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 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!