Writing at the End of the World, and Where I’ll Be…

Over at SleuthSayers, I write about how we write in an age of chaos and fear. Dance Band on the Titanic, at SleuthSayers.

Had a good time at Brooklyn Book Festival, and I can’t wait for the next one. There’s just a great atmosphere there, hipsters and haredim and old-school Brooklyn weirdos all mashed together in a sea of books! I met Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn. We first corresponded in 1994 when I reviewed his noir/SF dystopia Gun, With Occasional Music on the nascent internet, and he sent me a broadsheet from Moe’s Books with a short-short story called “Hardboiled Coda” in thanks. I still keep it on my desk. But if you missed me there, here’s where I’ll be in October and November:

On October 7th at 7pm, it’s Noir at the Bar DC at the Wonderland Ballroom. Host Ed Aymar is running the show and giving away a SWORD to the audience favorite, so I’m gonna bring my A-game (A stands for “ass.” So I’ll be using my whole ass instead of half-assing it). There can be only one! What a great lineup, and a terrifying, Hieronymous Bosch inspired poster for the event.

The week after that I’ll be in Toronto for Bouchercon, from Wednesday 10/11 until Sunday. On Wednes, I’ll be reading at Noir at the Bar Bouchercon at 9pm. It’s at pin
Rivoli, 332 Queen Street West, and a bunch of great writers will be kicking off the International crime fiction convention. On Friday I’m moderating the panel Beautiful Brutality, with Chris Holm, Bryon Quertermous, E. C. Diskin, Amy Stuart, and Sara Jayne Townsend. Other than that I’ll be free to schmooze and booze with y’all! And Firecracker’s coming with me, to bring the Southern sass.

Closer to home, I’ll be reading at Noir at the Bar Asbury Park on Sunday 10/29 at 6:00PM at Capitolines bar, with Jen Conley and many others, including Dennis Tafoya and Wallace Stroby! Jersey can bring the crime…

and lastly I’ll be at Murder and Mayhem in Milwaukee on November 4th. I’m honored to be one of the invited guests, and look forward to chumming it up with the mighty Jordans and the crime fiction fans of the north, eating squeaky cheese curds, wrestling a hodag, and so on.

Interview at Indie Crime Scene

Dennis Chekalov was kind enough to interview me at Indie Crime Scene, a new crime fiction fan site. We talk about fighting, bullying, sexism, pulp, and crime fiction writing, the Devil’s Brigade, my time with Shooto fighters in Japan… lots of fun.

 

Killing Malmon: 30 authors kill Dan Malmon to defeat Multiple Sclerosis

Killing Malmon is available for pre-order! Crime fiction fans and Crimespree Magazine reviewers Dan and Kate Malmon approached 30 writers including myself, to KILL DAN MALMON. My story is called “Russian Roulette,” and not only pits Dan against a bigmouth Jersey goombah in some of my favorite Twin Cities haunts, it’s also based on a humiliatingly funny and true story involving myself, a snazzy leather jacket, and rogue feminine hygiene products.

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Dan and Kate are great people, and Down & Out Books will publish this handsome volume and donate the proceeds to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Maybe you’ve bought Kate’s delicious cookies to help fight MS. Or sponsored a bicycle ride. Now you can read stories from myself and Dana Cameron, Hector Acosta, Eric Beetner, Sarah M. Chen, Matthew Clemens, Angel Colón, Hilary Davidson, Cory Funk, Danny Gardner, Paul J. Garth, Rob Hart, Ed Kurtz, S.W. Lauden, Russel D. McLean, Jeff Macfee, Erin Mitchell, Erica Ruth Neubauer, Brad Parks, Bryon Quertermous, Todd Robinson, Alex Segura, Jeff Shelby, Nathan Singer, Josh Stallings, Jay Stringer, R.D. Sullivan, Bryan VanMeter, Holly West, and Dave White.

I wrote my story with Josh Stallings at his mountain retreat, while he pecked away at his hilarious superhero tale, and Erika delivered life-saving medication: her delicious chili and sips of fine whisky. I got to hear several of these at the secret Noir at the Bar we held for Dan & Kate, and they are gut-busting wallops of hard-boiled crime from some of the best writers in the genre (and me). You can pre-order it here:

KILLING MALMON edited by Dan and Kate Malmon

*note: killing Dan will NOT cure Multiple Sclerosis.

**Eating ketchup on a hot dog will not cause “tongue psychosis.”

No Sleep Till Brooklyn Book Festival

Just mailed out the swag from the book giveaway–did you miss out because you don’t get The Plucking News? Sign up here and you won’t miss the next one.

In other news, my story collection from Down & Out Books, LIFE DURING WARTIME, is coming together and I’ll have a cover reveal for you soon. It collects the best of my stories and includes a few unpublished ones, and others that were difficult to find.

This weekend, on Sunday September 17th, I will be at Brooklyn Book Festival. In the morning I will be sitting at booth #310 with the Mystery Writers of America from 10:00 until noon, and from noon until 14:00 I’ll be at the Down & Out Books table with Lawrence Kelter, and several other authors. I’ll be wearing the snazzy Down & Out Magazine polo shirt in Black(Like My Heart!) black, so I’ll be easy to spot. I’ll have books to sign and swag to give away, and I hope you’ll stop by if you’re at the festival.

I’m not on any panels, but I will be going to see Sarah Weinman moderate the Killer Crime-Fiction panel with Joyce Carol Oates, Nelson George, and Ben H. Winters, and the comics panel Shapeshifters: Novelists Write Comics! with two of my favorite writers: Victor LaValle, and Gabby Rivera. Victor’s novel THE CHANGELING is brilliant, and I am really enjoying his miniseries comic DESTROYER, a modern update slash sequel to Frankenstein (the novel, which I’ve always liked more than the Hollywood versions). Rivera’s AMERICA comic is a blast and her novel JULIET TAKES A BREATH is great as well.

He won’t be at the fest, but I am looking forward to Laird Barron’s new crime novel BLOOD STANDARD, out in March 2018. He’s one of my favorite short story writers, and his novel THE CRONING made me shiver and laugh with its bizarre mix of weird cosmic horror, fairy tales, and Pynchonian ’50s paranoia.

As for me, I’m putting the final touches on the next novel and ready to dive into Jay Desmarteaux #2, where he boogies on down to the bad blood bayou…

Hell down in Texas, Willeford, Prison Fiction, and Plucklyn Plook Fest

Before anything else, my heart goes out to everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. I was hit by Superstorm Sandy and my in-laws and Lousiana fam were hit hard by Katrina and the Baton Rouge floods last year. I gave to Team Rubicon and bought supplies for a local charity, and I hope you will, too. This is beyond politics. Some of my fellow New Jerseyans are pointing out that Senator Ted Cruz is still decrying Sandy aid as “pork”, but the point is, we are better than him. And Texans don’t deserve any ire meant for their senator, who even GOP politicians openly call names George Carlin was famous for reciting.

What I love about my crime family is they pull together and help each other. Murder by the Book, a Houston bookstore, dodged the flood this time (they weren’t as lucky a year or so ago, but recovered) and were giving out free WiFi, cookies, water, A/C, and phone charging to neighborhood people. Consider buying a book from them, they ship! And they sell this frickin’ awesome GO TO HELL, I’M READING shirt (also in red, green, gray, with other logos)
Go To Hell, I'm Reading T-Shirt

So, what have I been up to? Editing my hipster Nazi craft beer cozy. Anyone who says cozies are easy can consult the adage regarding flying donuts. I also wrote two articles this week, one regarding Charles Willeford’s rarest published book, A Guide for the Undehemorrhoided, which unfortunately was prescient as I headed in for a medical procedure this week that men of my vintage are supposed to get. Good news, no cancer! My mother’s side has a proclivity for it, so I’m glad. So glad, I wrote this post.

At SleuthSayers, I wrote about Prison Fiction and Prison Reality, because I want to read more stories about the 2.3 million Americans who are in or go through corrections facilities in the United States, whether it’s jail like Riker’s, private prisons, state run facilities, juvenile, immigrant detention, and so on. It’s too big a subject to ignore, and crime fiction is the genre that has always tackled such issues. I talk classics and new stories, such as Jordan Harper’s She Rides Shotgun, a cracking good read. The next Jay book is largely set around Louisiana’s Angola prison–I visited the rodeo for that reason–so I’ll put my money where my mouth is.

Last but not least, Brooklyn Book Festival (aka BKBF) is the weekend of September 16th, and I will be signing at two tables on Saturday 9/16, if you’d like to drop by. I’ll be at the Mystery Writers of America table from 10:00AM til noon, and at the Down & Out Books table from noon until 2:00PM. I’ll have copies of my books, some swag, and I’d love to meet you there.

You missed it, but Thursday we had a super-sekrit Noir at the Bar: Killing Malmon edition at Shade, to celebrate crime fiction fans and reviewers Kate and Dan Malmon. We all read stories from the upcoming anthology Killing Malmon, which benefits MS research (Kate has MS). And we all kill Dan in entertaining ways. Mine involves a deli dispute with a Jersey goombah who’s in Minnesoder, and criminal misuse of feminine hygiene products. A great time was had by all. Hector Acosta’s “Ketchup Lover” killed me, and I can’t wait to read more of Todd Robinson’s Studs Winslow story. It is insane pulp goodness. And there’s more by Rob Hart, Angel Colon, Hilary frickin’ Davidson (who kills it as usual… if you’re not reading Hil, check out Blood Always Tells), Dave White, Alex Segura, Josh Stallings, Holly West, Brad Parks, and many more. It will be released soon, here are the full details.

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Malmon swimming upstream

Have a lovely Labor Day weekend, and remember to help folks in Texas who will be having the worst Labor Day weekend, if you can.

“Deadbeat” in Down & Out Magazine, hate everywhere.

The crew at Down & Out Books keeps on bringing great crime fiction. Their latest is Down & Out Magazine, and Rick Ollerman edited issue number one. I’m proud that my story “Deadbeat” is among the stories chosen for the inaugural issue, along with tales by Eric Beetner, Reed Farrel Coleman, and Jen Conley among others. My story is a short about ironworkers high in the sky and how the past shapes you.

Links to all retailers carrying the print and ebook versions are available at Down & Out Magazine page.

This week at Do Some Damage, I talk about writing the nature of hate and evil, the dangers of too much sympathy, and when some mystery is better.

And in light of recent events, I’d like to share this photo I took during my visit to Germany. This is the site of Hitler’s bunker. It’s not a memorial, it’s a parking lot. That’s me giving the finger to him. Not quite as dramatic as Groucho Marx dancing on his grave, but let me make my feelings clear, if you haven’t figured it out from Jay Desmarteaux calling the white supremacists in prison “Hitler Bitches” … if the “14 words” have meaning to you, if you believe the U.S. is undergoing “white genocide” … head over to Life After Hate and begin your journey from embracing evil to joining humanity. And if you’re on the fence, or think “both sides” are guilty… watch this Vice ridealong with the hate groups. Watch with care, you can see when terrorist James Alex Fields Jr murdered activist Heather Heyer with his car.

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My work in progress explores hatred in the New Jersey suburbs. We have a history of Klan and Nazi activity, and were the HQ of the German-American Bund prior to the war. Those people all just disappeared after the joint FBI-KKK raid on the Bund camp, I am sure.

Reading at KGB Bar 8/12

downloadI’ll be reading at the KGB Bar in Manhattan, one of the best literary hangouts in the city, with my fellow Mystery Writers of America authors Rich Zahradnik, Annamaria Alfieri, Lokke Heiss, Sterling Savage, and Sylvia Di Saverio. It’s a topically themed space with a fine selection of Russian beers that are hard to find elsewhere, on the Lower East Side near lots of great places to eat. It’s at: 85 E 4th St, New York, New York 10003

The readings begin at 6:30pm and end when James Bond kills us all with a swizzle stick.

I’m also up at Sleuth Sayers today: Sometimes a review is a plum, other times it’s the pits…