Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Tear in Your Beer

Just in case you're on the fence about attending N@B in Corydon, IN. next week, lemme float this out there: Matthew McBride says he'll have early paperback copies of his novel Frank Sinatra in a Blender available to purchase and sign and all that.

How much the shit is Frank Sinatra? So much the shit that Ken Bruen wrote it a helluva introduction in which he claims that reading McBride for the first time was comparable to his first samplings of James Crumley and Daniel Woodrell... Ouch.

And lemme tell you kids, as good as Blender is  (and it is teh good shits - what is the saying, if a chainsaw is in the trunk in the first act then it has to be used in the third?), I think there is even better stuff in store for McBride readers. Evidence? How 'bout the story he read at N@B Coydon last year Big Darlene the Sex Machine (available in Beat to a Pulp: Round Two) and his contribution to Noir at the Bar Vol. 2 - The Tar Hole - probably my single favorite McBride piece yet.

Why is that? 'Cause it's got all the crazy McBride stuff you love, but it comes with an additional dimension of heart that frankly caught me off guard. Don't get me wrong it's been in previous stories, but always in a supporting role to the batshit mayhem - not this time. Nope, this time McBride is out to break your hard, pea-sized heart and damned if he don't squeeze blood from a gallstone.

And he ain't alone. I've long been a fan of the medically-accurate, fluid-heavy, comedic body-horror of Glenn Gray, but Venice Beach Birthday Boogie (included in Noir at the Bar Vol. 2 - as well as the upcoming issue of Needle magazine) has a lot of heart too. It's a bittersweet musclehead coming of age story that reads like memoir - which is to say, the author's personal connection to the time and place and characters depicted, rings authentic and sincere in a way that say - Intubation (his wonderfully bent story from Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels) - ...doesn't.

So take that, fence-sitters. Beef O'Brady's is gonna be extra meaty Saturday night, and I wanna see you there.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Argo Fuck Yourself

F*ckload of Scotch Tape has a DVD release date - Halloween - and as a very special feature it will include Paul von Stoetzel's short film Viscosity - which I'll be catching again on the big screen on November 19 during the St. Louis International Film Festival. FLOST just had three screenings at the Chicago International Film Festival - none of which I was able to attend, but it sounds like Julian Grant and crew enjoyed the turnout and feedback.

Something that I was able to attend last week - Daniel Woodrell's stop at the St. Louis County Library where he read a lengthy passage from his next novel The Maid's Version for the very first time - suck it, rest of the world. Declan Burke wrote this piece about DW for the Irish Times recently. Nice. Also, got to see Dennis Lehane that week in St. Louis and he says Ben Affleck will be adapting Live By Night as his next film (the second Lehane adaptation for Affleck after Gone Baby Gone). Took in Affleck's latest, Argo this week and he continues to impress me as a film maker - nothing particularly new or gimmicky, just solid fast-ball down the middle film making that featured at least three fantastic sequences.

Had coffee with N@B alum Tim Lane the other night and he told me that digital issues of his underground comic Belligerent Piano will soon be available from Fantagraphics. If Noir at the Bar Vol. 2 is your very first exposure to Lane's work - do yourself a favor and check out his book Abandoned Cars or avail yourself of these digital comics - his work is amazing and our slap-dash reprinting of his story Spike isn't the glorious full-page presentation his work deserves.

You want some more good news on the pulp fiction publishing front? Looks like Thuglit will soon be available for Kindle as well as in print. Todd Robinson is working hard so all you degenerates can take your lumps in the manner of your choosing. This is teh goods. Meanwhile Out of the Gutter continues its transformation from old-school pulp mag to digital sleazine with this call for submissions for issue #8. Ryan Sayles? Tom Pitts? Whoever over there is the one to see - N@B is sending Sonia L. Coney your way, I hopes ya pay attention.

Matthew McBride has a helluva entertaining conversation with actor/writer W. Earl Brown over at Got Pulp? Brown is best known for his role as Dan Dority on Deadwood, but he's been in tonsashit, and apparently was a classmate of Scully herself, Gillian Anderson. Go the hell read it. I'd love to see McBride interview more folks, he got in there good.

I'm looking forward to seeing Matt and other N@B survivors like Frank Bill, David James Keaton and Les Edgerton in Corydon, Indiana next Saturday, November 3. Sounds like the Booked podcast crew will be hauling some folks down from Chicago (perhaps more N@B pals like Richard Thomas, Dan O'Shea and Kevin Lynn Helmick?) Anyhow, go the hell to Beef O'Brady's Saturday night - we'll put on a helluva show - promise. Have you seen the cover of Les's next book, The Rapist? Good gawd, that's striking. And Helmick's got a hot novella tearing ass down the lost highway in a matter of weeks, look for Driving Alone soon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The O'Brady's Bunch

Say you'll be there. And then be there. Shit, last year's Beef O'Brady's throwdown for the release of Crimes in Southern Indiana was wicked sick fun. I got the ridiculous honor of reading with Donald Ray Pollock as well as N@B stalwarts Frank Bill, Scott Phillips, Kyle Minor, Matthew McBride, Aaron Michael Morales and Rod Wiethop. At the event I saw Richard Thomas and met Robb Olson, Livius Nedin, Chad Eagleton, Chris Deal and one David James Keaton.

A year later and another edition of Noir at the Bar (the book) - this one featuring Frank, David and a certain Les Edgerton (all who will be reading in Corydon) -  and we're ready to do it again. I'm really looking forward to meeting this cat Kirby Gann too. His book Ghosting has been high on my TBR list for months.

So, come out and see us at Beef's.

And for fuck's sake, if you're in Chicago over the next week - try the hell to get a seat for one of the three Chicago International Film Festival screenings of F*ckload of Scotch Tape (Oct. 18, 20 & 23). Director Julian Grant will be there for each - go tell him how big his balls are and find out his new one Sweet Leaf is going (then be sure to drop me the skinny here).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

In the Wake of the Boucher

Had a blast in Cleveland... like this:

Won first place in the Johnny Shaw Look-alike contest

Finally got to hang out with the cool kids at the Wonderbar (Eric Beetner, Josh Stallings, Dan O'Shea, Les Edgerton, John Kenyon, Jonathan Woods, Glenn Gray, Todd Robinson, John Stickney, Mike Dennis, Chris F. Holm, Sabrina Ogden, Greg Bardsley, Fleur Bradley, Kent Gowran, Peter Farris, Thomas Pluck, Peter Rozovsky)

Got to party in the 582 w/ Gray, Gowran, Shaw, Pluck and Robinson - where many films, real and imagined, were discussed in great detail. What imaginary films? The porno classic Five Easy Nieces, among others. But you wanna know who wins the imaginary film award? Stephen Romano, that's who. Check the hell out of his book Shock Festival, it's a-fucking-mazing. Right up the dark little alley of folks who dig the fake-sploitation vibe of shit like Blood & Tacos. (BTW - me and Robinson are cooking up a B&T-esque publication for fake cozies... Yarn & Whiskers or some shit - look sharp).

Discussed many late eighties/early nineties rock anthems and their excellent placement within my stories, as well as my/our love for them with Drew Thompson. We also suspect that Ben LeRoy and Jennifer Jordan really are on our wave-length, deny as they might that they are. Also, big thanks to Drew for pointing out the L.A. Guns/Guns 'n Roses connection that I was completely unaware of. (Also discussed - Firehouse, Warrant, Poison, Slaughter, AC/DC, Skid Row, White Snake, Cinderella, Bon Jovi, Nelson, Shark Island... Christopher Cross and Henry Rollins)

Celebrated 100,000 copies of Already Gone sold with John Rector. Holy shit... also we agreed that Sean Doolittle's Lake Country would hit that mark in a just universe.

Creeped out Frank Wheeler Jr.'s lovely wife... it was really easy. Hardly fair. I hope I have another chance to make a last impression some day.

Got to hand out contributor and blurber copies of Noir at the Bar Volume 2 to Glenn Gray, Robert Randisi, Duane Swierczynski, Jon McGoran, John Rector, John Connolly and Sophie Littlefield (as well as a blurbage copy of A F*ckload of Shorts to Dave Zeltserman). Sold out of N@B2 tho. So, sorry you other contributors and blurbers, I've got more ordered and will get them out as soon as I can.

Nice bar chats with Tim Hennessy, Craig McDonald, Sophie Littlefield, Martyn Waites and Christa Faust - who had the best advice of the weekend (shave your balls) - later with Kenneth Wishnia, John McFetridge and Otto Penzler (who seemed to think I was claiming to be Scott Phillips - he wasn't buying it). By far, the most engaging chat with a stranger (already racked up good, teary/beery ones with Gray & Bardsley) was with the guy who turned out to be J.I. Baker, author of The Empty Glass (which has been drawing my eye from from out of the TBR pile for months - re-fucking-solved, I'm going to read the shit out of this one), by the way, thanks to Kyle Minor for setting that one in motion.

Took a long walk with Mr. Shaw and Helen Smith while we searched for Stuart Neville's Ratlines party. Never found it - sorry Paul Oliver - we really did try to find it, but it was a lovely stroll in the bracing, sober-making Cleveland wind.

Picked up copies of Kenyon's The First Cut, Stallings' Beautiful Naked & Dead, Jim Fusili's latest, The Protectors anthology edited by Pluck, Both Barrells - the Shotgun Honey anthology edited by Gowran, Ogden, Chad Rohrbacher and Ron Earl Phillips and Beetner's Dig Two Graves - which I read on the plane, and which has almost everything I ever wanted to know about prison blowjobs in its brief 130 pages. Loved it.

I also picked up an extra copy of Bardsley's Cash Out, which was released on the unsuspecting public yesterday. I read this one a couple years ago and just re-read it last week in preparation for seeing Bards - it's that good. Fans of his short fiction will be pleased as this one features many of his beloved oddities - Calhoun, Crazy Larry, The New Guy and Janice From Finance. Do yourself a big ol' solid and dig in to this slice of nuts (there's a pun in there). While you're at it, dig that P.S. section in the back of the book which features an interview with the author, conducted by yours truly as well as an author-recommends section where Greg gives us the hard sell folks like Charlie Huston, Victor Gischler, Jess Walter, Matthew McBride and more.

Back home and out of N@B2 - sit tight contributors, I've got more ordered - but damn - it's had a good opening week, (as has N@B1). I found some new reviews of Julian Grant's F*ckload of Scotch Tape  this morning. Some love it, some hate it. Tell you what, kids - this movie is polarizing critics, and that's cool. Frankly, I'd feel awfully strange with nothing but positive comments out there. My stories (and Julian's films) certainly aren't for everybody. That said, I tell you what, I'm gonna go ahead and ask for a few more reviews up on Amazon or  BN.Com or Goodreads just on your blog, magazine or wherever for A F*ckload of Shorts. I'll give you till November first to post one, at which time I'll draw a couple names from those who've posted reviews - don't have to love it - and send the winners a copy of Cash Out by Greg Bardsley. Now that should be motivation. Just be sure to alert me to your review, so you'll be eligible.

Tomorrow night Daniel Woodrell will be in St. Louis at the Frontenac branch of the library, and Saturday, in the same spot, is Dennis Lehane. Guess my plans are made.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Off to Cleveland this weekend. Looking forward to seeing all of you Friday night at The Wonderbar. Bring some cash for paper books (I'll have A F*ckload of Shorts and Noir at the Bar Volume 2 with me) and your eReaders for instant downloading pleasure from Snubnose authors Eric Beetner, Dan O'Shea, Les Edgerton, Jonathan Woods, Josh Stallings and John Kenyon. No Ryan Sayles though. Apparently he'll be busy with his Out of the Gutter duties, and you'll just have to lump it.

Gonna be a crazy good week for authors in St. Louis when I get back. Thursday at the library is Daniel Woodrell and Saturday is Dennis Lehane. Must make mental note not to tie on a week-long hangover with roomies Glenn Gray and Todd Robinson.

N@B2 is moving fast. Remember, other than seeing me in person, the only way to get your own copy is from Subterranean Books in St. Louis. Booked Podcast spent an episode reviewing it and gave some special attention to Matthew McBride, Les Edgerton, Jon McGoran, Robert Randisi & Christine Matthews, Duane Swierczynski, David James Keaton and especially Jane Bradley. Give it a listen and hear Robb Olson get all choked up.

Been a while since I've posted at Ransom Notes, but today I've got a good 'un - an interview with Grant Jerkins author of A Very Simple Crime, At the End of the Road and The Ninth StepA Very Simple Crime has been optioned by Barbet Schroeder who's made a thing or two in his time (Barfly, Reversal of Fortune, Single White Female, Kiss of Death and the interesting miss Our Lady of Assassins). I'd love to see him score with a kick ass adaptation of Grant's sick ass book.