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

Advertisements

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.

 

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

Image

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.

Image                                                                       Image

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.

 Image         Image         Image

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.

                                                                            Image

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.

RED UMBRELLAS MAN (or Tattuesday part deux)


First of all, thank you one and all for your continued support and love for Tattuesday! I really appreciate it. According to the stats on my old blog here Tattuesday was a big hit last week.

So here we have another Tuesday and another tattoo, two tattoos actually.  These are both on my friend and customer Shannon Murphy, or Murph as we call him. Murph is an abstract painter. He is very creative and artistic, delving in to many techniques to give his art the fullest depth he can. You can find a lot of his artwork hanging at Family Tradition Tattoo as well as galleries around town.

Murp is a cool guy.  He’s really one of the nicest, most laid back cats I know. He gets weird artsy tattoos cause he’s cool like that. This is an example.  I have several pieces of artwork, done by different artists all with umbrellas in them. Tattoo artists all try to find offbeat things to paint and someone did a cool umbrella. Well, the idea sparked and next thing you know a lot of people put umbrellas in their stuff, all on their own. So it became a thing. Kevin has one and now Murph has two.

They are both red and both cool as hell.  Kinda new school, kinda traditional.  Click on the pic to make it bigger. Enjoy!