Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Be Right Back...

So I went back to the East Coast last week (where I'm originally from) with the idea that I could sneak in a few posts here and there before the wedding. Not so much! Tomorrow Melanie and I head off to the Seattle and Portland to meet up with friends and such.

Anyways, I'll be back in gear next week and I've been reading a lot of cool stuff during my various travels (The Big Bad by Phil Beloin, a bunch of zombie fiction, Killing Mum by Allan Guthrie) so expect a lot of posts on that. Also I'm doing a final read through right now of Pulp Ink on the Kindle and, wow, fantastic. Can't wait to get this out to the world.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Black Heart Magazine's Noir Issue

Guest Editor Jimmy Callaway has brought together some of the top talent in crime writing with Black Heart Magazine's Noir Issue.

A lot of very sharp short-shorts make this issue hard to put down. Christopher Benton has a wild tale of art and torture with New Sun Motel. Kieran Shea follows meth addicts to the end of the line in Where Jersey Devils Die. There's also some excellent crime poetry interspersed from the likes of AJ Hayes, Changming Yuan, and others.

While there are plenty of familiar names in here, there were a few new ones who caught my attention. Leland Thoburn has a clever, incisive piece, Wrong Number. He writes laser-like dialogue and works from an interesting premise. I also enjoyed James Gibbons' Headline: Woman Ruins All, which hammers home the point that you might want to skip a career in publishing.

Add in writers like Chris Deal, Keith Rawson, Ben Sobieck, Matthew C. Funk, and Dan O'Shea, and, well, you should buy the damn thing.

Friday, July 15, 2011

E-book Bargain of the Week: Speedloader

The debut effort from Snubnose Press, a six short story collection called Speedloader, is packed full of dark material.

I hear you already: "Of course it's dark, Rhatigan. It's noir. That's French for black, moron."

And I hear that. But trust me--this is noir burned to a crisp. 

Particularly W.D. County's Plastic Soldiers, which has received special attention in nearly every review I've read. For good reason, too. This is an unflinching look inside a child-rape factory through the eyes of one boy. It's riveting material and County uses the boy's toy soldiers to great effect.

Nigel Bird has a gem as well in You Dirty Rat, an unconventional revenge tale set during WWI. Bird has quickly gained a reputation for crafting emotionally complex and thoughtful work with fully developed characters, and this story highlights his strengths.

I've seen a lot of Richard Thomas lately (Shotgun Honey, Dirty Noir). He delivers here with the seriously depressing Herniated Roots. A recovering alcoholic finds a girl who proves to be his true love. Or the cause of his slow death. The message that "You're screwed!" comes through loud and clear and brilliant. The character's meandering yet inevitable demise proves to be (somehow) very satisfying.

So, it's 99 cents. Go get it. Snubnose is coming out with single-author collections by the likes of Patti Abbott, Sandra Seamans and Keith Rawson, too, and I'll be on the lookout for those.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Killer Redhead: Sydney Brown

A special word from AJ Hayes...

Had lunch Friday with one of the few college instructors I respect. One of the best poets I've ever read.

She's about to be published nationwide and poised to become a FORCE. Major talent and a crazy redhead to boot. That's how you spell heaven, boys!

Here's a sample of her work on Muck and Muse. I suspect this family is about to experience the true meaning of noir. "And she was such a pretty girl, so quiet and shy. You'd never suspect there could be SO much blood in so few human bodies."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Eaten Alive

Christopher Grant has started a very fine new site, Eaten Alive. As you might have guessed, it's all zombie fiction, all the time.

The four stories up so far are all excellent and approach the zombie prompt from different angles. The latest there is Richard Godwin's Crotchless Waltz, a grotesque, poetic work from one of the top stylists writing today. Princesa by R.S. Bohn is a breathtaking story with a haunting, understated sadness to it. A site well worth checking out.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Submissions for All Due Respect

We are open for submissions. Right now we're working on the 2012 schedule. I'll be reading all new submissions. (By the way, any story Alec accepted will go up as scheduled.)

What I'm looking for is basically what Alec was looking for--submission guidelines here. But I'll go into a little greater detail that you may find helpful...

-- So far ADR has published one story per month, but the other option (as stated in the guidelines) is to publish three flash pieces by the same author. I would love to see submissions in this format. Especially if the three pieces are somehow linked to one another.

-- The guidelines say 2000-5000 words. However, if you have a 1500 word story (or a 6000 word story) you really believe in and feel is complete, send it on over.

-- My personal bias is toward stories with a strong central conflict and a hefty dose of action.

-- I respond fairly fast. You should have an answer within a week.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Paul D. Brazill's new series arrives with a howl!

PI/werewolf/alcoholic ex-cop Roman Dalton is keeping busy in the first installment, kicking ass and chowing down on the bad guys. There are several tasty tales wrapped up in this short story. In one, Dalton works for the sultry singer, Daria, whose kid sister got mixed up with vicious gangster Ton Ton Phillipe. Then he's off to work for a Mr. Morocco, whose family's been kidnapped... by aliens.

It's exactly as much fun as it sounds, all told in Brazill's blazingly original voice with his gift for absurd metaphors and rapid-fire dialogue.

Plenty of excellent writers have signed on for this project from Trestle Press, like Jason Michel, Richard Godwin. B.R. Stateham, Katherine Tomlinson and Frank Duffy. Can't wait to read the next installment!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ebook Bargain of the Week: Asking for Trouble

Simon Wood is more of a roller coaster operator than a writer--fast-paced, twisty-turny tales populate his thrilling new collection, Asking for Trouble. It's cool to see his kind of style in short form, proving that you don't need a full-length novel to create engaging suspense.

Wood specializes in average-guy-gets-into a-bunch-of-shit stories. I found it fun trying to guess how the main character is going to get it--or weather they'll escape in the end. And though the stories are almost universally dark, Wood sprinkles in a bit of hope here and there.

My favorite story in here (which is also my favorite story in the Akashic anthology, Seattle Noir) is The Taskmasters. It starts with Matt getting into a bar brawl, something he apparently does with some regularity. When a stranger pulls Matt aside and tells him about an organization that could help him get his life together, Matt's quite skeptical. I don't want to give too much away here, but Matt soon discovers that the stranger's intentions aren't exactly pure. What I really liked about this one is how Wood turns the whole motivational, self-help industry on its head.

For only 99 cents at Amazon you get 10 excellent stories plus excerpts from two of Wood's novels.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pablo D'Stair's Free Novellas

Pablo D'Stair released his serialized novella, this letter to Norman Court, in May, posting each of the twenty-odd sections at a different blog.

And what a ride it was. D'Stair possesses an original, engaging voice and, in Trevor English, has created a complex and modern character.

In the second edition of the series, Mister Trot from Tin Street, D'Stair manages to top himself. Trevor is back, this time working a shit job at the local video store. When he discovers a local high school teacher has a six porn-a-week habit, he hatches a scheme to blackmail him. But the teacher, Wynol Trot, is no pushover and the situation gets dicey for Trevor very quickly.

Two things amaze me about this book. The first the sense of suspense. There's nothing contrived about D'Stairs plots. They feel like an organic sequence of events. Unlike most thrillers (I consider this book a thriller, though many people wouldn't), the stakes are relatively low. But through the protagonist's obsessive personality and the intricacy of the games the characters play with each other, D'Stair creates a riveting storyline.

The second is that I end up rooting for this character who's an asshole. Trevor English is selfish, petty, conniving and, as Norman Court says in the first novel, just an awful person. Yet I'm rooting for him. I want him to con this teacher. Maybe it's cause there's no bullshit with him. He is his act, his grifts seem so apart of him that everyone else seems artificial. Or maybe D'Stair's a magician.

The third book in the series, Helen Topaz, Henry Dollar, begins its serialized journey today at Thunderdome. And all three Trevor English novellas are free as ebooks or only $4 for the paperback version--wow.

D'Stair also has started a confession/interview series called Why'd You Go and Do That? The first one is with top noir writer Nigel Bird, who has crafted a moving confession in his patented lyrical style.


On an unrelated note, I've got a story up today at The Flash Fiction Offensive, The Sidewinder. I never send out work that I'm not 100 percent on, but this is a piece I'm particularly proud of. It's a sci-fi/action/noir adventure that I think you'll dig.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


By Paul D. Brazill
Who makes the best beer in the world? Maybe the Czech or Belgians. Definitely not the Danes. Or the  Americans.

But when it comes to short stories, well, the American’s rule the roost, they really do. Flannery O’ Connor, Raymond Carver, Stephen King, Dorothy Parker, Charles Bukowski, Richard Ford,  Kyle Minor. Loads and loads more.

And you can add Les Edgerton to that list.

Monday’s Meal by Leslie H Edgerton was published in 1997 and contains twenty-one tales of dirt realism. Sharp slices of American life. They’re set in New Orleans and Texas. Sometimes in bars or behind bars. They’re about café owners, hairdressers, nightclub musicians, prisoners, ex-cons, drifters and drinkers. 

Monday’s Meal opens and closes ‘Blue Skies’ and ‘Monday’s Meal,' tales of strained relationships. But the real meat is sandwiched between them. And Monday's Meal  is particularly  meaty.

Some favourites: ‘The Mockingbird Café’ is the story of a man in a low-rent bar trying to mind his own business; ‘Hard Times’ is bleak and scary and brilliantly written; ‘The Last Fan’ is a tragic look at a shattered marriage; ‘My Idea Of A Nice Thing’ is a touching and sad story of an alcoholic’s  crumbling life;’Telemarketing,’ is the story of a young couple just trying to get by; ‘I Shoulda Seen a Credit Arranger,’ is a Runyonesque crime story.

And there’s plenty more to enjoy in Monday’s Meal. Edgerton has a strong and sure grasp of the lives of people who are standing on the edge of a precipice.

And  Les Edgerton will soon have a new short- story collection published by the hip new kids on the block, Snubnose Press, which can't be bad!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Round the Web

Over at Apollo's Lyre, there's a spotlight on CrimeFicWriters, a writing group that I'm a part of. Stories there from Jack Bates, Nigel Bird, Kaye George, AJ Hayes, and Jim Harrington.

This is a fantastic group of writers -- supportive, but willing to provide constructive criticism. Mostly we workshop crime fiction, but recently we've had horror and sci-fi too. Anyone interested in joining the group can email me,

At All Due Respect, Copper Smith is victorious in the best title contest with Mutiny on the Pimp Wagon. A blazing tale of revenge from one of crime fiction's most imaginative writers.

At BEAT to a PULP the thrilling Simon Rip saga continues with Garnett Elliott's installment. This is fast, action-packed adventure full of twists, exotic settings and random Hemingway cameos.