Sunday, February 9, 2014

Return of the Prodigal Blogger... and Westerns

I am still alive, but the blog has now gone its longest without a post since it launched in 2007 (I am getting old as my blog languishes). So, I am back (though I will be as errant as ever throughout the year) with an explanation, a short reading report, and some small news.

First--and I have said this before, but I think my intent might stick--I am setting aside my war reading (and I'm going to take "Writing on War" off my masthead soon). To be an engaged citizen of sorts, I believe that it is important to be historically informed and perhaps know a bit about the experience and cost of war. That said, I've come to believe that my extended dive into war writing -- fiction and non-fiction -- was not entirely healthy for me, or it reflected something unhealthy (it was perhaps both causal and symptomatic).

So, since September, I've been reading all over the place, but not crime/mystery fiction so much. I've been reading some metaphysics and also Westerns. My agent has in mind that I might write a Western (he also had me write a synopsis of a post-apocalyptic Stephen King meets Michael Crichton sort of novel; everything is up in the air). I'd read a few Westerns before, but not many, and so I've been reading some lately -- and enjoying them much more than I had expected: Elmer Kelton, Louis L'Amour, Glendon Swarthout, and others.

First and foremost: L'Amour and Swarthout, what I've read so far, write really well: sharp prose, good characterization and action, etc.  I think I was put off by the excessive branding (and sheer volume) of L'Amour, but it turns out -- at least based on the two titles that I read (Hondo and Down the Long Hills) -- that he deserves his reputation.  In general too, in the Westerns that I've read, I've liked the heroic nature of the main characters and the lack of irony. I might just be on a sincerity kick.

Small News

On February 24, Crime City Central will be podcasting a story of mine, "Bridget's Conception." If you're amenable to the audio delivery of stories, please listen and let me know what you think.

10 comments:

Bill Crider said...

Those are two of L'Amour's best, but there are plenty of other good ones, too. Try a Donald Hamilton western if you can find one. Or Harry Whittington. Lots of others. Which brings me to the plug. If you see this comment on Sunday or Monday, one of my own westerns is available on Kindle for free those two days. OUTRAGE AT BLANCO is the title.

Chas Fischer said...

L'Amour has the best hide outs of all.

Doug Levin said...

Thanks, Bill and Chas. Bill -- Back when I was buying Donald Hamilton, I never picked up Westerns. Just Matt Helm and some stand-alones. I should look for some. I may ask you for recommendations of other L'Amour titles since there are so many. I downloaded Outrage at Blanco and am looking forward to it.

James Moser said...

If you, Doug Levin, write a post-apocalyptic Michael Crichton genre book, I, James Moser, will buy it, read it, and almost certainly, enjoy it. Do it!

Doug Levin said...

Thanks, Jim. I'll keep you posted; I might even use your comment to encourage my agent.

feedergoldfish said...

I am here because of "Bridget's Conception", which I listened to on Crime City Central. It's such a good story. I mean... it's really good. And oh how I loved the ending!

Doug Levin said...

Thanks so much, feedergoldfish, for your positive feedback on the podcast. In fact, I should get a separate post up about the podcast.

feedergoldfish said...

You bet. I also liked the way it was read.

winedocg said...

Hello there Doug Levin! Another Doug Levin out in the blogosphere! Wild coincidence. I thought our name was more unusual than that. Anyway, just wanted to say Hi and invite you to check out my efforts. Working on the writing skills - interview experience - in particular. Please feel free, if you have any comments regarding continuous improvement.

Doug Levin said...

Thanks, Doug. There are a lot of Doug Levins out there. I get email for several. Good luck with your wine blog.