22 February 2013

My New Book 'Stealing Cars With The Pros' Now Available At Amazon.com

Got home today to find this waiting for me. It's a collection (published, like my noirish Maui novels, by Event Horizon Press) of some of my noir-themed pieces of journalism dating back to early 1996, when I first decided to become a reporter. It's organized by theme - misfits, rich people, cops/crooks, babes, etc. - and includes work from OC Weekly, Sacramento magazine and MauiTime. The title comes from a story I wrote years ago about a night I spent with some repo guys in Orange County.

What's more, my good friend and former colleague Nick Schou (who is now OC Weekly's managing editor and author of a few far better books, including Kill the Messenger, which will soon be made into a movie starring Jeremy Renner) agreed to write the book's foreword. Now I don't read a lot of forewords, and honestly only very recently learned how to spell "foreword," but I'm pretty sure that if in the world of forewords, Nick's kicks ass.

So... yeah. Long story short, I wrote another book, which I would very much like you to buy, read and enjoy. The book is available right now in paperback ($14.95) at Amazon.com, which you can find here.

That's all for now.

21 January 2013

Event Horizon Press To Publish 'Stealing Cars With The Pros,' A Collection Of My Journalism

For those who simply can't buy and read enough books by yours truly, here's good news: later this month, Event Horizon Press (now located in Sequim, Washington) will publish a collection of my journalism under the title Stealing Cars With The Pros. The book contains 33 stories (some dating clear back to 1996) that touch on various classic noir themes–misfits, rich guys, crooks, beautiful babes, etc. Here's the blurb from the back of the book:

 IN MORE THAN seventeen years of investigative reporting for magazines and newspapers, Anthony Pignataro has written numerous essays about life in the underbellies of seemingly upscale communities: Sacramento and Orange County, California, and on the tropical island paradise of Maui, Hawaii, where he has made his home since 2003 and is editor of the alternative weekly newspaper MauiTime. Pignataro’s steamy Charley Ridgway novels of hardboiled action and noir intrigue, Small Island and The Dead Season (published in 2011 and 2012 by Event Horizon Press), have made their mark with lovers of dark adventures. Stealing Cars With The Pros collects thirty-three true stories that helped inspire his suspenseful fiction writing.

Nick Schou, my friend and former OC Weekly colleague (he's now the paper's Managing Editor and has written a couple of great journalistic books himself, including Orange Sunshine, his latest) agreed to write a foreword for the book. As usual, he was way too generous, but I was late getting the manuscript to my publisher so I just went with what Nick wrote.

To be honest, I have no idea who would read such a book. But it should be available at the end of this month or early February. I'll pass on more details as they come available.

12 December 2012

Let's Talk About LSD!

Don't know if any of you noticed, but the Drug War that costs this country billions of dollars and incarcerates many thousands of people–a lot of them non-violent–every year while drug use continues to stay pretty steady as though none of that law enforcement was occurring didn't really come up in that presidential election we just sat through. This, despite the fact that most economists worth their Milton Friedman Secret Decoder Rings have long advocated the complete ending of the Drug War (see this April 2012 column from Forbes advocating exactly that).

I bring this up because I just read Raffi Khatchadourian's lengthy new investigative story "Operation Delirium" in the Dec. 17, 2012 issue of The New Yorker. Great, great story. See, our government hasn't always been so anti-drug. In the early 1960s, in fact, the United States Army engaged in all kinds of risky, questionable psychochemical-warfare experiments on its own soldiers.

One brief anecdote from Khatchadourian's story, which occurred in 1961 and concerned Colonel James S. Ketchum, who for a time ran the experiments at the Army's Edgewood Arsenal on Chesapeake Bay, really encapsulated the dangerously haphazard nature of the experiments and the absurdly arbitrary way in which the U.S. Army kept researchers and subjects informed about the work they were doing:

The psychochemical-warfare program was a small part of the over-all research, and in many respects it was the strangest. Once, Ketchum walked into his office and found a barrel the size of an oil drum standing in a corner. No one explained why it was in his office, or who had put it there. After a couple of days, he waited until evening and opened it. Inside, he found dozens of small glass vials, each containing a precisely measured amount of pure LSD; he figured there was enough to make several hundred million people go bonkers–and later calculated the street value of the barrel to be roughly a billion dollars. At the end of the week, the barrel vanished just as mysteriously as it had appeared. No one spoke about it. He never learned what it was for.

In the mean time, if you're looking for a kick-ass LSD-related Christmas gift, consider buying a copy of my friend and former colleague Nick Schou's outstanding Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World, a fantastically readable account of hippie surfers from OC who sold LSD in the 1960s. You'll be glad you did.

Photo: William Rafti/Wikimedia Commons

11 October 2012

What? I'm Supposed To Work On Another Book?

So yeah. The good people at Event Horizon Press are asking me to do yet another book. Well, two books. They want another Charley Ridgway book, which will take time (simply making up stuff is a lot tougher than I originally thought), but they also want a non-fiction book.

Specifically, they're looking for a collection of my journalism. I self-published a book of some of my MauiTime features a few years ago, but rather than simply put that into print, they've asked me to draw a wider selection of my work that spans the time between today and when I became a reporter for OC Weekly way back in January 1996.

Ah, 1996. It was a magical time: Bill Clinton was cruising towards a second term as our nation's president, Michael Jordan decided to appear in the Looney Tunes movie Space Jam and the world somehow found a way to cope with Sammy Hagar's decision to leave Van Halen.

Anyway, this project has required me to blow the accumulated layers of dust off my clip files and start rummaging through  stories I haven't read (much less thought of) in over a decade. Reading through the stories, one thing became immediately clear: news stories don't age well at all. I've always known this, but it's not something we reporters like to think about. We put a lot of effort into crafting a news story, and the thought it will be trash at the end of a day or a week is depressing.

But that's reality: news stories are written for the moment, and not beyond. Reading them years or even a decade after the fact is disorienting. What seemed important back then is suddenly, now, usually irrelevant.

Still, I did find a few stories here and there that could stand reprinting. What exactly the book would look like, and what it would include, is still a work in process. But it's definitely doable. As for whether anyone would want to read such a book, is another question entirely...

Photo: Thomas S. Denison/Wikimedia Commons

18 September 2012

The Dead Season, the sequel to Small Island, is now available

It hit me as a surprise, too: The Dead Season, the long-awaited sequel to my first novel Small Island, is now available at Amazon.com (click here to see it Amazon, or click here to see my snazzy new author's page at Amazon). It's currently just in paperback form, and carries the low, low price of $14.95 American.

This is the second book in what is shaping up to be a series about bartender Charley Ridgway, who has a habit of crossing some of Maui's nastier and more colorful individuals than those usually found in island guidebooks.

The good folks at Event Horizon Press, who graciously agreed to publish this book, have decided on a different roll-out strategy that with my first novel. Only the paperback versions are out at this time. Ebooks will be available, but not for a couple months.

In the mean time, I'll be arranging to get copies on the shelves of local book stores and then set up a few signings around the island.

Here's that link again to buy The Dead Season at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Dead-Season-Charley-Ridgway/dp/1479285706/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348014460&sr=8-1&keywords=the+dead+season+pignataro

Also, Charley Ridgway is now on Twitter, though he doesn't post nearly as much as he should.

14 September 2012

Here's The Cover Of My New Maui Novel 'The Dead Season,' The Sequel To 'Small Island'

That's the front cover (and spine) of my new Maui novel, The Dead Season, which will be published shortly by Event Horizon Press. It's all coming together a lot faster than I anticipated, and will be available this year, not next.

It's a sequel to my first novel, Small Island, though it's somewhat darker. Still, it retains all the trashyish, fun noir of the first book, as well as the cynicism of the "hero," Charley Ridgway, who still can't seem to stay out of trouble. As always, I just hope readers enjoy it.

In other news, I have another Small Island book signing this evening–it will run from 5-7pm at the Maui Friends of the Library bookstore in the Wharf Cinema Center in Lahaina (658 Front St.) Getting my books into the new MFOL store at the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center in Kahului is a bit more challenging, but Joanne Carroll (who runs the store in the Wharf) was eager to set up today's signing.

05 September 2012

Small Island Sequel Gets Official Nod

So yeah, it looks like good folks at Event Horizon Press (now located in Sequin, Washington) have agreed to publish The Dead Season, the sequel to my novel Small Island. It's a somewhat darker tale than the first book, but my publisher enjoyed it, and seems to think readers will, too.

It's gonna be a few months until the book hits the shelves (for paper and e-versions) so in the mean time, you might want to check out a new blog my girlfriend Angie and I created. It's called Tatooweenies, and it involves us shooting photos of really cheap Star Wars action figures in front of even cheaper props and sets made of paper and cardboard. It's all very goofy but a lot of fun. Consider the photo above a preview of coming attractions.