On Crime Fiction and Drumming

I’m back over at Crimespree Magazine today with an article about a few drummers in the crime fiction commit—including myself.

“Aspiring authors are often told to write what they know, but the collision of percussion and prose goes much deeper for me. I joined my first real band when I was 16-years-old, a C student in a band with three brainy punks. We hadn’t been playing together very long when the lead guitarist handed me a Kurt Vonnegut book at a rehearsal. I was too embarrassed to tell him that I never really read for fun, so I took the book and gave it a try.”

You can read the article, Crime Beats, right HERE.

S.W. Lauden is the Anthony Award-nominated author of the Tommy & Shayna novella, CROSSWISE, and the sequel, CROSSED BONES. His Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME. He is also the co-host of the Writer Types crime, mystery and thriller podcast. Steve lives in Los Angeles.

Short Story in a Song—“The Obituaries” by S.W. Lauden

The second installment of my “Short Story in a Song” series over at Punk Noir Magazine. “The Obituaries” by The Menzingers.

PUNK NOIR MAGAZINE

Coming of age. Exploring independence. Adulting.

These are well-worn themes in the arts. A quick glance at the bookshelf reveals classics like The Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger, Beloved by Toni Morrison and The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Likewise, many bands have explored similar territory with songs like “Suburban Home” by Descendents,” “Burnout” by Green Day or “Photosynthesis” by Frank Turner.” Caught somewhere on the coming of age continuum between King Dork by Frank Portman and “West Coast” by Fidlar, “The Obituaries” by Pennsylvania punks The Menzingers is a melodic anthem that belongs on that list. It would make a great short story.

Our young protagonist is on a rooftop in Brooklyn, the whole world and his whole life spread out before him. The possibilities are endless, but slightly overwhelming to his wasted mind. Prematurely obsessed with death and decay, he reluctantly stumbles…

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Short Story in a Song—“Ever Fallen In Love” by S.W. Lauden

I’m over at Punk Noir Magazine today with a reboot of my Short Story in a Song series.

PUNK NOIR MAGAZINE

I recently read an excellent essay called “Playing House” in Heather Havrilesky‘s latest collection, What If This Were Enough? In it, she recounts a doomed relationship from many years ago. He pretended to be something he was not—happy, together—and though she saw through it, she pretended to want to share in his fantasy. She knew it was self-destructive from the start, but burrowed deeper into their mutual misery.

As I read it, the song “Ever Fallen In Love” by Buzzcocks played on repeat in my mind. The simple lyrics are broad enough to be interpreted in many ways, but the underlying themes are universal. Our protagonist has strong feelings for somebody who doesn’t feel the same way. It creates an unhealthy imbalance in their relationship (real or imagined?) that leaves him feeling abused. He knows this infatuation will destroy him, but he clings to it in the…

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A Sense Of Community

“Crime writers are the nicest people.”

You hear it everywhere you go, from bookstores, readings and signings, to magazine articles, blog posts and podcasts. For a genre that seems to revel in darkness, death and desperation, crime authors can be some of the kindest souls you’ll ever meet. Need proof? Read on!

Bouchercon 2018

I recently spent four days with my crime writer pals at the Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida for the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. There are a few prominent crime fiction conventions throughout the year—many focused on a specific crime sub-genre—but Bouchercon is probably the best known. I was on a couple of interesting panels while I was there, but spent most of my time doing interviews for the Writer Types podcast with my co-host Eric Beetner. We’ll have long-form interviews with Lawrence Block, Lee Child and Ian Rankin in upcoming episodes, but for now you can listen in as we ambush 30+ authors on the convention floor and in the bar. There were so many talented authors there that we split our coverage into two episodes:

Deadline: A Tribute To William E. Wallace

In 2017 we lost William E. Wallace who was a writer, a fan, and a friend to all who loved the crime fiction genre. A retired crime reporter, William pursued his love of writing producing short stories, novellas and short novels that he published on his own or through small presses like Shotgun Honey and All Due Respect. Aside from promoting his own works, he diligently trumpeted the underdog and promoted the works of indie publishers and authors alike.

This collection is a tribute to William, for all he had given and all that he has left behind. The stories within these pages are written by authors and colleagues who wrote with and wrote about. Featuring stories by Jen Conley, Eric Beetner, Joe Clifford, Sarah M. Chen, Rob Pierce, Renee Asher Pickup, Eryk Pruitt and Travis Richardson, among many others. My contribution is called “Hot Water.”

Pick up your copy of DEADLINE: A TRIBUTE TO WILLIAM E. WALLACE. All proceeds will benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, whom, like William, speak for the underdog and uphold freedom of speech.

Noir at the Bar LA: Chilled To The Marrow

Oct. 28th will be a very special Noir at the Bar reading event in Los Angeles. Beyond an amazing lineup we will be raising money for crime author Duane Swierczynski whose daughter, Evie, has been battling leukemia.

The incredible Noir at the Bar LA line up—one of many such #TeamEvie Noir at the Bar fundraisers across the country this same weekend—includes Sara Gran, Attica Locke, David J. Schow, Christa Faust & Gary Phillips, Anna Snoekestra, Aaron Phillip Clark, Dennis Palumbo and the man himself, Duane Swierczynski.

But why wait until Oct. 28? Donate to #TeamEvie NOW.

S.W. Lauden is the Anthony Award-nominated author of the Tommy & Shayna novella, CROSSWISE, and the sequel, CROSSED BONES. His Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME. He is also the co-host of the Writer Types crime, mystery and thriller podcast. Steve lives in Los Angeles.

New Power Pop Playlist

I’ve been falling back in love with Power Pop lately.

Not familiar with the elusive musical genre known as Power Pop? Here’s Michael Chabon’s definition:

“True power pop is rueful and celebratory at the same time, glorifying desire and frustration, which is why so many power-pop songs concern themselves with the subject of Tonight, or Tomorrow Night, or Saturday Night, or some other night that will only be perfect for as long as it can be deferred.”

Anyway, in digging through the old songs I decided to throw this “Power Pop Plus” YouTube playlist together. Hope you dig it.

The Music Posts You Might Like:

S.W. Lauden is the Anthony Award-nominated author of the Tommy & Shayna novella, CROSSWISE, and the sequel, CROSSED BONES. His Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME. He is also the co-host of the Writer Types crime, mystery and thriller podcast. Steve lives in Los Angeles.

“The Long Dance” Podcast Review

Like most podcast listeners way back in 2014, I couldn’t get enough of Serial. I wasn’t quite as taken by Serial’s second season, but plenty of other true crime options started popping up in my feed. A couple of all-time favorites include Dirty John and S-Town.

My favorite new true crime podcast is The Long Dance. Here’s a description of the 8-part series from the show’s website:

A disclaimer before we begin. One of the show’s creators, Eryk Pruitt, is a friend of mine from the Indie crime fiction community. You’ll also hear my voice at the beginning of each episode because Mr. Pruitt and his team were kind enough to let us promote our crime, mystery and thriller fiction podcast, Writer Types, with a quick ad. If all of that will keep you from taking this review seriously, stop reading now—but definitely don’t let it stop you from checking out Episode 1 of The Long Dance. I have a feeling you’ll be hooked, just like I was.

Which brings us to my review…

Producing a podcast about an unsolved 46-year-old double homicide seems like a tricky business. Not only is the evidence old or missing, but many of the people you’d naturally want to interview have long since shuffled off this mortal coil. This includes everybody from law enforcement officials, witnesses and suspects, to family and friends connected with the victims. So it’s really impressive that Pruitt (pictured at left), Adamek (pictured below) and Kessler manage to weave a captivating tale despite the many roadblocks built up by the sands of time. Even more impressive is their ability to pull the story into the present by essentially re-opening the cold case themselves. In many ways, their dogged persistence is the real engine that moves this gripping story forward.

This mostly works because of the professional relationship Pruitt and Adamek developed with Major Tim Horne of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. If this story was one of Pruitt’s dark rural noir novels, Horne’s thorough approach, cautious optimism, and even-keeled demeanor would almost be clichéd—which makes him that much more engaging as the de facto third narrator of the series. That alone is worth investing 8 hours of your podcast-listening time, but it’s not even my favorite part of this series.

The main thing that kept me bingeing The Long Dance over the course of a couple of days was the well-developed sense of time and place. Durham, North Carolina is not the town it was 46 years ago, and neither are the people most affected by the Mann/McBane murders. Many of the interviews included in the series highlight how the world moves on, even from something as heinous as the brutal murders of a young couple. It’s possible to listen to The Long Dance as a straight true crime narrative and you definitely will not be disappointed, but the real triumph of this podcast is the way it showcases the pain, regret and anger that lives on inside the people touched by this almost forgotten tragedy.

Highly recommended.

Recent Posts:

S.W. Lauden is the Anthony Award-nominated author of the Tommy & Shayna novella, CROSSWISE, and the sequel, CROSSED BONES. His Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME. He is also the co-host of the Writer Types crime, mystery and thriller podcast. Steve lives in Los Angeles.

What We Got Wrong About Ford Fairlane

I got the chance to speak with author Rex Weiner about his new book, “The (Original) Adventures of Ford Fairlane.” Fairlane was a rock n’ roll detective that emerged from the late 70s underground music scene and his adventures were originally serialized in the New York Rocker and LA Weekly. These days, people who remember Fairlane mostly associate him with Andrew Dice Clay’s performance in the 1990 movie, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane.

The truth is, that movie had little or nothing to do with Weiner’s original creation. So this new book is not only a chance to get (re)acquainted with Fairlane, but also an interesting tale about what happens to fictional characters after a decade spent banging around Hollywood.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the interview:

“What I liked about punk rock and New Wave in the 1970s was how it gave a middle finger to the corporate takeover of the music business. It felt like rock n’ roll—born out of young white middle class rebellion combined with black American culture—was making a last stand at CBGBs and the downtown New York clubs on the east coast, and at the Starwood and south bay clubs, and the Mabuhay in San Francisco on the west coast. It was dangerous and threatening to many of the musicians themselves, unfortunately, as much as to the society they confronted. But economics had a lot to do with its success, as the interviews in my book with Andy Schwartz and Jay Levin testify (publishers of the alternative papers that first serialized the Ford Fairlane stories). The cheaper cost of living in that era allowed those clubs to exist and gave artists freedom to create the music and culture that now seem so radical. I believe the same indie spirit is still alive and well in cities and town across the country and around the world—especially Hip Hop on a grass-roots level—but it’s more DIY than ever, and you have to look for it. If you’re in that mood. On my end, I’m listening to early Be Bop these days, mostly.”

You can read the whole interview right HERE at Crimespree Magazine.

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). Steve lives in LA.

30 SoCal Punk Songs

My Greg Salem punk rock PI series revolves around a fictional SoCal band called BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, but the music and musicians that inspired these books are very real.

The playlist includes songs from the 70s to the 2000s, ranging from Black Flag, The Runaways, Lagwagon and Minutemen to The Gun Club, Pennywise, The Bags and Face To Face. There are thousands of other songs I could have included, but 30 seems right for now.

I’m loosely defining SoCal as the region between San Diego and Santa Barbara. Likewise, the definition of “punk” is also pretty loose because it’s one of those words that means something different to everybody.

So…save your aggression for the pit, bro. As Descendents would say—Enjoy!

More Posts You Might Enjoy:

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). Steve lives in LA.

Writer Types Podcast—Episode 17

The May episode has arrived!

This time around we interview Kellye Garrett, Alex Segura and Naomi Hirahara.

Bill Fitzhugh, Ellen Byron, Mike McCrary and Andrew Shaffer tell us their secrets for writing funny crime fiction.

And May author, Marietta Miles, helps us debut an occasional new segment called “Between The Lines.”

But, wait—there’s more!

Kate Malmon reviews Blackout by Alex Segura, and Dan Malmon reviews The Oracle Year by Charles Soule.

If you like what you hear, please leave a review on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Soundcloud—or wherever you listen to podcasts. And please tell your friends about Writer Types on social media, at your favorite bookstore, and in the alley behind the car wash.

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.

Short Story in a Song— “She Doesn’t Exist”

Ever make a wrong turn in a foreign city and find yourself on an unexpected adventure? That’s how it felt to discover Robyn Hitchcock’s music in my teens. I’d travelled the well-worn boulevards of heavy metal, stomped down the back alleys of punk (finding the The Soft Boys along the way), and traveled the twisting paths of college rock—but hearing Hitchcock’s solo records was like finding a secret passage into a dark and magical world. Those feelings of wonder remain today, making it almost impossible to pick a single track. So I chose “She Doesn’t Exist,” an all-time favorite from the 1991 Egyptians album “Perspex Island.” This song would make a great short story.

Our narrator is obsessed with his ex. He’s attempted every trick in the book—from calling over and over to voodoo rituals—but nothing brings her back. So he tries to sooth his fragile ego by convincing himself that she doesn’t exist. He recognizes his mistakes and wants to do better, but knows it isn’t possible within the dynamics of their relationship. Soon it’s only singing to himself that briefly drowns out the persistent thoughts of his lost love. Hopefully his obsession doesn’t compel him to act and try to make her disappear for real.

Read the full lyrics for Robyn Hitchcock’s “She Doesn’t Exist” right HERE.

More Short Story in a Song posts:

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.