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

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

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

DIVERSITY UNIVERSITY (or we’re all good)


So there has been much brouhaha about diversity on the interwebs. Lots of fighting. Lots of name calling. Lots of accusations.

I won’t bother to point it out but you can find it.

It got me to thinking about my own work. I’m a straight white male, have been my whole life, don’t think there’s anything wrong with being that. None of those three things are inherently evil.

My main character in the work I am best known for is a straight white male.

I also don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

In the Deacon Chalk series you also have a ton of other characters. Some are white, some are straight, some are males.

A whole lot aren’t. Here’s a rundown.

Kat- Female and Deacon’s right hand.

Tiff- Female and Deacon’s love interest.

Charlotte- Female and Deacon’s Were-spider friend. Also black. Also Bi-sexual and polyamorous.

Boothe- Male and Deacon’s friend, ally, and employee. Were-rabbit. Also Gay,

Josh- Boothe’s partner. Gay and Were-rabbit.

Sister Mary Polycarp- Father Mulcahy’s understudy. Female and black.

Ronnie – Deacon’s friend who is psychically bonded to a cluster of supernatural ghost spiders. Female.

Sophia- Were-dog. Deacon’s friend and ally. Female.

Sasha- owner of Cordite. Deacon’s ally. Post op Transgender.

Katsumi Takakage – Deacon’s ally. A tengu, she is Asian and female.

Maasakki Hatsumi- Katsumi’s father and also a tengu. Asian.

Those are the highlights. Lots of female characters, damaged but strong. Lots of LBGT characters. Multiple ethnicities. Kinda the way it is in the real world.

The thing is, I never wrote these characters as a statement or to fill a quota. They just work as who they are. In fact Boothe is in the whole of book 2 BLOOD AND SILVER and it’s only in the last chapter that his sexual orientation is mentioned because it does not matter to the story. It isn’t the point of the character or his arc through the books.

Most readers never pick up on the fact that Charlotte is black. Seriously. I tell people that and they give me blank face. It’s there in the first description of her after transforming into her human state but still people do not catch it. Which I like because the fact that she is black is NOT the point of the character.

Anyways, this is a bit of a ramble but enjoy the books.

 

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.

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.