Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year And "The Pint Of No Return"

As we enter 2009, Paulie Decibels rings us in with a tale of love lost, and lost again. We're talking a story of Six Sentences that warns us to be extra careful when you go past "The Pint of No Return."

Happy New Year to everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best Of: "Warmer"

Okay, there are only two more "best ofs," left, then the series goes into hibernation until spring. 2008 was not a fun year in virtually any aspect, though the most fun I've had besides reading the fine fiction of others and getting published, is when Aldo, Gerald, and Patti put together a flash fiction challenge.

"Warmer" takes a hide and seek game that we all played as children, and takes it a step further. Also, note that I still wouldn't be able to pick the antagonist of this story in a crowd, even if you spotted me a video of that person.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Caption Contest #1

Here we go, this is simple enough...

...write a caption for this picture. What do you win? A mention of you or your blog, plus a large cup from my store and you the winner, get to chose which design (meaning from the Writeprocrast Cafepress Shop).

The rules are that you can only enter four times and what I mean by that, is that you can post only four comments. That doesn't mean that you can't have more than one caption in each comment, but I don't want to have to scroll way the hell down the page because someone posted more than four entries.

Fling your captions no later than 11:59 PM, January 9th, 2009. This contest is open to everyone that isn't family, and make me laugh, or make me think. Don't make me cry however, as that's the job of The Missus and she will put a hurt on you, which you won't forget in this lifetime or the next.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Oh, I've Got Your Noir

I said it before, and I'll say it again...of the five bouroughs in New York City, Akashic Books will not make a "Staten Island Noir." There's not to say that Call it a hunch or a gut feeling, but I know that I will be proven right on this one.

We straightened the house out before, during and after Christmas. I properly shelved my books this time, instead of the loose piles that I had in some wide-mesh cubicles and leaning towers of tomes that threatened to avalanche at any moment.

Not depicted but lurking somewhere in the apartment is "Havana Noir." Note the copy of "The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri" at the top of the picture that I have still yet to crack, in either Italian or English.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Eh, You Can't Win 'Em All

Dang, Meatloaf, two out of three ain't bad. L-i-n-g-o only got two hats at Eastern Standard Crime.

Hitchcock Versus Barbie?

Basically, what it came down to was years of resentment from all things avian over the that stupid Sing A Song Of Sixpence rhyme (eating them and running them over...literally at every turn, didn't help things along). The blackbirds tried to start an uprising through the poultry industry that was quietly, and swiftly crushed by Colonel Saunders, back in 1957.

Yet all the birds of the world would not stay silent and they waited to strike again, this time in 1963, in the Northern California town of Bodega Bay (a.k.a. "The Bay of Birds"). To commemorate their valiant, but inevitably futile battle, the birds of the world have issued a Barbie in memory of their fallen comrades.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas, Bah, Bug, And Hum!

Merry Christmas!
Happy Hanukkah!

Buon Natale!
Mele Kalika Maka!
Feliz Navidad!
Joyeux Noël!
Maligayang Pasko!
Geseënde Kersfees!

Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia!
God Jul!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Please, Take A Moment

One of my editor friends has a loved one who is going through surgery. I don't know if he wants the rest of the world to know about the situation, so I won't mention his name. If you could please take a moment to say a prayer for his loved one, I'd appreciate it.

Best Of: "Mistletoe"

This will be the last "best of" for awhile, and I'm posting it early, to avoid any conflicts with your Christmas/Hanukkah shopping, as well as mine. "Mistletoe" was the spur of the moment coda, for the next to last screenplay that I wrote. I figured that if a script reader read the first five pages and the last five, that this little addendum would help it sell better...guess not.

At any rate, enjoy Mistletoe and recreate the end scene while you are at it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Twist Of Noir Has "The Post-Nuptial" Up

If you haven't had the chance, A Twist Of Noir has The Post-Nuptial posted for your perusal. It's a warm and wonderful tale about a family reunion just before the holidays. With plenty of puppies, kittens, bunnies, flowers, kisses, and tear-filled hugs. Because those are the kinds of stories that I tell...

...and if you believe that, please make your non-tax deductible checks out to, "The Cormac Brown, woo-hoo, he's going to Vegas-bailout package."

So what are we actually talking about? We're talking about a beautiful actress who is as eccentric as she is electric. Her soon to be former husband who stands a good chance of getting the majority of her money, and her new beau, whom it turns out, may be far more effective than any practicing divorce lawyer. Think, not "love, American-style," but, "love, James Cain-style."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quoth Greg Hurwitz

"He leaned forward, jabbing a finger at the floor. 'Everything's a f*cking story. And you're letting this one languish. What you need is something to kick down the front door, come barreling into the plot, crashing into the story. Make you react. Make you act. But in the unlikely event that that isn't gonna happen, you need to uncover what happened. If you're not afraid to.' His gazed zeroed in on me; he'd sensed perhaps that he'd flicked vulnerability. 'A writer's job, perhaps more than any other, is not to be afraid of possibilites."

From "The Crime Writer" by Greg Hurwitz

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Best Of: "The Sound It Made When It Broke"

No, it's not December 22nd (or the sunset of December 21st), but let us celebrate Hanukkah early with The Sound It Made When It Broke. Actually, this story has very little to do with Hanukkah and everything to do with me being meshugganah. Nevertheless, nosh a little while you read this, and take the goyim out for Chinese food and a movie, so that they get the full-on experience.

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree

Writing, who knew it was genetic? Megan Abbott's mom Patti gives her daughter a run for her money with the story The Instrument of Their Desire.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quoth The Dahl

Two quotes from Roald Dahl, courtesy of his IMDB bio...

A writer of fiction lives in fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not.

A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


She was passive-digressive.

When her ex-boyfriend said, "you're lending me your car," she replied, "remember when we drove to Oregon?" as she handed him her keys. Mind you, he wasn't asking and she didn't even blink or hesitate.

When her mother said, "we're having Thanksgiving at your place," despite the fact that we all knew that her apartment was too small, she replied, "I love stuffing; who doesn't?" I was only half as shocked that time, because I knew that changing the subject was her only form of protest.

To compensate for the many parasites and jerks in her life, I went out of my way not to agitate her or raise my voice...even on the rare occasion when I would've been well within my rights. So I was taken aback when she told me, "we're having corned beef for dinner tonight," knowing full well that I abhorred the stuff. There were leftovers the next day and I ate those also without complaint as well.

She had me over for dinner that next Friday night and I had to cancel out at the last minute, because of a work emergency. I tried to make it up to her the following morning with flowers and a CD, so she invited me in for breakfast...for fresh corned beef hash.

So I never called...or emailed...or called on her again...though I did send her a case of stuffing for her birthday.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday's Forgotten Books

Before you hit your library, used or new bookstore, it's always a good idea to pop on Patti Abbott's blog every week and view Friday's Forgotten Books. This week is no exception as Paulie Decibels added a Joe Keenan novel to this week's offerings.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Best Of: "Succuba"

Horror is hard for me to write. I find real life to far more scary and the trick with horror is to either come up with something that nobody has done before...or introduce a new perspective. I had to go with the latter and Succuba is the end result. If something in the basement sounds too good to be true...

A New Twist On Pop-Up Books

Are these ladies terrified at the possibility of having to read another one of my stories?

Eh, just the lass in the red. You can tell because she's actually considering strangling herself before reading yet even another word that I have written. As for the others? An artist named Liliac created three dimensional pop-up covers and collages out of existing book covers. I found this courtesy of The Rap Sheet.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm All Over The Place...Just Like The Splotchy Story Virus!

In a sense, I wasn't tagged by the same virus twice, but a variation by Bubs!

At any rate a refresher on the rules by Splotchy

Here's what I would like to do. I want to create a story that branches out in a variety of different, unexpected ways. I don't know how realistic it is, but that's what I'm aiming for. Hopefully, at least one thread of the story can make a decent number of hops before it dies out.

If you are one of the carriers of this story virus (i.e. you have been tagged and choose to contribute to it), you will have one responsibility, in addition to contributing your own piece of the story: you will have to tag at least one person that continues your story thread. So, say you tag five people. If four people decide to not participate, it's okay, as long as the fifth one does. And if all five participate, well that's five interesting threads the story spins off into.

Not a requirement, but something your readers would appreciate: to help people trace your own particular thread of the narrative, it will be helpful if you include links to the chapters preceding yours.

So here's Splotchy's starter paragraph in green...

The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me.

Then Bubs's follow up in blue...

Its owner, a fat shifty-looking hillbilly, slouched uncomfortably under the weight of his Bulgarian army surplus wool coat and cap. I could tell he wasn't cut out for this weather. He jerked around, almost spastic, when he felt the box tap against his feet. He gulped and stared at me bug-eyed, one obscene rivulet of sweat running down his temple, down along his jaw, finally disappearing somewhere between his second chin and the fake fur collar of his coat.

Right away, and for no good reason, he pissed me off.

Then here I go...

"What, are you scared?" I asked him. "It's just a box, cowboy up already, Jethro!"

I gently nudged the box towards him and he ran for the rear exit, pulling the stop cord as if the very act would stop the bus. As the vehicle finally came to a stop, he ran screaming down the street as if he were on fire. I figured that the box held a puppy or a kitten, though I was worried because it had yet to mew or yip. I carefully picked the box up and put it down in the hillbilly's vacated seat.

I opened it and a claw like that of a hawk yanked the top closed. The claw had jade-colored scales and a yellow fringe. I don't know what possessed me, but I braved another peek under the lid and two bright ruby-red eyes looked back at me...

I tag...uh, this one is open to whoever wants to do it.

P.S. Flannery might and Paulie Decibels just built on to Veronica's contribution for the original story virus.

The Reason You Are Here And No, This Isn't Existence-Related

This post is not existence-related nor is it a koan. It isn't necessarily related to my blog and this sure isn't about what your parents did years ago to bring you into this world. This is why you are here-

Forty years ago, today, a demo of the first PC was given at the Civic Center in San Francisco. One thousand people witnessed the very thing that would eventually connect the entire globe together, no matter how remote the area.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Don't Stop, Splotchy Time!

I have two posts already scheduled for Wednesday and those were to be the only posts for this week, barring any imminent publication news. Yet, when you get hit with a Spotchy story virus, you have no choice but to write or succumb.

Splotchy started it off (in green ink)...

The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me.

Then Chris chimed in with (in blue ink)...

I hunched down to see what it was, but as I did, the bus violently veered to left. I was thrown up against a heavyset Asian woman with blond hair. I pardoned myself, but she faced forward with no reply. Just then, a man wearing a jumpsuit of silver and gold stood up at the front of the bus. He was holding a megaphone and a box of graham crackers. He held the megaphone up to his face and began to speak...

And Then me...

"Don't look at me, keep your eyes on Mei Pak!" I looked over my shoulder and saw that the blonde Asian woman was deftly lifting my wallet and she almost had it out of my pants...which was really amazing considering I was sitting down. It was at this point that I had realized that while the bus driver was driving, he didn't look like any bus driver I had seen before. He was dressed like a pilgrim. After I had changed seats and some people got off, that had left me as the only person in normal attire. Mei Pak said to me...

Then Veronica emailed me this...

"Dude. Your eyes are really dilated. They look like fucking hockey pucks. What the hell are you on?"

I tried to answer, I tried to explain that I was not on anything. But as I opened my mouth to speak projectile vomit spew without warning. It was brown and sickly sweet smelling. I remembered the brownie I snatched from my brother's lunchbox just before I had left the house.

The bus halted. I was on the floor trying to focus when I felt the bus driver's hand on the back of my shirt. He dragged me forward, passing the box I had kicked and the discarded megaphone which I then realized were a woman's grocery bags and a Dunkin Donuts coffee cup respectively.
As the bus pulled away I sat on the curb. OK, I'm frying. I can accept that. And this is New York; it is actually possible there was a pilgram and a guy wearing a silver and gold jumpsuit on the bus. 'Happens every day.

I patted my ass and hips, and I confirmed that my wallet really was gone. And so was my Blackberry. I looked around trying to get a grip on where exactly I was.

That's when I saw the newstand. And the newspapers. And the headlines, which all read -

Then Paulie Decibels emailed me this beaut...

‘Di and Dodi Didn't Die!’ My jaw dropped so much that you could have scraped litter from my bottom lip. I held my breath and started to count to ten but the heaving kicked in around six as I tried to focus on the rest of the story and how the press, police and secret services were trying to track down the paparazzi scum who had tried to sell evidence of the Royal Resurrection to Buckingham Palace.

It wasn’t so much the scoop that had freaked me out but the hacks mug shot that was glaring out at me. He was a cross between Grizzly Adams and Ben Turpin, eyes at five to four. Not exactly what you’d call a handsome man but definitely, distinctive. I stroked my beard , put my sun specs back on and looked around for a barbers.

Now, the trick with trick with is that Splotchy tagged Gifted Typist and she was going to be one of my go-tos. I'll have to change the tag up and hit Veronica, Paulie Decibels and last, but certainly not least, Katie.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

An All Too Apt Raymond Chandler Quote

She hung up on me. I hung up on myself. Saying the wrong thing is one of my specialties.

From "The Pencil" a.k.a. "Marlowe Takes On The Syndicate" a.k.a. "Wrong Pigeon" by Raymond Chandler.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Paul Brazill Got Into Six Sentences!

Paul Brazill's Black White And Red All Over explores the glory of nightclub in noir films versus the cold reality of the present life under the neon lights. Good stuff, way to go Paulie Decibels!

Friday's Forgotten Books

Patti Abbott, the mother of one of the better authors of our time (and no slouch herself in the storytelling department), runs a nice little feature every week called "Friday's Forgotten Books." In it, she invites writers to scribble a small review or summary of a crime or mystery book that might have been overlooked altogether, or that needs to be brought to the public's attention again.

This Friday, among the many mentions, she was nice enough to post the little article I had on Brett Halliday's "Head's You Lose." Why don't you pop on over and take a peek?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Strawberry Quick" Is The Lucky 13th Story Posted To A Twist Of Noir

Even though I am superstitious, no, I don't suffer from triskaidekaphobia. So when I found out today that "Strawberry Quick" became the thirteenth story posted to A Twist Of Noir, I viewed that as good omen.

So please don't be offended when I tell you that you can keep that rabbit's foot, it didn't do the rabbit a bit of good. Besides, I have something else-

Best Of: "Tit-For-Tat"

Class, your assignment today, is to open the premiere issue of Astonishing Adventures Magazine. Go to page twenty-one and read the fine pulp fiction story "Tit-For-Tat."

The first person to tell me what "colcannon" is without looking it up online, gets two gold stars.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Poll Is Closed And A New Slogan Is Born

The poll on Cormac Travels is closed and why don't you pop on over, to see the winning slogan? A big thanks to everyone that voted.