BEST HARDBOILED DETECTIVE WHO AIN’T A DETECTIVE (or Scott Jordan is the man)


Long ago and far away I was 14 or so and visiting my crazy aunt Bobby Joe (married to Bobby Ray) and digging through large brown paper sacks full of books bought at garage sales. I had to be mindful of the tiny black North Georgia scorpions who loved to nest up in those stacks of old wood pulp paper, little bastards hurt like hell and made you sick to your stomach for days if you let one get a hold of you.  But I was a book worm and here were hundreds of books for my taking.

I came across an old yellowish book from 1969 (originally published (1947) with a cover that had a man in trench coat and a gun in his belt looking down in dismay at a naked blond laying among some conveniently placed pillows. Well, that was enough for me. I took that home and read the hell out of it.

Now the tale inside did not quite live up to the lurid cover, yes there was an undraped blonde, but she quickly wound up dead as a canary in a coal mine. What I did find was a smartass lawyer acting as a detective in 1947 New York, getting shot at and dealing with thugs. My first hardboiled book. I loved it.

I carried that book for a long time. It was by Harold Q. Masur, himself a lawyer turned novelist. He is now one of my favorite hardboiled authors.

The story is pretty good. Case of mistaken identity results in a dead woman and our hero has to find out what’s going on. He’s stubborn and smartass in all the best ways. Like a less tough Mike Hammer who is a bit more book smart and a bit less grim.

It is still one of my favorite books ever. I’ve read it probably 2 dozen times.

Here is the cover I have.

Bury Me Deep, Bantam 1969

and here is the new, re-issued version you can get from Raven’s Head Press.

 

BURY ME DEEP COVER FLAT

GO BUY IT HERE

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DAMN JOE R. LANSDALE, JUST . . . DAMN (or how my mind got blown)


With the Sundance show a comin‘ I’ve been filling in the gaps of my Hap and Leonard reading cause I haven’t gotten the whole series through. Not for lack of liking, just for picking them up randomly. So I’ve been reading BAD CHILI by Joe R. Lansdale.

It’s good. I like Hap and I like Leonard. They ride each others asses like friends do. They get in weird capers that result in mucho violence and I like that as well.

So the other day I was working at the tattoo shop and I took a break, went outside on a gorgeous day, sat in a chair and lit up a Nick’s Sticks cigar and read toward the end of the book.

badchili cigar

On page 280 Joe Lansdale blew my damn mind.

There’s a thing that happens, no I won’t tell you what it is, you either already know or you haven’t read it yet so no spoilers. Needless to say a thing occurs and Hap decides he is going to go kill someone.

That scene, his decision to do the killing and his action as a result was some of the most gripping writing I’ve read in a long time. I write books about violent men. I write books about people choosing to kill other people. Reading Lansdale’s version of thing s I have written was like being slapped with my own inadequacies. It was humbling. Not often does something happen in a book that makes me say, out loud, “damn”.

Two mega thumbs up for this book.

hap bad chili

GO BUY IT HERE

 

Hap-and-leonard_100_james-purefoy_michael-k-williams_968x545

DIG TWO GRAVES (or my rampant fanboying of Eric Beetner continues)


So, at Bouchercon 2015 I picked up some books. Three of those books were by Eric Beetner, you remember him from the other day when I gushed like a schoolgirl over a box of kittens about RUMRUNNERS, his book from 280 Steps.

Well, I read DIG TWO GRAVES, his revenge noir novella from Snubnose Press. It was really freaking good. The main character, Val, is a scumbag, but he is strangely likable, stumbling his way through a half-assed plan to get back at the two folks he feels have set him up to go back to prison. Mayhem ensues as things keep going sideways on Val and he just can’t catch a break. You’ll read this book as quick as you can because you won’t be able to put it down.

Plus you get a back up short story that kicks a lot of ass as well.

Check out the trailer Eric made for it .

and BUY IT HERE RIGHT NOW

dig two graves

THE POWER OF A SCANDAL (or my review of Jigsaw Youth)


Tiffany Scandal is a tuff chick.

I picked up her book JIGSAW YOUTH from Ladybox Books and read it quickly. It’s on the shorter side but it’s also just that damn compelling.

This is the story of Ella, a lesbian of Chicana descent, who finds her self both isolated and accepted. The story is disjointed, appearing in vignettes instead of a straight narrative and that adds depth to the texture of the story. This is a life and sometimes life can get messy.

It’s got a beauty to it and a power and by the end you feel as if you have shared something meaningful.

Full to the brim with emotion that paint a dark but not bleak portrait. The writing is both raw and delicate, somehow punching you in the gut and kissing you on the forehead.  Scandal’s voice is definitely noir, harkening to some of the tough guys in the genre, Bukowski, Thompson, and Carver would have had her in their drinking club, but her language and story have a literary heft to them that keeps you turning the pages.

I’ll be checking out more of her work and recommend you do as well.

jigsaw youth

BUY IT HERE RIGHT NOW.

 

GET GRAHAM YOST ON THE PHONE (or my review of RUMRUNNERS)


When Justified ended it left a hole in my world. I loved the Harlan County full of redneck outlaws and lawmen presented on there. Graham Yost, the showrunner, showed that he gets how to bring crime fiction to the small screen in a way that a lot of folks just don’t.

Well, I have discovered his next project.

RUMRUNNERS by Eric Beetner.

I’m an Eric Beetner fanboy and I have no problem admitting it. I love his writing and have yet to be disappointed in any of his work.  RUMRUNNERS is a great addition to his body of work.  This is a book about outlaw family doing outlaw things for family reasons. It’s got great characters and a plot as fast as a 1969 Roadrunner. It’s a crackerjack of a book.

It’s out through 280 Steps, a crime fiction publisher that’s burning up the roads with some great packaging on their books. Look at this cover.

cover - Rumrunners

And now read what some of the best crime writers are saying about it:

Smokey and the Bandit meets Justified and Fargo in this violent crime-family saga with a sense of humor.

“Buckle up…RUMRUNNERS is a fast and furious read.” -Samuel W. Gailey, author of Deep Winter Meet the McGraws.

They’re not criminals. They’re outlaws. They have made a living by driving anything and everything for the Stanleys, the criminal family who has been employing them for decades. It’s ended with Tucker. He’s gone straight, much to the disappointment of his father, Webb. When Webb vanishes after a job, and with him a truck load of drugs, the Stanleys want their drugs back or their money. With the help from his grandfather, Calvin-the original lead foot-Tucker is about to learn a whole lot about the family business in a crash course that might just get him killed.

“Rumrunners just never lets up. It’s a fuel-injected, mile-a-minute thrill ride. I had a blast.” -Grant Jerkins, author of A Very Simple Crime and Done In One

“Few contemporary writers do justice to the noir tradition the way Eric Beetner does. Others try to emulate and mimic; Beetner just takes the form and cuts his own jagged, raw and utterly readable path. RUMRUNNERS is the latest example of his great storytelling skills, and his uncompromising commitment to the dark, often violent truth at the center of the human heart.” -Gar Anthony Haywood, author of Assume Nothing, Cemetery Road and the Aaron Gunner series

“Beetner is an old school talent, a crime writer’s crime writer like Gil Brewer (although, in my humble opinion, he’s better than Brewer), who writes stuff that is fast and funny and dark all at once.” -Jake Hinkson, author of Hell On Church St. and The Big Ugly

 

And now go BUY IT RIGHT NOW

NOIR IN THE HEARTLAND (or how me and Springsteen and a bunch of crime-writing badasses are making a difference)


Pay attention to this one, it’s BIG.

I’m in a new anthology. I know, I know, I’m in a LOT of anthologies, but this one is a bit different. This one is a Crime Fiction anthology being put out by Gutter Books and Zelmer Pulp based on the songs of Bruce Springsteen. All the proceeds go to the Bob Woodruff Foundation which helps our veterans, cause dammit that’s what the Boss would want.

You may ask, WHY is this anthology different? Well, first of all it’s cool as hell, but secondly, it has some HUGE names in it. How huge? DENNIS LEHANE huge. HILARY DAVIDSON huge. Peter Farris, Chris F. Holm, Chuck Wendig, Les Edgerton, and Todd Robinson plus a shit-ton of other awesome authors huge.   Look at the cover:

 

Ain't it loverly?

Ain’t it loverly?

 

AND LOOK AT MY NAME RIGHT THERE ON THE COVER!

Cover credit. Hells yes.

And you all know my LOVE for crime fiction. I wrote about it HERE.

So what did I write about? My story is based off the song I’m On Fire. I’ve been listening to that damn song and been haunted by it for decades. It’s a spooky, creepy song full of human darkness. The second I was asked to be part of this by my good buddy Brian Panowich I knew I was writing that song. Got the official and wrote that beauty up in one sitting.

It’s dark. Real fucking dark.

It’s set in a place outside Culvert City, my crime fiction town, in a place called Butcher’s Holler and the time is somewhere around the 40’s.

Here’s what Joe Clifford, the editor, said after reading the piece.

Finally started editing the Springsteen antho. Just read your story “I’m on Fire.” Wow. I mean, just wow . . . 

. . . Got some Knockemstiff in there (which is my favorite short story collection), with just enough tongue-in-cheek nod to the Boss. Really, the perfect story for this collection. Well done, sir. Well fucking done.

I’ll take that. So keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of it going on sale and be ready to enjoy some awesome noir, inspired by an awesome singer, for an awesome cause.

And go LIKE the Facebook page for this anthology HERE

and here is a link to the video.

BUSIER THAN A TEN-PECKERED ROOSTER IN A HENHOUSE


Here’s a general rundown of what I am doing and have been doing and the general crazy that is my life right now.

First of all I am all over the place. This Saturday (June 23rd) I will be at the BOOKS-A-MILLION in Canton, Ga from 1-3pm signing books with my two good friends Janice Hardy (author of THE HEALING WARS series) and Delilah S. Dawson (author of WICKED AS THEY COME). Plus there will be a store-wide sale of at least 20% off so come out, buy some books, meet some writers, get some signatures, SAVE THE HUMAN RACE FROM EXTINCTION!

SPIDER’S LULLABY the second e-novella in the Deacon Chalk series hits this Tues. (June 26th) at all fine e-tailers for only $1.99

Then next weekend (June 29-July 1) I will be at FANDOM FEST in Louisville, KY.

You should come out for this one if you can. It is gonna rock! 140+ writer guests. It will be insane. Pluse media guests like BRUCE CAMPBELL AND PETER DAVISON.

Here is my schedule for the convention.

Friday 2:30pm Jones Room How to Be a Panelist

Friday 5:30 pm Jones Room Horror Cage Match

Friday 8:30 pm McCreary Room Shrewsbury Night Live! With Special Guests James R. Tuck, John Hartness, and Brady Allen

Saturday 1pm Morrow Room Robert E. Howard Roundup

Saturday 4pm Beckham Room I want to Be a Vampire (M)

Saturday 5:30 pm Beckham Room Exploring Genres Urban Fantasy

Sunday 11:30 pm Fields Room Guns and Monsters How to Write Urban Fantasy (M)

Sunday 1pm Beckham Room The Big 6 and Traditional Press’ Place in Today’s World

Plus a reading and a signing.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

The next weekend (Saturday July 7)  I will be at a MASSIVE SEVEN AUTHOR EVENT in Columbia, SC      4pm-7pm

3400 Forest Dr, Columbia, South Carolina 29204-4041

Me, Kalayna Price, John Hartness, Misty Massey, Rachel Aaron, Delilah S. Dawson, and A. J. Hartley.  If you are in the area, come out!

AND FINALLY

I have dipped my toe into the self publishing world with this special little ditty:

I did this myself y’all!

Description:

FROM THE AUTHOR THAT BROUGHT YOU DEACON CHALK!

A new collection of short stories set in Culvert City, a place where bad people do bad things to each other. This is CRIME done the way it should be. Dark, gritty, hard as concrete and twice as cold.

Hard-eyed men and quick-draw dames.

You’ll meet a hitman with no name who does what he’s paid to do with style, a young buck finding his place, and a woman pushed to the edge and over.

This is how crime fiction should be written…like a knuckle sammich across the kisser. You get six stories and they sit like a full chamber on a snubnose Saturday night special, loaded hot and ready to fire.

Welcome to Culvert City, watch your back.

Buy it on Amazon for only $1.99 (more formats and places to buy to come soon!)

Plus the release party for BLOOD AND SILVER Deacon Chalk book 2 is coming on August 7th at FoxTale Books in Woodstock Ga.

Whew! I’ll catch y’all on the flip side.

WHEN ART IMITATES CRIME


Loyals and True Believers,

Y’all know I am in a crime mood lately. I think I am gearing up to write the next novel which will NOT be a Deacon Chalk book. (Never fear, there will be much more Deacon, but after 3 novels and 3 novellas, I am ready for a break. lol) So I have been looking at some of my favorite artists who paint the canvas in tones of crime, noir, and hardboiled. I figured I would share some of them with you.

(Disclaimer: none of this art is mine. It is owned by the artist or their representative. This blog is merely for promotional use  only and should in no way be taken as a statement of ownership.)

Okay, first, here  is a guy whose stuff I admire. He gives a very classical feel to a very pulp/noir set of subject matter.

OWEN SMITH!

You can see he has a helluva eye and a helluva style.

Go HERE to see more and get some art!

Next up is a lady named Niagara.

Whatta dame. I have been in love with this ladies artwork for YEARS. It has a noir edge mixed with a 60’s pop art sensibility.

Niagara can be found HERE. Go buy her stuff.

And now the king of crime art. He made it cool using just two colors, black and white. His comic book SIN CITY captured the boiled down essence of the hard-boiled. The one, the only Frank Miller.

Go HERE to buy some SIN CITY swag.

And there you go. You might just see some noir artwork from yours truly soon. I am working on a short story collection of crime fiction called HIRED GUN that I think I am going to self publish. If I make it happen then I believe I am going to make some artwork to go with it.

Trust me, you will be the first to know.

EYEBALLS, NEEDLES, BURLESQUE GIRLS, AND INK (or an interview with Author/Tattoo Artist Julia Madeleine)


Loyals and True Believers HARK!

Today I bring you an awesome interview with a strange and unique person. She is one of the rare folks who are both a writer AND a tattoo artist like yours truly.

Julia Madeleine is Canadian and one helluva interesting Dame. Tune in and pay attention and at the end there will be FREE stuff.

Q&A with Julia Madeline

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Let’s start off with the good stuff, tell us about your newest book. It’s a prequel right?

There is a prequel called Scarlet Sins, which is a novella about a burlesque queen in the 1960s, her troubled marriage, and what she chooses to do to save it. Then there is my novel, The Truth About Scarlet Rose, about the subsequent murder of her husband and her grown daughter who has to help in the investigation.

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So why do you write such dark stuff? I mean you are a girl! Shouldn’t you be writing about love and stuff?

That’s funny James. Love is good. I write about love, but it’s usually love gone wrong, where someone is going to end up dead. Much more interesting that way, wouldn’t you say?

Now why did you choose to go the way of Amazon exclusivity? Would you recommend it to others?

I’m currently selling exclusively through Amazon because Kindle Direct Publishing allows for some great marketing tools like making your book free for a limited time which is a great way for new readers to find your work. I might eventually list my books with other eBook retailers like Kobo and Sony for example (never say never) but the market share for them is pretty small and they have a habit of discounting their books which affects the price on Amazon . The new king of the jungle is Amazon and they very author friendly.

 

What books or authors do you think influenced you as a writer? And what are you reading now?

I’ve read a lot of literary fiction since college and I think it influenced my writing considerably. Mary Gaitskill, Evelyn Lau, Joyce Carol Oates, Janet Fitch, Margaret Laurence. These days I’m pretty much reading just in the thriller genre. Currently I’m reading Hillary Davidson’s debut The Damage Done and Tumblin’ Dice by John McFetridge.

Okay, let’s switch gears to your other career. Like me, you are a professional tattoo artist. Your pinup work is super nice. Is that your favorite style?

 

Definitely. I love the classic pin-ups and I enjoy doing them in colour especially. They make for great tattoos. Gil Elvgren and George Petty are two of my favourite pin-up artists.

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Tell me how you got started in tattooing? Did you serve an apprenticeship or just sell your soul at the crossroads for the ability to tattoo?

 

I blackmailed my tattoo artist. Ha, ha. No, I just married him. When I lost my job as a match maker at a dating service, I started hanging around my husband’s shop answering the phones. I’ve always had an art background but never thought of doing anything professionally with it. Then I started to work on custom designs for clients and eventually that led to my husband teaching me to tattoo. He made that decision after the first time he had to cough up for my car payment. So basically tattooing found me, I wasn’t looking to be an artist at all.

How is the tattoo scene in your town? How is the author scene?

The tattoo scene is awesome. My husband Fabien, has had the shop, Malefic Tattoos, on the west side of Toronto for about 18 years so we’re well established and have worked at building a good reputation and a loyal clientele. I’ve been a tattooer myself for about 12 years. We’re in a big city, about 700,000 so no shortage of flesh. It’s cool to go through generations of families; the kids of parents we’ve been tattooing for years starting to come in now. Love seeing that. We’re doing the NIX tattoo show in Toronto this summer for the first time. So that’s going to be lots of fun.

The crime writing scene here is pretty good as well. We have an annual convention in Toronto called Bloody Words. It’s like a mini Thrillerfest. Lots of great Canadian writers.

Do you have any other creative outlets like painting or photography? Or do you stick with only the two of tattooing and writing?

I do but I’ve had to give them all up to feed my writing obsession. I used to paint and was into photography as well. I also used to design clothing and sew, garden, bake, make jewellery. All visual arts; I don’t sing, dance, or play music. But alas, writing is all consuming and in order to have the time for it, I’ve had to sacrifice all other creative mediums. Except for tattooing of course because that’s my career. It sucks sometimes because I still want to do all those other things, especially when I see things that inspire me. I really need to be more than one person.

 

Any advice to a person wanting to get into the writing gig?

Devour all the books on the craft of writing that you can get your hot little hands on. They will take your writing light years ahead. I’ve got Stein On Writing in audio book on my iphone and listen to it over and over. And I’ve got books with highlighted passages that I refer to regularly. You can never stop growing and learning, especially when it comes to writing. The same goes for tattooing. There’s always more to learn.

Thank you so much for coming by and sharing all your awesome with us!

Now, here’s the free stuff.

First, go check out Julia’s website.

http://www.juliamadeleine.com/

and then go pick up one of her books for FREE. Hell yes, you read that right, FREE on AMAZON but only March1-March3 2012. CLICK HERE TO GET IT..

STICK A NEEDLE IN MY EYE is a collection of 17 short stories of mayhem that are not for the faint of heart. These stories, one of which was nominated for a Derringer Award in 2011, have been featured in a number of crime fiction magazines. Buckets of blood are spilt between these pages, and some nice (and some not so nice) people die horrible deaths. Here you will meet a pedophile who picks the wrong little girl to try and molest; a clown who gets bullied by his wife one time too many, a serial killer who likes to take postmortem photographs of his victims, more than one angry wife/girlfriend seeking revenge on the other woman, and more than one escaped mental patient with murder in her heart.

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