Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Meet LAst Resort Author: Wendall Thomas "Eggs Over Dead"

Excerpt from “Eggs Over Dead” by Wendall Thomas



Photo by Wendall Thomas
I cover the weekday breakfast shift at Summer/Winter/Fall. The "of the moment" restaurant is not where I thought I would wind up when I drove cross country ten years ago, but waitressing pays better than a development job, and I'm in a bills situation. I should be working the more lucrative weekend brunch—the mecca for all fedora-wearers—but I'm afraid I'll eventually lose it, stab the fifth lead in a streaming sitcom, and wind up on TMZ.
           
The restaurant reeks of kale chips and the phone is already ringing.
           
It's a customer frantic to know if we have his gold teeth. After searching the lost and found box and register, I finally locate the crescent of gold Chiclets swept under the bar, entwined in a tuft of "emotional support dog" hair. I shake them off and put them in a take-out bag for pick-up.
           
I'm filling the artisanal salts when I hear a mad click click click on the glass door. Outside, a lanky forty year old, still dressed in his mid-life clubbing clothes, waves and points to his mouth. I let him in and hand him the bag.
           
"Thought I was gonna have to call my jeweler in Jersey. I owe you one."
           
Literally one, I guess. He hands me a dollar bill. He takes the glittering brace out of the bag and pops it straight in. If he’d given me a twenty, I might have told him he should rinse it first.
           
I check the clock. It's seven minutes to eight and a few regulars are already hovering outside. I take my last chance to sneak out into the alley for a smoke. I look down the street of one bedroom pseudo Spanish, Deco, and Tudor bungalows, all listing for well over a million, and strike a match.
           
Bang. Bang.



The Rochelle Staab Questions asked of Wendall Thomas:



Photo of Wendall Thomas 
by Stella Mulroney
What is the weirdest thing that ever happened to you in Los Angeles?

The weirdest (and maybe the best) thing that ever happened to me here was seeing Stevie Wonder in the Radio Shack at Highland and Wilshire. I think that kind of thing only happens in LA.

Do you have a yet-to-be realized L.A. dream?

To live in a quiet 20’s duplex.

Why write short stories? Why write at all? What's in it for you?

Some ideas aren’t big enough to be novels, but they are still interesting enough to be told.  I also like the challenge, because there’s nowhere to hide in a short story.

What is the biggest challenge in writing to theme?

I think there’s always the chance that you’ll be heavy-handed or force the characters to do something they wouldn’t actually do.

Are the characters in your story based on you or people you know/met?

The “Thursday Guy” is an amalgam of a few producers I’ve encountered over the years and the restaurant patrons have elements that I’ve observed over twenty-five years of writing in restaurants.

Los Angeles is a patchwork quilt of different neighborhoods. Why did you pick the area you used for your story, and how did the neighborhood influence your writing?

It’s actually my neighborhood, which has become increasingly “hipsterized” and entitled in the last five years. This makes long term residents like myself feel old, irrelevant, and irritated. That seemed the right setting for the tone of the story.

Are there scenes in your story based on real life—yours, hearsay, or a news story you read?
As noted above. A producer actually did point a remote at me and say “Okay, go” in a meeting once.

What came first, the character or the plot? 
Available at Amazon.com

In this case, the plot. I like the idea that someone didn’t show up for a breakfast meeting because they’d been murdered.

While you're writing: music (what kind?), dead silence, or…? 

Usually music. The music depends on what I’m writing. For this story, Warren Zevon/Tom Waits.

Favorite writing quote—yours or from someone else…

From Flannery O’Connor: “Don’t be subtle until the fourth page.”

Your writing ritual begins with… 


Coffee.


About Wendall Thomas: 

Wendall Thomas teaches in the Graduate Film School at UCLA, lectures internationally on screenwriting, and has worked as an entertainment reporter, script consultant, and film and television writer. Her short fiction has appeared in the crime anthologies Ladies Night (2015) and Last Resort (2017) and her first novel, Lost Luggage, will be published in October by Poisoned Pen Press.






Tuesday, July 11, 2017

16 Authors Answer Siren Call in Sisters-in-Crime/LA's LAst Resort

Available through Amazon and the
Sisters-in-Crime/LA website
by Gay Degani

It has become a tradition for Sisters-in-Crime/LA chapter to produce a crime/mystery anthology every couple of years asking writers to incorporate LA as a "character" in each story. 

Recently released, LAst Resort follows suit with tales set in Hollywood, Leimert Park, Highland Park, Silver Lake, Venice and points north, south, east, and west of the sprawling city.

As stated on the back cover of this collection, "LA is the sun-kissed city of high hopes and second chances, where everyone seems to be from somewhere else.  A siren's call to dreamers, misfits, mystics and freaks, lost souls and purveyors of sin. They roll in on their last tank of gas, their suitcases bulging with secrets of pasts better forgotten. They stay for a few days, a month, a year, a lifetime. The determined and the desperate, careening and colliding toward trouble…and their last resort."


Author Michael Connelly

A long-time resident of the City of Angels and award-winning author of detective and crime fiction, best known for his LAPD Detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch and criminal defense attorney Mickey HallerMichael Connelly was a perfect choice to introduce  the Sisters-in-Crime/LA chapter's 2017 anthology, LAst Resort. Generously agreeing to do so, here is a snippet from that introduction: "Here is a collection of stories that sit on the unsteady ground of the last resort. In the zone where anything can happen."



Edited by renowned authors Matt Coyle, Mary Marks, and Patricia Smiley,  LAst Resort is comprised of sixteen mysteries about the misdeeds and downfalls of characters drawn to the cultural panoply that is Los Angeles.



Who's in LA Resort?


Avril Adams, "Independence Day"
Paula Bernstein, "On Call for Murder"
Lynne Bronstein, "Mimo"
Stephen Buehler, "Seth's big Move"
Sarah M. Chen, "Nut Job"
Anne David, "The LAid Plans"
Gay Degani, "Highland Park Hit"
L.H. Dillman, "Lead Us Not Into Temptation"
Wrona Gall, "Thump, Bump, and Dump"
Cyndra Gernet, "Hired Lives"
Georgia Jeffries, "Little Egypt"
Melinda Loomis, "Crime Drama/Do Not Cross"
GB Pool, "Method Actor"
Laurie Stevens, "The Ride of Your Life"
Wendall Thomas, "Eggs Over Dead"
Mae Woods, "Today's the Day"


Come back for more. During the next few months, I will bring you a taste of each story as well as a Question and Answer segment with each author. 


Here is the link to all the Sisters-in-Crime/LA anthologies. You can purchase them directly from the site: http://sistersincrimela.com/anthologies/