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).

Continue reading

Recommended Reading 2015

rsz_screen_shot_2015-11-24_at_15354_pm

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.

Great #writingtips From Authors & Publishers

We’ve had the good fortune to interview some fantastic authors and publishers in the last year. Here’s a collection of writing tips and quotes from the last few months. Please click through to read the whole article and get to know these amazing talents.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-08-23_at_74854_am

Read my interview with Les Edgerton

rsz_screen_shot_2015-09-07_at_74643_am_2

Continue reading

Interrogation—Benoît Lelièvre

Author - 2Who: Benoît Lelièvre

What: Benoît Lelièvre is a pop culture blogger and author who is also a gigantic basketball nerd. He lives with his better half Josie and his dog Scarlett. You can read him on Dead End Follies, BallBallBallBall and in Zelmer Pulp anthologies.

Where: Montreal

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

DEAD END FOLLIES turned six this week. What was the inspiration for your site? How has it evolved in six years?

Late 2008, I started working the night shift at an IT helpdesk in Montreal. It was a brutal job and a crazy schedule. In many ways, it was the beginning of my adult life. I had spent my early adulthood sheltered in academia and I thought I was being clever for doing so until I began a master’s degree and started losing faith in the process. The time where someone looked over my shoulder and mopped up my messes was over, I was on my own.

I’d started a couple of blogs during my downtime at work, but I got quickly frustrated and bored because nobody was reading it. Then, I met David Dupree from Atheist Media blog, who happened to be working on my floor. He’s a very successful blogger who got millions of visitors. He taught me everything he knew about the business and soon enough, people were paying attention to me. It began as an author blog, but every expert on author branding recommended that I write reviews in order to display expertise, so it’s what I did. Novels and movies. I found out that authors were starved for quality feedback so I’ve quickly become a trusted source and, next thing I knew, I was being quoted as an expert. I built upon that.

Sex, Drugs, CocoaI was all over the place in the first year or so. I was writing fiction, reviews, opinion pieces, I was making every mistake in the book. I was talking to my colleague Jarrod Galloway one day (who became one of my best friends), telling him about this new crazy intense essayist I had just discovered named David Foster Wallace. He suggested that I read Chuck Klosterman. He said: ”it’s a little hipster, but I think it’s right up your alley.” The same week, I bought Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs and it changed my life. I had found a guy who cared about the same things I cared about and who was infinitely more eloquent than I was about them. It was like I had found a big brother.

Klosterman helped me structure my thoughts, gave direction to my blog and helped me understand myself better. If he is not my favorite writer, he is on my goddamn Mount Rushmore. The Dead End Follies you know today is directly influenced by Chuck Klosterman. I try to deconstruct and get at the heart of everything I read/watch. I let go of pretty much everything but the reviews. I’ll do an authorly update whenever there is something to say, I’ll write an opinion piece once in a while, write about the things I’ve learned, but the core of the site is (and will always be) reviews.

Continue reading

Recent Author Interviews

We’ve had some great author interviews around here lately. Check it out.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-07-05_at_82912_am

Angel Luis Colon interview HERE

rsz_screen_shot_2015-07-26_at_14015_pm

Paul D. Marks interview HERE

rsz_screen_shot_2015-07-19_at_73519_pm

Holly West interview HERE

rsz_screen_shot_2015-08-09_at_74901_am

Craig Faustus Buck interview HERE

rsz_screen_shot_2015-08-02_at_83156_am

Max Booth III 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 by Rare Bird Books in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

 

Interrogation—Max Booth III

max author photoWho: Max Booth III

What: Author of three novels, Editor-in-Chief of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishingan editor of Dark Moon Digest, and an ongoing columnist at LitReactor and Slush Pile Heroes. He works as a hotel night auditor. 

Where: San Antonio, Texas

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

Your latest book, HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY KIDNAP STRANGERS, is about a writer who kidnaps an obnoxious book reviewer. Was there one specific review that inspired you to create this story? Have you ever had an altercation with one of your reviewers?

The concept of the novel was partly inspired by news stories at the time about this author confronting someone who gave her book an awful review on Goodreads. Like, actually tracking the reviewer down in person. Maybe the author killed the reviewer, or maybe they settled their differences over pies. And there was another author who lost his or her shit on a Goodreads review and just completely embarrassed himself/herself in the comments section trying to defend the book. Of course, now I can’t remember who either of the authors were, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t imagine these stories.

The weirdest altercation I’ve had with a reviewer was back in January I wrote a column for LitReactor about how reviewers do not have to finish a book before reviewing it. If a book really is that bad, then it is perfectly reasonable to review it without finishing. Well, the same day that article was published, I noticed very cruel one-star reviews on all of my novels. It was obvious the reviewer was just doing this to prove some kind of insane point. Anyway, I figured out it was some lunatic, who is—surprise, surprise—also an author. I probably would have shrugged and moved on, if not for the fact that this dude actually lives here in San Antonio with me and we go to a lot of the same local conventions. So I messaged him and asked what the hell his problem was, and he freaked out and started private messaging my close friends and family about how he “got one over on the legendary Max Booth III”. Long story short, I looked at his own books on Amazon and discovered an abundance of one-star reviews from people who admitted to not finishing them due to excessive rape scenes, so I guess my article just hit him where he was sensitive. I’m still waiting for him to eventually murder me.

Continue reading

Quick Quotes—The Week In Publishing

rsz_screen_shot_2015-06-21_at_105631_am_2

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

rsz_screen_shot_2015-06-14_at_43933_pm

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.