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The Crime Cafe

Media & Entertainment Podcasts

Interviews and entertainment for crime fiction, suspense and thriller fans.

Location:

United States

Description:

Interviews and entertainment for crime fiction, suspense and thriller fans.

Twitter:

@debbimack

Language:

English


Episodes
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Interview with Phil M. Williams – S. 10, Ep. 3

7/7/2024
This week's episode of the Crime Cafe podcast features my interview with crime writer Phil M. Williams. If you like thrillers, you'll want to check this out. And don't forget to check out his giveaway here! Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe The transcript can be downloaded here. Debbi: Hi everyone! This week we have with us the author of 27 books, primarily thrillers. His stories tend to explore modern dilemmas and controversies which pit powerful villains against average citizens. He's giving away an audio version of one of them, NO GOOD DEED. It's my pleasure to introduce my guest, Phil M. Williams. Hi, Phil. How are you doing today? Phil: Very good, Debbi. Thank you so much for having me on! Debbi: It's my pleasure, believe me. I noticed that most of your books are thrillers. I also noticed that you do have at least one series, the 2050 series. Phil: That's correct. Debbi: What prompted you to write this series? Phil: I think I was interested in – in thinking about what would happen in my lifetime. Right? I mean, I'm 48 years old, so I'm hoping I get another 25 years at least. So I was thinking, okay, well, I wonder what the world would look like. I don't know. 2050 is a good, seemed like a good round number. And I see a lot of the – I'm interested in history. I'm interested in some politics. And to me it was just sort of an extension of. Now it's a very exaggerated version of what's maybe happening in the world today, but it's sort of taking the extreme versions of totalitarianism and projecting it on the United States and seeing what life would be like for. And in the series, there's four main characters. And so I wanted to see, wanted to explore what life would be like for the one character as a farmer. He's an average guy that's struggling, as a lot of our farmers are today, and struggling to make ends meet. And then you have the congresswoman who's sort of a budding communist congresswoman who eventually rises to power. And then you have the banker, who sort of comes from a very shadowy family where they control a lot of the economics behind the scenes. So you get a chance as the reader to kind of, to see that. And then you have just this regular woman who's sort of, who's a nurse, and she and the farmer end up. They end up, they end up crossing paths, but they kind of show that … those two characters show the every man and every woman perspective of what life is like in this dystopian future, whereas, and then the other side of the coin, you have the corporate power banker, and then you have the governmental power person that ends up being the president. They show you the power side of the dynamics, which I think is really interesting for the readers. And you can see, as the series goes on, you can see how the plots wrap around each other and how the characters sort of interact with each other. And in the beginning, you don't always see how it all is going to connect, but it all kind of sort of weaves together, which I think was just unbelievably complex to do. The plot outline was – Yeah, the plot outline was over 100,000 words. I think it was, like, 130,000 words just for the plot outline. And I put a – put a lot. I spent over a year just working on the five book plot outline before I even wrote a single sentence of the series. Yeah, the plot outline was over 100,000 words. I think it was, like, 130,000 words just for the plot outline. And I put a – put a lot.

Duration:00:29:18

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Interview with Clay Stafford – S. 10, Ep. 2

6/30/2024
This week's episode of the Crime Cafe podcast features my interview with crime writer and entrepreneur Clay Stafford. Check out the plans for the upcoming Killer Nashville conference! Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe The transcript can be downloaded here. Debbi: Hi everyone. Our guest today is a return visitor. Along with being a bestselling and award-winning author, he's a poet, screenwriter, and playwright. He's also founder and CEO of Killer Nashville. It's my pleasure to have with me again as this week's guest. Clay Stafford. Hi, Clay. How are you doing? Clay: Hi, Debbi. Doing well. Absolutely wonderful. Debbi: Wonderful. You're looking good there. Clay: Well, thank you. Debbi: Looking good. It's always nice to know. The farther we get along in age, it's nice to know you're still looking good at least. Shall we talk about what's coming up at Killer Nashville then? Clay: So you're just leaving it wide open then, what's coming up? Debbi: Yeah. What's special coming up, let's say? Clay: Well, every year it changes, and this year I truly do think it's going to be the best one yet so far, and we're coming up on - what is it - it's the 18th year or something. Debbi: 18th or 19th, I was going to say Clay: Maybe 19th, but we're getting close to that two decade point. I think the lineup ... I'm currently finalizing the schedule - should have it online very quickly, and it's going to be, I think, a wonderful year. Debbi: That's excellent. That's good to hear. I happened to notice that one of your offerings was a mock crime scene, which I thought was kind of cool. Is that like a display, or do people get to interact with it? Clay: We actually used to do that all the time, and then Dan Royce, who was the assistant director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, always put that on. This last year and the year before, he did not do it just because I think he'd been doing it for 15 whatever years and decided to take a break. But he has told me that he is coming back with another crime scene. It's basically an interactive crime scene where people try to actually solve the crime, and it looks like it's the same training methods that are used with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the FBI and all of the other agencies. Each attendee who wants to try to solve the crime, the winner gets a heavily discounted attendance for next year for Killer Nashville. But it's a tricky business and it's always been a lot of fun. We've learned over the years how to be able to handle that, because one year we just set up the crime scene and some attendees at a hotel we were at at the time came by and happened to look in, and it looks very realistic - blood and brain matter and everything all around - and they called 9-1-1. The next thing we know, we have police officers and medical people all showing up, and they're telling us to get out of the way, and then of course, they're going over to look at the dummy, and then I guess they kind of feel like maybe a dummy. But we've now set it aside so that it's not right in front of other people who are not— The hotel we're using - Embassy Suites in Cool Springs, Franklin - we actually have sold out the whole hotel, so it should be all crime writers who are there, so there should not be any danger of the 9-1-1 team showing up. I'm hoping Dan will come through with us on that. He said he is working on an idea, so hopefully we'll have that ready to go. Debbi: Well, that's very cool.

Duration:00:23:12

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Interview with Weldon Burge – S. 10, Ep. 1

6/23/2024
This week’s ad-free episode of the Crime Cafe podcast features my interview with crime writer Weldon Burge. Check out the first interview of our Tenth Season. Dear God Good grief! Has it really been ten years? And check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe You can download the transcript here! :) Debbi: Hi everyone. This is the first episode of our 10th season here at The Crime Cafe. And boy, that decade sure went fast. Where did all that time go? In any case our guest today is a writer, indie publisher, and a full-time editor, although I now believe he has retired, but we can talk about that. He's written numerous articles for various publications as a freelancer. His first novel, Harvester of Sorrow was originally published by Suspense Publishing, but is now published through his own company, Smart Rhino Publications, which focuses mostly on horror and suspense thriller books. He has also published 17 books. That company has published 17 books, including the most recent anthology, Asinine Assassins. There's the tongue twister for you - Asinine Assassins - which I believe is also part of a trilogy. His latest short story collection is Toxic Candy, which he is offering as a giveaway. Check the notes in this recording for his guest post and giveaway details. Alrighty then. So in any case, it is a great pleasure for me to introduce Weldon Burge as my guest today. Hey, Weldon. Weldon: Hi. Thanks, Debbi. Good to hear you. Debbi: It's great to see you and great to hear you, and glad to have you on the show. So you are no longer working full-time and you are devoting yourself to writing fiction these days? Weldon: Yes. Pretty much. Debbi: As well as publishing. Weldon: If a nonfiction job comes up, I will take it, but I'm focusing primarily on fiction at this point. Debbi: Yeah, yeah. I reached a point where I pretty much said, okay, that's all I'm going to do. Weldon: Well, I was working for an educational consulting firm, so I was dealing with PhDs every day, and then I'd come home and I have to get into fiction because I'd had enough brainy stuff all day long. So now that I'm retired, I'm going full force into the fiction and enjoying it. I love it. Debbi: Awesome. That's great. That's a wonderful thing. So how do you structure your writing schedule? Weldon: I don't. I mean, I'm constantly writing. I'm constantly writing notes, bits of dialogue that come into my head I will write down. So as far as the schedule goes, it's just whenever I have time to do something, I'll do it. But I have things churning in my head constantly, so getting something on paper is something I do all day long. Ideas come for me and I try to work them out in my head, and I have notebooks everywhere, notes everywhere, and when I have time to sit down and do it, I do it. I'm constantly writing notes, bits of dialogue that come into my head I will write down. So as far as the schedule goes, it's just whenever I have time to do something, I'll do it. Debbi: Yeah. Notes everywhere. I think that's kind of like a writer's life. Notes everywhere. Weldon: Yes, that's right. That's right. Debbi: What was it that inspired you to create the Ezekiel Marrs character, and what are your plans for the series? Weldon: Okay. Actually there's one chapter in the book that has nothing to do with Ezekiel Marrs. That actually spun the tale for me. There's a section in the book where a teenage couple find a body in the woods, and that was the very first thing that came into my head, and everything kind of spread from there. Ezekiel Marrs was first called Simon something, and it went through umpteen different names, and I liked the Ezekiel because of the biblical parlance there and then Marrs because it's out there. So I like the idea of that name, and it's fairly unique, which was the other thing I was looking for. The character kind of grew out from himself. It was kind of interesting how that occurred.

Duration:00:28:19

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Interview with Charles Salzberg – S. 9, Ep. 27

4/28/2024
This week's episode of the Crime Cafe podcast features my interview with crime writer Charles Salzberg. Check out our final regular episode of Season Nine! Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe The transcript can be downloaded here. Debbi: Hi everyone. This is the last regular episode of the ninth season of the Crime Café. I cannot believe that I've been doing this for nine years, honest to God. So, in any case, our guest tonight is a person who has worked as a journalist and he is a novelist, who has written for a variety of magazines, including Esquire, GQ, Elle and others. He's also written book reviews. He gets paid to do that. I have to find out about that. Charles: Not much. Not much. Debbi: Not much? Charles: Not much. Debbi: Well, you get paid something. That's nice. His series though is the Henry Swann Detective series, which is really cool, I think, at least based on what I've read. He has written true crime and a variety of nonfiction books, including a book about Soupy Sales, which I have to ask about. He's a writing teacher and mentor, as well as the founding member of the New York Writers' Workshop. It's my pleasure to have with me, Charles Salzberg. Charles: Thank you so much for having me. Debbi: Oh, sure. It is my pleasure, believe me. I just started actually your latest Man on the Run. Wow. What a great opening. You already have me hooked. I love your style. It has a kind of a chatty feel to it. Is this the way you write generally? Charles: Yes. Almost all the stuff I write is in first person from different people, and I just like that conversational style. Debbi: Yeah. Yeah. I'm with you there. Yeah. I like that. What inspired you to write the Henry Swann Series? Charles: It was inspired in the beginning by spite. I was in an MFA program at Columbia, and I had to have a manuscript to get in, and I chose this teacher who said he read the manuscript - I'm not sure he did. It got me into the program and he said to me, do you know how to tell a story? And I said, yes, I know how to tell a story. He said, well, you don't tell stories. This book is written like Nabokov and Philip Roth, in a style like that. You should read Chekhov. I was an English major. I had read Chekhov. Anyway, I quit after two weeks and I thought, well, this guy doesn't think I can write plot. I'm going to write a book that's very plotted, and those would be detective novels. So the first Swann book was called Swann's Last Song because I had no intention of writing crime novels after that, or revisit Swann. It had a very interesting history because I wrote it and I sent it to agents and editors, and they all said we love this, but we can't publish it with this ending. The problem with the ending for them was the detective follows all the clues, and in the end, the murder has nothing to do with any of the clues he followed. It was totally random. So the reader finds out what happened, but the detective who's really a skip tracer had nothing to do with solving the crime. And they said you're going to disappoint detective/crime lovers because they need the detective to solve the crime. And so I said, well, that's not what this book is about. I was much younger then, and so I said if you're not going to publish it this way, I'm going to put it away and forget about it and go onto the next thing. About 20 years later, I happened to stumble across the manuscript and I read it and I thought, this is pretty good.
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Interview with Len Joy – S. 9, Ep. 26

4/14/2024
This week's episode of the Crime Cafe podcast features my interview with crime writer Len Joy. Get to know Len and his books, as well as his interest in athletics and how it has inspired his writing. Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe The transcript can be downloaded here. Debbi: Hi everyone. My guest this week is the award-winning author of several novels, including one that I read called Dry Heat, which I really liked a lot. Like many authors, he started off in another career before he started writing. It's my pleasure to introduce my guest Len Joy. Len, hi. Len: Hi. Thank you very much for having me. I never thought of myself as a crime writer, but as I look at my work, I do have a lot of crime in there, so happy to be part of this. Debbi: Absolutely. Well, I am glad to have you on, that's for sure. Now I finally have you . Okay. I wanted to ask you particularly about Dry Heat, because I loved it so much. What was it that inspired you to write this novel? Len: Well, this was one of the few novels I think I wrote that was inspired by a specific incident. In my earlier career, I had an engine remanufacturing company in Phoenix with my brother-in-Law. We ran that for almost 20 years. It was a down and dirty, gritty, manufacturing operation. We had about 200 employees at any given time, and I had a very trusted employee, a woman and her husband that worked for me in the office. Their son, who I knew, I think he had just turned 18 and he was out hot rodding on the interstate on a Friday night, and not sure whatever happened, but they basically were dueling with another car and somebody in the vehicle he was in shot at the other car. Didn't hit anybody, but it turned out that the other vehicle was driven by an off-duty policeman, and he was arrested. He was the only adult -18 years old - and the other three were underage, and he was charged with attempted murder of a police officer, which is a serious crime. I mean, it's more serious penalties, and even though nobody was hurt, I don't believe he was the one shooting, but nevertheless, he was arrested. I followed this with obviously the parents as a father, and I had a kid about the same age as Tim, and instead of going to college, he's going to trial, and they have this lawyer, and they're going to a pretrial conference. They're going to fight this. I think they have a good case. They come back in the afternoon and they tell me that they basically presented him with the alternative of if you lose at trial, you could go to jail for 20 years, or you can take a deal and you go to prison for three, and they took the deal. But that just stuck with me, not just for the kid, but for the parents to have to make that decision in an instant, and it just changes the whole direction of your life. That was 20 years ago, and I started writing after that, and it was just something. I followed their story and he went to prison. He came out. I stayed in touch with his mother. My business ended in 2003, so I was no longer in Phoenix, but it was a story that interested me. And after I'd written a couple other novels, I decided not to use that story, per se. I mean, his story is his story, but that incident inspired me, I guess, in a way, to try to write about that kind of event where you're heading in one direction and something happens and your whole life changes. And I like sports, so I always make it somehow an athlete involved. But that was the inciting incident, I guess,
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Philip Marlowe in ‘The Black Halo’ – S. 9, Ep. 25

3/31/2024
This week’s episode of the Crime Cafe podcast features another great story from The Adventures of Philip Marlowe. Feel free to check out the video version, too. Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe Where ad-free episodes are a bi-weekly event! Here’s a copy of the transcript in PDF. Marlowe (01:17): Somewhere in the cold, persistent rain that made the city itself seem a thing of evil, a girl had disappeared and it was my job to find her, but before I did, I found death and a devil. Narrator (01:31): From the pen of Raymond Chandler, outstanding author of crime fiction, comes his most famous character as CBS presents The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, and now with Gerald Mohr starred as Philip Marlowe, we bring you tonight's exciting story, "The Black Halo". Marlowe (02:10): For three days, an ugly storm had lashed at the west coast from northern Oregon to the tip of lower California, and although it was only noon when I drove up to the sprawling red brick house just south of Santa Barbara to meet a new client of mine, the black that was in the sky and the driving rain that was everywhere left the day bleak and wet and cold. Left it the kind of day that made you feel that logs blazing in a fireplace and a warm dry robe were the only things that could matter to anyone. But when I got inside the house, Felix Drum, 350 uncomfortable pounds of executive in a wheelchair, who made his living importing perfumes, was very worried and not about the weather outside. Felix Drum (02:52): Marlowe. Julia Perry is gone. I want you to find her and bring her back, and the sooner you do that, the better. Marlowe (02:58): And the more I know, Mr. Drum, the easier it'll be. Exactly who is Julia Perry? Felix Drum (03:02): My assistant, very capable girl who in the past six months has practically taken over my entire business. She handles most of the work from her cottage here on the grounds where she lives. She also has some little cubbyhole in Los Angeles where she keeps her files and some sample stock. Marlowe (03:19): Do you have the address of that cubbyhole? Felix Drum (03:20): If I knew the answer to everything, I wouldn't have hired you and anyway, it isn't important. Hand me that little bottle. Marlowe (03:29): This one? Felix Drum (03:31): Yes. Thank you. Marlowe (03:43): When did you last see Julia, Mr. Drum? Felix Drum (03:45): Three days ago. It was three days ago when she left on one of her regular weekly trips down to Los Angeles to bid on perfumes. Usually she stayed away overnight at the Beachwood Plaza Hotel most of the time, and she was back here by noon the next day. Marlowe (04:02): I suppose you've already checked the Beachwood Plaza? Felix Drum (04:04): Yes, of course. My man, Ruby, the one who showed you in has called the place a dozen times, but they only know that Julia registered there three days ago and hasn't been seen since. Marlowe (04:14): Well, what about the girl herself, Mr. Drum? I mean her background, friends, family, that sort of thing? Felix Drum (04:18): Yeah, as far as I know Marlowe, Julia has no friends, no family either. She's just a sweet but smart little girl from someplace in Kansas. Marlowe (04:26): No beaus, not even nice ones, huh? Felix Drum (04:28): I don't think she had the time. You see, when Julia first came to work for me, she wanted to get ahead and I gave her the chance. She made good. Today, she's as much my right arm as Ruby is my leg. Marlowe (04:39): Mr. Drum, did you notice anything unusual about Julia's behavior lately? Felix Drum (04:42): Yes, and that's the reason I'm worried. About two weeks ago I saw changes in the girl, Marlowe. She seemed less spry, more preoccupied. I figured it was overwork myself. Since the end of the year always means detailed annual reports, so I made no comment at the time. Marlowe (05:00): I see. Tell me, Mr. Drum, what does she look like? Felix Drum (05:03): Well, I have no pictures,

Duration:00:32:27

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Interview with Amanda Lamb – S. 9, Ep. 24

3/17/2024
Our guest for this episode of the Crime Cafe podcast is crime fiction and true crime writer Amanda Lamb. Join us as we discuss her career in journalism and how close she came to going to law school! Yikes! :) Good call, BTW. Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe The transcript can be downloaded here. Debbi: Hi everyone. My guest today has worked for more than 30 years as a television news reporter. She now has four podcasts, has authored three books of crime fiction and three of true crime. She's also written family and children's books. She owns a company called Stage Might Communications. I am very pleased to have with me today the multi-talented Amanda Lamb. Hi Amanda. How are you doing? Amanda: Good, Debbi. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Debbi: Well, I really appreciate your being here, and I am just amazed with the work you're doing. I love that you create podcasts the way I create blogs. You seem to not be satisfied with just one. Amanda: Yes, I developed an interest in podcasting when I was working for my television station a couple years ago, and I really didn't have any idea what it was about. I had done a little bit of listening to podcasts, but I hadn't really ever worked on a podcast, and writing a narrative podcast is like writing a book, or it's like writing multiple documentaries because of the length of a True Crime podcast, for example. But I just really loved it and I really developed an interest in it, and now I'm doing more interview-based podcasts like yours, and I love that as well, because I'm curious about people. I'm interested in people, and it just really fits kind of where I am in my career. Debbi: That is really cool, because I can really appreciate that, because I've often thought of doing other interview-type podcasts because actually I have a journalism background Amanda: There you go. Well, you can try. Debbi: It all started with that, you know. That's where really my writing in a sense, professionally started kind of. Amanda: Yes Debbi: It started with journalism school, let's say. Amanda: Okay. Okay. Debbi: And I didn't go quite the route you did. I went to law school instead. Amanda: Well, you know, one of the things I'm learning - my podcast is called Ageless, and it's about women transforming personally and professionally - and I'm learning that nobody's life is linear. Everybody's life seems to kind of go in many different directions, sometimes to arrive at the same place, but there's nothing about life that's linear. Debbi: Yes, I agree with you completely there. What was it that prompted you to start writing crime fiction and true crime? Amanda: I became a focused crime reporter. Most people in TV don't specialize early on in their careers. You're a general assignment reporter, which means you cover a little bit of everything, but I was always interested, especially in the courtroom process and the criminal justice process. My parents were attorneys. My father was a district attorney, and so growing up, I actually went to several murder trials and I got an opportunity to see how the process worked. I always thought I'd be an attorney. That just seemed like the thing that I was going to do, given my family background. I really loved writing, so in college I started to think more about how could I combine this love of writing with kind of this interest in criminal justice, specifically in the puzzles, because a case,
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Interview with Faye Snowden – S. 9, Ep. 23

3/3/2024
Our guest for this episode of the Crime Cafe podcast is Southern Gothic mystery writer Faye Snowden. Check out our discussion of her Killing Series and what inspires her to write. Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe The transcript can be downloaded here. Debbi: Hi everyone. Today I'm pleased to have with me the author of a series of dark Southern Gothic mysteries with strong and flawed female characters. She's going to give away a copy of her first book, A Killing Fire, and her second book A Killing Rain was named by CrimeReads as one of the best Southern Gothic mysteries of 2022. She also won and has been long-listed for various writing awards. So it is my great pleasure to have with me today Faye Snowden. Hi Faye, how are you doing? Faye: Hi there. Fine, Debbi. How are you? Debbi: Good, thank you. And I need to put you in the spotlight if I can manage to do that. I am just a technological mess today. There we go. That's much better. So, tell us about Raven Burns and the Killing Series, and what inspired you to write it? Faye: Oh my. Certainly. This series was actually not my first. I had a mystery suspense series back in the day. But the Raven Burns series is, like you said, southern noir, complete mystery, dark mystery, and it is about a woman whose father was a serial killer. So in order to atone for his sins and to prove that she's a good citizen, she decides to become a homicide detective to right his wrongs in that small town, made up fictional town. She lives in Byrd’s Landing, Louisiana that seems for some reason have a lot of serial killers and she has to spend an inordinate amount of time chasing them. So the series is actually based on - what is it, the four? Is it the four? Oh, I'm kind of drawing a blank there. But it's based on fire, water, soil, and then air. She lives in Byrd’s Landing, Louisiana that seems for some reason have a lot of serial killers and she has to spend an inordinate amount of time chasing them. So the first book in the series is A Killing Fire, and then the second book is A Killing Rain, which is out now. I'm working on A Killing Breath as we speak, and then the last book is A Killing Soil. And in each book, Raven is going to learn something about herself that's either going to push her to be a good citizen of Byrd’s Landing, Louisiana, or become more like her father. And in each book, Raven is going to learn something about herself that's either going to push her to be a good citizen of Byrd’s Landing, Louisiana, or become more like her father. Debbi: Oh, wow. I'm really hearing some interesting themes that people are basing their series on lately. I've heard the Seven Deadly Sins, now the Four Elements. Faye: The Elements, right. Debbi: Earth, wind, fire, water. Faye: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Debbi: Wow. Faye: I got the idea for the book because - I tell this story all the time, my poor dad - but I am a child of divorce. My mom, who's since passed away - she died in 2015 - but she did not have a fondness for my dad after the divorce, and she would disparage him in front of us. I looked a lot like my dad. I favored him a lot, and I used to look in the mirror and say, well, if my dad's a something and something, what does that make me? What kind of person does that make me? And you know, a writer's mind just takes off sometimes, the imagination. I said, oh, you know, that would be a neat character to write, but you have to up the stakes. So it's like,
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Interview with Leanne Kale Sparks – S. 9, Ep. 22

2/18/2024
Our guest for this episode is thriller author Leanne Kale Sparks. Check out the podcast to hear more about her Kendall Beck series and the authors who inspire her, amongst other things. Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe The transcript can be downloaded here. Debbi: Hi everyone. Our guest today had a short career in law before turning to writing a series of thrillers featuring FBI agent Kendall Beck. Her books are set in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, which is a really cool place. I love that. She currently resides in Texas with her husband and two dogs - a German shepherd named Zoe and her Corgi named Wynn. It's my pleasure to welcome today Leanne Kale Sparks. Hi, Leanne. Leanne: Hi. Debbi: I'm so glad you could be with us today. Leanne: Me too. This is exciting. Debbi: Excellent. Wonderful. I, too, had a career in law before I started writing full-time. Leanne: I think there's a lot of us. Debbi: I think there are quite a few of us who left the profession in a kind of "we gotta do something else" feeling. You were fortunate in making yours a short career though, as you've described it. How long were you practicing law, and what kind of law did you practice? Leanne: Well, I did a little bit of everything in that short amount of time. I did a little bit of family law and ... Debbi: Oh, God! Leanne: I did a little bit of estates, but that was short-term. Mostly, it was criminal defense. Debbi: Ah. I'm telling you, family law right there will turn you off to the idea of doing more. Leanne: It's the most dangerous profession. Everybody thinks it's the criminal lawyers that get it. It's family law. Debbi: Not at all, because at least the clients understand you're dealing with a certain type of system. People going through divorce, acrimonious ones just go temporarily insane. That's my theory. It's temporary insanity. Leanne: And you're taking away kids and money, two of the things that people value the most. In criminal defense, most of your clients, they know they're guilty. They have probably been in the system before, and so they know what's going on. Debbi: Their expectations are well managed right from the start. Oh my. What inspired you to write the Kendall Beck series? Leanne: I lived in Maryland at the time, and I had a friend who had retired from the FBI, and he used to be the person that was in charge of the criminal part of the FBI, the investigations. I had gone online and looked, and there was this really interesting department or group within it, a unit, and they did Crimes Against Children. And so I talked to this guy and I'm like, Hey, can you get me in to see them or talk to them, or have somebody just answer some questions? He pulled some strings and I was able to meet up with some actual agents that work in the unit. It was a while ago and it just always stuck with me, and I thought, I need to have a character. The Wrong Woman started out as a short story just to see if I could actually write a crime thriller, and get all of the red herrings. The first versions of this, it was just like this person died and then we investigated, and yay, I figured it out, so I had to learn a lot about red herrings and things like that, so it kind of evolved. But I really did want Kendall to be involved in the Crimes Against Children, because I really think it's important now. My books don't focus on that. I don't talk about any of the icky, really icky. I don't go in depth with any of it,
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Interview with Melissa Yi – S. 9, Ep. 21

2/4/2024
This episode of the Crime Cafe features my interview with crime writer Melissa Yi. Don't miss our discussion of her Dr. Hope Sze series and the Seven Deadly Sins! And the play Terminally Ill! Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe The transcript can be downloaded here. Debbi: Hi everyone. My guest today is a doctor who studied emergency medicine and works in emergency rooms, I presume. She has received many accolades for her work, including a Derringer Award for best short story of 2023, and finalist for the Silver Falchion for best thriller. She also writes medical humor - which I find fascinating and want to know more about - and has won speculative fiction awards as well. It's my pleasure to have with me today Melissa Yi. Hi, Melissa. Thanks so much for being with us today. Melissa: Oh my goodness. Thank you so much for having me. Debbi: Well, it's my pleasure to have you on, believe me, and your background just fascinates me. I used to be an EMT and my husband was a firefighter. He's retired now, so I can thoroughly appreciate the whole hectic thing involving emergency rooms, what that must be like. Do you still practice medicine? Melissa: I do. Not as much as I did, but I still like to keep my hand in. Debbi: Excellent. Melissa: I just have to say good for you guys, because now you can sleep. The nights are so hard. Debbi: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah. I remember getting up in the middle of the night to go on calls and it was like, whoa! I mean, sometimes those five in the morning ones were the worst, right before the dawn. I would get into the back of the ambulance and would just feel nauseous. I couldn't explain that. Melissa: Oh, that's because that's a very physical job also. For me, I would say 3:00, 4:00 AM is tough because you've been working so long, but there's still so much to go. To me, 5:00, 6:00 people are starting to wake up. Normal people are alive at this time, it's not so bad. You might start to get some sort of backup, but the middle of the night, really, you are it, and I just find that very tough and very bad for circadian rhythms. Debbi: Oh, yeah. Yeah, really. I was much younger then, so I could adjust to it a little more easily, I suppose. But I've always been sort of in awe of people who go to medical school, because I went to law school and the med school was right down the street from me. And I was like, wow, I'm so overwhelmed with work, but what if I were in med school? Oh my God! You guys have to study all these bones, all these muscles, all these nerves. It just amazes me. Melissa: I think law school is very cognitively taxing, though. I think there's so much involved, so that it's a different kind of stress. Debbi: Very much so. Melissa: Medicine is really holding people's lives in your hands. That's the stressful part of medicine. Debbi: Yes, yes. That to me has always been … you guys are really in there, doing stuff, fixing people's medical problems, things like that. What is it that inspired you to create Dr. Hope Sze? Melissa: Very good. Debbi: Thank you. Melissa: You know, for me, honestly, there were a few things. I'm from Ontario in Canada, and the medical system was relatively good when I went to medical school. People probably don't know this, but in Canada, the federal government has the money and then they give the money to the different provinces, and when you finish medical school, you get matched anywhere in the country. You don't have to apply everywhere,
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Interview with Laurie Buchanan – S. 9, Ep. 20

1/21/2024
This episode of the Crime Cafe features my interview with crime writer Laurie Buchanan. Among other things, we talk about her (planned) nine-book Sean McPherson series. Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe Download a copy of the transcript here. Debbi: Hi everyone. My guest today is the author of the Sean McPherson series, and while Sue Grafton had her alphabet series, this author has picked one letter and stuck with it—the letter I. All the books in the series have one-word titles that start with I, which I think is really kind of cool. The latest one released is Impervious, and the next one will be called Iniquity. It's my pleasure to have with me today Laurie Buchanan. Hi, Laurie. How are you doing today? Laurie: Hi, Debbi. I'm fine. Thank you for having me. I'm looking forward to talking with you. Debbi: Awesome. Well, I'm glad to have you here. The last time you were here, your first book was out, right? Indelible? Laurie: Yes. Yes. Debbi: And that established the story of Sean McPherson, who works at this kind of place where writers' retreats are held. Laurie: Exactly. Pines & Quill is a writing retreat in the Pacific Northwest, and now by Iniquity, which comes out this April—it’s a premier now. It has had so many people, and now there's this huge waiting list and you need to be background checked and so on and so forth, because some murders have taken place there. Some from without and some from within. So they're being more than cautious. And the neighbors can see when first responders come, oh, what's going on there? There's paramedics, there's police, there's whatever it is. And then the news crews come over. So we've gotten now pretty far into the story, so Book Four Iniquity comes out in April, and Book Five is with the publisher. I just finished writing Book Six. It went to the beta readers, and I'm now starting Insidious, Book Seven. Debbi: Oh my goodness. Laurie: Yes. I'm on a nine-book contract right now. It went from one to three to five to seven to nine, and I suspect it will grow. Debbi: Good heavens, nine books! Well, this is very interesting, because you have anticipated a few of my questions already. Well, we can talk about that, though. Boy. Nine books! How has the story of Sean McPherson developed over time so far? Laurie: So we've gotten now where there's three very close friends—a private investigator, Sean McPherson, one of his two best friends, homicide Detective Joe Bingham, and then his other best friend, Sean Rafferty. Because there are two Seans, they go by their last name. Sean McPherson goes by Mick, Sean Rafferty goes by Rafferty, and he's an FBI special agent, and the three of them work together very well. Two of them, the homicide detective and the FBI special agent, have constraints, bureaucratic constraints. There are some things they cannot do because they are law enforcement agents. And because Sean is a PI in the state of Washington, he carries a gun. He doesn't have bureaucracy to answer to. He doesn't break the law, but he doesn't have the same constraints. So the three of them can get places and accomplish things that they wouldn't be able to do if they were all just police or all just FBI. So they've got this three thing going on. Now where I'm at in the story, Sean McPherson in Impervious, which is the one that we're talking about today, Sean and Emma get married. They go to New Orleans, which is a destination location for weddings and horrific things happen there.

Duration:00:26:40

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Interview with Crime Writer Jason Kapcala – S. 9, Ep. 19

1/7/2024
This episode of the Crime Cafe features my interview with crime writer Jason Kapcala. Check our discussion about his novel, Hungry Town, along with his other writing. Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe Download a copy of the transcript here. Debbi: Hi, everyone. Today I have with me the author of two novels and numerous short stories that have been published in many magazines and literary journals. His latest book is Hungry Town. It's my pleasure to have with me, Jason Kapcala. Did I say that right? Jason: Kapcala Debbi: Kapcala. Jason Kapcala. Well, hello Jason. Thanks for being here. Thanks for spending time with me. Jason: Thanks for having me, Debbi. Debbi: It's my pleasure. Now, you have two novels, but you have many short stories. Did you start off writing short stories? Jason: Yeah, I did. I kind of went the academic track. Went through an MFA program, and when I was there, started out learning to write stories, short stories, and actually my first book was a short story collection, but it was a linked collection so they all kind of tie in with one another, and it was all based around the town where I grew up, that area in Northern Pennsylvania where I was from. And then after that, I started moving into writing longer things, working on novels, and wrote my first novel, Hungry Town, and kind of got into that mode of writing about crime and police. Debbi: Does your work tend to focus on small towns? Jason: It does, yeah. I always write about a fictional place, but there's always elements of real life places that influence those towns. I just do that because I think I like the freedom of being able to put things where I need them, as the story demands it. So if I need to have a river here, I can put a river here, nobody's going to say, Hey, I'm from that town. There's no river there, but I'll go ahead and really base these towns on places where.... The first one was the place where I was from, but in other cases, places I know. So the town of Lodi in the novel Hungry Town, it's kind of an amalgamation of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which was very close to where I grew up, and it was a steel town, of course, and had a large steel mill there. Jason: It was really non-functional by the time that I was old enough to pay attention to it, but I still passed the ruins of it a lot. So it's sort of part that, and then part Athens, Ohio, where I did my Masters which was also formerly an industrial town turned college town. It had a brick factory and brick streets and everything. I don't know that there's really a town in existence that's quite like the one in my novel that would have a mill the size of the mill in the novel, but also a town as small as Athens. But I kind of went with that and ended up naming it Lodi, but it doesn't have any connection to the actual Lodi, Ohio. If anybody's from there, it's not your Lodi. It's a fictional one. Debbi: That's interesting, because I kept thinking of Lodi, California. Jason: Well, that's why I picked that name. Someone had said to me once they think there must be a Lodi in every state of the country. And so I was like, yeah, that does seem like a kind of an every town name, and so that's why I ended up going with it. Plus I like the Creedence Clearwater Revival song. Debbi: Gotta love the Creedence. Do you have a preference for writing short versus long? Jason: Oh, definitely long. I enjoyed writing short stories when I first started it,
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Interview with Crime Writer Kim Hays – S. 9, Ep. 18

12/31/2023
This episode of the Crime Cafe features my interview with crime writer Kim Hays. Learn all about her Linder and Donatelli mysteries here. Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe Download a copy of the transcript here. Debbi: Hi everyone. Today's guest is a dual citizen of the US and Switzerland. She's also the author of the Polizei Bern Series, featuring two detectives Giuliana Linder and Renzo Donatelli. Her work has been shortlisted for many awards and she has two books out in this series with a third coming next year, which is coming very quickly. It's my pleasure to have with me today, Kim Hays. Kim, hi. How are you doing? Kim: I'm great, and thanks for having me. Debbi: Well, it's my pleasure, believe me. It must be late there where you are. Switzerland, right? Kim: Yes. Here in Bern, it's nine o'clock, but not too late. My eyes are wide awake. Debbi: Still functional at nine. Very good. Kim: Exactly. Debbi: Good. You have a great website, by the way. I really love all the descriptions of Switzerland you have under the information tab about Bern in Switzerland. Kim: Oh, thank you. I try to put in a lot of sort of strange and interesting facts, like that the Swiss flag is the only square flag besides the Vatican's flag. Every other flag in the world is rectangular. This is the sort of thing that nobody knows and why should they, but it's fun. Debbi: Wow! I didn't know that. That's very interesting. So what was it that inspired you to write about the subjects that you picked, which are very topical subjects by the way. Pesticides and child labor? Kim: Yes, and in the third book, I have homophobia as a topic too, so that's certainly … I have a lesbian activist who's killed in a hit-and-run, but I realize you haven't read that one. I have, of course, so I won't go into that. You know, I love to research and I like to learn, as you know most writers do, as most people do. So I guess I'm lucky that things turn out to be topical, but often I decide to put something in a book that I want to learn more about. I used to write articles here for a Swiss language magazine, and so I had done a short article on organic farmers, and when I started thinking about writing a mystery, I already started thinking about what background do I want to give it? And immediately I thought, well, what do I want to research? I knew that I would like to do more research on organic farming, and then of course, I had to think of a reason for an organic farmer to get murdered. The second book, which involves a really terrible scandal in Switzerland—child labor—where children were supposedly fostered out, but really placed on farms almost as slaves from a very young age, into the late 1960s, early 70s. This was something I saw a museum exhibition on because it was just starting. The scandal was just starting. As late as the early 21st century, people were starting to be aware of it. And once I saw that, I thought it would be something very interesting to talk about. And certainly, one could easily imagine how murders or violence might occur as a result of something like that. Debbi: Yes, absolutely. That's astonishing, I have to say. Linder is a really interesting character because she's always automatically picking up clues as she goes, and kind of filing them into her head, which is something I don't see a lot in mystery writing, the way she picks up these little details and kind of narrates them to you.
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Interview with Crime Writer F.R. Jameson – S. 9, Ep. 17

12/24/2023
Listen to the podcast on Substack. This episode of the Crime Cafe features my interview with crime writer and cinephile F.R. Jameson. Plans are afoot for you to see more of us here and here! Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe Download a copy of the transcript here. Debbi: Hi everyone. My guest today is the author of two book series. One is the Screen Siren Noir series featuring British film stars that get caught up in noir tales of blackmail, obsession, scandal, and death. Ooh! His latest release, Vivian Fontaine is the fourth in that series, and he's working on a fifth. He also writes a horror series under the moniker Ghostly Shadows Anthology. I'd be interested in hearing more about that, too. There are six volumes in that series. Originally from Wales, he now lives with his wife and daughter in London. It's my pleasure to introduce my guest F. R. Jameson. Hi, F. R. How are you doing today? F. R.: Hello Debbi. How are you? I'm fine, thanks. Debbi: Oh, wonderful. And what a wonderful backdrop you've got there. Just delightful! Regal Theater. Ooh. It's just ... F. R.: I think it looks more American than it does British, but I might be wrong. Debbi: That's very interesting. Yeah, it looks very Broadway-ish or something like that. Grand! It is nice to finally see you after getting your newsletters where you talk about movies a lot. I love that. I really do enjoy your newsletters more than most authors because of that, I think. You talk about television shows, you talk about movies, you talk about things other than your books, but you do talk about your books, too. F. R.: I do. I do talk about my books. I feel like you could do, but then I send it out every fortnight, and to send it out every fortnight only talking about that, I would be bored, because you know what it's like when you are writing a book, it's great when it's finished, but the actual incremental stages of it, it's not that fascinating. Debbi: Yes. F. R.: Another two weeks, I've done another 60 pages. They seem quite good. Debbi: Yes, yes. I can't wait for you to see them. I've been sitting here at my desk and it is so exciting writing these 60 pages. F. R.: You want things like you're reflecting that kind of accidental, existential dread when you're about two thirds through when you're thinking, “Is any of this good? Is this just terrible?” I don't know anymore. Debbi: I have had those thoughts, believe me. F. R.: I think all authors have those thoughts where you do get to the point where you think you have other ideas in your head and you just think I'll just write one of those, because that compared to this is brilliant. You are experienced enough to know you get two-thirds into that, you would be thinking, I want to do something else now, and you'll never, ever finish anything. Debbi: Yes, you really have to kind of hone in on those things that really interest you and really excite you, I think, and go with those and set aside other things for other times, so to speak. What inspired you to write about British film stars? F. R.: Well, I'm sort of a massive noir fan as I've read earlier some Megan Abbott novels, which is very much in that milieu in Los Angeles, and also read James Ellroy, Raymond Chandler, James Cain and Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson. I'd love to do a book like that, but not being American and not knowing the locales, I felt it would be starting out with imposter syndrome. I didn't want to be in the situation where I'm sweat...
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Interview with Crime Writer Jeremy Scott – S. 9, Ep. 16

12/17/2023
Listen to the podcast on Substack. This episode of the Crime Cafe features my interview with crime writer and CinemaSins co-creator Jeremy Scott. Learn more about how he became a comic film commentator and about his debut novel, When the Corn is Waist High. Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe Debbi: But first, let me put in a good word for Blubrry podcasting. I’m a Blubrry affiliate, but that’s not the only reason I’m telling you this. I’ve been using Blubrry Podcasting as my hosting service for my podcast for years and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. They give great customer service, you’re in complete control of your own podcast, you can run it from your own website, and it just takes a lot of the work out of podcasting for me. I find for that reason that it’s a company that I can get behind 100% and say, “You should try this.” Try Blubrry. It doesn’t require a long-term contract, and it’s just a great company, period. It also has free technical support by email, video, and phone, so you can get a human being there. Isn’t that nice? If you want to podcast, try out Blubrry. No long-term contract, excellent distribution, and great technical support, too, by email, video, and on the phone. I’ve included affiliate links on this blog. Download a copy of the transcript here. Debbi: Hi everyone. Today my guest is the co-creator and narrator of CinemaSins, a YouTube channel dedicated to movie-related comedy, and a highly successful one at that. He's also the author of the Able Series about a group of disabled kids with superpowers—which I definitely have to read—and a crime novel called When the Corn Is Waist High. An intriguing title, I have to say. It's my pleasure to introduce writer and entertainer, Jeremy Scott. Hi, Jeremy. Jeremy: Hi there. Thank you for having me. Debbi: It's a pleasure to have you on. Good to see you. When people ask you what you do, what do you tell them? Jeremy: Generally depends on my read of them because younger generations are going to get it immediately. I'm in my 40s, so anybody about my age and younger, I'll probably just give them the honest answer. I run a YouTube channel and I also write books. Anyone like my mom's age, I might just kind of take a read of them and go, I'm an author or I'm an entertainer, and try and keep it …. Well, because I've had several conversations where they just ask question after question after question, because to some people, the idea that you can upload videos to the internet and make money from it is just mind boggling. So I'm trying to save everybody's time and those interactions, but still convey the truth. Debbi: Yeah. Yeah. I tell you, there is so much that you can do these days. There are a lot of people who really, really do not get it, who are my age, and frankly, I get it completely Jeremy: Yeah, clearly. Debbi: I totally do. When did you start CinemaSins and what inspired you to start it? Jeremy: Well, this requires a tiny bit of a backstory. My business partner in CinemaSins is named Chris Atkinson, and we met in '99 working at a movie theater. We were both managers who worked in the booth. The movies would come in on separate reels, and we would have to build the movies into one giant print, and then we would have to watch it as part of our job to make sure we had not made any mistakes and there wasn't anything wrong with that copy of the movie. We were also both big fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 when we were i...
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Interview with Crime Writer S.J. Rozan – S. 9, Ep. 15

12/10/2023
This episode of the Crime Cafe features my interview with crime writer S.J. Rozan. Learn more about her life as an architect and writer, as well as her book about the real mayors of New York! Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe Debbi: But first, let me put in a good word for Blubrry podcasting. I’m a Blubrry affiliate, but that’s not the only reason I’m telling you this. I’ve been using Blubrry Podcasting as my hosting service for my podcast for years and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. They give great customer service, you’re in complete control of your own podcast, you can run it from your own website, and it just takes a lot of the work out of podcasting for me. I find for that reason that it’s a company that I can get behind 100% and say, “You should try this.” Try Blubrry. It doesn’t require a long-term contract, and it’s just a great company, period. It also has free technical support by email, video, and phone, so you can get a human being there. Isn’t that nice? If you want to podcast, try out Blubrry. No long-term contract, excellent distribution, and great technical support, too, by email, video, and on the phone. I’ve included affiliate links on this blog. Download a copy of the transcript here. Debbi: Hi everyone. My guest today is the author of 18 novels and 6 dozen short stories. In a word—prolific! The recipient of several awards, including the Edgar, the Anthony, the Shamus, the Nero, and the Macavity, she has also received the Japanese Maltese Falcon Award, one of the coolest titles for an award I've ever heard, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America. She has edited anthologies and served on the National Boards of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and is a former president of Private Eye Writers of America. She speaks, lectures and teaches and runs a summer writing workshop in Italy. A former architect whose practice focused on police stations, firehouses, and zoos, she is a native New Yorker who lives in lower Manhattan. It's my great pleasure to have with me today, the author of the Bill Smith and Lydia Chin Mysteries, S.J. Rozan. Hi, how are you doing today? S.J.: I'm doing great, thank you. I just got back from the gym and I have the secret of my longevity —caffeine—and so I'm fine and thank you for having me. Debbi: Oh, it's my pleasure, believe me. I remember you from Bouchercon when you would do those pickup basketball games. S.J.: Yeah, we would still do them if I had gone to the last couple Bouchercons. I will go to Nashville and we'll do one in Nashville. Debbi: Very cool. Wonderful. I should go just for that. S.J.: Absolutely, absolutely. Debbi: Cool. You have had an amazing career and you still are continuing to have an amazing career. How do you keep up with all of that? Do you never sleep or do you have an assistant or ...? S.J.: I have no assistant and I do sleep, but I have a strict schedule of writing. I write in the morning, every morning except the mornings when I go to the gym, and then I write as soon as I get home for the same number of hours. It seems to work. I'm doing two series now and we have yet to see whether I will collapse eventually , but even with the short stories, it does seem to work. I'm a good procrastinator, but once I sit down to work, which is why I need a steady schedule, this is how you do it. If I were just, hmm, I think I'll work later, that doesn't happen, but I do. I get up in the morning,
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Interview with Crime Writer Michael Farris Smith – S. 9, Ep. 14

12/3/2023
This episode of the Crime Cafe features my interview with crime writer Michael Farris Smith. Check out his story! From award-winning author to screenwriter-producer! Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe Debbi: But first, let me put in a good word for Blubrry podcasting. I’m a Blubrry affiliate, but that’s not the only reason I’m telling you this. I’ve been using Blubrry Podcasting as my hosting service for my podcast for years and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. They give great customer service, you’re in complete control of your own podcast, you can run it from your own website, and it just takes a lot of the work out of podcasting for me. I find for that reason that it’s a company that I can get behind 100% and say, “You should try this.” Try Blubrry. It doesn’t require a long-term contract, and it’s just a great company, period. It also has free technical support by email, video, and phone, so you can get a human being there. Isn’t that nice? If you want to podcast, try out Blubrry. No long-term contract, excellent distribution, and great technical support, too, by email, video, and on the phone. I’ve included affiliate links on this blog. Download a copy of the transcript here. Debbi: Hi everyone. I have with me today an author who's enjoying a rather extraordinary year. Along with releasing a new novel in April, two of his previous novels have been adapted for film and been released this year. It's a pleasure to have with me today author and screenwriter, Michael Farris Smith. Hi, Michael. How are you doing? Michael: Debbi, I'm doing fine. Thank you for that introduction. Debbi: Oh, it's my pleasure, believe me. Let's talk about screenplays and movies. I see that you were credited as a producer as well as the screenwriter on IMDB Pro, so congratulations for that and congratulations for what you've done. It is simply amazing. This is not typical of most authors, I have to say. Michael: Yeah. You know, I keep hearing that over and over and I believe it because I know now how much it takes just to get one across the finish line, but to be able to get two, I feel pretty fortunate. Debbi: Yeah, yeah, for sure. I saw a recent interview where the writer had described you as celebrating in a low-key way, and I thought, well, when you think of the sheer amount of work that goes into making a movie, creating the package, finding the money, making the deal, all of those things, I had to wonder how else would you celebrate except to say, phew! That's done. Michael: Yes, I don't know there's a whole lot of energy left to have a big celebration. You have used it all up. I don't know how most people are. I get the impression that a lot of creative people are the same way, that when they get to the end of a project or when they get to the finish line, it's more a sense of relief than anything. Certainly there's excitement and there's reward, but whether it's a novel or a script or anything really, the sense of relief, the accomplishment of it, to me is always the overriding emotion versus wanting to go out and have a party. I want to sit down and kick my feet up and have a beverage and just really kind of revel in that it's over and that it's done, and hopefully in the way that you wanted it to be done too. Hopefully it's a product you're happy with. Debbi: Yes. Amen to that. I hear you. I thought it was interesting that they approached you about writing the screenplay, which is not typical for most authors.
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Interview with Crime Writer Liz Alterman – S. 9, Ep. 13

11/26/2023
This episode of the Crime Cafe features my interview with crime writer Liz Alterman. Don't miss her book giveaway! Liz is giving away a signed copy of her novel The Perfect Neighborhood. To enter, just subscribe to her Substack newsletter. Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe Debbi: But first, let me put in a good word for Blubrry podcasting. I’m a Blubrry affiliate, but that’s not the only reason I’m telling you this. I’ve been using Blubrry Podcasting as my hosting service for my podcast for years and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. They give great customer service, you’re in complete control of your own podcast, you can run it from your own website, and it just takes a lot of the work out of podcasting for me. I find for that reason that it’s a company that I can get behind 100% and say, “You should try this.” Try Blubrry. It doesn’t require a long-term contract, and it’s just a great company, period. It also has free technical support by email, video, and phone, so you can get a human being there. Isn’t that nice? If you want to podcast, try out Blubrry. No long-term contract, excellent distribution, and great technical support, too, by email, video, and on the phone. I’ve included affiliate links on this blog. Download a copy of the transcript here. Debbi: Hi everyone. My guest today is the author of a book that I've had the pleasure of reading and reviewing. A suspenseful novel that weaves in humor and social commentary. It's called The Perfect Neighborhood and I highly recommend it. It's my pleasure to have with me today the author, Liz Alterman. Hi, Liz. How are you doing today? Liz: I'm good, Debbi. Thank you so much for having me, and for reading the book as well. Debbi: Oh, I loved it. And I'm glad you're on. I'm so glad you're here with us. Liz: Thank you. Debbi: What inspired you to write the novel? Liz: Oh, thanks for asking. It's funny, I love to read thrillers and mysteries, and I guess one day I woke up from a dream with the idea for the plot, sort of the beginning and the ending, but I didn't really have the middle. I mentioned the idea to my husband, and the story involves a little boy who goes missing on his walk home from kindergarten. When I told my husband, you know I just had this really vivid dream, he was saying, oh, I wouldn't write it. There were so many kidnapping stories. Just try to come up with another idea. So I tried for about six months, and as I was kind of doing the dishes or gardening or something, these characters were speaking to me, and the plot was kind of revealing itself and coming alive. And after giving it six months with no other ideas, I thought, okay, I'm going to sit down and try it. And my kids—I have three boys—and my oldest will joke, why would you write about a missing child? That's so disturbing! Can't you write something light? I said, as a parent, to me, that's so much more frightening than let's say a zombie story. The thought of something happening to my kids is probably the most frightening thing I can imagine. Debbi: Wow. You know, it's funny because I have been reading so many books about either missing children, kidnapped children—what was the other one I was thinking of—at-risk kids. Liz: Sure. Debbi: It's like there's this huge sub-genre of kid-related anxieties coming out in writing. What are your thoughts on that? Do you see that as well? Liz: I do. I think we see that a lot. It almost goes in cycles where I think we see a lot of that,
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Interview with Crime Writer David Swinson – S. 9, Ep. 12

11/19/2023
This episode of the Crime Cafe features my interview with crime writer David Swinson. Learn all about David's latest release, Sweet Thing, and some of his other work. Not to mention that the guy's met Hunter S. Thompson and Timothy Leary. Now, that is interesting. Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe Debbi: But first, let me put in a good word for Blubrry podcasting. I’m a Blubrry affiliate, but that’s not the only reason I’m telling you this. I’ve been using Blubrry Podcasting as my hosting service for my podcast for years and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. They give great customer service, you’re in complete control of your own podcast, you can run it from your own website, and it just takes a lot of the work out of podcasting for me. I find for that reason that it’s a company that I can get behind 100% and say, “You should try this.” Try Blubrry. It doesn’t require a long-term contract, and it’s just a great company, period. It also has free technical support by email, video, and phone, so you can get a human being there. Isn’t that nice? If you want to podcast, try out Blubrry. No long-term contract, excellent distribution, and great technical support, too, by email, video, and on the phone. I’ve included affiliate links on this blog. Download a copy of the transcript here. Debbi: Hi everyone. My guest today worked with the D.C. Police Department as a detective, so he's done research on the job for his books. He's the author of the Frank Marr Trilogy and two stand-alone crime novels. We can talk about those, but I am tempted to make this an episode about music, gonzo journalism and beat poetry, based on his own backstory. His latest novel is called Sweet Thing, and just saying that makes me want to sing like Lou Reed. It's my pleasure to have with me today, crime writer David Swinson. Hi, David. David: Hi. How are you? Debbi: Good. How are you doing? I understand you're feeling a little under the weather, but I'm glad you're able to be with us today. David: Like I said, it's the Covid booster. Debbi: Ah yes! We have all endured that wonder. Let's talk about the two books you've written since the Marr trilogy. I noticed you set the earlier one City on the Edge in a place outside of D.C., well outside of D.C., but very much influenced by things that happen in D.C. so to speak. But your latest one is going back into the D.C. Police with a homicide detective as your protagonist in Sweet Thing. So what inspired you to kind of shift perspective like that from one kind of story to another and back? David: You mean to Sweet Thing? Debbi: In going from City on the Edge, which is very different from what I've seen back to Sweet Thing. David: City On the Edge is, you know we all I think as writers, always have that one book that we've always wanted to write. That had a lot to do with my history and stuff, although I didn't suffer that kind of loss or witness a murder in Beirut or anything. But I really love that city, Beirut, and I always wanted to use it as a backdrop to a novel. But at that time before I wrote Sweet Thing, I had two more, that book and another book that I owe Mulholland Books and Little, Brown and Co. and so I always knew I'd return to the detective novel. Speaking of Sweet Thing, I was listening a lot to—I always make playlists—I was listening a lot to the WaterBoys cover of Van Morrison's song “Sweet Thing”, and that just really inspired me and I just really wanted to write something about ...
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Interview with Crime Writer Kathleen Kaska – S. 9, Ep. 11

11/12/2023
This episode of the Crime Cafe features my interview with crime writer Kathleen Kaska. Check out how she got the inspiration to write the Sydney Lockhart mysteries. It all started with the thing at the hotel ... but I can't tell you what that is. No spoilers! :) Before I bring on my guest, I’ll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two eBooks for sale: the nine book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy inks for both on my website, debbimack.com under the Crime Cafe link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You’ll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so. We also have a shop now. Check it out! Check us out on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crimecafe Debbi: But first, let me put in a good word for Blubrry podcasting. I’m a Blubrry affiliate, but that’s not the only reason I’m telling you this. I’ve been using Blubrry Podcasting as my hosting service for my podcast for years and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. They give great customer service, you’re in complete control of your own podcast, you can run it from your own website, and it just takes a lot of the work out of podcasting for me. I find for that reason that it’s a company that I can get behind 100% and say, “You should try this.” Try Blubrry. It doesn’t require a long-term contract, and it’s just a great company, period. It also has free technical support by email, video, and phone, so you can get a human being there. Isn’t that nice? If you want to podcast, try out Blubrry. No long-term contract, excellent distribution, and great technical support, too, by email, video, and on the phone. I’ve included affiliate links on this blog. Download a copy of the transcript here. Debbi: Hi, everyone. My guest today is originally from Austin, Texas, a very cool town, by the way, especially when the Austin Film Festival is in town. God, that is a great film festival, I have to say for screenwriters particularly. However, having said that, I'm with the author for this week who lives in Washington state now, which is also a really cool place, I have to say. She is the author of the Sydney Lockhart Mysteries, as well as the Kate Caraway Animal Rights Mysteries and other books, which include three trivia books. I believe it's Sherlock Holmes, Hitchcock and Agatha Christie trivia. Wow, that's interesting. My guest today is Kathleen Kaska. Hi, Kathy. How are you doing today? Do you go by Kathy or Kathleen? Kathleen: Kathleen. Debbi: Kathleen, definitely Kathleen there. Okay, I should have asked you ahead of time. I forgot . Kathleen: That's okay. Debbi: Tell us about Sydney Lockhart. I read Murder at the Driskill and just loved it, so tell me what inspired you to write that series. Kathleen: Thank you. Well, Sydney Lockhart, my series is set in the early 1950s, and Sydney Lockhart is a young woman trying to make it as a private detective in a man's world. And so you can imagine how hard it was in the 1950s to take on a career that was just unheard of for women. So that's what the series is about, and each book takes place in a different historic hotel, and these are real hotels, and they're still in operation today. So, that's kind of how I decided to structure this series. Debbi: Very interesting. So you picked hotels every time? Kathleen: Yes. Debbi: Fascinating. Here I thought maybe you picked the Driskill because of the film festival. Do you have a fondness for the Driskill in any particular way? Kathleen: Well, yes. The Driskill is in downtown Austin. It's not too far from the Capitol. It's right in the center of the city. And when I lived in Austin, we lived right across the street from the Capitol. So we would often just wander down to the Driskill bar and have a drink and have dinner. It was a great meeting place to meet friends, so I spent a lot of time there just hanging out.