Frank Bill and Write Where You’re At

I had the pleasure this last Spring to be offered a chance to read an advance copy of Frank Bill’s CRIMES IN SOUTHERN INDIANA, a collection of short stories, Frank’s first book. I was thrilled, though I have to admit when the offer came up I’d been angling for a copy of DONNYBROOK, Frank’s second book and first novel. I had read an excerpt DONNYBROOK on the Do Some Damage blog the previous Spring and was deeply envious of anyone who’d gotten an early peak of that glory. Bastards.

CRIMES is an exceptional collection of story from Frank Bill’s heart and home and if I could I’d buy out the entire first run, giving each copy away because this book needs to be read. The reality check is I can’t. I did pre-order a copy when it first became available and as you know I really don’t need another copy. So I’d like to give it to you. One of you at least.

Would you like a free copy of CRIME IN SOUTHERN INDIANA?

If not, I suppose I can just put it on my shelf never to be read. Collect dust and when Armageddon comes and all the electronics in the world are destroyed by EMP or solar flares, some zealot will find it on my abandoned copy and devote an entire religion to the House of Grit. I think Frank would like that.

So you want a free copy? Well you’re going to have to work for it. Write for it.

In CRIMES there are several stories that are interrelated, tied together, but if you’re really reading the stories you’ll see a character that ties them altogether. A character with a powerful, but silent voice. Southern Indiana, with all her rural harshness and nurture. Like Daniel Woodrell’s Ozarks or Dennis Lehane’s Boston, Frank Bill captures the heart of Southern Indiana, elevating her above just a setting or a location.

So if you really want to win a copy of CRIMES IN SOUTHERN INDIANA, I give you this task:

Write a story that lives, breaths and could only exist in your own back yard. Fill it with local color and give your hometown a voice that walks effortlessly among its characters. Your story doesn’t have to be a crime story, but does need to be a good story.

Deadline: Thursday, August 25, 2011.
Word Count: 2000.
Genre: Open.
Prize: A copy of Frank Bill’s CRIMES IN SOUTHERN INDIANA.

Winner announced August 30, 2011.

Update: I failed to mention how to submit your story. In order to enter your story post it to your blog or other public venue so it can be read and commented on by readers and other entrants. If you don’t have a post location, contact me.

F3 Until Again and Meanderings

I have a lot of kettles, personal and professional, to watch right now, but this last week Thomas Pluck joined the crew of Flash Fiction Friday as the Week 3 moderator and came up with a dandy of a prompt. There was an eloquent introduction to the prompt, but the balls of it was write about the old man in the picture above.

I went back and forth, because the story that came to mind — which could have been a bigger story, better told — isn’t in my usual wheelhouse as they say. I may go back and rewrite/edit it for submission somewhere. I think it’s got legs.

Read “Until Again.”

As for writing, I’m at a crossroads. In late winter I had a very clear idea of what I was going to do in preparation for my weekend at BoucherCon 2011. Have a finished draft of DIMES FOR DYING or ONE WITH A GUN. Then life got a little wonky in April, leaving me with little time to focus on the larger projects. Just bits and pieces. Doubtful of a finished product, at least in terms of finding an agent.

Shotgun Honey continues to do surprisingly well. Enjoying the submissions from all the great talent. I have some favorite new writers now. We’ll be running an interview series over there soon on the off Tuesday or Thursday.

Next week I’m going to announce a writing contest. You’ll get roughly a month to complete. The prize will be a copy of Frank Bill’s CRIMES IN SOUTHERN INDIANA. A book of short stories from the darker side of rural Indiana. I can’t recommend it more, but I will. You don’t have to wait until the contest, go ahead and pre-order a copy today.

The Short Story Serial Returns

My grandfather grew up in a time where watching a movie was a luxury, talkies were a fad, kids went outside to play and reading was his window to the world and entertainment. Recently he told me a story about delivering and selling Collier’s Weekly as a boy. The magazine sold for 5 cents and he got 2 cents of every sale. A lot of money for the time, but he would have delivered them for free just to read the articles, columns and short story serials.

The serial my grandfather enjoyed were ongoing tales of the mysterious Fu Manchu. I could see the twinkling memory of the anticipation he had as a young man, waiting for that weekly installment in the back of Collier’s Weekly.

For decades up through the golden age of television, readers young and old entertained themselves with short story serials like Fu Manchu from both variety and genre based magazines. Eventually, technology and television won out. The need for written entertainment dwindled, variety magazines dropping stories and genre based ones just vanishing all together.

The short story serial became a lost market.

Until recently, I wouldn’t have believed it could be revived. And the very thing that killed the short story serial is now breathing new life into the dead relic — Technology.

Less than two years ago most technologist saw the e-book as a burgeoning technology that would take at least a decade to take hold of the market. At least.

Reality — Amazon sells more e-books than print. Both seasoned and first time writers are finding new readers and selling thousand of books, and writers are starting to revive the short story anthology and serial market place. Readers are reading.

Me particularly, I’m reading THE DEAD MAN SERIES created by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin, and I just finished DRUNK ON THE MOON by Paul D. Brazill.

THE DEAD MAN series started this last Spring, releasing a new book roughly once a month. The initial book FACE OF EVIL debuted at 99 cents. A price point I couldn’t turn down and one that got me hooked on the series.

In a nutshell, THE DEAD MAN series is about Matthew Cahill, a man who comes back from the dead to discover he has returned with the ability to sense evil in a very physical way — sight, smell and taste. Matt is now on a quest to discover the source and why he was chosen to face evil.

Each installment is written by a different author and comes in roughly somewhere around/under 20,000 words. Nice edible bites of evil and mystery.

Subsequent issues sell for $2.99, but what a deal that is as the first 4 books I’ve read have been a roller coaster of fun.

DRUNK ON THE MOON is another series to keep an eye on. The initial story, release under the same title and written by series creator Paul D. Brazill, introduces former cop turned PI, Roman Dalton, as he comes to claw-biting grips with his new reality as a were-wolf.

I purchased the first installment of DRUNK ON THE MOON for a whopping 99 cents and less than an hour latter I was gnashing for more. And like THE DEAD MAN series, Paul has put together a team of authors bring us more of the were-wolf PI, Roman Dalton

Now these two series lean towards my taste, but it’s my hope that other short story serials are testing the e-book market and finding success. E-books are a fantastic outlet all genre of short story serials and the readers out there to consume.

Killing Hope and other maladies

I should just start off by thanking Christopher Grant, the editor of A Twist of Noir, for letting me participate in his 600-700 spot/word challenge. I hadn’t any stories out there prior, and “Killing Hope” is my second accepted story, third published. So Grant and ATON are the bee’s knees around these here parts.

I wrote “Killing Hope” about 6 or 7 months ago, though I had promised to write it much sooner. The initial idea came about during an episode of IN TREATMENT staring Gabriel Byrne with Hope Davis as a recurring and possible love interest. I’m not a regular watcher, but enough to get the gist. So I’m watching Byrne and Davis debate about parenting, he obviously has feelings for her character and I can’t stop thinking wouldn’t it be great if he just got up from his chair and killed her?

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