My father used to race his ’53 flathead Ford back in the day, and I built an impressive mythology in my childhood mind after learning that. Part of that went into my entry for Chad Eagleton’s swell collection of ’50s-era crime fiction, Hoods, Hot-Rods, and Hellcats.
My story is called “Red Hot,” novella length hardscrabble blue-collar fiction in the vein of Hubert Selby, Jr. and set in the class struggle of northern New Jersey, between the “Nickie Newarks” and the upscale Bergen county folks across the river, races between super Studebakers and rich boy ‘Vettes, a love story between a mechanic who’s gotten the short end all his life and a woman done bad by her kin rescuing each other until a figure from his past threatens to blow it all apart. It’s one of the stories I’m most proud of, and having it in this excellent collection makes me even prouder.
The only place to get “Red Hot” is in Hoods, Hot-Rods, and Hellcats. Available on Kindle for a mere dollar–a steal if there ever was one–and under seven bones for the beautiful trade paperback. It includes a searing introduction by rock legend Mick Farren, may he rest in peace, and powerful fiction by Chad Eagleton, Matthew Funk, Christopher Grant, David James Keaton, Eric Beetner, Nik Korpon, and Heath Lowrance.
Chad Eagleton’s anthology of ’50s rockabilly and greaser noir is now live on IndieGogo.
I’m proud to be part of HOODS, HOT RODS AND HELL CATS, with my long short story “Red Hot,” about a hot rod mechanic who has more woman than he can handle. Lovingly researched, you could call it “birth of a hellcat,” and it’s one of my most personal stories yet.
Chad has put together some great rewards to go along with these stories, including an original rockabilly tune, cheesecake pin-up art, art posters, and switchblade combs to slick your hair with butch wax. The e-book was designed by Jaye Manus, who truly turns the format into an art form that not only mimics print but exceeds its limitations. A print edition is also available to grace your shelves.
“Red Hot” is a gripping tale of desperate love between two broken people, a man with a knack for tweaking the best out of an engine and the worst out of himself, and a woman on the brink of discovery of her formidable powers. Corvettes and supercharged Silver Hawks and the chopped and channeled Detroit iron that roared brave souls to freedom, and a side of World War 2 we rarely hear of.
My story, “Red Hot,” will appear in this hip shindig… and I mean “Red Hot” as in Billy Lee Riley. ’50s hotrodders, biker war vets, and one fierce red hot hellcat.
“…the world of Hoods, Hot Rods, and Hellcats is a dirty cocktail of fact, fable, fears, and fantasies. The 1950s are recreated one more time but here it’s with a savage, razor-honed edge you’ll never find in Grease, Happy Days, or American Graffitti.” –From the Introduction by Mick Farren
Featuring brand new fiction from Eric Beetner, Chad Eagleton, Matthew Funk, Christopher Grant, David James Keaton, Nik Korpon, Heath Lowrance, and Thomas Pluck.
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.
My good friend Sabrina, of the crime fiction blog My Friends Call Me Kate, needs jaw surgery. She has Lupus. If you know anyone with this painful, joint-damaging disease, or if you’ve read the Dave Robicheaux novels by James Lee Burke- you know what’s she’s going through. And this gal loves her some cheeseburgers and cupcakes. Something I can appreciate.
Her insurance won’t pay for it- and instead of waiting for our country to enter the mid-20th century, we’re going to help her ourselves with an IndieGoGo campaign. Laura Benedict, Laura Curtis, Clare Toohey and Neliza Drew got us together to write stories for our cheeseburger-loving and crime fiction reading friend. The book is called FEEDING KATE, and we’ve got a hell of a line-up:
Laura K. Curtis
Daryl Wood Gerber
Chris F. Holm
Ron Earl Phillips
All the proceeds will go to her surgery, and any left over will go to the American Lupus Foundation. For $5 you get a copy of the e-book, and for $18 you’ll get a print copy made through Lightning Source, by pros.
And if you like my fiction, you’ll get a Jay Desmarteaux story. He’s the lead in my novel Bury the Hatchet, a Cajun boy who likes a cheeseburger now and then himself. He’s a bully-hating bruiser who runs afoul of a biker gang in the Utah desert, who blame him for picking off their riders with his Cadillac. Their lawyer, a leather-clad lady biker named Kate, makes him a deal he can’t refuse: Take out the killer vehicle with a trunk full of nitro… if you loved “Duel” this one will be for you, and the only place to read it will be in … Feeding Kate!