Happy Pub Day to Papercuts J.P. and The Papercuts Anthology: What Happened Here, Volume 1! I'm honored to have a piece featured in such a wonderful collection alongside the likes of Randy Susan Meyers, Paul Tremblay, Jennifer Tseng, and more.
Here we go!
2015 was pretty rad.
On the comics front - my first full-length issue, CHARRED KRAKEN, based on my short story, "Charred Kraken with Plum Butter," hit ComiXology in December. I also did a small print run, which turned out really well (and which you can still hit me up for!) I wrote a lot more...but it's all still in development or on the DL. Fingers crossed for some progress this year.
I highlighted some of my favorite reads of the year over at Spinetingler Mag.
Speaking of 'best of' lists...
Ian Rogers picked BURN CARDS as a favorite novella of the year.
I can't thank you all enough for the support and kind words over the past year, especially when it comes to SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE. It still feels a bit unreal to see how well people connect with the collection, and the variety of stories that are singled out as favorites.
2/19 Noir at the Bar Boskone! Cohosting with Errick Nunnally, featuring Dana Cameron, Christopher Golden, James Moore, John Langan, Sarah Langan, Paul Tremblay, and Melinda Snodgrass.
2/20 Boskone Panels
Hidden Heroes 10:00 - 10:50, Harbor III (Westin)
Sometimes the hero of a story isn't its true protagonist. A commonly accepted example is Sam Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings, who more and more centers the action as the story concludes. What other examples occur to us? Why might an author choose to focus on someone other than the hero? Can the hero ever be the antagonist?
How Story Works 11:00 - 11:50, Marina 2 (Westin)
Pixar filmmaker Andrew Stanton claims in his TedX talk that "the fundamental promise of a story is that this tale will lead somewhere that is worth your time." Is there more to story than a well-told promise? What is story? How is it constructed? What compels us to consume story in all its forms?
2/26 Reading at KGB Bar in Manhattan 7:00 - 9:00pm
Prime Time Crime - heading down to NYC for a reading with Scott Adlerberg and Jason Starr.
Hope to see you guys out there!
That's all for now, but stay tuned for more posts on books, WIP updates, interviews, and more as I get back into gear.
Whew! Made it through a whirlwind of a release week. Thank you all so much for your amazing support, especially to those who came out to the launch party (packed house!) last Friday at Papercuts J.P. I couldn't have wished for a better night. Here are a couple pics from the event (by Jabari Asim)
and another by Papercuts J.P.
In other news, SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE received two incredibly kind reviews last week. I'm still pinching myself (and dreading...in a good way, the novel I need to rewrite this winter):
From LitReactor, where the reviewer called the book "a collection everyone should read — particularly if you’ve ever dreamed of writing this kind of fiction."
And MyBookishWays: "In his short story collection, ‘Safe Inside the Violence’, Irvin provides more proof that he may be the best new writer on the crime scene today."
Reviews have started to trickle into Goodreads and Amazon as well (thank you!) It's exciting to see the variety of stories readers report as their favorites, or those that stuck with them. Like all authors, I greatly appreciate the time and effort it takes to leave a review. I'm not sure anyone is certain how they function in the algorithms of these sites, but they certainly give books a boost. Thank you for spreading the word.
Hope to see you Wednesday at Brookline Booksmith!
It's been a busy couple of months! Between travel and scribbling away furiously as deadlines approach, the blog has taken a backseat. Here's a short recap: [Left to Right - Dale Phillips, Connie Johnson Hambley, Errick Nunnally, Chris Irvin, Tony McMillen, Bracken MacLeod, Mike Miner, Stona Fitch, Patrick Shawn Bagley]
Noir at the Bar Boston II was a great success. Nine authors read some stellar fiction in front of a big crowd. Beers were drank, books were raffled, good times were had. Here's a recap courtesy of Dale Phillips. Stay tuned for news on the next event - June 15th, 6-8pm at Trident Booksellers & Cafe.
Speaking of fun, Independent Bookstore Day at Papercuts J.P. was a blast. Paul Tremblay and I read some of our favorite fiction by other writers that has inspired us (Shirley Jackson, Nathan Ballingrud) and had a great chat about crime and horror. Be sure to snag Paul's A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS when it drops in June!
Here's a shot Paul took of me talking to myself...err...my doing my thing..
Write The Individual - a short bit on me writing from a female first person POV, the Andrew Smith debacle and advice from Kelly Sue DeConnick.
The third volume from Shotgun Honey is out! This baby was a ton of work and took a couple of delays to come together, but I'm proud of how it turned out. Give it a look - there is some fantastic stuff within.
Featuring 25 stories of crime:
“A Boy Like Billy” by Patricia Abbott “Border Crossing” by Michael McGlade “Looking for the Death Trick” by Bracken MacLeod “Maybelle’s Last Stand” by Travis Richardson “Predators” by Marie S. Crosswell “Twenty to Life” by Frank Byrns “So Much Love” by Keith Rawson “Running Late” by Tess Makovesky “Last Supper” by Katanie Duarte “Danny” by Michael Bracken “The Plot” by Jedidiah Ayres “What Alva Wants” by Timothy Friend “Time Enough to Kill” by Kent Gowran “Copas” by Hector Acosta “Yellow Car Punch” by Nigel Bird “Love at First Fight” by Angel Luis Colón “Traps” by Owen Laukkanen “Down the Rickety Stairs” by Alan Orloff “Blackmailer’s Pep Talk” by Chris Rhatigan “With a Little bit of Luck” by Bill Baber “As Cute as a Speckled Pup Under a Red Wagon” by Tony Conaway “Chipping off the Old Block” by Nick Kolakowski “Young Turks and Old Wives” by Shane Simmons “The Hangover Cure” by Seth Lynch “Highway Six” by John L. Thompson
It's official - I'll be crashing Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh, NC come October. AND my buddy Joe Clifford is up for TWO Anthony Awards - LAMENTATION (Best Novel) and TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND (Best Anthology or Collection) - the latter of which is extra-awesome as it features my story, "Death to My Hometown." Hope you see you there.
Until next time...thank you to everyone for your support of BURN CARDS. Can't wait to announce what's coming next.
AND stay tuned for Noir at the Bar Boston II (finally free of our record-setting winter)
About BURN CARDS:
Mirna Fowler believes she has been cheated in life, growing up in a broken home alone with a drunken and gambling-addicted father. Now she works at a small hair salon in Reno, doing her best to survive while she saves money for school. Hoping to get a degree that will take her places.
But in the wake of her father's death, Mirna inherits his extravagant debt, an amount of money she can never repay. As her fractured world begins to crumble, the search for the truth sets her on a path where life hangs on her every move.
Advance Praise for BURN CARDS:
“With a character you care about and a momentum you can't avoid, BURN CARDS is aces. This fast-moving novella pulses with enough energy to power all the casinos in Nevada.” - Steve Weddle, author of Country Hardball
"the shit-kicking streets of a dead end desert town have never been meaner." — Joe Clifford, author of Lamentation
"This bare-knuckle noir pulses with energy and punches hard." — William Boyle, author of Gravesend
"Irvin illuminates the city of Reno itself, casting the flickering glow of his sharp observations into every dark corner of the city and bringing forth a rogue’s gallery of gamblers, dreamers, and burnouts who are all heading for the same bitter end." — John Mantooth, author of The Year of the Storm
Stay tuned for information on upcoming events & thanks for your support!
I'll be signing from 7-8pm tonight at the 3rd Annual Gala Mystery Night at the New England Mobile Book Fair (82 Needham Street #84, Newton Highlands, MA). The event runs from 6-8pm and is hosting 40-some authors. Hope to see you there!
Plots with Guns is back! Your one stop shop for a weekend full of free reads has put together a monster of a (maybe?) final issue. I'm excited to have my story "Napoleon of the North End" featured alongside work from the likes of Dennis Tafoya, Court Merrigan, and more.
I've been meaning to feature Boston in more of my writing and The North End worked out great with this story. It came together in the last minute and was a lot of fun to write. Thanks again to Anthony Neil Smith, Sean O'Kane, Erik Lundy, and Gonzalo Baeza for publishing my work.
Give 'em some love and check out the full issue HERE.
I'll be at table D413 with the New England Horror Writers at Boston Comic Con. Stop by and say hello. I'll have FEDERALES, Ricardo Lopez Ortiz's print of Marcos and the protagonist from Bracken MacLeod's WHITE KNIGHT (will also have a few copies of WK on hand as well), some EXPATRIATE scripts, and more.
Annnd be sure to swing by and chat up Ricardo at D804! Expat zines, prints, and commissions to boot.
Hope to see you there!
I've been caught up in a bit a of a whirlwind lately with several ongoing WIP (and a self-imposed deadline of NECON less than two weeks away!) So here is a bit of a catch all post before the nose goes back to the grindstone...
Noir at the Bar Boston was a huge success! Thanks again to everyone for coming out. You can check out Dale T. Phillip's write up and photos, HERE.
I'm dreadfully behind on my WIP blog update that I owe after being tapped by Meghan Arcuri...it's coming. Until then, take a peek at her first novel.
My great friend Errick Nunnally's debut novel, BLOOD FOR THE SUN, dropped this week. AND it was his birthday! You know what to do.
Annnnd, last but not least, today is the last day of the HUGE ChiZine sale. Catch their entire back catalog of e-books for .99/book. You know you want some John Mantooth, Paul Tremblay, Karen Heuler, Ian Rogers, Rio Youers, Christopher Golden...I could go on all day. These guys put out some of my favorite books and .99 is beyond highway robbery. Get some and tell your friends.
Until next time...
How do you go about brainstorming your story? How does that impact your style and form landmarks to guide you along the journey? I've been thinking about brainstorming a lot over the past couple of weeks. I recently turned in a short story for my Fiction 2 workshop at Grub Street. I had waited until the last minute to finish it and was burned out for a few days afterward. I had three weeks to write my next story for the workshop but I was unable to settle on a topic or theme. Procrastination got the best of me - Today - I've got a rough outline and less than a week to go (And I'm sitting here blogging to boot!)
I tend to write loose outlines for my stories. If I know too much about the plot or characters, I lose interest and find the story boring to write. (It's already written in my head!)
I recently met a writer who does mind mapping to brainstorm. I gave it a shot but I wrote too much about each little piece and my page became a total mess. I usually make lists - start with a character's name, for example, and then list out everything that pops into my head.
Last night I had an epiphany - I brainstorm inmoments: The crooked frame on a wall that's noticed as the protagonist descends an old staircase, a warning label that is slightly smudged, the way a plate looks after dinner at a nice restaurant - serrated knife lying over a pile of gristle. These are the kind of moments that propel my writing and give me pieces to plug in, draw from and expand upon.
I jotted down the following notes during my class last night:
-Always keeps suit on
-Plaque/pic of Bronson & space ship/American flag - but he is British
- Bedroom locker - called locker b/c it is so small - cubbies for clothes
- taped pics to walls & ceiling (monkey in space suit), political cartoons
- pics of home & people - how quickly you yearn for details after the planet amazes you
Drop out airlock in bottom of ship
Doesn't have enough time to wait for depressurization & hits emergency button to suck himself out when going out in the end
never use all 5
Pretty random, right? I know the basic story (astronauts collecting space trash) but everything on the page is a tiny moment/image from (maybe) a TBD part of the story. The organization of my thoughts changed on the page after every new moment - I moved down the page, across, left huge chunks of space. It's my style.
A week ago I had the fortune of taking Graphic Novel Basics, a day long workshop at Grub Street in Boston. The workshop was taught by Tim Stout and Katherine Roy, a husband and wife duo. Katherine taught from an artist's perspective and Tim from a writer's perspective. I've taken three multi-week classes and three day long workshops at Grub Street and this ranks up there with the best.
The workshop delved into the rich history of cartoons and the graphic novel before moving onto discuss, in detail, topics such as the three act structure in comics, panel structure and layout, collaboration between artists and writers, how to write for comics and more. Tim/Katherine provided great examples for each section of the class and we had time to do a few exercises as well.
Tim and Katherine are excellent instructors and I highly recommend the workshop (and hope they can expand to two days in the future.) I'll be sure to tout Graphic Novel Basics when Grub Street hosts it again.
Click the links above to check out Tim and Katherine's work!