Updates, Reviews and More...

GAH! It's been two months since my last post? I admit I've sat down a few times to write and have pushed it off.  Between my first novel, a few short stories and a newborn babe, life has been crazy. In July I attended my first NECON. My friend, Bracken, pushed me to go, and I couldn't be happier that I did. The long-weekend retreat was incredibly inspiring and I met a slew of fantastic writers (and wonderful people to boot).  I cannot wait for NECON 33 next summer.

Inspired by NECON (and probably still delirious from drink and zero sleep,) I made it my goal to write 2,500 words a day until I finished my first novel, a noir set in Reno, Nevada. Setting my alarm for three in the morning became my new routine and by mid-August I finished the first draft at 40,000 words. I'm aiming for 50-60,000 for the final draft so I have QUITE a bit of editing to do when I pick it back up later this month. I still have a lot to say and I am eager to get back to editing but I want to create some space before I dive back into the mouth of the beast.

Two of my short stories were accepted for publication--one to a magazine and the other to an anthology.  I'm very excited to announce them in the next month after the details are finalized.

My flash fiction piece, Moon Boots, was published as an honorable mention in the University of Maine at Machias' The Binnacle Ninth Annual Ultra-Short Competition.

Antidote for the Commonplace, the podcast on which I co-host, is off to a great start.  We just uploaded our ninth episode and continue to pull in steady traffic.

Last, here are a few mini-reviews of my recent readings:

The Grief Frequency - Kealan Patrick Burke - Powerful short story packed with emotion. I read it while my wife was in labor...do not read this while your wife is in labor. Highly recommended.

Damnation and Dames (Anthology) - edited by Liz Grzyb - I purchased this anthology at NECON. I was very excited to read it but struggled to get through the first half of the book and have shelved it for now. Noir and horror are right up my alley but too many of the stories had similar plot elements (i.e. bombshell sashays into private investigator's office at the start of the story, key drama and PI's flaws/downfall.) I'll give it another run.

Torn - Lee Thomas - I enjoyed Lee's writing but I found the metaphor to be hamfisted. The novella aimed at comparing two 'monsters,' one a pack of werewolves and the other a small-town sheriff, a closeted gay man who is married to a woman but has been sleeping for another man for years (he thinks of himself as a monster.) It would have been very interesting to see the novella explore both as sympathetic characters, but instead the werewolves come across as uncontrollable antagonists and the sheriff as a beaten man.

What it Was - George Pelecanos - LOVE Pelecanos' writing.  It felt like I was watching an episode of The Wire.

Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled - (Anthology) - edited by David Cranmer and Scott D. Parker - Excellent collection of hardboiled fiction.  I enjoyed each story, but I think the lead story, The Tachibana Hustle by Garnett Elliott, was my favorite.

Queenpin - Megan Abbott - Where have I been and how did I miss Megan Abbott? I loved Queenpin and have placed all of her novels on my to-read list. I'm picking up her latest novel, Dare Me, ASAP. Noir FTW.

Die, You Bastard! Die! - Jan Kozlowski - In full disclosure, I had the pleasure of meeting Jan at NECON.  I bought the e-book when I got home and devoured it in an afternoon. And DAMN, it is a raw and unflinching novel. The conflict is severe and not for the faint of heart, but it is a tight revenge tale with great attention to detail.

The Lovecraft Anthology Vol. 1 (Anthology) - edited by Dan Lockwood - Solid interpretation of some of Lovecraft's classic tales.  Check out our review on Antidote for the Commonplace - Episode 006.

Currently reading - The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes and The Best American Noir of the Century