Showing posts from 2012

What I've Learned

I’ve had a lot of different magazine subscriptions over the years. The first were all fiction magazines: Alfred Hitchcock , Ellery Queen , The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction , and Realms of Fantasy . When I started gaming, I picked up Dragon Magazine . Near the end of my teenage years, it was all shit like Details , Maxim , and Stuff —you know, magazines that were basically the print equivalent to SPIKE. Then, of course, freshman year of college there was the nigh-obligatory subscription to Playboy . None of those lasted more than a year, I think. And now print magazines are dying out like the newspaper. But there is one magazine I’ve kept a subscription too and probably will even when that means I can only read it online— Esquire . Yes, they do waste paper and space on shit I’ll never be able to afford—like cars that cost twice as much money as I make in a year and jackets that start at a thousand dollars—and for some reason they keep voting Mila Kunis sexiest w

Coming in 2013

There's a lot of words coming down the pipe from me in 2013. Here's a taste: In The Clear, Black Fields of Night —The novella-length sequel to A Rip Through Time should be available soon. Black Fields finds Simon Rip assembling a team to end the fight against The Company’s conspiracy once and for all. Hoods, Hot Rods, and Hellcats —Right now, I’m waiting on the introduction before racing to the finish line with this anthology of greaser crime tales. Blood on the Milky Way —Wrote this post-apocalyptic tale of the illegal milk trade for Andrez Bergens’s Tobacco-Stained Sky anthology a while ago. It should see the light of day sometime in 2013. Searching For Shane Stevens —The heart of my long promised Shane Stevens biography is actually done. I just need to add the new info I’ve uncovered and give it a big rewrite. Untitled Spy Thriller —I’ve had this thriller for Beat To A Pulp plotted in my head for a while. The story just needed to simmer until I foun

Drunk on the Moon2

Paul D. Brazill’s Drunk on the Moon 2  is now available from Amazon for the Kindle. This is the second collection of crime/horror tales to feature Brazill’s Roman Dalton, a werewolf private investigator. This time around the anthology opens with an introduction by Richard Godwin and contains stories by Matt Hilton, Vincent Zandri, Carrie Clevenger, JJ Toner, Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw, Chris Rhatigan, Ben Sobieck, Ben Lelièvre, Paul D. Brazill himself, and me. In my story, “The Girl With The David Bowie Eyes,” Petra Kier is sick. Petra is the first girl Roman ever loved and she needs him to track someone down before she dies. Her last wish sends Dalton careening down memory lane to confront his past and his future while dropping him into the middle of a blood-soaked feud between two elder supernatural creatures. I hope you’ll give it a read.

That Day He Had A Headache

A part of me doesn't want to write this. Honestly, I'd rather not talk about it at all and I usually don't. The only person who knows this story and hasn't been my friend for years is Tommy. But yesterday, in town, I was waiting in the checkout line at a store. The woman in front of me was talking about the school shooting with the cashier. She said, “I don’t understand why that boy’s mother didn’t get him some help or have him committed.” I almost said something. I didn’t, because I knew I would lose my temper and that would accomplish nothing—“Get him help? Are you fucking serious? You don’t think she tried. ‘Oh, shit, get him help! I never thought of that!’ The problem, lady, is that our health care system is fucking broken, and it’s easier to get a gun than it is to get treatment for mental problems.” Then, today, I read this blog post ...  You're not alone, Soccer Mom. So, here goes — My middle brother is currently serving 56 years i

Not That Kind of Demonic

I downloaded A Course In Demonic Creativity  from Matt Cardin’s site the other day and read it in a single setting. At times, it was a little too New Age for me thanks to Cardin’s talk of finding your destined “purpose”. But that shouldn't put you off, overall it’s a fascinating read on the nature of creativity, genius, and the relationship between your conscious and unconscious mind. It’s a free download, so give it a try because— “You don’t stop at the boundary of your conscious self.” 

My Next Big Thing

I got tagged by my friend Thomas Pluck , writer extraordinaire and editor of Protectors ,  to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Tour. So— 1.) What is the working title of your next book? Hoods, Hot Rods, and Hellcats. It’s an anthology of greaser-themed crime stories. 2.) Where did the idea come from? Moonshine to quench the Devil's thirst. Hearing Steve Earle’s "Copperhead Road" on the radio reminded me how much I always liked movies about running moonshine. Robert  Mitchum's  Thunder Road  is the  granddaddy of moonshine movies and one of my favorites.  Mitchum originally wanted Elvis to play his younger brother in the film, but the Colonel said no. That got me thinking about '50s B-movies and rockabilly music. The funny though? There's not a single moonshine running story in Hoods. 3.) What genre does your book fall under? Crime or noir—whichever name you prefer. Though, I’ll stick with calling it crime. I’ve come to dislik

Belly Up

Over at Thomas Pluck’s blog, I belly up to the bar to talk about bullying, forgotten writers, American myth, and a host of upcoming projects. If you can spare a moment during the holidays, you should head over there and   give it a read.

Loose Ends

If you’ve read A Rip Through Time , Beat To A Pulp has a 900-word beaut from Garnett Elliott detailing Simon Rip’s encounter with the most famous time traveler of all: Read "Loose Ends"

The Only Question

For me, it was never a question of whether or not I wanted to be involved in Lost Children: The Protectors . Protects ’s fight is the fight. A single abused child is one child too many. Even the victims who escape the statistics (drug/alcohol abuse, incarceration, further victimization) can’t escape the scars. Abuse—whether mental, physical, or sexual—is not something a victim just gets over . I know this first hand. My wife’s mother and father have both been dead for over a decade now, and she’s still in therapy undergoing PTSD protocol due to their “parenting”. The only question I ever had was what to write. I began with an idea about a group of kids pulling off a complicated scheme to save an abused friend after all the adults failed to act. In my experience, adults turn their face from abuse for a litany of excuses: it’s not my business, it’s not my kid, who I am to tell someone how to raise their child, they’re just toughening them up, or I don’t want to make things

The Mystery of Jersey Tomatoes

My copy of Jersey Tomatoes, the first book Stevens wrote as J.W. Rider. I've always wondered about the cover design for Jersey Tomatoes . It's so similiar to Way Uptown In Another World . Both books feature the title and author as graffitii on a a brick wall. The main difference is Uptown is gritty photorealism and Jersey is dated 80s cheese.  But is it that a purposeful or coincidental similiarity? Truthfully, it's probably just coincidence. But it feeds the mystery of Stevens' pseudonum.  On one hand, Shane registered J.W. Rider as the copyright holder on his P.I. novels. Yet, if you look up the larger record, which doesn't take much effort, Rider is clearly listed as a pseudonym for Stevens. The first line of the so-so Kirkus review of Jersey Tomatoes  outs Rider as a pseudonym, but doesn't say for whom.  The book won the Shamus Award for Best First P.I. novel. When I spoke to Robert Randisi, he remembered speaking to Shane over the phone. While Stev

Both Barrels

The first collection from Shotgun Honey officially launches today. If you haven’t already, you should go purchase your copy of Both Barrels  now. Since its launch a little over a year ago,  Shotgun Honey has remained one of the few sites I go out of my way to read every day. The lineup on this collection looks fantastic, and, hell, I’d pay $15 just to read the stories from Garnett Elliott, Nik Korpon, and Thomas Pluck.


Alphas is a Sci-Fi (I won't call it Sy-Fy) Channel series whose first season is now available on DVD and Netflix streaming. Created by Zak Penn and Michael Karnow, the show follows a team of superhumans who work for the government solving crimes, tracking down other Alphas, and opposing a terrorist group called Red Flag. While the show does have promise, the writing breaks little new ground. If you’ve ever read X-Men, the setup and plot elements are familiar — just trade   “Mutant" for "Alpha," then lose the costumes. There’s a team of good Alphas and a team of bad Alphas. Their ideological difference is X-Men versus The Brotherhood of Mutants. Rather than quickly setting their universe apart from Marvel's, Alphas mistakenly wastes a lot of episodes and focus on the team investigating crimes and tracking down the superhuman-of-the-week. Despite some cleverness, this is tedious syndication-fodder. The “crimes” follow the CSI/NCIS plot formula but with superpo

Beat To A Pulp: Superhero

Available Now!

Way Uptown In Another World Reviewed

Shane Stevens’ fans familiar only with Dead City and By Reason of Insanity may not like Way Uptown In Another World. It’s the least “crime” of his eight novels. Fans of plot-driven fiction will certainly hate it. Marcus Garvey Black’s story isn’t divided into three neat acts with a slam-bang ending. A man’s life is never that neat, and it’s never that clear. For me, however, none of those are drawbacks. In my opinion, despite the praise heaped on Dead City by everyone from Stephen King to Dave Zeltserman and By Reason ’s importance in the creation of the serial killer novel, Way Uptown In Another World is clearly Shane Stevens’ masterwork. With his second novel set in Harlem, Stevens finds his street voice. Unlike Go Down Dead with it’s pages of dense and sometimes hard to follow ghetto-speak, Uptown is both simple and starkly poetic, authentic but approachable. In this sometimes messy but always beautiful novel, Stevens explores all those themes that would come to dominate his lat

Lonesome Train On A Lonesome Track

The stories I still owed to editors are done and off. Now I can focus on Hoods, Hot Rods, and Hellcats . I’ll have lots much more info on the anthology soon, but, in the meantime, here’s one of my favorite rockabilly songs:

Be A Protector

Protectors: Stories to Benefit Protect is now available. I’m proud that my story “Go Away” is one of the 41 tales donated to help Protect: The National Associate to Protect Children. For full details on how to order your copy go HERE.  


Hoods, Hot Rods, and Hellcats The collection is getting another once-over before I send it to Mick Farren , who agreed to write an introduction. While Mick is working on his intro, I’ll get started on the front/back cover text. Plague Kisses After talking it over with Paul David Brazil, the story has a new title: The Girl with the David Bowie Eyes . Feeding Kate Should have my story, currently untitled, finished by Friday, then across the ether to the esteemed editors by Monday.


Christopher Grant has finally caught up on the backlog for the 600-700 Word Challenge at A Twist of Noir . The challenge was simple: the number you were assigned equals the number of words to write your story. "Smile" is my second story for the challenge and comes in as number 694. I hope you'll give it a read when you get the chance.

Skott Kilander

© Skott Kilander I've always liked Skott Kilander's artwork. Hanging in our living room is a great Bride of Frankenstein pinup the wife commissioned as an anniversary present. He was, for me, the obvious choice to do the cover art for Hoods, Hot Rods, and Hellcats . A couple of weeks ago, he sent his final version of the cover art and it's fantastic. So good I wish I didn't have to muck it up with some text. Until I can reveal it, you should check out some of his other art and sketches over at his blog: Sleepy Oni .

Feeding Kate

Feeding Kate Sabrina Ogden, book blogger, co-editor at Shotgun Honey, and all around nice lady, needs jaw surgery and her insurance won't pay the $15k. Sabrina has championed a number of authors. Now, some of those authors have decided to champion her with an anthology called Feeding Kate .If you donate as little as $5, you'll receive an e-book copy of our anthology. For $18, you'll receive a print copy. Each donation puts Sabrina one step closer to the jaw surgery she needs. Look, everyone keeps talking about this vibrant online crime community. Well, if that's true, then prove it. Simply liking the same thing does not make a community. A community is more than a group of consumers purchasing similiar products. It's not a link-sharing business. It's not even a reviewing service to click the 5th star on your Amazon rating. A community is about belief and mutual assistance — i t's intent and shared purpose for the benefit of all. Join our crime

Danny Lyon

Photograph by Danny Lyon, 1965, portfolio 1979 The Museum of Contemporary Photography. In his own post on rockabilly, Thomas Pluck reminded me of how much I like the work of Danny Lyon, the photographer and filmmaker from Brooklyn, New York. All his work is brilliant, but I was always especially fond of Bikeriders , and not just because so many of the pictures were taken in Indiana. For a sampling of Lyon's work, visit the Museum of Contemporary Photography's website .

The Origins of Hoods, Hot Rods, and Hell Cats

My parents when they first started dating. Music is important to me. There's not a day that goes by that I don't listen to music. When I write, I always make a playlist to help put me in a certain mood. I'll listen to just about anything: punk, metal, goth, industrial, techno, rap, soul, pop, country, folk, and rock. Honestly, about the only thing I don't listen to is jazz--except for swing music. But, man, the style I've always liked is rockabilly. The slapback sound and the driving beat. Cuffed jeans. White T-shirts with a pack of smokes rolled in the sleeve. Slicked hair. Sideburns. Leather jackets. Fast cars. Girls in tight sweaters.  Rockabilly is a portmaneau of "rock" and "hillbilly," and began as kind of insult -- "Listen to those hillbillies trying to play rock music." The first written use of the word was probably a press release for Gene Vincent's "Be-Bop-A-Lula" in the summer of 1956. While the Burnette

After the Blackout

I've been dark on the social media for a while. Here's what I've been up, what you can expect to see real soon, and what's still coming down the pipeline — Forthcoming: In The Clear, Black Fields Of Night  — The Simon Rip novella. Our daring time-cop assembles a team to accompany him on a bold frontal assault against The Company, trace the conspiracy to rewrite time, and prevent its inception.  Black Fields  picks up shortly after the events of "Darkling In The Eternal Sky" and reveals "The Final Painting of Hawley Exton" to be more than just a simple coda. Loose ends are tied up, character backstories are explored, the true mastermind is revealed, and the stage is set for the biggest battle yet in the adventures of Simon Rip. My love song to Michael Moorcock and Grant Morrison features Time Devils, Space Vikings, Nazis, Ada Lovelace, Allegra Byron, John Whiteside Parsons, Elvis' dead twin brother Jessie Garon, and a mysterious young boy na

Go Down Dead

Jacket by S.A. Summit. To the right you can see my copy of Shane Stevens' Go Down Dead . It was originally published in 1966, but occasionally you'll see it listed as 1967 due to the month of release. The cover is very striking and the back jacket carries high praise from Hubert Selby, Jr., and John Howard Griffin. It's also the source of the Stevens' Birthdate Debate. The lengthy about the author on the rear inside flap claims Shane Stevens is 28 years old. That would place his birthdate in 1938. Three years prior to the 1941 date later listed on what little biographic information was circulated. The book follows King Henry, a 16 year old Harlem gang leader, as he tries to score enough cash to get his hands on a stick of dynamite for an upcoming showdown against a rival white gang. It's an engaging first novel,  but not quite up to par with Shane's later works.The major flaw with Go Down Dead is the first person narration. It's extremely difficult t

16 Tons

Been busy in the word mines, so it's mostly blackout on the social media lately. Expect news, blog posts, and several stories to begin appearing very soon.

Marxist Noir

Today, Ed Gorman posted a link to an article on Marxist Noir . Reading it got me thinking again about the kinds of stories I want to write. Regardless of political affiliation, you should check it out. Not only is it a fascinating read about radical literature, but it piqued my interest on several forgotten authors, like  Leonard S. Zinberg, aka Ed Lacy .