Studying the Masters – Part 11 – Dashiell Hammett

Studying the Masters – Part 11 – Dashiell Hammett

This post is the eleventh in a series that I’ve been writing about the individuals that I view as the masters in my genre of choice, crime/detective fiction. I am a firm believer that you become better in whatever field you pursue by following those that excelled and paved the way before you.

hammettSamuel Dashiell Hammett, an American author, wrote hard-boiled detective novels and short stories. He was also a screenwriter, and political activist.

He is best known for the characters Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon) and Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man). Many regard him as the best mystery writers of all time.

Hammett worked for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency for seven years with a break during which he served in World War I.

Like many writers of his time, Hammett became an alcoholic before working full-time as a writer inspired by his work with the detective agency. He was first published in a magazine in 1922.

Raymond Chandler (see Part 4 of this series) is often considered to be Hammett’s heir apparent. He spoke of his mentor in the following quote:

“Hammett was the ace performer… He is said to have lacked heart; yet the story he himself thought the most of, The Glass Key, is the record of a man’s devotion to a friend. He was spare, frugal, hard-boiled, but he did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before”

Hammett was also known as a left-wing activist and a member of the Communist Party USA. Despite this in early 1942, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hammett enlisted in the United States Army. He served as a sergeant in the Aleutian Islands, where he edited an Army newspaper.

After the war, Hammett’s activism led to him serving time in prison and being blacklisted as a result of McCarthyism.

In the 1950s Hammett became reclusive until his death in 1961.

Hammett wrote four novels during the period of 1929-34. He then wrote related screenplays from 1936-43. His short fiction spanned nearly 40 years from 1922-61.

He was truly an architect for the hard-boiled detective fiction genre.

Amazon KDP Unveils Kindle Create Word Doc Conversion Tool

Check out this post from Mercy Pilkington at Good e-Reader about the new Kindle Create Word Document conversion tool from Ryan Lanz’s blog

A Writer's Path

by Mercy Pilkington at Good e-Reader

If you’re a self-published author, writing your book is only half the battle. Some might even argue that it’s the easy part of being an author. Indies have been beaten over the head for years now about the need to hire professionals to take the manuscript and turn it into a book, with costs associated with editing, proofreading, cover design, formatting, and marketing.

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Life 101: Forgiveness Versus Forgetfulness

Expat Journal: Postcards from the Edge

Stephen F. Dennstedt

This blog is all about photography, writing, travelling and lifestyle. But sometimes I venture into deeper waters when the notion strikes me. I guess it just struck me (again)—but I can’t really say why. It’s not like I’ve ruminated on past grievances recently. If you’ve lived for any time at all you will have memories of being wronged (or at least your perception will be that you were wronged).

To err is human, to forgive divine definition. All people commit sins and make mistakes. God forgives them, and people are acting in a godlike (divine) way when they forgive.

This saying is from “An Essay on Criticism” by Alexander Pope

But I don’t think it’s part of our human capacity to forget (I know I don’t have the ability to forget). You certainly don’t have to dwell on past grievances but to erase them from your memory…

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Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Brenda Scruggs

Check out this post by Guest Author Brenda Scruggs from the PBS Blog

Pearls Before Swine

Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Brenda Scruggs. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from? 

Hello, my name is Brenda Scruggs and I live in the Volunteer State -Tennessee.

Cool. My in-laws are in Memphis. Are you married? How long?

I will be married 24 years this April.

Hey! Gone head witcha bad self then. Happy anniversary! Who is your best friend?

I couldn’t ask for a better friend than my husband. His support and encouragement is more than I than I could ever imagine.

Awwue. Yaass. I love it. If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what…

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#Bookreview AS WINGS UNFURL by Arthur M. Doweyko (@aweyken) A book for readers who enjoy science-fiction that asks big questions, with religious undertones, and lots of action

Check out this review of the book, Wings Unfurl, by Arthur M. Doweyko from the Lit World Interviews blog.

Lit World Interviews

As Wings Unfurl by Arthur M. Doweyko

Title:   As Wings Unfurl
Author:   Arthur M. Doweyko
ISBN13:  978-1940215778
Published: 19th  July  2016
Pages:  234
Genre:  Science-Fiction & Fantasy (I’ve found it classed under Alien Invasion and Military, Space Marine)


“… captures the reader’s attention with kick-butt action in a video game storytelling format.” ~ Publishers Weekly

“Apple Bogdanski, a disabled Vietnam veteran, worked in a secondhand books store. When a private detective takes incriminating photos of shape-shifting aliens in the act of transformation and sends the negatives to the owner of the bookstore hidden in a book among a shipment of books, Apple is caught between two groups of aliens-one of which studies mankind’s development and the other who wants to terminate mankind and claim the Earth for their own purposes. Apple has a helper, Angela, who appears just in time…

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A plea for reviewers – can we open up a dialogue about self-published books?

This is a great post for those of us that are indie authors. If more reviewers turned a critical eye toward our books, the quality may improve and give us more equal footing. Gatekeepers are becoming obsolete.

Nail Your Novel

So I find a lovely-looking review blog. The posts are thoughtful, fair and seriously considered. I look up the review policy and … it says ‘no self-published books’.

Today I want to open a dialogue with reviewers. If you have that policy, might you be persuaded to change it? Or to approach the problem in a different way?

I used the word ‘problem’. Because I appreciate – very well – that in making this policy you are trying to tackle a major problem. Your time as a reviewer is precious – and let me say your efforts are enormously appreciated by readers and authors alike. You get pitches for many more books than you can read and you need a way to fillet out the ones that are seriously worth your reading hours. A blanket ban is a way to fend off a lot of substandard material and save you…

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Interview with author @KayLangdale about The Comfort of Others #BlogTour @HodderBooks

Interview with author @KayLangdale about The Comfort of Others #BlogTour @HodderBooks

Check out this interview with author Kay Langdale as she makes a blog tour stop on the Rather Too Fond of Books blog.


Today I’m thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for Kay Landale’s The Comfort of Others and am very excited to be sharing an interview I’ve done with Kay.

Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your novel

The Comfort Of Others is my sixth novel. It tells the story of the friendship between an elderly woman, Minnie, and an eleven year old boy, Max. Both have issues that they need to come to terms with, and the novel is about how they approach that.

I live in Oxfordshire, am married and have four fledged children between the ages of nineteen and twenty four. When I’m not writing or reading I’m mostly walking or running, and my labradoodle Rocco is with me for all of the above – his favourite spot is beneath my writing desk.

I’m reading The Comfort of Others at the moment and…

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