Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lady Luck review, and a fun interview with Susan DiPlacido

The funny and talented Susan DiPlacido has just released three new novels. That's right, three! They are LADY LUCK; SHUFFLE UP AND DEAL; and HOUSE MONEY. I have a lot of reading to do. LADY LUCK was the first one I sunk my teeth into.

Las Vegas showgirl Sherri DiPedi gets knocked in the head with a neon sign and wakes up as the current incarnation of Lady Luck. Or does she? Is she just crazy? And what about her step father, who may have killed her father to steal his business and marry his wife? Is that all in her head too? Or will she be the next one bumped off?

Inspired by Shakespeare's Hamlet, DiPlacido does a great job of weaving all the characters and their plot lines together. People better versed with Hamlet than I am with get all the little nuances that relate to the Shakespeare masterpiece. But you don't need to have just read Hamlet to enjoy this crazy ride.

LADY LUCK is classic, vintage DiPlacido: Las Vegas, humor, capers, romance, punchy dialogue, booze, and food. (Surprisingly, it's a bit light on her usual racy sex scenes.) DiPlacido does a good job of switching POVs to keep the action moving, and letting the reader see what is going on concurrently with the various characters. Her writing is very visual, and it's a wonder nobody has snapped up the film rights to any of her novels yet. Are you listening, Hollywood?

Summer's coming. I suggest you pour yourself a drink, go sit by the pool, and dive into Lady Luck.


I had the opportunity to ask Susan about Lady Luck. Here is the interview:

DC: You just released two new books—LADY LUCK, and SHUFFLE UP AND DEAL under the Neon Fiction imprint. Another novel, HOUSE MONEY, was also just released by Mundania Press. I labor over a book for five years, and you seem to sneeze them out at will. What's your secret? Are you on steroids?

SD: Not steroids, but ample vodka. And I'm also lazy. While most writers are diligent and work hard, I just sort of come up with an idea and then type it up as it amuses me and then I'm mostly done. Revisions are work, so I don't do much of them. Rewrites blow, and finding the perfect metaphor or turn of phrase can be laborious, so I don't do that stuff and it really cuts down on the time investment, let me tell you!

DC: LADY LUCK is a fun read, with great dialogue. The characters seem so real. Do you have imaginary friends, and walk around all day talking to yourself out loud? For that matter, are YOU real, or a fiction-writing bot that some bored IT person wrote a code for, and now can't control?

SD: Thanks for that, Don. I don't have imaginary friends, but I do often talk to myself -- aloud. (Again, with the vodka.) But as far as I'm aware, I am not ensconced in the Matrix and am a real person.

DC: LADY LUCK was inspired by William "the Bard" Shakespeare's Hamlet. Did you know another definition of bard is "a slice of bacon placed on meat or game before roasting"?

SD: As someone who prides myself on loving food and knowing all sorts of dumb minutiae about it, I'm saddened to admit that I did not know that. I only recently found out what a lardon was. But though I didn't know the technical term, I have eaten plenty of bacon-covered meat. Now I have a fancy name for it to annoy people with, so thank you.

DC: Tell us a little about writing LADY LUCK. But first—you're not under the delusion that you are, in fact, Lady Luck, are you?

SD: That's a terrible question because the answer makes me sound like a nutjob. I don't think I'm Lady Luck, but I do think I'm pretty lucky. I have streaks where my luck goes sour, but I also have had streaks that impressed (and pissed off) some pretty inveterate gamblers. So I do consider Lady Luck a friend. As for writing Lady Luck, it was fun. It was easier than most books because I had a blueprint (and a damn fine one) already laid out for me, so I just had to embellish. No wonder people plagiarize -- it's really an easy way to get stuff accomplished! But Hamlet has always been one of my favorite works, and there's a lot of black humor in it that appeals to me. I also always felt really bad for the prince, because he wasn't a bad guy, and the whole crazy or not thing is such an inspired nuance. So I wanted to make sure and touch upon that, and I thought the whole question of luck was a good way to do it.

DC: You like to use recurring characters in your novels. That wasn't a question, but a statement. Feel free to expand on it.

SD: I do like my recurring characters. (Again, with the lazy.) I think they're kind of fun, and hopefully they are for readers, too. And it does make writing easier, because by now I know how they should behave in certain situations and their verbal ticks are by rote. Maybe they are sort of like imaginary friends when I'm writing. Also, I just think it's funny to keep bringing these same characters up in all my books. There's got to be a vanity streak in me for doing that, or maybe I'm just sly with cross-promoting that way.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Free Smashing Pumpkins

If you're a Smashing Pumpkins fan, check out their website. They're doing a cool thing: giving away their new CD, Teargarden By Kaleidyscope Vol. 1, one song at a time. They have posted four songs you can download for free. The songs sound really good, which isn't a surprise: This is the follow-up to their last CD, Zeitgeist, which is one of my favorites by them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Snakes Can't Run

I just found out about the new novel from Ed Lin. It was released March 30, and is titled SNAKES CAN'T RUN. This is the second book to feature NYPD detective Robert Chow, following 2007's fantastic This Is a Bust. Check out my review of THIS IS A BUST here. Okay, I'm off to order the book now.

Here is the trailer:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Opening Day 2010

Today is Opening Day for the Yankees at the new Yankee Stadium, their second season in the new ballpark. Of course, they brought home their 27th World Series Championship in their first season in the new home last year. Today they get to raise the championship banner and distribute their World Series rings. Meanwhile, the deconstruction of the old Stadium is nearly complete...

These photos are from, taken by Tom Kaminski.

Friday, April 02, 2010

iPad Mania!

This clip is from the new sitcom Modern Family. iPad is released April 3rd!