Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Jacqueline Susann & Fifty Shades of Ripoff


So, I mentioned in a previous post that I was reading Leon Uris' TRINITY. I finished it,and let me tell you, it was awesome. It was one of those epic novels, where I was taken back in time to Ireland in the 1800's and the journey ended in 1916. Uris is a master story teller, who perfectly mixes historical events with creative writing. As I also mentioned in a previous post, I read the sample of his novel EXODUS, and will surely be readin that as well. Where TRINITY was wriiten in a more serious, almost literary style, which works well considering the era it takes place in, it seems like EXODUS has much more contemporary, modern style.


Now, you're probably wondering (maybe not) how this somehow ends up in a post about Jacqueline Susann. Well, like I almost always do after I decide to read a novel, I do some research on the author. One of the interesting things I found while reading about Uris, was that although he sold a ton of novels, he was not taken very seriously as a writer, by the literati / academia.  He was essentially the poster child for the modern day, pop culture, mega-best selling, celebrity author. As I connected the interweb research dots ( links) about Uris, it lead me to Jacqueline Susann , who took this cutural / literary phenomenon to a new level.


I was intrigued enough by what I learned about her, that I read the sample of VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. I liked it and ended up getting it from the library. I really enjoyed it. Sure, it had a soap opera type style to it, and what was considered  outrageous and provocative when it was published in 1966, is certainly very tame nowadays, but it was entertaining, especially getting an inside view of the entertainment industry in the 40's. 50's and 60's.

I have moved on to the LOVE MACHINE, which right out of the gate, gets down and dirty in both details, language, and subject matter. This one I really like and it seems like Susann has decided to push the boundaries in both storyline and wrting style. Where she perhaps pulled back in VALLEY, she goes full-throttle with LOVE MACHINE, and it works well.

Now, here is an observation, not scientific, but I am in tune enough with pop culture to hopefully at least suggest this. A lot of contemporary novel, TV, and movie writers have been greatly influenced, maybe even ripped off Susann's novels. If you have read her novels, you will surely notice that MADMEN has poached many details and style, Brett Easton Ellis surely must have read her novels.

But, the most blatant rip-off I can think of is the author of the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY totally, and liberally re-used many of Susanns ideas, etc....If you had never heard of Jacqueline Sussan or read any of her novels, you would never know this, but it is undeniable.  I find this ironic, because although Sussan was heavily panned for her style ( lack of talent) at least it was groundbreaking and original, and in my opinion, she actually had writing talent. But, who am I to judge, the FIFTY franchise made millions, and I guess the author could be considered the "new" Jacqueline Susann ( minus the writing talent and original ideas), but really, she should give credit where it is due, especially for those who think she came up with it on her own.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A REVIEW: ANGEL BABY by Richard Lange


Finished ANGEL BABY by Richard Lang and posted the below review on Amazon. If you get a chance, I highly recommend it as a novel to read.  Also finished TRINITY, by Leon Uris and it was just awesome. Up next is VALLEY OF THE DOLLS by Jacqueline Sussan, which certainly has its place in pop culture, for many reasons, which I'll post about after I finsh reading it.

5 STARS: Great Action Packed, Fast Paced Story
I have been a fan of Richard Lange since I read his excellent short story collection, DEAD BOYS. From the opening chapter of ANGEL BABY through the satisfying ending, I was fully engaged and entertained. The story always moves forward with a very high "what happens next" factor. It's a well written novel in both story and style and has a cinematic feel to it. Have read online that the screen rights have been purchased and after reading the novel, can certainly understand why. ANGEL BABY is certainly one of the best crime thriller novels I have read in some time.


As I mention in the review, I was first exposed to Richard Lange's wrting when I read DEAD BOYS and really, really dug it. In fact, I might re-read it, which is something I very rarely do.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sanda Seamans over at Shotgun Honey!

If you are not familiar with Sandra Seamans, who is not only a writer, but a tireless promoter of writers and writing, you should be. Her blog, My Little Corner, is a wealth of information and is updated (big thanks, Sandra) almost daily.

Very happy to let you know that she has a very good story, Notes On Friday Night, on display over at the Shotgun Honey site. Big congrats to Sandra!

You can check out her story HERE

And make it a point to check out Sandtra's blog HERE


Friday, August 16, 2013

Dead and Dying: Free Today thru Sunday

For those who might be interested, I have crime short story, DEAD AND DYING, available in Kindle format at Amazon in the US HERE and UK HERE. It is free today thru Sunday. If you do read it, I hope you find it entertaining.

Here's the pitch: When three Irish American friends are reunited at a wake in their Massachusetts hometown, one of them learns that sometimes, revenge and redemption can mean the same thing. 

My view is:  It is a crime short story where Standy By Me meets The Big Chill and although it is mostly  fiction, it was inspired by some real life characters and events from my life.

Have A Great Weekend.