A Distinguished Deadbeat

No, not talking about ex-Congressman Joe Walsh, but my short story “Deadbeat”, which first appeared in Down & Out Magazine’s first issue, and is collected with 20 other stories in Life During Wartime.

I was thrilled when I learned that my story of ironworkers in the recklessly paced world of Manhattan construction was chosen as a Distinguished Mystery Story of 2017, in the honorable mentions section of The Best American Mystery Stories 2018, edited by Louise Penny and Otto Penzler. Thank you both for including me, and thanks to editor Rick Ollerman for helping hammer the story into shape! He knows what he’s doing.

2018-09-17 16_42_24-The Best American Mystery Stories 2018 (The Best American Series ®)_ Louise Penn

If you want to read the Best stories of last year, pick up the 2018 edition when it is released in October. If you would like to read “Deadbeat,” you’ll have to buy a copy of Life During Wartime at The Mysterious Bookshop or Watchung Booksellers–they both have signed copies–or from your favorite store or retailer. Here are links to most, at my publisher’s site.


Congratulations to all the other honorees, but especially Reed Farrel Coleman, SJ Rozan,  and Al Tucher, they keep putting out the good stuff. And if you check out Reed’s novel Colorblind, latest in the Robert B. Parker Jesse Stone series, you’ll find someone named Tommy… my thanks for helping him with his laptop in Milwaukee last year. Surprisingly, he didn’t kill me, or make me a drunk demonstrating Krav Maga moves. Thanks, Reed!


Or you can hear me read from it at Noir at the Bar on 9/28, at Kew & Willow books in Queens, with  whole bunch of great writers. I will also announce here that on March 23rd 2019, I will be moderating a panel of New Jersey crime writers at the Montclair Literary Fest, with Dave White, Jen Conley, and Wallace Stroby. Joyce Carol Oates will also be attending the festival and we may bring our cats on leashes. So please bring cat toys to keep them from running amok. (the cats. for the writers, bring booze).

Anthony! Ant’nee! Ant! Tony! Tone! Tee!!!

That’s Italian mother for “Anthony.” You’re welcome.

And thank YOU and everyone who nominated Bad Boy Boogie for an Anthony Award for best paperback original! The good folks running Bouchercon this year in St. Petersburg Florida announced this year’s nominees, and you can read them all here at the 2018 Anthony Awards site.

I’m thrilled that my first Jay Desmarteaux crime novel was nominated, and it’s in great company:


Honored to be nominated with Lori Rader-Day, Nadine Nettman, James W. Ziskin, and Eryk Pruitt! The winner will be announced on Saturday September 8th at the convention.

This is my second nomination, Protectors 2: Heroes was nominated for best anthology in 2016, but there were so many great authors in that one, the honor was shared. And so is this one. My publisher Down & Out Books and editor Chris Rhatigan helped me get the book into fighting shape, and early readers Holly West, Elizabeth Kracht, Lynn Beighley, and others all had a hand. Thank you all, and thank you readers for your great reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, for spreading the word, and everyone who put Boogie on their Anthony ballot!

I’m hard at work on Jay #2, Riff Raff, set in the wilds of Louisiana, and this will kick me in the pants to get it done a little more quickly.

Congratulations to all the nominees. Here are a few I’m especially happy to see:

Jen Conley and Hilary Davidson for their short stories. They are both two of my favorite writers to read, and spin a great story. Special congratulations to Susanna Calkins, whose first published story was nominated! Alex Segura and Joe Clifford for their Bill Crider award nominations for best novels in a series, they’ve created great characters we love to follow. Dan & Kate Malmon for their best anthology nom for Killing Malmon, which was a hilarious theme and inspired so many great stories. Eric Beetner and S.W. Lauden of Writer Types Podcast, my fellow damaged writers at Do Some Damage, the folks at Jungle Red Writers, and Kristopher Zgorski of BOLO Books for creating great online content. Jordan Harper, Kristen Lepionka, and Christopher Irvin for their best first novel nominations. This is always a tough category and they wrote their hearts out. She Rides Shotgun was one of my favorite recent crime novels, and deserves the Edgar it nabbed. Attica Locke and Don Winslow for best novel. Bluebird, Bluebird and The Force were both great reads.

There are folks I nominated who didn’t make the top five, it seems, and that’s rough for everyone. I had given up on this one, and woke up to a surprise. Want proof? I wrote about Awards Season Depressive Disorder at Do Some Damage. It’s still something to keep in mind, even if I am a firm believer in the “it’s an honor to be nominated” mantra. It is an honor.

Keep writing the books you want to see, and you can’t lose.


For Your Consideration…

It’s the yearly Award Eligibility Post!

Don’t you hate it when those ballots show up and you can’t remember everything you read this year? Maybe you’re like me and keep a list. But if you don’t, here are the stories and books of mine published this year, eligible for awards and anthologies and whatnot:

Crime and Mystery:

Bad Boy Boogie, a paperback original.

“Russian Roulette,” in Killing Malmon, an anthology to benefit the MS Society.
“Deadbeat,” in Down & Out Magazine issue one.

Horror and Fantasy:

“Truth Comes Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind,” in Alive in Space and Color: 16 Paintings by Great Artists and the Stories They Inspired, edited by Lawrence Block, from Pegasus Books.
“Little Howl on the Prairie” in BloodBond, from Alban Lake Publishing.
I used to write many more short stories, and I hope to get back to it, but I find it difficult to put down a novel project and pick up again. If you enjoyed these stories, thank you.

Protectors 2 and the 2016 Bouchercon Anthony Award nominations

The good folks who run Bouchercon have announced the 2016 Anthony Award nominees, and I’m thrilled beyond belief that Protectors 2: Heroes is not only nominated for an Anthony Award for best anthology, but that Holly West’s story “Don’t Fear the Ripper” from it has been nominated for best short story. Her story has also been chosen to appear in a Ripper anthology from Mysterious Press. Thank you so much Holly, for writing that story and letting me publish it in the anthology.

Protectors 2 Cover

One of the other anthology contenders is ThugLit Presents Cruel Yule: A Holiday Anthology, in which my story “Letters to Santa” appears. Johnny Shaw’s Chingon tale “Feliz Navidead” is in there, and also nominated for best short story. As is Erin Mitchell’s “Old Hands,” from Dark City Lights: New York Stories (ed. by Lawrence Block), in which my story “The Big Snip” appears. Snip wasn’t chosen for an Anthony, but it was picked for The Year’s Best Crime & Mystery Stories 2016, edited by Kristine K. Rusch, so I’m pretty thrilled about that, too.

The Anthonys are a fan award and they mean a lot. It’s an honor to be nominated, along with so many champions of the genre and also good friends, like Josh Stallings’s Young Americans, my favorite heist novel of recent vintage, Joelle Charbonneau’s Need, Rob Hart’s New Yorked, Hank Phillippi Ryan’s What You See, and so many others.

As they say, it’s an honor to be nominated. But if you enjoyed Protectors 2: Heroes and are going to the convention, your vote will help sell the book and generate more revenue for Protect: The National Association to Protect Children. I’ve donated over $4500 so far. Let’s keep it going, for the HERO Corps!


Pluckery among the Anthony Award nominees 2016

Bouchercon 2016 just announced the 2016 Anthony Award nominees, and I am thrilled to know so many of the deserving names, and to be involved in two of the nominated books.

First of all, congratulations to everyone who made the ballot. This is a fan-nominated award, and nothing is more dear to a writer’s heart than to know their books are actually being bought and read. So, thank all the readers for reading and nominating!

The full list of nominees is available at the official Bouchercon page. But to be selfish, the ones that I’m in are both anthologies:

Protectors 2: Heroes, Stories to Benefit PROTECT, was my baby this year and contains 55 stories. You can get the full list here. The book itself is nominated for best anthology, and Holly West’s story “Don’t Fear the Ripper” is also up for best short story! Big congratulations to Holly. You’ll be seeing more of this story, it’s also been selected for a Ripper anthology.

ThugLit Presents Cruel Yule: Holiday Tales of Crime for People on the Naughty List, edited by Todd Robinson, contains my story “Letters to Santa,” plus stories from Johnny Shaw, Hilary Davidson, and many more. Johnny’s story “Feliz Navidead” is also nominated for best story. It’s a Chingón tale, and if you haven’t read or heard one, they are hilarious. Congrats, Johnny!

Some of my favorite writers are up for the award as well. (Many of them have stories in Protectors anthologies, too)  Josh Stallings’ fantastic ’70s glitter heist novel Young Americans is up for best paperback original AND best audiobook, New Yorked by Rob Hart and Concrete Angel by Patti Abbott are up for best first novel, Hilary Davidson’s “The Siege” is up for best short story, Chris Holm’s The Killing Kind is up for best novel, Joelle Charbonneau’s Need is up for best YA novel, Chris Irvin’s story collection Safe Inside the Violence is nommed for best short story collection, Erin Mitchell’s story from Dark City Lights is up for best short story, and … well, just read the whole list. I’m getting tired!

Congratulations again to everyone. I’m thrilled to be nominated for Protectors 2: Heroes, and to have a story in Cruel Yule. And congrats to Erin for her first published story getting nominated in Dark City Lights! Go read it, there are many great NYC tales in there, including my own, “The Big Snip.”

Whew, now let me go pour a celebratory glass of scotch…

Anthony Award nominee (and winner) Hilary Davidson holding Protectors 2:

hilary - protectors2


Spinetingler Awards

Spinetingler has announced its nominees for this year’s awards, and I’m glad to see many of my favorite writers receive well-deserved nominations. Not to leave anyone out, but some books getting the attention they deserve include The Bitch by Les Edgerton, Josh Stallings’ Beautiful, Naked & Dead, Frank Bill’s Crimes in Southern Indiana, Johnny Shaw’s Dove Season, Donald Ray Pollock’s The Devil All the Time, and Megan Abbott’s The End of Everything.

I nominated more, like Matthew McBride’s incredible debut Frank Sinatra in a Blender, and I still don’t know how that didn’t make it. I haven’t read all the nominees, but they had better be astounding to knock Matt out of the running.

I’ve crowed about how great my buddy Josh’s two novels are many, many times… but here it comes again. I read them before I met him, and I sought him out because he writes like James Crumley with anger displacing the sense of loss that master infused in his work. A much deserved nomination.

I’m also very happy to see Sabrina Ogden, Sandra Seamans, Elizabeth White, Heath Lowrance, and Patti Abbott nominated for the David Thompson Community Leader award. They are pillars of the online crime fiction community, and give the genre a boost when it often can spin its wheels going over the same muddy ground. It’s a very tough choice to choose just one of them.

I’m not nominated specifically- I was hoping to get a nomination for best short story on the web, but there is some very tough competition and I’m happy for all the writers who did make it. Matt Funk, David James Keaton, Court Merrigan, Nigel Bird, Peter Farris, Hilary Davidson… I hope one of you knocked me out of contention. That would be a death with honor.

Several publications I’ve been a part of are nominated, so please vote early and often:

Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled AND Off the Record are both nominated for best short story anthology. My stories “Black-Eyed Susan” and “Free Bird” appear in them, respectively:
Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled
Off the Record

Pulp Modern, Beat to a Pulp, Shotgun Honey, Needle, Noir Nation, and Crimefactory are all up for Best Zine (hey, no Plots With Guns?) and I my stories have or will appear in all six of those… and Plots with Guns, who I think is criminally underrated, no pun intended.
“Legacy of Brutality” in Pulp Modern
A Glutton for Punishment” in Beat to a Pulp
Faggot,” “Shogun Honey,” and “The Last Sacrament” in Shotgun Honey
“Tiger Mother” in Noir Nation #2
“Lefty” in Crimefactory #10
“Gumbo Weather” in the next issue of Needle

I’m proud as a Proudfoot to have stories in these excellent zines, and I’m glad the ballot’s secret. I have no idea how to choose just one.

And don’t forget that Spinetingler just released their first Kindle issue, and my story “Two to Tango” is included. If that story doesn’t affect you, I’m handing in my gloves.

Please take the time to vote. We writers can be little attention leeches, but even the champs love to hear when they throw a good punch, and you readers have the good seats. We can’t always tell from inside the ring.


© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

it’s a major award!

Lost Children: a Charity Anthology has been nominated for a Predators & Editors Award for best anthology! We’d appreciate your VOTE.

Also, Spinetingler Magazine has their nominations open for best crime fiction books and stories. I made my picks, go make yours!

If I tingled your spine, nominate the story that did it. If you can’t pick one (how cocky does that sound? I had 29 stories published this year) perhaps you should read “Junkyard Dog” at Plots with Guns, which the last reader, Joe Myers (a fine writer himself) said brought a tear to his eye…

© 2011 Thomas Pluck