The Protectors anthology consumed so much of my time for the last few months that now that is available everywhere, I feel like the dog who caught the car. I have plenty of things on my plate, but I feel like there’s something that just needs doing, and I don’t know what it is.
So I threw myself into some ideas that I’ve kept on the backburner. I’m working on “Brown Sugar Brookdale” for Blood & Tacos, a paean to the men’s adventure serials of the ’70s. Brown Sugar grew up on the streets of Detroit and got sent to Vietnam, where his racist Lieutenant left him to die when he wouldn’t join in the massacre of a village. He fought his way through the jungle and was captured by the Chinese, and escaped and found sanctuary in the Shaolin Temple, where he became their most fearsome kung fu warrior. Now he’s back on American soil, ready to break his foot off in the ass of The Man.
(“Brown Sugar Brookdale” is also my porn name. Take the name of your first pet and the street you grew up on…)
I’m looking forward to some time off, a road trip with Sarah and some explorations in New England. I’ll be visiting the digs of Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Edward Gorey. So those haunted stories of the Pine Barrens and Appalachia will have plenty of fuel. My story in Protectors is “Black Shuck,” about a boy, his friend, and his dog encountering Blind Joe Death- a guitar player and hoodoo man condemned to wander the mountains and hollers. They mix it with moonshiners and the creatures of the haunted woods, such as the black dog of death who gives the story its title. It’s dedicated to folksinger Jeff Fahey (who created Blind Joe) and Manly Wade Wellman, whose stories of Silver John in the Appalachian mountains continue to captivate me. You can get Protectors here, and read Wellman’s Silver John stories for free, here: John the Balladeer.
A few upcoming publications. It’s been a slow year, and now everything is coming out at once. I’m not complaining, I’m rather stunned by it:
“Gumbo Weather,” a Jay Desmarteaux tale in the Big Double Summer 2012 issue of Needle: A Magazine of Noir. Jay is working collections in New Orleans and learns the hard way that there are consequences to meting out justice, but it’s a bar tab he is more than willing to pay in blood.
“Train,” a Denny the Dent tale, in Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels. Out October 1st, just in time for BoucherCon. Denny confronts a painful mistake in his past, and gains a powerful ally.
“Garbage Man,” a Denny the Dent tale, in Beat to a Pulp: Superhero. Yes, Denny is a superhero. You gonna tell him he’s not? Denny begins his slow descent from a misunderstood oddball who just wants to be “let be” to a junkyard loner and boogeyman that kids talk about and bad men fear. This one should be out soon. It’s in final edits. The biggest Denny story yet.
“Red Hot,” in Hoods, Hot Rods & Hellcats. This is a greaser noir anthology by my friend Chad Eagleton. Bikers, hot rodders, street gangs of the ’50s. My story is a noir about a mechanic and his wife dealing with a rich-kid racer, when an old friend shows up on his motorcycle and throws a wrench into their lives.
“Kamikaze Death Burgers at the Ghost Town Cafe,” a Jay Desmarteaux yarn, in Feeding Kate. I’m hoping this will be available as an e-book once the Indiegogo campaign is over in 24 hours. If you want it, best go get it NOW. This is the biggest JD tale so far, and can best be described as Mad Max in the Utah desert, with Jay cruising in a ’57 Eldorado Brougham when he encounters a biker gang at war with a psycho trucker. The bikers’ sexy lawyer has a deal he can’t refuse. And they eat these:
“Rockridge Ringer,” a Jay Desmarteaux yarn, in Hills of Fire: Bare-Knuckle Yarns of Appalachia from Woodland Press. In this one, Jay is looking for an old cellmate in West Virginia, a bareknuckle brawler at the mercy of a crooked sheriff. Jay deals with it the way he does best: with a wicked grin, his two fists and and an appetite for destruction.
“Slice of Life,” in D.O.A. II: Tales of Extreme Horror, by Blood Bound Books. I’m pretty sure the book’s title will decide for you whether you want to read it or not. If you want to see my take on a serial killer, this is it.
“Tiger Mother,” in Noir Nation #2. An angry mother takes on the neighborhood kingpin in ’60s Harlem.
My poem “Just Ice,” will appear in The 5-2: Crime Poetry, Vol.1 by Gerald So.
That’s a lot. Instead of dozens of flash fiction stories, all of these are bigger works, some nearly ten thousand words. So that’s what I’ve been up to. I also finished the first draft of Bury the Hatchet in July, and have been editing and rewriting it. It needs a lot of work, but I have the voice and the vision for it, and that’s all it needs. If anything, I’ll be finishing it so I can work on other projects that are dying to be written, and one I’ve been promising an editor for a year now, about a mixed martial arts fighter named Reeves, who finds that the old sword in his grandpa’s pawn shop is claimed by a fearsome clan of ninja warriors…