Hills of Fire: Bare-Knuckle Yarns of Appalachia

I’m very proud to open Hills of Fire: Bare-Knuckle Yarns of Appalachia with my story “Rockridge Ringer,” where Jay Desmarteaux finds his old cellmate fighting for a crooked sheriff in a mountain town… and busts things up the only way he knows how, with his two quick fists. You won’t want to miss this one.

I was a big fan of the Dukes of Hazzard as a kid, and since then “Justified” and the Appalachian tales of Manly Wade Wellman and many others have intrigued me. I visited West Virginia a few years ago on a road trip- we stopped at Hillbilly Hotdogs and the Mothman Museum, and found folks as friendly as you could want- and I felt a kinship with the state, because like New Jersey, it is sometimes the recipient of jokes from those who’ve never stepped foot there. It’s a beautiful state and I’m proud to be in a collection by Woodland Press, a regional publisher that showcases writers from it.

Now I don’t know if editor Frank Larnerd showed the cover artist my story, but it sure looks like he read it. And while my image of Jay Desmarteaux was a Fred Willard in “Remo Williams” with a nod to author James Lee Burke, I am hard pressed not to see him as the brawler on this cover. And that don’t bother me one bit. I hope you’ll pick this book up, it has stories by Steve Rasnic Tem and a fantastic bootlegger adventure by Amber Keller as well.

Rip-roaring through the holler

Jay Desmarteaux’s debut in “The Rockridge Ringer” … a bareknuckle fighter forced into combat by a crooked sheriff. The cover evokes the classic pulps and men’s adventure paperbacks. I love it. I’ve had a peek at Amber Keller’s tale of running moonshine too, and I know you’ll love this collection of red-blooded tales rip-roaring through the hollers.

Frank Larnerd did a great job putting this one together. He nudged me to contribute, and I think this story really helped me envision the character and mood I want to set with the Desmarteaux novels.

The Protectors Anthology is coming…

For a year, I’ve been working on a follow-up anthology to Lost Children, the charity anthology inspired by Fiona Johnson‘s flash fiction challenge, hosted at Ron Earl PhillipsFlash Fiction Friday. It is nearly complete, and will be available September 1st. Here is the full list of contributors. 100% of proceeds will go to PROTECT and the National Association to Protect Children – the army fighting what Andrew Vachss calls “the only holy war worthy of the name,” the protection of children.

Protectors: Stories to Benefit PROTECT

Stories by:

Patti Abbott
Ian Ayris
Ray Banks
Nigel Bird
Michael A. Black

Tony Black
R. Thomas Brown
Ken Bruen
Bill Cameron
Jen Conley

Charles de Lint
Wayne D. Dundee
Chad Eagleton
Les Edgerton
Andrew Fader

Matthew C. Funk
Roxane Gay
Glenn G. Gray
Jane Hammons
Amber Keller

Joe R. Lansdale
Frank Larnerd
Gary Lovisi
Mike Miner
Zak Mucha

Dan O’Shea
George Pelecanos
Thomas Pluck
Richard Prosch
Keith Rawson

James Reasoner
Todd Robinson
Johnny Shaw
Gerald So
Josh Stallings

Charlie Stella
Andrew Vachss
Steve Weddle
Dave White
Chet Williamson

40 stories. One cause: PROTECT

In a few weeks, the e-book will be available across all formats. The print edition will follow.

Cover art by Kim Parkhurst. Interior design by Jaye Manus. Cover design by Sarah Bennett Pluck. Print design by Suzanne Dell’Orto. Edited by Thomas Pluck.

I would like to thank everyone who submitted stories for the collection, and everyone who assisted me with this project, and everyone at PROTECT.