My story “Item #214: a Curiosity” will appear in David Cranmer’s second tribute anthology in memoriam of his nephew Kyle Knapp, Treasure of Ice and Fire: Verdical Dreams volume 2. Kyle was a talent lost too soon in a tragic house fire, and I’m honored to offer this surreal cryptozoological tale in his memory.
Here is the cover. I’ll update with a release date when I know one.
BEAT TO A PULP is David Cranmer’s living tribute to the gripping fiction first printed in the colorful magazine-spinner rags of the ’30s. Gernsback’s Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, and H.L. Mencken’s Black Mask, where Dashiell Hammett and Paul Cain “gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reasons, not just to provide a corpse,” as Chandler famously wrote in The Simple Art of Murder.
I’m proud to announce that David will be publishing my action novel BLADE OF DISHONOR, which stars “Rage Cage” Reeves, an MMA fighter coming home from the Iraq war to find his grandfather embroiled in a battle over a Japanese sword stolen in World War 2. Release is planned for late 2013, joining the Cash Laramie books, the Rip Through Time series, and many more great stories.
I always enjoy the stories David publishes every week in BEAT TO A PULP, and we began working on the Reeves story after he chose my story “A Glutton for Punishment” for the weekly dose of pulp. Unfortunately a website crash wiped out the comments, but none other than my literary hero Lawrence Block dropped in to say he liked it. And I hope you will, too.
I got tagged by Ed Kurtz, author of Bleed, Control and others, to join in The Next Big Thing blog tour. Normally I don’t jump in for these things but he’s a good guy and it’s an easy way to talk about works in progress, and let readers know about other writers they might enjoy.
1) What is the working title of your next book?
Blade of Dishonor, a novella for Beat to a Pulp. (I’ve mentioned Bury the Hatchet a lot on the blog, and it is still in progress, but this will be done first.)
2) Where did the idea come from?
David Cranmer asked if I’d be interested in writing about an MMA fighter tussling with ninjas over a stolen sword. How could I say no to that? David published my mixed martial arts fighter tale “A Glutton for Punishment,” and I grew up on ’80s ninja movies and the Shogun Assassin “baby cart” samurai films. It is set in the present day, but the action begins in World War 2. I enjoy writing this so much that there may be a prequel written in the era of feudal Japan.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Adventure. Pulp is not a genre and “men’s adventure” paperback originals aren’t either, really. Adventure covers it, with a little War thrown in.
4) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Mixed martial arts fighter Reeves comes home from Iraq to help his wheelchair-bound grandfather run his Army-Navy store, and becomes embroiled in a centuries-old battle between ninja and samurai over a priceless and powerful Japanese sword.
5) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters?
Reeves, the MMA fighter, would be played by Joel Edgerton. He was in Warrior, he played a fighter and made it look real. Plus he’s got those sad eyes that women like, and looks like someone went over him with coarse grit sandpaper. My kind of hero.
His grandfather Butch, the wheelchair-bound war vet would be played by Ed Asner. He’s big, old, and angry as hell. Better known for comedy, but the man is a firestorm. The villain is a Japanese businessman, who could be played by Tadanobu Asano, best known for his role in Thor.
And his brutal henchman Mikio would be a good role for Hiroyuki Sanada, who is in “Revenge” and the new Wolverine film. He has the scruffy, beat down look. Tara, the gal with the suped-up muscle car, could be Gina Carano, but Tara is an art major, not a fighter. She’d break a fired chunk of pottery over your head, not try the flying armbar. She’s more of a Christina Hendricks, tough on the inside.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is a work for hire for Beat to a Pulp press.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Action-oriented thrillers like the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child and the Pike novels by Robert Crais, but grittier. War novels like The Short-Timers, James Brady’s The Marines of Autumn. I won’t say there’s nothing like it out there, but I haven’t read anything close. Maybe my readers can enlighten me.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My great-uncles all fought in World War 2, in Europe and the Pacific. The book is dedicated to them. They never talked in detail about the War, but their feelings were made clear. And I’ve been fascinated with Japanese culture since I was a kid. I loved Clavell’s Shogun, the Lone Wolf and Cub manga–I read all 28 volumes–Musashi, the yakuza gangster movies of Suzuki, Takashi Miike, Takeshi Kitano, and of course, the samurai films of Kurosawa and Hiroshi Inagaki, any movie with Toshiro Mifune in it.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The story follows Reeves in Part 1, then his grandfather Butch Sloane, in Part 2. Butch was a commando in the Devil’s Brigade. It is meticulously researched, and while we are in the trenches for all of the story, if you look up the battles date by date, what weapons, who fought in it, and how they won, it will satisfy all but the most unforgiving. It’s fiction, after all. I took license here and there, but I put the characters into real situations. The Devil’s Brigade existed, they fought the battles in the book, and if I change history, it is to insert the lost history of a grand plan that failed. The Devils were the inspiration for Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, only they were even badder.
And if you enjoy mixed martial arts, I trained in them for seven years. I write them realistically. I know a pro and amateur fighters and trainers, and I write them with respect. But also show just how brutal this training translates into combat outside of the ring.
This story is as tight and intense as anything I’ve written, fast-moving and thrilling while giving you plenty to think about. With enough action for three movies, much less one.
I’m tagging five writer friends you may know about already. If you don’t, I recommend you get acquainted with them, they are fantastic. I will admit, they have all talked to me about their projects or mentioned them on social media, so I dub them not only to spark your interest, but because of my own. They haven’t let me down yet, and I want to know what irons they got in the fire.
Josh Stallings is a film editor by day, and the author of the Moses McGuire crime thrillers by night. And I mean long into the night. We shared a hotel once, and when our sleep apnea machines were not dueling into the night like two Darth Vaders arguing over a dinner check, he was tip tapping away into the small hours. And the work shows. The McGuire books, Beautiful Naked, and Dead and Out There Bad, are two excellent tales about a bad-ass Marine who survived Beirut but never really came home. He’s a strip club bouncer, muscle for hire, and when he’s not trading slugs and elbow strikes with the bad guys, he’s at war with the demons within himself. The poetry of James Crumley’s sad, elegiac prose and the rip roaring action of Robert Crais.
Lynn Beighley delivers pills of sharp and subtle humor hidden in the steak of her fiction… like she’s sneaking medicine to one of her two Bernese Mountain dogs. She cut her teeth as a tech writer, but her short stories have appeared in journals and all over the web. She brilliantly depicts our fractured modern lives, interweaving social media personae with cold splashes of reality.
Steve Weddle is the editor for Needle: A Magazine of Noir and the creator of hitman Oscar Martello. Steve often combines hardboiled grit with absurd and fatalistic humor, but is also capable of fascinating introspection, as in the story he wrote for the Protectors anthology.
Jen Conley is an editor for Shotgun Honey, and no one captures the attitude and dialogue of New Jersey like she does. Her stories have appeared in ThugLit, Protectors, Beat to a Pulp, Out of the Gutter and elsewhere. Her characters are so full of life they claw their way off the page.
Chad Eagleton is a two-time Watery Grave International finalist and Spinetingler award nominee. His socially conscious crime fiction packs a wallop. Chad has also been researching novelist Shane Stevens, who wrote the first serial killer novel and was the basis for Alex Machine in Stephen King’s The Dark Half, and also happens to be one of the most underappreciated writers of his time.
I’m eager to hear what their fierce imaginations are up to… aren’t you?
And if you want a taste of how I write Edo Period Japan, with samurai and yakuza… read “Shogun Honey,” which I wrote for Sabrina Ogden when she was at Shotgun Honey.
If you want to read a story a day on your phone, you should follow @Shorts2Go on Twitter.
They link to a free short story every day. My recent favorite was by Octavia Butler. Today, my story “A Glutton for Punishment,” at Beat to a Pulp, is featured. It’s a shorty, if you haven’t read it, I’d appreciate your thoughts. This story was also reprinted in Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader: Flush Fiction. It seems to touch a nerve.
Several books by authors I admire have hit the streets recently. But first, let me get this out of the way. My friend Sabrina graciously opened the door of her blog to me, and I have a guest post up about why I wrote “Little Sister,” my story for last year’s Lost Children Charity Anthology. Sabrina is a great friend, and my ideal reader: a passionate fan of crime fiction, who likes a story fraught with action, real stakes, and bloody thrills. She always puts her heart into her reviews, and if you like thrillers and noir, I highly recommend you follow her blog.
First up, my friend Nigel Bird- one of my favorite short story writers- has written his first novel. Some are calling it “teacher noir,” about a Scottish schoolteacher who tries to help one of his troubled students, and ends up in over his head. Nigel is the author of the excellent story collection Dirty Old Town, and last year’s smashing novella Smoke. In Loco Parentis is available at Amazon.
Megan Abbott is one of noir’s rising stars. She began with powerful nods to the classics, and last year she wrote The End of Everything, a daring novel about an abducted girl in the Detroit chi-chi suburbs. I first read her in the L.A. Noire story collection, where her tale of Hollywood sleaze “The Girl” knocked me out of my socks and into next week at the same time. Now she’s tackled the high octane and brutally competitive world of high school cheerleading with DARE ME, and Dave White gives it a great review at his new blog, Beer ‘n Books. Dave is an IPA hound, but he has great taste in beer. He also writes a pretty good yarn himself, like Witness to Death.
And last but not least, the first author to influence me and make me pick up the pen was Harlan Ellison. Maybe you’ve read of our infamous correspondence? Well, Harlan began writing juvenile delinquent tales, before he broke the chains from pulp SF and created his own audacious flavor of speculative fiction. And some of those tales were racy, collected as “Sex Gang,” under the pseudonym Paul Merchant. They’ve been out of print, until now. Kicks Books is releasing them with the only slightly less squirmy title, Pulling a Train.
I don’t see the Ellison book available at my local indie or at Amazon yet, but these are what I’ll be reading this summer… once I catch up and read Dead Harvest, The Adjustment, City of the Lost, Edge of Dark Water, and That’s How I Roll!
First of all, congratulations to everyone who was nominated for a Spinetingler Award this year. The winners are listed here: Spinetingler Awards
I’m very proud to have a story, “Black-Eyed Susan,” in the winner for Best Anthology, Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled. Special thanks and congratulations to David Cranmer for editing the anthology, and calling me at the last minute when he needed a story.
It is 99 cents for Kindle; check out what the fuss is about.
My story “A Glutton for Punishment” appears in it, with stories by Darren Sant and 85 other people who want you to read their work with your underpants around your ankles. Now, you know I like a good poop joke. And so do you. Go ahead, wrinkle your nose, pretend to be above it. I know from the number of page views, retweets, Facebook likes and shares that CACA is KING. Everyone poops and everyone thinks it’s funny.
I’d rather have a story in Uncle John’s Reader than the New Yorker. You know why? Because I know a story in this publication is going to be read. I’ve got a captive audience, comfortably enthroned in the only room in the house a reader can get any quiet or privacy. A writer strives to share an intimate moment with a reader, and only Uncle John’s ensures it. Do you want a copy of this landmark publication in the realm of flash fiction? Of course you do. To get it, you need to:
a) live in the United States b) have a butt you have pooped out of c) Leave a comment with your favorite word, phrase or story involving bathroom humor.
Oh, and to kick it off, the first poop joke I remember was a fake book title. My mother loves wordplay and did not discourage potty humor, to say the least (as a kid, I watched Buddy Hackett, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Dice Clay on HBO with my grandmother). My entry to the poopstravaganza is:
Brown Spots on the Wall, by Hu Flung Pu
Winners will be chosen randomly one week from today when I first visit the toilet. Let the game of thrones begin!