Hank Shaeffer in Studio, recording for Smoke The Podcast
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The Captain has turned on the Fasten Seat Belt sign. In preparation for takeoff, please ensure that your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright and locked positions and your seat belts are securely fastened ….
But first —

We’re glad you’re here and we hope you enjoy the ride. There are just a couple things you need to know.

CALIFORNIA SMOKE is a novel, and it’s also a podcast.  As a podcast, it’s a single story told in 13 installments. So, it’s different from say THIS AMERICAN LIFE or THE MOTH or RADIO LAB where you can just pick an episode that sounds interesting and start listening.

And it’s not a talk show like WTF or TED or FRESH AIR where you’d probably start listening to whatever episode’s just been released.

It’s more like SERIAL. Meaning, if you start in the middle, you’re going to miss out on stuff.. So unless you like getting lost (like certain people I know), start with EPISODE O1.

And one other listening note, if you can, LISTEN WITH EARBUDS/AIRBUDS. You don’t have to, of course, if you don’t like buds or you’re in the car or with friends or whatever. It’s not like speakers don’t work. But the music’s cool, and there are a lot of effects—so buds are best if that works for you.

Okay, so, what kind of story is this?

If you watch the Trailer on the homepage of the website, www.smokethepodcast.com, it will give you a pretty good idea. The genre is “comedy-crime”. In terms of writers, think Elmore Leonard (Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, Be Cool, Out of Sight). Another way to think about it, it’s like a Quentin Tarantino movie you listen to on your phone. Or Coen Brothers you watch in your mind! And like all of the above, if the MPAA got hold of it, they’d rate it “R” for sure.

In terms of the plot, here’s a little summary—what the publishers call “Jacket Copy” —

LEGALIZATION IS COMING, BUT THE BAD BOYS AREN’T GETTING DAY JOBS YET ….
Ex-vice cop Eddie Fuentes got bounced from the Oakland P.D., not an easy thing to do. He’s back in Redwood county now, trying to figure out how his dope grower dad went off a bridge, and there’s this very sexy redhead who’s a little too good to be true ….

Shanna’s a drug lawyer in the cross-hairs of a DEA investigation who thinks Eddie could be part of her exit strategy, if she can motivate him into a little transaction she has in mind without letting a certain client find out….

Meanwhile, Eddie’s got a few problems of his own—like a professional killer with a dead brother and an unforgiving mom. And a native American pool hustler pal working on a tricky little tribal development project called the Redwood Casino.

Fast women, corporate connivers, deadly dopers, adaptable environmentalists, and crooked cops—they all face off in Redwood County, where the biggest industry is definitely – CALIFORNIA SMOKE!

Episodes of SMOKE are released weekly. You can stream them from the website, or subscribe at iTunes or Stitcher or whatever by following the directions at www.smokethepodcast.com. And, if want to binge listen (or don’t want to wait till episodes are released), you can always download the complete audio production any time at Audible.com.

That’s about it for the welcome, except we would genuinely like to hear from you. So, please email us at the website. Send links to your friends. Like us on Facebook. And think about giving us a review. On iTunes. On Amazon. On Audible. We’d love to do more of this in the future, so if you like what you hear, help us build some buzz!

One final note. SMOKE started out as a book, and it still is one, published by Rugged Land Books. You can get an ebook or print version anytime on Amazon.com.

Enjoy!

— HANK SHAEFFER
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