Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Muse, Interviews the Author

Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange
The June "Summer Heat" issue of
Minute Mystery is now available on, featuring a real whiz-banger of a lead story. "The Case of the Checkered Murder" pits a cheeky female sleuth against a household of the usual suspects, with wacky results.

Here, the muse takes a potshot, um, I mean a moment, to ask author Walter Giersbach what he was thinking when he pounded out this great Minute of Mystery.


Giersbach, would you stop scribbling for a moment and explain what you were doing with this story?
The detective yarn is ripe for satire. This is a send-up of the clich├ęs found in Dashiell Hammett, Mickey Spillane and Raymond Chandler.

Isn’t that sort of like mocking one of the Little Golden Books?
Detective fiction is easy picking for satire because it’s so stylized. Satire indicates the writer feels he/she is superior to the work being satirized.

But your choice of subject doesn’t have the greatness to be poked at.
Satirical pulp is a good place to start. I asked whether these writers had a sense of humor, and no one said they did. I could also do a send-up of sci fi (bug-eyed monster at the movie theater) or New Yorker fiction (characters who do nothing, go nowhere, and then wonder just what happened). I also like the inherent irony of the detective genre—the combination of circumstance or a result that’s the opposite of what’s expected or considered appropriate. Besides, I actually have published some detective stories.

Okay, we start with the stereotypical tough Private Investigator with a hangover...
W.G.: …Who’s a woman and not a man, but who still talks in staccato bursts and drinks rye...

...then there are the “usual suspects.” A checkers theme instead of the usual intellectual chess metaphor. An ending right out of The Maltese Falcon.
Look, this is humor, not literature. Just check out the crap that passes for drama or humor on TV. Soap opera, for example, is inherently histrionic and two-dimensional. Isn’t there something worth thinking about here?

Don’t be defensive—but that cheese sandwich ploy is rather lame. This little piece took you—what? Five minutes to dash off?
More like half an hour—plus rewrite. But I don’t have the patience to write something serious. It all gets rejected.

Writing is such an artificial form of communication, and assumes readers will actually interpret words and ideas in the way you mean them to. Why on earth don’t you get a real job?
I truly believe less than a small percentage of personal communication gets through to both parties. She asks, “Do you want to see a movie?” when she really means, “I’m bored to tears.” You say, “I don’t mind seeing that Oscar nominee,” when you’re saying, “Damn, I’d rather sit at the PC and install that new program.”

Having made this somewhat defensive statement, I write because I failed semaphore in Cub Scouts, no one knows Morse Code, and English has the largest number of words in any language. If we can’t communicate—thoughtfully, calculated, precisely—in English, how else can we?

So, you took a shot at satire. What’s the value of writing that never gets read? It’s the old “if-a-tree-falls-in-the-forest” conundrum. And you’re not exactly Michael Crichton or Stephen King.
It isn’t a question of why, any more than you ask why a fish swims or a bird flies. I write because pursuing a character or an idea in the formal framework of a short story or an article is cathartic. Moreover, it’s fun. At the very worst, “desk drawer” writing is akin to peeing in a blue serge suit. It gives you a nice warm feeling...and no one notices.

Any more, er, plans to write satire?
Well, blogging is a good subject. It’s the new oral tradition—people chatting on a level you’d expect among strangers on an elevator. But they spill their guts about the most amazing things!


Check out Walter Giersbach's entertaining tale, The Case of the Checkered Murder, and more mystery flash fiction on For more about Walter Giersbach,visit

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rebroadcast of Biography Channel Interview This Week

Hello, friends:

For those of you who missed my recent TV interview on the Biography Channel's Crime Stories, here's a chance to catch the rebroadcast at the end of this week as follows:

Crime Stories: The Love Slave Murders

Gerald Gallego, son of a convicted killer, and Charlene Gallego, an honor student, paired to become America's first true husband and wife sexual serial killers. Preying mostly on teenage girls and young women to be disposable "sex slaves," they kidnapped, raped, and murdered ten people in counties across the western States between 1978 and 1980 before being brought to justice.

The Biography Channel"The Love Slave Murders":

Friday, May 30th 10:00pm, EST; 7:00pm, PST
Saturday, May 31st 2:00am, EST; 11:00pm, PST
Saturday, May 31st 6:00pm, EST; 3:00pm, PST

The episode is based on my bestselling true crime book, THE SEX SLAVE MURDERS.

Hope you get a chance to catch the rebroadcast.

By the way, my next TV interview will be shown in September on the Investigation Discovery channel new crime series on killer couples, Wicked Attraction.

I will talk about pair serial killers, what motivates, precursors to homicidal violence, and more!


R. Barri

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Contest--win free advertising for your books

Those Raven Nights!

Raven Radio, as mentioned in Romantic Times Magazine, is moving to nights! Tune in every Wed at 11-12 PM EST and join Authors Michelle Pillow and Mandy Roth as they talk about everything, nothing and the paranormal. Guests include NY Times and USA Today Bestselling authors as well as those wonderfully talented authors soon to be there, editors, paranormal tour guides, psychics, ghost hunters, specialists and more! or

Listeners are welcome to join the live chat or call in to the show to talk to us and our guests. The show will move to its new evening schedule, May 28th where listeners can catch us every Wednesday at 11PM to 12AM EST. We have a lot of authors on the upcoming line up and you can see a full schedule of guests here:

Go to Raven's blog to learn how you could win free advertising packages! Contest open to authors, readers and other groups!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Itchy" Writing

Know what one of my favorite things about a good book is? The way it sticks to my fingers, making me flip those pages until far into the night so that I can find out what happens next. Just one more page, I'll think...but before I know it, another hour has passed.

What is it that keeps me flippin' and pages stickin'?

Conflict. Most of us avoid conflict like the plague in real life, but live for it in our fiction. Go figure!

I love to write conflict--and not just those dire moments when the hero's life is in danger or the killer's identity is revealed, either. I revel in the minor niggles, that subtle tension between characters that feels like an itch lingering just out of reach--one that desperately needs to be scratched. Conflict keeps our fingers flipping the pages of a good book, looking for the back scratcher that will let us reach that itchy spot and satisfy it.

What about you? Do you like your books to flow softly, or to feel like a good case of poison oak? Inquiring minds want to know!

Readers: What makes a book "itchy" to you? A tense plot? Quirky characters? A particular sub genre, like paranormal or romantic mystery?
Writers: How do you make your books "itchy?" Body language? Cheeky dialogue? Strategically placed chapter breaks?

Let's grab our back scratchers and toss some itching powder on the discussion!

Lisa Logan is the author of A GRAND SEDUCTION, VISIONS, and several anthologies and short stories. She is the editor of and for Eternal Press, and founded the Green Writing Challenge.