RARA-AVIS: A long-winded shameless plug

From: B.J. West ( astrobeej@strafe.com)
Date: 03 Nov 2006

I've been lurking here for a while now and thought I should finally introduce myself. My name is B.J. West, and I've recently served as editor and contributor to an anthology of hard-boiled detective fiction called "Fog City Nocturne."

"Fog City" started as a writing experiment, in which the members of a San Francisco writing group got together over cocktails and jointly created a private detective character named Nick Chambers. We set his birth date and detailed a basic dossier of his past, his psychological makeup, and his overall situation as he began working as a detective in San Francisco shortly after the end of WWII. Then, with the foundation laid down, we each went our separate ways to write our individual stories about Nick. We had two unbreakable ground rules:

#1: Thou shalt not kill Nick. But you can beat him to within an inch of death. Don't permanently injure or cripple him either, we need him for more stories.

#2: Likewise, when your story is finished, Nick's situation shouldn't be markedly different in any permanent way than it was when the story began. He can (and should) significantly change the lives of people around him for good or ill, but he can't personally benefit from a "big win" unless you take it away from him again before you are done.

The resulting stories were, in my less-than-humble opinion, fantastic. And since one of the members of our group was something of a ringer -- in that he owns his own publishing company -- he tapped me to flog the authors through a series of rewrites to get them polished enough for public consumption.

I'm not operating under any illusions here. I know this is one step shy of vanity press. I understand that the skill level of our writers varies wildly, from published professional to rank beginner. But taken as a whole, I think we've come up with a collection of stories that not only pay homage to the masters of classic detective fiction, but has also created a fresh, original character that puts a distinctly post-modern spin on the private dick boilerplate.

If any of you are curious, "Fog City Nocturne" is available from Apocryphile Press, through Amazon.com or nearly any other online bookseller. I'd love to hear what the members of RARA-AVIS think of our boy. Don't pull any punches either. I'm not fishing for strokes here. We are considering putting out a second anthology. The more feedback we get, the better the new batch of stories will be!

We are also currently halfway through production on a short film adaptation of "The Smiling Man," one of the stories from the book, which should be available on DVD early next year. I know that's off topic, but if folks are interested, I can point you at more info.

Thanks for your indulgence, Beej

RARA-AVIS home page: http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 04 Nov 2006 EST