I really liked this idea by Steven Soderbergh, so I’ll be updating this post all year. I used to use GoodReads and NetFlix to keep track, but that’s not complete, and it can disappear at corporate whim. This can too, but less likely.

All caps, bold: MOVIE
All caps: TV SERIES
Italics: Book
Quotation marks: “Play” / “Broadway Show”
Italics, quotation marks: “Short Story” (all this shit stole from Steven Soderbergh)

SCHITT’S CREEK (S3 1-6). Mr. Know-it-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, John Waters.
Criminal #11
“Ride-Along”, Ron Riekki.
“Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain”, Jamil Jan Kochai.
“The Porcupine Method”, J. Danielle Dorn.
“Found Wanting,” Douglas Stuart. “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter,” Isabel Fall.

Noir at the Bar NYC 7/14 and NEcon

Noir at the Bar (4)This July I’ll be reading at Noir at the Bar Manhattan with a gaggle of great writers. I’ll be reading a new excerpt from RiffRaff, the next Jay Desmarteaux novel. It’s at Shade, a cozy neighborhood bar right off Washington Square, where Anderson Cooper goes for savory crepes, and ThugLit Daddy Todd Robinson is often behind the stick. Come join us, it is always a fun time, and look at the roster!
July 14th 2019 6-9 PM. Shade Bar, 241 Sullivan Street, NYC. Hosted by Scott Adlerberg and Jen Conley. Readers: Ava Black, Hilary Davidson, Rob Hart, Adrian McKinty, Angie Kim, Alex Segura, Thomas Pluck, and John Vercher.

Jen Conley, author of the great YA novel Seven Ways to Get Rid of Harry–which I called This Boy’s Life filtered through a Springsteen soundtrack–will be there, but not reading for some reason! We’ll see about that. It’s a great book for all people of all ages, but especially young teen boys, who don’t have a lot of fiction that addresses family problems and role models, according to schoolteacher Conley. I loved the book.

As for myself, I’ll be reading “Red Sauce,” an excerpt from RiffRaff that was published in Vautrin magazine, if you can’t make the reading. I will also be attending Camp NEcon, the Northeastern Writer’s Conference, from July 18th to 21st. They take walk-ins, if you want to drop in. After that, I’ll be reading at Noir at the Bar Hoboken on August 4th, details forthcoming.

Meet the Beat Girls… release day for Murder-a-Go-Go’s!

I’ve been a huge fan of the Go-Go’s since I first saw the video for “Our Lips Are Sealed” on MTV as a twelve year old boy, and I still sing along with their hits in the car, and if enough beer has been applied, at karaoke. So I’m thrilled that I got to write a story inspired by “We Got the Beat.”

Wanna meet the Beat Girls? Grab a copy here: Murder-a-Go-Go’s

The lineup includes Hilary Davidson, Lori Rader Day, Susanna Calkins, Lisa Brackmann, Nadine Nettmann, Eric Beetner, Patricia Abbott, editor Holly West herself, and an introduction from Go-Go Jane Wiedlin!
I love the ’80s neo-noir look of the cover, too:


The blurbs are totally awesome:

“I always suspected that twinkle in the Go-Gos’ eyes was a coded invitation to a darker world. In the hands of these 25 stellar crime fiction writers, “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed” become evil little gems. A totally rad read.” —Alan Hunter, Original MTV VJ, SiriusXM Host

“Shock and Awe, that sums up my reaction to MURDER-A-GO-GO’S. Shock to live in times when “The Whole World Lost Its Head” and awe at the response of these gifted writers. Buckle up for a ride that will leave “Skidmarks on Your Heart.” —Sara Paretsky, best-selling author of the V.I. Warshawski crime series

“Who knew those happy songs by one of my all-time favorite bands, the Go-Go’s, could inspire such dark, noir, spine tingling stories?!! It’s a collection of tales of distinctly female rage—the murderous kind and other wise—to keep you up at night!”—Alison Arngrim, TV’s Nellie Oleson and NY Times bestselling author, CONFESSIONS OF A PRAIRIE BITCH

It’s available today, and I’m sure you’ll go totally head over heels for it. All proceeds go to benefit Planned Parenthood.

Order Link: Murder-A-Go-Go’s at Down and Out Books

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.


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!



We Got the Beat…and a Go-Go’s themed anthology, edited by Holly West

It’s a bit early to crow about, because this drops in March 2019, but I’m thrilled to have a story in Holly West’s first anthology: Murder-a-Go-Go’s, all stories inspired by the songs of the Go-Go’s, with an introduction by band member Janet Wiedlin.
My story is “We Got the Beat.” Originally I chose “This Town,” but my idea fizzled and I asked if this was taken. And it wasn’t! One of their big hits! I read my story at KGB Bar a while back and it killed. I channeled my inner 15 year old and went wild. The line-up is fantastic, check it out. And be patient….
Holly is a great story writer herself, having been nominated for an Anthony award (and the short story nom has a LOT of competition!) and had her story “Don’t Fear the Ripper” collection in Otto Penzler’s collection of the greatest Jack the Ripper stories. Her historical mysteries MISTRESS OF FORTUNE and MISTRESS OF LIES are great reads, check them out.

Murder-A-Go-Go's Line Up

Writer’s Mog – Thomas Pluck

Nic Parker asked me to contribute to her ongoing series, Writer’s Mog, about writers and their cats. Learn all about Charlie and Louie and Cat Loaf!

devoted to thrills

26219665_10213766951300689_8883333762655910216_n Louie keeping informed about world politics

Tell us a tiny bit about yourself and a whole lot about the mog(gies) that share your current and/or past life.

My name is Thomas Pluck and I am a powerlifter and martial artist who Joyce Carol Oates calls “a lovely kitty man.” I write both funny and “tough” tales, from the rollicking adventure novel Blade of Dishonor, which was called “The Raiders of the Lost Ark of pulp paperbacks” to Bad Boy Boogie, a “tough slice of New Jersey noir,” about ex-con Jay Desmarteaux, who served time for killing a vicious school bully, and has only learned how to get away with it. Two cats have the run of my domain, a rescued Siamese named Charlie, and an enormous shorthair tabby named Louie. Charlie is older, and curls up near me while I read or write, sometimes on the back of the sofa…

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Short Story Challenge! what have you read lately?

I didn’t mention any resolutions this year, but one I made to myself was to read more short stories. I subscribed to Down & Out Magazine, Tin House, The Strand, Crimespree, One Story, and McSweeney’s. I’ve always liked what McSweeney’s does with its designs, even if I don’t enjoy all of the stories.

Short stories are enjoyable, little capsule worlds where you can escape for a few minutes or an hour, and I love writing them as well as reading them. Here’s what I’ve read this year, so far:
* means I especially liked it.

Safety Rules, by Jill Block (Alive in Shape and Color, aka AISAC)*
Pierre, Lucien, and Me, by Lee Child (AISAC)
Charlie the Barber, by Joe R. Lansdale (AISAC)*
Bulletin Board Dragon, by Lilly Hunt (One Teen Story)
Lights Out, by Rebecca Williams (Spelk Fiction)
At Night, by Etgar Keret (McSweeney’s 50)
Details, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (McSweeney’s 50)*
Deliver Me, by Sherman Alexie (McSweeney’s 50)*
Nancy, All Too Nancy, by Jonathan Lethem (McSweeney’s 50)
Internal Life, by Corinna Vallianatos (McSweeney’s 50)
The Lace Shirt, by Carrie Brownstein (McSweeney’s 50)
He Only Died, by Raymond Chandler (The Strand)*
Are You Mine and No One Else’s?, Danny Lorberbaum (One Story)
Little Big Horn, by Thomas McGuane (M50)
The Sure Cure, by Diane Williams (M50)
Ten Commandments: How to Spot a Hoax, by Kevin Young (M50)
Random Balloons, by Bud Smith (Maudlin House)*
Pups, by Kate Folk (One Story)*
The Janitor in Space, by Amber Sparks (her collection, The Unfinished World)*

Next Monday I’ll post a new update.

What great short stories have you read recently?