Monday, August 22, 2011

An Anthology of Anthologies

Hey there, kids. Pull up a seat, set a while.

No, not there. That's the broken chair.

So, your uncle Jimmy's been hard at work along with his co-conspirators on The Project That Cannot Yet Be Named. But August has been quite the month for me, fiction-wise. Though I haven't been able to write a whole lot of it these days, I sure as hell have had quite a chunk of it become available for public consumption lately.

But before we get into that, let's address some celluloid, shall we? Firstly, that workhorse, Alec Cizak, has got a brand-new entry over at Let's Fight Everybody! about 1982's Fighting Back. If you're even passingly familiar with the good Mr. Cizak's critical writings, you know he's not one to pull any punches, and this entry is no different, giving the Reagan years the kick in the balls they deserve, even after (especially after?) all this time. Meanwhile, over at the Crimespree blog, they've been running a li'l series on the guilty pleasures of various and sundry writers, and yours truly was recently asked to confess to his own. Like so many, I tend to feel one shouldn't feel guilty for anything that gives them pleasure (unless one takes pleasure in rape or cutting me off in traffic). In fact, I was hard-pressed to think of any of the stupid, goofy movies I do love as really guilt-inducing. And then it hit me: 10 Things I Hate about You. Yeah, there's no getting out of that one, is there?


A few months back, Chris Rhatigan and Nigel Bird wrote me to ask if I'd like to be involved with a little e-book they were putting together, an anthology based around the soundtrack to that ol' crime-film stand-by, Pulp Fiction. Naturally, my answer was a resounding affirmative, and the title assigned me was "Misirlou," which suited me right down to the ground, hardcore Dick Dale fan that I am. Rhatigan and Bird truly knocked themselves out, rounding up such big-name contributors as Gary Phillips, Hilary Davidson, and Allan Guthrie. And finally all that hard work paid off in the form of Pulp Ink. This little bastard of an antho is now available at the Amazon Kindle store (and if you're reading these words over Labor Day weekend 2011, it is right now a mere 99 cents)(!), and also at Smashwords for all your non-Kindle e-reader needs. This antho also includes stories by such close, personal friends of mine as Matty Funk, Jason Duke, and AJ "Billy Bob" Hayes. So get to downloading. You bring your pair of pliers and blowtorch, and we'll supply the rest.

At last year's Bouchercon in San Francisco, California, I had a hell of a time meeting and greeting so many writers whose work I enjoy. Meeting these folks in the flesh was a tremendous, booze-soaked blast, and had that been all that came of my experience, these friendships and bouts of partying, I'd have been pleased as punch. But something else came of this wild weekend as well. See, Greg Bardsley and Kieran Shea were already favorite writers of mine, and within minutes of meeting them, they'd become swell drinking buddies as well. But as we sat around the hotel bar with the above-mentioned Messrs. Funk and Duke, as well as my hive-mind roommate, Cameron Ashley, Greg and Kieran hipped us to this anthology they were putting together, an anthology wherein all the stories would be based around America's 46th vice-president. Naturally, we were all put into paroxysms of giggles, but then these two nuts asked us if we wanted in on this action. I daresay I needn't tell you what our collective answer was. It's been nearly a year since that fateful eve, but it has arrived: D*CKED: Dark Fiction Inspired by Dick Cheney is now available for your Kindle, your Nook, and even in glorious old tree-killin' print. Not only need I thank Greg, Kieran, and the luscious Jed Ayres for including me in this fine collection of patriotic fiction, but especially to Mr. Greg Bardsley, my heartfelt and sincere thanks in getting me to really punch the ending in. The original draft was suitable, but Greg felt I could do better, and goddamn if he wasn't right.

Hey, I'm glad you mentioned Greg: not long ago, that stalwart monolith of the publishing industry, Publishers Weekly, previewed an anthology that Mr. Bardsley is to be published in. This particular anthology is entitled Crime Factory: The First Shift, and the reviewer has some very kind words for some of the stories, like Dave White's and Dave Zeltserman's. But as for that Greg Bardsley's "Microprimus Volatitus," "revolting" is the watch word of the day.

Now lest you think I should agree with this assessment, allow me to assure you that I absolutely do, one hundred percent. In pure point of fact, after reading the above-mentioned story, I immediately wrote to Mr. Bardsley and informed him that he was (and I believe these were my exact words) "a sick fuck." I also then expressed my continuing envy of his body of work and how I greedily anticipated more.

Oh, did I mention that I too have a story in this self-same anthology? And did I also mention that I, in fact, am co-editor of this book, along with Cameron Ashley and Keith Rawson? I must be slipping, in which case allow me to mention here that Crime Factory: The First Shift is now available for pre-order in anticipation of its official release later this month of September 2011. So order now and prepare to revel in all of its revolting glory.

Now, I know and you know that Christmas is for suckers. But I also know as you must that to refuse to participate in the yearly Christmas shopping season will only contribute to our fair nation's continued economic decline. So as long as it falls upon your shoulders to keep the country--and by extension, the very world!--from further financial collapse, why not buy one or all of the books mentioned above? You'll keep America financially strong yet still add to its cultural downward spiral. Everybody wins!

See you next month, my children.

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