Wednesday, August 31, 2011

All Due Respect Closed for Submissions

We've got the schedule for All Due Respect pretty much set until the middle of next year. So I'm closing submissions for now.

They'll probably open again in early 2012.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Over at Patti Abbott's blog

I'm talking about editing Pulp Ink over at pattinase.

All around class act Patti Abbott was cool enough to host this one. It's part of her excellent series in which writers and editors give behind-the-scenes looks at how they get it done.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

E-book Bargain of the Week: Beat on the Brat by Nigel Bird

Nigel Bird screamed onto the crime scene with his story "Beat on the Brat," winner of last year's Watery Grave International competition.

And with good reason. It's a sharply written tale about the cost of loyalty expertly told from multiple perspectives. "Beat on the Brat" also highlights Bird's aptitude for writing hardboiled stories that are simultaneously moving and emotionally complex -- no easy feat.

One of my favorites here is "Back to Black." This nuanced short takes the reader to the back alleys of Tranent and gets inside the mind of a child molester who has returned to his hometown. Bird's gift for creating sympathetic characters is on display here and at the end, I can't help but feel bad for the bad guy. 

"Dance with Me" is one I hadn't seen before about a bounty hunter and a criminal linked together by handcuffs at JFK. It's punchy and funny with a good twist.

This is Bird's second well-crafted collection of Brit Grit stories this year. Check it out for only 99 cents on Amazon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My TBR List

First off, a stellar review of Pulp Ink over at Crime Fiction Lover.

Next, here's what I've got coming up here along with my TBR list (also, I'm currently reading MANIFESTO DESTINATION by Alec Cizak)

Upcoming reviews:
THE CHAOS WE KNOW by Keith Rawson
BEAT ON THE BRAT by Nigel Bird
KILLING MUM by Allan Guthrie

DRUNK ON THE MOON, installments 2-4
D*CKED (anthology)
DEADLY TREATS (anthology)
WARMED AND BOUND (anthology)
MAYHEM by R. Thomas Brown

Hmm... think that's about it. What are you all reading now?

Nigel Bird on Pulp Ink

... and Beat on the Brat and a new novel project he's working on. A busy fellow that Nigel is!

Check it out over at Iain Rowan's blog, More News from Nowhere.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Convictions by Julie Morrigan

Julie Morrigan's debut novel Convictions is a fantastic read that turns the traditional police procedural form on its head.

You see, I'm not much for police procedurals. I've watched enough Law & Order in my day -- or any one of its million ripoffs on American TV. When it comes to reading, I tend to stray away from them.

But Convictions sets itself part. The book starts with two sisters who sneak out to see a boy band concert. They're kidnapped when the older sister, Tina, accepts a gift from a stranger. She manages to get away, but her little sister, Annie, isn't as lucky.

The first half of the book focuses on the results of this devastating incident on the family, how the stress of it pulls them apart. The mother blames Tina for everything and refuses to forgive her, which weighs on Tina throughout the novel. The second half is more about the investigation of the case, but Tina's progress is still a main part of the story.

Interestingly, I don't think there's a traditional main character in this book. It's more of an ensemble cast with this single incident playing the part of the protagonist. It's almost as if Julie took this event and explored every possible angle of it. This makes for a nuanced and layered narrative.

Convictions is compelling, page-turning stuff, but with a strong emotional core and a dynamic cast of characters.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Get Some! (High Quality E-Reads)

Kent Gowran, editor of kickass webzine Shotgun Honey, highlighted Pulp Ink as part of his list at Amazon of high quality e-reads.

It's an honor to be up here with other great collections by authors like Keith Rawson, Nigel Bird, David Cranmer, Paul Brazill, and John Hornor Jacobs.

Brit Grit by Paul D. Brazill

Like many in the crime fiction world, I've been following Paul Brazill's work for a while now. He always delivers funny, dark, tightly structured crime stories that leave me wanting more.

His new collection from Trestle Press, Brit Grit, is no exception. It's simply Brazill at his best.

Classic PDB characters stroll on stage here like Kenny the Cokehead in "A Can Short of a Six Pack" and "The Sharpest Tools in the Box" and alcoholic PI Peter Ord in "The Night Watchman." Brazill's knack for mining life's absurd moments (as he once one put it) is on full display here, as is his razor sharp dialogue.

"White Ink" is a prime example of both those abilities -- a horny, drunk loser is trying to use whatever charms he has left on a hot librarian. Both are out for a night of fun, though what they interpret "fun" as is, uh, different.

Nine tales from the noir master for 99 cents. Check it out on Amazon or Amazon UK.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Zombies Coming at You

Full deck of zombies over at Christopher Grant's Eaten Alive.

AJ Hayes has a tight and punchy flash piece about the zombie apocalypse that I just love. He does the short-short with remarkable consistency and style.

I also have what I consider a fairly unorthodox zombie story in The Scent of Rotting Leaves. It's some dark shit, even for me.

More zombie action from the likes of Michael J. Solender, Katherine Tomlinson and Michael Moreci.

You can also read AJ, Solender and myself in Pulp Ink, only $2.99 at Amazon.

New Yellow Mama!

New issue of YM came out earlier this week jam-packed with stories and poetry.

Julia Madeleine has a striking story in Community. A young woman is taking care of an older man as part of her community service when she discovers a fascinating series of photo albums. All, as you might expect, is not as it seems. Madeleine expertly handles the slow burn suspense and immerses the reader with creepy atmosphere.

Plenty of other great stuff up too, including Jim Harrington's bounty hunter story Two Down One to Go, poetry from AJ Hayes, and stories from Richard Godwin, Jason Duke, Cindy Rosmus, and many more.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hired Guns by Mark Boss

Hector Tombs is a paroled LA gangbanger working a security job for a massive corporation. That all disintegrates when an employee guns down several of his co-workers, including Hector's girlfriend. When the shooter is finally taken down, Tombs is surprised to see a big, slimy slug wriggle its way out of the gunman's body. He captures the slug and takes it to the company's CEO, Stephen Corrada.

This might have been a mistake, as Hector then gets in the middle of an international battle between Corrada and an old rival, who has sinister plans for these bizarre slugs. 

Hired Guns is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller. Boss has clearly done his homework on everything from prosthetic limbs to computer hacking. But he never lets his research get in the way of delivering a fun story.

Pulp Ink at Criminal-E

Over at Criminal-E, Allan Guthrie has posted the openings to every story from Pulp Ink

A lot of good ones there. Paul Brazill's is one of my favorites, as he brings his trademark sense of humor to his Peter Ord story, "The Lady & the Gimp."  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gun Control by Katherine Tomlinson

Many of you probably Katherine Tomlinson as the former editor of the (now dearly departed) Dark Valentine Magazine.

What you may not know is that she's also one hell of a writer. She proves that once again with Gun Control, a shorty for Chuck Wendig's weekly flash challenge that simply knocked me on my ass.

Strippers and crime -- they go together like chocolate and peanut butter.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Guy is Back

So once upon a time there was a guy at the top of this blog... Those who have been with me from the start (or, um, since the late spring) will know what I'm talking about. He was created using the ridiculous program Mad Men Yourself. He was smoking two cigarettes and had a mustache.

He was glorious.

But then, like all awesome things, he was lost when I was screwing around with the design of the site. Now... he has returned in all-new threads over at the Pulp Ink blog. (I wanted to put him up here but it didn't fit with the Blade Runner background.)

By the way, the contest is now over. Glad to see so much interest in the anthology.

Pulp Ink Giveaway

Alright, cats and kittens (as Chris Holm would say).

In celebration of the release of the best crime fiction anthology since Jewel released her book of poetry, I will be giving away Pulp Ink to the first five people to email me ( in whatever format you like -- Kindle, Nook, Sony e-reader, Adobe document, carrier pigeon, etc.

One catch -- it would be super awesome if you review it on Amazon some time in the near future.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Criminal Thoughts on Pulp Ink

One of my new favorite blogs is Ron Brown's Criminal Thoughts. It's (mostly) reviews of the form I love -- the short story. He possesses a unique and engaging style. His output is simply ridiculous yet he gives every story careful consideration.

Check out what he has to say about Pulp Ink over at his blog.

PULP INK is live!

PULP INK is out now on Amazon and Smashwords. And check out the brand new PULP INK blog

Sure, I could blather on about it, but here's the legendary Julie Morrigan (of GONE BAD and CONVICTIONS fame) with a review that made my heart skip a beat... or was that a clogged artery? 

In any event, here she is.

Pulp Ink is a gutsy, gritty collection of twenty-four twisted tales from some of the finest crime writers around.

Told with attitude, passion, and panache, these are stories about the morally ambiguous seedy underbelly of modern living, featuring hitmen, thieves, rapists, psychopaths, murderers and whores. From the first - Reed Farrel Coleman’s brilliantly brutal "Requiem for a Spider," to the last - Matt Lavin’s unsavoury, unsettling "The Only One Who Could Ever Reach Me," every story in this collection is a gem: multi-faceted, perfectly cut, and polished to perfection.

Pulp Ink may explore familiar territory: revenge, lust, greed, murder, betrayal and downright stupidity, but it does so unflinchingly and in its own indomitable style. Whether the sharp, dry northern noir of Paul D. Brazill or the sensual and deadly dark lyricism of Richard Godwin, the violent Old Testament-style retribution of AJ Hayes or Matthew C Funk’s bloody tale of perverse family ties, every one of these stories punches its weight.

Pulp Ink shines a light on the side of life we choose to ignore.

This is one of the best collections of short fiction you will ever see. Grab it now: Pulp Ink is ready to thrill, chill and entertain in ways you never thought possible.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Oh goodness, what's this????

E-book Bargain of the Week: JAMES EVERINGTON

Occasionally you discover a writer through sheer random chance. I don't remember where it was or why (oh, wait, yes I do -- I was reading it to avoid work of course!) but I recently read an interview with James Everington.

He seemed to approach the horror genre in a different, novel way. His book was 99 cents and a few minutes later I was reading it.

His collection The Other Room is simply riveting. For whatever reason, I'm not much on the scary side of horror. It's more the unsettling, bizarre, surrealist side of horror that I like. And that's what Everington delivers here.

The title story is about an average bloke at a business conference who finds his hotel room key also opens the room next door. Strange thing about that room -- it's a mirror image of his. Later, when he hears people having sex in this other room, he becomes envious of them. But exploring the universe of the other room turns out to be a costly mistake.

This is Everington at his best -- putting his character on an elevator going straight to purgatory as he dismantles reality piece by piece.

"The Watchers" is another gem about a girl who morphs to everyone's idea of attractiveness. But instead of a blessing, it's a curse, as she has no fixed identity and only sees a sort of blur in the mirror. Another startling idea that matures into a very fine story.

And, for writing process nuts like myself, Everington includes a bit at the end about how he came up with each story. This is a brilliant collection that anyone with an interest in this particular genre should pick up.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Good Day by Darren Sant

By Aj Hayes

Years ago I was diving at Martinique in the French Carribean. At place called Diamond Rock. I was at about 130 feet, just loafing along looking at the broken coral, sand and sea grass bottom when something caught my eye. At that depth, all color has for the most part vanished to be replaced with the ocean's endless monochrome blues, grays and blacks.

But suddenly in the midst of all the subdued pallet,  I was hit square in the eyes by a spot of indescribably brilliant, neon yellow. Turned out it was a small sponge that somehow retained the ability to show its incandescent natural yellow in the colorless depths of the sea. It shocked me, that sponge, snapped me out of my undersea revery like a cattle prod to my, um, nether regions. I wondered how and why the small entity had gained the ability to stay so vivid. I still don't know.

A Good Day by Darren Sant has that characteristic. It's set in a colorless, hopeless world at the bottom of the heap. In a place as dark as the abyss. So dark that the abyss has a clearer view of things than the people existing there.

There's a seagull. Not a pretty one. A sort of last chance, dingy winged seagull making its precarious living off of alley scraps.  And this guy. This broke down, sneak thief, heroin riddled guy on the far end of survival. Plus there's this kid. In trouble and scared and silent and hopeless and nobody cares. Except maybe this guy we talked about already. He does something this guy. He does something that startles me as much as the sponge did shining out in the depths. And for a moment I think: Maybe. But then . . . well . . . remember where you are, boyo.

But you know, I remember that yellow sponge. How it made me feel.

I'll remember A Good Day also. How it made me feel.

I think you will too.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I'm up over at Pablo D'Stair's place with a confession in his series, Why'd You Go And Do That? After my confession and questions from Pablo about my writing, we turn the tables. 

Be sure to check out the confessions with other writers as well. I particularly like Pablo's confession to Caleb Ross about how he stole thirty bucks from his mom when he was three years old. In his interview responses, he cuts to the core of what crime writing is all about. Take this bit: 

It’s the fundamental thing with crime, with being criminal (in my experience and lay observation)—when it boils down to it, everyone will confess because it will become unbearable to not be known for what you truly are, to know that no one knows you, you’re adrift, you’re a story you obsesses over that no one else cares about.

Sharp stuff.

The third novella in Pablo's Trevor English series, Helen Topaz, Henry Dollar, is now available for free from Smashwords. The first two are also available for free. Trust me, these are worth reading. D'Stair is one of the finest stylists in crime writing and has created a vivid, realistic character in Trevor English.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

All Due Respect Interview

I've received a lot of good submissions for All Due Respect so far. Hope that continues.

If you want a glimpse into what I'm looking for, or you really just like hearing me talk, check out this interview with Alec and me at Duotrope.

Friday, August 5, 2011

THE BIG BAD by Phil Beloin, Jr.

If you want a fast-paced, dark, nasty ride, then Beloin's new novel is the ticket.

One morning Nick Constantine, a petty thug and bar owner, wakes up with a massive hangover and an erection. He finds there's a blonde sleeping next to him and does what any gentleman would do -- have sex with her when she's asleep.

Oops, she's a bit more than asleep. She's kind of dead.

I dug this move. Beloin draws a line in the sand -- either you're with him or you're running away, screaming about propriety and the like.

Anyways, turns out that Nick's been framed, and it's going to be quite a journey for him to work his way out of that jamb. In between fighting other bad guys, Nick is ceaselessly trying to score and drowning his liver in booze and beer. The Big Bad proves to be a tour of the Connecticut underworld (which, contrary to popular opinion, does exist) through the eyes of a likable-yet-insane anti-hero. Nick redeems himself a bit by the end, but he's still essentially a sleezeball necrophiliac.

I first read Beloin at sites like A Twist of Noir and The Flash Fiction Offensive. All of his formidable skill that I first noticed -- tight dialogue, sound plotting and a knack for the grotesque -- is on display here. It's cool to see him working his way up with this fine book.