Two Free Stories for your Reading Pleasure…

Summer is nearly over, but you can always use a summer read.

Here are two short stories you may have missed.

First, I’m very happy to have stories in two new venues, Tough Crime, edited by Rusty Barnes, and Retreats from Oblivion, the Journal of NoirCon. I was sad to see crime fiction mags close shop, and I’m grateful that these editors have given us new ones.

cement truck train crashThe Third Jump of Frankie Buffalo” is a pure hard-boiled crime story that draws on my days working at the docks in Newark, inspired by getting stuck in traffic at a railroad crossing. Tough Crime is publishing a lot of great stuff by new writers like Shawn A. Cosby and established authors, including one by Matthew Lyons that will appear in this year’s Best American Short Stories, edited by Roxane Gay. That’s amazing for such a new venue.

branch brook parkThe Forest for the Trees” first appeared in The Flash Fiction Offensive but didn’t reach a lot of people, so I am glad Retreats from Oblivion chose to reprint a new edit. It is a noir love story and very personal, set in the neighborhood I grew up in. I heard a lot of street racing stories growing up and a cousin totaled his Corvette and was scarred for life, hiding the wreck in a garage from police. I myself never raced, but I once wrapped my Mustang around a tree after hitting some ice, and drove it home, engine smoking. The police followed the smell. They wanted to charge me with leaving the scene of an accident, but I asked them if the tree was pressing charges and they let me go.

cover-pluck-life-during-wartime-1800x2700pxI hope you enjoy these stories. If you like them, I am selling signed copies of my story collection Life During Wartime for $16 shipped. You can reply to this email if you want a personalized copy. If you bundle it with Blade of Dishonor or Bad Boy Boogie, the books are $15 each (so, $30 for 2, $45 for all three).

 

Bouchercon 2018 – where I’ll be

I’ll be on the Bouchercon panel for Anthony award nominees for Best Paperback Original with James W. Ziskin, Lori Rader-Day, Eryk Pruitt, and Nadine Nettmann on Friday Sept. 7th at 3pm, moderated by Greg Herren! Come meet us, we don’t bite. Unless that will buy your vote.

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I am not on or moderating any other panels this year. I will be in the audience at Noir at the Bar on Thursday, and attending the awards ceremony of course. Other than that, I’ll be wandering various panels, the book room, and the bar when I’m not out taking in the sights. If I am found dead in a ditch, it is because Pruitt lured me to a fried food joint and poisoned me. Check under my fingernails for his DNA. I will scratch him good.

Panels and whatnot that I am likely to attend…

1:00 PM Thursday: Bang Pow! with Neliza Drew, Wallace Stroby

5:00 PM Thursday: Tim Dorsey interviewed by Jersey Girl Amy Stewart, author of the killer Ms. Kopp mysteries. Dorsey writes some wild stuff himself. Those two in a room? I’m there.

11:00 AM Friday: Criminal Protagonists. My buddy Josh Stallings and other crook lovers like Eric Beetner.

12:00 PM Friday: The Sex Panel, to hang with Hilary Davidson. Catriona McPherson, and Christa Faust.

4:00 PM Friday: Fight Me! Unpopular opinions about Crime Fiction, with Kristin Sullivan, Renee Pickup, Danny Gardner, Kieran Shea.

5:00 PM Friday: Lawrence Block interviews Ian Rankin.

4:00 PM Saturday: The Building Blocks of Crime Fiction, with Laura Lippman, Peter Blauner, Robert Olen Butler, Lawrence Block, and Jill Block.

There are a lot of new faces on the panels, for which I am glad. Looking forward to seeing you there!

 

 

Bad Boy Boogie Summer Sale

My Anthony-nominated crime thriller Bad Boy Boogie is part of the Down & Out Books summer e-book sale!

Megan Abbott calls it “lean, smart, and irresistibly compelling,” and Mysterious Book Report calls it “one awesomely entertaining summer read.” So, hop on over to the Down & Out Books Summer Promotion page to get any e-book version for only $2.99!

Megan’s newest thriller, Give Me Your Hand, is out this week–and needless to say you should check it out. No one does it like she does. A PhD in noir and a pen like an obsidian sacrificial dagger, that one…

Prefer a paperback? Email me using this Contact Form, I’ll beat the Amazon price of $17.95 AND sign it for you for $15 shipped. Got it already? I also have a few copies of Unloaded edited by Eric Beetner with Joe Lansdale and others, Life During Wartime, and Blade of Dishonor all with their cover price of $17.95 slashed to $15 each, free shipping in the US48.

(And if you’ve bought books directly from me before, you know there will be Super Secret Surprise Gifts.)

If you like e-book bundles, they have cracking good crime by Albert Tucher, Marietta Miles, Jack Getze, Linda Sands, and more:

2018-07-18 10_18_19-SUMMER 2018 PROMOTION! – Down & Out Books

Elements of Crime – Thursday 7/11

Watchung Booksellers is a standout among local indie bookstores. Always a great selection of all genres. I even profiled them for LitHub’s feature My Favorite Bookstore.

They’ve had everyone from Judy Blume to Carol Burnett, and this Thursday at 7:00PM,  they host me, Alex Segura, Hilary Davidson, and Dave White for ELEMENTS OF CRIME. We’ll be discussing our influences, how we write suspense in this increasingly chaotic news cycle, and more.

Watchung Booksellers is located in Watchung Plaza, Montclair, at 54 Fairfield Street. Street parking is available, and it is footsteps away from NJ Transit’s Watchung Station on the Montclair-Boonton Line.

Everybody Watchung to(morrow) night!

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Friday Friday Monster Trucks (and Thrillerfest)

So who’s excited for Thrillerfest this year?

On  Friday, Megan Abbott will be interviewed by Lee Child, and George R.R. Martin will be interviewed by Anne Groell.

Saturday, James Rollins will be given the Silver Bullet award and interviewed by Steve Berry. It’s also the chance to see past ThrillerMasters, including Lee Child, GRRM, David Morell, and R.L. Stine.

This is the “biz” convention unlike “fan” conventions, such as Bouchercon. And as such, it’s the time to ask all the questions you may have about the craft and the business.

I will be on a panel Friday morning, hosted  by Ed Aymar, about editing anthologies, with Joe Clifford, Kathy Bennett, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Johnny Temple, and Wendy Tyson. It should be a good time, if you’ve ever had any questions about editing one yourself. It’s not as easy as you think, and the term “thankless” gets thrown around.

So, hope to see you there Friday!

Goodbye, Harlan.

Dear Mr Ellison,

I cannot conceal my annoyance that you have gone.

We lost a giant.

That’s not meant as a joke, though Mr. Ellison bore the brunt of cruel nerds who mocked his stature at every turn. The only time I met him was at ICON, held in Stony Brook College, when fans were begging for Simon & Simon to be kept on the air, and demanding a sequel to The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, when they weren’t mocking Harlan on stage for being short. I think that was the last science fiction convention I went to, and it will remain so. The fandom is venomous, like a snake. A small part will kill you, while the rest can be amazing and beautiful… but I digress. I saw how ugly people could be. He was generous and gracious to me, he signed every book and shirt and record that I bought, and I shook his hand, a hard and knobby workman’s hand, odd for a writer. A fighter’s hand.

And boy, could be fight.

And damn, could he write.

If you haven’t read him, Deathbird Stories is my favorite. That and I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. You can get the collection The Top of the Volcano for a taste of his very best stories, too. Angry Candy is damn fine, as well.

We spoke on the phone briefly, when I asked him to contribute his stunning, award-winning story “Croatoan” as a reprint in Protectors 2: Heroes. He called me out of the blue, we had been corresponding by letters with the contracts, and he wanted to know who he was dealing with. We chatted for a while, he was 82 years old and sharp and snappy as always. “Hey, kiddo! It’s Harlan Ellison.”

To me, that was my “made it” moment, which most of us have, no matter how silly they are. Harlan Ellison called me.

In 1989, when I wrote Mr Ellison the infamous letter–which was showcased on Letters of Note, Flavorwire, and got me a gig writing an introduction to a Gerald Kersch collection, a writer whose work I was introduced to through Harlan–I must confess, I looked up his phone number and called it, after I mailed the letter. To apologize. He asked fans not to write, because he felt compelled to answer all correspondence–typed, by hand! imagine that now in a day when publishing professionals can’t be arsed to fire off form emails–and after I dropped my letter in the mailbox, I felt guilty. So why not bother him more, with a call?

I confess, he answered. And I was a coward, I hung up.

I prank called my literary hero. So I really deserved that letter, which makes me laugh to this day. He loved it. Being Harlan. Even stars burn out, and he had the energy of several. I’m glad I was alive to see his light, to shake his hand, to hear his voice. I’ll always be proud to have published his reprint. And yes, I put my story afterward. I didn’t want anyone else to have to follow him.

All a writer has is time and a portion of talent.

Thank you, Harlan, for sharing your time and talent with me. I’ll pay you tribute by using both my time and talent to the best of my ability.

Harlan Ellison letter

Thrillerfest

Thrillerfest is coming! I’ll be there Friday and Saturday this year. I’m on a panel for the first time, moderated by Ed Aymar, with Joe Clifford and others. We’ll be talking about putting together anthologies on Friday.

TFest XIII panel graphic SHORT STORIES, EXCERPTS OR NIGHT OF THE FLOOD

I hope to see you there.