Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cullen Gallagher's Silent Film Chronicle

Cullen Gallagher of Pulp Serenade just started a new blog devoted entirely to silent cinema, called Silent Film Chronicle. Awesome, awesome, awesome news for those of us who love the artistry of the silents. His first post is on the legendary Janet Gaynor. Check it here.

Megan Abbott: "You will finish it in one frenzied sitting..."

What a great way to start the weekend. I heard from Megan Abbott, author of Queenpin, Die A Little, Bury Me Deep (one of my top ten noirs) and the forthcoming The End of Everything. She's one of our shining stars of noir. She read The Bastard Hand, and has this to say:

“In the storied waking-up-into-a-nightmare pulp tradition, Heath Lowrance’s The Bastard Hand is a lurid thrill. You will finish it in one frenzied sitting, then feel as if you’re awakening from a red-misted trance.”

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hello, Heath. Welcome to the 21st Century.

I'm now twittering. If you know me, you know how fucking hysterical that is.
Honestly, until a week ago I didn't even know I COULD twitter. I thought it was something that took months of practice, special equipment, and the enthusiasm of youth. And actually, I'm still a little baffled by it. I'm not a luddite, I'm really not, but looking over my twitter account it was all I could do to suppress my panic and carry on. I'm a bit lost at the moment, but be patient. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Pulp Press at You Would Say That, Wouldn't You

Jon Bassoff, publisher of New Pulp Press, does a guest blog over at Paul Brazil's You Would Say That, Wouldn't You? He talks a little about The Bastard Hand (after all, it's the next book coming from NPP) and also badbadbad, by Jesus Angel Garcia... which sounds like another winner.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

bare.bones and Manhunt Magazine

This has been right under my nose for I-don't-even-know how long. Awesome stuff. I keep hoping someone will anthologize the Manhunt stories, and bring the magazine back. In the meantime, this will do nicely.

Check it here.

Here in my car...

I have never, ever owned a really good car. People who drive around in Caddy Escalades or brand new Mustangs or Camaros are a constant source of envy for me. And I don’t see it happening anytime soon.
My very first ride was an old Dodge van, blue, riddled with rust and the kind of brakes that made you age five years every time you drove it. It was a hand-me-down from my step-dad at the time, a piece a’shit that had over 130,000 miles on it by the time it wound up in my teenage hands. It died after about a year of use.
Second vehicle: a shit-brown 1974 Chevy Malibu that I got for 300 bucks from some mullet-wearing stoner in a parking lot. It was forever leaking fluid everywhere, and the seats were so torn to shit I couldn’t get my girlfriend at the time to get in it. It also died an ignoble death and was left to rot.
That’s the car I gave to the Reverend Childe in The Bastard Hand.
Then a series of unmemorable vehicles, purchased for no other reason than I freakin’ needed a car badly and they were available.
A few years ago, I didn’t even have a car, and got everywhere I needed to be on a bicycle. Even in the dead of winter. So a friend of a friend sold me a little Honda (my soon-to-be wife, Kim, fronted me the minimal cash to buy it). This car was literally held together with bungee cords and duct tape. When it finally expired, I donated it to some car charity thing and was honestly amazed that they took it… I thought for sure they’d laugh me right out of my own driveway.
So about two years ago I finally got the car I have now, a 2001 Saturn. It seemed at first to be a good deal, but I’d had it for less than three months when it suddenly decided that going in reverse was no longer an option. You never realize how often you need to go backwards until you CAN’T anymore.
I lived with it for a long time, until just recently. Finally shelled out 2,300 fucking dollars on Kim’s credit card and now the thing drives beautifully—a completely overhauled transmission will do that. Still another year’s worth of payments to be made on the Saturn, so here’s hoping the thing holds out.
Cuz I don’t see an Escalade or a Camaro in the near future…

Monday, February 21, 2011

Emancipation, With Teeth

Here's my story, Emancipation, With Teeth. Originally appeared in the January '10 issue of Necrotic Tissue. I'm posting it here just in case you aren't one of the four or five people who read it at the time...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bleed Out at Pulp Metal

Woke up this morning to see I have a story up at the beautifully twisted Pulp Metal Magazine. Here 'tis.

Thanks, Jason!

Friday, February 18, 2011

"A bastard of a good book..."

Heard today from Allan Guthrie, via Jon Bassoff at NPP. Yeah, that's right, I said Allan Guthrie, bitches.
He says of The Bastard Hand:
"A bastard of a good book. If you like Flannery O'Connor and Jim Thompson, you're going to love this."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gator Boy: Patti Abbott's Fiction Challenge

Here's the challenge Patti put out:Scarry Night
And here's my story.

Gator Boy

Keegan had tied the rope himself, cinched it tight around the boy’s waist, had tousled the straw-blond hair and said Okay, go get ‘em, boy so he knew there was no one to blame for what happened but himself. The gators were just too fast this time.

And he could say now that he’d had a funny feeling , had a sudden flash of dread as he watched Sammy wade out into the swampy water, watched the gators on the muddy isle perk up. But that could’ve been hindsight talking.

They’d done it countless times before. The rope, the boy, the gators. Sammy would go out in the water, start splashing around, and it was never long before the gators got interested and came after him. And when they’d get close, Keegan would yank the boy back, right out of the jaws of death as it were, and as the boy scrambled up on the land Keegan would snatch up his bow and let loose with an arrow right into the gator’s head.

It worked every goddamn time.

And Keegan himself grew up doing it with his own Pop. His father had taught him how to cinch the rope tight, how to splash around in the water, how to get the gator’s attention. He had more than a few scars from his days as the Gator Boy—mostly on his legs and arms but one nice one like a jagged bolt running down his jaw.

Keegan had learned from his own Pop’s mistakes. He’d learned the best ways to minimize the danger and keep his Sammy as safe as possible.

Yeah, it worked every time.

Except this time.

The boy had yelled, They’re comin’, Pa, they’re comin’! but Keegan had allowed his mind to wander in that one split second, that most crucial second. And then the rope had slipped a little in his callused hands when he yanked on it. Those two things were all the gators needed.

One of them got Sammy by the leg, dragged him under, the whole time the boy screaming Pa, Pa, help me, Pa! and then two more dove in on him and the water turned red as they tore him to pieces. And Keegan could only watch in numb horror as his son was devoured.

He stood there on the shore forever and wasn’t positive exactly when the cops showed up. But one of them said to him, You got scars, buddy. I guess you used to do the same thing as your boy there. And you got hurt more than once, by the look of it.

Numbly, watching the gators now back on the muddy isle, full on the flesh of his son, Keegan said I really don’t mind the scars. They’re all I got left, and the cops put him in the car.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Beat to a Pulp: Round One

So I know I’m behind the curve on reviewing this book, since it came out months ago and has already been praised and lauded by readers more on the ball than me. But I’m gonna toss my two coins in the pot (to mix three or four metaphors there) and just say it anyway: Beat to a Pulp is a terrific anthology and you need to read it right away.
Mostly culled from the website of the same name (but with a few original to this collection), Beat to a Pulp, edited by David Crammer and Elaine Ash, delivers a wide array of pulpy goodness, from the hard-boiled to science-fiction to outright horror… there’s even a couple of pirate stories, for god’s sake.
Many of the writers gracing its pages were familiar to me already, and they didn’t disappoint. Charles Ardai, Hilary Davidson, Ed Gorman, Patricia Abbott, and Jedidiah Ayres all turn in stories every bit as good as you’d expect from writers of their caliber.
But there were others that I didn’t know as well that had me jotting their names down to look up more by them. I was particularly impressed by Mike Sheeter (“The All-Weather Phantom”) and Andy Henion (“Anarchy Among Friends: a Love Story”)—writers after my own black and twisted little heart.
The coup de grace of this terrific collection, however, is the closing essay by noir/pulp historian Cullen Gallagher. In less than sixteen pages he gives us a concise and entertaining history of Pulp, both as a commercial venture and as an artistic endeavor. I came away with a much better understanding of the genre my work springs from, and I’m grateful for that.
And I’m grateful to Crammer and Ash for putting out this superior collection.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Nine Pale Men: A Grey Hawthorne Adventure

My story The Nine Pale Men went up yesterday at The Nautilus Engine.
It appears that, as of this issue, The Nautilus Engine has decided to go "all Facebook, all the time". An interesting approach, hopefully it works out for them. You can always count on good stories from them.
The Nine Pale Men is a bit different from my other stuff. A Victorian-era horror-adventure story featuring a Southern gentleman on a quest for revenge that drives him around the world and into conflict with various forces of e-veel.
If enough readers like him, I'll do more stories of Grey Hawthorne. He's a fun character to write.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New short term goal

... in the month or two surrounding the release of The Bastard Hand, my short term goal is to have stories running at A Twist of Noir, Beat to a Pulp, and Crime Factory, all at the same time.
I'd include Back Alley and Out of the Gutter as well, but both of them are swamped with submissions presently. Bummer.
What do you think? Too ambitious?
P.S.- This post gives me an excuse to have a photo of belly-dancer Rachel Brice. It has nothing to do with anything, of course. But that's okay.

Ten Little Zombies: A Love Story by Andy Rash

“Ten little zombies, walking in a line
One stepped in a campfire, now there are nine.”

The line between adorable and horrifying is a thin one. I bet you didn’t even know there WAS a line, did you? Well, there is. And Ten Little Zombies: A Love Story staggers along it like a… well, like a flesh-eating zombie.

It’s got all the cuteness of a pre-school type counting and rhyming book, and all the scary creds of a zombie flick. Imagine what sort of book George Romero might give his children, and you have a good idea about this little tome.

It’ll take you less than five minutes to read (in fact, this review threatens to be longer than the book itself), so the cover price of ten bucks might seem extravagant, but as a gift book it’s fun. Very simple black and white line drawings carry it, with the only color being the messy splotches of red blood signifying another messy zombie death—for that reason, you might want to keep this one out of the hands of particularly sensitive kids. But your average 13 or 14-year-old will probably get a kick out of it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dirty Old Town and other Stories by Nigel Bird

Nigel Bird hasn’t been writing short stories for long, but damn, you wouldn’t know that by the selection of gems in Dirty Old Town and Other Stories.
There’s nine of them here, and each one offers a unique little slice of filthy life. From the downbeat last day of a tormented old janitor in “Taking a Line for a Walk” to the dark and clever humor of the Ramones-inspired “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight)”, Bird displays a remarkable insight into what makes the lowlifes and losers of the world tick.
He’s at his best with the stories written in first person, and fortunately that’s the majority of them. It’s the voice, man: it’s authentic and sincere and real, shot through with remarkable bits of insightful black humor.
Like this one, from the title story, “Dirty Old Town”, which starts with the narrator getting the bee-jeezus beaten out of him:
“It was like my birthday in reverse. They gave plenty and I ended up with less than I started with.”
That line kills me.
At .99 cents on Kindle, this is the kind of bargain you don’t wanna miss. Bird is the real deal.
Favorite stories:
“Taking a Line for a Walk”
“Dirty Old Town”
“One Hundred and Ten Percent”