Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
Buon Giorno, Amici!

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Crime Factory ... the Meet that wasn’t ... Aqualis Grill ... Travels with Charlie by the DOC ... Marilyn Monroe ...


Keith Rawson, Cameron Ashley, Liam Jose at Crime Factory have posted their latest issue (#2) and it is available on all formats (PDF, Kindle & Nook and SONY reader). There’s some neat writing in there, including an excerpt from a David Zeltserman book (Killer, p. 12) reviewed here at TK. And there’s an interview between Craig McDonald and Charlie Stella (Cell Mates, p. 15) where the two question each other about their latest books (Craig’s excellent Print the Legend and the other guys’s Johnny Porno).

While we’re on the topic of books, Russel McLean (The Lost Sister—reviewed here), had something nice to say about JP in an interview with Crime Scene Northern Ireland

“… Charlie Stella’s JOHNNY PORNO is the man’s best yet, and I’ve been a fan of his work for years since someone slipped me an arc of CHARLIE OPERA in ’05.”Russel D. McLean, Author of The Good Son and The Lost Sister (From an Interview with CRIME SCENE NI (Northern Ireland))

Pre-Meet ... the DOC and the ugly one: an email exchange

The email conversation between Knucks and DOC that took place on Friday night:

Knucks: feel like filming a power lifting meet?

DOC: Gee, photographing a whole bunch of sweaty, male, steroid abusers. Who wouldn't? What time is it?

Knucks: Way too early for you, my man. I have to be there for 10:00 a.m. but it's only 10 minutes from my house ... well, if you're driving, probably 50 minutes from my house. It should be over quickly ... lifting starts at 11:00 and should be over by 2:00 ... which means drinks at 2:05 ... I need a camera guy ... my cousin left me for a good looking broad ...

DOC: The snarky comments weren't necessary you know. I can be there by 11:00 or earlier. I don't want you to get your panties in a bunch waiting for me, so give me the address of the gym. Dave [DOC’s GPS] can get me there! I never filmed before, so you're going to have to give me instructions.

Knucks: What a putz ... the wife will take our car if I can get a lift. Or I can meet you there (I'll drop the wife off at the ferry). I need to be there for 10:00 a.m. (weigh-in, etc. ... how can you miss that?) If you can make it to my place for 9:30, then I can let the wife have the car. If you can't make it before 9:30, I'll meet you there (at the gym); the address is: THE APOLLON GYM is located at: 160 Talmadge Road Edison, NJ 08817 Phone: (732) 985-8576

DOC: Okay. As a favor to Ann Marie, I will be there at 9:30. That's probably AM right? I was specifically trying to miss the weigh-in. That's got to be a queasy event. I'll have to go out tonight to get an appropriate outfit. I don't have anything suitable for fat, sweaty men's affairs.

See you in the morning, Doc

DOC: Hey Chucky

Let me know if you got this email. My email went down right after I sent it and I didn't hear any sarcastic remarks from you, so I'm not sure it went out. Doc

Knucks: Ann Marie thanks you. We just got back from the gym (early weigh in but I didn't weigh in -- I figure I'll be lighter after I, well, you know, [paraphrasing] use the bathroom in the morning). I thank you ... You're the best, buddy ... pal o'mine.

DOC: What could possibly be in the weight class above you?
Redwood trees?
See you in the morning

The Meet that Wasn’t: It was the worst meet I’ve ever participated in; completely unprofessional except for the main spotter (the owner of the gym where it was held--he knew what he was doing and his gym is a fine one--Apollon Gym). That said, charging people to watch $8.00 and not providing seating was pretty bad. The fact the federation (APA) didn’t provide chalk for lifters was more than unprofessional (I purposely left mine home because anytime I’ve brought it to meets in the past, it wasn’t necessary). Then there were the spotters ... requested to help from the audience (beyond risky and there were two near accidents). To top it off, they inflated the weights and nothing will piss off power lifters more than inflated weights (although most others didn’t seem to mind). They used spring collars that weighed no more than half a pound each and counted them for the lock-collar weight (five pounds each); so the 375 I was credited with was really 366 (which I do routinely in training, so the net gain for this meet was minus $128.00). This was a total waste of money (the entree fee was way too high) and more importantly, the time invested cannot be bought back. Never, ever, ever APA again.

To top it off, our camera’s memory was “full” so we didn’t film anything (which is just as well, because it was a pathetic event). There was one highlight, a 17 year old kid who had perfect form and lifted more than impressive weight. I hope he won best lifter because he deserved it.

DOC will be reporting on the meet (and other things, no doubt) just as soon as he finds the time; unemployed for about a year now, he’s become a very busy man (signing autographs and sharpening his knives).

ON DOC and TK Reviews ... TK gets a lot of reviews, amici ... most of them very complimentary to the curmudgeonly Docster (his fan club is ever growing) ... we were hoping to post his picture alongside the ugly one (with beers in hand) but the camera was a bust ... this is something we’ll be working on in the near future.

Here now, the DOC's version of it all.

Travels with Charlie – Chapter 2 – The Edge of Darkness

With 4 hours sleep and a pot of coffee coursing through my veins my Nissan Sentra and I arrive at Casa Stella at 9am. The Chazmeister is standing on the porch and I expect to hear, “Great to see you, Doc. You’re a real pal for giving me this ride.”

Instead I hear,

“Well how the hell am I supposed to fit into that thing?”

I respond with my usual cheer, “Last time I brought my truck and you couldn’t fit your fat ass into that, so I figured at least I’d get some decent mileage on this trip.”

And so began our journey.

Charles is dressed in his usual high fashion… everything has a buffalo on it. As he is trying to muscle his way into the front seat I have a disturbing thought. I always assumed that signified the Buffalo Bills. Maybe it’s the size!

I let Charles drive because he knows the way. He says it’s 10 minutes away. 25 minutes later we are pulling into the lot. I don’t even ask. The gym is dirty and cold. It’s full of men who are 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. I notice that I am the only guy in the joint with a neck. They’ve noticed it too and they are not impressed.

The event begins and it is actually pretty interesting. At first I am a little queasy. The only weightlifting I’ve ever seen was on Youtube and those clips usually end with the lifter’s arms shattering with bones sticking out in all directions. We didn’t have any Youtube moments.

I keep asking Charlie, “Shouldn’t you be warming up?”

He replies, “Yeah. Later.” Eventually he goes in the back to warm up. Ten minutes later I look back and there is the Chazmeister leaning on some exercise machine jabbering with some other muscle head. No weights, no sweat… not exactly a Lance Armstrong moment. Now I am supposed to be there to photograph Charlie at the event. He pulls out the camera and turns it on. The screen says “Memory Full”. He proceeds to blame the Principessa and puts the camera away.

It’s almost time for his event and he starts taking off his sweats. This involves more sweating than his warmup. And lo and behold under the sweats he is wearing his singlet. A singlet is basically a camisole for weight lifters, but this is so much more. I know the size tag in the back has a buffalo on it. I am standing next to the Michelin Man wearing a bright blue teddy. I pray to be blind, but it doesn’t work. He’s still there.

After that my memories are a little fuzzy. The Chazmeister lifted 325 pounds, then 375 pounds, but buckled at 385 pounds. He won a 1st place trophy in his division and we returned to Casa Stella where he swallowed a pizza. I just drank heavily and remembered Apocalypse Now.

The singlet…the horror…the horror.

Aqualis Grill ... aunti Annie (a.k.a., the Principessa Ann Marie) has several hundred nieces and nephews (Irish, you know) ... one particularly bright and amazing niece (among many bright and amazing nieces) married a Greek fella who happens to be a master chef ... and the restaurant where he does his cooking (and yous can watch him on the video) is the Aqualis Grill in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Jody is the niece and John (see video) is the Master Chef.

Aqualis Grill
Fort Greene's Newest Mediterranean-inspired Seafood Restaurant
(718) 797-3494
773 Fulton St (South Portland Street)
Brooklyn, NY 11217 40.685792 -73.973177

Check out the reviews for this joint ... they’ll all GREAT.

Marilyn Monroe ... Kate Horsley has a great blog across the pond but very accessible via Al Gore’s invention ... all one need do is click on the link and you’ll find Marilyn Monroe’s last thoughts before the candle in the wind was extinguished. It’s a terrific read, amici.