New Short Story In Weirdbook #31!

Weirdbook31Very excited that my latest short story is out now in Weirdbook #31!

The story is called “Warrior or Princess?” and it’s about a time-traveling convict who tries to change the past. This one’s a little different from my previous short stories, but you will still find plenty of crime and guns—only through a Sci-Fi lens this time around.

I’m particularly proud to be published by Weirdbook because this is their first issue after a 20 year hiatus.

Weirdbook #31 features some amazing writing from the likes of John R. Fultz, Adrian Cole, Gary A., Christian Riley, James Aquilone, Paul Dale Anderson, Jason A. Wyckoff, Bret McCormick, Darrell Schweitzer, D.C. Lozar, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Gregg Chamberlain, Erica Ruppert, Janet Harriett, Llanwyre Laish and Kevin Strange.

Weirdbook has an incredible history and has published some fantastic writers over the years, including Stephen King, Joseph Payne Brennan, H. Warner Munn, Robert E. Howard, Tim Powers, Darrell Schweitzer—among many others. You can get a glimpse of that list right HERE.

Douglas Draa is the new editor, but W. Paul Ganley consults. Weirdbook is published by Wildside Press.

Check it out.

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.

Sometimes The Best Short Story Is A Song (#19)

I discovered Frank Turner in the best possible way—live at a show where I’d come to see another band. Turner took the stage and my buddy leaned over to explain that he was “the new Billy Bragg”. That was enough to get my attention since Bragg’s “Talking With The Taxman About Poetry” is an all-time fav. I became a big fan of Turner’s that night too.

There isn’t anything particularly revolutionary about a punk troubadour, but Turner’s songwriting is really great. And I love his voice. In my mind, this is perfectly encapsulated in his folky ode to growing up, “Photosynthesis”. It’s snotty and sincere in all the right ways, with just enough angst to make it timeless and compelling. Sort of like Holden Caulfield singing The Clash’s “The Guns Of Brixton”.

It’s a premature middle-aged call to arms from a twenty-something that already sees the writing on the wall. So when he croons that he “won’t sit down and I won’t shut up” and that he refuses to meekly shuffle “down the path of mediocrity”—well, it’s the kind of thing that just might make you finally write that novel you’ve been going on and on about.

Read the lyrics for “Photosynthesis” HERE.

Previous installments in this series:

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.

Sometimes The Best Short Story Is A Song (#18)

There seems to be an awful lot of Brian Wilson in my life these days. And not just on classic rock radio, my iPod shuffle, or the turntable. I depend on finding him in those places, but this is something else. In particular, I’ve been hearing the song “Love & Mercy” a lot of new places this year. Like the recent biopic of the same name starring John Cusack (Excellent, by the way). Or in the low-budget documentary “The Beach Boys and The Satan” that I just watched on Amazon Prime (campy, half-baked and awesome). It was even in the season finale of “The Walking Dead” earlier this year (I predict that Zombies are about to get REALLY popular).

While it’s impossible to understand why a Brian Wilson solo track from 1988 is stalking me, it’s hard to deny that it’s a perfect song. It features an unbelievable mix of beautiful music, melody and harmony coupled with Wilson’s familiar brand of melancholy. But “Love & Mercy” is also a story song at heart, featuring a disillusioned protagonist who stumbles through a lonely and violent world. Whether sitting in a crummy movie, lying in his room or standing in a bar, he’s crying out for a little relief from the anxiety and brutality that surrounds us all. That makes him a hero in my book.

Read the lyrics to “Love & Mercy” HERE.

Previous installments in this series:

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.

 

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.

Noir Slam—Weds., Sept. 2—Downtown LA

Noir SlamI am very excited to be part of NOIR SLAM, 20 mystery/crime authors taking you on a fierce, fast-paced trip to the edge of modern noir—60 seconds at a time. The event takes place starting at 7pm Wednesday, Sept. 2 in downtown Los Angeles at The Last Bookstore. I was there for an Erika Krouse reading just last night and the place is amazing.

Just imagine how cool all of your friends will think you are when you click this Facebook link and tell them you’re “going” to Noir Slam!

Not convinced? Well, here’s a list of the amazing authors included on the bill: Christa Faust, Brett Battles, Anonymous-9, Danny Gardner, James Queally, Maxine Nunes, Eric Beetner, Samuel Gailey, Craig Faustus Buck, Stephen Blackmoore, Ashley Erwin, John Shepphird, Aaron Philip Clark, Travis Richardson, Paul D. Marks, Josh Stallings, Hannah Sward, and your’s truly.

If you aren’t familiar with some of these scribblers, I have been lucky enough to interview several of them on this blog over the last year. Here are a few of my favorite quotes, along with links to the original interviews. Of course, there is no better way to get to know an author than by reading one of their books…just saying.


rsz_screen_shot_2015-06-21_at_60754_pm_2

Read the Josh Stallings interview HERE.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-02-01_at_62457_pm_2

Read the Anonymous-9 interview HERE.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-01-19_at_93503_am_2

Read the Eric Beetner interview HERE.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-01-14_at_121644_pm

Read the Travis Richardson interview HERE.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-07-26_at_14015_pm

Read the Paul D. Marks 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 in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Sometimes The Best Short Story Is A Song (#10)

I came to Jason Isbell by way of The Drive-By Truckers. He joined the band in 2001 and played guitar on three of their best albums (IMHO)—DECORATION DAY, THE DIRTY SOUTH, and BLESSING AND A CURSE. Isbell left the band in 2007 and released his first solo album, SIRENS OF THE DITCH, that same year. “Elephant” was among a collection of stunning new material he released on the album SOUTHEASTERN in 2013.

“Elephant” is not an easy song. In fact, it is devastating.

It starts out with a quiet guitar line that invites you in, telling you it’s story time. But then the lyrics reach out from the speaker and grab you by the throat. From there it is one of the most original tales of love and loss that has ever ripped the beating heart from your chest. It’s also the best short story I have listened to in recent memory.

Read the lyrics for “Elephant” by Jason Isbell right HERE.

Previous installments in this series:

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 in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Sometimes The Best Short Story Is A Song (#6)

It is a testament to Warren Zevon’s lyrical and musical genius that a song about a junkie in free fall could be so romantic. But this is more than just a sad love story about addiction, it’s also an ode to a seedy Los Angeles that still exists if you just squint your eyes and go in search of giving up. For those reasons and so many more—including the line about pawning his Smith-Corona typewriter in order to go score—Zevon’s “Carmelita” is probably one of the best short stories that I have ever heard anybody sing.

Read the lyrics for “Carmelita” by Warren Zevon right HERE.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the slightly altered Linda Ronstadt version:

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.

“How I Got Into The Navy” By Travis Richardson

rsz_screen_shot_2015-06-04_at_82324_am_2The incredibly talented, LA-based author Travis Richardson was one of the first people I connected with when I threw my hat into the crime writing ring. We met via Twitter (who says social media doesn’t work?!) shortly before the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in 2014. Those of you who know Travis will not be surprised that he happily offered to help me navigate the publishing world in those first few months. Over time, he turned me on to great zines like All Due Respect, Thuglit and Shotgun Honey, and generously agreed to read early drafts of my short- and long-form fiction. I have been privileged to return the favor, when asked, which means that I have gotten to read some of his brutal, insightful fiction before almost anybody else—a real honor for a newer writer like me.

So, when the crew over at Flash Fiction Offensive gave me the opportunity to produce an audio version of his awesome new short story HOW I GOT INTO THE NAVY, I jumped at it. Special thanks to my friends in L.A. and London who generously donated their time and voices to bring this story to life, including Scott Ross who read the part of the main narrator. I hope you enjoy reading and listening to it as much as I did.

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.

Sometimes The Best Short Story Is A Song (#5)

I discovered Leonard Cohen pretty late in the game. I was already in my early 20s and playing drums for a grunge band in Eastern Europe. Acoustic guitars didn’t always jibe with my rock and roll self-image at the time.

Thankfully, my lead singer was a devout fan and turned me on to a lot of his music. Needless to say, it blew my mind. That band went on to do loud and sloppy covers of both “Suzanne” and “Tower of Song”.

There’s not much else to say about Leonard Cohen’s genius lyrics, except that I think that “Suzanne” is probably one of the best short stories ever written.

Read the lyrics for “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen right HERE.

 

Previous songs featured in this series:

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.

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.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-05-18_at_24038_pm

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.