Monday, June 28, 2010

I've been anthologized

I am late with this stuff but two of my stories appear in collections I am quite pleased with. First is Crimefactory issue #3.5 and this is, quite possibly, the finest collection I have been a part of. That Needle magazine is awfully damn good though...let's call it a tie.
Seriously, there are some great stories by some great writers in this all-fiction issue. NEW FICTION BY:

I mean, that's a great lineup! Sophie is the hottest novelist going right now and Jake, Jason, Cullen and Naomi are proven talents that do not disappoint. (Duke's story is called  Guns, Drugs and Shitload of Blood which is truth in advertising) I feel like Jake Hinkson and I have similar styles or at the very least whenever I read his stuff I wish I wrote it. Robert Crisman is great, Jay Stringer is one of the Do Some Damage guys so you know he's got the goods and Jonathan Woods has a stellar short story collection out now from New Pulp Press. The others were new to me but there is not a bum story in the bunch. 
I applaud the always stellar layout and design of Crimefactory particularly because my story was a bitch to format since it is half prose and half screenplay. Yep, a little weird but just go with me. 
Aw hell, just go read it. It's free.

I also got my copies today of Murder In The Wind from Second Wind publishing. My story Without a Body There is no Crime bats cleanup in this anthology from nearly all of the Second Wind authors as well as contest winner Sheila Deeth who joins the party and is a welcome addition. It is an eclectic anthology that even includes some mystery contributions from some of SW's Romance authors. There is something in there for everyone. Easy ordering is available on the right with the direct link to Amazon

This one has been a long time coming so it's great to see it in print. And don't forget about the companion Mystery In The Wind. They got so many submissions for the contest to be included in they decided to go with a two volume set. 

That's the update for now. Word will come soon on the plans for a hard copy of Harbinger *33 which promises to be another wild and weird anthology with some great stories of all stripes in it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sense a pattern here?

I had just finished the penultimate chapter in the new book and I happened to glance to my right in my little office/hideaway here and was surprised by what I noticed. Well, maybe not surprised or at least I shouldn't have been. On one shelf nearly all the books were about Film Noir, crime films and gangster films. I guess I wear my passions out in the open here in the office anyway. Of course the walls are plastered with Film Noir posters so it's pretty obvious even without looking at the spines of the books on the shelves. Of course I have more than just reference books on crime films but I was just struck by the one shelf devoted to it. Just had to share. And with a detail of the office this small you can't see how dirty the rest of it is.
(click on the image for more detail if you can't read some of the titles)

Bonus points to anyone who noticed the shelf below with the complete short stories of Raymond Chandler, a collection of Cornell Woolrich, the Big Book of Pulps and a four novel compilation of Chandler novels. (and my copy of Conversations With Wilder that is signed by both Cameron Crowe and Billy Wilder)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Finding a story

Yesterday was Father's Day and while walking to dinner with my precious girls my older daughter found something on the sidewalk. It was an unopened greeting card envelope with the word 'Dad' scrawled on it in kid's writing. Obviously it had been dropped on the way to a Father's Day dinner and now some Dad would never get his card and some kid probably drew a picture inside or signed their name and would miss out on Dad's reaction to it.
It was simultaneously one of the saddest things and more intriguing things I'd seen in a long time.
It got me thinking how those tiny incidents in ordinary life can be filed away for use in a story. Sometimes something we see or hear is the basis for an entire tale or sometimes it is just a little detail that can crop up inside a larger piece.
At the risk of sounding like the weird neighbor kid in American Beauty, I love the little details of life that happen in the margins. Stories are all around us waiting to be discovered. It's why I love Found magazine (and I even had the chance to be a contributor once) it's why I have a bunch of old flea market photos from the 20's and 30's of people I don't know.
Will I use a lost Father's Day card in a story? Maybe. Either way it is a great reminder of the inspiration that surrounds us and the billions of stories to tell.
As cynical and I can be in my belief that the human race is generally fairly despicable I maintain a very bright outlook on life by an endless fascination with the world and by seeing beauty in all things even, as Thelonious Monk said, ugly beauty.
I'll go to another music reference and quote a lyric from one of my favorite songs from a great band, Chavez. About as far on the sonic scale as you can get from Monk but still. In their song 'Unreal is here' the chorus repeats, "There is nothing to not be amazed at."
I agree.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer is starting

A lot of action in the writing world these days. Summer reading season is here and I've got some appointments to see authors coming through town with their books. Sophie Littlefield is here this weekend with A Bad Day For Pretty and Rebecca Cantrell will be here in two weeks with  A Night of Long Knives.
On the interwebs Naomi Johnson has announced the winners in the latest Watery Grave International and they are some great stories.
Jason Duke's contest is heating up and I am very happy to be on the list of finalists that includes some great writers and great stories.
My interview with Stephen Jay Schwartz is up at Spinetingler. He was very open and honest and had some great tales to tell about his book Boulevard.

The sequel is coming along to a rapid conclusion even though we keep changing it. We just revamped the revamped ending but, as always, making it better. It's a little bit like driving the engine with one arm and laying track out ahead of us with the other.
I've said it before but working with Jennifer is such a pleasure. Even these roadblocks we hit in the story never end up in an argument or a stoppage in work. (lives and kids do that enough) But the end is near. I think only about 2 or 3 more chapters each and a first draft will be done. I think there is a lot of work to do with this one but working it over and making little improvements along the way is the fun part. Another fun part anyway.
I really hope we can do something with this one. I start to feel like a slacker if I don't have anything to announce is in the pipeline.

One thing that is out is the Second Wind anthology that I did a story for a while ago. As of now it seems the only place you can get one is off their website. Anyway, I quite like my story included in it and there are several others like Deborah J. Ledford that are worth your while if you're looking for a short story collection this summer, although I haven't read it yet. I'll have to order one for myself to see what else is inside. Give a gander to Murder In The Wind. I'm hoping it will be more widely available and I can spread some more links. I'll get one and report back on the other stories.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Where have I been?

Man, I took a long time off from blogging but did anyone even notice? I doubt it.
Since I've been gone a few things: one is that I took 3rd place in the Storysouth Million Writers Award for best short of 2009 for my story Ditch. Thanks to everyone who voted and supported me. I was really blown away by it.
Work continues with JB Kohl and I on the sequel and it is going well. We just did a big adjustment to the almost-end so we're working our way through how that effects everything now. Over the 65,000 word mark though.
I have a new book idea I want to do but just need to crack a few more beats of the story. If it works - oh man!
Of course, it would be nice if I could do something with the three others I've already finished! Fingers crossed that good news is coming on that very front soon. Don't want to jinx it.
There's been no time to write any shorts lately but I'll have a story in the next all fiction issue of Crimefactory and we are closing in on the end of Jason Duke's story contest. Hope I can show well in that one since there is some great stuff in the running.

This Friday Sophie Littlefield will be in town to sign A Bad Day For Pretty which is exciting and the later in the month Rebecca Cantrell will be here with her sequel A Night of Long Knives.

Um, what else - reading! I've read some great, great stuff lately. The Deputy was amazing, both Severance Package and Expiration Date were phenomenal. I stopped early on two others but also loved Boulevard by Stephen Jay Schwartz.
Has it been so long that I haven't mentioned The Way Some People Die by Ross MacDonald? How am I so late to the party on him? It's because he does a series and I am allergic. I liked it though.
Did I mention The Shotgun Rule by Charlie Huston? Freakin' loved that one. I decided I'm going to check out his Joe Pitt series and maybe the Six bad Things series too. They are only 4 or 5 books long so I can handle it.

I leave you with a great quote from Garrison Keillor on the state of publishing:

"I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea. We live in a literate time, 
and our children are writing up a storm, often combining letters and numerals 
(U R 2 1derful)...The future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, 
each with an average of 14 readers,
 eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75"