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  • I'm a writer, journalist, and the editor of The Gambit, the alt-weekly newspaper in New Orleans.

    Journalism: My work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Globe & Mail (Canada), The Times- Picayune (New Orleans), The Oregonian, and Willamette Week, as well as in magazines including Details, Vogue, Publishers Weekly, and Portland Monthly.

    Publishing: Tight Shot, my first novel, was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Its sequel, Hot Shot, was roundly ignored by everyone, but was a far better book. I'm also a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

    Stage: I was a member of the Groundlings and Circle Repertory West in Los Angeles, and am a playwright (see "Stage" in the right-hand rail).


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February 24, 2008


Samuel John Klein

That's not the only author whose world we've experienced gets way too top heavy after the stories have been told too often and too long. On a slightly more pedestrian level (our opinion only, YMMV) Laurell Hamilton's "Anita Blake" series started out okay (according to my wife, who likes that sort of thing) but, after five or six iterations fell way too in love with itself.

So odd has the fan-crit debate over her work has become, indeed, Laurell calls the disillusioned fans who still critique her work "negative fans" – like a negative number, they contribute to the whole even though she doesn't feel they contribute to her in the way she'd like them to. Sort of like an "any publicity is good publicity" POV.


Not familiar with Laurell Hamilton - is she a SF or fantasy writer?

I will never understand those authors who become successful and then refuse to accept any but the most cursory editing (or refuse an editor at all). Were I in that position, I'd friggin DEMAND the best editor at the house...and not someone who was spending all her/his time in marketing meetings, but someone who was charged with going through my ms with a blue pencil as her/his job. Yaknow?


I absolutely adored "Interview with the Vampire", was less impressed with the next couple I read, and a third of the way through "Cry to Heaven" gave up on her completely.

I'm in full agreement on the editing. Two who come to mind are Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. After a while you've gone well past telling the story and now you're just into wasting trees.

Samuel John Klein

Laurell Hamilton writes what I'd call supernatural/gothic/romance/suspense fiction. Her "Anita Blake-Vampire Hunter" series is set in an alternate present where vampires and werewolves and such are real and some of them need ... well, someone to hunt them sometimes. The title character is kind of a hot sexy gun-for-hire with a liberal slathering of Mike Hammer - but not so much that she quits being hot and sexy.

I'm not interested in such things myself except in a sort of detached technical way - I fancied myself a budding author once and find the way authors build and sustain the worlds and characters they construct dead fascinating, so I view it vicariously through my wife, who lurves them stories sometimes.

From her reviews, Anita Blake started out interesting and sexy, but Anita has really kind of evolved into a Mary Sue for the author whose primary goal seems to be having as much sex as possible with various hot undead characters. The series is really in love with itself and has largely lost its point.


I've not read any Laurell Hamilton, but damn her books still seem to sell.

And Kevin, I absolutely agree - give me the editor hooked up to coffee via IV and a well-inked blue pen. I can't fathom doing without, and anyone who thinks they don't need them must be mad. Elizabeth Kostova comes to mind, Jil, when you mention wasting trees.

Reading the link, it sounds like Lestat struggles with spiritualism, and I'd bet gets converted (yawn). I particularly love how she justifies dusting off her vampires after finding God and swearing off them. Money talks.

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  • Booklist:
    "A worthy successor to Tight Shot, Allman's insider view of the seamier side of Hollywood is not only hip and entertaining but also has something serious to say about our insatiable hunger for tabloid thrills."

    Washington Post:
    "Barbed, breezy and often pretty and entertaining. Allman can be very funny, and Hot Shot complements nicely the less forgiving takes on Los Angeles as the future of us all. "



    "Allman turns a very sardonic pen loose on Hollywood's glitz-and-glamour crowd in this entertaining first novel... An impressive debut and an almost sure thing for a sequel."

    New Orleans Times-Picayune:
    "Allman clearly knows those of whom he writes. He's got L.A. nailed."

    Publishers Weekly:
    "Snappy debut... Readers will look for a sequel."


    A French Quarter convenience-store clerk has a hilariously traumatic encounter with a pair of Shreveport tourists. Part of Native Tongues 3 (Le Chat Noir, New Orleans; 2001; Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago; 2006).
    An upper-class black caterer finds comeuppance and redemption. Part of Native Tongues 4 (Le Chat Noir, New Orleans; 2005).
  • MY-O-MY
    A recreation of an evening at the notorious New Orleans 1950s female-impersonator nightclub My-O-My (Le Chat Noir, New Orleans; 2005).
    A lonely man discovers purpose when he intercepts a televangelist's letters from his neighbor's mailbox. Part of the Dramarama New Plays Festival (Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; 2004).
    A black father discovers that no good deed goes unpunished when he helps his white neighbor bail her son out of Orleans Parish Prison. (Le Chat Noir, New Orleans; 2004; Walker Percy Southern Playwrights Festival, Covington; 2007).
    An evening of comedies. In The Stud Mule, the world's richest woman arranges to be impregnated by a doltish escort; in Snatching Victory, an earnest college student runs afoul of her lecherous professor and the dour head of a women's-studies department (Le Chat Noir, New Orleans; 2003).


  • Patty Friedmann: <i>A Little Bit Ruined</i>

    Patty Friedmann: A Little Bit Ruined
    One of the first post-Katrina novels, and probably destined to be one of the best. Friedmann's sequel to Eleanor Rushing finds her crazy heroine still holding everything together after the storm (after a fashion), until she has to leave New Orleans and she falls apart physically as well as mentally. Mordantly, morbidly funny.

  • Tom Piazza: <i>Why New Orleans Matters</i>

    Tom Piazza: Why New Orleans Matters
    The best post-Katrina book I've read. In 150 small pages, Piazza explicates the New Orleans experience simply and beautifully. I'll be passing this one on to anyone who wonders "But why would anyone want to live there?".


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