My Debt to the Thugs
There are lines from certain books tattooed on my brain. The quote above is from BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S — not the frothy Audrey Hepburn film, but the book by Truman Capote, a beautiful novella with a dark heart. It’s what comes to mind when I think of Todd Robinson and Allison Glasgow Robinson of Thuglit.
If you’re reading this site, Thuglit has likely already sucker-punched you with its addictive reading. (But if Google pointed you my way by accident, Thuglit is an online journal filled with phenomenal crime fiction; “Writing About Wrongs,” as they put it). It was the first place to say yes to my fiction. Before that, I’d been racking up the rejections. Some of them were form rejections, easy to shrug off. Others were tough, like the close-but-no-cigar e-mail that came from an editorial assistant at a journal that had held onto a story of mine for six months: “Everyone loves your story, but no one knows who you are.”
The thing about Todd and Allison (AKA Big Daddy Thug and Lady Detroit) is that they couldn’t care less about who you are. They love pulpy noir fiction, and if they take a shine to your story, they’ll publish it. They don’t ask about your qualifications or pedigree. Hell, next week they might stomp on you in a dark alley with hobnailed boots. Doesn’t matter. They gave me confidence about writing fiction, and for that I will forever be in their debt. They keep it simple: You write what they like, you will end up in Thuglit.
You may, in fact, end up in one of their print anthologies, too. BLOOD, GUTS, & WHISKEY, the third Thuglit collection, just showed up on my doorstep. Filled with fiction by Tom Piccirilli, Dave Zeltserman, Stuart Neville, Scott Wolven, Jordan Harper, Jedidiah Ayres, Kieran Shea… well, you get the idea. I have a story, “Son of So Many Tears,” in there, too. Here’s how it starts:
“Go in the peace of Christ,” intoned the elderly priest as Maire Kennelly made her escape. Her heels clattered on the stone steps as she distanced herself from the few penitents whose addiction to early morning mass was as keen as her own. She was glad to be out of the church, a fact that surely meant another dark mark on her soul. It had been seven years since Maire’s last confession, and when she thought of her soul now she pictured a Victorian silhouette with edges sharp and refined but coal-black to the core. As she turned onto the sidewalk, she wondered what effect words of absolution could have on it now. Saint Rita, hear my prayer, she began to recite silently, when a flame-haired woman in a black trenchcoat stepped in front of her.