Shotgun Honey Presents: A Who’s Who of Crime Writers

Locked and Loaded

I started doing weekly author interviews about six months ago. Up until very recently I was pretty impressed with the quality and diversity of crime and mystery authors I managed to connect with. And then I picked up Shotgun Honey Presents: Locked and Loaded (Both Barrels v3).

Jeez.

Of the 25 amazing authors featured in this volume—including Patricia Abbott, Bracken MacLeod, Frank Byrns, Katanie Duarte, Jedidiah Ayres, Bill Barber, Angel Luis Colon, Chris Rhatigan and John L. Thompson, to name a few—I have only interviewed one of the authors, Travis Richardson. I also interviewed one of the Locked and Loaded Volume 3 editors, Erik Arneson.

So, I have my work cut out for me. The good news is that I have yet another reason to read every single story in this impressive volume.

For now, here’s an excerpt from my Travis Richardson interview:

COFFEE PARISDo you have a favorite form of fiction?

I like writing short stories better because I can explore different stories and characters and then start something totally different a few weeks later. While I would love the idea of a big fat contract to develop a series character over several novels, finishing several works in a year is satisfying. As a reader, I’d say I like short stories and novellas over novels. I’m a slow reader and I like that I can finish a short story in one sitting. Shorter works can sustain intensity and focus that most longer works can’t. To me there are parallels between music and writing. Short stories are like individual songs that are self-contained and keep a pace/rhythm for the entirety of the piece. Books are like albums with each chapter similar to a track. More often than not, there are a few weak pieces that make the entire work (book or album) uneven, even when the majority of the work is rock solid.

If you haven’t gotten your copy of Locked and Loaded (Both Barrels v3) yet, you can try to win a copy over at GOODREADS through May 15.

And you can look for my flash fiction story, “Range Life,” over at Shotgun Honey on or around May 18th.

New Story + Podcast Up TODAY on Flash Fiction Offensive

Dead Beats PostcardSuper excited that my rock and roll noir story “Dead Beats” is now live on Flash Fiction Offensive.

I’m referring to it as #NoiRnR. Let’s see if it catches on.

I wrote the story before I discovered Flash Fiction Offensive, but once I did I knew for certain where I wanted to publish it. And then I got lucky.

EndlessPartyClick on the link and you will find both my flash fiction for “Dead Beats” along with a very special reading of it by my good friend and rock & roll lifer, Marko DeSantis. Not only was he the guitarist for Sugarcult, touring the world with the likes of Green Day and Blink-182, but he’s played with Bad Astronaut, Nerf Herder and The Swingin’ Utters—to name a few. On top of all that, he’s also a great writer, storyteller and incredible rock DJ. Check out his show “Endless Party Radio” on the Independent FM Thursday nights. It’s killer.

The “Dead Beats” audio also features some of the song “Punctual Alcoholic” by the rock group Tsar.

Thanks. Hope you dig “Dead Beats“.

New Short Story Up on QuarterReads.com

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So I stumbled across this interesting website on Twitter. It’s called QuarterReads and it’s a NEW market for short fiction.

As the name implies, all the short stories posted there can be read for twenty-five cents (but readers have to buy credits in $10 blocks).

I was so taken with the concept that I submitted a short story, “Town Car,” which is now live. The first taste is free:

The young driver stood near the baggage carousel, shuffling his wingtips from side to side. His white shirt was pressed and his tie was straight, but his jacket was still in the trunk of the town car. 

The driver patted his hair down as blurry-eyed travelers straggled by. He stepped aside to let them pass, keeping his eye on the escalators in the distance. 

The name ‘Volkov’ glowed from the screen of his tablet computer. This might be his only passenger of the night, but everything had to go just right. His future depended on it.

‘Just get him to the hotel.’

The driver was checking his phone for missed calls when the passenger materialized. A puff of smoke would have completed the illusion. Volkov reached out and pushed the ‘home’ button on the driver’s tablet. 

His name faded to black.

“I don’t advertise.”

Read MORE at QuarterReads.com

I will also be posting an interview with QuarterReads founder and author Ian Rose later this week. Here’s a sneak peek from the Q&A:

“Readers benefit, we hope, from QuarterReads as a source of new stories that have been somewhat vetted, but that aren’t chosen based on editorial bias. We accept/reject stories, essays and poems on technical quality (spelling/grammar) and the basic requirement that they be a complete story. Then we let the readers do the picking and choosing after that. I like to think of it as a gate with a loose chain on it, that most stories can fit through if they squeeze and shimmy a bit, but not all. For writers, we offer the best percentage royalties anywhere I’ve seen, far better than self-publishing. We can’t yet offer the kind of exposure or marketing machine that the big self-pub sites can, but whenever they sell a story, they know that the vast majority of the money is going to them, not us.” — Ian Rose

In the meantime, please go check out my short story at QuarterReads and let me know what you think of both.

Interrogation: Travis Richardson

Travis Richardson_5x7_300dpi (1)Who: Travis Richardson

Where: Los Angeles

What:Incident on the 405” (from Criminal Element’s Malfeasance Occasional “Girl Trouble”) was nominated for both the Anthony and Macavity short story awards this year. His novella LOST IN CLOVER was listed in Spinetingler Magazine’s Best Crime Fiction of 2012. He has published stories in several online zines and anthologies. He edits the Sisters-In-Crime LA newsletter, reviews Chekhov shorts and sometimes shoots a short movie. His latest novella is KEEPING THE RECORD.

This interview was conducted by email. Some answers have been edited.

If you had to explain your writing to somebody who has never read your work before, how would you describe it?  
I call myself a crime writer. It’s the most consistent thing I write. I often dabble in noir and sometimes I write humorous or action-adventure tales, but I rarely write a straight up “who done it” mystery. I try to push my characters to extremes and have them react. Sometimes it’s funny and other times it’s tragic. Although I usually start stories with an idea in mind, once the characters start interacting, I just try to keep up on the keyboard.

Is crime what you originally set out to write, or did your focus and style change over time?
I originally wanted to write literary short stories as well as screenplays. While my literary shorts were sincere, not much happened except that somebody was unhappy and didn’t do much of anything. Eventually I began to burn out on reading New Yorker stories about wealthy, unhappy people with first world problems. In a writing class in Berkeley, we were assigned the Best American Short Stories of the previous year and the first story was “Puppy” by Richard Ford. I wrote an essay about how I was tired of reading the same down tempo stagnant stories. This isn’t to bag on the Pulitzer Prize winning author, if anything I’m grateful for the epiphany his story (after many others) provided. It broke me from the monotonous literary rut I had been stuck in for years. Around that time I also finished writing the first part of a coming of age novel based on my Grandfather living in depression era Arkansas. The next part was going to require me to learn several musical instruments and reconfigure a carefully constructed family after a tragedy. I wanted to try something new, so I began a manuscript called The Prodigal Detective. After completing it, I discovered a wonderful community of crime writers through Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America…. and I don’t look back much.

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