RECAP TIME! On to 2016

Bent Eight I've been neglecting the blog a bit as of late. Between the holidays and kicking off the new year with a new book, I've let things slide. BUT IT'S NEVER TOO LATE, KIDS. NEVER!

Here we go!

2015 was pretty rad.

My second novella, BURN CARDS, dropped in April from 280 Steps, followed by my debut short story collection, SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE, in November, also with 280 Steps.

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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.

SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE landed on lists from Paul Tremblay, Gabino Iglesias and Scott Adlerberg.

SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE also recently received two wonderful reviews - one from Papercuts J.P. over at Literary Hub, and the other over on Crime Syndicate Magazine.

And I kicked off the year chatting with Pam Stack on Authors on the Air, and the crew over at Miskatonic Musings.

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.

NEXT UP!

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.

December Giveaway! aka Got Reviews?

IMG_8762 I love small press. I can't say enough good things about 280 Steps and their support for SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE over the past few months. It's been a lot of fun and I hope some of the momentum carries over into 2016 and beyond.

But as writer and proprietor of Broken River Books, J David Osborne, described so honestly in his recent blog post - Money Money Money Money (Cha-Ching) - there's only so much a small press can do. It's also on the author to drive sales and promotion of their work.

So what works? How does one do this effectively? I'm not sure anyone really knows. I'm repeatedly followed, unfollowed, and followed again on Twitter by "best-sellers" with thousands of followers in an attempt to make a quick buck. Then there's the relatively recent trend on Facebook to treat it as an impersonal selling tool as well, becoming 'friends' with as many strangers as possible in hope of increasing one's audience. I'm not sure how successful either of these strategies are, but they are too hard a sell for me. Everyone draws a different line in the sand. On the opposite side of the spectrum you have people who won't market at all and criticize those who do. It's impossible to please everyone, especially when there is no clear answer to the question - what makes books sell?

Reviews help, that's for sure. Online, in print, word of mouth - all drive algorithms and discussion that can only boost a book's signal. With that in mind, I have a deal for you:

Leave an honest review for SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE by 12/13 and be entered to win a copy of WHAT HAPPENED HERE: Year One at Papercuts J.P. - a compilation of exclusive works by authors who visited Papercuts J.P., Boston's newest independent bookstore, in its first year - featuring my story, "The Push," a pseudo-sequel to "Digging a Deep," (from Safe Inside the Violence) as well as work from Paul Tremblay, Jennifer Tseng, Rory Flynn, Catie Disabato, and many more. 300+ pages of pure AWESOME.

Where? On a blog, newspaper, Amazon, Goodreads, the palm of your left hand in permanent marker. Be creative, I don't judge. Tell your people and spread the good word!

On Monday, 12/14 I'll randomly pull a name and announce the winner here.

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Thank you all for your continued support!

April/May Noir Catch-All

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: Noir at the Bar Crew[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.

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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..

Papercuts

Essay

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.

Interviews

Terribleminds: Five Things I Learned Writing BURN CARDS

One Bite at a Time - Twenty Questions

Chatteriffic

Reviews

My Bookish Ways: Read This

Bracken MacLeod - I like my Noir dark, thank you very much!

Just A Guy That Likes To Read

Chris Dikes - Despair runs deep...

Goodreads

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Locked and Loaded: Both Barrels 3

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

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Bouchercon!

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.

BURNCARDS

 

 

Tonight! Independent Bookstore Day @ Papercuts J.P.

papercutsjp Today is Independent Bookstore Day AND Free Comic Book Day - so get out there and support some local biz!

I'll be at Papercuts J.P. tonight at 6:00pm with Paul Tremblay, reading some of our favorite short stories by other authors that inspire us, and talking crime and horror. Both of us will be hanging around afterward for the late night festivities. Check out the full day of events planned for Papercuts J.P., beginning at 11:00am with free muffins from neighboring Blue Frog Bakery and live music.

Papercuts J.P. will also have free copies of the EXPATRIATE zine Ricardo and I put together last year - updated with stunning colors by Mat Lopes. Grab 'em while they last!

Playing catch up

tumblr_n5jot6nivj1txnetfo1_1280 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.

My short story, "Snapshots," is up on LitReactor as part of their crime contest with Thuglit. You can check it out HERE, vote and even leave a comment if you are feeling wild.

I've continued my weekly uploading/republishing of older short stories on Wattpad. This week's story is MOON BOOTS.

Ricardo Lopez Ortiz and I are plugging away at EXPATRIATE. Keep up with all of the weekly updates, HERE.

...and speaking of Ricardo, Bracken MacLeod and I will have a very cool limited edition print for sale at NECON. Stay tuned for more on that...or if you want to be spoiled, click 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...

Sunday News Clippings

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Pour that cup o' joe and get reading.

The ShortList Crime Challenge - new flash fiction from Frank Bill, George Pelecanos, Joe R Lansdale, Daniel Woodrell, James Sallis, John Connolly, and many more. Shotgun Honey is waiting...

...and speaking of Shotgun Honey - we've got a new look! Still a WIP (adding more author pages from past contributors daily) but it is looking mighty nice. Ron Earl Phillips is a pro.

What do readers want from an author? - Steve Weddle discusses author appearances/readings over at Do Some Damage.

Clayton Lindemuth shares his experience of using social media to promote his novel, COLD QUIET COUNTRY.

Laird Barron on the resistance writers receive in pursuit of their craft.

Jessica Bell on Why Literary Journals Should Accept Reprints and Simultaneous Submissions.

Weird Fiction Review hosts an interview with Nathan Ballingrud. (Have I mentioned how much I enjoyed NALM? Yes, you need it.

Daniel Menaker on publishing industry insanity. What Does the Book Business Look Like on the Inside?

Meghan Arcuri gives a great recap of this year's Anthocon.

AND...last but certainly not least, I give you three wonderful stories that are FREE to read.

PUSH WITH ALL YOUR LOVE by KL Pereira @ The Golden Key

SWIM WANTS TO KNOW IF IT'S AS BAD AS SWIM THINKS by Paul Tremblay @ Bourbon Penn

SALVAGES by Gabrielle Hovendon @ Whiskeypaper

Enjoy this little roundup? Let me know and I'll keep 'em coming.