Tuesday, September 25, 2012

At Andrew Nette's PULP CURRY

Check out Andrew Nette's Pulp Curry today, where I'm honored to be the first guest in his "Noir Con or Bust" series of posts. I talk about CITY OF HERETICS, of course, and how it relates to the movie "Get Carter".

Friday, September 21, 2012

Readers and Writers

Today finds me over at Chad Rohrbacher's place. Meant to promote the novel, but instead talked about the relationship between readers and writers.
Thanks for having me, Chad!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Last Memphis Story, at Loitering w/ Intent

Eva Dolan lends me the floor today at her blog, Loitering with Intent, to talk about why CITY OF HERETICS is the last Memphis story. Thank you, Eva!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Spreading the Western Gospel

A good friend of mine just recently made a comment about Westerns; never mind the details of the comment, basically it was just a disparaging remark about the entire genre. Said friend is a great person, fairly well-read and pretty bright.

It stayed with me all day, because I just happened to be thinking about my two Hawthorne stories and how sales on them have slowed to a trickle lately. I'd been contemplating how to get more readers to notice them, or give them a chance, and my friend's comment made me realize that a HUGE part of the problem is this: people who've never read Westerns have pre-conceived and completely erroneous ideas about them, and so won't really give them a chance. "I hate Westerns" is a phrase you generally only hear from readers who've never read one, I think.

I say that because the very best Western fiction is great at distilling all those elements of conflict and character that make up good drama. There's a rawness to Westerns that's great at illuminating the human condition and how we respond to crisis. What's not to like about that, right?

Now granted, That Damned Coyote Hill and The Long Black Train are not straight Westerns. They're horror stories, really. But the Western aspects of them are essential, moving pieces-- without them, the stories would fall apart.

But still, these two stories (which I'm very proud of) are dying on the vine, in part because too many readers won't give Westerns a chance. That's not the WHOLE story, I know, but I think it's a part of it.

I would urge anyone who thinks they don't like the genre to read James Reasoner, or Luke Short, or Ed Gorman, or Lewis B. Patten. Or, if you want to ease into the genre with a horror cushion, try my two Hawthorne tales.

Then get back to me.

In the meantime, I'm going to be spreading the gospel about Westerns, urging my fellow readers to not be so dismissive, to give the genre a try. I'm convinced one good Western novel will change some minds, quick.

Tough Guys and Tattoos

Today finds me haunting one of my favorite blogs, Dead End Follies, run by pop culture geek and all-around cool fella Benoit Lelievre. 

Also, I appear to be the subject of Julia Madeleine's latest A Tattoo and a Review at her blog. 

Benoit is a real up-and-comer in the world of crime fiction and I urge you to keep an eye on him. Julia is another terrific writer-- her novel THE TRUTH ABOUT SCARLET ROSE is easily one of my favorites from the last year or so. Thanks, both of you, for everything.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Kattomic Energy

And today I'm over at Katherine Tomlinson's blog, Kattomic Energy. Katherine is one of my very favorite writers working these days, and she asks great questions. Also, I really wish I'd thought of the blog title "Kattomic Energy".

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Radikal News and a Conversation with a Gambler

For the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be everywhere but here. It's the beginning of my first official blog tour, promoting CITY OF HERETICS and BLUFF CITY BRAWLER. I hope you follow me as I make the rounds to some of my favorite places on the web.

Kicking it off with two interviews today, the first one over at my friend Martin Stanley's place, TheGamblersNovel. Martin is a gracious host (and his novel, THE GAMBLERS, is something you should read, it's terrific).

Second, but just as cool, I'm over at Radikal News, a literary journal based in Slovenia, being interviewed by new friend Renato Bratkovic, who asks some terrific questions.

Thanks, Martin and Renato, for helping me kick this thing off with style.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Guest Post: Icy Sedgwick

One of the great writers I discovered last year was Miss Icy Sedgwick. She wrote a terrific Western called GUNS OF RETRIBUTION that was beautifully-written, full of memorable characters, and action-packed.

That was a year ago now. I'm happy to welcome Icy to Psycho Noir to talk about this terrific novel on its one-year anniversary.

Here's the monstrously talented (and amazingly stylish!) Icy:

The Western is one of those truly iconic genres that seems to continually deliver the goods. No matter how many films we see, or stories we read, it seems fans of the Western will always appreciate the wide open skies, the struggle between civilisation and nature, and the human dramas played out among the tumbleweeds and silver mines. The success of the True Grit remake in 2010 and even video games like Red Dead Redemption prove there is still an audience for the Western, but as Cowboys and Aliens tried to demonstrate, the Western is a genre that oddly plays very well with others. Horror Westerns, romantic Westerns, even steampunk Westerns - done properly, the genre-straddling stories are brilliant.

I wrote The Guns of Retribution as a pulp Western. I wanted all of the trappings that go along with a Western - but I wanted a pulp/noir femme fatale, a sheriff so crooked he wouldn’t know what ‘straight’ meant if it jumped up and bit him, and all of the challenges heaped upon the hero that make pulp such an exciting read. Bounty hunter Grey O'Donnell doesn't find things at all easy, and every time he thinks things are working out, something else hits him with a curveball and he’s forced to react. In particular, I followed Lester Dent's four-part pulp plot, that sees the hero continually swatted with trouble, wrapped up in suspense and menace. I didn't necessarily want to provide conflict for the sake of conflict, but rather as a means for Grey to prove himself as a hero - not to himself, but to the reader. Grey will always be a hero to me - but he needs to be a hero to you, too, and the only way for him to do that is to act like one.

I think part of the attraction of pulp is its accessibility. It's always been intended to be accessible - printed on extremely cheap paper (and written by underpaid writers), the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s might contain several stories, yet only cost around 10c (around $1.60 today). If you couldn't afford the more expensive magazines, you could probably afford a pulp title, and the stories would focus on high adventure and escapism – exactly what you’d need in the years following the Depression and the Second World War. The magazines, and their stories, were intended as mass entertainment - and that's exactly the attitude I had towards The Guns of Retribution. I wasn’t aiming for highbrow art or literary fiction – I just wanted people to read and enjoy the story, and to spend a few hours in Retribution and its surroundings.

Pulp Press' tagline is "Turn off the TV and discover fiction like it used to be" and I think that's such a healthy attitude to take. Sure, these pulp stories aren't high literature but they're getting people reading, and using your imagination to picture the scene as a bounty hunter and his associates attempt to board a speeding train is far more productive than watching a Z-list celebrity act like a moron towards a bunch of other Z-list celebrities in a fake 'house'.

The Guns of Retribution came out in Kindle format a year ago, and in that time, I've had people who "wouldn't normally read a Western" give it a go, and love it. If anything, I hope that it encourages these readers to try other pulp novels, and more Westerns, because if the quality of genre stories coming out this year is anything to go by, then there's life in this old dog yet.

Bio – Icy Sedgwick was born in the North East of England, and is based in Newcastle upon Tyne. She has been writing with a view to doing so professionally for over ten years, and has had several stories included in anthologies, including Short Stack and Eighty-Nine. She teaches graphic design and spends her non-writing time working on a PhD in Film Studies. Icy had her first book, a Western named The Guns of Retribution, published through Pulp Press in September 2011.

On Twitter @icypop
Facebook – miss.icy.sedgwick
Goodreads –Icy_Sedgwick
Buy The Guns of Retribution here.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

DIG TEN GRAVES runs its course...

I've been doing double-duty on the promotional stuff the last couple of days, since my second novel CITY OF HERETICS came out right on the heels of my Fight Card novella, BLUFF CITY BRAWLER. I promise I'll do my best not to get obnoxious about it.

But I also wanted to point out that my short story collection, DIG TEN GRAVES, is now .99 cents. This isn't a temporary thing. That's the new price, period. I decided it had run its course at 2.99.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


My second full-length novel, CITY OF HERETICS, is now available at Amazon.

"City of Heretics is a crime noel about an aging con named Crowe, just out of prison and back in Memphis, ready for some payback against the criminals who got him sent up.

Before Crowe can enjoy his revenge he has to track down a brutal murderer cutting a swath through the city-- ultimately leading Crowe to confront a bizarre secret society of serial killers masquerading as a Christian splinter-group."

Hope you buy it. Hope you enjoy it. Hope you spread the word!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


     "I couldn’t go down, not like this, not on the ropes. Almost blindly, I swung with my right, missed.
     And he got me with that devastating right hook of his.
     I reeled back on my heels, and the world sounded like a tidal wave crashing against the shore. I was vaguely aware of him hitting me again, a left jab that connected with my jaw.
     I fell back against the ropes, and only instinct brought my gloves up to cover my face. He crowded in, pistoned his fists into my aching ribs, four or five times.
     I think he was amazed his famous right hook hadn’t laid me out. I was surprised, too."

Bluff City Brawler now available

My Fight Card novella, Bluff City Brawler, is now out and available on Kindle for your Labor Day reading pleasure. I ASSUME you'd planned on getting some reading done, right?