Michael Z. Lewin Newsletter - October 2006
January 1, 1970MICHAEL Z. LEWIN NEWSLETTER – October 2006
I try not to flood you with newsletters and I seem to be succeeding. The last was many months ago. I hope life has been treating you well in my absence.
One of the reasons I don’t send many out is that I like to be able to pass on real information – news – in them. This year, however, has been one of delays, so all there is to tell you about now is the coming publication of some short stories and a bit about my visit to the US this autumn.
I do have short stories in the pipeline. One is part of a secret project – a book to celebrate a well-known writer who doesn’t know it’s coming… Will the surprise party really be a surprise? Check Crippen & Landru – the legendary publisher of short story collections – in November. But three other stories of mine will be published early next year in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.
“Wheeze” will be in the March/April issue (on sale in January.) It will be published alongside stories by Liza Cody and Peter Lovesey. Together we picked a newspaper story and then each wrote a story inspired by it. The newspaper article was this:
Pensioner gang on trial: Three geriatric criminals have gone on trial accused of carrying out a string of armed robberies across western Germany. "Rudi" Richter, 74, Wilfried Ackerman, 73, and Lotha Ackerman, 64, have admitted taking part in 14 robberies that earned them a total of 1.3m euros. They began robbing banks in 1988, but were forced to stop the next year when Wilfried was arrested and sent to prison for ten years. In 2000, they reformed, and reached their peak three years later, scooping a quarter of a million euros in five heists. Age, however, eventually caught up with them. "Rudi couldn't really get up the stairs any more and we constantly had to stop so that he could go to the toilet," said Wilfried. At first, police assumed they were looking for young men; they realised their mistake when a witness reported hearing the thieves wheezing."
We also did a little booklet of the stories, including the original article, which was the basis of a panel at the March 06 conference Left Coast Crime. Called “The Ideas Experiment”, there are a few signed copies of the booklet available via my website.
I have two more stories are appearing in the May EQMM (on sale at the end of February.) These are “They Never Listen” and “D’You Hear Me” and they both focus on Garth and Annette, friends who talk about their family problems over a game of cards and a drink. But what they’re talking about isn’t your usual chat down at the pub. I may well write further stories about them.
I’ll be going to the Midwest again this October. I’ll be at the Magna cum Murder mystery conference in Muncie October 27-29, and in Indianapolis a day or two before that.
Then it’s off to St. Louis where I’ll be doing two programs. The evening of October 30th I’ll be at the Main Library at 7 pm doing “What Happens Next?”
The next afternoon I’ll be at the Schlafly Branch from 3:30 till 5 doing “Murder You Write” in a program aimed mostly at young adults. That’s the aim, but who will I hit? You?
It’s been four years now since I launched my website. Each year the number of visits to it has increased over the last. This year the increase has been up about 50%. Thank you, if you’re among the returning visitors. I do try to add things to the site but it never happens as quickly as I intend.
There are puzzles, a project to show the versions of a story as I write it, more pictures, sample pages from some of the books, lots of things that I’ve got in mind. But how many will I manage to add by this time next year…? Do I get credit for thinking about it?
Work in progress
Since this time last year I’ve been working on a new novel that will be the first in a new series. Although it’s set in England, one of the two main characters is American – from Kokomo. I’m all but done with the final draft. Watch this space.
It’s been a funny ol’ summer here. Very hot in July, autumnal in August, and then a bit perky for the first half of September. Cool again now, but comfy. And we do have a new bath in Bath, as of two weeks ago.
Bath is the site of a hot spring and has water pouring forth at 45 Celsius or 113 Fahrenheit. People have been coming here to bathe for thousands of years and elaborate baths built by the Romans still exist. But for the last twenty years there has been no hot bathing – until this August. A long-awaited project, the Bath Spa, is now open in the heart of the city. Fancy a dip?