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

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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.

 

HERE WE GO, NEW SH!T (or getting off my a$$ and actually blogging)


I’ve been busy.

And I suck.

Between the two you have had no new content here.

Well, I aims to change that. I’m coming back. Mostly this is going to continue being my place to ramble but also my place to tell you about the books and comics I’m reading.

I read a LOT.

Mostly crime fic, horror, sci fi, and urban fantasy….but you never know what I’ll be delving into here. Could be erotica, could be poetry, could be literary. You just never know.

So I will be sharing all that goodness with y’all.

Writers: Go To Conventions (a guest post by Matthew W. Quinn)


Yes it’s been a minute. Here is a guest post by my friend Matt. Listen up. He’s got good advice here. (JRT)

 

By Matthew W. Quinn

One lesson I’ve learned in the years I’ve been writing professionally is attending conventions is a really, really good idea. Since I live in Atlanta, I’ve been blessed to have conventions like DragonCon, AnachroCon, and JordanCon (although I’ve never been to that one) easily accessible.

Firstly, conventions are good places to do business. I didn’t even know the BattleTech science-fiction franchise even still existed, but I ran into the staff of Catalyst Game Labs — the current holder of the property — at the 2008 DragonCon. I spent the subsequent year writing a short story entitled “Skirmish at the Vale’s Edge” for the site BattleCorps based on something I read in an old Clan Wolf sourcebook and submitted it to them just before the 2009 convention. I let the staff know I’d done this and soon afterward they wrote me to tell me they’d purchased the story. It’s still up there, and it’s now the canonical account of the Battle of Jallington Vale.

At a later DragonCon (either 2011 or 2012), I met representatives of another small press and received permission to send them my secondary-world fantasy/steampunk novel Battle for the Wastelands. I submitted in March 2013 and after not hearing back for some time, queried the company’s representative at the 2013 convention. I eventually received a rejection that November — they said it had good writing, but wasn’t for them. Although this wasn’t an acceptance, it was still feedback and a contact made for future projects.

More recently, I volunteered at the 2015 World Horror Conference. There I met representatives of two small presses, one dedicated to science fiction, fantasy, and horror and the other “bizarro.” I got the go-ahead to submit my teen Lovecraftian horror novel The Thing in the Woods and a rather strange tale involving little people. I’ve already submitted the former; I’ll submit the latter once I finish it.

Secondly, one can learn a whole lot about the craft of writing from panels. I found panels at DragonCon 2013 so informative on topics like pulp writing and putting together anthologies and collections that I ended up blogging about them. At the 2011 DragonCon I attended a panel on characterization taught by none other than Michael Stackpole. Another panel, with S.M. Stirling, provided some valuable advice about short stories and the most profitable use of one’s time. DragonCon 2010 gave me enough material for multiple blog posts. AnachroCon, though much smaller, taught me some valuable information about Norse culture and the state of Lovecraftian media.

Finally, conventions are a good place to sell your wares. James and I have a mutual friend named J.H. Glaze who’s very, very good at moving his product at conventions. I’ve purchased books at the World Horror Conference and DragonCon. If you’ve got books to sell, try to get a table either by yourself or with other writers to share the load.

-Matthew W. Quinn is a freelance writer, editor, and soon to be holder of an M.A. in World History from Georgia State University. Check out his speculative fiction here and follow him on Twitter here.

I MAKES BOOK COVERS (it’s true. I do.)


I do covers. If you want one hit me up. You get print layout and ebook cover.

james AT jamesrtuck DOT com

(replace AT with @ and DOT with . and close the gaps)

On my personal books I did the artwork and took the photos….for FLASHING STEEL FLASHING FIRE I used a stock image I bought……for INTO THE WEIRD the artwork came from Karl Comendador (find him HERE)

If you want to buy any of these click the pictures and you can buy them in ebook and print!

My stuff:

hired gun 5 x 8 jpeg internet special features FLATTENED internetviewable THAT WAY LIES MADNESS FULL COVER 5X8 INTERNET VERSIONand for other people:

 

FLASHING STEEL FLASHING FIRE PRINT COVER for posting on the internet JAMES PALMER  INTO THE WEIRD PRINT COVER FOR INTERNETZ

FOR THE LOVE OF COULSON (or how Marvel Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. can not suck)


Alright. This is hard to admit.

HARD.

Cause The Avengers pretty much came out and rocked my ass, your ass, and your grandma’s ass off. Cause Joss Whedon is a badass who can chew up corporate crap and spit out magic rainbows of love. Cause Clark Gregg is a bonafied Terminator when it comes to playing Agent Coulson, stealing a multi-million dollar movie from some of Hollywood’s biggest players. Cause, dammit, this is the Marvel Universe and the sumbitchin Avengers part of it.

But the really real truth of the matter is that Marvel Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. pretty much blows.

Hey guys, pose like you're gonna kill a franchise.

Hey guys, pose like you’re gonna kill a franchise.

I’m not the first one to say it so put your hair back on. The show is flat and boring. Nobody is engaging. I just don’t give a shit what happens because I know when the show starts that NOTHING is going to happen. There are no consequences. Everybody is exactly who they were when the show started and I feel they will remain that when the show ends. The actors have zero chemistry and even the indomitable Clark Gregg comes off as flat and muted.

Hell, it’s making me kinda hate Agent Coulson.

Yep He's dead.

Yep He’s dead.

So what can be done? I’m glad you asked.

FIRST this show needs to remember that it is a part of the Marvel Universe. We were promised that it would tie in and we have seen almost NONE of that. Yes we got a 30 second appearance of Nick Fury at the end of an episode, but where are the small nods? The inside fanboy references? The freaking copy of the Daily Bugle with SPIDERMAN: HERO OR MENACE? plastered across the front of it. Why hasn’t this team started running into A.I.M. or Hydra or any of the other bad guy organizations out there? You have about 30,000 C and D list heroes and villains you can swing into this show for almost no money. Hell, Thor hits in two weeks, just give me a red and silver streak CGI’ed across the sky and have Coulson comment on it.

It's like I made that shit up.

It’s like I made that shit up.

SECONDLY this show REALLY needs some consequence. Like the episode called EYE SPY. Crap episode. Nothing really happened. Had a glimmer of promise that quickly died. HOWEVER, they could have pulled that episode out by

SPOILERS WARNING!

simply doing one thing at the end. When the girl who they removed the eye from laid down at the end of the show and her eye began to flutter as she fell asleep they should have simply had the one eye left pop open and then do that zzzzt bloodspurt thing that happened to her handler.

BAM! all of a sudden you establish a few things. 1) Coulson’s team (and by extension S.H.I.E.L.D.) can miss things, which creates a helluva lot of tension. 2) It indicates that the person in control of the eye devices has a bigger plan and won’t simply disappear after this one episode. These two things could turn the show in the right direction because these two things are missing.

Truthfully they should call me and I can fix this show.

Here’s what the dealio should be: We all know that Coulson died in The Avengers movie. This Coulson is something else. He may be a Life Model Decoy, he might be a prototype of Ultron or Kang or a Doombot or a brainwiped Skrull or some other thing FROM THE MARVEL UNIVERSE that could possibly become the Vision. Regardless, he isn’t human and S.H.I.E.L.D. is field testing him.

He thinks he’s in charge of this team of misfits but truthfully THEY are handling him because he’s dangerous.

There are two scientists because they are both studying him using their different schools of training. Agent Ward and Agent May are there so that if he doesn’t work out they are the two with the ability to take him down. And the Rising Tide girl is the wildcard and the ONLY one who doesn’t know Coulson’s secret besides him. Of course her gig is to investigate and to mistrust S.H.I.E.L.D. so when tidbits of info that things are not as they seem come out, she is our way of finding out about it. She is our intro character. Once she finds out the truth she drops the knowledge on Coulson and he and her go off the rails.

Then we find out that this whole time they haven’t been working for S.H.I.E.L.D. at all.

Aw yeah son.

Aw yeah son.

BAM!

Seriously Joss, give me a call.

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

HELLO LIL’ DEACON (and some pretty vague news)


Okay, so it’s exciting times here.

Yesterday I got a royalty check from Kensington. Whoo HOO! It was a nicely sum, not life-changing by any means, but good. Steak dinner, new laptop, new camera, new violin for the Missus, and savings good. Plus, it showed that BLOOD AND SILVER (Deacon book 2) earned out its advance JUST LIKE BLOOD AND BULLETS DID!

Thank you, really thank you. You are totally wonderful and I really appreciate it. Your support means the absolute world to me.

So where does this leave the Deacon Chalk series? Ongoing. Around September (earlier if I can swing it) you will receive into the world SPECIAL FEATURES which will collect all the Deacon short fiction up to now and some new pieces new to the collection.  I look at the first six releases : THAT THING AT THE ZOO, BLOOD AND BULLETS, SPIDER’S LULLABY, BLOOD AND SILVER, CIRCUS OF BLOOD, AND BLOOD AND MAGICK as the first season of a really, really kick ass urban fantasy show.  SPECIAL FEATURES is exactly what it sounds like. All the short fiction falls before or between those releases with one piece that caps out BLOOD AND MAGICK.  Plus it will have some essays, excerpts, and all kinds of goodies.

Before the end of the year (I am shooting for October/November) You will have OF SILK AND SCALE Deacon Chalk Book 4. This one picks up in a world where everything is different after the events of BLOOD AND MAGICK and if you thought that book was intense, wait until you see what I have in store for you! (Muwah-ha-ha)

So between now and then? Glad you asked.

The WIP: RED RIGHT HAND, a Lovecraftian Urban Fantasy, which is DARK. is one last push to completion and it goes out into the world to find a home. This one is intense. Lots of depth. You will love the heroine, Charlie….she so wonderfully broken and tragic and amazing.

THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD: Volume 1 Sword and Volume 2 Sorcery are nearly done and will be out end of June. I edited it and it is awesome sword and sorcery goodness featuring not one, but TWO stories from me featuring Deacon’s time-flung ancestor Theok. The cover art is coming along wonderfully and as soon as it is locked and loaded I’ll have the actual release date from Seventh Star Press.

I have a Giant Robot novelette due to Mechanoid Press for MECHANOID EARTH and the story is a doozy. Science hella fiction to the max. I go all Shogun Warriors on this one, but you know me, it will have the weird Tuck twist to make it awesome. Should be out in August.

The super secret collaboration project with a NYT Bestselling author is off to find a home. That one will be amazing and I cannot wait to spill those magic beans to you.

I just today sold a series of pulp short novels and a matching anthology to a publisher. It will be majestic and I’ll announce the details as soon as the ink dries on the paperwork but you will have pulpy goodness from me every quarter in 2014. I’m uber excited about this one.

Sent out a project proposal that WILL sell. It will be awesome. But can’t talk about it until sold. But trust me, it will be bigger on the inside.

In talks with an author whose work I admire to collaborate on a novella-length weird western erotica.

Still have the Outlaws of Fiction weird western novella to wrap up.

HOOKERPUNK is still on and should be out soon from Dark Oak Press. My story in it is one of my absolute favorites. I love the story, the characters and the world. More weird west kick ass.

You can buy THE BIG BAD: An Anthology of Evil edited by my friends John Hartness and Emily Leverett, also from Dark Oak Press RIGHT HERE.  My story in it is basically: what if Superman were a dick?

And finally, I WANT to do a kids book for adults starring this guy, so keep your eyes peeled for it.

Lil' Deacon kicking big time monster ass.

Lil’ Deacon kicking big time monster ass.

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?

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.