Uncategorized Writing

Twenty years is a long ride for Dewey Thompson

It would take me some time, effort, to write something as confoundedly interesting as some of the verbose ramblings of Rust Cohle from True Detective, but there are moments when I see my life like that crushed can of beer. Time is not only circular, but flat, that all the moments of our existence are already present, just not experienced and as we attempt to experience all that we are, undoubtedly we are bound to stomp over some of our past and relive those singular moments. Tangentially speaking it feels like I’ve been here before, only younger, and not the least bit wiser.

__This_Is_Your_Life__Dewey___by_NetizenRonBack in 94-95, freshly returned from my moment of freedom in Colorado, now with a new wife and a new child I aspired not to be an office worker, a cog, but an independent businessman. I knew nothing of business, and well the short duration of Enigma Comics is a testament to that. Yes, for a short gleaming moment I was a comic book publisher. Clearly low rent, but I managed to get a rag tag bunch together and we produced a few stories and xeroxed comics. Low rent.

At that time I was teaming with story ideas. It was where my first ideas for the blue gelatinous duo Klik Boom, which would come colorfully to life eight years later in the pages of Digital Webbing Presents, came into frame. It all derived from a drawing I co-opted from one of the creators in my comic group, Jason Arthur. Jason started the drawing and for whatever reason ditched. I finished the initial figure and added three black oily characters (two who would turn blue and gelatinous a couple years later). I may have aspired to be a comic artist, but as evidence shows I was long ways from claiming it as fact. It’s a realization though, a fruition of an idea that grows with each viewing.

From this drawing grew Dewey Thompson, a rockabilly monster hunter with a well quaffed pompadour and an affinity for Elvis Presley. Over the years, Dewey existed in the occasional sketch, a half ass attempt to create a webcomic, and strings of notes for short stories and longer.

So roll down the road twenty years. I’m playing the publishing game again with One Eye Press, my business acuity has maybe doubled but I’m learning, and I’m ready to let Dewey Thompson ride again. This time out Dewey is hunting real life monsters: criminals, hustlers and dealers.

I don’t know where this ride will take me, but hopefully away from all my previous missteps and redundant efforts. I’m geared to see this to the end, and I want to thank Bryon Quertermous of Exhibit A Books for helping me find a moment of focus.


Uncategorized Writing

Five Broken Winchesters from Zelmer Pulp

914eCxe1ZXL._SL1500_Zelmer Pulp is a handful of writers from around the globe who by fate or consequence have gravitated together to produce a series of genre collections. Their first two collections C’mon and Do the Apocalypse, a send off of the zombie horror genre, and Hey, That Robot Ate My Baby, a dastardly take on sci-fi, were some of my favorite reading earlier this year. And if I have to be honest I have known the Zelmer Pulp crew individually as writers and artists for some time now. I’ve had the pleasure to publish Brian Panowich, Chris Leek, Ryan Sayles, Isaac Kirkman, and Chuck Regan through the Shotgun Honey flashzine. I knew they were talented and crazy, and so I guess like minds attract.

When I heard they were going to tackle the Western next, with their special point of view, I dropped some not so subtle hints I’d like to participate. They were kind enough to oblige, though I imagine they might be kicking themselves for that choice from time to time. The long and the long of it, I managed to contribute my short story called “The Last Shot.”

The collection is labeled weird west, but “The Last Shot” is traditional and a counterbalance to the talent you will find in Five Broken Winchesters. The following is the first part of my story.

The Last Shot

“Marshal? Do you think I’ll hang?”

Hank Markum said nothing at first, taking a sip from his coffee before considering the grave question of his prisoner. He looked across the fire, the flickering light played against the boy’s youthful appearance making him seem younger than his nineteen years. The tremble in Caleb Monroe’s voice only impressed upon the marshal that this was no grown man he was taking to the gallows.

“Son, they already strung up that boy, Oren Canter, and it doesn’t look likely that that judge up in Cheyenne is going to side any different with you,” he replied before taking another sip of his harsh brew. “You and the other killed that man, and took his horses, or perhaps the other ways around. Not that it matters much.”

“I know that man died. I know, but…” the boy began to bluster before falling into silence.

Markum saw the sheen of tears well up along the boy’s eyelids, cresting, capturing the dance of the firelight.

This was the first bit of concern the marshal had seen from the boy since taking him into custody down in Greely two day ago. Any attempt to speak of his crimes or what was to come in Cheyenne was met with silence, sometimes distraction. The boy wasn’t obliged to talk, but Markum was grateful for any conversation on the trail. Most of which leaned toward the boy’s pa, who Markum figured would have been about his own age had he not died when Caleb was eleven, leaving him orphaned, and eventually in the company of Oren Canter.

“Silence isn’t a defense, Caleb,” Markum pressed feeling the boy was ready. “It is not likely to be any help in Cheyenne, but maybe talking will ease your conscience, ease the load, before…before we get there.”

The boy swiped his hand across his eyes, “I didn’t know about Oren.”

The two boys, Caleb had told Markum, had been inseparable since he had found his way to Cheyenne after bouncing from one well-meaning home to another. Canter’s father drove the stage coach, giving the boys more freedom than ought to be had by two so rambunctious. The stories he told of the two reminded the marshal of the carelessness of friendship, and now the hollowness of the boy’s face reminded him of the loss.

“Oren didn’t deserve that, not for that old rancher. They was stubborn, the both of them—the old man for putting up the fight, and Oren for insisting we steal his useless swayback nag from the stable.” The boy balled up his fists and shook his head in frustration.

“Them tugging back and forth spooked an old gray in the next stall. It gave a kick and both got knocked sideways into the mud. Only the rancher didn’t jump back up like Oren. He just moaned, clutching his chest till he didn’t moan no more.”

“Why didn’t you get help,” Markum questioned.

“I wanted to,” Caleb demanded. “Least I might have thought about it if I weren’t scared and Oren weren’t insistent on that horse, and the other two.”

“It were just an accident. An accident,” he pleaded.

“Accident or not, whatever defense you boys had for the rancher’s death was void when you stole those horses.”

Caleb stared across the fire at the marshal, “I didn’t want to steal them.”

“But you did, and they still hang horse thieves.”

The boy’s expression crumpled, and without a word turned away from Markum to lie on the cold unforgiving earth, knowing that was all the comfort he’d enjoy in this life.

Buy Five Broken Winchesters to read the rest.

Uncategorized Writing

Yippee Ki Yay, or lets talk The Big Adios?

bigadios2OK, boys and girls it’s time to saddle up and dig those spurs in. This here is the first stage launch of The Big Adios. What? You didn’t read about this new project I’m launching in February that’s a mix somewhere between flash and short fiction especially for all my little buckaroos? I’ve mentioned it a couple times on that social networking sinkhole called Facebook and on the Twitters too. So maybe a friend of a friend might have retweeted, reposted, re-something all those little nods and nudges? Still nothing? Hmmm?

Well come February 5th I, along with with a couple good cow pokes going by the names of Ryan “The Walnut” Sayles and Aldo “Doc” Calcagno, am launching this little western fiction site called The Big Adios. A title that I hope evokes western tones as well as nods to the community I’m currently serving with Shotgun Honey. I think the Western shares a lot with Hardboiled and Noir fiction. So it’s not a stretch. At least not for me.

I used to read bunches of it back in high school when TBS would re-air Louis L’Amour based movies staring Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott. And of course well all those Westerns that came before with John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood and dozens of classic cowboy actors. Those Tom and Sam movies, made for TV and based on the works of Louis L’Amour, are what turned me on to reading the paperbacks they were based from. From there, for a while, it was a whole slew of western fiction.

Grainger, Edward A. - 2I’m a sucker for a good western movie or TV show, but reading fell to the wayside. I was exploring other genres. So why the interest in westerns now? I have to throw blame at David Cranmer and his Cash Laramie and Miles Gideon short story collections and novellas written by various authors I’d become familiar with in the crime fiction community. I like short fiction, so once I got the bug from David, I looked for more. Unfortunately, I really couldn’t find a website dedicated to western fiction like there were in crime fiction. So if there is a void, I might as well fill out.

So that brings me to you pardner. Whether your a writer or reader, I’d like to see you give The Big Adios a shot. And for the writers, today is the day to start consternating on your story and getting them polished shinier than a nugget gold.

Let’s set a couple ground rules, before you start putting too much raw thought to digital paper.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for traditional western stories. Stories about whiskey swilling outlaws, gun toting sheriffs, wonderfully wild women and how the west was won.

But, we’re also looking for stories that push the boundaries of the genre and even welcome the occasional genre mashup. Because we believe, at least I do, that there’s a spirit that immortalizes the genre and that it can, if written well, be transported beyond the standard tropes of black hats and white hats, cowboys and Indians. It’s what makes modern lawmen like Longmire and Raylan Givens seem both out of place and right for the present. I suppose the cowboy hats help, too.

What aren’t we looking for?

Just because you dress your protagonist up in a cowboy hat doesn’t make it western fiction. Keep that in mind when you’re skirting from the traditional.

We don’t want romance. It’s sad but when you check the top books in the Western category on Amazon, half are really just romance novels. I guess women folk just like them hunky cowboys. This ain’t the place for that.

No Indian massacres. There are a lot of truths about the American West, hard truths. I don’t think the few hundred words we’re allowing for our stories are adequate to properly tell such a heady story.

What is the word count?

During my tenure with Shotgun Honey we have been open too, and have even published a couple, western based crime stories, but I’ve discovered that 700 words isn’t as adequate to set up and carry out the story as it is for crime fiction. Also from the start I’d like to give the opportunity to accept longer stories, so at The Big Adios we are adopting a multi-format  solution.

Our goal is to publish one story a week in either a single day or a multi-day format. The single day format is 1200 words, the multi-day is serialized over 2 or 3 days for a total of 2400 or 3600 words. The caveat of course is if you go for the longer story it has to have built in breaking points. You have to consider how the story will be serialized.

These are the structured limits, but like with Shotgun Honey if the story is exceptional we’ll willing to bend. Nothing is carved in stone and quality trumps quality. If you go in intentionally breaking the rules, it better be a damn good story.

Do you edit?

No. Your story had better be well edited before we open that attachment.

Will you accept previously published works?

Yes. As long as you hold the current publishing rights and the story fits our modest criteria we are happy to give your story a review.

How do I send you my submission?

Send your submission as an attached word .doc or .docx file to with the subject line: Story Title – Your Name – Word Count.

Please do not send us your biography, bibliography or synopsis. These are short stories, we don’t need a hook.

I’ve got more questions, who do you ask?

For now, me. Send any questions to I’ll try to answer your questions.

So are you set? Are you excited? Have you gone out and bought a new pair of boots and a Stetson? I hope so. Keep a watch here, on Facebook or on The Big Adios website for future announcements.

Uncategorized Writing

F3, Cycle 104: Ain’t No Friend of Mime

It’s been a long while since I participated myself in a Flash Fiction Friday prompt. Flannery and Joyce have been doing a great job keeping the site together and coming up with great prompts. I started a story a few weeks back from the prompt Is Anyone There? that I plan to expand and finish for an anthology later this year. This week’s prompt by Joyce was a word list: gunshot, train, mime, balcony, monkey, rain. So this is my contribution to Words, Words, and More Words.

Normally I would give a few rewrites on a story before letting out in the wild, especially one like this that is a little left of what I usually write. So consider it for what it is, a rough stab at story about a mime and a murder. I hope you enjoy it none-the-less.

Ain’t No Friend of Mime

I got the call on the squawk, a 10-55 with units on scene and coroner in route. I was 20 minutes from the end of my shift, ready to call it a day when McGrady invited me to the show.

McGrady met me at the bottom of the stairs outside the complex. He had a fresh pack of nails, pulling away at the cellophane with nervous fingers. He took one out and offered the newly open box. I waved off, reminding him I was nearly a year into redemption. He thought better and tucked his unlit burner behind his ear.

“So what do we got, Bill?”

“It wasn’t ours at first. A lady across the yard called in the complaint. A 288. She told dispatch there was a man in the apartment across from her spanking his monkey.”

I didn’t know if McGrady was having me on or not. He liked to be a joker, but he managed the delivery with a straight face.

Bill continued as he led me up the stairs. “Another call came about five minutes later, a shooting with a 10-54. Patrol arrived on scene and confirmed, upgrading to a 10-55.”

We passed through two officers, probably first on scene, both seemed to be having a laugh, and entered the open apartment. They acknowledged us with a nodded, “Detectives.”

It was a sparse apartment, a worn out couch to one side against the wall, a beat up coffee table a leg length away, and directly across a kitchenette with a small table and a single chair. You could cross the room in three long strides. Only two other doors in the room. One next to the couch was either to a bathroom or a bedroom. Based on how the pillow cushions were positioned on the couch, I was going to wager a bathroom. The other was a glass door, shattered, that lead out to the balcony, the sheers wafted open in the night breeze, and I could see an old biddy with binoculars across the way. The only decoration was a framed picture of some clown with what appeared to be a splatter of shit across the glass.

I hated clowns.

These weren’t the first thing you saw when you entered. No, you couldn’t help but see the dead clown–sorry mime–in the middle of the room with his outstretched arms choking a monkey. A gunshot both, possibly from the same bullet based of the placement of the bodies.

I liked mimes less than clowns. I grimaced.

Bill, with a stone face, pointed to the bodies. “If it weren’t for the bullet holes, I’d say it was autoerotic asphyxiation.”

I patted him on the back as a smile cracked his lips, “Yeah, Bill. I’m sure you can tell that to the Captain.”

“I would, but he’s the one who gave me the line.”

“So do we have anything? What’s the story?”

Bill flipped open his notes, “Yeah, the mime here is a Marty Marceau. Changed from Martin Mullen. Occupation, well, mime. He worked down at The Green. And..” Bill looked around the room, “must of done pretty well for himself.”

“We got a timeline? He and the monkey look pretty fresh.”

“Yeah, rigor hasn’t set yet. Probably about 45 minutes. Girl downstairs, says she’s the girlfriend, she found  ol’ Marty here choking the monkey. She called 911 moments after the initial complaint.”

I rolled my eyes. “Girlfriend have a name? She still available?”

“Yeah, she’s in her apartment with an officer. Her name is Angela Lansbury. She’s a…”

“Don’t tell me, a writer?”

“Well, actually…”

I turned to head out, “Never mind. Let’s visit the girl.”

She was down there with the officer, mascara bleeding down her face.


Her apartment was more decorated in oranges and pinks, the furniture was new but looked comfortable, entertaining. On the walls hung evocative prints of fruit in a pop art style. She wore pink hot pants that I was sure had the word JUICY on the backside, the top was a white halter that didn’t leave much to the imagination with a new set of Double Ds. Her hair was professionally bleached with a streak of pink, and her lipstick matched her shorts. Being a writer must be a lucrative business?

She looked up, the rain of mascara couldn’t hide her sweet face. She hadn’t lost all her innocence. I’m sure she fooled more than one editor with her school girl wiles.

“Angela, could you tell me what you told the officers earlier? What happened upstairs?”

Her lips quivered and she squeezed her fist white knuckled. She began to cry again.

I sat down beside her. The couch was soft, yet firm. I imagined that would be useful for a writer. Angela turned away and grabbed her large shoulder bag, trying to slip her hand inside to snag a tissue. I saw the glint of metal.

I stood quickly, “What do you have there, Angela?”

She started to pull the tissue out, but slumped into the couch and let the bag fall to the floor, the barrel of .22 slid out.

“I did it” she said practically in audible.

I grabbed the gun and the purse, dumping the remaining contents onto the glass coffee table. House keys, vibrator, condoms in various sizes and colors, an extra pair of panties, a wallet with about $300, some loose change and a train ticket. Everything a woman on the run needed.

The officer who had sat with her pulled her to her feet and cuff Angela.

“Why? Why did you do it?”

“The monkey. That bastard was cheating on me.” She saw our strange looks, “Not the monkey, you dopes! Marty, Marty was. He hated that monkey. It was that stone bitch, Bella’s monkey. She’s one of them human statues, did her bit across from Marty day in and day out. I knew it was only a matter of time. She wasn’t the only one, there were plenty of others.” She fumed, raging, then continued, “he had the monkey and I knew. For sure. No way he’d watch that monkey, unless…”

I thought back up to the corpse laying on the floor, and as she was escorted out the door I had to ask, “What did you see in him?”

She softened and smiled through her mascara stained face, “He was a good listener.”

Uncategorized Writing

Everybody’s Not Kung Fu Fighting

As a writer and an editor of crime fiction, I unavoidably have to deal with the fight scene. What is a crime if not the result of violence or violation? Both can and probably will result in a fight. A conflict. How escalated the conflict becomes is determined by factors of the situation and the creative vision. The interpretation of the writer to cast the scene to paper.

To paper.

I think this simple aspect is the failing of many attempts at writing the fight scene. At least a believable one. For me personally, the bulk of my early writing was an attempt to break into comic books and as a result I learned to write lean and visually, because in writing for comics unless you are both the writer and artist you have a collaborator, a co-writer who translates words into images. Since it was a visual medium, I drew inspiration from movies, and growing up in the 80s there were no lack of action movies. Over the top and inconceivable.

So I understand the urge and inspiration to write scenes that put your protagonist under impossible odds. You’re playing that scene out in your head like it’s on the big screen. You’re embracing your inner Road House and kicking all kinds of Swayze. I get it. But, the reality is the protagonist usually ends up like Sam Elliott.

I know you’re thinking, Ron, Ron Earl this is fiction, it’s not supposed to be reality?

That’s true, and if you lay the groundwork and handle the action just right, the reader is going to follow right along with you. After all, how many times did they ask Swayze’s character “I thought you’d be bigger?” before he actually had to throw down some serious hurting? They laid the groundwork that he is a badass.

Most stories I deal with as an editor are of the 700 word variety, so not a whole lot of room to lay down your protagonist’s greatest hits before he throws the first punch. With such short stories I favor stories that anchor themselves in the plausible, creating scenes that are not only dynamic but feel real as possible.

So now you ask, Ron Earl, how do I make it feel real?

Funny you should ask, but I’ve got 3 simple things to consider.

  1. Only Human – Unless stated otherwise, or you’re holding out for the big twist at the end, your protagonist is only human. And the human body can only endure so much damage before it has to shut down. Your protagonist is not going to endure constant abuse and suddenly come out the victor. And if your guy does go down, it’s going to take time to before he’s up to even facing the Tooth Fairy.
  2. Knuckle and Buckle – Fights aren’t even. They’re the product of adrenalin and temper, and rarely do the fighters square off before the first punch is thrown. Once that first knuckle lands, it’s only moments before a stinger hits and the advantage is won and legs begin to buckle. Real fights are short and one sided. Even in a professional match it’s going to take more than the Eye of the Tiger to go 12 rounds.
  3. Everybody’s Not Kung Fu Fighting – Do you know why those fight scenes in movies look so awesome? They’re choreographed. If your protagonist is put in the middle of multiple combatants, I’m sorry, he’s going down. They aren’t going take turns. Three are going to hold your character down while the other two beat his face and balls and they’ll be calling him Arsefaced Sally by the end.

There are not fast hard rules, and even if there were, rules are meant to be broken. Just remember how ever you write your fight scene it has to first serve the story and then entertain the reader.

Uncategorized Writing

A Titan they say…

So today I was interviewed over on the Flash Fiction Offensive by Joe Clifford, he’s like my carbon copy over at FFO except handsome and really-really fit, also a likeable and fast growing friend. Really, he sprouted practically overnight with little maintenance. Best kind of friend aside from the inflatable closet Cloe who’s always there for you in a pinch… though I’m not sure pinch is the applicable word?

He called me a titan and then I answered a whole bunch of questions. Well, not a whole bunch. Joe promised a bunch of questions but I got to rambling and he cut me off at five. In those five questions I talk about the give and take of our crime writing microcosm, then jumped over and explained how social media is expanding that microcosm, next was a history lesson that uncovered that Shotgun Honey is in fact the inbred second cousin bastard child of Out of the Gutter, Both Barrels was mentioned and I explained how I jumped the gun, and finally it got personal, revealing my future projects that assuredly doomed now that they are out in the world.

All and all, I globbed up all the attention like toast plunged into a thick bowl of beef stew. And Joe called me a titan. So does that mean I’m going to be cast out, locked away because I’m too powerful?

I do want to thank Joe who has been gracious beyond words, and that does not end with inviting me to play in his playground. It’s appreciated. Though between you and me, I’m no titan, I’m just standing on the solid shoulders of those who came before me.

Contest Uncategorized Writing

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!

Uncategorized Writing

Shotgun Honey – What a Blast!

Late March of 2011, Kent Gowran, a writer and fellow lover of crime fiction, who I barely knew, spawned an idea to start up a new webzine called Shotgun Honey. My closest friends will tell you I’d been playing with the idea of a webzine myself, each of them discouraging me against taking on such a project. They wanted me to write. And to be honest, I’m a great starter, but I have problems with follow through. But you know what, if I wasn’t going to start my own webzine, then maybe I’ll ask this stranger if he needed any help. Damn it, if Kent didn’t take me up on my offer.

We posted the first story on Blogger, April 6, 2011. You might remember it, “Two-Phones” by Dan O’Shea. It was a Wednesday. We followed it up with the Spinetingler nominated “Disney Noir” by Peter Farris on Friday. The next week would bring “Fucking Liars” by Allan Guthrie on Monday, “Herman Dog Digs” by Anthony Neil Smith on Wednesday and “Treacherous Road – Part 2” by newcomer Anthony Schiavino on Friday.

Monday. Wednesday. Friday.

We posted stories like that for a majority of the year, missing a couple holidays or during a handful of weeks where we only published two a week.

I’ve read so many great stories, shorts, all mostly under 700 words. Yeah, crazy short, flash fiction. Lean, mean and oh so clean.

We’ve been honored to publish over 150 stories from more than 90 different authors, from all around the world.

I’m personally honored to call many of those authors my friends. And my fellow editors — Kent Gowran, Sabrina Ogden and rookie Chad Rohrbacher — are practically family. Truth. I know more about that trio than I do my own sister.

Somewhere during the last year, I decided it’d be cool to interview some of these contributors, and some writers I wanted to be contributors — which I’m batting a big fat zero on. So periodically I throw down a “How’d You Get the Gun?” interview. Have some interesting prospects coming up with Nigel Bird, Heath Lowrance, Frank Wheeler Jr and Peter Farris. They will be joining the ranks of Dan O’Shea, Frank Bill, John Rector, Matthew C Funk, Ray Banks, Anthony Neil Smith and Chris F. Holm. And I’m sure there will more.

It’s been a blast of a year helping Kent, Sabrina and now Chad run and maintain Shotgun Honey.

What could year two bring? How about an opportunity for our authors to go bigger? Way BIGGER!

I’m thrilled to announce that I will be producing, with plenty of support from Kent, Sabrina, and Chad, the first Shotgun Honey Anthology to be released this Fall in print and e-book. It will be big, and those of you who fear the 700 word count will have a chance to go bigger, up to 5000 words. More details to follow on Shotgun Honey. So keep your eyes peeled!

Thanks for reading, contributing and supporting Shotgun Honey.

Uncategorized Writing

Book Tuesday

Man, has it been an age a day since I posted something relevant. What a major slack I am. I work hard at it.

If you work in books or love to read books, you’re probably aware that Tuesday is typically new book day. And usually for me it’s a day of frustration. Agonizing to the core when I saunter off to my local book store and never find the book I know has been released. Usually I write this off to living in a small state and small population. Also I tend to read authors who aren’t best sellers, even though they should be and everyone should be reading them. I guess we can’t all be James Patterson (who by the way, if you’re reading this, I’d be happy to take a check to write one of your books. My daughter needs to go to college.).

So usually Book Day is a bit of a disappointment, reading wise. And well, writing wise, I’ve never been published… before… in a format that would be celebrated on Book Day.

Until today! Boo-yah!

So get your checkbooks out and your e-readers charged, here’s the skinny on some books you’ll want to buy.

The Lost Children: A Charity Anthology
Lost Children Books
303 KB
Edited by Thomas Pluck, Fiona Johnson and Ron Earl Phillips (me!)

This anthology came off the springboard of a writing challenge posted on Flash Fiction Friday by Thomas and Fiona, where contributors wrote stories about different aspects of child abuse and neglect. As additional incentive Thomas and Fiona respectively pledged $5 to and £5 to Children 1st Scotland.

Turnout was great, five times our weekly contributions, netting a total of about $600 for all charities involved. So Thomas, who spearheaded this effort, asked me to come on board as co-editor along with Fiona, and we paired it down to 30 stories of horror, reality and some hope.

I invite you to try.

Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled Edition
Beat to a Pulp
230 KB
Edited by David Cranmer, Scott D. Parker

BEAT to a PULP: Hardboiled is a compilation of uncompromising, gritty tales following in the footsteps of the tough and violent fiction popularized by the legendary Black Mask magazine in its early days. This collection includes thirteen lean and mean stories from the fingertips of Garnett Elliott, Glenn Gray, John Hornor Jacobs, Patricia Abbott, Thomas Pluck, Brad Green, Ron Earl Phillips, Kent Gowran, Amy Grech, Benoit Lelievre, Kieran Shea, David Cranmer, and Wayne D. Dundee and a boiled down look at hardboiled fiction in an introduction by Ron Scheer. Edited by David Cranmer and Scott D. Parker.

Some heady talent I’ve been included with, and worth all 99 cents and then some. How can you turn it down?

So this isn’t all about me, let us take a look at Blasted Heath.

Today is 11/01/11 and a Tuesday, and Allan Guthrie, who may owe some favors in either heaven or hell, and Kyle MacRae, who I don’t know well enough to make cracks at, hung out their shingle for Blasted Heath, a new e-book publisher. I was lucky enough to receive copies of DEAD MONEY by Ray Banks and ALL THE YOUNG WARRIORS by Anthony Neil Smith. I’ve virtually flipped through both and each is more than promising. Also released are PHASE FOUR by Gary Carson, THE LONG MIDNIGHT OF BARNEY THOMPSON and THE END OF DAYS by Douglas Lindsay, and THE MAN IN THE SEVENTH ROW by Brian Bendreigh.

And Back to me.

If you want to look down the road to about the 30th of this month, I will be in Luca Veste’s OFF THE RECORD anthology, stories based on classic song titles. I thought about songs such as Dolly Parton’s Jolene, the Eagles’ Desperado and Don McLean’s American Pie. I went with the latter. No levy, but I hope you’ll pick up a copy and read all the wonderful stories included.

Reading Uncategorized Writing

Run Away Home with Frank and Donald

Have I mentioned I got a chance to read Frank Bill‘s debut book, CRIMES IN SOUTHERN INDIANA? I wasn’t sure if I had?

Might as well get used to it. I’m going to be talking about it all month and I plan on it being a busy month down here on the blog.

I’ve been re-reading CRIMES this last week because I want to do a slam dunk review of it next week to post around. I don’t do reviews much. I give them a shot, but I tend to be so damn casual about it. All my structured English education just flies out the door. That’s alright though, because I never believe anything that reads scripted or not from the heart. And if I didn’t like CRIMES I’d kindly thank Frank for the opportunity and move on to the next book. I don’t believe in negative reviews.

But I did like CRIMES so there will be a review in a weeks time.

As reviews go, I recently read a lot of good things about Donald Ray Pollock — some bad too, but those read of personal opinion and not capable review — so he hit my radar. Last week Amazon had a ridiculously good deal on his first novel, THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME. I couldn’t pass up the discount on top of my free shipping. Only a chapter into it and I ordered KNOCKEMSTIFF — Pollock’s first book, a short story collection — for my Kindle.

I don’t have a vast library of crime fiction. Only what I’ve engulfed myself in over the last couple years. So I’m not deeply familiar with  Harry Crews or Larry Brown, though I have a book or two of each to read, but I understand that in their time they were the voice of southern noir. Neither Pollock or Bill are what I’d call southern, rather two country boys living in the mid-west. One in Ohio and the other in, well, Southern Indiana.

They both have a similar voice developed from what they know, where they grew up, and the lessons life have taught them. Reading their bios about and interviews with them, and of course the words they’ve both written, though their styles may differ I connect with the heart of what they write about, as well as some odd parallels.

Growing up a West Virginia boy, I so desperately wanted to be gone from country. As soon as I could stand I swore I’d run the first chance I got and never look back. I made it to Colorado, but rough times and bad decisions had me tail tucking it home with a new wife and baby on the way. Back to family, back to home.

It’s strange that it’s taken me nearly two decades of struggling with work, with writing, with life, to realize it’s not about where you live. And realize the experience of those two decades if honed with my natural predilections could tell stories people want to read.

So to writers, who I now admire, like Frank Bill and Donald Ray Pollock, thank you for showing me my stories don’t have to go far. They only need to run away home.

Don’t forget the deadline for the Frank Bill and Write Where You’re At challenge ends August 25th. 2000 word story about where you grew up.