I'm honored to be this week's guest editor for Smokelong Quarterly. Check out the guidelines (1000 words max), and submit! All submissions are blind to avoid any bias/conflict of interest. I'll be reading all of the stories submitted during this week and selecting one for publication - AND giving away a signed copy of Safe Inside the Violence.
There's also a new interview with me up at the site that will give you an idea of the kind of stories I'm most interested in. Check it!
All packed and ready to head down to Necon this afternoon. To celebrate the 'original' launch date for the WRESTLETOWN crowdfunding campaign (you know, before I threw caution to the wind and jumped in with both feet a month ago) I have a little deal for anyone who pre-orders the book at the con. So hit me up! I'll have copies of Safe Inside the Violence, What Happened Here, Burn Cards, and Charred Kraken as well. In other thrilling news - I've joined LitReactor as a contributor! In addition to the local Grubstreet, LitReactor has been a major boon to my writing over the past several years. It's a favorite of mine for columns and reviews, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to get a monthly column off and running (more on that next month.)
Thanks again for all of the support - closing in on halfway to publication at our initial goal of 250 pre-orders!
In a bit of belated blogging news...SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE has been nominated for an Anthony Award for Best Anthology or Collection! Couldn't be more thrilled, humbled and honored to see it listed alongside such a fantastic line up of nominees - especially Protectors 2, which features my short story, "Snapshots."
BEST ANTHOLOGY OR COLLECTION Safe Inside the Violence - Christopher Irvin [280 Steps] Protectors 2: Heroes-Stories to Benefit PROTECT - Thomas Pluck, editor [Goombah Gumbo] Thuglit Presents: Cruel Yule: Holiday Tales of Crime for People on the Naughty List - Todd Robinson, editor [CreateSpace] Murder Under the Oaks: Bouchercon Anthology 2015 - Art Taylor, editor [Down & Out] Jewish Noir: Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds - Kenneth Wishnia, editor [PM]
Art Taylor quickly pulled us together last week for a little chat on short fiction. Check it out at SleuthSayers and give these books a look!
As you all know, reviews are a difference maker when it comes to visibility for books, doubly so for small press and lesser known authors.
In an effort to drum up some reviews, 280 Steps has put together a little promotion:
It's madness, I tell you!
Check out the details HERE - good luck and thanks as always for your support.
Back to work!
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.
BUT in the mean time, you can find me live with the wonderful Pam Stack tonight on Authors on the Air Radio. Stream the interview HERE, and if you'd like, you can call into the show at 347-633-9609. We'll talk SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE, books, crime fiction, you name it.
Should be fun! I've listened to many of Pam and Tom Pitt's interviews and they are all excellent.
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.
Thank you all for your continued support!
Happy Holidays! (too early? yeah...it's too early) BUT, this year I'm doing a little something special so I'm getting the word out in advance. I'm a big proponent in buying locally, especially books, and this year I finally put my money where my mouth is and purchased 99% of my books (a lot...seriously) from independent bookstores in and around Boston (most from the excellent Papercuts J.P.).
In an effort to expand this momentum, I have a deal for you!
If you purchase SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE from an independent bookstore between now and the end of the month, I'll mail you a *free* limited edition chapbook featuring four stories that didn't make the cut (due to length or theme, really) and killer artwork by my friend Joe DellaGatta.
Joe did the piece above a few years ago (as you can see by his signature block) for a time when I almost self-published my story "Bet It All On Black" - but I gave it one more shot and it was picked up by Thuglit. (hooray!) So now I can finally put this fantastic piece (and another for the back of the Chapbook) to use!
SO HOW DOES THIS WORK?
1) Purchase/Order a copy of SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE from your local, independent shop.
2) Take a photo and toss it somewhere on social media, or send me a PM. (But really, who doesn't like to share?)
3) I'll hit you up for your address and sometime between now and December 24th you'll have a chapbook in hand to read to your loved ones on Christmas morning/Annual Secular Story Time morning. (See, I got you covered)
But Chris! What if I have no local bookstores? That's a huge bummer, but luckily Brookline Booksmith has a plethora of signed copies AND SHIPS. Boom.
But Chris! I already bought a copy from my local bookstore. Well, you're awesome - more awesome than most. So why not buy a second copy as a gift? A book for a friend, a chapbook for you. Sounds like a winner to me.
PS - I'll be at Papercuts J.P. on 11/28 from 3-4pm for Small Business Saturday to push copies of SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE, AND an awesome selection of books by some of my favorite authors. See you then!
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!
SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE is now available through Amazon and your favorite independent bookstores (Give them the title or one of the ISBNs and you should be good to go.)
SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE ISBN-10: 8293326700 ISBN-13: 978-8293326700
Alex Segura interviewed me for his newsletter, Stuff & Nonsense. You can check out the interview HERE, but I also recommend subscribing. His weekly interviews (every Friday) cover a wide range of creatives and are always worth checking out. Do iiittttt.
I also received a bit of local coverage in the JP Gazette.
Here's my updated schedule through the holidays, including new stops in Libertyville, IL (north of Chicago) and Columbus, OH.
11/13 – Launch Party at Papercuts J.P. @ 7pm
11/18 – Reading event with Jason Starr at Brookline Booksmith @ 7pm
11/27 – Black Friday Signing at Dreamland Comics, Libertyville, IL @ 1-3pm
12/21 – Noir at the Bar Columbus at Kafe Kerouac @ 7pm (more details coming soon!)
As always, thank you all so much for your support and spreading the word. The run up to the book's release has been wonderful, and I hope you enjoy the collection. Thoughts/comments/reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are much appreciated!
See you on the road.
One week until SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE hits the shelves!
It was fun doing interviews for FEDERALES and BURN CARDS, but no one really put the screws to me with difficult questions - forcing me to reflect on my style, where the material comes from, my process, etc - until now. SW Lauden and Kurt Dinan do just that.
Updated list of events:
11/13 - Launch Party at Papercuts J.P. @ 7
Thanks again to everyone for their support. See you in a week!
Hey! It's a wonderful photo of Scott Adlerberg and his son reading together in NYC...and he's reading my book! Pretty cool, I think. Then things get a bit surreal. The photo (as of this posting) has now been viewed over 1.3 million times on imgur.com, spawned multiple threads on Reddit - BIG and small - even trending to #1 on the site.
The comments run the gamut of love and hate, speculation as to how Scott has a book that hasn't been released yet (BEAR IS DRIVING! HOW CAN THIS BE?) and arguments over whether or not the photo should have been taken and/or posted (over 1,000 comments as of this posting on the larger of the two threads.)
Scott's a friend and a terrific writer. He plans to touch on these events over at Do Some Damage in the near future, so I'll let the star of the show tackle his internet fame and use the rest of this space to clue you in on his books:
Jungle Horses is a hell of a tale that will take you on a mind-bending trip, and while you have to wait until early 2016 for Graveyard Love (I had the privilege of recently reading an ARC) you're in for something special. I won't spoil an ounce of plot, but there are echoes of both Les Edgerton's THE RAPIST and Tom McCarthy's REMAINDER in the best possible ways. Grab 'em while their hot and tell your friends.
Until next time.
Never a dull moment.
Greetings! I've been a bit absent from the blog (a new baby will knock it to the bottom on the list of priorities...) but I'm gearing up for Bouchercon and a busy fall with the release of my debut short story collection, SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE, so here goes a quick update:
No panels or readings for me (yet?) but I'll be dropping off a huge stack of ARCs and milling around the convention/bars for the long weekend. Thursday night's Noir at the Bar hosted by Eryk Pruitt is a must, as well as Tom Pitt's interview of Les Edgerton and Jack Getze on Friday. Looking forward to seeing a lot of great friends. Crime writers are the best.
I'll also have some copies of CHARRED KRAKEN for sale. $5 for 28 pages of kick ass weird noir with art by Artyom Trakanov, colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick, and letters by Thomas Mauer!
Still want a copy but not going to be at Bouchercon? Got you covered. The following weekend I'll have a table at...
October 17-18 - FREE comic con at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I'll be hanging at table D12 (Doucet Hall) with my buddy Joe DellaGatta. A lot of fantastic creators on the list this year. Come out and say hello!
And last but not least...
SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE TOUR
The Goodreads page is GO and pre-order is up on Amazon for paperback and e-book. Want to order from your local independent? Not a problem - they should be able to order it now as well, if not in the next week.
In the pipeline:
I'm hoping to do a little Black Friday signing in the Libertyville/Vernon Hills area north of Chicago, and a Noir at the Bar Columbus (Ohio) close to Christmas. Stay tuned!
One of the most exciting additions to Jamaica Plain in the last year has been Papercuts J.P.
Not only have they won recognition from the Boston Globe Magazine as Best of the New, from the Improper Bostonian as the Best Book Nook, and hosted a fantastic selection of authors, both local and from across the country - they've also been incredibly supportive of my writing. (See you in November!)
What better way to kick off a one year anniversary than with an exclusive collection?
Papercuts J.P is using Inkshares to publish an exclusive 300+ page collection of new and collected works from the authors that supported the store during its first year. I'm excited to be contributing a story in support of such a wonderful store - one that gave a serious booster shot to both my reading and writing. The story ties to a new piece I wrote for SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE (more on that later...) so it's safe to say if you are a fan of my previous work, you'll definitely want to consider pre-ordering a copy - not to mention for heavy-hitters including Abigail Thomas, author of A THREE DOG LIFE, and Chris Hedges, New York Times bestselling author of WAGES OF REBELLION.
Speaking of pre-orders - if you click the link above you'll see that the way Inkshares operates is by pre-order:
What this means, simply, is that this book will only be published if we can collect 1000 preorders of our book. We believe we can do this with your help! We have identified a strategic plan to get buzz building around our project and know this can happen if we work together, from the ground up. Publishing through Inkshares allows readers (you!) to decide what gets published—not editors or agents. We need your help to make this happen and we will do our damnedest not to disappoint.
I hope you give WHAT HAPPENED HERE a shot, and be sure to stop in Papercuts J.P. when next in Boston/Jamaica Plain!
Catch a sneak peek of SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE in the 280 Steps Sampler, as well new works from Ed Brock, Jonathan Ashley, Eric Beetner, Joe Ricker, and more.
Safe Inside the Violence by Christopher Irvin Out of Mercy by Jonathan Ashley Thieves' Market by A.I. Bezzerides Long Haul by A.I. Bezzerides You Can Kill Anyone by Leonard Fritz Dirty Water by Marc E. Fitch To The Core by Josh K. Stevens Pale in Death by Ed Brock
Delving Deeper by Josh K. Stevens Walkin' After Midnight by Joe Ricker HASHTAG by Eryk Pruitt Rumrunners by Eric Beetner Scratch the Surface by Josh K. Stevens Burn Cards by Christopher Irvin
The Cost of Doing Business by Jonathan Ashley Stumped by Rob Kitchin The Red Right Hand by Joel Townsley Rogers Music for the Dead by Luis Gutiérrez Maluenda A Night for Screaming by Harry Whittington The Shooting Gallery by Hugh C. Rae One-Eyed Jacks by Brad Smith The Carrier by Preston Lang Portrait in Smoke by Bill S. Ballinger Tough Luck L.A. by Murray Sinclair
SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE, a collection of short stories, available November 10 in Trade Paperback and eBook from 280 Steps. I'm very proud of how this book turned out - it's some of my most personal work - and I can't wait to share it with everyone in the fall. Stay tuned for more info!
Bonus - my first radio interview with Steven Nester on PRX for Poets of the Tabloid Murder went live this week. Steven is an excellent interviewer, and I had a lot of fun discussing BURN CARDS, noir, writing, and more. Check it out *HERE*