Thursday, January 31, 2013

Out Now: All Due Respect

I'm thrilled to announce that All Due Respect: The Anthology is out now in ebook form (print coming soon). Huge thanks to all the writers, CJ Edwards at Full Dark City Press, Eric Beetner for the cover art, and Alec Cizak for founding the site.
Only 99 cents for 29 crime tales. Here are the US and UK links.

With stories by Joe Clifford, Tom Hoisington, Mike Toomey, Erin Cole, Stephen D. Rogers, Scotch Rutherford, Patricia Abbott, Nigel Bird, Andrez Bergen, Benedict J. Jones, Garnett Elliott, Alec Cizak, Christopher Grant, Gary Clifton, Jack Bates, Ryan Sayles, Tom Pitts, Pete Risley, CJ Edwards, Jim Wilsky, Chris Leek, Richard Godwin, Mark Joseph Kiewlak, Mike Monson, Tyler M. Mathis, Matthew C. Funk, Fiona Johnson, Ron T. Brown, David Cranmer.

Sure, I could tell you that the book's good, but what the hell do I know? Here are a couple of guys who know their business...

"ALL DUE RESPECT is the sort of anthology you dole out to yourself piecemeal. You read 'Even Sven' and then shake your head, looking off into the distance, trying to make sure you start breathing again. You read Matt Funk and Patti Abbott the way you eat a good meal in that restaurant you go to for your anniversary. You savor the characters, the plot undertones. When a Joe Clifford character says that something 'tastes like a cat’s ass,' you nod that, yeah, that character probably has that experience. Full of great stories from David Cranmer, Thomas Brown, Fiona Johnson, Ryan Sayles and more, ALL DUE RESPECT is a book you’ll read a story at a time, maybe one a night, like that after-dinner drink you can’t put down." - Steve Weddle, editor, NEEDLE: A Magazine of Noir

"Highlighting lowlifes in hardboiled homilies - these stories stick it in and break it off. Tender as a brick, subtle as a Molotov Cocktail." -Jedidiah Ayres author of Fierce Bitches

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I've got a story in this one, so this is by no means an unbiased review. But I enjoyed Nightfalls (edited by Katherine Tomlinson) because of the range of interpretations on how the world is going to end. There's a great variety of genres--and stories outside of any particular genre--represented here.

Christopher Grant's "Deja Vu" is a favorite for its funhouse mirror narrative style and disjointed prose. By the end of this one, you won't know if up is down and left is right.

"Amidst Encircling Gloom" by Val Sweeny is also one of the more surreal stories in this collection. A god is living on earth working construction when he gets the call to fight the demons of hell. Seems like it'll be a losing battle. Sweeny's imaginative writing makes this one a must-read.

Matthew Funk's "It's Not the End of the World" is a change from his usual gritty crime fiction. Instead, it's about the failure and brief redemption of a relationship. It's a touching, authentic piece.

"Princess Soda and the Bubblegum Queen" by RC Barnes is another emotionally packed story about the relationship between two sisters in a post-apocalyptic world. So many fine details in this one.

Plenty of more good stuff in Nightfalls, so check it out.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Five You Can't Miss -- Joe Clifford

Mike Miner, "Kidnapped," Pulp Ink II

Haunting. Nostalgic. Utterly Southern California. This piece evokes a mood that you can't shake. Furthermore, if you are a writer, it will make you jealous. Who knows how to write a perfect short story? Even the best purveyors of the form hit clunkers, can't replicate past success, etc.  In short, a degree of luck & magic & wonder has to be involved, a confluence of events, the perfect word storm. Who the fuck knows? But if we could deduce a formula for perfection, we would. But Miner comes as close to perfect as I've ever seen. I'm talking right up there with "Ordo" by Westlake and "Bullet in the Brain" by Wolff. Just fabulous.

Heath Lowrance, "My Life with the Butcher Girl," Pulp Ink II

In the name of full disclosure, I was in Pulp Ink II. And this is the second story that pissed me off for being so fucking good (pissed off, of course, in a good way). The first time I was able to chalk it up to a fluke. Second time? To quote Val Kilmer's Doc, "My hypocrisy only goes so far." Rarely have I felt so outclassed (except of course when I wake up). Miner and Lowrance are the 1, 2 punch in this collection for me. Here, Lowrance draws loosely on Amanda Knox. Or maybe that's just my connection because I love Knox so fucking much. This is pop culture and down & dirty noir; the little death never felt so divine.

Nicky Murphy, "Daddy's Girl," Flash Fiction Offensive; Out of the Gutter 8

Yeah. This is cheating. I edited it for FFO. The online zine, and then for our anthology. But there is no way I can make a list of can't miss and not include it. Like Miner's, this piece is an exercise in perfection. It is the story I direct everyone to when they are trying to craft hardboiled flash and are having a tough time grasping the concept. Murphy nails everything here--character, mood, turn, and last lines don't come any better. I've put this on every Best Of list every chance I get, and awarded it FFO's coveted mantle (that I made up) of Year's Best. You can't put a 1,000 words to any better use.

Tom Pitts, Vigil, Near to the Knuckle

The number one piece of advice I give writers trying to submit to our magazine is don't have your story revolve around two people just talking. Why? Because it never works. All the pithy dialogue, the Tarantino-esque riffs on pop culture don't work, and nothing can be revealed about character when nothing happens. Of course most don't write as well as (FFO co-editor) Tom Pitts, who uses a deathbed scene to reveal plenty. John is coming-of-age, and his tough guy grandfather is leaving behind a lifetime worth of regret, which offers the the boy an opportunity to make the right choice. It's a Michael Corleone moment, with dialogue and pathos from a man who knows the lowlife world intimately, and he layers his exposition expertly. Like "Hills Like White Elephants," don't try this at home.

Alexander Maksik, "Snake River Gorge," Tin House

Fuck Tin House. About a year ago, I bit the bullet and bought a subscription to see what stories they took (since they routinely reject mine). For a year I've read what they call fiction, and I can honestly say you could pluck 10 random writers off my Facebook wall who write better fiction. I don't give a shit about the pedigree or name. The majority of stories Tin House runs bore me shitless. It's why I gave up writing "literary fiction." Pretentious assholes. Except this one. Which is everything great literary fiction should be. Think: teenage Amway on the run, and the art of bullying underscoring the very fabric of humanity. Yeah, it's that good. (Damn you, Tin House.)

Bio: Joe Clifford is the editor of The Flash Fiction Offensive and producer of Lip Service West, a “gritty, real, raw” reading series in Oakland, CA. His short story collection, ChoiceCuts, is out now. His novels Wake the Undertaker (Snubnose Press) and Junkie Love (Vagabondage Press) will be published later this year. Much of Joe’s writing can be found here. He has been to jail but never prison.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Shotgun Honey: Both Barrels

I probably read Shotgun Honey more than any other web site. It's like fast food (without the labor violations, cardiac arrest, and merciless destruction of the planet).

I always know what I'm going to get--well-crafted crime fiction that will take less than ten minutes to read. Good when I need a dose of fiction in the middle of the day.

In the anthology (edited by Ron Earl Phillips, Sabrina Ogden, Kent Gowran, and Chad Rohrbacher), the site's stable of writers have a bit more time to stretch out, though the stories remain lean and in the publication's style.

"The Rhythm of Life" by Nigel Bird shows what a different mind he possesses. What could be a stock story about a killer luring in victims evolves into something more because of the narrator's unique perspective and powerful voice. Here's how it opens:

"Know why people gather at fountains? I'll tell you. It's the music. The notes. The way falling drops make a symphony. That's why."

Immediately we know we're in good hands. Here's an absurdly self-assured character who makes definitive statement after definitive statement.

I make it a point to read every Jen Conley story out there. Her writing is crisp, detailed, and without the irony that sometimes bogs down modern crime fiction. "Escape" is a fine example of her work. Leah's psychotic ex-boyfriend is after her, and she's fighting to survive. It's a condensed thriller with an affecting ending.

In a genre known for lowlife characters, Garnett Elliott writes some the grungiest characters around. "Chicken Soup for the Hole" (what a name!) concerns Kathi and Barbara, a couple of aging, crusty hippies desperately hocking their wears at the Soulful Spirit Holistic Wellness Expo. When Kathi meets up with an old flame who has a new book out, she thinks she'll finally be able to move out of Barbara's shitty trailer. But she should know better--writers don't make money on books.

Tons of other sharp stories in here from Paul D. Brazill, Steve Weddle, Matthew C. Funk, Naomi Johnson, and many more. Check it out US and UK

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Five You Can't Miss -- Nigel Bird

I’ve loved the short stories that I’ve read over the year. There are so many and people seem to be rather good at writing them.

As usual, I make my choice with some combination of gut and brain and hope that the result is helpful to you.

The first couple of picks have something in them that is similar – they’re perfectly rounded. In their wonderfully shaped endings, they really pack a dynamite kick to the emotions.

First off is Craig Wallwork’s 'Night Holds A Scythe’, the openener from his collection Quintessence Of Dust. It’s beautiful and painful at the same time. A father is flying with his daughter trying to find safety. The problem is that, because of a deadly virus, the only way for them to stay alive is to stay awake. I guess it’s a straightforward concept, but it’s what Wallwork does with it that counts. It tapped into many of my own insecurities about being a human and a father. What wouldn’t I do to keep my children safe? How awful would it be to sense their inevitable destruction and to be the only one in a position to take any action at all? It’s tense and difficult, yet it is gentle and soft, the looping theme of alphabet cards that structures the unfolding of a family’s world. ‘E’ is for excellent. ‘O’ for outstanding. ‘L’ is for lump in the throat. ‘X’? ‘X’ is for X-factor, that feeling I sometimes get in the core of my body after a brilliant tale – a cross between awe, defeat, admiration and pain.

It’s a beautiful, fragile thing.

Next, I’m doing something I’ve tried to avoid, which is picking from the collection I edited with Chris called Pulp Ink 2.

The one I’m selecting is by Mike Miner and it’s called ‘Kidnapped’.

I also found this one beautiful, partly for its sense of symmetry.

A young boy is taken (in more ways than one) by his father’s beautiful girlfriend and they spend some time together. The surprises are keenly felt, but there’s a tone and an honesty about this one that had me thinking of ‘Plastic Soldiers’ from 2011. Brilliant.

The next pair also go together in some ways.

Allan Heathcock’s Volt may not have been as consistently electrifying as I had hoped, but there are some incredible stories in there none-the-less.

‘Furlough’ is the icing on the cake for me. It’s my favourite here and is about a modern-day war veteran trying to find his feet.

Here’s a little of Furlough. Jorgen is telling the girl he’s escorting about his pet:

“I got a bird,” he said.

“A bird?”

“A little parakeet.”

“What’s she called?”

Jorgen felt uneasy. “Don’t know,” he said.”Never called it nothing.” Mary Ellen smacked his shoulder. Laughed like he’d told a joke. He watched her mouth, the white of her teeth, the gap in the front. “Tried to set it free today, but it wouldn’t go.”

“Bet you treat it well.”

“It don’t say one way or the other.”

“It didn’t fly off,” she said. “That’s how it says."

“I guess.”

“You might be too nice for my cousin,” Mary Ellen said. “She’d eat you alive.”

“I ain’t that nice.”

Which is such a fine demonstration of who Jorgen is and adds to the sense of building menace of the story.

And there’s some beautiful description to illuminate the darkness of the work which acts as a counterpoint to the blunt overall style. Try this picture of a building fire on for size:

‘In the lane, oil lapped tiny spectral flames like a riot of hummingbirds.’

Perfect, no?

Its partner is by Steve Rasnic Tem from his collection Ugly Behavior.

My pick (and forgive me if I can’t recall the name) illustrates the writer's skills very well. It's about a man who lives in isolation. His world is dominated by the images he's paid to work with. His clients generally require something a little unusual. In order to cope with the disturbing material he has to use, he focuses upon detail, practically seeing the world in pixels. The author works with a similar attention to detail. He managed to draw me in for a close look, then would zoom out to offer a bigger picture and then POW!

There are some of the writer’s recurring themes here - the difficulties of relationships, the difficulties caused by seeing the world from a fixed perspective, art and images, close-ups and distance, the complications of leaving trails of memory and the need to leave some evidence that we've been on the planet once death has been and gone.

The last pick is a newer piece by a man called Chris Rhatigan. For all that this may seem like some kind of nepotism, you’ll have to accept that I select it honestly and think you’ll understand if you take a read.

It’s from the charity collection Nightfalls and it’s called ‘Forward Is Where The Croissantwich Is’.

As with all the tales in the book, it focuses on the end of the world.

What I love about this is the way it works in little circles, layers overlapping layers as a man confused by some of life’s simple experiences. By keeping things simple, he seems to create a wonderful depth by adding some kind of new dimension. The best way I can find of to describe it is to mention that it reminds me of my own thought processes during some of my drug-taking experiences better than most other fiction I’ve read and that’s no mean achievement.

Thanks to all for the work I’ve read this year and I look forward to many good years in 2013.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Five You Can't Miss -- Court Merrigan

Lucy in the Pit, by Jordan Harper (Thuglit #1)

I'm sure Jordan Harper doesn't hate dogs. Almost.

Grit, by Tom Franklin (from Poachers: Stories)

Okay, so this story isn't from anywhere near 2012 (it was published in 1999), but, man, the story is exactly what the title promises. Exactly. Tom Franklin's got as secure a place at the tippy-top of American letters as anyone going.

Occupy Opportunity, Joe Clifford (Pulp Ink 2)

Great writing; bonus points for making making screeching patchouli hippies into a fictional opportunity.

The last two I cheated on, on account of editing them: 

Tourettes, by Les Edgerton (Bareknuckles Pulp Dept, Out of the Gutter Online)

I solicited this story from Les Edgerton to kick off the Out of the Gutter Bareknuckles Pulp Dept., and the man did not disappoint.

The Little Death, by Keisha Lynne Ellis, (PANK Pulp Issue)

This one came through the queue out of hundreds of submissions for the PANK Pulp Issue, and it still sticks with me. A threesome with Jesus & Che? Yeah.

Friday, January 18, 2013

At All Due Respect -- Tom Pitts

Over the last year, I became one of the many fans of Tom Pitts. He's at All Due Respect this issue with a story about the San Francisco underground, "Soldier Boy," and has another in the upcoming ADR anthology, "The Biggest Myth."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Five You Can't Miss -- Jane Hammons

Smokelong Quarterly
Stephen Graham Jones
I love the incantatory prose and the way the events are listed to create a sense of dread. The repetition of "This is to . . ." is hypnotic: we can not look away.

Speaking French in Kurtz Territory
Atticus Review
Guinotte Wise
Stories in which the setting is a character are high on my list of favorites. The descriptions of the Marais des Cygne wild life refuge in Kansas with its "womb-warm weirdass water" where the characters grow and smoke their "LaCygne Green" set the stage for a violent family story. We know from the opening that the narrator fears his father, with good reason, so what happens in the end isn't a surprise. Waiting for it to happen is the killer.

Josh Medsker
Verbicide Magazine

This story had a similar affect on me as "The Perfect Day," a story by Patti Abbott that I chose for last year's list. The situation the two brothers are in is heartbreaking and realistic. I almost felt as though I was watching a home movie--a terrifying one. The sadness of it lingers.

The Tractor Thief's Jacket
Gita M. Smith
MudJob: Stories and Observations

I'm a big fan of Gita's writing and don't see near enough of it, so I was delighted to come across this story about the "laws of the prairie." The climate is harsh and so are the people. The narrator invites us to "Come see our laws in action," and once we read about the dentist with the Polaroid camera, we are anxious to have justice done. The voice was the first thing to hold my attention. The details and setting are also terrific.

Care Santos
Words Without Borders

Who can resist a story about an author who murders a "cultural journalist" you know the kind "those specialists dealing in rehashed press notes, in the distortion of statements and in the savage copying of previous articles, fished from the Internet and always penned by someone more brilliant." I've been making an effort to read more writing in translation and use the website Words without Borders in one of the classes I teach. I was really delighted to find the "(Non-Scandinavian) Crime" issue this past December.

Bio: Jane Hammons teaches writing at UC Berkeley and also writes stories and essays. Two of her most recent stories, one published in All Due Respect and the other in Protectors, a Lost Children anthology, are part of a longer work in progress. A story inMetazen was nominated for a 2012 Pushcart Prize. She also has an essay forthcoming in the anthology California Prose Directory: New Writing from the Golden State

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Five You Can't Miss -- Cindy Rosmus

1) “Riding the Union Pacific” by Kip Hanson, published May 22, 2012, in A Twist of Noir: <>

I’m a sucker for “train” stories, and this is the most unusual one you’ll ever read, especially in a noir zine.

2) “Black Velvet” by Jim Wilsky, published Aug. 15, 2012, in Yellow Mama:

I’m also a sucker for stories about Elvis lookalikes, especially when this one’s a sadistic killer.

3) “The Man in the T-Shirt” by Richard Godwin, published Aug. 15, 2012, in Yellow Mama: <>

Godwin’s “don’t miss” story of a voyeur who witnesses a double murder originally appeared in Pulp Metal back in 2011, but I loved it enough to reprint it in my own ‘zine.

4) “The Night Mandy’s Car Broke Down on 539” by Jen Conley, published Aug. 6, 2012 in Shotgun Honey:

I love Jen Conley ‘cos she writes like a man. This unsentimental story is a whole new take on the “damsel-in-distress” theme.

5) “New Jersey-Revisited” by Kenneth James Crist, published June 15, 2012, in Yellow Mama:

Barry Wilder’s “paranormal” adventure is a tribute to a local Bayonne, NJ hero, who died in March of 2012.   Rest in peace, Jack!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Five You Can't Miss -- Katherine Tomlinson

I've always read a lot of short stories, but thanks to my participation in Brian Lindenmuth's "365" Short Story Challenge, I read even more this year, and I read more widely than I would have on my own. Crime fiction remains my first love, but speculative fiction has always run a close second. This was a really good year for speculative fiction and the three spec fic stories I've included have a lot in common--beautiful language, lovely imagery and a sense of the magical. The other two stories use humor to fantastic effect and I've found that's difficult to pull off.  So here are five terrific stories by five great writers:

"Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu--This story (and Liu's work in general) has won a slew of awards, including this year's Nebula for short story. It is completely magical, a bittersweet story of a mother and a son. It originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. You can read it online here. You can read more of his work here.

Link for more of his stories:

"The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" by E. Lily Yu--This story was nominated for this year's Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Awards.  We'll see her work nominated again and soon. This story has a fantastic premise rooted in fact (she keeps bees) and the language she uses is gorgeous.  It was published on Clarkesworld Magazine and you can read it here.

"Letter from the Understudy" by Kathryn Simonds--The author is an award-winning poet and short story writer based in London. In this story an understudy writes to the director of a play, complaining about the leading man and apologizing for his actions in regards to the narcissistic twit. It’s funny and tragic at the same time. You can read the story here.

“Worlds like a Hundred Thousand Pearls” by Aliette de Bodard--This is the first story I’ve ever read by the speculative fictionista and it won't be the last. In this story a bereaved parent is offered a choice and the consequences of that choice are terrible. You can read the story here, and you can sample her other works at the free speculative fiction online site.
Link for the story:
Link for her entry in the free speculative fiction online site: 

"Death by Scrabble" by Charlie Fish--The word that comes to mind when you read this story is "clever," the kind of clever that you can only pull off with a lot of skill. I found this story on the East of the Web site (read it here) so I don't know exactly when it was written, but it's the kind of story that should be anthologized and taught in English class. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Five You Can't Miss -- AJ Hayes

 I went down to the night side this year (Like Bonnie Raitt says in that song: Down where it's tangled and dark. Way on into it, baby. Down where your fears are parked.) 'cause that's where Noir belongs. Horror too. Threw in a prediction also. And a donut.
(okay, I lied about the donut)

The Wait by Chris Benton at A Twist of Noir.
Brutal poetry of the human soul in agony. Nobody writes that dark music better than Chris Benton.

Santa's Crack by Richard Godwin at the Yellow Mama Christmas edition.
Another savage tale of a different kind of Santa Claus by a master of horror.

Smiling Cyrus by Lily Childs at Thrillers Chillers and Killers
Lady Death at full steam. You'll never again hear silver bells tinkling without a chill running up your spine.

(Another pair of the 'zines top line editors who let loose in the same issue of TK'nC with scary good stories of their own are: David Barber in, Dare To Dream and Col Bury with his, Writing On The Wall in the same issue.)

Return Of The Tingler by Paul D. Brazil at Shotgun Honey
PDB takes a walk down the cinema memories highway and proves, in his own unique style, that the pencil is a mighty weapon indeed when used in conjunction with the legendary electro-ass shock of B movie fame.

The Deviation Jones Trilogy by Christopher Grant at All Due Respect.
Outlandish heroine in a fever dream world, Devi Jones will kick you where it hurts, throw you off a roof, steal your car, call your Momma names and still make you forget all about Pam Greer.

(Prediction. The next thing in fictionland: Bizarro is launching an attack. And with soldiers like Godwin, Grant, Rhatigan Callaway and dozens of other writing gods joining the Army of WTF, it's liable to make a great big noise in 2013)

AJ Hayes makes stuff up and writes it down. Guess that's it.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Five You Can't Miss 2012 -- James Everington

Adam Golaski was probably the best author I discovered in 2012, and this story is just one of the many highlights from his Worse Than Myself collection. Recommended to all who love intelligently written, evocative horror.

Another author new to me, and another where I think I must have been missing out. This is from the haunted house anthology House Of Fear, and I loved the way the story dovetails together the reality of the haunting and its metaphorical aspects, so that whether the ghost is 'real' almost doesn't matter. The ending is inevitable (and brilliant) either way.

Love Songs On The Radio - Iain Rowan
This comes from Iain Rowan's 52 Songs, 52 Stories project, which basically involved Iain writing a story based on a song title every week for the entire year. Iain's taste in music is almost as good as his writing, but he also opened up the blog to requests, and this song was mine. It's by Mojave 3, it's a beauty, and Iain's story really does it justice.

I read this in the absolutely vast anthology The Weird; it's a truly odd story about people forced to spend their life wringing dry a vast sheet of linen. The phrase Kafkaesque is chucked around a lot, but this story truly is Kafkaesque (or perhaps Kafka is Sansom-esque). 

From the author's Martyrs & Monsters collection, from which I could have picked a number of different stories for inclusion hereThis story certainly features some monsters, but exactly how many and who they are, is another question. As is that of whether it features any martyrs, too...

Bio: James Everington reads more short stories than can be healthy. Somewhat predictably, he also writes his own. He rambles on about both those he's read and written on his Scattershot Writing blog.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Five You Can't Miss 2012 -- Naomi Johnson

I didn't read as many short stories in 2012 as in years past, yet I still had some difficulty trimming this must-read list to just five. Stories you really should read, for their originality and their can't-get-it-out-of-you-head quality are:

THE BRIDGE PARTNER, by Peter S. Beagle, appears in print in The Best American Mystery Stories 2012, edited by Otto Penzler and Robert Crais. This is a brilliant tale about a timid woman whose new bridge partner openly wants to kill the mousy creature. But stress can transform some people. And reincarnation is a bitch.

Also in print, in the premiere issue of GRIFT magazine, is Todd Robinson's PEACHES, a moving story about a transvestite babysitter who knows you can’t go home again, but has to, just one last time.

In Patti Abbott's IS THAT YOU?, published online at All Due Respect, a cafe owner tries to help out a homeless teenager. This is a quiet tale, almost gentle, that leaves the reader either screaming or crying.

Available in digital format only is Roger Smith's ISHMAEL TOFFEE. Written in the harrowing, cinematic style that is a hallmark of Smith's prose,  this is the story of
a murderous ex-con who wants, with all his being, to be able to ignore the pleas for help coming from a little girl being sexually abused by her father. Getting involved will get him killed. But the person who can turn a blind eye to a desperate child is already dead.

And I came across a paperback anthology from 1977, Clarion SF, edited by Kate Wilhelm, that contains a stunning science fiction gem from bestselling crime fiction writer Robert Crais, WITH CROOKED HANDS, a poignant tale about what one man will endure and sacrifice for beauty. I have no links that will guide the interested reader to this story. Used bookstores and online sites such as Alibris are your best bets for finding this book.

Naomi Johnson is the on-again/off-again blogger at The Drowning Machine. Her most recent published story is HERO, about a boy who sees a kind of nobility in killing. You'll find the story in Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Five You Can't Miss 2012 -- Sandra Seamans

There were so many great short stories this year which makes it hard to pick just five, but here we go and in no particular order:

1.  Domestic Violence by Gwen Mullins.  Pank Magazine is full of some of the best short stories around.  "Domestic Violence" just tears your heart out as you step into the life of a battered girl and see the patterns she's building in her life.

2.  Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Art Taylor.  This is such a subtle story about the preparation of a murderous meal that the ending just knocks you off your feet.

3.  Sharing a Ride on a Rainy Morning by Jim Harrington.  Ah, the things we do for love!  One very scary story.

4.  Aftermath by Jake Hinkson.  So often with crime fiction, readers are only shown the crime itself.  Mr. Hinkson takes you one step beyond and reveals what comes after the crime.

5.  Grease Monkey Bokor by Ryan Sayles.  Scary look at a man off his meds.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

At All Due Respect -- Travis Richardson

I first read Travis Richardson's work at Shotgun Honey. I was so impressed that I asked him to write one for All Due Respect. He didn't disappoint with "The Wisdom of Soghomon," a slick, brutal piece about Armenian gangsters and a couple of people at the wrong place at the wrong time, and one man who seems to be getting pretty sick of his career choice.