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

 

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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.

 

VON TUCK IS THE MAN (or some pictures for your consumption)


So, with the royalty check one of the things I bought was a new camera. Here is what I have been doing with it 🙂

Needless to say, all pictures are mine. Copyright James R. Tuck. See that big name across them? That’s my photography handle. Respect it.

WM LIZ 7 WM CASH Adrienne 1 WM flashracktop WM HULAHOOP 2 wm shelby 3 WM SHELBY BACK

TA HELL WITH A MASS MARKET (my opinion as a reader on why I love Trade Paperbacks)


I have a ton of books.

I don’t know how much they actually weigh, but me and the Missus have a book buying problem. Actually, the phraseology on that is wrong. We have NO problem buying books. Ignore the fact that my TBR pile numbers near 100. Ignore also the fact that there are easily 20 current releases I have NOT purchased simply because I know when I do I will immediately read them thus pushing my TBR pile even further int he background. (Yes, I’m looking at you COLD DAYS by Jim Butcher. Fuck you, don’t make me feel guilty for not bathing in your sweet sweet cotton-candy scented literature. I’ll get to you. I will. I PROMISE. It is inevitable.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah, books.

Here is a pic of our new, grown folks books shelves and our library at the house.

ALL the books on the left two shelves are mine.

ALL the books on the left two shelves are mine.

 

So earlier I was thinking about books. The physical form of the book. I decided that I am totally over mass market paperbacks. I much prefer the size of a trade paperback.

Mass market paperbacks are now the cats of the publishing world in my opinion.

Now I’ll still buy a mass market, hell I bought one last night (SHARP by my good friend Alex Hughes). But if I can, I’m buying trades from now on.

Book four of the Deacon Chalk series will be trade paperback size.

My double anthology of sword and sorcery stories that I edited for Seventh Star press will be trade paperback size.

I’m actually going to push for any book released by me to be automatically in trade paperback size. I may not get it for everything, but it’s what I want.

They are easier to hold, easier to read, and easier to shelve. They are narrower, so you can fit more on a shelf, and with a mass market, you lose the 3-4 inch difference in dead space between the top of the book and the bottom of the shelf above it.

This post has no real merit. It was just a musing I thought I would indulge because, hey, fuck it, it’s my internet too.

So what’s your choice or opinion on this hot-button issue?

WHAT THE HELL HAS JAMES BEEN DOING LATELY? (aka: status report)


Hello Loyals and True Believers. I hope you are well. I love you all and it is good to see you again.

I have many writer friends and occasionally they post up what they are doing and how it is going so I figured I would do the same.
I am going to list things by project name, brief description, and then the status of the project.
So here goes:

RED RIGHT HAND:  Charlie, a survivor of something terrible, gets dragged into a mad hunt for elder gods who are breaking their prison on the other side of the universe and coming to our world.  Her hunting partners are Brad and The Crawling Chaos, Nyarlathotep himself. It’s dark urban fantasy based out of the Lovecraft Mythos and I freaking love the way it is going. Rough sketched for 3 books.  STATUS: 25% complete on first draft. I WILL finish the first draft over November.

THE CLOCKWORK COURTESAN:  Tesla’s nephew and a Clockwork girl in an action adventure/steampunk tale that has dirigibles, clockwork people, magic, Pinkerton Agents, mechanikal cyborgs, and a lot of romance. STATUS: 25% done but on hold. I think the story needs to gestate a little bit longer.

SUPER SEKRIT COLLABORATION WITH A NYT BESTSELLING AUTHOR: Holy crap y’all. I am so damn excited about this one I can barely keep it in…but I have to so no details except to say that this is an urban fantasy take on a classic tale, set in medieval times, and done in a totally fresh and new way. My collaborator is almost got her schedule clear (one more week) and then we start. IT IS GONNA ROCK!  STATUS: Character sheets done, outline 90% done.

THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD ANTHOLOGY: I get to try my hand at editing! This is the sword and sorcery antho from Seventh Star Press that will hit 2nd quarter of 2013. The deadline isn’t for another 3 months but I have been getting some truly awesome submissions and it will be a terrific collection of heroic fantasy.  STATUS: Pre-selecting the submissions for acceptance.

WEIRD WESTERN ANTHOLOGY:  I am now a proud member of The Outlaws Of Fiction with Brady Allen, D.A. Adams, and Steven Shrewsbury. We are the Four Horsemen of the Writer-pocalypse. We are joining forces to compile 4 novellas (one each) for a collection. It will be a weird western theme and it is gonna rock. My story stars Caleb Donner, a survivor of the Donner Party Massacre who wanders the west as a pariah and a hired gun. He gets into some crazy stuff. We will be pitching a publisher in a few months. STATUS: Planning stage, but my story is outlined and in the que to be written. (20,000 words should be a 2 week turnaround, written and revised)
* check out the Outlaws Of Fiction on our BLOG and our FACEBOOK PAGE

THAT WAY LIES MADNESS: This is written and ready to roll. It’s the Lovecraft Mythos in space. It’s dark, spooky, and straight space horror. I love it. I love the world, I love the voice, I love the main character. I have the cover ready (art by me) and the rights to “He Stopped Loving Her Today” reverted in October so I am including it as a backup story. I am also including interior art drawn by me.  This one will available in both e-book and print.   STATUS: I have some interior art pieces to draw, after that I just lay it out and pub it. I plan to have this done by end of month also.

HE STOPPED LOVING HER TODAY COMIC BOOK SCRIPT: I am writing a comic book script based on my zombie love story as a way to pitch comic book companies to allow me to write for them. I LOVE comic books. I’ve been a fanboy since I was a kid and now the industry is looking for novel writers to write for them so I am getting this written as a sample script. Of course if someone wants to make it a comic book then I am totally game.  STATUS: 33% done. Also will be finished by months end.

 

So there you go. That is what I am doing. Along with doing some work on the tattoo shop to prepare for 2013. Its been open for near 4 years so its time for some newness. So far it is all on track for 2013 to rock your face off.

I GOT A NEW OFFICE (oh hell yeah)


Yep. The Daughter moved out and I have turned her room into my office. I miss her, but I do like having a place with a big monitor and no internet to write in. Her bed is still there because, thankfully, she does come home to visit and we need a place where guests could, theoretically, stay overnight.

Now we are having a writer’s group Halloween party soon, so I will will post up a full on video tour of the office then, but for now I want to show you my desk.


Yep. I got my Boondock Saints Poster, one of three Frank Frazetta prints, a bunch of books from Conan to Mack Bolan, Wally Wood’s PANELS THAT ALWAYS WORK print, a rosary, a framed hotrod magazine, a crapton of action figures, and my Conan comic screen saver on my big piss off monitor.

I love it.

Here’s a closer shot of how it looks when I look up from the monitor while writing and a list of the figures you see.

From the left:

Hellboy vinyl statue, some zombie viking figure that I am sure is a McFarlane toy, Svadun and Belit (Queen of the Black Coast) from the Conan action figure line from McFarlane with Viking Spawn looking down from above (I have had that figure for near twenty years!),  Conan himself with a big ass hammer, Cthulhu all gnarly looking, Ash with chainsaw and boomstick in the upper corner, and finally My Little Cthulhu with screaming victims.

This is where I go to send wordcount to Valhalla.

YOU CAN BE WHERE I WILL BE (making it easy for fans and stalkers lol)


OFFICIAL CONTEST FROM THE  OLDE CITY, NEW BLOOD CONVENTION
Dearly Beloved, 
We are gathered here today, to join two awesome things in a state of increased awesomeness.
Today, we’re bringing together an author/reader mini-con, and the chance to WIN YOUR WAY IN FOR FREE!
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen… starting today, you will all have 7 days to hop around from author to author, blogger to blogger, and enter at every stop to win one of 3 FREE REGISTRATIONS to Olde City, New Blood, the upcoming urban fantasy/paranormal romance mini-con in St. Augustine, FL next February.
You can check out the official website for the complete list of Featured Authors (I’ll give you a hint… one of them is ME!!) and Featured Bloggers. There’s also a main contest post with all the participating authors, bloggers, and dates for the contest. It’s super easy. Visit each of the spotlight blog posts and author websites listed, fill out the Rafflecopter link on each one (one entry PER POST, not per day… and yes, they will be checking), and POOF, multiple entries to WIN!!
The prize is one of 3 FREE REGISTRATIONS to see me and about 49 other authors on the sunny beaches of St. Augustine, Florida, from Feb 8th-10, 2013. We’re going to be doing panels, readings, meet & greets, and just generally having a fun weekend with our incredible fans!! Please keep in mind, if you win, you’ll have to cover your own travel and hotel expenses, but your ticket into the party will be on Olde City, New Blood!!!
The contest runs from September 30th – October 6th, and the 3 winners will be announced on September 7th. Don’t forget to click the Rafflecopter link below before you hop off to check out the rest of the contest posts!! Good Luck, everyone!! I hope to see you ALL in Florida this February!!

HEAD DOWN, MAKE WORDS (or how JA Konrath and Barry Eisler convinced me to write more)


Hello, hello.

This is not a blog about Amazon, Konrath, or self-publishing.  That blog is coming, but it is not todays.

Today I here to contemplate productivity.

Basically I have found myself, after book one of the Deacon Chalk series hit the bookstores, under the gun as far as deadline. Book 3 and e-novella 3 are due at the end of April.  I have been working diligently, making words, which is why we have had a few guests round these parts lately.  I have been plugging away.  I am now on track to finish in the allotted time which means that I will have written, and revised, roughly 100,000 words in about 2 months.

I have been able to accomplish this because I have a fairly clear idea where the story is going and coffee.

But this makes me realize that I need to be doing close to this level of production regularly. It’s not been a strain or a real struggle.

At close to that pace I could write 3+ novels a year.

Or have 5 novellas in 2 months.

I could build a nice sized catalog of stories in a short time.

Regardless of what I decide to do with pursuing publisher or indie publishing there is no question that the more material you have in the marketplace, the more money you make.

So I must write more because, by God I can. It’s not like I don’t have a list of story ideas as long as my gorilla style, freakishly long arm.

Maybe I will invest in Caf’e Bustello, the best damn coffee in the world….or at Walmart anyways.

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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