Interrogation—Jason Pinter

Jason Pinter photoWho: Jason Pinter

What: Founder and Publisher of Polis Books, an independent publishing company he launched in 2013. He is the author of five thrillers and one middle grade novel, with over one million copies in print worldwide, which have been nominated for the Thriller Award, Strand Critics Award, Shamus Award, Barry Award and more.

Where: New Jersey

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

Congrats on the third anniversary of Polis Books! What have you learned about the company you started over the last thirty-six months?

Well, being a business owner is far more difficult and complicated than being an editor or writer, which were my previous professions. It’s the difference between painting a room and building a house. I’ve been in dozens of editorial board meetings, publicity meetings, sales conferences, and pitched my own books in innumerable outlets, hopefully without boring people to death. But I didn’t have much more than cursory experience on the finance and distribution side, largely doing P&Ls (profit and loss projections) on acquisitions. Learning that side was the most time-consuming part, simply because I didn’t have a background in it, but I thankfully have good accountants and lawyers and am a total data geek and work very closely with our distributor, our bank, and our printing partner to make sure everything runs smoothly on the back end of the publishing equation.

Reading submissions, working on cover designs and promoting our authors is the fun part. That’s the muscle. That’s the stuff people see publically. But the other stuff, the skeleton, the support system that holds everything up, that’s been the biggest challenge but also one of the biggest rewards because I know we can do this.

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Interrogation—Brian Thornton

Who: Brian Thornton

What: Author of nine books, including THE BOOK OF BASTARDS and THE BOOK OF ANCIENT BASTARDS, in addition to serving as collection editor for the crime fiction anthology WEST COAST CRIME WAVE. His short fiction has appeared in such venues as ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and the Akashic Books anthology SEATTLE NOIR. A native Washingtonian, he is currently serving his second tour as Northwest Chapter president for the Mystery Writers of America.

Where: Seattle

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

You and I met at Left Coast Crime in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago when we were both guests on the Noir on the Radio podcast. Tell me about the short story you read that night.

“Half Smart, No Nerve” is both the shortest thing I’ve ever written for me, and my first paying fiction. I wrote it over a decade ago, in response to a notice on the venerable Rara Avis Hard-Boiled & Noir Fiction email discussion list that a new British publication called BULLET UK was seeking contributions of stories 1,000 words or shorter in length. At the time I was trying my hand at short stories, having already gotten my first “mistake” novel out of the way.

It had never occurred to me to even try to write something that short, so I gave it a whirl, spent three hours on it, emailed it to BULLET UK, and was delighted when they accepted it. I got 25 pounds for my trouble (still have the check.). Easy peasy.

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Postcards From Hell

My new novella, CROSSWISE, was published by Down & Out Books this week. Because it’s set in a Florida Panhandle vacation town, I thought I would create some postcards. I’ll be adding more to this post for the next few weeks.

Crosswise Postcard 1

Crosswise Postcard 2

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

My New Novella Is Out Now!

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Thanks to everybody who pre-ordered CROSSWISEand those who grabbed it today. The response has been great so far and I’m really excited to know what all of you think once you’ve had a chance to read it. Here’s the low down:

Tommy Ruzzo is a disgraced NYPD cop who follows his coke fiend girlfriend back to her hometown in Florida. She leaves Ruzzo high and dry just before he’s named Head of Security at Precious Acres, a beachfront retirement community populated by wisecracking New Yorkers. Ruzzo is stranded among the local losers until the day he discovers a murdered senior citizen on the Precious Acres bocce ball court. The bodies pile up as Ruzzo uncovers a dangerous trail of clues that brings everybody in his new world under suspicion. 

If you want to find out more about why I set this standalone novella in Florida, or how it got published, please check out these recent guest blog posts:

Here’s an amazing early review from Beth Kanell at Kingdom Books:

“CROSSWISE is a fun read and a quick one (130 pages)—a great tip of the hat to the noir genre. Shelve it with Westlake, Robert Parker, and your vintage paperbacks with their slinky women brandishing firearms. Or with Carl Hiassen and Kinky Friedman, for the good-humoredly ridiculous capers. Good stuff!”

Read the whole review RIGHT HERE.

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And last, but certainly not least, here’s an interview I did with designer extraordinaire, J.T. Lindroos, who designed the cover for CROSSWISE.

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

Interrogation—John. L. Thompson

JLTWho: John. L. Thompson

What: When he is not searching for lost remnants of the old west or working his fingers to the bone, he can be found working on multiple writing projects. Thompson is known to have worked as a truck driver, heavy line diesel mechanic, armored truck guard, and corrections, along with a host of other professions. His true passion is collecting vintage books, writing and is the editor/publisher for Dead Guns Press.

Where: New Mexico

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

Dead Guns Press publishes “stories written in the new era of pulp…” Can you explain what that means? How did you become a publisher?

Answer to Question One: It’s pretty simple. Have you ever read the old stuff? I mean like stories from the old pulp dime mags from around the thirties and forties? There were some amazing stories and publications written during that time frame and some very prolific writers emerged from that era that had, and in some cases, they still have a hold of a large group of current readership. You got writers such as Phillip Jose Farmer, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Mickey Spillane (to name a few) who broke the market and pushed the edges of the literature world with their cutting edge stuff. Farmer wrote about sex with aliens, which was a taboo at that time within the realms of sci-fi literature. Asimov, one of the largest prolific writers with some 500 titles to his credit, wrote across many genres including mystery, science fiction and fantasy. He explored many aspects of science including robots. Robert Heinlein is another writer who influenced a large group of readers with his books STARSHIP TROOPERS and A STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. A note to add about STRANGER is that Heinlein would get the occasional hippy knocking on his door to thank him for that book since it helped influence the hippy culture back in the sixties. Remember Heinlein was best known for knocking out Military Sci-Fi. What I mean by ‘new age of pulp’ is just that. Even though you don’t see pulp mags anymore, we still got ‘pulp internet’.   We’re currently in the midst of change in the writing world as these literary giants of old pass on and I believe that you got tomorrow’s prolific writers just starting out within the last few years.

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Guest DJ—Tom Pitts

Tom Pitts has had a busy year. He is half of the editorial team that runs The Flash Fiction Offensive for Out of the Gutter. His new monthly podcast for Authors on the Air, “Skid Row Chatter,” has had great interviews with crime fiction luminaries like Todd Robinson, Benjamin Whitmer, Jack Getze and Les Edgerton. And somehow he still found time to promote his debut novel from 2014, HUSTLE, while releasing a killer novella, KNUCKLEBALL, as a follow-up.

Knuckleball_frontcover_dress_finHere’s what Mr. Pitts had to say about KNUCKLEBALL in our interview earlier this year: “The impetus for the story came to me while I was in Golden Gate Park walking the dogs. The whole Bryan Stow thing was happening at the time. Bryan Stow was the poor bastard who was beat down at a Giants game at Dodger Stadium and to this day has never recovered. The search was on for the assailants and that afternoon a police artist’s sketch came out with an accompanying description: 5’10” Latino male. That was it. The sketch, the description, it could have been anybody. They were describing half of L.A. So I wondered … man, if you knew someone who looked even remotely like that, you could really fuck them up if you fingered them. All it would take is some hatred and a phone call.”

Tom Pitts at BoucherSo what’s next? Well, rumor has to that Mr. Pitts is sitting on two new novels that fans like myself hope will see the light of day in 2016. In the meantime, he’s on the turntables this week spinning everything from John Prine and April Wine to Johnny Thunders, Black Flag and The Replacements.

If you need more Tom Pitts in your life, you can find him on his website, Amazon and Facebook.

Previous Playlists:

Guest DJ—Craig T. McNeely

Guest DJ—Angel Colon

Guest DJ—Josh Stallings

29 SoCal Punk Songs

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.

Recommended Reading 2015

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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.

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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Guest DJ—Josh Stallings

What do you do when one of your favorite LA crime authors writes “a ‘70’s glitter-rock disco heist novel”? You invite him over to your blog to spin some amazing music! Click the YouTube player up above and you’ll be treated to 16 songs hand-selected by Josh Stallings himself.

Josh Stallings is the author of the multi-award winning Moses McGuire crime novels, BEAUTIFUL, NAKED & DEAD, OUT THERE BAD and ONE MORE BODY. His latest novel, YOUNG AMERICANS, comes out Nov. 20—one week from today.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview that Josh and I did last June:

Young Americans

I saw you read  from YOUNG AMERICANS at the California Crime Writers Convention. What can you tell us about it? How does it differ from the Moses McGuire novels?

YOUNG AMERICANS is a Glitter Rock Disco Heist Novel set in 1976 San Francisco. It is a fun ride and a wonderful romp. One More Body (Moses #3) was the angriest novel I’ve written. And because it deals with kids sold into the sex-for-cash world, the anger was well placed. Erika (Josh’s wife) laughed when I told her YOUNG AMERICANS was light comedy. Ok, maybe it’s Josh light. I was a glitter rock kid, (Glam to most). All the young dudes and stunning dames would go to The City, a gay disco in S.F., and sniff poppers, munch Quaaludes and drink Cuba Libres. We’d dance and fight and fuck and generally act the fool. It has been wonderful to get to spend the last year back in those days.

Read the INTERVIEW HERE.

And, if you’re in Los Angeles, don’t miss the YOUNG AMERICANS BOOK LAUNCH PARTY at Book Show on Sunday, Nov. 22. I’ll be there along with Josh, Danny Gardner and Tony Peyser.

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 New BCC Review From Out Of The Gutter

Always amazing to wake up and find a “Bad Citizen Corporation” review waiting. This morning I discovered this little gem from the badasses at Out of the Gutter.

Here’s a sample:

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Seriously awesome. Totally blown away. Read the whole review HERE.

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.