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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Writer Types Podcast—Episode 3

Episode 3 of the podcast I co-host with Eric Beetner is officially here!

Check out interviews with Johnny Shaw and Sue Ann Jaffarian. Spend a night at Noir At The Bar – L.A. with Glen Erik HamiltonNolan KnightSarah M. ChenTravis RichardsonJohn Lansing and Stephen Blackmoore. Go to rock school with Alex SeguraJoe Clifford and Corey Lynn Fayman. And listen to a haunting short story from Jen Conley. Plus, reviews from Kate Hackbarth Malmon and Dan Malmon. Special thanks to our partners at Shotgun HoneyCrimespree Magazine and the California Crime Writers Conference.

Listen to all three episodes of Writer Types on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher

And please consider leaving a review and rating, and subscribing whenever possible.

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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.

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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Writing Tips From Amazing Crime Authors

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I’ve been very lucky to interview some talented crime writers this year. Here’s a collection of a few favorite quotes and a handful of Q&As from the first half of 2016—like THIS ONE with Gary Phillips.

This is by no means a full list of the interviews I have done this year, but a great place to start. If you like what you read, make sure to click the “Recent Interrogations” links at the bottom of each Q&A. And don’t forget to check out each author’s Amazon page. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Read the JEN CONLEY INTERVIEW

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Read the GLEN ERIK HAMILTON INTERVIEW

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Read the BRETT BATTLES INTERVIEW

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Read the SARAH M. CHEN INTERVIEW

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Read the ROB HART INTERVIEW

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Read the DHARMA KELLEHER INTERVIEW

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Read the JOE CLIFFORD INTERVIEW

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Read the RYAN GATTIS INTERVIEW

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Read the C.S. DWILDT INTERVIEW

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Read the MARIETTA MILES INTERVIEW

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Read the BRYON QUERTERMOUS INTERVIEW

BCC Cover FinalS.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is available from Rare Bird Books. The second Greg Salem novel, GRIZZLY SEASON, will be published in Sept. 2016. His standalone novella, CROSSWISE, is available from Down & Out Books.

 

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—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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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.

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Quick Quotes—The Week In Publishing

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Robert Lamb at Stuff To Blow Your Mind (The Podcast)

“Once you start settling for no pay, then other magazines and anthologies will take note and offer you the same. Nobody’s going to pay you money if you don’t mind working for free. It is okay to love what you do and get paid for doing it.”—Max Booth lll via LitReactor

“All this has gotten me thinking about the language of writers and readers. My tribe! Of course there’s the craft language, like dramatize and close third, and there’s the business language, like galley and blurb. But there are a host of other moments in the life of a writer/reader that require their own special words.”—Edan Lepucki at The Millions

Noir at the Bar is full of writers who have made it, are in the processing of making it, or maybe aren’t there yet. The event can be raw or polished; the stories can be gritty or smooth. But overall, it has a punk sensibility, the stripped-down version of the craft, like seeing a band in a dive bar.”—Jen Conley at Los Angeles Review of Books

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Frank Portman (aka Dr. Frank) at Bad Citizen Corporation

“Artists need spaces off the grid, non-critical spaces, spaces where squares fear to tread. We need a laboratory. It’s the same reason comedians need underground clubs where they can try out new material and use language that respectable folks shy away from. For writers, genre fiction can be that laboratory.”—Sam Wiebe at Sirens Of Suspense

“Los Angeles is grit and grime. L.A. is glitz and sleaze; it’s the best (or worst, depending on your point of view) example of American excess blended with its rabid poverty. More or less, it’s the ideal city to place a crime story.”—Keith Rawson at LitReactor

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, Dead Guns Magazine, 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 by Down & Out Books in 2016.