“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.

San Junipero and the Vanishing Hopeful Future

My Do Some Damage post this week discusses Black Mirror, the easy acceptance of dystopia and the challenge of imagining hopeful future:
Read it over at Do Some Damage. Black Mirror is the best show on television today, and the best anthology series since the Twilight Zone.

Character-Driven Action, at Do Some Damage

I’m at Do Some Damage today, talking Rambo, defining characters by their actions, the Devil’s Brigade, and the true story of the most revered Japanese sword going missing in 1945, never to be seen again. All of which come together in Blade of Dishonor.
Part 1 is FREE for Kindle for the next few days. Get a taste.
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Doing Some Damage

Thanks to Steve pedal-to-the-metal Weddle, I dropped by Do Some Damage to talk about what heart means, in every day life and in crime fiction.

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Mystery or Crime Fiction? Less Filling.

Both Patti Abbott and Spinetingler editor Brian Lindemuth (at Do Some Damage) have asked whether you prefer Mysteries or Crime Fiction, both as a reader, and a writer, when it comes to labeling books.
It used to be that Crime Fiction was a subset to Mystery, and now the tables seem to be turning somewhat. Here is my long comment at DSD.

Almost every story has an element of mystery. What happens next? Parker is on a bridge and he tells a guy off. I like this guy. What’s he gonna do next? But that’s not a story of deduction. Is Tana French’s excellent Faithful Place allowed to be crime fiction? There’s a murder and we don’t know who did it. But her depiction of Dublin and her excellent characters are right out of Hammett or Chandler.

I like both mysteries and crime fiction. I consider Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr “Burglar” mysteries to be cozies. I can never keep up with the classifications that nerds keep narrowing down, whether it’s in music (no dude, that’s not shoegaze, it’s um, darkwave fartsniff dubstep!) or books or whatever. I can’t be bothered.

Let’s face it, Mystery and Crime Fiction are labels to sell a book. If it bothers you to see “Mystery” on a book you like, is it because you imagine Miss Marple or Jessica Fletcher and don’t want to be associated with fans of those stories?
Mystery lovers likely get the same shiver when they see Crime Fiction or Noir on a label, they know there may be foul language and testicles (probably severed ones).
It’s a marketing construct. I don’t like either label. “Crime Fiction” can certainly drive away readers who assume it’s all about serial killers and gumshoes wearing fedoras and talking like Bogart, just like “Mystery” may be dismissed as a puzzler to keep you occupied in the waiting room for the gastroenterologist.

What about “Suspense”? I hope your story has suspense, even if it’s “literary fiction.” But heavens forfend it be labeled a “thriller,” those are for reading on airplanes, right? Speaking of thrills, I’m thrilled when an author I like is in the good old Fiction section. Megan Abbott, Pete Dexter, Scott Phillips are all recent sightings. But I don’t mind wandering to the Mystery corner, like the “Adult” section of the video store (if you remember those) to get my kicks.

Like Colson Whitehead says about those who call genre fiction a guilty pleasure:

“Other people’s labels. Other people’s hang-ups.”