Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Last Links Of The Year

I'm waaayy behind in terms of blogging, and I'm not going to have my Top Ten Books of 2009 up before the end of the year. Still, let me get in the last links of 2009 and go from there...

Editor and Author, Katherine Tomlinson has a new story up at A Twist of Noir, called "Fair-weather Friend," that will change the way that you behave at a bank.

Sandra Seamans was nice enough to include one of my yarns in her Top Ten Short Stories of 2009. Not only that, she turned me on to Flash Fire 500, the site that it was on in the first place. Also on her list is one of my favorite stories from Paul D Brazill, "The Tut," which gives Edgar Allan a run for his money.

Turn about is fair play, so if you haven't checked Sandra's work out yet, let me recommend Sandra's "Midnight Showdown," which was also featured on Beat To A Pulp. It's one of the best westerns that I've read, and it will definitely surprise you.

To finish things off with an awesome dessert, Sandra defends, sci-fi, genre writing and fiction, in general.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas, bah, bug and hum

I'm not in a Christmas-y mood, yet that shouldn't keep you from having a Merry Christmas! Or as we say on one side of my family, "Mele Kalika Maka!"

Or as they say in other countries, Buon Natale! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noël! Maligayang Pasko! Geseënde Kersfees! God Jul!

And as long as I am rehashing existing bits from my old blog, you'll get me singing the holiday standards again...

Oh Christmas Pee
Oh Christmas Pee
The bums leave you in front of my garage

You get...

Hipsters roasting over an open fire
Pit bulls nipping at your nose

And also...

He knows when you are sleeping
But mostly when you're sleeping
Because he's stalking you

So, if you order now, you will get a bonus track by MC Santa Clauz...

Silent night, holy shite
I got bombed, I got tight
Round yon brandy, we got piled
The egg nog was weak and needed a taste of something wild
Sleep in stomach un-eaassse
Sleep until the bedspins, cease

That's all folks, and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

All you need to know about my taste in women

Yet another post where I tell you how fried I am. Damn, and writers do this for a living, each and every day. Day in and day out, fatigue be damned.

I'm working on something that better be ready for tomorrow morning, but in the meantime?

From Dan Piraro's Bizarro comic, this all you need to know about my taste in women.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Writing Quotes, Burned-out Holiday Edition

Yeah, my sentiments exactly. While I'm burned out after a particularly taxing writing project, that just might be one of the best things that I've ever written, I need to find new inspiration. And hey, most importantly, so do you!

"My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way."

-Ernest Hemingway

From The Creative Screenwriting Magazine's Weekly Newsletter

Last, but not least, a good friend of mine reminds us of why we even bother...

We do what we have to do so that we may do what we want to do.

-John Donald Carlucci

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Katherine Tomlinson owns The Internet

Katherine Tomlinson is all over the Internet.

At A Twist of Noir, she gets you ready for the holidays, with a Pulp Christmas.

For all my people from The Twelve Tribes, she has a Do-It-Yourself Chanukah at Bier Magazine. Of course, we goyim can enjoy these good noshes, too.

If the holidays aren't your thing, I'll bet you chocolate is. Katherine has a chocolate truffle recipe, and an even easier fool-proof recipe for idiots like me, who tend to mangle desert.

She does this while editing Astonishing Adventures Magazine, writing her own fiction and covering movie scripts. That, is why I call her the "Super Editor."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Keith Rawson Interviews Joseph Wambaugh!

I've been doing a fairly good impression of The White Rabbitt, as of late. So, let me do this bit of catching up right now, as this is at least five days late.

Keith Rawson has been doing some pretty tremendous interviews lately with some major authors, including the likes of Michael Connelly and Ken Bruen. His latest one is no exception, Joesph Wambaugh.

I must confess that I haven't read a lot of Wambaugh and the only book of his that I still own is "Hollywood Station."

That doesn't mean I don't appreciate who he is and what he's done. In terms of the modern police procedural, he is the biggest influence on my influences. Just ask Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, and James Ellroy, as to who inspired them. You can also Michael Mann, David Simon, Stephen J. Cannell and David Chase, because virtually every cop show drew from the Wambaugh well as a source of inspiration.

Every crime novel, tv show and graphic novel for the past thirty five year or so, has a little of Joesph's touch in it. So Ladies and Gentlemen, please pop over to BSC Review and check out Keith's interview.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Splotchy Story Virus v5

When is getting infected a good thing, Martha Stewart?

When it's a Splotchy Story Virus! But you ask, Center of Disease Control, just how does this work? I'll let Splotchy explain-

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.

There always has to be a start of a story, so here it is.


The mall was crowded. There were happy people, angry people, people in a hurry, even a few people sleeping on benches. To the security guard, they were a blur of coats, hats and scarves. He was just beginning his second eight hour shift. He yawned, leaning against a pillar in the food court, the aftertaste of terrible mall cookies lingering on his tongue. His eyes abruptly snapped open with the loud sound of glass shattering behind him.


The glass landed on the main concourse floor and the strung Christmas lights around the mall made the floor glitter like a field of glittering gems. Out of Hot Topic came a huge tasseled-shod foot and the glass cracked like ice under the foot's immense weight. Above that antiquated shoe was a massive muscular leg, clad in green tights.

The elder Mrs. Hajba knows what this creature is and she screams out its name, yet no one understands her. Mostly because everyone else is too busy screaming, but also because the only person would understand, her daughter Anastasia, is across the mall at T.G. McFunster's...trying to find husband number four, lest her, and her mother be deported.

This being that apparently is unknown to America, stands some sixteen feet tall in bright green and red clothing that would be more suitable to the Renaissance. The brute is muscular and misshapen, with veins that bulge and throb at a preternaturally speed. Its skin is bright white, and its teeth silver and black like tinsel. The eyes of the beast have no pupils or irises to speak of. They could best be described as giant red, opaque Christmas ball ornaments.

Mrs. Hajba summons every brain cell that American TV soaps haven't manged to destroy yet and she yells at the security guard, "It's Ghost of Kreestmass Disappoint-ted!"


That's it for me, I pass the baton on to:





And last, but not least, Paulie Decibels.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pulp Metal Magazine Is Here!

Pulp Metal Magazine is here!

Jason Michel wants to bring modern art, movie essays, comics, fiction and oh, a regular column from Paul D. Brazill (called "I did say that, didn't I?") to you.

Go check Pulp Metal out!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Asimov and Wharton for Writing Quote Time

"A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness."
- Edith Wharton

"You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success...but only if you persist."
- Isaac Asimov

From The Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"The Ballad of Paulie Decibels"

I've never been north of Frankfurt, Germany, but today? I get to go to Poland...at least via the Internet. Paul D. Brazill has been having other bloggers drop by and do some guest spots. We're talking authors and bloggers from America, Australia, Europe and the U.K. Undoubtedly he'll have someone from Asia and Africa before it's over, that will pay homage to once and future crime writing King of England.

Still, until then? Here is yours truly, with "The Ballad of Paulie Decibels."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Flash fiction challenge: Walmart, I Love You. "Acceptance"


Ante Scriptum: This story has been removed in order to honor a contract with Untreed Reads. When the contract is up, this story will be reposted here.

This was for a flash fiction challenge and I have an alternate story that I did for this same challenge that I'll save for mid-December. This act of arson is allegedly based on an alleged incident that a supermarket allegedly pulled to get rid of a union warehouse. They allegedly did this so that they could move everything to a warehouse in the boonies, that was outside of the union's jurisdiction and in a the county didn't recognize the union's rules.

I don't know the particulars beyond the alleged forklift "accident" and the alleged sprinkler "failure." Everything I've heard about alleged incident was third-hand, so don't ask me to comment on it.

Quoth the Patti-

Steve Weddle recently posted a link on facebook to this. (People of Wal*Mart) and suggested along with Keith Rawson) that Aldo, Gerald and I host a flash challenge using this site as our inspiration.

What I would like to propose is a 750-800 word story that is set, or at least partially set, in a Wal*Mart Store.It could also be a story that refers to such a store in a meaningful way. If you take exception to Walmart, name it something else. We'll know what you mean.

Post the story on your own blog or on Aldo's Powder Burn Flash. I'm thinking of November 30th. Please don't post your story ahead of time--it throws things off. Let Aldo know if you want him to post it. Let Gerald or me know if you're "in" as soon as possible.

Walmart shoppers: beware.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Got writer's block? Apparently there's an app for that

While I've been wrestling with a story for almost three months and me becoming a story teller's version of Captain Ahab is almost a certainty, I don't have writer's block. If you do, however, apparently there's an app for that.

It's called Writer's Block Buster. It generates character development, scenarios, etc...and it is meant to defeat all the roadblocks you might encounter as a writer.

Now if only they had an app that helps with consistency and quality, I'd buy that for a dollar, RoboCop.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Get Plugged In #4

Jean-Paul Sartre said that, "Hell is other people."

Super Editor and author, Katherine Tomlinson has a brilliant story up at A Twist of Noir called "Another Day In Paradise," that says Sartre was only half-right.

But that's not all, she also the Chocolate Editor for BellaOnline. Her article not only has recipes, but everything that you can think of that is chocolate-related. Health links, Vegan links, books, how you can prepare it sans sugar, and gifts for chocophiles.

Last but certainly not least, Johnny Dollars a.k.a. Editor JDC a.k.a. Publisher JDC a.k.a. John Donald Carlucci, has made the leap to webisodes.

I've already checked out the first episode of "Fierce Cravings," and it's good stuff...along the lines of a certain low-budget, super successful film from the 90's. Check out his press release for more details-

MANITOWOC, November 19, 2009 – Darke Media, the film production studio and producer of the digital magazine “Astonishing Adventures,” today announced the release of the new webserial “Fierce Cravings.”

Looking to explore online sources for distribution, Darke Media is releasing the entirety of “Fierce Cravings” for free through sources such as YouTube and iTunes. Plans are in place to launch a second serial, starring the mascot Scarlett, of Astonishing Adventures, in mid 2010.

“Uncertain where the horrific changes to his body and mind are leading, the masked man begins documenting his descent into Hell.”

“Fierce Cravings” tells its chilling tale in the same cinematic style utilized by hits like “Paranormal Activity”, “The Blair Witch Project”,and “Quarantine.”

For more information on Darke Media please visit the dedicated website at http://darkemedia.wordpress.com/

For the online in-story diary of “?” from “Fierce Cravings” http://fiercecravings.wordpress.com/

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Beat To A Pulp has "They Come From Above"

Some people have no vision at all. Not only can they not see the forest for the trees, they possess the tunnel vision of a mole on the darkside of the moon. I am fortunate that David Cranmer is not such a person. He saw a piece of microfiction that two other editors had rejected and he decided that it could be more, and that it could have a greater audience.

With plenty of encouragement from David, Elaine Ash, and Katherine Tomlinson, that piece of microfiction is now a fuller, richer story that is now up at Beat To A Pulp.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you "They Come From Above," at Beat To A Pulp.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Retribution" is up at A Twist of Noir!

It was originally printed in the Premiere Issue of Crooked Magazine and now, my story "Retribution," has come to A Twist of Noir!

And remember, anything you say in bed, can be used against in the Court of Noir.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My TBR pile

When Walmart started the publishing price war, I upped my dedication to make each and every literary purchase that I could at an independent bookstore. I'm happy to say that since then, I've spent over $170 at indie bookstores. So I had to special order one tome at Booksmith, and I hope that it will be worth the wait.

We went to the store to pick it up on Thursday, and there was quite a commotion. There were kids bouncing around the store like Super Balls in a rubber room and their rude parents, who were just knocking over the unaware shoppers such as The Teen and myself, like sharks in an aquarium roundabout. Ah yes, you work so hard to teach your child some manners and to not walk through people, and then a bunch of adult idiots do their best to unravel that lesson.

There were five times as many people there as usual, I wouldn't have ventured in any further than the sales counter, but The Teen wanted to look at the manga section. We were in a hurry because I wanted to get back home in time for the Niner game. There was a small stage and quite an autograph line that was still going strong. So strong in fact, that I couldn't see who the author or authors were.

Yet, what do you care? You're more interested in the book I ordered, right? Here it is, "One Too Many Blows To The Head," which triples my "to be read" pile.

Oh, and the just who was the source of this hysteria? TMBG was there to do a quick gig and sign their new children's book. Of course I didn't figure that out until after I had left the store and saw a notice similar to this one in the window.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meh, I got nuthin'

So I DVR'd "Barton Fink," and watched it, because I'm having writer's block like that. I have to write an introductory to an interview and basically finish this same story that I have been working on for almost three months now.

This has been vexing me to the point that I can't really come up with a subject to blog about here. I have been basically linking other people's works (which I would've done anyway), and rehashing older stuff (which I wouldn't have done so much). So I had to outside for inspiration.

The place is named, "Would You Believe? Cocktails." Shouldn't that be, "Would You Believe, Cocktails?" Regardless, I'm a cynic, so the answer is, "no," however it is phrased.

Hey, I may have writer's block, but whoever did this...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Proof Of Life" is up at A Twist of Noir!

Many crime writers (including yours truly) tend to see crime fiction in just two dimensions and thus, on some levels, it becomes predictable. Now Katherine Tomlinson told me that she wrote a tale for Thug Lit a couple of years ago and I told her that I had absolutely no idea.

Her story "Proof of Life" was in Issue #19 of Thug Lit and it is probably one of the most unique crime fiction stories that you will ever read. Katherine truly gave my favorite genre a third dimension, so please see for yourself with "Proof of Life." Todd Robinson really got it right when he chose it for that issue.

Yet, she's not one toot her own horn and so the work that should be recognized, almost becomes a strange version of that koan about the forest.

Two years later, Christopher Grant enters the picture, because that's the beauty of his site, A Twist of Noir. The stories that didn't find their proper audience the first time, can reach a new one and the reader benefits this time. Because not only do you get a chance to discover or rediscover a story, the artist gets a chance to do the little things to improve that story.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Christopher Grant gives you the revised and improved version of Katherine Tomlinson's "Proof Of Life."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Get Plugged In #3

Try this, you can buy that perfect gift and help out kids at the same time.

Wolfmont Press is giving you, "The Gift of Murder." Nineteen stories of mystery, thriller and crime fiction revolving around the winter holidays...including one by our own Sandra Seamans. Best of all, all proceeds go to Toys For Tots. Click the "TGOM" link and you have your choice of purchasing via Wolfmont, eBook or Amazon.

Speaking of Ebooks, Full of Crow Ebooks has the "Less Than Three Anthology." Tales of absurdest fiction under three paragraphs, featuring Paul D. Brazill's latest tale, "M." Click the Full of Crow site and then click the "less than" symbol next to the number three.

Finally, if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, look no further than The Tainted Archive. Gary Dobbs has put together over thirty posts about the Great Detective over the weekend. Click here, here, here, and here. Whew, it's going to take a little more than a weekend to read all of them, Evelyn Wood.

Best Of: "Peanut Oil"

"Peanut Oil" originally appeared on Powder Burn Flash.

It’s hot. Almost “ Death Valley kills the pioneers” hot. Which is no easy feat, considering that this is October in usually foggy San Francisco. But the Northern Californian version of Chandler ’s Santa Ana winds, the "Diablo," is seeing to that, making everything as arid as the Sahara.

Kelly Boles has it in his head to take a week off…unpaid. Fuck the mounting pile of bills on the stand by the door; he feels a novel running through his head like a dam about to burst. Kelly though he would he would try “kickwriting” like Kerouac did with “On The Road,” minus the rolls of tracing paper taped together and the Benzedrine.

Nothing doing.

He over-caffeinated himself and as a result, every single thing is a distraction: the wailing cries of his computer’s overworked fan, his dying piece-of-shit refrigerator, his growling stomach, and the ambient noise of his neighbors that is bouncing off the heat and into his open windows.

The couple next door is particularly vexing, as they argue about how to prepare a dish.

“It’s not Szechwan beef if you cook it vegetable oil! You have to use peanut oil!”

“Then why don’t you go buy some fucking peanut oil, already?”

“I will!...uh, can you lend me some money?”

Kelly cannot believe that she tolerates this tool. She’s beautiful and she can cook? That idiot should be kissing the very ground that she walks on. Women like that might become extinct within his lifetime.

Kelly’s stomach is grumbling, so he drinks a glass of water to shut it up. He looks across the street and sees “Szechwan Beef” dash into the corner store. Kelly thinks about the wonderful aromas from next door that are to come and his stomach grumbles again. He gulps down another glass of water.

As he puts the glass in the sink, he notices a balding man in a trench coat dashing into the store. Who the hell wears a trench coat in this kind of weather? A flasher? The guy has to be a flasher, because porn theaters don’t exist anymore.

“Open the register now!”

“Jesus, that guy had a shotgun under that trench coat,” whispers Kelly. The store’s owner reaches under the counter and oh shit, watch out Szechwan Beef! He didn’t see or hear “Trench Coat” and he panics, dropping the bottle of peanut oil and startling everyone.

The store’s owner brings his pistol up and “Trench Coat” pulls the trigger. Good God, the roar is deafening as the heat ricochets the sound all over the neighborhood. The store’s windows are peppered with blood, gore and holes. The store’s owner is nowhere to be seen. Trench Coat turns toward Szechwan Beef, but he already fled during the first shot.

Trench Coat pumps a shell into the chamber and takes a step. He slips, he disappears, a foot comes up, and there’s a muffled boom.

Kelly looks left and right, but there seems to be nobody in the store. He gets his phone and dials 911. He grabs a chair and stands up. Kelly can barely see Trench Coat’s feet twitching in the window and he sees what he guesses are teeth or bits of bone, right by the front door. It’s hard to tell from this distance.

The panicking footsteps of Szechwan Beef echo outside in the hallway. As the 911 operator puts him on hold before he can say anything, Kelly shakes his head. Not because of the operator, but because this would’ve made a great story. Unfortunately, Kelly feels that just like stickups, crime fiction doesn’t pay enough.

Note: I added a line to this version, because it's not entirely clear what happened to Kelly's obnoxious neighbor.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Writing Quotes, Three For One

Two are writing specific and one is more attuned to screenwriting, but it still has some literary relevance, and is certainly amusing.

"There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn't because the book is not there and worth being written -- it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself."
- Mark Twain

"In Hollywood, defining the content of a movie is like sex-- everyone thinks they can do it and do it well. And they're not inclined to give up the chance to do it just so someone else can do it."
- Terry Rossio

"Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public."
- Winston Churchill

From two issues of The Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter and no, don't fling your writing toward the at large public, or at anyone in private.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Have you been over to Lots Of Pulp?

So since I got some of my new readers hip to Arresting Tales, here is another site that you all might want to check out called "Lots Of Pulp." This blog has covers from the Golden Age of Pulp up on through into the 50's. We're talking every genre; action, romance, westerns, crime, science fiction, and even some subgenres that you probably weren't aware of. Covers such as these-

"Call me Mike?" With a huge bejeweled turban and a silk outfit like that, wouldn't you rather be called "Rajah" or "Maharajah?" Okay, okay, put the sword away, we'll call you "Mike!"

The robots of the world did not take kindly to Doris Dingleheim's panning of the special edition of "Metropolis."

It was inevitable, but there was nothing that any of us could do to stop it. Eventually Kanye West's ego became so large that it consumed us all.

Fredrick Bumbry was quite the scientist and eventually he discovered a way to take the manssiere to its ultimate level.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ring in Halloween, with these stories

"Snow And Sacrifice" is an oldie, but a goodie, and it gives a whole different definition to "scared straight."

"Hair Of The Pill" is a story that says there are somethings that even big Pharma can't cure.

I'll end this with one of my favorite stories, "Succuba." Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Best Of: "Beef Wellington, It's What's For Dinner"

Note: once upon a time, there was a man among men. He championed crime flash fiction better than any, but some alleged knucklehead, allegedly brought that to a close, by allegedly...well, just Google "Flashing In The Gutters" and I'm sure you can find out just what occurred. It is still murky to me and I witnessed it (on the Internet) firsthand.

At any rate, that man is still very much with us and cats like
Aldo Calcagno, Christopher Grant, and Col Bury are keeping the tradition of the man called "Tribe," going on strong. Mind you, there are plenty of great crime fiction sites, but these guys follow Tribe's tradition of crime flash fiction for the people, by the people.

As long as you follow the criteria of each site and you don't bring the weak stuff, you are in. No hoops to jump and no oddly distant rejection letters that make you wonder if the editor even read your story at all. Here is "Beef Wellington, It's What's For Dinner" and you even get the little side note/coda that I attached back in February 22, 2007-

They say that a man who defends himself in court has a fool for a client. So one of these fools told me that the law says that you have the right to be tried by a jury of your peers. Of course, the same fool had pizza for his last meal so that shows you where his head was at.

“Peers.” Ha, that’s a good one. If they’re my peers, then I’m an innocent man. Hold on, maybe I misspoke. I’m not claiming to be innocent…I’m just saying that I wasn’t guilty of this crime. Each of the two times that I’ve had to face the twelve people sitting to the right of the judge, I’ve never seen a familiar face.

By familiar, I mean someone who has even remotely looked like they’ve experienced even a fraction of the things I’ve experienced. They are not my peers. My peers know what I’ve gone through. My peers would’ve known right away that everything I’ve done, I did to someone else before they could do it to me.

By familiar, I mean someone who has had to risk their life to just to go to the store. Someone who has been shot at, just because some joke of a man was high and thought that I looked at him funny. Someone who has given his best friend a roof over his head and food, only to have that friend try and kill him over fifty dollars that wasn’t his to begin with.

So like I said, I’m not innocent, I just didn’t commit this crime. But the things I’ve done in life, who would believe me? I’m not even sure that I’d believe me if I sat in that jury box. I know I thought my real peers would understand, but let me contradict myself again. Who were my fake peers to judge me? Walk a mile in my shoes and you’d cut off your own feet.

Still, I’m not bitter…though I’m not exactly resigned to my fate either. I just know that it is my time…they’re going to get me one way or the other. My appeals are as exhausted as my spirit. I’m out of options, but I guess the one thing that I can do is to fuck them up for my last meal.

I want some of that beef Wellington that I’ve always heard about and some lobster, fuck that pizza crap.

The End

Note: This story relates to my fascination with the last meals of death row inmates. Invariably, they tend to choose comfort food or the food that they miss the most from outside of the prison walls. So I always have wondered why haven't I read about someone who wanted something just a little more eloborate before the chemical drip.

I would've elaborated more, but Tribe set a 500 word limit.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Get Arrested!

Do you like it? It's a picture of the boys, just before they delivered the latest squad car to Joe Bubs. He is relentless like McQueen in "Bullitt" and he goes through about a squad car, oh, about every two months. When Bubs isn't keeping Illinois criminals on their feet and looking over their shoulders, he blogs about some Arresting Tales.

Tales to astound, tales to amuse, tales to confound...both the justice system and you, the reader. Because let's face it, crime does not pay (unless you are on Wall Street or in petroleum) and it doesn't attract the brightest or the most diligent. If you scroll further down the page, you'll find Arresting Tales in my "crime blogs, book reviewers, publishers, and flash fiction sites" section, along with some other platinum links.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Paulie Decibels types softly...

It is not a question of "if," as it is a just a question of "when" the British crime fiction wave will wash over our shores.

Over at the other side of the pond, they bring a fresh perspective to noir and quite frankly, it tends to have a little more depth than most (though, not all) of American crime fiction. It is my belief that among those writers to change things up over here, will be Paul D. Brazill. He shifts from the abyss, to humor, to poetry, and all with amazing ease.

I will give you an opportunity to see for yourselves, by giving you two links to some of his horror writing:

His story "This Old House" is up again at A Twist Of Noir, and let's just say Bob Villa wouldn't last a minute in that abode.

And part of Erin Cole's Thirteen Days of Horror, comes "The Friend Catcher."


Monday, October 26, 2009

Thrillers, Killers and Chillers has "My Old Haunts" up!

Try to stay calm.

Don't scream.

I said, "don't scream."

C'mon, give me a break, stop screaming already!

Seriously, save it for when you read the story. "My Old Haunts" is up the excellent site, Thrillers, Killers And Chillers.

You may resume screaming.

Oh, wait, let me leave the room first.

Okay, go ahead.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"The Sidewalk"

It is the first ever tie in Friday Flash Fiction poll history! So we have two starter sentences to chose from...

Beach says, "The strange man dressed as Carmen Miranda walked into the bar and demanded to know who had taken his pet iguana."


The Professor says, "On the sidewalk, fallen between the cracks was..."

I went with the latter. Here is "The Sidewalk."

“On the sidewalk, between the fallen cracks, was what looked like a twenty dollar bill.”

“Now, I will pass pennies right on by, and if I feel particularly limber in my advancing age on a given day, I will go after a dime. Nickels? Not even. So there was what looked like a twenty-dollar bill and I was on it like a kid hopped-up on sugar at a birthday party, in front of a freshly opened piñata.”

“Well, I hate to pass good money, but I really should have left this alone, because instead of Andrew Jackson on the bill? A picture of Pamela Anderson graced the illegal tender, and not a particularly good one. And the bill itself came with strings attached…literally, with a wire-thin metal cable that went below the sidewalk.”

“A wooden cage came down and trapped me like a lethargic and awestruck rat. Dumbfounded, I slumped down on my keister and that’s when they swarmed me. No, not bugs, but their high-pitched screams sounded similar to mosquitoes. They were blue Pygmies…or were they?”

“They were only five inches tall and they weren’t African, but they had on the same attire as Pygmies and they had blow darts…lots and lots of blow darts. It felt like a dozen beestings and I went from dumbstruck to woozy. My head felt like it weighed about one hundred pounds, and one of the miniature monsters grabbed a forelock of what was left of the hair on top of my head on my way down.”

“My skull bounced hard against the concrete and the little blue imp’s hold did not relent. I saw how they appeared out of the blue so fast, the little monsters had ropes dangling from the top of the cage that they rappelled down from. This one was brandishing a spear and he was about to poke me in my eye, when a purple cloud appeared around the cage.”

“They screamed in unison, ‘the Mauve Miasma! The Mauve Miasma!’ I laughed against my will, as their panicked running amok on my body tickled me. The swirling pale lavender cloud descended down at an alarming rate and the little fiends screeched and coughed as they collapsed on me. I soon followed them into that unwanted slumber.”

“I awoke some hours later, just how many, I don’t know. It was still daylight, yet somehow I was directly across the street from the place where I had fallen down. An elderly man stood over me and asked me if I was okay. He helped me to my feet and gave me a reassuring pat on the back.”

“As he walked away, pushing a laundry cart covered with a blanket, I thought I heard those familiar high-pitched screams again. I was too light-headed to follow the man. As I walked past the window of a closed store, I was in for a shock. I was purple! My face, my arms, even under my shirt, I was purple!”


“What, I’m telling you just what happened, as it happened, and…”

“Murray, stop it. That’s enough. You’re embarrassing yourself and you are embarrassing me, if you think I’m going to believe that horseshit. I’ve been stood up by better men than you, and they were at least polite enough to be honest about it.”

“How could you not believe me?”

“Because,” Dottie says as she gets up and licks her fingers, “this is why,” and Dottie rubs her fingers across Murray’s forehead. The purple above his eyes comes off. “What did you use, Murray, grape skins?”

“I’m telling you the God’s honest truth! If I’m not telling you the truth, may I be run down by an over-caffeinated waiter.”

As Murray stands up, a waiter with a tray of food comes along and bumps into him, sending the two men and the food all over the restaurant floor. Dottie takes her drink off the table and pours it on Murray’s head, washing all coloring off her sputtering never-to-be Lothario. Dottie storms away like a speeding cloud that is an omen before a hurricane.

“I suppose you don’t believe I was run over by an over-caffeinated waiter, either!”

“Give it a rest, Murray,” the waiter grumbles. “You owe me fifty for the stunt, another thirty for dry cleaning and for the food.”

“You, my friend, will receive no tip from Murray Himmelman.”

The End

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Angel's Essay Competition

My friend from the original Friday Flash Fiction and fellow blogger, Angel is having a little essay competiton!

She says-

I am now going to have a competition of my own, and give away the set of five autographed “No-Cry” books by Elizabeth Pantley!

Anyone can enter, and to enter I would like you to write a blog post about an old-wives tale that has to do with raising a child, and whether or not you think it has any relevance today (
you can find some here if you’re stuck for ideas).

Link to this post so I can find the posts of course and spread the word. I’ll post the books to the winner no matter where in the world they are.

And I will send something special- and not necessarily parenting related- to the person who refers the most people here, so be sure others know to tell me where they came from ;). The competition closes on October 29th.




Click here for details!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Keith interviews Michael Connelly!

And please, ignore that disrespectful idiot who wouldn't honor Michael Connelly or the video camera, and kept taping and wrapping packages! May you get a particularly painful paper cut that becomes mildly infected!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"An agenda of tasks?"

I don't remember what I researching, it was probably a reaction to a post by someone else, and not a story (if I can't remember the reason why I was looking that particular term up). At any rate, I found quite a list of collective nouns that was brought to the Internet by The Bears' Golf Club.

For example?

"An agenda of tasks."

"A smack of jellyfish."

"A neverthriving of jugglers (one imagines that hasn't been changed in centuries)."

"A leap of leopards."

Of course, you should be armed with "a quiver of rebuttals," or a really big stick.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Friday Flash Fiction #6

For #6, Doc came up with the starter sentence: "You know Javier, poets say that in the spring a young man's thoughts turn to love, but I think they're wrong."

Click here for the stories.

"Hunger Pangs" on Erin Cole's "Thirteen Days of Horror"

In honor of Halloween, Erin Cole has started "The Thirteen Days of Horror" and John Donald Carlucci kicks off Day Two with "Hunger Pangs."

Welcome back to the Internet, JDC!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Get Plugged In #1

Walter Conley put together a beautiful online magazine called "Disenthralled," and it also happens to feature a story from my favorite unpublished author Quin Browne.

Pamila Payne brings nuance to crime writing, that's right, nuance. I'm not saying that other crime writers tell a story without it (big glass house, right here), I'm just saying she understands it perfectly...right before she hits you with the denouement.

Speaking of hitting you,Paulie Decibels sucks you in and then hits you with a sucker punch.

Keith Rawson finishes things up with whipped cream and a cherry, via an interview with Reed Farrel Coleman and Ken Bruen.

My chili recipe made Bier Magazine

Super Editor and author Katherine Tomlinson saw a chili recipe of mine and asked me if she could submit it to a magazine.

Lo and behold, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, commies and conservatives, Cormac's San Francisco chili at Bier Magazine!

Get your Shiner Bock out...

...or if you are out this way, Fat Tire or Anchor Steam!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Here and there

Because let's face it, I have you more twisted than Pretzel Dog, here-

A special thanks to The Doc, who straightened out a logistical error in firearms with this story.


Run, run for your lives! The Bad Lieutenant's Wife is back!...for the moment, at least.

No, I won't resort to gasoline or henna, but I guarantee you that I will be a Firecrotch one day.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"A Sheep In Wolf's Clothing" is up at A Twist Of Noir!

If you haven't checked out "A Twist of Noir," you really should. Not only does Christopher Grant have some outstanding new crime fiction up there, but he helps a new audience discover older stories that they might have missed the first time.

In one such case, I wrote a story called "A Sheep In Wolf's Clothing" that got caught up in an awkward transition when Crooked Magazine switched over from a monthly PDF. into a story that posted stories as they came. So if I were to use my Statcounter as a basis of readers that came over from Crooked and the comment section under the story in question, it didn't find the audience that it could have the first time around.

So here it is, via Christopher Grant, another chance for you to check out "A Sheep In Wolf's Clothing."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sherman Alexie comes to Green Apple Books

So Thursday, rather than write like I was supposed to, I surfed around...

...and around, and around, and around. The greatest value in that is eventually you will find something of quality...at least in theory. Regardless, yes I did discover a golden nugget inside of a green apple...Green Apple Books that is.

At the Green Apple Book Blog, they said that author Sherman Alexie was going to pop in for a quick signing. So I brought The Missus and The Teen with me for this event, only I didn't tell them just why were walking down Clement Street with two Sherman Alexie books and a camera.

"Are we going to see Sherman Alexie?

You know that despite my best efforts to misdirect and misinform to the contrary, The Missus said, "you know that (The Teen's) copy is already autographed, right?"

"What, we're going out to eat, okay?"

Of course she didn't go for it, so I said, "well, he can autograph it twice, all right?"

"You are not going to ask him to autograph his own book twice."

"Fine, I won't ask him to sign it twice."

We waited upstairs in the Philosophy section for Mr. Alexie, and I leaned on the Russian history (which is some kind of omen, considering Russian history plays a small role in the story I've been stuck on). I wanted us to get there early, which just made things worse. By the time he showed up, I was good and nervous.

Luckily, Sherman worked with me, as I sputtered and mumbled. He signed my battered copy of "The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fistfight In Heaven," and he posed for a picture with me.

We talked for a few seconds and I thanked him for being such a wonderful influence on me. I meant my writing as well, but that was basically the only coherent sentence I got out where The Missus didn't have to translate it. He was nice enough to also autograph The Teen's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" for a second time without me asking, saving me from the frying pan wrath of The Missus.

I felt bad that I had offered up dogeared book for him to autograph, so I grabbed a copy of "War Dances" and you know what?

Mr. Alexie signed that too! How cool was that?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Best Of: "In Vino Veritas, In Tequila Mors"

I am undone.

I am undone by a pair of lips.

By a kiss.

By a whisper.

I believe that Adam was just an allegory. Because if he were a real man, he’d say “all that from just a rib? Well, God, why don’t you take out the other one and even me out?”

I wanted it all, and at least in terms of money, I could afford it. Something about her was different…I still don’t know what it was. She wasn’t exceptionally beautiful or intelligent…or even charming. Yet she had enough of each of those qualities to keep me intrigued, just like my wife did when we first met in college.

It was a casual friendship that turned into something else before either of us knew what happened. We meshed together. I felt like a new man, and I expanded the horizons of her future. Our relationship took on a life of its own and soon discretion went out of the window as we traveled together.

Eventually, reality reared its ugly head and this “second honeymoon” was over. Things became too intense and I wanted out, and to buy her out. We drank; we fought…until we were exhausted. Finally, I asked her to leave the love nest we made……and I kissed her.

I whispered, “Goodbye.”

I thought she went to pack, but she went for a gun instead.

I am undone.

Now we won’t worry about fidelity…our future…or anything, because we’re going to sleep for all of eternity.

The writing/flash fiction site The Clarity of Night had a contest had a contest where the challenge was to tell a story in which wine (or liquor) plays a crucial part. It had to be 250 words or less and that kind of affected the ending, cutting it a bit short.

"In Vino Veritas, In Tequila Mors," or "Truth In Wine, Death In Tequila" was based on the recent demise of a certain sports figure.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Got Moron?

Some morons get to milk it, and other people have to take up the slack. Granted, that's true of every work place, and yet last night was so replete with much unnecessary bull...or in this case, cowshit.

What kind of work day did I have last night? I'll put it to you this way; the denizens of Hades are now saying, "whoa, I just had the day from Cormac."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Friday Flash Fiction #4, The Stories


Okay, no Rich*rd G*re jokes, damn it! It's Friday Flash Fiction time!

MRMacrum came up with the starter sentence and it is: "Hanging on with one hand, he considered his alternatives."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Prepared to be amazed as Quin transcends short fiction...

and she says goodbye to summer in Six Sentences.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Writing Quotes and Doc revists Aesop

"If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative."

- Woody Allen

"The writer's only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one... If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is worth any number of old ladies."

– William Faulkner

From The Creative Screenwriting Magazine's Weekly Newsletter

Uh, yeah, Billy? Sorry, my late mom is off-limits.

But that's not all, don't miss Doc's revisit of Aesop!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Best Of: "Vanity Kills"

I ask myself, "what price, Sheila? What price?"

Enough with the questions. I had to get out of the house and out of the city, that much was certain.

Unfortunately the epiphany that I was looking for came about nine minutes too late. I had become one of those people in the newspapers that I hold in contempt, because their reflexes override their common sense. Like when someone is crossing the street on a stormy day and wind snatches their umbrella from their hands. They turn around and scramble for their umbrella, not realizing that the light has changed and the bus is going to run the umbrella and them, over.

Or when a house is burning down and someone goes back into the house to retrieve the family photo album, only to have the ceiling collapse and snuff out their lives. My undoing was my vanity, which managed to betray me twice. My fingers were still burning as I sat down in my Subaru station wagon, the bleach and cleansers amongst other things had done quite a number on my hands.

Nor did I feel clean despite soaking in the shower until the water heater cried “uncle.” I could still feel the dirt from the backyard caked all over me. I grabbed the rear view mirror and looked back at my tired eyes. I looked every bit as old and worn out as Miranda accused me of being; “thirty going on sixty-five,” despite the fact that I’m four years younger than she was. She knew from the very first date that we had, that I hated aging and she made it a point throughout our relationship to push that button like some robot that tests a part’s durability so many thousands of times.

I took a deep breath and adjusted the mirror back to its original position. I had to get away from this house…I had to get away from this city.

It wasn’t really someone or something chasing me away, it was all me and the fact that I couldn’t complete one simple, solitary thought. I had become a creature of pure instinct with barely any reasoning left over to control my own actions. I did somehow manage to book a flight to Cabo San Lucas and I also managed to pack a bag. Beyond that, I was just a hot tired mess. I got all of six blocks away from our cozy little house, before I remembered that I had forgotten both my facial scrub and moisturizers. I didn’t want to stop at one of the malls along the way or pay through the nose at the airport for my favorite brand, so I went back home.

As I pulled up, there was Miranda right there at the front gate of our little hideaway and she started in again with how ungracefully I was aging. She was telling me how she was going to leave me for somebody younger whose tits weren’t permanently going south for the winter.

“Nobody’s going to want you, Sheila, except for some museum that might use you as a stand-in at a mummy exhibit.”

I kicked the gate open and walked past her. Once I was in Mexico, my thoughts and mind would be my own again. Two minutes later and I had the very products that kept the wrinkles away under my arms in two small carry-on bags…unfortunately that was about three minutes too many.

My brother, who loves to drop by unannounced, pulled up right next to my station wagon and honked. He had a brand new floozy with him and she wasn’t the typical silicone-enhanced cheerleader-type that he usually had dangling from his arm when he’s in town. She had a definite and deliberate air about her.

She was also more butch than Miranda and I put together, which made me dislike her instantly because that was the very type that Miranda seemed to like to cheat on me with, the most. My brother and his new girlfriend got out, and he didn’t close his door all the way, which I had not noticed at the time. Introductions were made, though I still can’t recall her name as I was preoccupied with how was I going to get them to leave and make my flight.

It was at that point that I wondered if her “definite and deliberate air” had the scent of a law enforcement background, because she reeked of being a cop. Suddenly my brother’s car door flew open and a German Sheppard leapt out and ran past me into the yard.

His girlfriend ran after the dog and my brother said, “Wow, Fritzi must have the scent of a dead squirrel or something. She’s training to be a rescue dog and he just goes nuts when there’s anything dead around.”

My brother went after them and I went into a slow backpedal, until they went around the back of the house, where I then got in my Subaru and sped off.

The rest I’ll just have to imagine, as I am now just pulling up on the freeway. No doubt, the dog is still digging through the three and a half feet of dirt that took me some six hours to dig up and he when he finally reaches Miranda, she’ll still have that hateful smirk on her face. She'll have that same vindictive grin that somehow survived that tumble down the stairs that we both took; her neck breaking and me having to drag her into the backyard.

“You know you are going to age twice as fast in prison” Miranda cackles at me in the rear view mirror from the backseat. She has that same venomous sneer on her now purple lips.

I just sigh, as I’ve made peace with the fact that I’ve lost my sanity as far back as last night, when I was digging her grave. I chuckle and say with what little defiance I can muster “even in death, you still can’t keep that big fat trap of yours shut, can you Miranda?”

I changed the first two sentences to point the reader in the right direction, but other than two word substitutions, this is the same story from last year.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Friday Flash Fiction with poll-chosen starter sentence

A haunting we will go
A haunting we will go
A haunting we will go

Yeah...uh, anyway, F-F-F #3 is here. The Baroness Von Bloggenschtern came up with the starter sentence: "There was no respite; the vivid, violent dreams that ruthlessly tormented her slumber had now relentlessly stretched the abyss, to envelop her during her day."

Here are the wonderful results!