Saturday, June 11, 2011

Advanced Praise for The Backseat Virgin

My first short story collection will be out next month.  It's called The Backseat Virgin: A South Florida Noir Collection.  A great writer named Josie Schneider has read it and was kind enough to provide a review:

Review of THE BACKSEAT VIRGIN by Scott Chase
            Scott Chase, in THE BACKSEAT VIRGIN, has put together a collection of potent short stories – rich as truffles, (but not the chocolate kind which are too sweet and wholesome), but akin to mushroom truffles that are earthy and dark, luxurious and compact. The four tales, all set in seedy, gritty surroundings with equally hardened characters, are not rough, however. These tight tales are smooth as silk, wrapping around your senses, transporting you to the moody land of hookers and thieves, bad cops and crime-family henchmen. Sit back, grab a straight-up Bourbon, put on the jazz, and open THE BACKSEAT VIRGIN for an evening’s lusty entertainment. 

The collection comes out next month on Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, and will be available in print soon!  I want to thank Josie again for doing this.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Announcement

This was originally published on my blog under my real name, Todd Bush:

I am making an announcement on the hallowed occasion that is Memorial Day. First off, a lot of people don't realize that this holiday is not for the veterans that are so humbly walking amongst us today. They should be thanked every day, not just this weekend. No, this holiday is to pay tribute and honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, the men and women who have given their lives so that we could have the freedoms we have today.

One of my favorite movie lines is from A Few Good Men. You could argue that the movie is anti-military, but there's one line in it that gives me chills every time I hear it, read it, or say it. The female lawyer is asked by one of the two male lawyers, talking about the Marines they are defending, "Why do you like them so much?"

Her reply is one of the greatest reasons to love those who wear the uniform, and especially those who have died defending us: "Because they stand on a wall, and something's going to hurt you tonight... not on my watch."

My first book published under my pen name, Scott Chase, will be a collection of noir, hard-boiled short stories set in South Florida in the 1970's and 80's. The title will be The Backseat Virgin: A South Florida Noir Collection. They are dark, moody and a lot of fun, if you ask me. Here's the announcement: All of the proceeds that I make off of this collection of short stories will be donated to two charities. The first half will go to the Wounded Warrior Project, the second to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Visit these terrific charities and if you feel compelled, make a donation. They take care of the men who stand on that wall, and the families they leave behind whenever they leave to fight for us.

Happy Memorial Day to everyone. Thank a veteran this weekend, and every weekend. But drive to a Veterans Cemetery, then lay a wreath, say a prayer, or offer a salute. It's not about the act; it's about the meaning behind it. We owe them so much. They are the heroes we all want to be.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My First Book

Many of you know I am self-publishing a book for young adults (a fancy publishing term for teens) under my real name, Todd Bush. The first book, Rick Frost & the Alaskan Adventure, will be out in the middle of next month.

Step on over to my blog there for updates.  I'll cross-promote the release here, but more info on the "Rick Frost Adventure Series" will be on that blog.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Right and Left are Wrong

I de-friended two writers on my Facebook page recently.  What could they have done to earn the dreaded "de-friending" status?  Did I not like their latest books?  Were their covers bad?  Did they change agents?  Decide to go it alone and self-publish?  Say the heck with this self-publishing crap and sign with a Big 6 publisher?

Nope, none of those things.  What they did was far, far worse in my opinion:  they smeared their political views all over their accounts and walls, which means that those same smears get wiped on my wall too.  Not.  Good.  At.  All.

Writers are, when you break it all down to brass tacks, small business owners.  The business we run is ourselves, our talents, and our words.  We write for a living (maybe not literally, but we do hope to make money off of these hours spent tapping away in front of a keyboard).  Our words, our personalities and, if you want to be technical about it, our lives are what we sell to the book-buying public.  Remember the old adage that the two things you never talk about at the dinner table are politics and religion?  That should apply to a writer's facebook and twitter pages too.

If you want me to follow you, don't put your views up there.  If I disagree with you, you have lost a potential reader and fan.  Why?  Because if I know that you will write about politics that I don't believe in on your wall, you will almost assuredly put those same politics in your books.  Why subject myself to that?  But what if you and I agree?  Same principle applies:  I'm buying your book to escape the crazy, insane, mad world we live in, not be reminded of how stupid and biased people can be.

Writing about your politics alienates half of your potential readers and customers.  If you think that you don't want that half to read your books, then fine.  Go that way.  Hope your last name is Grisham, King, Patterson or something like that.  Because last I checked, publishers aren't exactly handing out those six and seven figure advances like candy.  You really think you can afford to pick and choose who you want as fans?  Ok, go for it, bud.  As for me and my pages, we will serve Scott Chase.  Which means I welcome anyone who reads to buy my books, friend me here, or follow me here.  Because I promise not to tweet, post, or link to anything political.  At least I hope I won't.  But if I ever do anything like that, please let me know what you think here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bring Back the Adventure

By request, I'm putting up a little about the boys middle grade adventure that I'm submitting to agents right now.  I'm not doing it under the pen name Scott Chase though, but rather under my real name.

Here is the back of the book style description:

When 14-year old Rick Frost signed up for the school trip to Alaska, he did it for an adventure.  After pulling Hollywood actress Alexis Blair out of a plane crash in the wilderness, he thinks he's had it.  But when the bullet star flying, Rick knows the adventure has just begun.  The crash was no accident.  Someone wants Alexis dead and that puts Rick right in the cross hairs.  What started as a trek through America's last frontier has turned into a race to escape certain death.  

When I grew up, I loved to read adventure books.  Even stuff like the Hardy Boys had a lot of action in it.  In my teens I discovered Clive Cussler and his character Dirk Pitt and I was infatuated.  Pitt searched the world for treasures, saved girls in distress, and did it with a cute comment every time.  Was it mindless?  Sure.  Were the characters cardboard?  Absolutely.  But I loved every stinking minute of it.  And judging by the amount of sales, a lot of people agreed with me.  But now, there's not a lot of stuff like that for boys.  Rick Riordan is doing it, Anthony Horowitz has the Alex Rider series, and my buddy Mark Terry has a series of books for boys too.  Well, I'm going to throw my hat in the ring with the Rick Frost series.  It will be somewhat like the old Pitt books, in that Rick will search for treasures and artifacts, but it will also address issues that are present in the lives of young boys, issues that they will have to face when they become men, like racism, friendship, principles and loyalty.

I'll let you guys know what is coming with the Rick Frost books, as well as with The Chosen, which will be coming out in April of 2012 from Champagne Books.  Keep reading.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stuff, Part I

I haven't written anything in a few weeks.  I've THOUGHT about writing, sure.  I've even planned out what I plan on doing when I get back into it.  But I haven't written a thing.

One of the creative writing teachers at the high school where I work had her students write listening to the blues the other day.  The prompt the kids were given was "Have you ever had 'The Blues'?  What do you do to get rid of 'The Blues'?"  I was intrigued, not just because I like blues music.

A little background:  I am originally from Mississippi.  I spent most of my formative years in the northwest part of the state, commonly called the Mississippi Delta, or simply The Delta.  This was the birthplace of the musical style known as The Blues.  So, I asked the teacher if I could write something just like the kids were, but rather than talk about an emotion, I wanted to write about "The Blues" itself.

She asked me if I would read it to a few of her classes this week.  I complied, and both times I read it, the teacher cried.  I asked her why, she said it wasn't anything sad in my piece (I didn't even write anything sad in it).  It was simply the language, the imagery, and the writing itself.  She said that she is a jaded, life-long editor who always edits as she reads rather than reading for enjoyment, so to be moved to tears is a big deal for her.  I couldn't have smiled any bigger.  What a compliment!

Also, wanted to point out that a middle grade boys adventure that I wrote has gotten some interest from an agent.  Once again, good news.  And I needed some after losing my dad.  He would be proud!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love You Dad

Thank you so much for the well-wishes, prayers and support.  For those who do not know, my father passed away Wednesday of a massive heart attack.  It was sudden, and heart breaking.  We are finally on our way home after spending over a week in Mississippi taking care of things there.

Friends and family are true gifts from God.  Cherish them, hug them, and let them know how you feel about them.  My dad and I told each other "I love you" at the end of every phone call.  I hope he knew that I meant it every time.  I know he did.

Thank you again for all your well-wishes and prayers.  I'll post again soon.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Get Better, Vince

One of the guys who has kept the thriller genre of novels on the forefront of not only the best seller list, but also on the cusp of society is Vince Flynn.  He, along with a few others like Brad Thor and Daniel Silva, have been the clarion voices that the threat we in the United States and the Western World face from terrorism is still real, still there, not going away and still incredibly dangerous.  They are doing the Lord's work, and none do it better than Vince.

If you haven't heard, Vince has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.   He is fighting it, as anyone who knows him or knows about him expects him to do.  So far, the early prognosis is good.

Keep up the fight, Vince.  Keep the faith strong and know that our prayers are with you.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The End of the Caboose

Remember when you used to see a train go by and, as a kid, we all waited on the edge of our seats for our favorite train car, the caboose?  It was every kid's favorite.  Sure, we all said we liked the engines or the coal cars (who actually saw one of those, really; weren't they all retired by the time we were all born?), but it we were honest with ourselves and the world, we lived for the caboose.  Because the caboose was a great ending.  It meant the train was over and we could get on with our lives, but it was also a dynamite payoff at the end of a great build up.  If only writers could grasp that concept.

I just spent two hours of my life watching the movie Knowing starring Nicolas Cage and for about an hour and a half, I was enthralled.  A mystery involving creepy numbers written by a young girl in the 1950's that are placed in a time capsule set to be opened fifty years later... Nick Cage's kid in the movie getting the envelope with the girl's numbers written on the paper (and if his kid hadn't gotten the numbers, where would the movie be, right?)... and the arrival of creepy men who bore a strange resemblance to the Nick Cage in his angel movie... it was a terrific build up.  See, the numbers foretell future disasters and Cage is trying to stop these horrific events from happening.

I won't ruin the ending, although I should because no one should subject themselves to this drivel.  Suffice to say that it was like the writers were in the room working on the script and were churning out great ideas.  Creepy ideas, full of mystery and intrigue and suspense.  But they had to come up with an ending and nothing was working.  Someone looked at the clock, saw it was getting close to happy hour and announced to the room, "Aw, hell with it; it's 2-for-1 margaritas at the Chili's.  Let's just take the easy way out and finish this thing."  The room agrees, the script is finished, and in T-minus twenty minutes one of the girls is gonna take her top off because as we all know tequila makes her clothes come off.

Movie writers aren't the only people who do this.  In The Firm, John Grisham had such a great build-up that rumor has it, he sold the movie rights before the thing even went to press.  It was the hottest thing made of paper than hadn't burned up.  A lawyer novel with (gasp!) excitement!  A legal thriller?  What the hell was going on in the world?  Sell that thing, now!  Who cares if the book just... ends!  We don't need no stinking ending, print!  Print the money now!

Remember reading the classics?  Huck Finn had an ending, and a good one.  Gatsby, whatever you think of it, had a fitting ending.  It might not have been the best ending in the world, but it was satisfying to a degree.  The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler?  Yep, it had an ending.  What about good movies?  The Godfather?  The door being closed on Kay as Michael becomes the don; there can't have been a better and more fitting ending than that.  Even Avatar, as cliché and Dances With Wolves-in-space as it was, it had an ending.  Come to think of it, so did Dances With Wolves.    

I realize there are things called deadlines.  I also realize that there are, especially in the movie business, people who have a say in how the script comes out before it is on my television set, but really? That's what you guys came up with?  That's what you were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for?  Do they even have beta readers in Hollywood?  Maybe that's why they're losing money.  My solution:  take the extra time, so that maybe the movie won't come out next summer, but rather in the spring of the next year.  But at least it'll have an ending that won't make someone throw their remote at their brand new TV.

And by the way, Nick Cage... where's National Treasure 3?  You made this Knowing piece of crap when all we want is an answer to what was on page 47.  And it better have an ending.  Kind of like this.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Contract Offer

I've been offered a contract on my novel, The Chosen, by Champagne Books.

Yes, I've got a contract for something I wrote... I can't believe it as I type it; someone wants to pay me money for something I not only created, but wrote!!!

Tentative release date is April 2012, but I'll let you guys know when it actually comes out. For now, I'm having a Scotch and getting back to writing.

Keep dreaming everyone!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


My friend, Todd, who writes a blog called "A Man Called Daddy" has a new post up about going to a model train show.  Better him than me.  But it is funny.  Check it out here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

This Close

Today I got the initial design for cover art on one of my books.  It's just the first draft, but it was awesome.  To open that email and see the title I created, the theme and tone of the book I wrote, and my name on there... it was unreal.  A dream come true.  I want to thank my new buddy Matt who is doing all the hard work with the graphics.  He is very talented and will make a lot of money doing this someday.  I feel honored to have met him now.  When the cover is ready to go, I'll make sure you get the first look.  Until then, I've got the Steelers and the Packers winning Sunday.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Recommendations

Some books I've read on Kindle and recommend you read as well:

- I just read The Devil's Pitchfork by Mark Terry.  It's a terrific read and I highly recommend it for anyone who likes thrillers.  Mark is a great writer, and knows how to make scenes believable.  The book is about chemical warfare and terrorism, and for those who enjoy escapism and excitement, Mark is a writer to latch on to, hold tight and not let go.  His Derek Stillwater series, of which Devil's Pitchfork is the first one, is a great series.  *Full disclosure:  Mark and I have been email acquaintances for a little over six months.

- One of the first books I read on my new Kindle was American Assassin by Vince Flynn.  It is still in the same universe as he's always written, the Mitch Rapp series, but with this novel Flynn breaks with the traditional series conventions and decides to do a prequel.  This book explains how Mitch Rapp got to be Mitch Rapp.  For those who love the series, it's a must-read.  For those who are new, it's a perfect way to introduce the series.  I wouldn't recommend starting with it, but if you do, that's fine.

- The one I'm reading right now I can recommend even though I am not even done with it.  I'm that confident in Robert Crais and his latest book The Sentry.  It stars one the two main characters in Crais's series, Joe Pike.  He is a tremendous lead character and thankfully has gotten several books in which he plays the lead and Elvis Cole takes the sidekick role.  If you like the series, you should already have this one, but if you don't, then start.  Crais is a great writer.

I'll recommend books as I finish them.  Up next are books that are not out yet, as I'm beta reading for friends.  Until then, enjoy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another New Link

My friend Carolyn Arnold is writing about her journey into the great publishing sea.  And she's doing it quite well, I might add.  Please go see her at A Writer's Journey.  Her latest post is about editing and is highly informative for those who think their first drafts are perfect (they aren't) or that they can edit the moment they finish typing "the end" (you shouldn't).  Editing is where the writing begins, to paraphrase Mark Twain.  And Carolyn does a great job of pointing that out.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Link

A friend of mine has started a new project that I think mentioning:  Steam & Ink's Murder Your Darlings.  Her name is Charlotte Jane Ivory, and she is a writer who describes herself as having "one foot in the twenty-first century, and one in the nineteenth."  She also has written several "Victorianoir" stories.  A noir story set in Victorian England?  Sign me up!

Her new project, Murder Your Darlings, is all about becoming a better writer.  And can't we all use a little bit of that?  In my opinion, you can never have too much good advice.  If you have an interest in better writing, then follow, bookmark, and give a look regularly to Charlotte's page.  She's awesome.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Writing With Mad Libs

I love thrillers.  Love them.  Did I mention that I love them?  Lately, however, I've seen my some of my favorite writers turn to a process that I call "writing with Mad Libs."

You remember Mad Libs, right?  The perfect intellectual exercise for long car rides when you were a kid... the best way to entertain your friends by inserting the dirtiest double entendres possible into the blanks... they were a blast.  Now, though, it seems that some writers have begun building their own templates and just inserting things into the blanks to make a new novel.

Here's what I mean:  (COOL HERO NAME), a hero who formerly worked with (TOUGH GOVERNMENT AGENCY) is now a (EVEN COOLER GOVERNMENT AGENCY) fixer, operating outside the normal laws of (INSERT WESTERN CULTURE COUNTRY), must stop (TERRORIST OR TERRORIST GROUP) from  (HORRIBLE CATASTROPHE) in (CITY IN WESTERN CULTURE COUNTRY) or millions of people will certainly die a horrific death.  (SEXY, BUT INTELLIGENT SOUNDING FEMALE NAME), a (JOB THAT DOESN'T SEEM COOL AT ALL BUT MAKES HER SOUND SMART) with (PRESTIGIOUS UNIVERSITY OR GOVERNMENT AGENCY), works with him to find the bad guys, stop the threat and save the day.

Insert some action scenes in remote places, lots of technical talk between the female and male leads, and make the bad guy really, really creepy and you've got yourself a novel.  A lot of people have used this formula to perfection and have built decent careers on either this or the template where the cool sounding hero and the sexy, yet smart female lead must find an ancient artifact before the baddies do.  There are tons of writers who have done this, and a vast minority of them are published.  Yes, you read that right, the six companies that run English language publishing (from here on after known as the Big 6), pay people to write this crap because it's "original" and "something different".  Agents rep these books because they are "innovative" and "creative."

Uh... no, they're not.  They are the same book.  If you could do a search for thrillers that are based around the search for Atlantis or a legend of the Knights Templar or the Book of Genesis, you'd come up with a ton of responses.  Do the same thing with the modern-day terrorism novel.

Now,  I am not saying that we should stop reading or writing these novels.  Far from it.  Because they are all escapism, and we LOVE escapism.  But there has to be a different formula out there, doesn't there?  Anyone?  Bueller?  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Writer's Wrist

I've had writer's block, if there is such a real thing.  In writing my second novel, I got about half way through and just didn't know where to go.  I was on point J.  I knew what happened on points M, N, and O.  But K and L?  Not a clue.  So I quit writing on it for about 6 months.  Sure enough, I read through what I'd written after that six months and wham-bam-thank-musey-ma'am!  I was back in business.  I wrote about 28,000 words in one weekend and the novel was finished.  I've done about two or three novels the same way.

But now I have writer's wrist.  No idea if it's carpal tunnel or just the fact that I don't have a computer desk and the dining room table I'm writing on is less than ergonomically efficient.  I don't even know what ergonomically efficient means but it sure sounded good didn't it?

The point of this post is only to give you guys an update on why I haven't written as much lately.  The sequel to The Chosen is called Angelic Dead, or at least that's the working title.  I'll detail more about the two books soon.  Until then, I'm off to get some ice.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fiction vs. Reality

I was all set to deliver probably the 845,395th post on the internet about the possibility that ebooks and epublishing would soon be on par with brick and mortar book stores and the Big 6 publishers who dominate English Language print.  But then Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Arizona today by a gunman.  And that changed a lot.

I'm a fiction writer and I specialize in thrillers, stories of suspense and hard-boiled noir crime fiction.  It is inherent that in the stories I write, people are hurt and (quite often) killed.  Not real people though.  They are figments of my imagination.  But I do take an insanely large amount of pleasure in killing off some of these creations of my brain.  And I know dozens of people who take great pleasure in reading about the demise of these "people."  But they are not real; their deaths are not mourned by any real tears, unless I get to be a much better writer that is.

Rep. Giffords is a flesh and blood person.  She is the wife of an astronaut and the mother of two children.  She represented people in Arizona, by all accounts, pretty well.  That is to say, she wasn't involved in any scandal and apparently went about doing the job she was elected to do.  But someone saw fit to try and end her life and the lives of the people who came to see her today.  That someone, whomever he may be, is an idiot; he is crazy, and a living, breathing example of evil.  I hope he gets beat up after he is taken into custody. I hope if some of the people he shot do, God forbid, pass away, that he gets the gas chamber or however they kill people in Arizona.

Fiction, be it in book form or on TV or in the movies, is fake.  We are not responsible for people who kill people in real life.  Neither are people who might have disagreed with Rep. Giffords politically.  But real people do get killed; tragedies do happen.  And as a fiction writer, I would like to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the families of ALL of those people who were shot today.  I hope they all make it.  And I hope that one of my more elaborate and cringe-worthy death scenes awaits the moron who shot them.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Love the Holidays

I spent the Christmas holidays with my family in Mississippi.

I grew up in Mississippi.  Born there, went to high school and college in the state, and had my first job there.  Morning and afternoon news at a radio station in case you're keeping score at home.  I gave my heart to God in Mississippi, but only after football got first dibs.  After joining the United States Air Force and spending four years overseas, I came back home to Mississippi.

I don't live there now.  I'm in South Florida, only a little ways north of Miami.  My wife is from here; my son was born here.  But it ain't home.  And as much as I believe the phrase "you only need family for the holidays to be special", let's face it... Christmas in 75 degree weather wearing shorts and flip-lops just isn't the same.

Not that there's a foot of snow on the ground here in Mississippi, but at least there's a bite in the wind.  But the weather isn't what I love about the holidays.  It's just a perk.

- I love the cartoon and stop-action specials on television like "Rudolph," "Frosty," and of course "Charlie Brown's Christmas."

- I love all the messages from the troops to their families back home and the show of support by everyone.  I just wish it was like that all the time.

- I love Christmas lights.  Really, I do.  No, really.

- I love giving presents to my son and seeing him try to open them.  I love the fact that he got a train set this year and it didn't matter what else he got after that.  Everything paled in comparison to Thomas, Percy and the rest of the engines.  We could have given the kid a gold-plated riding toy with diamond rims and he wouldn't have cared.

- I love the food.  Which is why I'll never be my ideal weight.  And that's why I'll survive when I'm stranded in a life raft with Bob from "The Biggest Loser."  Take that, skinny boy.

- I love Christmas music.  Just not before Thanksgiving, please.  Because then I hear John Lennon and Yoko telling me that war is over and I want to rip the radio out of the dashboard.

But most of all, I love the fact that for one month, everyone is just a little nicer.  They open doors for each other, they offer to help someone with a heavy bag, they allow someone else to have that closer parking spot... okay, that last one isn't true but you get the point.  Basically, we smile at each other a lot more during the holidays.  If that was the way people acted all year long, the bad guys wouldn't exist and there'd be no need for thriller writers like me.  And that'd be okay; I could learn to like writing about dogs and 17th-century love stories.

You know what, never mind.  Stop smiling and start being mean again.  I got too much Jane Austin in college.  Let's blow some stuff up.   Happy New Year!