reader.'" - Catriona McPherson

"If you want to write about another culture, fall in love with it a bit." - Tori Eldridge

"It's quite easy to work out who the mole is in Wind in the Willows." - Mick Herron

"If you want to visit 1920s Scotland, just go outside.  It's still there." - Catriona McPherson

"I'm basically an evil man." -Thomas Perry

"It's important for children to read widely, not just the good stuff.  Quantity is important at that age." - Mick Herron

"A word of advice: Don't Google nun's underwear." - Catriona McPherson

20 March 2019

Popcorn Proverbs, Number 4

by Robert Lopresti

We have done this before and we are doing it again. These are quotations from crime movies, alphabetical by the titles of the flicks.  Only one of the posters references a movie on the list.  Answers in two weeks.  Have fun!

Remember you're old.

You said to me this is a family secret, and you gave it up to me, boom just like that. You spill the secret family recipe today, maybe you spill a little something about me tomorrow, hm?

-Aren't you worried?
-Would it help?

When they send for you, you go in alive, you come out dead, and it's your best friend that does it.

-You can't give back what you've taken from me.
-OK, then... Plan B, why don't we just kill each other?

-I didn't kill my wife!
-I don't care!

-In this family, we do not solve our problems by hitting people!
-No, in this family, we shoot them!

The competitor is our friend and the customer is our enemy.

How did you ever rob a bank? When you robbed banks, did you forget where your car was then too? No wonder you went to jail.

It takes more than a few firecrackers to kill Danny Greene!

Men would pay $200 for me, and here you are turning down a freebie. You could get a perfectly good dishwasher for that.

A man abandoned his family and wrote his son a story. He wouldn't be the first to cloak his cowardice in a flag of sacrifice.

You can add Sebastian's name to my list of playmates.

-There's a ninety-five pound Chinese man with a hundred sixty million dollars behind this door.
-Let's get him out.

We should all be clowns, Milly.

You get four guys all fighting over who's gonna be Mr. Black, but they don't know each other, so nobody wants to back down. No way. I pick. You're Mr. Pink. Be thankful you're not Mr. Yellow.

- I am a moral outcast.
-Well, it's always nice to meet a writer. 

Frank, let's face it. Who can trust a cop who don't take money?

-Looks like trouble.
-Looks like Christmas.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.

- I read where you were shot five times in the tabloids.
- It's not true.  He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids.

To protect the sheep you have to catch the wolves and it takes a wolf to catch a wolf.

-Not everyone loves us, Rex.
-Save the punditry for someone whose paid to have an opinion.
-I'm cool with censorship, I know the American people love that.

I do favors for people and in return, they give me gifts. So, what can I do for you?

-Man, I get so mad I want to fight the whole world.  You got any idea what that feels like?
-I do.  I decided to fight the feeling instead.  Cause I figured the world would win.

12 April 2014

On the Wire

by John M. Floyd

A few nights ago, I watched the final episode of the final season of the HBO series The Wire. I came into this project a little late--most of my writer friends had already seen the series in real-time, week by week, during its run from 2002 to 2008. I watched it on DVD, but thank goodness I never heard any spoilers beforehand and went through the whole sixty episodes without any prior knowledge or preconceived ideas. And I can now tell you this: The Wire is one of the best TV shows I've ever seen. Great setting, great acting, and--above all else--great writing.

Much has been said about this series, especially its authenticity and production values. I won't bore you with a rehash of all that, except to say that it's an extremely honest, gritty, and realistic view of the police and the drug trade and the press and city politics. And it's done nothing but reinforce my belief that HBO has created some of the best series on television: The Sopranos, Rome, Deadwood, The Newsroom, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, and others.

Street talk

We writers love things like good storylines and character arcs, and--probably because its screenwriters included novelists like Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos--The Wire had some of the best. Those of you who saw the whole series might especially remember the journey of drug addict Reginald "Bubbles" Cousins, but there were many others as well. The show also consistently delivered smart, snappy, believable dialogue.

Speaking of dialogue (speaking of dialogue?), my mission today is to give you some of what I consider the best quotes from The Wire. The characters who spoke these lines will live forever in my memory, but--since my memory is certainly not the best--some of the following quotes are paraphrased.

A man must have a code. -- Detective Bunk Moreland

I ain't no suit-wearing businessman like you. I'm just a gangsta, I suppose. -- Avon Barksdale

McNulty, I hold you in contempt. / Who doesn't? -- Judge Daniel Phelan and Detective Jimmy McNulty

It's Baltimore, gentlemen. The gods will not save you. -- Police Commissioner Ervin Burrell

A lie ain't a side of a story. It's just a lie. -- victim of inaccurate newspaper article

A life, Jimmy. It's the s*** that happens while you wait for moments that never come. -- Detective Lester Freamon

The game is out there. And it's either play, or get played. It's that simple. -- Omar Little

Did he have hands? Did he have a face? Yes? Then it wasn't us. -- Russian mobster

Hell, if you can't win the war on drugs in a prison, where the hell you gonna win it? -- McNulty

Pawns, man, in the game--they get capped quick. They be out the game early. -- D'Angelo Barksdale

Look around. The pond is shrinkin', the fish are nervous. -- Baltimore Sun editor, after a recent downsizing

For you I would suggest some pant-suits, perhaps, muted in color. Something to offset Detective Moreland's pinstriped lawyerly affectations and the brash, tweedy impertinence of Detective Freamon. -- Sgt. Jay Landsman

The thing is, you only got to f*** up once. Be a little slow, a little late, just once. And how you gonna never be slow, never be late? You can't plan for no s*** like this, man. It's life. -- Avon, to D'Angelo

There ain't no rules for dope fiends. -- "Bubbles" Cousins

He was a dead man when he opened his mouth. He's just walkin' around not knowin' it. -- Marlo Stanfield

I look at you these days and you know what I see? I see a man without a country. Not smart enough for this right here. And maybe, just maybe, not smart enough for them out there. -- Avon, to Stringer Bell

You can't even call this a war. / Why not? / Wars end. -- Officers Carter and Herc

You're stealing from those who themselves are stealing the lifeblood from our city. You are a parasite who-- / Just like you, man. / Excuse me? / I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. -- Omar and attorney Maurice Levy, in court

You follow the drugs, you get the drug addicts and the drug dealers. But you start to follow the money . . . and you don't know where it's gonna take you. -- Lester Freamon

I will kick his ass. But the next morning I'll still wake up white in a city that ain't. / Just a weak-ass mayor in a broke-ass city. -- Tommy Carcetti and Norman Wilson, discussing upcoming election

That's my money. / Man, money ain't got no owners. Only spenders. -- Marlo and Omar

We used to make s*** in this country. Build s***. Now we just put our hand in the next guy's pocket. -- dockworker Frank Sabotka

You put fire to everything you touch, McNulty, and then you walk away while it burns. -- Freamon

Making robberies into larcenies. Making rapes disappear. You juke the stats, and majors become colonels. -- Detective Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski

The bigger the lie, the more they believe. -- Bunk Moreland

Murder ain't no thang, but this here--this is some assassination s***. -- Slim Charles

Ain't no shame in holdin' onto grief. As long as you make room for other things too. -- Bubbles

What exactly do you do for a living, Mr. Little? / I robs drug dealers. / How does a man rob drug dealers for eight or nine years and live to tell about it? / A day at a time, I suppose. -- prosecutor and Omar, in court

It's a cold world, Bodie. / I thought you said it was gettin' warmer. / World goin' one way, people another, yo. -- Poot Carr and Bodie Broadus

You put a textbook in front of these kids, put a problem on the blackboard, teach them every problem in some statewide test, it won't matter. None of it. Cause they're not learning for our world. They're learning for theirs. -- ex-cop Bunny Colvin

You'd rather live in s*** than let the world see you work a shovel. -- Lt. Cedrick Daniels

You come at the king, you best not miss. -- Omar

What makes you think they'll promote the wrong man? / We do it all the time. -- Daniels and Burrell

On the boardwalk

One more favorite quote. This isn't from The Wire--it's from an episode in the second season of Boardwalk Empire, another great HBO series. A Catholic priest, hoping to receive a donation to the church, is speaking to the wife of Atlantic City gangster Nucky Thompson. Again, I'm paraphrasing:

A man once was invited to visit both heaven and hell. First he went to hell, where all the tormented souls were sitting at tables laden with food, yet they were starving and howling with hunger. Each soul had a spoon, but the spoons were so long that they couldn't get them into their mouths. Their frustration was their torment.

Then he visited heaven. In heaven, to his amazement, the man found the souls of the blessed sitting at similar tables laden with food, but they were all fed and contented. Each had a spoon and the spoons were just as long as the spoons in hell, but they were able to eat all they needed . . . because they were feeding each other.

Who says you can't pick up a life lesson from a TV show?

At least that's the excuse I make to my wife

17 May 2012

A Word About Crime

by Robert Lopresti

A few years ago I showed you a list of some of my favorite quotes from mystery writers.  Here are some quotes more or less about crime, but not from crime writers.

St. George, patron saint of police officers
"If the bad guys don't get you, baby, then the good guys will." -Buffe Saint-Marie

 "How dare you stand there with every evidence of a criminal nature showing in your attitude and demeanor and conceal from the authorities the reason for your arrest?" -Don Marquis

 "If a man stopped me in the street and demanded of me my watch, I should refuse to give it to him. If he threatened to take it by force, I feel I should, though not a fighting man, do my best to protect it. If, on the other hand, he should assert his intention of trying to obtain it by means of an action in any court of law, I should take it out of my pocket and hand it to him, and think I had got off cheaply." -Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men On The Bummel

"There is no emissary for an evil deed." -David Twersky

"Drug conspiracy cases may be just the answer for budget-conscious (government) agencies." -Gregory D. Lee, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 10/94

"Hate-on-the-highway is an institution occupying a high place in our modern civilization....The godawful glares that drivers exchange as they pass each other, the mutual hatred between motorist and pedestrian, these manifestations seem to constitute the ultimate in righteous wrath." -H. Allen Smith, 1947
"Murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will openly be taught and practiced." -The Connecticut Courant reacting to Thomas Jefferson's election to the presidency

" The law is like rope...useful, necessary, strong, but it can be bent and twisted into all kinds of shapes depending on the occasion." - W.P. Kinsella

"Clowns were humanity's first 'policemen.'" -Joy Thompson

"Sometimes we may rely too much on law and Constitution and statutes." -Robert Ray, special prosecutor

"The heavens may fall, the earth may be consumed, but the right of a congressman to lie and defame remains inviolate." -George Creel, 1920

"(Librarians have) got their radical factions, like the Ruby Ridge or Waco types." -Judith Platt, spokesperson for the Association of American Publishers, 2001

"If any person has sung or composed against another person a song which is slanderous and insulting he shall be clubbed to death." -The Twelve Tables (first laws of Rome, 494 B.C.)

"Monsters work seven days a week and don't take vacations." -Geoffrey Canada

"Did it ever occur to anyone that if you put nice libraries in public schools you wouldn't have to put them in prisons?" -Fran Lebowitz

My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building." - Ann Coulter

"The FBI, however well-intentioned, is not in the business of providing emergency road services, and might well have better things to do when listening in than respond with such services..." -Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturning an FBI request to eavesdrop via cars' onboard navigational systems.

"This particular American view of 'success' near as I can make it out, is the ability to keep out of jail." -Charles Dudley Warner, 1896

"Let Lawyers, Parsons, and Physicians loose, to rob, impose on, and to kill the World." -Henry Fielding, in Tom Thumb, 1730

"Some days I don't know if I should laugh or call the police." -Cecil Adams