Back In The Gutter— “Airplane Mode”

rsz_screen_shot_2015-08-08_at_125013_pm_2The Flash Fiction Offensive (at Out of the Gutter Online) was one of the first places to ever publish a short story of mine. That piece of flash was called “Dead Beats”. It features a murderous rock band on the road to a major label record deal—until the rhythm section kills a drug dealer.

After “Dead Beats” was accepted, my good friend and roving rock star Marko DeSantis (Sugarcult, Bad Astronaut,  Nerf Herder, Swingin’ Utters, et al) agreed to do a dramatic reading of it. That became the first in an audio flash series that I have been producing for TFFO/Out of the Gutter. Other installments have included “Daddy’s Girl” by Nicky Murphy, and “How I Got Into The Navy” by Travis Richardson. Today, my latest short story “Airplane Mode” went up.

The audio that accompanies “Airplane Mode” was read by LA-based mystery writer, Andrew Jetarski. Jetarski’s fiction has appeared in anthologies published by the L.A. chapter of Sisters in Crime (“Ladies Night” and “Last Exit to Murder“—Down & Out Books), and his story “The Sunset Premium” was featured as part of Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” series. His story “Dance Man” was a Derringer Finalist in 2014. You can find Andrew Jetarski on his website, Facebook or Twitter.

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. 

“Ways To Die In Glasgow” Out Today

WTD JSIf you are looking for great book, WAYS TO DIE IN GLASGOW is out today from Thomas & Mercer. I was lucky enough to interview author Jay Stringer earlier this month and this is some of what he had to say about his new book [interview excerpt]:

I just read WAYS TO DIE IN GLASGOW and loved it. What was the inspiration for this story? 

What happened was, I spent a weekend in Seattle thanks to the hospitality of my publisher, and met a lot of fine, funny, and professional writers. I’d already written three books, each one had taken me around 9 months, and the writing had been a very moody, very angsty process. Talking to authors there, I got a kick in the ass about how much fun they seemed to have, and their work ethic. I went home and, in the space of around fifteen weeks, wrote this book. Grinning the whole time.

But the other aspect, the bit I learned later, was that I was itching to write about Glasgow. I’d been living here for 6 years by that point (almost 10 now) and I was finally starting to feel like I could do the city justice.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-07-12_at_74622_am

Read the whole interview HERE.

Score WAYS TO DIE IN GLASGOW right 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.

My New Short Story—Dark Corners, Vol. 1 Issue 4

Dark CornersI am thrilled to announce that my latest short story, MAID MAN, was just released in Dark Corners, Volume 1 Issue 4. How awesome is that cover art? And how incredible is this line up? Emily McNeely, Heath Lowrance, James Queally, Ed Kurtz, Patrick Cooper, Warren Moore, Will Viharo and more.

If you aren’t familiar with Dark Corners, it is published by Double Life Press out of Arkansas and it has featured some of my favorite modern crime/mystery writers including Tom PittsEryk Pruitt, Eric Beetner, J. David Osborne and many, many more.

Double Life Press also recently published an impressive roster of novels ranging from TREVOR ENGLISH by Pablo D’Stair to DEATH THING by Andrew Hilbert. Coming later this summer from DLP is THE BIRTHDAY SLASHER by April Hawks and PROXIMITY by Scott Grand. Later this year you can look forward to THE TALES OF ELLIOT CAPRICE BOOK ONE: A NEGRO AND AN OFAY by Danny Gardner.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-04-19_at_44611_pm

I recently interviewed DLP/Dark Corners founder Craig T. McNeely and he had some very interesting things to say about Indie publishing. You can read the whole interview right 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.

Interrogation: Paul D. Marks

Paul_D_Marks_bio_pic -- CCWCWho: Paul D. Marks

What: Author of the Shamus Award-Winning mystery-thriller WHITE HEAT. His story HOWLING AT THE MOON is short listed for both 2015’s Anthony and Macavity Awards for Best Short Story. VORTEX, a noir-thriller, is Paul’s latest release.

Where: Los Angeles

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

I just read your next novel VORTEX. I loved how the action bounced around Southern California, almost as if the region was one of the main characters. Was that your intention when you set out to write it?

Thanks for having me, Steve, and I’m glad you picked up on that. To me the location of my stories or novels are characters in and of themselves. They inform the stories, they mold the characters. Often the people are who they are not only because of their background in terms of upbringing or what they’ve done or not done, but also because of where they live now or grew up.

I have stories set all over the place, from Calexico down on the Mexican border to Morey’s Piers, New Jersey, Death Valley, Reno and even Graceland. But the majority would be in LA and Southern California. I like LA for a lot of reasons. It’s Chandler country, so you might think it’s been overused, but there’s always something new to bring to it. It also has Hollywood and Venice (LA’s #1 tourist attraction) and, of course, Disneyland. Plus I grew up here, born in Hollywood, literally. And I’m just old enough to remember LA as Chandler probably knew it from when I was a kid before the building boom and when City Hall was still the tallest building. I rode the original Angels Flight and explored Bunker Hill before they tore everything down in the name of “progress”.

LA and many parts of SoCal are like a femme fatale who seduces you with dreams and promises, then leaves you washed down some arroyo—forgotten about. That’s also what appealed to me about Venice Beach and the Salton Sea in VORTEX. Venice because at one point it was supposed to be a romantic American version of Venice, Italy; and the Salton Sea because it was billed as some waterfront desert paradise that turned into a wasteland of empty, undeveloped streets and rotting, dead fish along the shoreline. I guess the theme I was going for is showing the decay and wasted dreams and a noir sense of the main character being his own worst enemy. You couldn’t tell the same story in New York City or Boston, nothing against those places—they have their own unique attributes, but they have a different vibe than SoCal/LA.

Continue reading

Interrogation: Holly West

holly_office_hr-946x1024Who: Holly West

What: Author of the MISTRESS OF FORTUNE series, set in 17th century London and featuring Isabel Wilde, a mistress to King Charles II who secretly makes her living as a fortune teller. Her debut, MISTRESS OF FORTUNE, was nominated for the Left Coast Crime Rosebud Award for Best First Novel. Her short fiction has appeared in NEEDLE Magazine, Shotgun Honey, and numerous anthologies, including the upcoming PROTECTORS 2 anthology.

Where: Northern California

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

I must admit that MISTRESS OF FORTUNE was probably the first historical mystery I have read (does “Name of the Rose” count?). What drew you to this genre as a writer?

Let me congratulate you on reading your first historical mystery. That wasn’t so hard, was it? And if you’re gonna read a historical at all, MISTRESS OF FORTUNE was probably a good place to start. I’ve been told that its paced like a “modern thriller.” That makes me happy because it was kind of my goal.

MistressSometimes I think my decision to write a historical—as my first novel, at least—was misguided. Explaining the politics of the time without being pedantic, building an authentic world without resorting to info dump—that shit ain’t easy. But in a lot of ways, writing a historical novel is no different than writing anything else. You’re trying to capture the zeitgeist of the time and place. In the case of 17th century London, much of that zeitgeist rests in our collective imaginations, based mostly on other films and books, because none of us were alive back then. That makes it easier to write in some way.

What? You’ve never imagined 17th century London?  Well, have I got a book for you.

But that doesn’t answer the question, does it? I wasn’t drawn to the genre so much as I was drawn to 17th century London. When I was a kid I read and loved a book called FOREVER AMBER and decided if I ever wrote a book it would be set in that time period.

Continue reading

Two Great Books Out Today

Ladies and gentlemen, today is a good day to be a fan of great writing. There are two new books that I really think you should go out and grab: SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL by Terrence McCauley, and THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR by Angel Luis Colon.

I was lucky enough to interview both authors recently, and here’s what they had to say about their respective works.

Let’s start with Terrence McCauley:

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL FINAL COVERI just read your upcoming Polis Books novel SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL and I thought it was great. What was the inspiration for this novel?

The inspiration for the novel came from the gritty spy thrillers of the 1970s that depended on character and plot development. Movies like ‘Three Days of the Condor’ were gripping because they felt real to me, even when I was a kid. I don’t get that same feeling from modern-day spy tales that rely on gadgets and SWAT team raids and jump-cut fight sequences and the disavowed spy trying to clear his/her name. I certainly enjoy those kinds of stories, but they’re not the kind I wanted to tell.

Read the whole interview right HERE.

Buy SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL HERE.

Next up is Angel Luis Colon:

Fury BlackyI just read THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR in one shot. Totally couldn’t put it down. What dark corner of your soul did the title character emerge from? Where does he go when you’re not writing about him?

Great question. Blacky isn’t necessarily my id, but he’s definitely a creature of impulse. I wanted to create someone dark, but cartoonish enough to love, if that makes sense. Most of Blacky’s decisions are by the seat of his pants and most definitely low-hanging fruit. Though, in the story, we do see Blacky has sort of a moral compass. This doesn’t excuse the things he does, but in most cases you’d have a beer with the guy.

Read the whole interview right HERE.

Buy THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR HERE.

S.W. Lauden is a writer and drummer living in Los Angeles. His short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Akashic Books, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Interrogation: Angel Luis Colon

ALCWho: Angel Luis Colon

What: His Derringer Award nominated fiction has appeared in multiple print and web publications. Book reviews have appeared in My Bookish Ways and he is an editor for Shotgun Honey, a flash-fiction website focused on noir, hard-boiled, and crime crime stories. Debut novella, THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR out in July from One Eye Press.

Where: New York

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

I just read THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR in one shot. Totally couldn’t put it down. What dark corner of your soul did the title character emerge from? Where does he go when you’re not writing about him?

Great question. Blacky isn’t necessarily my id, but he’s definitely a creature of impulse. I wanted to create someone dark, but cartoonish enough to love, if that makes sense. Most of Blacky’s decisions are by the seat of his pants and most definitely low-hanging fruit. Though, in the story, we do see Blacky has sort of a moral compass. This doesn’t excuse the things he does, but in most cases you’d have a beer with the guy.

That second part, I can probably answer that better when I’m actually not writing him! I’m currently working on a new Blacky story for the Thuglit Christmas anthology due out later this year. This crazy bastard won’t leave my brain, man.

Continue reading

Happy #IndiePrideDay

I have had the chance to interview some incredible Indie mystery and crime authors on my blog over the last few months. In celebration of #IndiePrideDay, here’s a few quotes from some of my favorite Indie authors.

Enjoy!

rsz_screen_shot_2015-05-17_at_70957_am

Laurie Stevens self-published the Gabriel McRay series.

“The technology is out there to publish, distribute, and promote like never before.”

Read the interview HERE.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-03-29_at_72427_am

Johnny Angel Wendell self-published his debut novel LOOKING FOR LADY DEE in 2015. Read the interview HERE.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-02-01_at_62457_pm_2

Anonymous-9 has worked with several Indie publishers, but self-published the novella CRASHING THROUGH MIRRORS in 2015. Read the interview HERE.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-06-21_at_60754_pm_2

Josh Stallings self-published the acclaimed Moses McGuire series.

“New Years Eve 2010 my big sister encouraged me to explore self publishing. I did it as an experiment. A chance to try and build the elusive ‘platform’ everyone said a writer needed. I didn‘t anticipate the way the crime community took to my battered bouncer.

Read the 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.

Interrogation: Anthony Neil Smith


ANSawake
Who: Anthony Neil Smith

What: Chair of the English Department at Southwest Minnesota State University, and author of ten crime novels, including YELLOW MEDICINE, ALL THE YOUNG WARRIORS, and WORM. He likes cheap red wine and tacos. He still scoops out the cat box every week. It’s humbling.

Where: Minnesota

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

I just read WORM and really dug it. It made me smile and it made me grit my teeth, but mostly it made me feel dirty—in a good way. What was the inspiration for this story? How close is the published novel to the one you set out to write?

Worm ANSThe inspiration was my mother-in-law telling me about the oil boom in North Dakota, which I hadn’t heard too much about. At the time, I was working on a stalled idea about some blue-collar guys in Sioux Falls robbing the small, storefront “casinos” that are all over that city. But it wasn’t coming together, even though I liked the characters. So I went off to finish ONCE A WARRIOR instead, but I started researching the NoDak boom. I ended up watching hours and hours of videos on YouTube from guys who worked the fields, giving advice to people who might want to come to it—sort of a “get the real story” deal. And some filmed the job itself, especially the truck drivers. I read a bunch , too, but those videos hooked me. And I could imagine my band of casino robbers becoming oil workers instead. But at first, I considered *maybe* this was a way to continue the Billy Lafitte series…but that didn’t work either. And then, I had a heart attack at the halfway mark. After that, I felt that the book, while not especially personal, was personal to me because of what it took to get it done. I’m in great health now, got a stent and all that, but finishing that novel the summer after the attack was damned important. It turned out exactly how it should’ve, I think.

Continue reading

Quick Quotes—The Week In Publishing

—Jennifer Maloney at Wall Street Journal

“We risk producing a generation of children who believe that a sentence such as ‘I bounded excitedly from my cramped wooden seat and flung my arm gracefully up like a bird soaring into the sky’ is always better than ‘I stood and put my hand up’.”— at The Guardian

“Short books have different economics in the digital era. Delivering data is so cheap that there’s no threshold that must be met to cover the costs of shipping and stocking. Paying someone to walk down a warehouse aisle or unpack a book and put it on the shelf—a big reason why the rule of thumb of an 80,000-word minimum evolved—is no longer a concern.”—Peter Wayner at The Atlantic

rsz_screen_shot_2015-06-21_at_60754_pm_2

Josh Stallings at Bad Cittizen Corporation

“Capturing the reader’s attention is one of the toughest tasks writers face. These days, that task must be accomplished quickly.”—B.K. Stevens at The First Two Pages

“When you’re publishing books from beyond the grave, anything is possible.”— Joe Queenan at Wall Street Journal

“We’ve lost the appreciation for simple messages these days. Somewhere along the way, we started associating great ideas with complex narratives, plot twists, and best seller’s lists; but simple truths found in children’s books are amongst the most powerful ideas out there.”—Autism Site

“Think of an outline as a roadmap. You can cut around construction or take a longer route to get in some sightseeing—but you’ll arrive at your destination (the completion of the first draft) so much sooner if you’ve got some semblance of a plan.”—Rob Hart

S.W. Lauden is a writer and drummer living in Los Angeles. His short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Akashic Books, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.