Frank Bill giveaway

donnybrookA week ago, I did a write up of Frank Bill’s debut novel DONNYBROOK and having a couple extra copies on my hand I offered someone in the audience a chance to win one of those copies. What was entry fee for such a reward? Simply give me other books to read while I’m cooling my heals for the next Frank Bill novel. Given I’m not the fastest of readers, that would still be a considerable void to fill if we’re lucky enough to get another book within 18 months. The wheels of publishing are a slow and bitter beast.

I reached out as best I could and got the following suggestions to keep the tide of anxiety away.

Ryan Sayles offered up his own novel from Snubnose Press, THE SUBTLE ART OF BRUTALITY. Ryan, Ryan, Ryan. You should know I support my own and I’ve already read it. The title really does say all that needs to be said to sell the book.

Erik Arneson recommended, and I give a strong second, THE LAST CALL FOR THE LIVING by Peter Farris. Alas, I already own Pete’s book and equally look forward to his next release.

The towering Seth Harwood throws me a fresh author, Russell Banks and his short story collection TRAILER PARK. I will be adding that to my to read list. Thanks Seth, and for those who are looking for a good action series go and read his Jack Palms series, JACK WAKES UP and THIS IS LIFE, as well as his new thriller IN BROAD DAYLIGHT.

The mondo bearded and plaid clad Brian Beatty recommends Barry Hannah’s YOUNDER STANDS YOUR ORPHAN saying that this Faulknerian tome is bleak and bolder than Hannah’s earlier works.

Paul von Stoetzel offers up WINTER’S BONE by Daniel Woodrell, as well snuck in Scalped comic series and Jed Ayres’ FIERCE BITCHES. All which are in my possession (or soon will be as Jed’s book is ferrying itself from Australia at this very moment.)

So the bottom line here is I need to figure out which of you deserves to win. I’m sorry, but I have to mark off Ryan, Erik and Paul since their recommendations are already in my library. I know, you’re not psychic or have access to my bookshelves. Thanks for playing.

So that leaves Brian and Seth who suggest not only works I haven’t read, but authors I was unfamiliar. I suppose I’ll flip a coin. Heads for Seth and tails for Brian. *flipping*

TAILS!

Sorry Seth. I will be looking into Russell Banks.

Brian, I’ll contact you on Facebook to get your address.

The game show, or what you won today.

So you want to be a millionaire? Me too. But it’s not going to happen, sorry.

A couple days ago I gave people a chance on Facebook and Twitter, and the crazy people who follow my site in the glimmer of hope I’ll post something new and interesting, and I did, to win a copy of Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels.

I wanted you to post a weird comment, and well they weren’t really weird, except the one from my Father-in-Law who suggested I divorce his daughter. Boy after 19 years, that joke never gets old. Leon, you know you’ll get one, you’re family. (Just be warned, I didn’t write anything for the anthology)

Weird or not, it was more successful than my last book give away. So I need to chose from one of you lucky 7. Well actually, just one of you is lucky.

So hand in hat, fingers wiggle around, and the lucky bastard is…

Mystery Dawg!

I’ll be contacting you soon, Aldo.

So unfortunately you other 6 aren’t winners, but to make it up to you and the multitude of followers, that’d be … oh, just the 6 of you. Anyway, today is the launch day for my buddy and co-editor Chad Rohrbacher’s Karma Backlash from those good people at Snubnose Press. And you can buy it now on Amazon for just $4.99. A steal. Want some more incentive, read the virtual dust jacket.

His name is Derby Ballard and he’s a worn-down blue-collar gangster in a white-collar world. While studying the worn picture of his ex-girlfriend his best friend Reece tells him to move on, get over it, quit whining; he’s the smart one and always has good advice. Derby’s on the verge of taking Reece’s recommendation and shoving his hefty nest egg in a suitcase and flying out to a place with warm sun and soft sand. He thinks he’ll drink beers with lime wedges while listening to waves.

And then Reece’s head explodes in front of him.

It’s amazing what a murdered friend can do to a directionless man, the passion and anger it can stoke, the sadness it fires into a body, the need for good old revenge it nurtures.

Searching for his best friend’s killer, Derby uncovers the beginning of a complicated mob war that threatens to bring down the whole city.

Even as the cops lean on him to stop the impending violence, rumors swirl that his own boss killed Reece for being a traitor to the family.

Of course, being attracted to his boss’s daughter doesn’t simplify matters.

To find the answers he needs, Derby tries to stay focused: Find the killer. Clear his friend’s name. Stop a war. Don’t fall in love.

He traverses Toledo, a city that grows old with him, unearths secrets his boss and his boss’s daughter don’t want exposed, and hopes to find that man he used to be before his mid-life crisis becomes the last crisis he ever experiences.

KARMA BACKLASH is literary crime thriller in the vein of Victor Gischler’s GUN MONKEYS jammed with fast action, dark humor, and intrigue.

So, give Chad’s book a chance. He promises that Jamie Farr hasn’t been injured in any way within the pages of Karma Backlash. I can’t say the same for Derby.

Seven and counting

I’ve been horribly absent from this blog space this year, racking up a total of 6 posts this year, not including this one. So this is number 7, but that’s not what the title of this post implies, just a nice coincidink. No this year hasn’t been stellar, and I mean the last 12 months not just the year 2012. I’m still hopeful for the year to end up with a nice ending flourish. I try to keep those rose colored glasses at hand.

So we’re looking for the good side, a little something to keep Ol’ Ron smiling.

As you know, you do know right? About the book? No I didn’t write a book, I’m saving that for Mister Lucky 13. About the anthology I produced, published and co-edited with Kent, Sabrina and Chad. Both Barrels?

Not ringing any bells? I really need to keep you folks in the loop. Sorry.

Well back when Shotgun Honey turned a year old, I might have mentioned that we were going to be putting out a companion anthology for our website. We had open submissions, invited submissions and even commissioned an artist–because lets be honest you didn’t want me slinging text on a blank canvas.

So in the just less than 6 months since I announcing a Shotgun Honey Presents anthology, which became Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels thanks to Rob Kitchin (You won!), we managed to pull it off and the print copies will be available for sale on October 2, 2012. Kindle editions, hopefully on or around that date. It’s a process.

So if you can do rudimentary math, or have access to a calendar, the 2nd is just 7 days away, and count… backwards… to release day. 7 days! Yay!

Getting down to brass tax… or is that tacks? It’s the latter for those who want to learn the proper phrase. So, the brass tacks of the issue. I want to give one person the opportunity to get a free print copy, and with hope before the release date. That pesky shipping, you know?

So what do you have to do to win your free copy? I’m going to make it easy on you, post a wacky comment below. No vulgarities and sorry contributors, this ain’t for you. You have until I wake up on Thursday, which is about 5:30 am EST.

So have at it!

CISI Contest Winner: False Promises by Ken Fish

So, that’s what it feels like to pretend, he thought, as he laid in bed staring at the water-stained ceiling, trying to fall asleep for what felt like the millionth time in his fifteen years of living. It had been a normal day. It had been a rough day. In Abel McIntyre Junior’s family, there was no difference. In his family, in the trailer park with the neighbors that surrounded him like ghouls from a house of horrors, the best days for him would likely kill any other kid, he always thought.

Abel knew how other kids lived, and it wasn’t like him. He could see their houses on the soft, rounded hills across the Mystic River through the loose glass slats of the crank-open windows in his tiny wood-paneled bedroom. They had yards with grass and swing sets in them where children played all summer, and mounds of colorful flowers that gleamed in the most carefree way from mid-spring to mid-autumn. Even in the winter when those same hills were just grey mounds spiked with the craggy skeletons of oaks and maples, the houses glowed golden and warmly, twinkling on the coldest of days when there was ice in the air and the river looked as if it was frozen solid.

They lived in actual houses, and those houses they lived in didn’t have wheels under them. This fact alone seemed to provide those kids with some sense of permanence and security that Abel never knew. This fact alone, Abel sometimes caught himself believing, raised them up above him and his ever-toiling Ma, Ethel, and drunkard Da, Abel Senior, and their house with the wheels underneath it just in case they needed to make a run for it again.

“Pretending,” his mother always said “is much better than reality.” For Abel, there was always a certain disconnect between that mantra of hers and how he thought he lived his life. He never thought what he was doing was pretend, it felt more like protection. It was what he did to make do as the poor kid who lived in the trailer park that was essentially used as a halfway-housing complex for the underfunded and understaffed loony bin on the edge of this otherwise rich white town. For Abel, it was survival.

* * *

“Don’t you ever change your pants?” taunted Fred, the super-popular star of the soccer team at school. “I can smell those filthy things from here.” The reality of it was, Abel rarely did change his pants. In fact, he only owned three pairs; one for every day, one for Sunday, and one for the rare occasion when Ethel would sneak their dirty laundry into the laundry room of the loony bin where she and her sorry excuse for a husband, Abel Sr., worked.

Abel always loved laundry day. He relished the brief moment when the few clothes he had were stiff and crisp and smelled like the industrial detergent they used to kill off every biting, burrowing, stinging, blood-sucking creepy-crawly he imagined inhabiting the flesh of all those crazies where his parents worked. Every time he slipped into a clean pair of trousers or a fresh shirt he felt, if only for a second, reborn.

Abel could feel his face redden as he froze from a sickening mix of anger, humiliation and disenchantment. He’d been caught out again. He’d been targeted by yet another wicked prick who had nothing better to do than pick on the one kid in school who did everything in his power to be invisible to all those around him. Abel always kept quiet. He always kept to himself. He never did anything to anyone. He never did anything to deserve the sort of treatment he got over and over again.

Sometimes he thought he was cursed. When Abel was little, back before he started going to school, he fantasized about what it would be like to be able to get away from his Da every day. He thought it would be some sort of safety-zone, a cinder block oasis where there would be kids just like him, a place beyond the reach of his Da’s roaming hands, or worse yet, drunken fists. It didn’t take Abel long to discover the difference between fantasy and reality. To Abel, school seemed like the place people like his Da went to learn how to curse, fight, and in general, grow up to be an asshole.

“My gawd!” Fred hollered across the crowded cafeteria. “Didja shit yer pants, or what, Abel?”

Just then, at the very moment Fred called Abel by his first name, the name his worthless father burdened him with, everything else he said, could say, or would ever say again, meant nothing. At that moment, he could hear nothing but the blood rushing in his ears like the roar of the hurricane that crushed the crazy gay twins under the huge choke cherry tree that set their ragged pack of scabby, inbred cats free through the torn sheet-metal of their old 12’ by 40’ two lots down from the McIntyre’s.

At that moment, all Abel could see was Fred, his mouth flapping mutely before him. After that, all he could see was red — red from the mouth of that nasty boy Fred where Abel’s first punch landed with a stomach-churning crack, mashing Fred’s thin, pale upper lip into hanging shreds of gore. Fred’s mouth kept moving, but his face no longer read as arrogant. He looked truly shocked, and under that, truly terrified.

Abel couldn’t hear if Fred was trying to backpedal his way out of the suddenly desperate situation his mean mouth got him into. He couldn’t hear if Fred was screaming for help. Abel landed another punch, this time, to Fred’s jaw. He could feel himself smiling as his now torn knuckles made their impact, and the bone of Fred’s jaw gave way with a pop, down and to the left; a deformity deserved.

Abel could see the teeth swimming in Fred’s mouth, and his left eye instantly swollen, the indentations of Abel’s fist at its rim like the dimples on a fat lady’s ass. It looked as if Fred was shaking his head in a frantic NO gesture, but there wasn’t
any NO left in this. There was only GO left in this.

Abel heard later that he was growling and grunting like some sort of rabid animal when he was on top of him, that is, when he wasn’t laughing like one of those fellas from the fenced-in gravel lot in front of the nut house. Despite being one of the smallest boys in his ninth grade class, it took three middle-aged teachers and a Puerto Rican dishwasher to get him off of that poor boy. Abel was expelled that day, and day later, he was sent to juvenile hall.

* * *

A week after he got out, Abel saw Fred with his mother at the local grocery store. He was shattered. Fred acted like he didn’t see him, but Abel knew he did.

Abel didn’t know what happened that day at school. He relived it in flashes that provided neither context nor explanation. What he did know, is that it was like a dream coming true. All the times he’d been picked on, and all the times he’d been beaten up, had been erased by latching onto that smart-ass, Fred, and beating him to within an inch of his life.

Abel pretended to be sorry in front of the judge. He pretended to be sorry in front his so-called anger management counselor in juvenile hall. He even tried to pretend to be sorry in front of his Ma after his month of being locked up behind a tall chain link fence and those thick concrete walls, but she could see right through him.

“You don’t have to pretend to be sorry in front of me, mister,” she said smiling wryly.

Abel said nothing in response. He just smiled and thought about how everything was gonna be alright from that point forward. He had no idea if he believed that, or if he was just fooling himself, and to be perfectly honest, he didn’t care either way.

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.