Johnny Cash Anthology Roundtable

Last week, Gutter Books released their latest music-themed anthology, JUST TO WATCH THEM DIE: CRIME FICTION INSPIRED BY THE SONGS OF JOHNNY CASH. The collection was curated by Joe Clifford who got an Anthony Award nomination for his previous rock anthology, TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND: CRIME FICTION BASED ON THE SONGS OF BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN.

I was aware of Johnny Cash growing up, but didn’t develop a passion for his music until I discovered roots-influenced punk bands like The Blasters, X, The Cramps, Social Distortion and The Gun Club. By the time I reached college, Cash’s music was in heavy rotation on my stereo. To this day, one of the best concerts I ever saw was The Man In Black live at The Pantages Theater in Hollywood with Beck as the opener. So when I heard Gutter Books was putting this collection together, I knew I had to submit a short story. The song I chose was “25 Minutes To Go.”

Now that the collection’s out in the world, I’m thrilled to see my name alongside talented authors like Rob Hart, Jen Conley, David James Keaton, Lynne Barrett, David Corbett, Tom Hazuka, Mike Creeden, Nik Korpon, Sarah M. Chen, Terence McCauley, Gabino Iglesias, James Grady, Danny Gardner, Rene Asher Pickup, Hector Duarte Jr., Ryan Leone, James R. Tuck, Angel Luis Colón, Jennifer Maritza McCauley, Steven Ostrowski, Terri Lynn Coop, Max Booth III and Heath Lowrance.

In honor of the release, I contacted Joe Clifford and a handful of contributors to find out what Johnny Cash means to them. I think you’ll enjoy their responses almost as much as this fantastic anthology (which you can snag RIGHT HERE).

Joe Clifford—Editor

What inspired you to create a Johnny Cash-themed crime anthology? 

We did the Springsteen one, which did pretty well, in terms of sales. But, man, so many people wanted to be in it (and were sorta pissed at me for not asking them). So we tried to do another Springsteen one, but his lawyers said no. So I tried to think of another Americana artist who embodies that crime fiction spirit, and who better than Cash? So I asked a bunch of new writers (and then there were some more writers I didn’t ask who sorta got pissed.)

What Johnny Cash song were you surprised that nobody claimed?

I’ll cheat a little here. Ryan Leone took “Folsom Prison Blues,” but his story was originally called something else, and when he learned that no one had claimed FPB, he changed his title (which works better for the piece anyway).

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“Summer Reads”

If you’re in the market for some killer “Summer Reads,” look no further than the latest episode of the Writer Types crime/mystery podcast.

For this episode we interviewed a handful of indie booksellers from around the U.S. to hear what they are most excited to read in the next few months. Our panel of well-read experts includes Tom Wickersham from The  Mysterious Bookshop (New York, NY), Meg King-Abraham and Devin Abraham from Once Upon A Crime (Minneapolis, MN), Anne Saller from Book Carnival (Orange, CA), and Scott Montgomery of BookPeople/MysteryPeople (Austin, TX). Plus we hear from our resident reviewers, Kate and Dan Malmon.

We’ve also got great interviews with Meg Gardiner (“Unsub”), John Rector (“The Ridge”), Jordan Harper (“She Rides Shotgun”) and Thomas Pluck (“Bad Boy Boogie”). All that plus a short story by Angel Colon.

If you like what you hear in this episode, or any of the previous episodes, please leave a review and subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud. It’s the best way to help other people discover our podcast.

Writer Types Podcast—Episode 4

The new podcast is available now on iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud!

This time around, my co-host, Eric Beetner, and I went to Chicago to catch up with some talented crime and mystery writers including Sara Paretsky, William Kent Krueger, Lori-Rader Day, Marcus Sakey, Sean Chercover, Jon and Ruth Jordan of Crimespree Magazine, our reviewers Kate and Dan Malmon, a short story from the vaults of Shotgun Honey by Carmen Jaramillo, and a special edition of the unPanel segment with the likes of Holly West, Angel Luis Colon, Suzy Calkins, Bryon Quertermous, Danny Gardner, Hector Acosta and more!

And we’ve also got a new blog post up over at Crimespree Magazine all about the podcast. You can check that out RIGHT HERE.

If you have listened to Writer Types and you like what you heard, please consider leaving a Rating/Review at iTunesStitcher and SoundCloud. And if you want to hear more, please Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

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S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series including BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION and GRIZZLY SEASON (Rare Bird Books). His Tommy & Shayna Crime Caper novellas include CROSSWISE and CROSSED BONES (Down & Out Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in Los Angeles.

2016: My Year In Interviews

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I got the not-so-original idea to interview other writers at Bouchercon, Long Beach a couple of years ago. At the time, I was new to the vibrant crime and mystery community and eager to learn about the people who were a few steps—or a few miles—ahead of rsz_screen_shot_2016-05-08_at_74929_amme in their publishing journey. Since then I have expanded my interviews to include a handful of publishers, event organizers, designers and bloggers.

I discovered pretty quickly that even the most hardboiled author was happy to indulge my questions, giving them serious consideration and, when asked, providing insightful advice about writing, publishing and marketing. This is a truly talented bunch of people. And a lot of them are funny too.

Two years later, I’m happy to say that many have become friends that I connect with regularly on social media, at annual conferences like Left Coast Crime, Noir at the Bar events around the country, and bookstore signings.

rsz_screen_shot_2016-04-08_at_75943_pm_2Looking back on 2016, I did 48 interviews. If you missed any of them, or if you’re looking to discover a talented new crime/mystery author, here they are again (along with links):

January:

Corey Lynn Fayman, Leslie Bohem, Jack Getze, Ingrid Willis

rsz_screen_shot_2016-01-24_at_50801_pmFebruary:

John L. Thompson, Rob Hart, J.L. Abramo, Bill Fitzhugh, J.T. Lindroos

March:

Brett Battles, Brian Thornton, Michael Lister, Gary Phillips

April:

rsz_screen_shot_2016-01-17_at_83408_amMarietta Miles, Jon Jordan, Jeff Newberry, C.S. Dewildt

May:

Christian Lee, Jen Conley, Glen Erik Hamilton, Sarah M. Chen

June:

Larry Wilson, Bryon Quertermous, Dharma Kelleher, Ryan Gattis, Joe Clifford

July:

rsz_screen_shot_2016-06-26_at_73433_pmBenjamin Whitmer, Jason Pinter, Greg Barth

August:

Mike Creeden, Nick Kolakowski, Erik Storey, Gabino Iglesias, Mike McCrary

September:

Alex Segura, Ro Cuzon, Erik Arenson

rsz_screen_shot_2016-09-05_at_34632_pmOctober:

Jay Stringer, S.G. Redling, Christa Faust & Gary Phillips, Michael Pool, Naomi Hirahara

November:
Lori Rader-Day, Andrew Nette, Bob Truluck, Angel Luis Colon

December:

Matt Coyle, Jonathan Brown

I look forward to interviewing more of you in 2017. Thanks for a great year!

grizzly-seasonS.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is available from Rare Bird Books. The second Greg Salem novel, GRIZZLY SEASON, was published on October 11, 2016. His Tommy Ruzzo novella, CROSSWISE, is available from Down & Out Books.

Interrogation—Angel Luis Colon

Who: Angel Luis Colón

What: Author of NO HAPPY ENDINGS, THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR, and the in-progress anthology; MEAT CITY ON FIRE AND OTHER ASSORTED DEBACLES. He’s an editor for Shotgun Honey, has been nominated for the Derringer, and is published in multiple web and print pubs.

Where: New York

Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.

NO HAPPY ENDINGS is an unconventional heist novel, to say the least. Where were you when the idea struck? 

NO HAPPY ENDINGS came mostly from a weirdo, one-off article I read in passing a year or two ago. It was one of those interest pieces you know was written with little to no research with the sole purpose of making another country look ridiculous, but that planted a seed.

Initially, I was going to make a gross and unsettling short from the idea and send it over to Thuglit to see Todd Robinson’s reaction. Then the story went long, then I switched protags (this was originally going to be a sequel to THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR), then the story got longer. I flip flopped a bit until I found a rhythm and decided this would be full-length feature.

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Your “Election Day” Playlist

Here’s a playlist featuring 25 amazing songs from legendary Minneapolis rawk band, The Replacements. Among them you will find “Election Day” (of course), along with fan favorites like “On The Bus,” “Gary’s Got A Boner,” “Androgynous,” “Unsatisfied,” “Alex Chilton” among many others.

Taken on its own, this is one hell of a mix tape to rock away your election day anxieties. But wait—there’s more!

img_0231Each of these songs also inspired a short story in the new collection WAITING TO BE FORGOTTEN: STORIES OF CRIME AND HEARTBREAK INSPIRED BY THE REPLACEMENTS. The songs in the playlist are actually in the same order as the short stories in this anthology. Authors featured include: Hailey Ardell, Ed Kurtz, Rick Ollerman, Alex Segura, Gorman Bechard, David Accampo, William Boyle, Johnny Shaw, Jen Conley, Angel Luis Colon, Josh Flanagan, Eric Beetner, Mike McCrary, Rory Costello, Franz Nicolay, Tom Leins, Josh Stallings, Erik Arneson, Kristi Belcamino, Manuel Royal, Eyre Price, Jerry Bloomfield, Liam Sweeny and…me. All curated by Jay Stringer!

Say it with me—Vote. Read. Rock!

Interrogation—Jay Stringer Talks Replacements

Who: Jay Stringer

What: Jay Stringer was born in 1980, and he’s not dead yet. He’s English by birth and Scottish by rumour; born in the Black Country, and claiming Glasgow as his hometown. Jay is dyslexic, and came to the written word as a second language, via comic books, music, and comedy. He writes hard-boiled crime stories, dark comedies, and social fiction. Jay won a gold medal in the Antwerp Olympics of 1920. He did not compete in the Helsinki Olympics of 1952, that was some other guy.

Jay is the author of WAYS TO DIE IN GLASGOW, HOW TO KILL FRIENDS AND IMPLICATE PEOPLE and the Eoin Miller series. He is also the editor for WAITING TO BE FORGOTTEN: STORIES OF CRIME AND HEARTBREAK, INSPIRED BY THE REPLACEMENTS, available Oct. 15 from Gutter Books.

Authors included in WAITING TO BE FORGOTTEN: Hailey Ardell, Ed Kurtz, Rick Ollerman, Alex Segura, Gorman Bechard, David Accampo, William Boyle, Johnny Shaw, Jen Conley, Angel Luis Colon, Josh Flanagan, Eric Beetner, Mike McCrary, Rory Costello, Franz Nicolay, Tom Leins, Josh Stallings, Erik Arneson, Kristi Belcamino, Manuel Royal, Eyre Price, Jerry Bloomfield, Liam Sweeney, S.W. Lauden and Jay Stringer.

Where: Glasgow

Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.

Your Replacements-inspired anthology, WAITING TO BE FORGOTTEN, will be released by Gutter Books on October 15. How did this project come together?

I’d been toying with a couple of music-related ideas for years. One had been to put out a collection of short stories inspired by Lou Reed’s New York album. Another had been The Replacements. They’ve always been in the DNA of my work. Not long after Gutter Books released Joe Clifford’s Bruce Springsteen anthology, I mentioned on Facebook that I’d love to see a ‘Mats collection someday. Tom Pitts got in touch to say, well, why not right now?

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Some Recent BCC Reviews

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BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION is more of a cerebral pleasure than an adrenaline rush or an all-out emotional experience, but it is a sneaky and sophisticated mystery that will please even the most die-hard fans of the genre. Hilary Davidson finally has some competition for best mystery writer in the business!”—Benoit Lelievre for Dead End Follies 

“Like the best punk song ever played, Bad Citizen Corporation is raw and unpolished, it rips and roars, screams and pounds.”—Josh Stallings, author of YOUNG AMERICANS

“In the end, I want more Greg Salem. I want to find out about a few of the other mysteries in his life and I definitely want to see his Los Angeles again. I especially want to see him kick ass on stage a few more times. I’m absolutely psyched to see what Lauden has next (we should be seeing more very soon from Down & Out Books, if I remember correctly). He’s a talent out of the west coast to watch for.”—Angel Luis Colon for MyBookishWays

“Tight as a snare drum and as lean and mean as early Pelecanos, Bad Citizen Corporation is the dog’s bollocks.”Paul D. Brazill, author of KILL ME QUICK!

“There is nothing better than finding a debut novel with strong recommendations from authors you dig and having the novel read like it was written by a seasoned pro. In other words, picking up Bad Citizen Corporation by S.W. Lauden is gonna make a lot of readers very happy.”—Derrick Horodyski for Out of the Gutter

Recommended Reading 2015

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It’s that time of the year. I’ve made a list, checked it a couple dozen times, and now I’m posting it here.

This is not a “Best Of” list in the traditional sense. More of a “Man, I read some great books that got published this year!” list. The titles and authors are in no particular order, and there are probably a few I forgot.

If you haven’t already read these books, you should. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are all great excuses to support your favorite booksellers. As if you need another excuse to buy books. (UPDATE: I’ve gotten some great suggestions for this list on other platforms. If you want to mention a book I didn’t, please leave it in the comments below Because: Conversation! —Thanks!).

WTD JS Go Down Hard_FrontCover Contenders med-res cover Young Americans

Novels

  • CANARY by Duane Swierczynski
  • CONTENDERS by Erika Krouse
  • STRANGE SHORES by Arnaldur Indridason
  • HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY KIDNAP STRANGERS by Max Booth III
  • THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins
  • RUMRUNNERS by Eric Beetner
  • UNCLE DUST by Rob Pierce
  • THE MAGICIAN’S LAND by Lev Grossman
  • A NEGRO AND AN OFAY by Danny Gardner
  • WORM by Anthony Neil Smith
  • WAYS TO DIE IN GLASGOW by Jay Stringer
  • GO DOWN HARD by Craig Faustus Buck
  • VORTEX by Paul D. Marks
  • NEW YORKED by Rob Hart
  • YOUNG AMERICANS by Josh Stallings

Bull Hashtag Cartel Zero Saints

Currently Reading

  • THE MAN IN THE WINDOW by Dana King
  • THE CARTEL by Don Winslow

Still On The TBR List

  • KILL ME QUICK by Paul D. Brazill
  • HASHTAG by Eryk Pruitt
  • ZERO SAINTS by Gabino Iglesias
  • BULL MOUNTAIN by Brian Panowich
  • THE SUBTLE ART OF BRUTALITY by Ryan Sayles

safe-inside-the-violence_cover Redbone_Cover DreamingDeep Knuckleball_frontcover_dress_fin

Novellas & Anthologies

  • THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR by Angel Luis Colon
  • DREAMING DEEP by Anonymous-9
  • THE DEEPENING SHADE by Jake Hinkson
  • REDBONE by Matt Phillips
  • DEAD HEAT WITH THE REAPER by William E. Wallace
  • KNUCKLEBALL by Tom Pitts
  • SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE by Chris Irvin

December Boys City Of Rose Hard-Boiled Heart FLOODGATE

Looking Forward To 2016

  • CLEANING UP FINN by Sarah M. Chen
  • GRAVEYARD LOVE by Scott Adlerberg
  • CITY OF ROSE by Rob Hart
  • DECEMBER BOYS by Joe Clifford
  • ROUGH TRADE by Todd Robinson
  • HARD-BOILED HEART by Will Viharo
  • FLOODGATE by Johnny Shaw

S.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is available now from Rare Bird Books. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Guest DJ—Angel Luis Colon

THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR was easily one of the best novellas I read in 2015. Angel Luis Colon has created a kickass character who is the kind of guy you’d want on your side in a fight, but somebody you would never want as an enemy. This book is a true page-turner—fast-paced, violent and intense.

Fury BlackyWhen I heard that Blacky was making a special appearance in the upcoming “Cruel Yule” edition of Thuglit, I asked Angel to create a playlist of songs that Blacky would love. The results are up above.

Here’s what Angel had to say about the new Blacky Jaguar short story, A Very Blacky Christmas: “After busting heads and making mistakes in THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR, our titular hero finds himself down south in a town called Christmas. Trying to make an honest buck, the holidays go a little sour when Blacky runs afoul of the most feared woman in town: Krissy Kringle.”

Cruel YulePrevious Playlists:

Guest DJ—Josh Stallings

29 SoCal Punk Songs

S.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is available now from Rare Bird Books. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.