.44 Candles

dirtyharry

I know what you’re thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk? -Harry Callahan

Growing up in a generation where Clint Eastwood epitomized the tough and rugged man, full of machismo, wielding a gun as handily playing a western outlaw and an urban cop, it’s not hard to fathom I would gravitate towards fiction with little redemption and less remorse. My generation has embraced the ambiguity of the bad cop and the good crook.

Clint was three years younger than I am today when Dirty Harry released to limited showing in December 1971, broad showing ’72 with a critical success. He was already a star despite studios not wanting to throw Robert Mitchum money at him for the role. And despite knowing it would be years later that I would actually watch Dirty Harry, I guess I wasn’t much of a fan in my terrible-twos, it seems I grew up watching the movie, grew up watching Eastwood.

I don’t mean to talk of the man in past tense, he hasn’t left us, and when he does I will mourn. It’s more a reflection of a small bit of my past that makes me who I am today, what makes me tick and think the way I do. What makes me me. Clint Eastwood is my favorite actor, whose stoic tough as grit characters who do what’s right despite the immeasurable consequence imbued a sense of guidance, a template of what a man could be.

I’m reading Robert B. Parker’s LULLABY by Ace Atkins. I admire Atkins writing style, his historical crime fiction, his short Nick Travers series, and being a fan of the late Parker’s Spenser series I had to know what Atkins would bring to the character. I have to say it’s like stepping into a pair of old shoes. Comforting. I’m enjoying the book so far. Thinking about others’ opinions on the legacy book, I stumbled onto an interview with Atkins about him doing the book. It was mentioned that Atkins had a personal tie to Spenser, like I do with Eastwood’s on screen characters. He had discovered Robert B. Parker and Spenser during a critical period after losing his father, and he felt Parker’s Spenser not only laid the path for his career but taught him lessons he missed from his own father.

I’m not a gun toting, hard as nails, sitting tall in the saddle guy. I’m rather pudgy around the middle, I slouch more than I’d like to admit and I don’t even know what muscle tone is. I am stoic, soft spoken, I speak my mind only when it’s necessary and if you’re my friend or in need I’ll offer help in spite of myself.

I’m impetuous, sometimes I go in with guns blazing. Let God sort out the rest. You have no idea how many ideas have ignited in my mind this last year, that I’ve managed to snuff out before opening my mouth to someone.

The Big Adios was one of them, and I unleashed that stray thought to a couple people and before I knew it, I had to follow through. We’ve got a big launch on February 5th with a fantastic story from Edward A. Grainger. A new Cash Laramie, so I hope you don’t mind if it exceeds our standard policy. I, of course, leaning on my generation, like to break the rules for the better of my fellow man… um, reader.

We all need more Cash Laramie, right? Plus the following 5 weeks worth of wonderful stories will encourage more submissions. It’s living experiment that I hope will coax more western tales and enthusiast.

One of the bright moments of last year was the release of Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels, With spectacular support from co-editors and some prideful contributions, I was hoping we’d break even by the time I announced open submissions for  Both Barrels: Reloaded. Maybe there will be an uptick in sales over the next 6 weeks. Just saying.

Because it’s my birthday, I often reflect on the year to come, how to make it better than the year before. I guess having a January birthday, the closeness to New Years day and thoughts of resolutions. Aside from a couple bright spots, which mostly has to do with publishing so many good stories and meeting so many emerging writers like myself, it’s not going to be hard to beat 2012, a year of death and debt. My goals are simple though, attainable with a little effort.

I want to be more like Clint Eastwood, empty chair excluded. As well as a myriad of father stand-ins over the years, my grandfather for one who passed last summer. I can’t get taller, but I can get leaner and cleaner, maybe a little meaner. I can share more stories of many talented writers, perhaps a few of my own as well. Work hard, be harder. Seems like a plan.

In advance, thank you to all my friends and acquaintances who made 2012 bearable for the birthday wishes.

4 Replies to “.44 Candles”

  1. Ron, you’ve given so many people so much just by being who you are––a lover of good crime fiction. Shotgun Honey (and now The Big Adios) gives folks a place to submit their work without fear of cold form rejections and long months awaiting an SASE in the mail. You gave me my first acceptance and I’m always keeping that 700-word cap in mind when writing, in the hopes I might have something else to send your way.

    Like you, I grew up watching Clint Eastwood, and his tough guy stoicism did more than a little to inform my world view. Watching him all these years later (sans empty chair), I still admire that sense of wisdom and self-sufficiency in the face of danger and hardship. The real world has a tendency to beat us down in less cinematic ways (often disturbingly anti-climactic), but Eastwood reminds us that nothing happens unless we make it happen.

    Still, sometimes (as exemplified by the scene in “A Fistful of Dollars” where the Man with No Name is recovering from his injuries in the abandoned mine and the old man is bringing him food and tending to him) we need someone to lend us a helping hand.

    Whether you’re riding alone or with a posse, I wish you the best for 2013, Ron.

  2. Ron, you’ve given so many people so much just by being who you are––a lover of good crime fiction. Shotgun Honey (and now The Big Adios) gives folks a place to submit their work without fear of cold form rejections and long months awaiting an SASE in the mail. You gave me my first acceptance and I’m always keeping that 700-word cap in mind when writing, in the hopes I might have something else to send your way.

    Like you, I grew up watching Clint Eastwood, and his tough guy stoicism did more than a little to inform my world view. Watching him all these years later (sans empty chair), I still admire that sense of wisdom and self-sufficiency in the face of danger and hardship. The real world has a tendency to beat us down in less cinematic ways (often disturbingly anti-climactic), but Eastwood reminds us that nothing happens unless we make it happen.

    Still, sometimes (as exemplified by the scene in “A Fistful of Dollars” where the Man with No Name is recovering from his injuries in the abandoned mine and the old man is bringing him food and tending to him) we need someone to lend us a helping hand.

    Whether you’re riding alone or with a posse, I wish you the best for 2013, Ron.

  3. We are of the same generation, Ron. I watched Eastwood in the 70s and 80s. And Parker’s Spenser hurtled me down the road of detective/hardboiled fiction. He was the conduit to Macdonald, Chandler, and Dash.
    Quite an honor to kickoff the debut of The Big Adios, sir. Thanks for asking.

  4. We are of the same generation, Ron. I watched Eastwood in the 70s and 80s. And Parker’s Spenser hurtled me down the road of detective/hardboiled fiction. He was the conduit to Macdonald, Chandler, and Dash.
    Quite an honor to kickoff the debut of The Big Adios, sir. Thanks for asking.

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