Saturday, July 04, 2015


© by Gerald So | | 6:00 A.M.

I have a different, simpler take on freedom this Fourth of July, as I spent the early part of this week recovering from a stomach bug that had me not wanting to move from bed. I was up and about by Tuesday with a new appreciation for things like standing and snacking.

It's great that the States were established on principles of freedom, but we should also look forward, ensuring the future of all citizens and those who wish to become citizens in the spirit of those principles. When we all acknowledge that we deserve equal rights, we will all see that we deserve equal respect.

This week's Five-Two poem ran as scheduled, "Elegy for a Lost War":

I'm seeking the final poem of The Five-Two's fourth year. Submit today.

Monday, June 22, 2015

At The Five-Two: "Ice Cream People"

© by Gerald So | | 5:45 A.M.

For the beginning of summer, Jennifer Lagier returns with "Ice Cream People":

New Five-Two t-shirts are available with the slogans "Mondays are a Crime" and "Catch Us On Twitter".

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day

© by Gerald So | | 5:30 P.M.

There are moments even now I wish my father and I had had more in common. He was a doctor, but discouraged me from following him, not that I could have. He was a gardener and fisherman, but neither interested me.

Like these second thoughts, when he was near death from a recurrence of pancreatic cancer, my father told my mother he wished he'd spent more time with us. I wish he'd had more time, but when he was alive, I always felt he was present, despite all the time he worked.

In death, his quiet strength remains with me, and anything that kept us from seeing eye to eye no longer does.

Monday, June 15, 2015

James Bond Radio

© by Gerald So | | 10:00 A.M.

James Bond Radio is one of my favorite podcasts, produced every Friday from the U.K. by Tom Sears and Chris Wright.

A few years my junior, Tom and Chris undoubtedly know more about Bond than I ever will. And as big a Bond fan as I am, their enthusiasm has given me new appreciation for the books and movies that weren't my favorites.

Here are my answers to their Quickfire Questions:

Favorite Bond Film?

Licence to Kill. Roger Moore's Bond films had become farce, and though I was expecting Pierce Brosnan to take over in the 80s, Timothy Dalton gave gritty performances needed to bring the character back to his roots. Plus, unlike Moore, Dalton did some of his own stunts. I like to say Dalton was Daniel Craig twenty years early. I like Licence to Kill particularly because Bond goes rogue.

Favorite Bond Book?

From Russia, With Love. It features Bond in his prime and puts his life at more risk than usual.

Favourite Bond Girl?

Tracy di Vicenzo, a.k.a. Mrs. James Bond. You can't do better than Diana Rigg in a Bond movie. Unfortunately, it's also hard to get worse than George Lazenby as Bond.

Favorite James Bond Actor?

Timothy Dalton. Connery is great, but he's enough fans' favorite.

Earliest Memory of Bond?

Watching one of the Moore films—probably Octopussy—on broadcast TV.

Bond location you’d love to visit?


Favorite scene in the series?

The restroom shooting from the pre-credits sequence of Casino Royale.

Most Bondian thing you’ve ever done?

Jumped out of the way of a train, though I bumbled into its path to begin with, which wasn't very Bondian, so I'll say, "Crack one-liners."

At The Five-Two: Charles Rammelkamp

© by Gerald So | | 3:00 A.M.

Rammelkamp returns this week with "Confidence":

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

I'll Buy That

© by Gerald So | | 6:30 A.M.

This week's question on 7 Criminal Minds has to do with book promotion on social media. I don't know which social network was best for sales, but I do know what leads me to buy a book most often: reading an excerpt of the book itself. That is the best way to tell whether I'd like to spend more time with the characters and story.

I enjoy live readings for free tastes of books. Sometimes the author's voice isn't well suited to the character being read, but other times it is. A recent example of the latter was New Jersey teacher Jen Conley reading from her novel-in-progress, Seven Ways to Get Rid of Harry, told from a middle-school boy's viewpoint, at Noir at the Bar NYC June 7. Finish that book, Jen!

On Location

© by Gerald So | | 6:00 A.M.

Today, Detectives Beyond Borders ' Peter Rozovsky asks:

What novels or stories simply could not be set anywhere else? What novels or stories that emphasize their settings could, nonetheless, work if transplanted to a new location? What, in other words, does setting mean to you? What constitutes good setting in fiction, crime fiction or otherwise? ...What authors do you say are most inextricably bound up with their settings?

I commented, bringing up Robert B. Parker's third Spenser novel, Mortal Stakes, in which the Boston private eye discovers star Red Sox pitcher Marty Rabb is being blackmailed. This was the only Spenser he wrote in which a real sports team featured prominently in the plot, yet it connected Spenser and Boston such that Parker didn't have to devote as much time or attention to setting in subsequent books.

Monday, June 08, 2015

At The Five-Two: Sara J. Tantlinger

© by Gerald So | | 5:00 A.M.

This week, chosen by guest editor Karen Petersen, "Love Me Like a Murder Scene" by Sara J. Tantlinger:

I'm seeking poems to publish in July and beyond. Submit today.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Storytelling vs. Delicious Sentences

© by Gerald So | | 4:30 P.M.

Today, Canadian crime author Robin Spano answered 7 Criminal Minds Question of the Week:

Which is more important, to tell a story that compels readers to turn pages, regardless of writing craft technique, OR to spend time on each sentence, on each word, to fine tune your writing so that your prose is admired by critics and scholars?

I contributed two comments, one using Robert B. Parker as an example, the other about writing style in general.