January 31, 2011

Pow! Right In The Mush!

Another Contest:
In yesterday's post, I mentioned The Lincoln Lawyer Giveaway hosted by Crimefactory. Now, Keith is also hosting a contest at his personal site, Bloody Knuckles, Callused Fignertips. Head on over and check it out.

You've probably forgotten about Dogfight, the serial I had been writing with Brian S. Roe of R Squared Studios. It has been a while, but the grudge between Heckler and Doyle is far from finished. Our schedules have lightened a bit, so we're discussing the final chapter now.

When the 13th Chapter hits, that's not the end.

Next, there's the upcoming, special kung-fu issue of Crimefactory with my story, "Down By The Water". Echo, my kung-fu heroine, has her own individual story, separate from Heckler and Doyle, but her tale does offer a surprise for readers of our two-fisted, bullet-fueled grudge match.

After that, you'll just have to wait and see...

January 30, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer Giveaway

To celebrate the upcoming theatrical release of The Lincoln Lawyer, the Crimefactory masterminds are giving away free stuff. For your chance to win either a copy of the movie poster or a copy of Michael Connelly's novel, head over toDay Labor now. All you have to do is leave a comment with your e-mail address and it could be you who gets some free swag.

January 28, 2011

The Road I Walk

Writing is solitary.

At the computer, it's just you and whatever it is you can manage to charm, bribe, or beat out of the goddamn ether. Chances are when you send it out into the world, you're not doing it in person. It's just a mouseclick  or an envelope drop. Then waiting. Alone.

Most of us aren't outgoing. We're not that guy you invite to the party because you know, we'll be the one to keep it going, lively and rocking until dawn or the cops. We're not the one you run into constantly on the street, heading to the big concert, the art show, the grand opening of that trendy restuarant downtown and right in the middle of it all.

We're not there, because we don't get out much. After our paying gigs gorge on  the day and all those little things (dinner, cleaning, mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, the occasional shower), we take those minutes that are left and we seize them for ourselves. Hoping for a sentence or two. Maybe a paragraph. Praying for an entire page. Just one single page.

Or so it seems.

Today, I was going to talk about myself. Again.

But I realized something that sometimes is easy to forget. The road I walk, I don't walk alone.

You know me or, at least, you're starting to. But you don't know her. So, I'm going to tell you about her for a minute. So listen.

She's my wife.

If you like anything I've written, you should probably thank her. She makes it possible. Those precious minutes I spoke of earlier? She gives those to me. She doesn't complain when I come home tired because I set the alarm hours early, well before I need to leave for work in an attempt to coax an extra hundred or so words onto the page. She keeps me from burning everythign I write. She watches television shows and movies she has no interest in, because she knows I'll dig it and this, this other cop show, this weird British mystery program will recharge my creative batteries and set my mind spinning with new ideas of my own. She smiles when I tell her about a novel I'm reading that just pisses me off and I know I could have done it better and she doesn't even ask why the hell I'm still reading the damn thing. She listens while I talk at her, working through plots and characters that may never live beyond that single moment. She reads everything I write and she urges me onward.

So, when you see us out, when you see us across the restuarant having dinner or standing in line, waiting for the doors to open, going to see that band everyone wants to see, thank her. For me. You see, I owe her that too. I owe her for not letting me be that bearded, crazy-eyed guy you see now and then wandering down the dark alleyways, mumbling to himself while smoking hand-rolled cigarettes and gestictulating wildly with a foot-thick, stained manuscript.

A Fearsome Threesome

For stories 600-700 at A Twist of Noir, Christopher Grant issued a challenge. The number of your story is the number of words you have to tell it.

After some unfortunate delays, The Death March resumed today with stories from Liam Jose, Kelley Whitley, and R.S. Bohn. Head on over there now for a fearsome threesome of hardboiled.

January 22, 2011

Shane Stevens Saturday: Across 110th Street

Go Down Dead, Way Uptown In Another World, and The Rat Pack all center on the lives of young, African-American characters pushed to the edges of society by poverty, the illusions of the American Dream, and the lure of crime-fueled exchanges of power. In addition to his novels, Stevens reviewed a number of books by African-American authors and frequently wrote about race relations as the Civil Rights movement flared and flamed to life.

A number of people assumed that Stevens was an African-American writer.

He's not.

He's white.

A number of African-American writers and critics didn't appreciate Stevens, as a white man, offering his opinions on either "their" literature in particular or race relations in general. Ishmael Reed expressed his distate of Stevens' opinion in a poem called "White Hope".

Read it here.

For more on Stevens, the African-American cultural identity, and Chester Himes defense of Shane's writing, you'll have to wait for my piece.

January 17, 2011

Hannie Caulder

If you head on over to Let's Fight Everybody! you can read my review of Hannie Caulder, a western revenge flick starring Raquel Welch. This piece of lady gunfighting action from 1971 doesn't seem to get much love anymore, so I decided to give it a little.

Have you seen it?

If you have, read my review and tell me what you think.

If you haven't, read my review and see if you want to.

Hannie Caulder

January 15, 2011

Shane Stevens Saturday: Is Shane Stevens really Shane Stevens?

One of the things I discuss in my piece on Shane Stevens is whether or not the name is a pseudonym. Several things seem to have contributed to this idea. First, there is the lack of information on Stevens. He seems to have rarely spoken about himself and went out of his way not to reveal anything.  This lack of info is complicated by the fact the existing info is full of what appears to be "inconsistencies." And finally, there's the matter of him virtually disappearing.

I know what I believe about Shane Stevens and I think by the time you read my lengthy essay, you'll agree.

But what about now? If you're familiar with Stevens, what do you think?


One of the things I pride myself on, normally, is my patience. Patience and the ability to remain calm are two of my biggest personality traits. They helped me get the current job I have; easily, I think, distinguishing me from the other canidates. Both are important characteristics for dealing with potential crisis situations.

However, when it comes to writing, I have trouble remaining patient. Beyond all the other frustrations surrounding this writing thing, the waiting is the part I hate the most. Rationally, I grok that something seeing print (whether online or in actual print) isn't a quick process. I know that if there is one certainty in life, it's that it will get in the way of your plans--like bringing a story out.

But, man, does the waiting drive me fucking crazy.

January 8, 2011

Shane Stevens Saturday

In 1989, I read Stephen Kings' The Dark Half. King borrowed the name Alexis Machine from Shane Stevens' Dead City. In his afterward, King heaps an enormous amount of praise on Stevens' work. Thanks to King--I had to find and read those books.

And I did--eventually.

It wasn't easy. Despite King's homage and kind words earning several of his novels a reprint, Stevens work has been notorious hard to find. Any personal information on Stevens, the man, is non-existent and never more indepth than his meagre biography on Wikipedia. He appears to have spent his life walking, namelessly and silently, purposefully in the shadows. After the publication of his last novel, The Anvil Chorus, Stevens vanished.

Today, he's nothing but a ghost.

I owe a number of writer's thanks. They've influenced me in a variety of ways, not just stylistically or themetically. But very few have affected me the way Shane Stevens has. His books, while brutal and savage, dark and despairing, burst with the tragic beauty of humanity. When I got serious about my own writing, his were some of the novels I studied, pouring through the text for the nuts and bolts of this writing thing, hoping to come just a little bit closer to being able to do this myself and my way.

I understand Stevens the writer well.

Stevens the man?

He's remained a ghost.

Until this past year: I've been working on a long, non-fiction piece, chasing Stevens' ghost all the way uptown in another world.

Now, I'm almost finished with this piece and only awaiting a couple more pieces of information. Every Saturday, until the piece sees publication, I'll put a little piece of...something up here.

Adjacent is the title page for Steven's first novel, Go Down Dead. Purchased in 1963, it would not see publication until 3 years later.

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