Interrogation—Scotch Rutherford (Switchblade)

Who: Scotch Rutherford

What: An independent screenwriter and short fiction author of THE NEON GLARE, a novelette available now from Pro Se Press. His short fiction has appeared in Pulp Modern, Shotgun Honey, The Flash Fiction Offensive, Pulp Metal Magazine, and All Due Respect. He is the creator and managing editor for Switchblade Magazine.

Where: Los Angeles

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

Congrats on the launch of Switchblade. What was the inspiration?

Thanks, man. Being a short fiction author writing in the noir genre, I would make the rounds on the different online platforms and indie print mags. I realized a lot of indie ‘zines had gone away. About that time, I started attending Noir at the Bar LA events and networking.

I like to read, and have some experience as a project manager as well as some graphic arts skills, to handle the art direction. So I took a shot. I know there isn’t any money in it, but it’s something I can build on. I wanted to create a forum for hard luck tales with no limits. An outlet for noir fiction that defies political correctness. I want Switchblade to reflect that.

Continue reading

Writer Types—Crime Quiz LIVE!

Hey everybody! Eric Beetner and I—co-hosts of the Writer Types crime and mystery podcast—are very excited about our inaugural “Crime Quiz LIVE!” event THIS SATURDAY at the amazing Book Show LA in Los Angeles.

Everybody in attendance will have the chance to win prizes (aka “books”)! There will be beer and other liquids. Did I mention it’s FREE?

Here’s how the Crime Quiz will work:

  • 10 Fast Rounds—Each contestant is asked 1 question per round.
  • 4 Categories to choose from each round.
  • 15 seconds to answer each question.
  • 3 “Cheats” per contestant…just to keep things interesting.

Come out and watch us grill some of your favorite authors:

Christa Faust is the author of novels and comics such as CHOKE HOLD, MONEY SHOT and PEEPLAND. She has worked in the Times Square peep booths, as a professional dominatrix, and in the adult film industry both behind and in front of the camera. Author website.

Danny Gardner enjoys careers as a comedian (HBO’s Def Comedy Jam), actor, and screenwriter. His debut novel, A NEGRO AND AN OFAY, is published by Down & Out Books. His short fiction will appear in JUST TO WATCH HIM DIE, a Johnny Cash-inspired crime fiction collection, edited by Joe Clifford and published by Gutter Books, and CRIME+POLITICS: THE OBAMA INHERITANCE, edited by Gary Phillips and published by Three Rooms Press. He lives in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. Author website.

Glen Erik Hamilton’s debut, PAST CRIMES, won the Anthony, Macavity, and Strand Magazine Critics awards, and was also nominated for the Edgar, Barry, and Nero awards.  His follow-up, HARD COLD WINTER, was published to rave reviews last year and the latest entry EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND will be released by William Morrow (US) and Faber & Faber (UK) this July.  Glen grew up aboard a sailboat in Seattle, and now lives in California. Author website.

crossedbonesx2700-2

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: Favorite Rock and Roll Reads

rsz_screen_shot_2016-12-14_at_11041_pm

If you like reading about rock and roll as much as I do, then 2016 was a really good year. Not only were the bookshelves stocked with amazing punk rock non-fiction from the likes of Keith Morris and John Doe, but The Replacements came back into my life in a BIG way. I also discovered a few other crime writers out there who, like me, are using rock and roll as the leaping off point for their violent tales of intrigue, lust and woe. And it was another great year for music-inspired short fiction as well.

Here are a few of my favs, in no particular order.

Nothing’s more rock and roll than a list!

TROUBLE BOYS: THE TRUE STORY OF THE REPLACEMENTS—Bob Mehr

There have long been theories about why this Minneapolis punk outfit-turned-critical darlings never achieved their long-predicted commercial success. Rumors of self-doubt and self-sabotage were the stuff of legend. This well-researched book sets the record straight in a way that even the most die-hard fans will appreciate.

rsz_screen_shot_2016-07-31_at_30401_pm

ALL YOUR LIES CAME TRUE—Mike Creeden

It’s hard to read this high-octane thriller without thinking of your favorite rock and roll duos—Axl Rose/Slash, Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, or David Johansen/Johnny Thunders. Creeden does a great job of wrapping this page-turner in a glittery cape of rock and roll imagery to keep the action pumping. Strong characters, a fast-moving plot, and a killer back story deliver some unexpected twists and turns. This is a dark, but fun read that you won’t be able to put down. Read my interview with Mike Creeden.

UNDER THE BIG BLACK SUN: A PERSONAL HISTORY OF L.A. PUNK—John Doe & Tom DeSavia

This collection of overlapping essays about the first-wave of LA punk is a fascinating look at how legendary scenes are born. It’s incredible to think that a hundred kids, one apartment building and a handful of clubs gave us decades of great music from bands like X, The Germs, The Go Gos, The Minutemen and The Blasters. It goes by fast, so read it twice.

rsz_screen_shot_2016-01-10_at_72706_am

FLIGHT 505—Leslie Bohem

A private jet powered by broken dreams, regret and self-delusion. Fame might have eluded Mickey and Al, but that doesn’t stop them from getting back in the chase—long after their expiration date. A fun, fast read that brings the 80s LA New Wave scene to life in vivid color, and explores the meaning of success through the perspective of three very different, but hopelessly intertwined characters. A great read for anybody that ever chased the brass ring down Hollywood Blvd. Read my interview with Leslie Bohem.

MAMA TRIED—Edited by James Ray Tuck

I can’t think of a better marriage than the one between crime fiction and outlaw country—and this collection doesn’t disappoint. What started out as a random Facebook post according to editor, James Ray Tuck (“Someone should do a crime fiction anthology based on outlaw country songs called MAMA TRIED so I can write a story for it.”), turned into one of the best music themed anthologies of 2016. Stand out stories include Eryk Pruitt’s “I’m The Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised,” Christa Faust’s “Truth or Consequences (Waiting’ Round to Die)” and Eric Beetner’s “Pardon Me (I’ve Got Someone To Kill).”

rsz_screen_shot_2016-10-16_at_45559_pm_2

PEEPLAND—Christa Faust & Gary Phillips

I don’t always read comic books or graphic novels, but when I do they’re about a peepbooth worker and her punk rock ex-partner. The brutal murder of a public access pornographer puts this unlikely duo under fire from criminals, cops, and the city elite, uncovering a web of corruption that leads right to city hall. Christa Faust and Gary Phillips are two of L.A.’s best pulp and noir writers, and Andrea Camerini’s artwork in PEEPLAND is fantastic. Read my interview with Christa Faust and Gary Phillips.

MY DAMAGE: THE STORY OF A PUNK SURVIVOR—Keith Morris & Jim Ruland

Keith Morris is a founding member of two groundbreaking SoCal bands, Black Flag and The Circle Jerks (among others). But this well-written book goes beyond those stories to show you his winding path to underground infamy. It’s been a strange trip for this soulful punk icon, and it just keeps getting more interesting.

CRIME + MUSIC—Edited by Jim Fusilli

Jim Fusilli, editor for this fantastic short story collection, starts his forward this way: “I don’t suppose it would be much of a surprise to discover that there’s a dark and deadly side to the world of popular music.” What is surprising about this anthology is the diverse talents of the contributors, including Zoe Sharp, Peter Robinson, Reed Farrel Coleman, Tyler Dilts, Bill Fitzhugh and Erica Wright—among many others. Every one of these stories hums, sings or (in the case of Gary Phillips’, “Shaderoc The Soul Shaker”) rips your head clean off.

DESERT CITY DIVA—Corey Lynn Fayman

I came into the Rolly Waters series in this third installment, but had no problem getting acquainted with the character and his San Diego. This book is a romp across a SoCal desert full of paranoid outsiders and lost souls. Love the musical references threaded throughout, and Rolly’s ability to solve the action-packed case without constantly waving a gun around or punching through walls. A fast, fun read that will keep you coming back. Read my interview with Corey Lynn Fayman.

rsz_screen_shot_2016-10-02_at_90522_pm

WAITING TO BE FORGOTTEN: SONGS OF CRIME AND HEARTBREAK INSPIRED BY THE REPLACEMENTS—Edited by Jay Stringer

Putting aside my own contribution to this anthology, Jay Stringer has assembled a truly impressive collection of crime and mystery writers including Johnny Shaw, Kristi Belcamino, Josh Stallings, Angel Colon, Jen Conley, Tom Leins, Alex Segura and Mike McCrary—among many others. Not to mention, talented contributors like Franz Nicolay (The Hold Steady) and Gorman Bechard (Director of “Color Me Impressed: A Film About The Replacements,” and “Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart”). Read my interview with Jay Stringer.


BCC Cover FinalS.W. Lauden’s debut novel—about a punk rock musician turned disgraced cop—is called BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION. It was released in October 2015 from Rare Bird Books. The second Greg Salem novel, GRIZZLY SEASON, was published on October  2016. His standalone Tommy Ruzzo novella, CROSSWISE, is available from Down & Out Books.

Interrogation—Christa Faust & Gary Phillips

sketchyphilfauWho: Christa Faust & Gary Phillips—PEEPLAND co-writers

What: Christa Faust is a crime writer, pervert and pulp enthusiast whose novels include MONEY SHOT, CHOKE HOLD and HOODTOWN. PEEPLAND is her first comic series.

Born under a bad sign, Gary Phillips must keep writing to forestall his appointment at the crossroads. He was editor of the bestselling anthology ORANGE COUNTY NOIR, and co-editor of the groundbreaking BLACK PULP. Dropping the end of October from DC Comics will be his street level superhero miniseries VIGILANTE: SOUTHLAND, and his collection of short stories, TREACHEROUS: GRIFTERS, RUFFIANS AND KILLERS, is also out now from Down & Out Books.

Where: Los Angeles

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

Let’s start with the obvious question: How did two established West Coast-based crime authors get involved with this neo-noir comic series?

CF: Though I’ve lived in LA for more than 20 years now and love my adopted city, I still consider myself an East Coast ex-pat. I’ll always be a New Yorker at heart. Anyway, I’ve been writing for Hard Case Crime boss Charles Ardai since 2008 and have published two novels with his crime fiction imprint. He’s one of the best editors I’ve ever worked with and so when he told me he was starting a comic line, I jumped at the chance. I had this idea kicking around in my head for several years, something set in the peep booths where I worked in the late 80s. I knew that story really needed to be told through a visual medium and had considered pitching it as a TV series, but in the end somebody way more talented than me beat me to the punch with a similar concept. When this opportunity came up with Hard Case Comics, it seemed like some kind of crazy hardboiled destiny.

But I’d never written a comic script before and felt like I needed an experienced tag team partner. I knew Gary had written comics and was old enough to remember those bad old days as well as I did. Plus he’s dealt with some similar themes in his own work and seemed like a perfect match for this project. He’s the wily veteran to my mouthy rookie and together I think we came up with something more than the sum of our parts.

GP: I’ve talked about this elsewhere, but for me, I’d once visited New York back then as a teenager. Like a lot of folks my impression of the city was from films like “The Pope of Greenwich Village,” “Ms. 45,” “China Girl,” and “Alphabet City.” Films I’d see at the Tower Theater in downtown L.A., three in a row—be in there from early to late afternoon. Steeped in that kind of filmic lore, I had to jump at the opportunity to work with Christa to tell this crime tale of late ‘80s Times Square and its characters.

Continue reading

Interrogation—Eryk Pruitt/ Noir at the Bar, Bouchercon

NOIR BAR RALEIGHWho: Eryk Pruitt

What: A screenwriter, author and filmmaker living with his wife Lana and cat Busey.  His short films FOODIE and LIYANA, ON COMMAND have won several awards at film festivals across the U.S.  His fiction appears in The Avalon Literary Review, Pulp Modern, Thuglit and Zymbol, to name a few. In 2015, he was a finalist for the Derringer Award for his short story “Knockout.” His novels, DIRTBAGS and HASHTAG, are available in e-book and paperback. He is also the founder of Noir at the Bar, Durham, and organized Noir at the Bar,  Raleigh Bouchercon.

Where: Durham, N.C.

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

How did you first find out about Noir at the Bar? Did you attend Noir at the Bar events in other cities before you launched the one in Durham? 

I kept stumbling upon them across the internet and wanted to attend one, possibly get the stones to read at one after a while. I traced them back to Jed Ayres and asked him what Durham had to do to get one, so I could experience it. He said “You got to start one yourself.” He helped me find authors who would drive to Durham and it was a blast. We had great readers and afterward, I had a night on the town with Grant Jerkins, Peter Farris and Charles Dodd White, which could not be beat. The next one we did featured eight authors from the immediate area. We had another. I’ve read in Baltimore and at Shade in New York City. It was my first time up there and man, it was a total hoot. I’ve never met nicer people.

Continue reading

Less Is More

Noir SlamTomorrow night I join 18 fellow writers at The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles for Noir Slam— “a fierce, fast-paced trip to the edge of modern noir.” Just look at that list of readers! We each get one minute—60 precious seconds—to tell a complete story. It’s an interesting challenge.

I tried looking through my novel and my novella for 150 words that would work, but everything seemed like it would take a minute or more just to set up. So, I decided to write something specifically for the event. As with most things in life that are challenging, I turned to Ozzy Osbourne for inspiration.

See you tomorrow night in downtown LA!

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published by Rare Bird Books in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Noir Slam—Weds., Sept. 2—Downtown LA

Noir SlamI am very excited to be part of NOIR SLAM, 20 mystery/crime authors taking you on a fierce, fast-paced trip to the edge of modern noir—60 seconds at a time. The event takes place starting at 7pm Wednesday, Sept. 2 in downtown Los Angeles at The Last Bookstore. I was there for an Erika Krouse reading just last night and the place is amazing.

Just imagine how cool all of your friends will think you are when you click this Facebook link and tell them you’re “going” to Noir Slam!

Not convinced? Well, here’s a list of the amazing authors included on the bill: Christa Faust, Brett Battles, Anonymous-9, Danny Gardner, James Queally, Maxine Nunes, Eric Beetner, Samuel Gailey, Craig Faustus Buck, Stephen Blackmoore, Ashley Erwin, John Shepphird, Aaron Philip Clark, Travis Richardson, Paul D. Marks, Josh Stallings, Hannah Sward, and your’s truly.

If you aren’t familiar with some of these scribblers, I have been lucky enough to interview several of them on this blog over the last year. Here are a few of my favorite quotes, along with links to the original interviews. Of course, there is no better way to get to know an author than by reading one of their books…just saying.


rsz_screen_shot_2015-06-21_at_60754_pm_2

Read the Josh Stallings interview HERE.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-02-01_at_62457_pm_2

Read the Anonymous-9 interview HERE.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-01-19_at_93503_am_2

Read the Eric Beetner interview HERE.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-01-14_at_121644_pm

Read the Travis Richardson interview HERE.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-07-26_at_14015_pm

Read the Paul D. Marks interview HERE.

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.