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.

 

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I DON’T KNOW IF I MISSPOKE OR WAS MISHEARD (I have an opinion on which it were of course)


Sorry, I started editing an anthology that became two anthologies and I looked up and a month was gone. I’m also about to remodel the tattoo shop I own (Family Tradition Tattoo) in Marietta, Ga so lots and lots has kept me away.

Anyway, I’m at JordanCon this weekend. This is a nice con. Real nice. Easy to work, 20 minutes from the house, the staff is super nice, and it’s loaded with folks I like:

Delilah S. Dawson

Alex Hughes

John Hartness

Deb Dixon from Bell Bridge Books

Anthony Taylor

Stuart Jaffe

Jana Oliver

I was on a great panel with Delilah, Alex, John, and Seanan Mcguire today where the topic of what we read came up. We gave our list and I said that I have been concentrating on reading some classic literature and award winners to see if they were worth the hype, ala, Hemmingway (yes), Falkner (yes), and others.

After saying it I felt the need to clarify that I wasn’t putting down genre in any way. I didn’t want anyone in the room to walk away with the impression that I think genre books aren’t “real” literature.

In my clarification the audience mistakenly thought I was putting down one of my co-panelists books which is the exact opposite of what I was saying. Now I’m not slick, but I don’t often misspeak (and I am never shy about an opinion) but my point that a good book is a good fucking book no matter where the publisher puts it and to be prejudiced by genre is dumb and limits you and no one else.

One of my literary heroes is Robert E. Howard. I have made no secret to that. He’s considered a hack by the wide, wide literary world. He wrote pulp, a LOT of it. He wrote about swords and barbarians and wizards and boxers and pictish kings and magic.

He also wrote about destiny, morality, love, valor, and metaphysical concepts such as genetic memory, immortality, reincarnation, and others. His wordcraft equals the greats of literature and I place him next to Cormac McCarthy.

Kurt Vonnegut is now considered literature, but trust me, he wrote science fiction and speculative fiction. The literati loves Neil Gaimen but he writes magical realism. It’s all genre dammit. Both of them are on the level of Harlan Ellison and the literati turns a nose up at him.

Genre is real writing folks. It just is. It’s not all vampire smooches and shit blowing up.

Go click the links in this blog if you don’t believe me. Order some books. Get your read on.

DON’T DO THE CRIME IF YOU CAN’T DO THE TIME (writing crime fiction)


Most everybody knows I have two great loves in reading. I may dally around in other places, chatting up other genres, dabbling here and there with my reader eye wandering, but at the end of the day I come back to two kinds of books.

Urban Fantasy and Crime.

Now, my love for urban fantasy is well known. It’s open and unabashed. I write an urban fantasy series. (Deacon Chalk, badass Occult Bounty Hunter) I have plans to write him for 20 books or so and have a ton of story ideas just waiting to be written.

My next book, hopefully will be a crime book. I have one that is gestating, building into a nice little crime fetus.  So here are the things I have in my head:

A young man hits the road in his dead daddy’s sweet ’69 Chevelle. He is out to find himself. All he has is the car, his memories of his dad, a little money in his pocket from a recent score, and time on his hands.

A young girl on the run from a screw up of a dad and the mess he has put her in. All she has is a need to stay safe, a desire to try and get her daddy straightened out, and a duffel bag full of trouble.

 

 

 

 

They cross paths on a Long Hard Road Outta Town and wind up running for their lives from a cold-blooded sonnuva bitch named Dude Ray. He wants his stuff back and someone has to pay.

Sometimes it takes walking through the fire to find out who you really are.

 

 

It’s shaping up to be a fun little book. A chase novel that’s a bit of a cross between Justified and No Country For Old Men with a boss hotrod and more guns. Lots of small town, Southern wackiness. Plus there’s a lot of subtext with Cowboy’s search for manhood. My good friend Faith Hunter made an introduction to a very good agent who specializes in mysteries, so I am getting this project together for a proposal to him. Fingers crossed y’all.

Speaking of crime, how damn good is Justified? Seriously, if you are not watching this show then shame on you.

Start now. Go buy season 1 and 2 on dvd and get rolling.

I am burning through the 4th Reacher book by Lee Childs.

It is really good.

Tom Piccirilli has a new one coming out that looks awesome as always.

And I began Drama City by George Pelecanos, so far I am really enjoying it.

Plus there is a Marcus Sakey book on my shelf calling my name.

Until next time.

Stay gold Ponyboy. Stay gold.

SPIDERS, GUNS, AND FIRE OH, HELLS YES! (or new cover art reveal)


Loyals and True Believers,

Let me talk to you about covers. Now when an author gets signed and a book is going live it needs a cover. Cover art is very important. It is the first thing a reader sees and it is the thing, oftentimes, that determines whether someone even buys the book in the first place.  It should hook the reader, informing them about the nuances of the story inside. A picture is worth a thousand words? Hell, put that picture on a cover and it becomes worth 80,000 words.

An authors get no say in the cover at all.

Generally, the author will see the cover before you, but we don’t get to speak to it at all or to make any changes.  I got lucky. I was sent model pictures for Deacon to choose from and was allowed to give a description of what I might like for cover one. Then the absolutely kick ass Gene Mollica (click here to see his site!) went and crafted the awesome cover to BLOOD AND BULLETS. I was real happy.

Then came the cover for e-novella 1 THAT THING AT THE ZOO. This one was put together by Lou Malcangi and the art department at Kensington.  I REALLY like the cover tot he e-novella and think it is super stellar considering there is ZERO budget on e-novella covers.

It came time to do the cover for SPIDER’S LULLABY (e-novella 2 out July 2012) and Lou and the boys delivered again! Here is the cover in all it’s glory.

C’mon, admit it. You are a bit creeped out right now. lol.

This story follows Deacon, Tiff, and Charlotte in a battle to save something held precious by Charlotte from the hands of an ex-yakuza assassin with a demon on his back. Mayhem, gunplay, and Were-spiders!

So now fast forward. I was given the chance to pop over another cover description/idea sheet and became friends through social media with Gene himself. We chatted and he began work on the cover for BLOOD AND SILVER (book 2 out in August of 2012). A while later Gene dropped me a line and told me he had finished the cover and was really happy with it. I contacted John and he was going to send it over for me to see.

Then the mail came.

In it was a package of cover flats for book 2. The Missus opened it and called me. She described it and I got excited. Then I came home and saw it for myself.

HOLY SHIZNACKIE BATMAN!

I love this cover. I cannot stop staring at it. I mean damn, I love cover one, but this one really resonates with me.  So enough with the yapping, here it is:

See? It. Is. AWESOME!

And Gene said I could use it however I want to promo so you will be seeing wallpapers for your computer and other items. I’m going to hang it on my wall.

 

WRITER FUEL (or my illicit love of coffee)


Alright. I will come clean.

I love coffee.

Not all coffee. You have to come at me with some flavor besides beans in water. I want a dark roast, the blacker the better (didn’t Malcolm X say the same thing?). I also want you to flavor it. I don’t care too much how. Peppermint mocha hazelnut cinnamon fudge unicorn pecan leprechaun blood, whatever. The more candy it is the better.

I add a spoonful of sugar because it really does help the medicine go down.

Then I need some creamer. Real liquid creamer preferably. And just like my coffee, don’t come at me with plain old cream flavored creamer. What are you kidding me?  Hazelnut, mint, almond, whatever, but you can take your plain old half and half and shove it where the sun don’t shine man.

And do not get me started on the Salted Caramel Frappachino from Starbucks…..that is crack and I am addicted.  Seriously, I am joining SCFA (Salted Caramel Frappachino Anonymous in case you didn’t follow because you haven’t had YOUR coffee yet.)

And coffee gets the writing mojo working. I make coffee and then somehow the magic elixir turns into making words. I love making words. Making words is what makes unicorns mate thus making baby rainbows.

You want more rainbows don’t you?

I thought so. Now give me my coffee.

DRAGONCON SCHEDULE!


Okay Loyals and True Believers this year’s Dragoncon is the first official author appearance by yours truly. I have a busy weekend ahead and I AM GOING TO HAVE A BLAST!

Here is where I will be and I would LOVE for you to come to one of these panels if you are at Dragoncon too!

Friday, September 2 · 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Guesting on DARKSIDE DETECTIVES Panel Cairo/Hyatt
Speakers: Larry Correia, Carole Nelson Douglas, Laura Anne Gilman, Rob Thurman, James R. Tuck
Moderator: Carol Malcolm
Join this kick ass panel of authors as we discuss Occult Detective fiction for a new millennium.
We will be covering all the greats and our own! This will be your first chance to see me talk about the upcoming book BLOOD AND BULLETS and the main character Deacon Chalk!
This is a great group of authors and you should definitely make it to see us all.
Saturday, September 3  1:00pm-2:00pm
Moderating the VAMPIRE DIARIES panel featuring Sara Canning  Montreal/Vancouver
Ask all your questions about The Vampire Diaries to a star of the show!
I love the Vampire Diaries so this should be a blast!
Saturday, September 3 7:00pm-8:00pm
Moderating the STATE OF FEAR panel Cairo/Hyatt
Speakers: Elizabeth Donald, Nancy L. Holder, Jonathan Maberry, Anya Martin, Philip Nutman
Moderator: James Ray Tuck
The current state of horror fiction and speculation as to what will be next.
This is another spectacular group of authors. Come hear what they have to say about the trends of HORROR!
Saturday, September 3 8:30-9:30
Guesting on the THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES panel Cairo/Hyatt
Speakers: David B. Coe, Faith Hunter, Stacia Kane, J F Lewis, Jeanne C. Stein, James Ray Tuck
Moderator: Carol Malcolm
Creating and sustaining dark and urban fantasy series.
Wow, the level of these writers stuns me. I am anticipating this panel to rock your face off. If you are a reader or a writer of a series, come to this one!
Sunday September4 7:00pm-8:00pm
Guesting on the SHADOWED STREETS panel Monteal/Vancouver Hyatt
Speakers: Carole Nelson Douglas, Stacia Kane, J F Lewis,
Jeanne C. Stein, James R. Tuck,
Moderator: Carol Malcolm
Grit and grime in urban fantasy fiction.
Another star-packed panel. Wow, these folks are awesome and I am honored to be in their company. Come see me for the last shebang of the con for me!
Come out. Say hello. Get free bookmarks! Meet and greet some awesome authors and have a thoroughly good time!
And if you see me just walking around the con please say hello! I would love to see you if I know you and I would love to meet you if I don’t!

New Evil Dead 2 Figure Details and Pictures | Daily Dead


New Evil Dead 2 Figure Details and Pictures | Daily Dead.

This is a link to the new Evil Dead 2 figures… They look amazing.  I don’t know when they come out, but I am sure it’ in the article.

TATTUESDAY Munkey skrull edition


Alright Loyals and True Believers, time for another Tattuesday. Today’s ink selection is a traditionalish monkey skull that I drew up a few years back. It was just a sketch in a sketchbook, sitting around doing nothing. Along comes Kevin B. Dobbs, best friend of 23 years and tattoo artist at my shop Family Tradition. He wants a tattoo, something random, but cool, I don’t want to tattoo all day so we pick the monkey skull.  He was cool with it, I was cool with it, so we slapped it on him.

I limited the color palette to black, baby poop green, blood red, and banana hammock yellow. It’s very stylized, not anatomically correct by any stretch of the imagination, just done for the cool factor.  Click it to enlarge.

FIVE THINGS MAKE A FRIDAY 7/8/11


Okay Loyals and True Believers. I have been a bit lax on posting the last few days. Forgive me, it was my son’s birthday in the middle of the week and it is mine today. Forty-one years young and holding strong.  But here is our Friday post to get us back on track.  This is a link mashup of five interesting things going on in my world.

1) I ran into the short film, PLOT DEVICE  earlier this week. It is truly excellent. Awesome special f/x, good acting, a concise story told in full.  Go watch it and then share it.  It’s only nine minutes but worth every one of them. PLOT DEVICE: CLICK HERE TO WATCH

2) Barnes and Noble announced that Nook users who have downloaded Angry Birds can go into their local Barnes and Noble, sign on to their device, and download The Mighty Eagle! Yes, this app is a GIANT timesuck, but I am addicted.

3) Today is my birthday as mentioned a second ago.  I am having the vegetable lasagna at Provino’s for dinner because it is delicious and free on your birthday.

4) In interesting news, TLC has a new reality show called Tattoo School. It’s a self explanatory  show,  a bunch of folks are filmed while they attend a school to learn how to tattoo. Some form of drama ensues, etc, etc, etc…….  The problem is the school runs for two weeks. Now as a PROFESSIONAL tattoo artist with over fifteen years of experience I can tell you that in two weeks you can learn approximately .000001% of what you need to tattoo. There is so much required of you to permanently mark another human being that almost none of it can be covered in two weeks.  I personally worked my apprenticeship for a FULL YEAR before I was allowed to do even a small simple tattoo.  I am still learning things about the art and craft of tattooing.   So this show has created a huge backlash in the tattoo industry. You can read more about it at  this facebook page and this one here.

5) And on brighter news, one of my favorite people on the web Jackson Pearce, author of Sisters Red, her first book As You Wish, and her upcoming book Sweetly is doing thirty days of vlogging.  For those of you who don’t know Jackson, she does a regular vlog on Tuesdays and Thursdays and they are funny, charming, entertaining, and informative.  So tune in, subscribe, read her books cause they are good.

FIVE THINGS ON A FRIDAY (done on a Saturday so you get six things with a bonus)


1) Writers group was awesome today.  My son has started attending and that is uber cool.  Plus my group has a lot of really talented writers so the feedback and support rocks balls.  If you are a writer and you are not a part of a writers group FIND ONE. Seriously, go on Meetup.com and search your area for writers groups. If you live in BFE then start one.  Make it so.

2) Listening to Adele. It’s nice. Relaxing.

3) Bought and read two really good books this past week. EVERY SHALLOW CUT By Tom Piccirilli from Chizine Publishing and BURDEN, KANSAS by Alan Ryker from Sucker Punch Press.      EVERY SHALLOW CUT is a vicious little ditty by the often imitated, never duplicated Tom Piccirilli. It sings like a pop song of violence and desperation.      BURDEN, KANSAS is one of the best vampire books I have read in a while. It is dark and gritty and it is a toss up as to who is more vicious: the vampires or Keith the MC.  AND they both have really spectacular covers, so SCORE!

4) Gonna watch The Wolfman this weekend and hope it doesn’t suck.

5) My daughter leaves for Messiah Conference today and I miss her already.

6) The tattoo shop has been crazy busy today.

Bonus)  The Missus rocks my face off. Every. Day.