Monday, November 18, 2013

My Epic 3-Week(end) Promotional Tour For Peckerwood, the Book You Can Not Yet Buy!

Sheesh, what a fucking blast the last three weeks have been. You may think me foolish to embark on a book tour without a book, but that's how I roll. Though my novel Peckerwood was not yet available to purchase, it sure as shit was okay to talk about, which, come to think of it, may have been a good idea. I probably mentioned it once or twice on my journeys, but, truth be told, I was mostly having too good a time to exercise my considerable self-promotion muscles. So now let the self-serving begin.

First stop on the Noirvember to Remember tour was Minneapolis for N@B-TC where I finally touched hairy palms with Viscosity director Paul von Stoetzel. The event on Saturday night was a special unveiling of the teaser trailer Paul shot for his upcoming feature adaptation of Anthony Neil Smith's Hogdoggin' (and here is said trailer) and I was pleased to be introduced to producers Bridget Cronin and Chris Bueckers (who popped up as a character in Dennis Tafoya's new one, The Poor Boy's Game - yeah, I read it, yeah, kiss my ass, world) as well as the stars (wrestlers!) Scott Brault and Rob Ivy, N@B-TC community members (the lovely) Kristi Belcamino, (the robust) Dan Malmon and my hero (the handsome) Peter Dragovich, aka The Nerd of Noir.

John Kenyon kicked off the evening with his friggin frig-fest of a fracked-up story Cut (the titular uh, cut from his collection The First Cut and previously published in Blood, Guts & Whiskey). Paul turned to me later that evening and said, 'I love that story. I've read it before.' Yes, Paul's literacy was a surprise to me too, but not his taste, or lack of, friends, he likes the good/bad shit. (Perhaps the fact that I'm deducing literacy from 'reading' Thuglit is an event worth pondering - now, if the rag determining literacy's threshold was say... Grift, I'd be a little more comfortable.)

I followed Kenyon with my first public reading of my short story Hoosier Daddy. Have you, perhaps, read this story yourself? It's a tad... gross. How gross, exactly? Well, I'm pleased to report that it (or me) warranted walkouts from some in the crowd. This, this is a badge of honor, kids. I've been trying like hell for nearly five years of N@B events to do this, and it's finally happened. Thank you, Minnesota Nice for acknowledging my Missouri Norm.

Next up Anthony Neil Smith read the scene from Hogdoggin' that the teaser trailer focuses on. Billy Lafitte waking up in considerable discomfort in a dirty room while his captors argue over what to do with him now that one really went too far. A bit of an overreaction the fallout in flesh Billy discovers while they converse. You know the one. If you don't, you should. In fact, you should read all the Lafitte books pronto.
Neil Smith and Big Petey D.

More notable events of my time in Minneapolis - I met the inspirations for several of my, um, fictions on the set of a locally produced film. First up, my earliest and arguably deepest celebrity crush Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert whom I had the opportunity to discuss crime fiction with briefly and inadvertently insult one of her good friends, and whom apparently doesn't wear pig tails any more... sigh. Still mighty purty, though.

Add a, less eventful than I always imagined it would be, brief encounter with Jeannie herself, Barbara Eden, from I Dream of Jeannie, and you've taken a big step toward fulfilling my life goals. Next up on my wish list of dream encounters: Erin Gray, Lynda Carter, Ann-Margret and (I understand you'll have to work up some serious time-travel mojo here, but it's my fantasy, okay?) Elizabeth Montgomery.

Minneapolis tales do not end there though. Sunday night Paul took me to the Twin Cities Horror Festival where a one act play he directed was debuting. Trust and Obey, written by Tim Uren and inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's The Temple, and Stephen King-Hall's Diary of a U-Boat-Commander. Good shit, that. Minimal sets and maximal actoring from the cast (which included Shad Cooper of Viscosity infamy) cast a haunty atmosphere that would surely agitate even your below-average claustrophobe.

The next day I sat in the airport for several hours after being bumped from my flight home in the company of some damn good books. In fact, my extended layover gave me the opportunity to read Dennis Tafoya's The Poor Boy's Game off my computer machine - a rare feat, tho one I was all too happy to attempt (and accomplish!) for this book. Hot damn, more on this book in later posts.
With Tim Hennessy, Frank Bill and Frank Wheeler Jr.
Noir Trek continued the next weekend at Murder & Mayhem in Muskego just outside of Milwaukee, where I joined twenty-some authors of criminal fictions in a weekend of copious consumptions, ego-polishing and general jackassery in the name of the Crimespree family and Jon and Ruth Jordan in particular.

My first trip to Castle Crimespree commenced with the chauffeur stylings of (Dreamy-Eyes) Tim Hennessy and an amazing Milwaukee lunch with Tim and Harry Hunsicker where we discussed, among other things, the advisability of funding your fetish-purposed amputation by robbing liquor stores. Afterward I got the castle tour and imbibed more of Milwaukee's best (not Milwaukee's Best) and an introduction to more swell people as well caught up with N@B pals Dan O'Shea, Sean Doolittle, Frank Bill, Frank Wheeler Jr., Duane Swierczynski and Hilary Davidson.

Saturday I took part (a small part) in a panel Tim ruled over and got my name said in the company of Frank & Frank, Megan Abbott, Reed Farrel Coleman and Hilary. It was fun. I spent the rest of the daytime hours chatting with great folks and signing books (when I was pretending to be Marcus Sakey or Greg Hurwitz - hahahahaha good luck selling THOSE on eBay, ladies!), and that evening doing more of the same.
Good times and conversations especially with Kieran Shea, Chris F. Holm, Frank and Marie, Frank and Jenn, Tim and Carrie, Rod and Judy, Dan and Kate, Mike and Tess, Alex Segura, Jen Jordan, Dave Wahlman, Jeremy Lynch as well as a special quick chat with Benjamin LeRoy.

And keeping with the Minneapolis streak of random celebrity encounters, I shared an awkward moment with Danny Trejo in a Milwaukee bar. Put a fork in me.

See, I'm not done.

Next up on the Noir is Hell tour was Indianapolis for the inaugural N@B-Indy at Fountain Square Brewing Company - and man, did I have some awesome beers there. This one was a blast. Clayton Lindemuth kicked off the evening with a reading from Cold, Quiet Country. You need to read this book, kids. Pick it up now so you'll be ready for his next novel The Eyes of the Wicked Shall Fail next year.

Next up, James Ward Kirk sidestepped straight-up crime fiction with the horror-tinged selection from his considerable catalog of scary shit. Robb Olson and Livius Nedin from Booked were onhand clandestinely recording all this shit and have just put the first of four episodes chronicling the event on the web. Episode one is here featuring Clayton and James.

Next up, I ripped the microphone straight out of the stand and read an excerpt from Peckerwood previously published in Thuglit as 1998 Was a Bad Year and currently available in my collection A F*ckload of Shorts. Sean Leonard, who was in attendance, told me that he was reading Peckerwood currently and I cut out a couple of spoilers just for him, though, I think he was plenty pissed at me anyway. Sorry, man, characters die.

Immediately afterward I got to introduce our host for the evening, and the guy who made it all happen, CJ Edwards. He read his story in English even though its first publication was in Russian (in a Ukrainian issue of Esquire magazine, no less). I understand that it'll finally be published in English in the next issue of Plots With Guns, and of course you'll be able to hear it on Booked sometime this week, but let me just say that the description of the K-9 unit chomping into the dude in the bathtub... made an impression.

As is wont to happen every time these guys share a bill, David James Keaton followed Officer Edwards with a cop-baiting selection from his collection Fish Bites Cop. Did I brag yet about having written the introduction to this book? Well, I did and you can't take that away from me. If you've never read Nine Cops Killed For a Goldfish Cracker, do so now - it'd make Ice-T blush.

After Keaton, because we made Keaton follow him in St. Louis, Les Edgerton brought some serious weight to the proceedings with his story The Mockingbird Cafe from his collection Monday's Meal. I see that New Pulp Press is releasing Edgerton's The Bitch in paperback early next year. You, my friends, should put your hands all over that one as soon as you can.

And closing out the evening, mopping up all the spilled class and toasting crass with a goblet of fire, Scott Phillips brought it all down with a tasty, tasteless passage from Rake - reminding us all that nobody crosses lines like our hero.

Afterward I grabbed fish tacos and black beans (not metaphors) with Robb, Livius and Scott before driving home with the spectral image of Caleb J. Ross leering at me from the passenger seat like Lawrence Tierney in The Devil Thumbs a Ride (don't ask me, ask him how he got there). I drove through some pretty severe weather, pulled over around one in the morning to nap in the parking lot of a Best Western, and arrived home just after four in the morning. Kind of a blast. I want to go again.

So that's my story. I will let you know when Peckerwood is available and get you stoked for N@B-STL on December 7th with William Boyle, Jake Hinkson, J. David Osborne, Ande Parks, senor Phillips and myself. It's gonna be huge.

1 comment:

Les Edgerton said...

That were fun, Jed! You are always the funniest and biggest guy in the room. Can't wait to get hold of some PECKERWOOD! Then, I can walk around in the bathhouse, yelling, "I got wood!"