ProSe Press’ latest anthology is out, and it can be acquired in both paperback and ebook via Amazon. It is called Princesses in Pulp, it features a killer cover by Antonino Lo Iacono, and it includes a story of mine, called Away with the Fairies.
The idea was to take a classic fairy tale and turn it into a pulp story – so I selected an old Italian folk tale from Giambattista Basile’s classic collection known as the Pentamerone, a nice Cinderella variation called The Three Fairies, and I redid it as a Black Mask-style noir crime story. It was fun to write it – I hope it will be fun to read it too!
It is also the raciest story I ever published in my name.
If you feel like taking a look at Princesses in Pulp, right now the ebook is 99 cents. But I’ll shell out a little more for the paperback, just for that cover… I’ve placed links to Amazon above – I’m not getting any commission for this.
Despite the fact that I co-host a podcast about horror movies, I am not a huge horror fan – a lot of the horror movies I like are old and quite tame by today’s standards. If there is a movie genre I can claim to be a true aficionado of, is certainly noir. And the opportunity of watching an old noir I have so far missed is always a cause for celebration. The British Criterion Collection often helps me celebrate.
So last week I caught Pale Flower, a Japanese noir directed in 1964 by Masahiro Shinoda, and that is probably the bleakest, most nihilistic noir movie I’ve seen in a long time. And it is also beautiful to behold.
It’s pretty straightforward, in the end: you pitch me a noir movie featuring Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet, I will drop everything else and watch the hell out of it, and then probably do a post about it. Which is exactly what happened last night, when I spent one hour and a half with a bowl of dark chocolate ice cream and Jean Negulesco’s 1946 flick, Three Strangers. And what a bizarre movie it was!
People that do not write have a hard time understanding that ideas are everywhere. They’ll come to you and say “I’ve got this great idea for a novel, I’ll tell you so you’ll write it and we can share the money.” They get it wrong on three counts – first, because they think there really is any serious money in writing (ah!), and second, they believe their idea is unique (it’s not). Third, and final, you can’t write a book based on a single idea. You need at least two good ideas to rub together for a long work to have a hope in hell.
Ideas are everywhere, and a good writer – well, a decent writer… let’s say a serviceable hack – is the one that can recognize them as they pour around him. A general rule of thumb is, when you are overworked, stretched thin and at the lowest point of a low period, you’ll start getting all these brilliant ideas. It’s like an Egyptian curse.
The first post in the Turntable series was so consistently ignored, one would be tempted to just close the lid of the record player and forget about the whole thing, but I actually like the idea of talking, here on my blog, of a different form of storytelling… and then I prepared a banner for the series! I can’t use the banner just once, right? I might as well do another post and see if something changes…
The old Ricordi music store in Via Roma/Piazza CLN, Turin, was on three floors – at ground floor they had pop and rock records, downstairs in the basement they had classic and opera, and upstairs they kept jazz and blues. If you happened to visit the store on a Saturday afternoon, you’d get crowded in the pop and rock section, but in the classic and jazz departments there would be precious little people, and air conditioning.
I don’t smoke. I never did. I consider it a foul habit and a waste of money. My parents did not smoke neither, my grandfathers both did (and it shortened their lives). As a kid, just walking by someone smoking usually caused me to break into a fit of cough. This was somewhat awkward during my teens and twenties, because it looked like everybody smoked then. My girlfriend in high school smoked. Marlboros. Talk about awkward: it’s hard to be in love with someone and you start coughing like you’re about to spit a lung every time you get close to her. But anyway…
I watched a lot of old movies, as I grew up. I liked – and I still like today – old noirs. Humphrey Bogart. High Sierra is one of my all-time favorites ever. The Big Sleep, too. But everything he did, really. He was a sort of role model, because like that guy said “We’re all Bogart at least once in our lives”. And Bogey always had his cigarette. The nails in my coffin, he called them. And what about Robert Mitchum? What about all the other Marlowes of TV and Cinema? Then there was Mike Hammer. Damn, the guy got routinely punched, stabbed and shot at, then he got home, took a shower, drank a shot of whiskey, lit a cigarette, and he was as fresh as a rose. And don’t even get me started on James Bond.