Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spinetingler Awards

Very honored to see that Pulp Ink has been nominated for a Spinetingler Award for Best Anthology. Nigel Bird, Steve Weddle, and all the writers put a lot of work into making this collection happen and it's nice to see it get the recognition it deserves.

So, vote for Pulp Ink.

Or vote for Luca Veste's charity anthology Off the Record, or David Cranmer and Scott Parker's Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled.

Some tough choices to make in every category.

I was also thrilled to see Nigel Bird's "Hoodwinked" at All Due Respect earned a nomination for Best Short Story of the Year. Nigel's one of my favorite people and this is one kickass story.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What I'm working on

So I'm writing this here novella. Ordering the letters, words, sentences and paragraphs to go in a certain order--you know, that nonsense writers do.

Anyway, here's the first chapter. It's turning out to be a tale of nihilistic noir. Any thoughts are me.

By Chris Rhatigan


I bowled with Mackey and Slade Wednesday nights. It started because we had all worked at the Pump ’N Munch together. Now I was the only who worked there.

Slade was the best bowler. Usually rolled 200-plus. Could put spin on the ball, make it curlicue. I don’t know why he bowled with us instead of in a league. Mackey and I rarely broke 150.

After we’d bowl, we’d go to the bowling alley’s bar and drink a few pitchers of beer. That’s what we were doing this particular night.

The bar was empty, and the bartender clearly wanted to go home. His elbows were on the bar, hand propping up his head, which looked like it could fall off at any moment, start rolling around on the brown tile floor. His droopy eyes were affixed to a touch-screen game of Keno.

I talked work, Slade talked women, Mackey talked the price of cigarettes, we all talked nostalgia.

We cycled through those topics quickly. Each one felt staler than the previous. We were not drunk enough.

Mackey polished off his glass of beer and poured a refill. He wiped a bit of foam off his mustache. “I break into houses,” he said. “Used to be once in a while, but now it’s a habit. Do it at least once a week.”

Slade said, “So what do you take? Jewelry, electronics, that kind of stuff?”

“No, I don’t take anything. I watch people sleep.”

“So, what, like attractive women?”

“Anyone, really. I like to see the rhythm of their breath. The way couples fight for the covers. How they get up in the middle of the night to take a leak and walk right past me.”

“How do you do it?”

“Do what?”

“Break into houses.”

Mackey cracked his knuckles one by one. “I’ve gotten good at picking deadbolts. But usually I don’t even bother—people leave side doors and windows open.”

Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” played over the speakers. Fucking terrible song. Must have been the fourth time it played that night. I don’t know why places do that. There must be a million songs they could play, but goddamned “Born to Run” is somehow deemed better than all of them on four separate occasions.

A muscular guy with a mullet on lane 24 rolled a strike. His skanky girlfriend in a garbage bag mini-skirt pranced over and embraced him. Good for them.

“I murdered a stranger,” I said. “About five years ago.”

 Mackey said, “How’d you do it?”

“Waited behind a dumpster in that alleyway between First and Jefferson. Some tall guy in a brown suede jacket and jeans passed by. I snuck up behind him. Beat him with a tire iron. Found out later that his name was Rudolph Penscott.”

“That’s a terrible name.”

“I agree.”

Slade ordered another pitcher. The bartender grunted. Managed to tear himself away from his game. I thought another pitcher was pointless—none of us were going to get drunk.  

Slade popped peanuts out of their shells and into his mouth. “I was driving home one time. I was pretty lit. A kid was crossing the street, a boy, no idea why he was out that late or what the fuck he was doing. I mean, where are the parents these days?” He stacked the shells in an obscene little pile. “Anyway, I hit him. He smacked the windshield hard, rolled off. I kept going. Then I put it in reverse and backed up over his body. I thought it would make a crunching sound, but it didn’t.”

Springsteen mercifully stopped singing. Only sound was the low whine of the ceiling fan. The couple on lane 24 had left. I wondered if they were banging in the parking lot. I hoped so. I wanted a look. The bartender had returned to his game.

The three of us stared at the patterns on the casino green rug, poster of some Nascar guy we could have cared less about, the flashing lights on the pinball machine.

We had a smoke outside on the sidewalk. Quiet night. Hot and muggy. Air hung around like it was waiting for a bus.

We went our separate ways.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pulp Ink 2 update

Thrilled to share that Pulp Ink 2 will be published by Snubnose Press. Every Snubnose title I've read so far has been impressive, and I think the collection will fit in nicely with their other selections.

By the by, we've received a whole bunch of submissions so far. If you want in, now's the time to get going, as we won't be open for much longer. Check out the guidelines here. Also, we could use more on the horror side of things. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

MR GLAMOUR by Richard Godwin

Friend of the blog and fantastic writer Richard Godwin is here today to tell us about his second novel, which is fresh off the press from Black Jackal Books...

Designer goods, beautiful women, wealthy men, a lifestyle preyed on by a serial killer.
A killer who is watching everyone, including the police.
Latest headlines?
No, an outline of my second novel, Mr. Glamour.
My debut novel Apostle Rising was published in paperback by Black Jackal Books last year. It was about a serial killer crucifying politicians, and sold extremely well, received excellent reviews, and sold foreign rights to the largest publisher in Hungary.
Now Black Jackal Books have published Mr. Glamour, and I’d like to tell you a bit about it. The settings are exotic, and the pages drip with wealth. The story’s told in my usual style, and my readers will know what that means. I have been told I write with a blend of lyricism and graphic description. I like to explore what motivates people and I certainly do so with the leading characters in Mr. Glamour.
The two central cops, DCI Jackson Flare and Inspector Steele, are unusual and strong in their own ways, as reviewers are already picking up. At the beginning of the novel Steele hates working with Flare for personal reasons. She doesn’t by the end, and the investigation takes them both on a journey which changes them and their opinions of one another.
Let me give you the setting if you are tempted to read Mr. Glamour.
Something dark is preying on the glitz of the glamour set. There is a lot about designer goods and lifestyles in Mr. Glamour. The killer knows all about design, he knows what brands mean to his victims. He is branding their skins. And he has the police stumped.
As Flare and Steele investigate the killings they enter an exclusive world with its own rules and quickly realise the man they are looking for is playing a game with them, a game they cannot interpret. The killer is targeting an exclusive group of people he seems to know a lot about.
The police investigation isn’t helped by the fact that Flare and Steele have troubled lives. Harlan White, a pimp who got on the wrong side of Flare, is planning to have him killed. And Steele has secrets. She leads a double life. She is an interesting woman who pushes her sexual boundaries in private. She travels a journey into her own past and rescues herself. And in a strange way she is helped by the killer she is looking for. And Flare has some revelations in store.
As they try to catch a predator who has climbed inside their heads, they find themselves up
against a wall of secrecy. The investigation drives Flare and Steele to acts of darkness. And the killer is watching everyone.
Then there is the sub plot.
Contrasting this lifestyle is the suburban existence of Gertrude Miller, who acts out strange rituals, trapped in a sterile marriage to husband Ben. She cleans compulsively and seems to be hiding something from him, obsessed that she is being followed. As she slips into a psychosis, characters from the glamorous set stray into Gertrude’s world, so the two plots dovetail neatly with one another.
And when Flare and Steele make an arrest they discover there is far more to this glamorous world than they realised. There is a series of shocks at the end of the novel as a set of fireworks go off. Watch out for the highly dramatic ending.
It is already picking up some great reviews.
Advance praise for Mr. Glamour:
“Richard Godwin knows how his characters dress, what they drink and what they drive. He knows how they live--- and how they die. Here's hoping no one recognized themselves in Godwin's cold canvas. Combines the fun of a good story with the joy of witty, vivid writing.”
Heywood Gould, author of The Serial Killer's Daughter.

“Smart, scary, suspenseful enough for me to keep the light on until 3AM on a Sunday night, Richard Godwin once more proves to fans of crime fiction the world over with Mr. Glamour, that he is not only one of the best contemporary writers of the procedural cop thriller around today, he is a master storyteller.”  
Vincent Zandri, author of Scream Catcher.

“Richard Godwin’s top-of-the-line psychological police procedural driven by its heady pace, steely dialogue, and unsparing vision transfixes the reader from page one.” 
Ed Lynskey, author of Skin In The Game.

 “Mr. Glamour is a striking effort from one of the most daring crime writers in the business. It is the noirest of noir...and hellishly addictive.”
Mike Stafford, BookGeeks Magazine.

“This first rate detective thriller will have you gripped from the start. Richard Godwin is an author not to be missed.”
Sheila Quigley Author of Thorn In My Side.

“Mr Glamour is, in every sense of the word, the real McCoy: genuine hard boiled detective fiction.  Lean, gritty, and tough, it’s a journey into the heart of darkness ... you won’t soon forget. Connoisseurs of Nouveau Noir will have to add Richard Godwin to the list of writers to watch!”
C E Lawrence, author of Silent Kills.

“Involving and compellingly sinister, Richard Godwin’s Mr. Glamour portrays cops and criminals, the mad and the driven in a novel of psychological noir. Read it while snuggling with your stuffed teddy bear for comfort.”
Gary Phillips, author of Treacherous: Grifters, Ruffians and Killers

“This is one outstanding novel written by one amazing author.”
Fran Lewis Review.

I think Mr. Glamour will appeal to mystery and crime aficionados, to readers interested in psychological profiling and designer lifestyles, to thriller and noir fans, and to anyone who enjoys a fast paced narrative with strong characters.
Mr. Glamour can be bought now at
at all good retailers online and in stores in April. If you Google it you should see a range of options come up.
And you can find out more about me at my website
and my stories here

Monday, March 19, 2012

I'll watch you drown for free

A collection of 14 of my noir stories is now free on Smashwords.

It's a grand tour of loserdom, but in a fun way.

I'm pretty bad at this self-promotion thing, so, um, go get it! Go go go go!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Man Standing Behind by Pablo D'Stair

After reading D'Stair's series about small-time con man Trevor English, I knew I needed to read more of him. Also, because he's apeshit bonkers, his books are free. (Go look him up on Smashwords.)

The latest one I read is Man Standing Behind, and damn if it isn't one tight piece of writing. The premise is genius and simple: Roger is waiting in line at an ATM when a dude with a gun comes up behind him. But it turns out this guy doesn't want money. He wants Roger to accompany him on a journey. The journey has many stops in which the man catches up with old friends and acquaintances... and proceeds to shoot each one of them, seemingly for the joy of it.

D'Stair is a remarkably disciplined writer. The real payoff of this book is everything you never learn about--Why Roger? Why is this guy killing everyone he knows? Why doesn't Roger do anything about it? Who is Roger, besides a guy who is being forced to go places? D'Stair keeps his focus narrow to the point of absurdity.

At the end, I was unsure if this was a work of suspense or a work of anti-suspense. In fact, I was uncertain of literally everything. And it's D'Stairs ability to generate this unnerving experience that makes him brilliant.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Christopher Grant at All Due Respect

When Christopher Grant pops up, you know he means business. He has a series of flash pieces about the exploits of futuristic assassin Deviation Jones that you don't want to miss.

For all the non-stop action, check out All Due Respect.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Submissions Open: PULP INK 2

Pulp Ink is back--and like an HGH-injecting professional athlete, it's only getting stronger. We just hit 500 sales and are still in the top 100 mystery anthologies on Amazon.

That's why co-editor Nigel Bird and I are getting the band back together...

It's time for Pulp Ink 2. 

This collection will be a bit different than volume 1. This time we're looking crime AND horror stories. (Mash-ups of the two are also encouraged.) It's going to be a bit leaner than the original--fifteen stories.

But we still want that Pulp Ink attitude--fun, dark, action-packed fiction with characters who like to swear. (For more information, go buy the book.)

You want in?

Here's what we're looking for:
-- Crime, horror, and crime/horror
-- No traditional mysteries, police/PI procedurals, slasher/serial killer stuff, or people-talking-at-a-table stories
-- 1000-5000 words
-- MS Word documents only
-- One submission per author
-- Include a bio at the end of the story
-- No reprints
-- Unlike the first volume, this will not be tied to any particular theme

Got it? Good. Send it over to

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Top Five for 2011: Erin Cole

Erin Cole is one of the top writers of short horror. Her work made several top five lists at this very blog. If you're not hip to her, you should become so. She also blogs at Here are some stories from last year that she dug.

Consciousness, by Lily Childs - Lily Childs Feardom
There is a bit of magic in Lily's writing, and her piece, “Consciousness,” which won the UK's Writing Magazine/Writers News online forum's monthly One Word Challenge (stream), is one write that really stuck with me this year.  The rhythm of prose and creative imagery is brilliant and deeply inspiring.

Small Green Things, by Chris Allinotte - Thrillers, Killers, 'n' Chillers

I always look forward to reading a story from Chris, because there’s no telling where you’re going to go, be it quirky, scary, thrilling, or just downright fun to read.  Most of the time, you get all of that in one story, like in “Small Green Things.”  And you can’t beat his endings.

The Exoneration, by Angel Zapata - Bolts of Silk

I had to include one of Angel’s poems, because I love them so.  There is a treasure of passion, darkness, and wisdom in his work, and I often find myself reading his pieces multiple times…they really are that good.

Spin Top – Swan on the Rocks, by Jodi MacArthur - Flashes in the Dark

There is no shortage of originality in Jodi’s work, and “Spin Top – Swan on the Rocks,” is one of those writes that resonates with me.  Her perspective and prose is always an unexpected adventure into the darkness of mind and soul, and of course, I love that.

Down by the River, by Lydia S Gray - Brain Harvest

This is probably one of my most favorite reads this year.  Lydia isn’t afraid to cross certain boundaries, and she does so with confidence.  This story is absolute perfection in its details, execution, darkness, humor, and creativity. I would pay big money for her muse.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Over at Near2theKnuckle

I'm at Near2theKnuckle today with "The Gun by His Bed." A gun-owning suburbanite wakes up to discover a burglar is in his home. Things get complicated fast.

This is one of the stories featured in my collection Watch You Drown.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Confessions of a Black Dog by Jason Michel

Confessions of a Black Dog is a novel that defies categorization. It's an intoxicating, thoughtful, roller coaster of an experience.

Jason Michel (aka Dictator of Pulp Metal Magazine and Stories from Old Lurk) dives head-first into the mind of Sam Morgan, a reclusive fella who's girlfriend has just dumped him. He wanders near and far, in search of friends, smokes, booze, and peace of mind.

Like Michel's recent novella, And the Street Screamed Blue Murder!, this book gleefully jumps between genres--magical realism, crime, horror, mainstream--and is chocked full of delightful, incisive observations about nearly everything, from what makes people tick to the inner-workings of Bangkok and London.

Confessions, more than anything else, is a human book and that's why I really dig about it. Michel writes big characters--from neurotic and lovable Sam, to the complete asshole Figgis, to the free-spirited Joy, to the implacable Oz--each one distinct and enjoyable.

They fuck, they drink, they fight, they die, they defend each other.  They do what humans do in the little world Michel has fashioned for them.

And the reader gets a front row seat.

Friday, March 2, 2012


The Short Mystery Fiction Society's Derringer Award nominees were recently announced and voting is now open.

Congrats to friend of the blog John Kenyon who has been nominated in the flash fiction category for "Countdown," which appeared at Thrillers, Killers, 'n Chillers. Nice to see a number of Internet pubs honored for this award, including Yellow Mama, Beat to a Pulp, A Twist of Noir, The Flash Fiction Offensive, and Shotgun Honey.


Phil Beloin Jr. has the 23rd edition of All Due Respect with the delightfully nihilistic "Noirville." After you check that out, you'll want to swing by and pick up his fine novel, The Big Bad.