Story Challenge for February, part two

I had a few book reviews due–Walter Mosley’s Down the River Unto the Sea, and Eva Dolan’s incredible This is How it Ends–so I’ve cut back on the short stories a bit. Now I’m back at it, and here are some favorites:

360_degree_fractal_death_valley_1214_mandelbulb_3d_by_schizo604-d9mr095
Death Valley, by schizo604

“Fractal” by Joyce Carol Oates at Lit Hub. She writes many kinds of stories, but this genre tale about a child prodigy with abilities we can’t understand is a real winner.

“Nobody’s Fool” by R.D. Sullivan at Shotgun Honey has a nice twist. Sullivan is a new voice on the crime fiction scene and one to watch.

Blacktop” by Mrs. Fringe is an entertaining read about a cocksure never-been character some of us know well. There’s always one of them at the gym or on the court.

Mendelsohn,” in Tin House, by Seth Fried, is a bit long but an entertainingly bizarre suburbia story. I like this in part because I wrote a terrible suburban story about an anthropologist at war with a raccoon that keeps eating his trash. It was never published, the characters were caricatures, but it was good practice, and I liked reading what an experienced writer could do with the idea.

I have a book due at the library- I blew through the excellent House. Tree. Person. by Catriona McPherson, a gripping but entertaining and light psychological thriller, and now I need to finish the forgotten classic Black No More by George Schuyler in a few days, so I won’t be reading more short stories yet!

If you like short stories, my collection Life During Wartime was just released by Down & Out Books, and contains “The Big Snip” which was chosen for The Best Crime & Mystery Stories 2016, as well as a Jay Desmarteaux yarn, three Denny the Dent tales, and “The Cronus Club,” which has never before appeared in print. Signed copies are available from Watchung Booksellers and The Mysterious Bookshop.

 

 

No Sleep Till Brooklyn Book Festival

Just mailed out the swag from the book giveaway–did you miss out because you don’t get The Plucking News? Sign up here and you won’t miss the next one.

In other news, my story collection from Down & Out Books, LIFE DURING WARTIME, is coming together and I’ll have a cover reveal for you soon. It collects the best of my stories and includes a few unpublished ones, and others that were difficult to find.

This weekend, on Sunday September 17th, I will be at Brooklyn Book Festival. In the morning I will be sitting at booth #310 with the Mystery Writers of America from 10:00 until noon, and from noon until 14:00 I’ll be at the Down & Out Books table with Lawrence Kelter, and several other authors. I’ll be wearing the snazzy Down & Out Magazine polo shirt in Black(Like My Heart!) black, so I’ll be easy to spot. I’ll have books to sign and swag to give away, and I hope you’ll stop by if you’re at the festival.

I’m not on any panels, but I will be going to see Sarah Weinman moderate the Killer Crime-Fiction panel with Joyce Carol Oates, Nelson George, and Ben H. Winters, and the comics panel Shapeshifters: Novelists Write Comics! with two of my favorite writers: Victor LaValle, and Gabby Rivera. Victor’s novel THE CHANGELING is brilliant, and I am really enjoying his miniseries comic DESTROYER, a modern update slash sequel to Frankenstein (the novel, which I’ve always liked more than the Hollywood versions). Rivera’s AMERICA comic is a blast and her novel JULIET TAKES A BREATH is great as well.

He won’t be at the fest, but I am looking forward to Laird Barron’s new crime novel BLOOD STANDARD, out in March 2018. He’s one of my favorite short story writers, and his novel THE CRONING made me shiver and laugh with its bizarre mix of weird cosmic horror, fairy tales, and Pynchonian ’50s paranoia.

As for me, I’m putting the final touches on the next novel and ready to dive into Jay Desmarteaux #2, where he boogies on down to the bad blood bayou…

Alive in Shape and Color available for pre-order

If you haven’t read Lawrence Block’s fantastic anthology In Sunlight or in Shadow, stories based on the art of Edward Hopper, you are missing out. Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Lee Child, Michael Connolly, Warren Moore, Jonathan Santlofer, Craig Ferguson, Megan Abbott, and LB himself among others, all contribute to a great collection of stories that run the gamut of genres and tones. And the art is beautifully reproduced in the hardcover edition (can’t speak for the paperback).

unnamed (1)So I’m tickled pink to have a story in his follow-up to this blockbuster, which expands the influence to artists of all kinds. He calls it Alive in Shape and Color, and it includes my story “Truth Comes Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind” inspired by the painting of the same name by Jean-Léon Gérôme. I’m honored to be among fellow contributors Sarah Weinman, Joyce Carol Oates, David Morrell, S.J. Rozan, Michael Connolly, Warren Moore, Jeffery Deaver, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Joe R. Lansdale, Craig Fergusion, Justin Scott, Lee Child, Nicholas Christopher, Gail Levin, and Jill D. Block. The art chosen ranges from Rodin, Balthus, Art Frahm, Clifford Still, Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali, Hieronymous Bosch, Hokusai, Norman Rockwell, and the cave paintings at Lascaux.

You’re not going to want to miss this one. It’s available for pre-order now.

 

The Year’s Best Crime & Mystery Stories 2016

I’m over the moon that my story “The Big Snip” was chosen by John Helfers and Kristine Kathryn Rusch for inclusion in The Year’s Best Crime and Mystery Stories 2016 with Megan Abbott, Joyce Carol Oates, Mary Higgins Clark, Jedidiah Ayres, SJ Rozan, and more. Thank you to the editors for choosing me, and to Lawrence Block for getting me to write it, and Peter Carlaftes and Kat Georges for originally publishing it in Dark City Lights at Three Rooms Press (where you can read it in print, if you prefer).
Paperback available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local indie bookstore.

Available as an e-book on KindleB&N Nook, Apple iBooks, and Kobo.
9781987879438_p0_v1_s192x300
 If you haven’t read it, or just want to read it again with some more great crime stories, grab it for your e-reader or read it on your phone, PC, Mac, iPad, ePood, or someone else’s.
My story’s about love and pain and justice on the Neuter Scooter, and it’s a personal favorite. I’ll be returning to these characters…