Derring-do

We interrupt our scheduled non-updating of this blog to thank the members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society for the very flattering 2011 Derringer Award nomination for my short story “Care of the Circumcised Penis,” originally published by turbo-editor Todd Robinson in his third and final Thuglit anthology Blood, Guts, and Whiskey. Yep, I said it:  Penis. Happy congrats to all the other nominees.

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Other Things I Did This Summer

1. Drove to St. Louis. Heard Richard Russo speak. Heard Steve Ewing sing.

2. Finished growing out fingernail mangled in January snowblower incident. 

3. Built a fence.

4. Learned how to drive a boat.

5. Ate tapas with Mankind in North Chicago.

6. Met Lady Deadpool.  

7. Went 9, par, 8, par, bogey, par, bogey, par, par.

8. Forgot to pay water bill.

9. Stopped updating website and went to pay water bill.

Special Acknowledgements:  Jedidiah Ayers, St. Louis Public Library, Scott & Carol Kirchner, Brian Azzarello, Jill Thompson, R.D. & Amy Hall, Marcus & G.G. Sakey, Mark Kidwell, Thurston “Victor Gischler” Howell, and Jordan Global Media Corp.

Air

This week I finished a novel. It was a long haul and an instructive experience and I may just write about it here one day. For now, here are a few books I should have been talking up long ago. And not just because they were all written by buddies. Readers, have I ever steered you wrong?

After the Workshop, by John McNally. Oh, man, did I enjoy this book. First of all,  John McNally writes with an old-fashioned device that I still enjoy:   a voice. And I  do like books about the writing life, especially when they’re satires and  comedies.  In my library, this one goes right up  there with Russo’s Straight Man and Chabon’s  Wonder Boys, and I’ll revisit it  again for entertainment and comfort as the years go by.

So Cold the River, by Michael Koryta. This is Koryta’s breakout book, and you’ll see  why when you read it, even if you’ve never read him before. I like how this guy rolls.  In an age of social networking and hectic self-promotion, Koryta, for some crazy  reason, is  still fixated and what matters most to good fiction:  craft and story. And  he’s not even  30. I have a right to despise him for that, but he’s too good, so I  forgive him. Buy it  now, and read it when the leaves are changing.  If you don’t have  leaves that change where you live, go ahead and read it now.

The Deputy, by Victor Gischler. You say you like Victor’s work for Marvel Comics  titles like Deadpool, X-Men, and The Punisher?  Me, too. You like gonzo crossover    fiction like Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse and Vampire a Go-Go? Me, too. But  once  upon a time, Gischler was known primarily for writing straight-up  crime  fiction  the way only Victor Gischler can write it, and here’s proof. If you  also like  books that feature a protaganist whose gun and badge are so heavy that they pull  down  the  waistband of his sweatpants when he goes to work,  you’ll want to look  into this one.

The Cold Kiss, by John Rector. This one’s still hot off the press, so get it while it’s  piping. A tight, character-driven noir tale set in a roadside motel during a blizzard.  If you need more of a description than that, then you and I differ. But you  can still  trust my judgement. This book is in development as a feature film, but  you’ll want  to read the book before you see the movie. This John Rector is on his  way places.  Check it out and you’ll see.

Adjustment

I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like. This piece, created by my old friend Debra Baxter–renowned Seattle sculptor, recent Jentel artist-in-residence, and kid sister of my even older friend Dave–is entitled, “I am going to realign your chakras mother******”. Enjoy.

Who Dat?

I followed sports when I was in high school. Mostly pro football and pro basketball (no doubt because, in high school, I played football and basketball). Then I graduated and moved on to other things, and my interest as a mainstream sports fan just sort of dried up, and for the next 20 years or so I remained utterly unplugged.

Monday night football? Not while Northern Exposure was on. SportsCenter? Couldn’t have told you where to find ESPN on the local cable menu. Jim Rome who? Rick Reilly what? Even as recently as this past summer, when famous quarterback Tom Brady posted a cameo on HBO’s Entourage, my wife asked me who he played for, and I honestly couldn’t tell her. Had to look it up on the Internet. True story.

Now, suddenly, this fall, after nearly two decades of genuine disinterest, for reasons I can’t begin to fathom, I find myself interested again. Monday night football? Check. SportsCenter? 732 on the high-def tier. Jim Rome, AM 590, 11-2 daily. 

It’s been sort of surreal. The last time I knew anything about the New Orleans Saints, they were the pencil nobody wanted. You couldn’t trade one for anything.  You just had to throw them away without even sharpening them.

I guess all of this is going the long way around the barn to say that I can’t believe more people haven’t noticed Will Ferrell playing quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Werewolves, Witches, Zombies, Sorcerers, Battle Jesuits, and Vampires of Prague

vampire_a_go-goGood buddy Victor Gischler’s new book, Vampire A Go-Go, hit the streets this week. I read this book in manuscript (under its superior previous title, Bad Alchemy),  and it’s  great, but only if you like things that are smart, funny, mildly insane, and compulsively entertaining. Check it out.

Fresh Tasty Summer Produce

Let’s see. Who’s up to what around here?

UncageMefpocover

First there’s turbo-editor Jennifer Jordan, of Jordan Global Media, and her eagerly anticipated new short story anthology Uncage Me. This book is filled with pals and all-around fine writers, and they’re all on their games here. I managed to get my hands on an advance copy of this one a few months back, and it’s a shot of hot sauce. I like hot sauce. Check it out.

 

 

060409_deadpool-tmThe Summer of Gischler kicked off awhile back with Deadpool:  Merc with a Mouth. That’s Part 1 of 6, fans.

This, I do believe, is the comic Victor was born to write. Victor’s got several hundred novels and other funny books coming in the next couple of months, so keep your eyes peeled.

 

Remember back a couple of posts–ie, moons–ago, when I was talking about John Rector and his harebrained Kindle self-publishing scheme for a book called The Grove? Well, well, well. Since then, John has officially sold his first novel to the smart folks at TOR. Or is it technically his second novel? Doesn’t matter, it’s a great book called The Cold Kiss, and it’ll be out next year. Congrats, Mr. Rector. Oh, and it turns out The Grove is selling like hot cakes. Shows what I know. . . .

 

 

koryta_Mr. Michael “LA Times Book Prize, Suckers!” Koryta has a new book hot off the press. It’s called The Silent Hour, and I’d be reading it now if I weren’t waiting to pick up my copy at The Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, AZ, where I’ll be signing books with Koryta and Mr. Christopher Reich on August 15. Come see us if you’re in the neighborhood, but either way, check this one out.