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Showing posts from 2010

Exorcising the Demons

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I’ve been writing for some time. For far longer than it would seem based on the work I have out there. It took me a while to get serious about it, to throw away all the artistic pretensions and delusions. I struggled through a lot of those misconceptions before reaching this point, before finally approaching writing as a task requiring careful and considerate work. Only at then can you ever produce anything worthy of being called art. Foolishly, I had thought I was done with the struggles. I don’t mean with money or recognition. I don’t even mean finding my voice—I’m always learning something new. The struggle is with myself. I’ve always been my harshest critic. I can never fully exorcise that voice in my head. It’ll disappear for moments only to come roaring back. It pushes through the successes, ripping doubts from my skull-space and forging them, beating them into a vicious Möbius strip of nigh self-loathing. Sure , it whispers to me, you had a story published, but that’s it—it

You Like Me, You Really Like Me

On Day Labor, the Crime Factory blog, Keith has been running a feature called "The Best of Whatever." Writers have been weighing in almost daily on their picks for 2010. Recently, he posted his own list of the best short stories. I'm very proud to see that "Ghostman on Third" made the cut. I think it's one of my best stories. It's nice to see that recognized, especially by Keith. My companions on the list just make it sweeter.

What I'll Tell Everyone and What I'll Tell Someone

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For a while now, I've been working on a non-fiction article. It's required a great deal of research and tested the strength of my google-fu. Rather than text books and articles, suprisingly, my main source of information has been correspondence. The letters I've found have easily cut straight through the immense amount of bullshit I've come up against, giving me a very precise portrait of the man I'm researching, and suggested avenues of exploration that I wouldn't have thought of on my own. Today, however, I realized that soon researchers won't have this for a resource. No one writes letters anymore. Not honest-to-goodness letters on paper tucked into an envelope, sealed, and then mailed. It's all e-mails and tweets and Facebook statuses. For me, an e-mail has never carried the same sort of personal weight and attachment; even with my generation probably being the last to remember what it was like to write and mail a letter, and wait for a respon

More Discount Noir Love

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Curious about how some of us came up with our stories for Discount Noir ? Then head on over to Cullen Gallagher's Pulp Serenade and read our interviews. Pulp Serenade Interviews

The Sunset Blonde At The Salton Sea

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The Sunset Blonde At The Salton Sea by Chad Eagleton Here’s what he never told you that night in the bar— She's a neo-noir waiting to happen...driving down lonely two-lane highway, a trunk full of insurance money, and a pawnshop .38 under the seat, Miles Davis on the radio and she keeps kicking the half-empty bottle of Jim Beam with her boot heel as you steer toward The Salton Sea, where she made you promise to take her because the night before her brother died, the two of them watched The Monster That Challenged The World on late night TV and it was only a month ago she made you buy that Val Kilmer movie at the video store even though you thought 10 bucks was a little much for a used DVD. She’s been talking about it ever since like her brother will be there waiting for her, all that salt and water keeping his spirit earthbound like a magician’s circle… Driving in her burnt-orange, 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner, the car she inherited from her brother, smoking Pall Malls, the

Dancing With Myself

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For some reason, Nigel Bird asked me to be a part of his Dancing With Myself interviews. I'm humbled to feature on the same site with writers more talented than myself. If, for some reason, you're curious about me, then go check it out.

Ten Years Ago

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Ten years ago, I did the smartest thing I've ever done--married my beautiful Maria. I love you, Babe. And you have no idea how much I'm looking forward to the next ten.

Discount Noir Now Available

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Discount Noir is now available. And it's on sale. For a measely $4.50, you get a ton of quality fiction. So go ahead and buy it.

Discount Noir

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In just a short amount of time, Untreed Reeds will release Discount Noir . I can't begin to express my excitement to be included in this collection. I never dreamed of an opportunity like this so soon in my writing career, appearing alongside authors like Ed Gorman and Dave Zeltersman. Sharing it with a whole list of eager up-and-comers, colleagues whose work I greatly admire and envy, only sweetens the deal. I offer an immense thanks to the editors, Patricia Abbott and Steve Weddle. To the Super Agent, Stacia Decker, for her tireless efforts in making this happen, I offer an extra-special thanks.

Forgotten Music: The Groovie Ghoulies

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The Groovie Ghoulies took their name from an animated series called Groovie Goolies . The show was a spinoff of a spinoff: The Archie Show—Sabrina, The Teenage Witch—Groovie Goolies. In the cartoon, the classic, Universal Monsters were all hip and cool. And, naturally, being hip and cool meant that at least once an episode you found the time to play a catchy pop song. If you remember the cartoon, you can grok the band. I love hardboiled crime and noir, sure. But some of my first loves were monster movies and bad sc-fi flicks with BEMs chasing girls in bikinis. The Ghoulies gave that to me, crafting lyrics about flying saucers, vampires, and werewolves, singing in fast tempo, pop-style melodies backed by punk guitar riffs. I’ve listened and still listen to “real” punk rock: the Ramones, Stiff Little Fingers, Black Flag, Fugazi, Fear, The Sex Pistols, X-Ray Specs, Bad Brains, the Dead Kennedys, and all the others. When I was younger, I went to my share of basement shows and drank ch

Good Evening, Mr. and Mrs. America...

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Soon, the tentatively titled Discount Noir will go to e-press. A big thanks to the editors, Patti Abbot and Steve Weddle. And, of course, a huge thanks to the Super Agent, Stacia Decker. Check out the official announcement here . Then you might go, if you haven’t already, over to Gutter Books and read David Cranmer’s interview with Keith Rawson. Keith spills the beans about the lineup of the upcoming Crime Factory anthology.

Why I No Longer Watch SVU Even Though I Think Mariska Hargitay Is Hot

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I used to like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit . The writing was decent, if sometimes a little ridiculous and plot-twisting. The acting was good, especially for network television. I like Christopher Meloni (not as much and in a different way than Maria does). He was amazing on HBO's Oz . And Mariska Hargitay? Well, she's just absolutely stunning. But I can't watch SVU anymore. Alright, maybe I shouldn't say can't. I should probably say, I haven't watched it in a while and don't think I will again... On Monday, the Sexual Assault Resource Guide I wrote came back from the printers and was distributed to floor RA's, Residence Managers, the Health Center, the Student Advocates Office, and others on campus. I spent more time sweating over this thing, rewriting, having meetings, arguing about word choice (survivor or victim), and learning more than I ever wanted to know about the topic of sexual assault. All I've ever wanted is to wri

The Blasters

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The Blasters rocked their way onto the California scene with a stunning lineup that consisted of: Bill Bateman on drums, John Bazz on bass, Dave Alvin on lead guitar, and Phil Alvin on rhythm and vocals. Starting in the late 70s, they played with bands like Black Flag, The Cramps, and Queen before going on their own solo tours. In Walter’s Hill’s rock fable, Streets of Fire, they performed “One Bad Stud” and “Blue Shadows” . Tarantino and Rodriguez followed Michael Mann’s Miami Vice lead and used “Dark Night” for their first collaboration, From Dusk Till Dawn. And Dwight Yoakam scored a hit with their tune “Long White Cadillac” . But for some reason, The Blasters have always been one less album sale and one more review away from being reduced to hipster favorite. We all know that talent and fame aren’t anywhere close to being synonymous, but The Blasters prove the two are so fucking distant that, assuming you could bribe them into a date, talent and fame could marry and reprodu

The Last Cigarette

It's been a busy summer. Regrettably, not one full of writing. At work, we've been preparing to move offices and we keep track of an inordinate amount of paper files, student deaths and disciplinary records. Often slow stretches at work is where I'll ruminate on plot ideas and maybe write a quick page that I'll work into something when I get home. At home, the summer is always full of projects, holidays and yard work. The riding lawn mower was in the shop for far too long and, since I had no desire to use a machette to get from front door to car door, it meant I had to push mow our acreage. There have been a few things I've fooled around with as time permits. And now the first of them is up at the always excellent Thrillers, Killers & Chillers . So check out The Last Cigarette and let me know what you think.

Once More, The Factory Floor...And Some Baseball

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Just when you thought Keith, Cameron, and Jose couldn't bust their ass any harder, they prove you wrong and put out  two issues of Crimefactory . If you haven't already, go check it out. As always, you can download it, save it and read it. Or if you've got one of those fancy e-readers, you can shell out a measely dollar and appreciate it on the go. ****** The results for The Second Annual Watery Grave Invivational are now in. I didn't manage to claim first, but considering the competition and, after reading the other stories, I'm pleased with third. Especially since I really loathe baseball. So, if you haven't already, you can check out "Ghostman on Third" at The Drowning Machine.

Forgotten Music: Gene Vincent And His Blue Caps

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Vincent Eugene Craddock originally considered a military career. In 1952, he enlisted in the Navy. Three years later, he used his reenlistment bonus to buy a new Triumph. During July of that year, he suffered a horrible motorcycle accident that shattered his leg. He refused to let the doctors remove it. The rest of his days would be spent with both a limp and severe chronic pain. This was the start of the bad luck that would follow him even after he reinvented himself as Gene Vincent. A year after his accident, Gene wrote "Be-Bop-A-Lula", a pleading rock hit (hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 greatest rock songs ever) that secured him and his Blue Caps a recording contract with Capital. Despite this massive hit, and becoming one of the first rock stars to act in a film, The Girl Can’t Help It , lasting commercial success, like it did for most of the rockabilly pioneers, evaded Gene. A tax dispute with US authorities sent Vincent packing off to Europe. In a typ

Forgotten Music: Johnny Burnette's Rock N Roll Trio

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Though you’ve probably never heard of The Rock And Roll Trio, I guarantee you've heard at least one cover of Train Kept A-Rollin' . Regrettably, like most of the rockabilly pioneers, they never managed to land a huge, national hit and, as evidenced by their influence on the British Invastion, achieved more success abroad. If mentioned at all, it’s usually just the Elvis connection. Johnny and his brother Dorsey grew up in the same projects as Presley. Dorsey and Paul Burlison both worked for Crown Electric where Elvis drove trucks. When Dorsey finally quit the Trio prior to their appearance in the Alan Freed film Rock, Rock, Rock , he was replaced by Johnny Black, the brother of Presley’s bassist. Frequently their lack of big success is dismissed due to their “Elvis” similarity. But none of them were ever ripoff artists and ripoff artists don't have the lasting effect on a generation of muscians they did. In fact, the Burnette Boys wrote “Rock Billy Boogie” in 1953. T

Needle Magazine's First Flash Fiction Challenge

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The folks who run Needle: A Magazine of Noir issued a flash fiction challenge. For the details of the challenge, head on over there . Keep reading below for my untitled entry. *** “I’ve never been here before,” the girl said. “The Space Needle? You live in Seattle.” “It’s a touristy place. We never go—went to touristy places.” The woman put the menu down and smiled with white teeth. “You never had the money. Now, you’ll go to a lot of touristy places.” “When everything’s paid back,” the girl said and she smiled. “You need to use the Crest Strips I gave you,” the woman said. “They don’t want to see yellow teeth.” The girl closed her mouth and watched the city spin below her. She felt dizzy. “The yellow doesn’t really bother me,” she said. “I never liked the gap and the chip right here in front, but St—“ “They don’t want to hear about other men.” “Oh.” She nodded. “You’re nervous aren’t you?” The woman asked. “Do you want a drink?” “Yes.” Like the devil, the waitress

Jason Duke's Red Hot Writing Contest

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For details of the contest, head here . And if you're wondering, then I'll tell you. Yes, Jason Duke is that crazy. *** Flash Drive I've put a price on things you wouldn't believe. Now, I can tell you how much my conscience is worth... Callard rubbed the flash drive like a lucky rabbit’s foot. “Your name’s Defoe?” It wasn’t, but that’s how Hargrove knew me. Hargrove arranged the meet and it was Hargrove’s boat that took us up the coast. “It is,” I said. “And you’re like a middleman?” “Didn’t Hargrove explain it to you?” Hargrove came from below with two bottles of Stella Artois. He said, “I did.” He handed Callard his beer, then the tall man moved across the deck. Callard stuck the flash drive in his shirt pocket. His face read late 30s. His clothes read maybe 20. He tipped his beer then said, “I want you to explain it to me.” “I get people things.” I lit a smoke. Hargrove clinked his bottle against the railing. At the gesture, I opened the ashtray in the

Distressing Thoughts

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The main danger of blogging is the possibility of alienating others. Years ago, there was a particular science fiction author I used to enjoy quite a bit. Then I discovered his blog. After getting a taste of his political and religious beliefs, I found the man so abhorent that I have never purchased or borrowed a single thing he has written since. That's why I don't read biographies; generally, I want to continue liking the people I like. Sometimes, though, it can happen when I don't think you're really considering the risk. Case in point, earlier this week I was reading the newsletter of another author. Among the usual lists of appearances and publication dates, this author puts little bits of personal stuff. Most of the time, it's nice and makes the author seem a little more human and not so much like a thing or a product. This time he included a short movie review. It happened to be for a movie I really enjoyed. I don't think that everyone must like w

There, But For The Cape, Go I

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Below, you'll find my attempt to score some free Gischler from Chad Rohrbacher. For details, go here . **** Before the meeting, I share a smoke with Joey, the kid who drank toxic goo. I don’t smoke, but no one else ever comes back here and stands along the wall by the medical waste containers with their view of the crumbling monolith of the Galt Housing Projects. Joey chatters at me while he smokes. I can’t understand a single thing he says; it’s all gurgles and wet pops. But my being there makes him happy. He doesn’t know I’m not listening. That I’m looking for some sign of Dr. Athmos, the criminal mastermind expelled from the hospital two months ago for crimes against humanity. Joey grinds his smoke out and we head inside. We share an elevator with Reggie and Polly. Reggie fuses with his hair all the way down to the basement. Poor guy used to get 1000 dollar haircuts, but he squandered everything buying some scarab ring off eBay he thought would give him mystical powers

Me and the Gaga

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When I write, I often listen to music. Sometimes for the background noise. Sometimes to achieve the right mindset for what I hope to accomplish. And, depending on how the day job went, sometimes to strangle the morning in it's cradle before it matures and ruins my night. So, here is a list of some of the specific things I remember listening to while writing- "The Double D" A lot of Tom Waits ; especially, Small Change . Bits and pieces of Bite Your Tongue by The Sex Slaves . "Lord Knows" A lot of Tupac ; including, the entirety of Me Against the World . Some Geto Boys . "Six Bullets For John Carter" The soundtrack to Blade Runner . A mix of Eurotrash techno. "Not A Single Penny For Your Eyes" A mix of my favorite Springsteen songs. Some Neko Case ; especially "Thrice All-American". And a little Iris Dement . "Mascara Contra Mascara" Los Lobos . Chingon (Robert Rodriguez's band and the name of my luchad

Working the line...

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Have you checked out Crimefactory since Keith Rawson , Cameron Ashley, and Liam Jose brought it back? Unbelievably, the second issue is even more stunning than the last and not just because I'm in it. CF features first rate fiction, insightful reviews and some amazing design/layout work. It just proves why Keith is the hardest working man who isn't getting paid for this shit and why those Australians are the coolest people I know who I haven't' actually met. This issue is a monster of goodness that clocks in at 126 pages. I'm always excited to appear next to Patti Abbott and Jimmy Callaway; neither has ever turned out anything less than amazing; but, to be there along with Reed Farrell Coleman, Charlie Stella, Craig MacDonald, and Dave Zeltersman...are you fucking kidding me?!?!? So go there now. Save it and read it at your leisure, or print it out and take it with you. You can download it as a PDF or formatted for the Kindle, Nook, or Sony Reader. Do you

The Day The Music Died

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For Dan O'Shea's Let Us Prey: Flash Fiction Challenge , Christopher Grant, the editor of A Twist of Noir , wrote a story called Reverberations . It's an outstanding story that makes you wish that Christopher Grant wrote more often. In the piece, he introduced the character of an unnamed hitman who is deaf. We wanted more. To spur Christopher Grant on, Jimmy Callaway wrote Closed Captioned featuring Grant's hitman. This was followed by J.F. Juzwik's tale, Blind Date . And here, with a far too kind introduction from Christopher Grant, is my tale, The Day The Music Died .

Let Us Prey: Flash Fiction Challenge

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My story is below. For the initial trigger pull that started this whole thing,vist Going Ballistic here . To sample the follow up shots, head here **** The Lock-In Harlan couldn’t sleep. The Veggie Tales blasted from the far side of the church where the youngest slept in their Transformer and Disney Princesses sleeping bags. Somewhere over by the snack table, Pastor Evans snored. Over by the pulpit, Old Lady Lawton sat in her Purdue chair knitting and farting with abandon. While the kid with the bowl haircut was in the toilet shitting again. Harlan blamed the pizza. He had come for the pizza. His mother would never make pizza and she, sure as shit, wouldn’t stop and buy any. Normally, as much as his mother hoped he would go, he hated these things and refused. But when he heard there was pizza at the lock-in, he asked for the five bucks. He had hoped for Papas—either Murphy’s or John’s. Instead, Mr. Lawton showed up with something nasty and local. Cheap, cardboard boxes

I Hate The Snow, But I Like Black Christmas

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Today, I join the crew over at Let's Kill Everybody in their attempt to review every single slasher film in existence. So, check mine out here . Then go rent Black Christmas (1974). Or buy it. But please, please, skip the remake.