“That’ll Be The Day” Review/Interview

Patrick Whitehurst generously invited me over to his blog after reading my new novelette, That’ll Be The Day: A Power Pop Heist. We did a fast and furious interview about crime fiction and music. Here’s a snippet of what Patrick had to say about the book:

“With a setting near Tulsa, Lauden’s toe-tapping, gritty novelette is like the Outsiders on a punked-up, rockabilly high. It’s a smooth crime story with a playlist sure to get a song or two stuck in your head while you read.”

I’ll take it! You can read the whole thing right HERE.

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series including  Bad Citizen Corporation,  Grizzly Season  and Hang Time. His Tommy & Shayna novellas include Crosswise and Crossed Bones. A new novelette, That’ll Be The Day: A Power Pop Heist, will be released on June 18, 2019. S.W. Lauden is the pen name of Steve Coulter, drummer for Tsar and The Brothers Steve.

That’ll Be The Day: A Power Pop Heist

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON. Jackson Sharp is a former guitar player fresh out of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. He’s on a mission to settle the score with his dead beat dad, but needs to collect some cash from his younger brother and former bandmate, Jamie. He finds Jamie at his struggling Tulsa record shop, but the cash is long gone. Jamie offers up a heist instead—steal a rare copy of a pre-Beatles 45 from a wealthy collector in Memphis. The road trip that follows is the violent family/band reunion that Jackson never wanted.

Here’s a Power Pop playlist I created on YouTube a few months ago:

Other 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.

Short Story in a Song— The Soft Boys’ “I Wanna Destroy You” by S W Lauden

Punk Noir Magazine

There has long been a powerful political undercurrent to punk rock. Starting with The Sex Pistols and The Clash, it spiraled outward across decades with bands like Dead Kennedys, Propagandhi, Pussy Riot and Anti-Flag. When it comes to politically charged punk, “I Wanna Destroy You” by The Soft Boys is an undeniable anti-Fascist anthem (underscored by singer/songwriter Robyn Hitchcock’s 2017 video). Whatever your political views, this song would make a great short story.

Our narrator is a man at odds with himself. Disgusted by the violent culture surrounding him, he comes unglued. Righteous indignation fuels his fury, pushing his murderous imagination to new extremes. The thinking here is nothing new (“desperate times call for desperate measures,” “fight fire with fire,” etc.), but thoughts are different than actions. Does that make him a hero or villain? That’s for the reader to decide.

Previous Short Stories in…

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Short Story in a Song—“Price Tag” by S.W. Lauden

Punk Noir Magazine

I’ve always enjoyed a dose of anti-consumerism with my pop culture, whether it’s Fight Club, George Carlin’s “Stuff” routine or Mr. Robot. The darkest and most demented lines from Idiocracy still bring a smile to my face (even as I type this on my MacBook at the local Starbucks). The same goes for songs like “Lost in the Supermarket” by The Clash, “Royals” by Lorde, “Pay To Cum” by Bad Brains and “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve. When it comes to grappling with consumer culture, “Price Tags” by Sleater-Kinney is a favorite of mine. It would make a great short story.

Our protagonist is a 9-to-5’er with mouths to feed and bills to pay. Miserably stocking shelves for minimum wage, she wonders if people like her will ever pull themselves out of this discount spiral. Everyday is Black Friday now, with working class families battling for basement…

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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.

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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.