The Thugs Come Out at Night

Last Wednesday night was the launch party for the new Thuglit anthology, BLOOD, GUTS, & WHISKEY. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Thuglit crowd gathered at the Village Lantern. Brass knuckles and shivs? Vodka shots and moonshine? Hair-trigger tempers and fights in the alley? Nope. Instead, I got to meet Todd and Allison Robinson, Thuglit’s creators, and their son (who goes by his street handle Baby Thug; he may already have a tattoo) and a bunch of writers who are just as excited to be in the anthology as I am.

Todd kicked the evening off by reading from “A Message From Big Daddy Thug,” his introduction to the collection:

“To those of you wondering what the hell a ‘Thuglit’ is, we’re all about rainbows, puppy dogs, and whatever Celine Dion is up to. Would I lie? ‘Blood, Guts, and Whiskey’ is the title of a Celine Dion song. Look it up.”

I was the first author to read. I didn’t realize it until Craig McDonald pointed it out on his blog, but I’m the only female writer in the collection (Craig also called me a “noir rose in a thicket of thorns,” which is a title I’m going to be using for the foreseeable future). My contribution to BLOOD, GUTS, & WHISKEY, “Son of So Many Tears,” was the second short story I published, and — just like my first — only the Thugs deemed it worthy to be seen by the reading public. (Thanks again, Big Daddy Thug and Lady Detroit.)

Also reading at the launch: Justin Porter (“Black Hair and Red Leather”), Kieran Shea (“Faith-Based Initiative”) and Glenn Gray (“Mr. Universe”). Todd read from “Death of a Rat” by the late Edward Bunker (also known as Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs).

Then, Todd sang.

Yes, you read that right. A musician had been playing guitar and harmonica and singing between authors’ sets all night, and he and Todd rocked the house with “Tupelo Honey.” The sweetest moment of the night for me was when I noticed that Baby Thug was completely riveted by his dad’s performance.

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