Interrogation—R. Daniel Lester

Who: R. Daniel Lester

What: As a keen apprentice in the story trade, he has consumed a lot of coffee (a mandatory requirement according to the manual), written himself into and out of countless corners, added many words to blank pages, self-published three books (including the novel, DIE, FAMOUS!), and made tens of dollars along the way.

His work has also appeared in print and online in such places as Adbusters, Geist, Shotgun Honey, Bareknuckles Pulp, The Flash Fiction Offensive, Broken Pencil, Pulp Literature and The Lascaux Prize Anthology.

Where: Toronto

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

DEAD CLOWN BLUES is one of my favorite book titles in recent memory. What came first, the story or the title? Is there a story behind the title?

Wow, that’s great to hear. Thanks. This project started out with another title and was more towards novel length. Circa 2013/2014, I got a few rejections on it and then decided to let it simmer for a while. A few months later I noticed that Shotgun Honey was open again to novella submissions and it dawned on me—simplify. Trim the fat. I had one too many subplots and stripping it away really made it sing.

But the first title was related to the extraneous subplot so I had to go back to square one. Which was strange. Usually, I have the title of the piece prior to writing it (or at least along the way) and that often helps guide the direction. But with the story mostly done, except for patching the holes in the wall that you get from any subplot demolition/renovation, I had to look at the core of the new story—what was driving it? And I always liked the dual meaning of “dead clown” within the story—(1) the former-clown-turned-janitor who dies, and (2) the name of the gang of criminal clowns that Fitch crosses path with. Then, once I figured out “Blues,” that was it, game over. I knew I had a winner. It just sounded right to me. Right for the story, right for the genre. Nice and hardboiled.

Continue reading

Writer Types Podcast—Episode 5

Episode 5 of the podcast I co-host with Eric Beetner is officially here!

We connect with David Zeltsermen about the new Netflix movie, “Small Crimes,” based on his fantastic 2008 novel of the same name. We also catch up with the host of TCM’s Noir Alley, Eddie Muller. And we chat with Catriona McPherson, fresh off her 2017 Agatha Award win for Best Historical Novel. What else? Tom Pitts talks about his new novel, AMERICAN STATIC, Shaun Harris signs Eric’s copy of THE HEMINGWAY THIEF, and Sarah M. Chen reads some flash fiction from the vaults at Shotgun Honey. We also spent a night at BookPeople in Austin with Scott Montgomery, Mike McCrary and Gabino Iglesias. And did we mention our fabulous reviewers, Kate Malmon and Dan Malmon, of Crimespree Magazine?

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

Please consider leaving a review, rating and subscribing wherever possible.

S.W. Lauden is up for two Silver Falchion Reader’s Choice Awards! Voting is open to everybody and no registration is required. Please cast a vote for GRIZZLY SEASON (Best Action/Adventure) and CROSSWISE (Best Mystery). Thank you!

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.

crossedbonesx2700-2

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.

Interrogation—Hector Acosta

Who: Hector Acosta

What: He was born in Mexico City and moved to the United States, his time living on the border left an impression on him, and much of his writing revolves around that area and its people. In his free time he enjoys watching wrestling and satisfying a crippling Lego addiction. HARDWAY is his debut novella.

Where: New York

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

Congrats on the release of HARDWAY. What’s the story behind this story?

I had the basic concept—kids steal a wrestler’s championship belt and things escalate—banging around my head for a while, with the first draft being a 5k piece for a crime writing contest. By the time I finished it, I found myself having more to say, and that was right around the time that Shotgun Honey opened up for submissions, so I decided to go back to the story and see what I could produce without a word count restriction.

Continue reading

Interrogation—Erik Arneson

Who: Erik Arneson

What: His short stories have appeared in ThuglitNeedle, Otto Penzler’s Kwik Krimes, Akashic Books’ Mondays Are Murder, and many other places. THE THROES OF CRIME is his first published book. His comic book, FORTUNE, is available from Comixology, Indy Planet, and NoiseTrade.

Where: Pennsylvania

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

Congrats on the release of your excellent short story collection, THE THROES OF CRIME. How did this project came together?

Thank you! I’m glad you like it. This is a collection of stories that have been published by various magazines and websites, plus a handful of brand new stories.

The first thing I remember publishing was a four-page, handwritten newsletter called The Atari Times back when I was in third or fourth grade. I wrote it, my father photocopied it, and we distributed free copies to people in our development trying to drum up some subscriptions. That didn’t work—I think there might have been a second issue, but I couldn’t testify to that. But it did plant the seeds of interest in self-publishing, or indie publishing.

So when I had enough short stories ready that the collection would be a good size—it’s just under 50,000 words—my natural inclination was to compile them and put it out indie style. I’m fortunate to be married to an incredible editor, Beth, and to know a super-talented artist, Dillon Samuelson, who created the skull for the cover.

Continue reading

Interrogation—Nick Kolakowski

rsz_img_0976Who: Nick Kolakowski

What: His short stories have appeared in Shotgun Honey, Thuglit, Crime Syndicate Magazine, Out of the Gutter, and various anthologies. He’s also one of the editors of Shotgun Honey. His short story collection, SOMEBODY’S TRYING TO KILL ME, was released in August.

Where: New York

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

Your excellent new collection, SOMEBODY’S TRYING TO KILL ME, includes seventeen noir tales. How did you select which pieces to include?

I listen to a lot of standup comedy: Patton Oswalt, Marc Maron, Maria Bamford, the sets that Robin Williams did in the ‘80s. All of those comedians alternate between quick jabs and longer setups, which allows them to build and maintain the energy of an hour-long set. When I started putting together this collection, I took some inspiration from that, and so you have the flash-fiction pieces lined up alongside the mid-length tales and the title novella. Hopefully that short-long-short rhythm allows the reader to catch a bit of a breather between the lengthier stories.

Beyond that, I knew I wanted to include the pieces that had been published in Thuglit, Crime Syndicate Magazine, and Reloaded (Shotgun Honey’s annual anthology). I’d also been working on the novella for years, off and on, and wanted it to finally see the light of day. Sprinkle all that with flash fiction from Shotgun Honey, and voilà: short-story collection.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Interrogation—Christopher Irvin

Who: Christopher Irvin

What: Author of FEDERALES and BURN CARDS. His short stories have been featured in several publications, including ThuglitBeat to a Pulp, and Shotgun Honey. His short story collection, SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE, is out this November from 280 Steps.

Where: Boston

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

Since you’re about to publish SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE, a tremendous collection of 13 short stories, I’m going to ask you one question about each story. First up is “Union Man”. What inspired you to write a period piece about a man caught between a rock and a hard place during a steel mill strike?

Thank you for the kind words and interview! I wish I had more notes on “Union Man.” I write by hand a lot and have tried hard to keep to a journal since 2012 (I’m finishing up my third). I have a small paragraph from early in 2013 about researching the steel strikes (I recall looking at a lot of photos and articles online), and I sent off a draft to friends for critique that May. It’s unfortunate as it’s a favorite of the collection, but I do know at its heart that it’s my ‘fatherhood story.’ My first son, George, was born in August of 2012 and a clearly recall this being the first piece where I incorporated my sense of being a father, the responsibilities, etc. It was a story that I had to write, and even though I knew pretty much from the outset where it needed to go—for narrative reasons and to make an impact—it was still difficult to write.

Continue reading

Some Recent Short Stories

Looking for a quick read? Here are a few of the short stories I have published in the last year.

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.