New Flash Fiction

I love flash fiction. I love reading it. I love writing it.

Unfortunately, I don’t get the chance to publish much of it these days. So I was thrilled to see my short story, “Secondary,” up at Spelk Fiction. I originally wrote this one for a two minute reading at Bouchercon, New Orleans in 2016. It was also read by a cozy author at the California Crime Writers Conference MISCAST event last June.

And now it’s up at Spelk, a great site for flash fiction under 500 words.

Give it a read. I hope you dig it.

S.W. Lauden is the Anthony Award-nominated author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series including BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION and GRIZZLY SEASON (Rare Bird Books). His Tommy and 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.

Interrogation—Jen Conley

V__3CEEWho: Jen Conley

What: Her short stories have appeared in Thuglit, Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Crime Factory, Beat to a Pulp, Protectors, Pulp Modern, Trouble in the Heartland: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Springsteen and many others. She has contributed to the Los Angeles Review of Books and is one of editors of Shotgun Honey. 

Where: New Jersey

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

I just read your excellent short story collection, CANNIBALS: STORIES FROM THE EDGE OF THE PINE BARRENS. How did this project came together?

I’d always wanted to do a collection, but I found that just writing for a collection was really difficult. So I put my goal aside and just wrote my stories. After a few years, I found that I had enough, and that I was happy with every story—not just sticking in some filler tales—I had my collection. Then I met Eric Campbell from Down and Out Books and I pitched it to him and it was a go.

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Interrogation—Christian Lee (Centum Press)

Who: Christian Lee

What: Founder and Publisher at Centum Press. He also currently serves as the Chairman and Chief Marketing Officer of Allegiant Publishing Group, Centum Press’ parent company. He previously served as the Marketing Manager at Something or Other Publishing, and briefly as the Vice President of Distribution and Marketing at Helm Book Publishing.

Where: New Hampshire

I came across Centum Press on social media and was intrigued by the concept. How did you come up with it?

Centum Press is actually an idea that I had been thinking about for a while. Probably for six months before I even shared it with Marc Estes, the other co-founder of Allegiant Publishing Group, which owns Centum. Essentially, I came up with the idea for Centum Press by trying to answer a both simple and complex question: how could we get dozens of people promoting a single title? I chose doing an anthology because it’s a lot less “corporate” than having some kind of referral program and because I’ve always enjoyed shorter fiction. I also wanted to do something that would allow authors to get a lot more from their work. I think it’s really pretty deplorable that we don’t think twice about paying four or five bucks for coffee but don’t even think about the fact that authors get paid next to nothing, in many cases, for their work.

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Interrogation—Chantelle Aimee Osman

CAO 1Who: Chantelle Aimée Osman

What: A freelance editor, creative consultant and former lawyer. She teaches writing across the country, as well as at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. The author of the non-fiction series on writing THE QUICK AND DIRTY GUIDE TO… she has also published numerous flash fiction and short stories. She is also editor for the Romantic Times Digital Extras magazine, creator of the Anthony Award-nominated Sirens of Suspense website, and Fan Guest of Honor at Left Coast Crime 2016.

Where: New York

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

Welcome! You were recently named Left Coast Crime Fan Guest of Honor for 2016. What kind of shenanigans and hi-jinx can we expect from you in Phoenix this February?

I’m still waiting for the message from the LCC board that this was all a big mistake. But, if they’re too embarrassed to tell me, I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth. Definitely stealing the light rail train that runs in downtown Phoenix, or as I now call it, “Chantelle’s Mystery Train”. And that’s one of the tamer plans. I’ve heard talk of a sedan chair. People tell me I have an issue finding the line between “not boring” and “massive embarrassment”.

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Interrogation—Ron Earl Phillips

Who: Ron Earl Phillips

What: Publisher of  Shotgun Honey and One Eye Press, as well as a web developer and designer. He lives with his wife, daughter, and one too many cats.  He has been known to write.

Where: West Virginia

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

Welcome, Ron. Why don’t you start by singing us the ballad of Shotgun Honey? 

Good to be here. After Bouchercon, I wasn’t too optimistic. But what doesn’t kill you, right?

The Ballad of Shotgun Honey, a song I’ve sung a time or two. It’s got a pretty good up beat, but I digress. So, about Shotgun Honey… The start of Shotgun Honey came about in 2011 and was concocted by Kent Gowran. I was fairly new to the community, maybe a year in, and I had written a few stories. 2010 was a productive year for me. I’d been “friends” with Kent for about 5-6 six months, chatted on Twitter, and when he tweeted about starting a new flash fiction site I sent him a note asking if he needed any help.

For me, I was thinking of putting together and managing a website. That’s what I do, I’m a web guy. Next thing I know, along with Sabrina Ogden, we’re launching a site and reading submissions. Kent has a lot of cache in the community, so the site took off. Started with a lot of known members like Dan O’Shea, Al Guthrie, Ray Banks, and so many guys I admired the hell out of.

A month in we moved from Blogger to our ShotgunHoney.net, which I’ve hosted and maintained since. Kent and Sabrina were on board for first 18+ months for the first anthology, which evolved into more publishing.

Since then I’ve had the privilege to work with Kent, Sabrina, Chad Rohrbacher, Christopher Irvin, Jen Conley, Joe Meyers, Erik Arneson, and Angel Luis Colón. Outside of the contributors, these folks are the life blood of Shotgun Honey these last 4 and half years.

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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.

Some Recent Short Stories

Looking for a quick read? Here are a few of the short stories I have published in the last year.

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.

What Inspires Your Flash Fiction?

Yard Sale

The inspiration for a piece of flash fiction can come from the strangest places.

For example, we had a yard sale (a.k.a. “garage sale,” “tag sale,” etc.) a few months back. I hung some handmade signs up on telephone poles the night before and rolled our junk out onto the driveway at dawn the next day. A few people were already waiting when I opened my garage door that morning. Half my stuff was sold before I even had my first cup of coffee.

After that, business died down. The initial flurry of activity had wiped out most of the furniture and electronics I was selling, so the rest of the day was all about unloading knick knacks at a dime a pop. That gave me plenty of time to do some people watching and work on a sunburn. It wasn’t long before a short story began forming in my head.

That first version was about an unhappy suburban family (daddy, mommy and a teenaged son) who were cleaning out their garage in preparation for two big life events: junior going to college, the parents getting divorced. The story was told from the father’s perspective, an abusive corporate sales guy who only sees the world through the lens of negotiation—whether it’s dimes at a yard sale, sneaking a drink at lunch or cheating on his wife with a country club waitress. It came in at just about 1,500 words and, of course, ended in murder.

I submitted the story to a handful publications and watched the rejections roll in. A few weeks later I decided to rework it by changing the father from a corporate sales guy to a high-paid assassin. I liked the idea that he had this double life that his miserable family knew nothing about. In that version of the story, he leaves the yard sale after a fight with his wife and goes to the country club to negotiate his next hit.

I sent that version off too. It also got rejected. Rightfully so.

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The assassin interlude was interesting, but it felt forced. So I took that out and developed it into its own piece of flash fiction that I called “Range Life”. That one didn’t get rejected. In fact, it’s up on Shotgun Honey this week!

As for the yard sale piece? Well, I did the only logical thing and turned that into a story about a murderous clown. It’s with a magazine now and I am REALLY hoping it gets accepted because, you know, murderous yard sale clown.

What inspires your flash fiction?

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, 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 in 2016.

New Short Story Up At Shotgun Honey

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Super excited to see my short story up on the amazing Shotgun Honey website. Some of my favorite modern crime writers have published with Shotgun Honey and it is a little mind-blowing to see my name up there today.

Please take a look at my short story “Range Life” (very short at 700 words) and, if you like what you read, please share it with your friends. Thank you.

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, 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 in 2016.