Saturday, June 19, 2010


An update, for the four or five good people who want to read The Bastard Hand... release date has been pushed back to April, 2011. May seem a ways off, but I suspect it'll creep up on me.
Staying busy in the meantime. I've started actively looking for a home for my second novel, City of Heretics. That would be kinda cool, having two books out at the same time...
I've decided to put off writing the third novel (I'm only a couple chapters into it) to write some short stories that have been seeping in my brain juice for awhile. There are several markets out there I'd like to hit... Thuglit, Crime Factory, Hardboiled Wonderland, etc...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'll Kill You Next!

I’ll tell you something that really makes me happy: cutting the hell out of a story. The close-in, scalpel stuff that feels intimate and measured, as well as the big swooping bazooka blasts that take out entire scenes. To see that word count get smaller and smaller makes me feel as if I’m really doing my job, making it short and tight and not-so-sweet. And once I get started, it’s hard to stop. But you know, if you think that MAYBE you don’t need that line or that paragraph or that CHAPTER even, you’re probably right.
Crime fiction really is a genre that works best when it abides by the old “stick and move” principle. Fast moving, lean. Short chapters. It shares that distinction with horror fiction-- don’t get sidetracked and the reader will stay hooked one hundred percent. That’s part of the reason I’m not too keen on modern “best seller” type crime fiction-- those books tend to be much longer than the story can sustain. There’s really no reason a crime/suspense novel needs to be longer than, say, 350 pages or so.
That’s just me, though. What do I know?
This is on my mind currently because I just cut a good one hundred pages out of The Bastard Hand and I feel goddamn good about it. Tight line work throughout, yes, but the really gratifying part was cutting out whole chapters and realizing I didn’t need them at all. It was over 470 pages when I started the editing; now it comes in at about 360 pages. Still a bit long, but I can honestly say there’s no dead weight in there now. It moves along like crazy.
There will probably be more editing before The Bastard Hand comes out end of this year from New Pulp Press. And I won’t mind a bit. Gimme something else to slice out, man.
BTW, that photo has nothing to do with any of this, not directly. But that title sums up the sort of gleefully blood-thirsty mood I get in while editing…

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dave Zeltserman on Kindle

Dave Zeltserman, one of our best writers of twisted noir, just made available on Kindle an early book of his called Bad Thoughts. Cheap, too, at just a couple of bucks. If you've never read him, here's the perfect opportunity.
While downloading it, I also noticed he has a story collection available as well on Kindle; it's called 21 Tales.
I mention this because Zeltserman is one of the O.G. crew of modern noir masters-- I just love the guy's work and the world would be a better place if everyone was reading him.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Savage Night, by Allan Guthrie

Savage Night. Violent, funny, demented, twisted… but it’s Guthrie, so that’s a given, right?
Savage Night is the story of two families at murderous odds with one another: the Parks, led by ex-con Andy Park who (despite his pathological aversion to nnggghh blood) wants revenge for a (real or imagined) slight perpetrated by the Savages. He concocts a blackmail scheme that goes horribly wrong when the Savages decide to take action themselves. The violence escalates and finally comes to a head in one long, bloody night of mayhem.
In Slammer, Guthrie stuck with a single POV, but in Savage Night he uses multiple POV to great effect . There are times, especially about mid-way through, where things get a little confusing and you’d better be paying very close attention if you don’t want to get lost. Fortunately, Guthrie makes NOT paying attention impossible.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Zeppelins West by Joe R. Lansdale

Okay, so it’s Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, except they’re touring the world in a fleet of zeppelins and Buffalo Bill is a head floating in a chemical-filled mason jar; sometimes they attach his head to a steam-powered robot body operated by a midget called Goober. Also along for the adventure are Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull, and they’re on a secret mission to Japan to rescue Frankenstein’s Monster from an evil samurai who has been cutting off pieces of the creature to use as an aphrodisiac.

Does this have your attention yet?

Good, because it just gets weirder from there. This inspired steampunk adventure story takes our heroes from Japan to the high seas and finally to the remote island of the disgusting and evil Dr. Momo, who has nefarious plans for Buffalo Bill. Along the way, other characters—real and literary—appear in the most unusual contexts you can imagine. I really shouldn’t say anything else about it. If you can get your hands on this book (it only came out in a limited edition, I got lucky that my library had it) do yourself a favor and read it immediately. More crazy fun from the warped mind of Champion Joe.