Freedom Bird

OFF THE RECORD is a charity anthology that benefits children’s literacy. Luca Veste asked 38 writers to pen 1500 words inspired by a classic rock song. I drew “Free Bird.” The book is only 99 cents for Kindle, for the next few days.

Eva Dolan, reviewer at Loitering with Intent and Crime Fiction Lover, said Freedom Bird “is a beautifully constructed story about the strength it takes not to act; may bring a tear to your eye.”


A buddy of mine in high school drove one of these babies. The Firebird on the hood is truly iconic, and I kept thinking how the soldiers in Vietnam called the plane home the “freedom bird,” and thought of a teenager trapped in a house with his vet father, neither understanding each other, fighting over what it means to “be a man,” and how sometimes it means to act and other times it means not to.

This is a story I could write a book from. The characters are strong in my mind, and I’ve wanted to write about being a kid during the end of the Vietnam war. I was 4 years old when Saigon “fell.” I remember the footage on television. (I woke up early at a young age, would walk down and turn the TV on. I saw Sadat’s assassination this way, and also watched PATTON when I was way too young). So you’ll be seeing more of Harve Chundak, someday.

Guilty Conscience

Today I’m at Luca Veste’s blog Guilty Conscience talking about the Off the Record Anthology that he put together. It’s the only place to read my story “Free Bird,” and it’s only 99c as an e-book right now. The link to by is to the right.

If you read the INTERVIEW you’ll get an excerpt, and we talk music, influences, and about Andrew Vachss’s “orphan” of a novel SHELLA which you should go read right now (or listen to, it was just made into an audiobook as well)

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Pluck in Print

I dig the e-book revolution and my Nook overfloweth, but I love books. Real, hefty, books. Flipping through the pages. Slick covers, matte covers. Raised print on dust jackets. Beautiful and grabby cover designs. I thought breaking into print would be “the I made it!” moment. Now thanks to Dean Wesley Smith, I know all those moments are myths, but anyway, it felt great to be in Pulp Modern #1, which is a great collection and available on the right. It’s also the only way to read Denny’s first and most powerful story, “Legacy of Brutality,” so if you enjoyed him in Plots With Guns, get Pulp Modern. There’s a story by Lawrence Block, a Cash Laramie adventure, a great Indiana Jones style pulp tale by Chris LaTray, and brutal, gripping tales by Glenn Gray, David James Keaton and John Kenyon that still disturb me.

The latest appearance in print of the Plucker is in Luca Veste’s amazing Off the Record anthology, which benefits two children’s literacy charities, one in the UK and one in the US. 38 stories total, with names like Les Edgerton, Heath Lowrance, Matthew Funk, David Barber, Julie Morrigan, Fiona Johnson and I dunno, two guys named Ray Banks and Steve Mosby. Maybe you’ve heard of them. Maybe you haven’t, and should get thee to a library. Or you could buy this and get an introduction to two excellent writers who never let you down:

Lulu paperback is available here. 312 pages, 38 stories, by writers you can trust…

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Off the Record…

Luca Veste took an idea and went running; give writers a list of classic tunes and have them write short stories inspired by them. 38 writers made the cut, a double vinyl blast from the past. The royalties will benefit two charities on either side of the Atlantic:

In the UK, National Literacy Trust. (

In the US, Children’s Literacy Initiative. (

I chose “Free Bird” to develop an idea I’ve had in my mind for a while, about a Vietnam Vet and his son both dreaming of that “freedom bird” to escape the war they’re in. One overseas and one at home. And we’ve got a hell of a PLAYLIST on this amazing collection:

1.Neil White – Stairway To Heaven
2.Col Bury – Respect
3.Steve Mosby – God Moving Over The Face Of Waters
4.Les Edgerton – Small Change
5.Heath Lowrance – I Wanna Be Your Dog
6.AJ Hayes – Light My Fire
7.Sean Patrick Reardon – Redemption Song
8.Ian Ayris – Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
9.Nick Triplow – A New England
10.Charlie Wade – Sheila Take A Bow
11.Iain Rowan – Purple Haze
12.Thomas Pluck – Free Bird
13.Matthew C. Funk – Venus In Furs
14.R Thomas Brown – Dock Of The Bay
15.Chris Rhatigan – Shadowboxer
16.Patti Abbott – Roll Me Away
17.Chad Rhorbacher – I Wanna Be Sedated
18.Court Merrigan – Back In Black
19.Paul D. Brazill – Life On Mars?
20.Nick Boldock – Superstition
21.Vic Watson – Bye Bye Baby
22.Benoit Lelievre – Blood On The Dancefloor
23.Ron Earl Phillips – American Pie
24.Chris La Tray – Detroit Rock City
25.Nigel Bird – Super Trouper
26.Pete Sortwell – So Low, So High
27.Julie Morrigan – Behind Blue Eyes
28.David Barber – Paranoid
29.McDroll – Nights In White Satin
30.Cath Bore – Be My Baby
31.Eric Beetner – California Dreamin’
32.Steve Weddle – A Day In The Life
33.Darren Sant – Karma Police
34.Simon Logan – Smells Like Teen Spirit
35.Luca Veste – Comfortably Numb
36.Nick Quantrill – Death Or Glory
37.Helen FitzGerald – Two Little Boys
38.Ray Banks – God Only Knows

With forewords from UK writer Matt Hilton, and US writer Anthony Neil Smith.

You get 38 great stories by top crime writers and you help kids learn to read. That’s what we call a win-win. It will be available in print soon, and the Kindle version is available now:

© 2011 Thomas Pluck