Thursday, June 28, 2012

Six Shooter

You may not have seen much in the way of wordsmithing from me recently (assuming anyone was looking), but that doesn’t mean I've been sat on my backside drinking beer and watching sports, well not all the time anyway.
In fact I've got a foaming six pack of stories that will be cracking open this summer. They're an eclectic bunch, some happy, some sad and some downright dangerous to know.

First of all much Kudos is due to Chris Rhatigan for his excellent site, All Due Respect. I'm honored to say that my story Ties that Bind will be featured in Issue #32, which is due out in August

The first of two blasts of white hot flash fiction comes to you from the kings of the short stuff, Shotgun Honey. Those first class guys have my story Drinks at Romero's locked and loaded.
Now online

The second number comes in the form of A Red Headed Woman. This ballad of badness will grace the hallowed pages of flash fiction now hosted at Out of the Gutter. Big thanks to Joe Clifford for wading through my goat-fuck-formatting.
Now online

The July edition of of Hobo Camp Review contains my short story about a Texas drifter who finds his anchor in Spare Parts. This one is unusual for me mainly because nobody dies horribly. Really you could read it to your Grandma, or somebody else’s Grandma, it's entirely up to you. Now online

Issue #4 of the excellent Downer Magazine (I really dig this 'zine) will feature the battle for hearts and minds in small town USA recited in my short story Nebraska. More surprises, this one has some social stones. Now online

Issue #6 of The Stone Hobo Magazine, (two Hobos are always better than one, unless they start fighting over bindles) has the crackle of Dry Lightning, a story of new beginnings at the end of a long, hot Arizona summer. I had to draw deep on experience here, living in the UK again means that summer is now just a distant memory.

Adding a little something extra to this cocktail of delights is the rumour that the old Mystery Dawg is cranking things up again over at Powder Burn Flash. I've got one of my Vegas stories Candy's Room in the starting line up for the next game to be played there, so fingers crossed for a home win.

Okay, I know, that's seven not six, but who ever heard of a seven shooter? I'll be sure to tip you the nod when they go live, and if you can find it in your heart to humor this delinquent pen monkey (who now owns three toasters, but still has no matching socks) and check one or two of them out. I'd sure appreciate it. May your beers always be cold ones and the gods of gratitude copulate in your greenhouses, or something some old Greek guy said.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pony Up

Super cool pen jockey and all round good guy Victor Gischler has a proposition for you. No, not that sort of proposition.
Mr.G. is working on the long awaited sequel to that barnstorming thrill feast that was Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse.

Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse II: The Luxury Wars. After "the fall" the only enclaves of civilization are a chain of Go-Go clubs called Joey Armageddon's Sassy A-Go-Go. But when the clubs are overrun by violent mobs, civilization takes a giant step backwards. Now, the people with the guns and the food hold up behind walls and fences. But soon the warlords of this new dark age long for luxuries of the past. Sure they can brew up some bathtub gin for their martinis, but just where the heck do you get a jar of olives? Did you ever wake up in the morning and think "I would kill for a cup of coffee"? Well, in this post-apocalyptic world, those words are meant literally, and a person could get rich providing luxury items to those who can afford it. But beware! Risking your neck on luxury scavenger hunts doesn't always turn out well for those involved.

Like the sound of it? Want to read it? Good, then get your wallet out. You know Jules, the one that says Bad Mother****er on it.

Victor is flying solo on this one and is looking for your help. 3000 bones is the target to get this baby airborne, so get over to Kickstarter and climb aboard. A lousy five bucks is all it will take to get you a copy of this literary masterpiece. But hold on there's more, drop a ten spot and you'll also get your name up in lights on the 'thanks buddy' page of the book. If you think that's pretty cool, just wait until you see what more green will buy you!

Click here and make it happen: Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse II

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review - So Long Las Vegas

I am always on the look out for books back lit by the long lost neon glow of yesterday's Glitter Gulch. When W. H. Guthrie, tells me in his cover blurb that this offering is 'full of tales about prostitutes, pioneers and gamblers', hey, I'm sold. In truth, he had me at prostitutes.

The stories in So Long Las Vegas are seen through the eyes of a Vegas newspaper editor. You are introduced to an assorted cast of semi-believable characters, which may or may not be based on real life residents of Sin City.

Like any collection of short stuff that you go into cold, I expected to like some more than others. It's a bit like shopping in the bargain bin at K-mart, buying up those cans with no labels. One or two of these stories turned out to be okay (chili with beans) but the rest were downright dull and ranged from lumpy mac and cheese to pedigree choice cuts.

The formula Guthrie employs is very repetitive. Our hero, newspaper guy, meets some loose acquaintance, at a bar / casino / diner (delete as appropriate), who for no good reason tells him their deepest, darkest secrets over a glass of wine / shot of bourbon / cup of coffee. Mr. Editor will then go and perform some random task on their behalf. Once you've waded through a dozen of these, even the Jeffery Archer novel that your aunt sent you for Christmas starts to look appealing.

In the cover blurb, old W.H. goes on to say 'there's no such thing as ordinary people'. This may well be true, but he (or maybe it's she) fails to mention that there is plenty of ordinary writing.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Review - Nobody Move

I'm not really sure why I'm posting a review of a Denis Johnson novel. Others, far more worthy than myself have been lauding, praising and generally blowing their literary smoke up his backside for years.

However, I found Johnson's previous offering, Tree of Smoke, to be a confused, over elaborate, rambling tome of a book, and it nearly finished him for me. So I picked up Nobody Move, more in hope than expectation, but boy, am I glad I did.

Nobody Move is as straight up as the pump action on a 12 gauge Remington (Click-Clack). It feels like Johnson, finally freed from his extended labours on Tree of Smoke, wrote this one quick and dirty.

It's a raging crime caper, full of brilliant, spare prose and wicked, dark humour. The story races along at a speed that will make your eyes water and your ass twitch. Johnson never misses a beat, or the opportunity to splatter the page with 'cherry pie'. He draws his wiseguy characters wonderfully and gives them smart mouth dialogue that crackles back and forth like crossed wires.

Put your back to the wall, open a bottle of Bourbon, keep a loaded thirty-eight on the side, and read this in one hard boiled sitting. My faith in all things Johnson is now restored.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Just William

The late and definitely great William Gay is fondly remembered in a poignant tribute by his friend and fellow writer Tom Franklin.

William was the author of three very fine novels; The Long Home, Provinces of Night, and Twilight. He also published a collection of short stories; I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down.
A Vietnam Navy Veteran; he came to writing relatively late in life, but is now widely regarded as one of the most powerful and authentic voices in American southern literature. You will often hear William Gay mentioned in the same breath as literary giants like, William Faulkner, Larry Brown and Cormac McCarthy. Quite right too!

You can read Tom's touching essay on line at the Oxford American Magazine

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hick Lit?

Some of my favourite books have been given this rather unflattering tag. I'm constantly amazed by the debates that rage over which genre a work must have slapped upon it. This occupation seems to be largely the preserve of those who lean towards more literary things (is literary also a genre - discuss). Once they have a book hogtied and branded with 'crime' or 'noir', they are then free to ignore it and can feel superior about having done so.

Keith Rawson has written an excellent article over at Lit Reactor for those who are yet to hitch-hike along the rutted gravel roads of some exceptional writing.
It's more than just meth labs and single wides: A rural noir primer; takes a look at some of the writers plying their trade in the backwoods hollers and hill country shacks of rural America.
Three of my all time favourite authors: Daniel Woodrell, Cormac McCarthy and Donald Ray Pollock, have works discussed, along with many notable others. Stand up guys like Frank Bill and Matthew McBride also get honourable mentions.

Country crime, redneck grit or southern gothic; I don't care what its called, but make sure you don't miss out on some damn fine stuff, just because someone else has stuck it with the label.

You can read Keith's article here: It's more than just meth labs and single wides

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Roadkill Tweets

My relentless march into the digital age has taken another giant leap forwards.You can now find me on Twitter @nevadaroadkill. There's a link on the right, so feel free to stalk me, or what ever it is you young people do.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Review – Crimes In Southern Indiana

I picked up my copy of Crimes in Southern Indiana when I was last in Henderson. It got buried in the precarious pile of stuff on the end of my desk and only turned up again when gravity won out. So now I'm busy playing catch up.

Praise for Frank Bill's first book has been flooding in since it was published in the US last fall. Having finally got to it, all I can say is, fuck! This is one hell of a book.

Crimes in Southern Indiana is a collection of short stories, set in the rural, blue collar backwoods and boy is it brutal. I've read (and liked) a lot of stuff that most people would class as the literary equivalent of a video nasty, but Frank Bill takes it to a whole other level. Think of Winter's Bone meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but with a higher body count.

Crimes is about tough lives, lived by what ever means are necessary. There is little thought of consequence or regard for town laws in this part of Indiana. These are harsh stories; cooked up along with the meth in the busted -ass kitchen of a back country shack. And then delivered with a wonderful blast of Frank's unique shotgun equivalence. Most of the characters we meet are doomed never to make it to the last page, but they get some killer dialogue along the way. The whole thing drips with beer-sweat and reeks of revenge. Frank Bill shoots you just to watch you bleed, then sticks his finger in the bullet hole and wiggles it.

You have to read this book, but a word of warning, you're going to get bloody on this one!

Frank Bill blogs at:

Also, check out his interview with Ron Earl Phillips over at Shotgun Honey: