Aug 4 2010

Beat to a Pulp: Round One

I’m so behind on posting that it’s embarrassing, but I have to share two things quickly. One is the absolutely stunning cover of the Beat to a Pulp: Round One anthology. James O’Barr is responsible for the artwork and John Bergin for the cover design; all I can say is that they obviously make an amazing team, because this is a knockout. Check out the names on the cover, too. I was thrilled when David Cranmer asked me to be in the anthology; seeing some of the phenomenal company I’m in is even more exciting. Stay tuned for the release date… or visit David’s blog, since he’s a more reliable correspondent.

Also, late this past Sunday night, I created a Facebook fan page for Beat to a Pulp. I know that I shouldn’t be encouraging anyone to join Facebook (seriously, the ever-evolving privacy policy alone is enough to make me want to cut and run). But if you’ve already signed your soul over to Mark Zuckerberg, come on over to hang out.

May 2 2010

Spinetingler Win for “Insatiable”

Yesterday, I found out that Insatiable won the 2010 Spinetingler Award for Best Short Story. While I’m still more than a little shocked, I am incredibly grateful for all of the support my story has received. The Spinetingler Awards are voted on by the public via electronic ballot, and it’s an honor to have so many mystery, crime, and noir fans pick “Insatiable” as their favorite… especially given the incredible list of other writers nominated in that category. Thank you!

I also want to say a special thanks to David Cranmer and Elaine Ash. They’re the editors of Beat to a Pulp, which published “Insatiable” in September 2009. Less than 24 hours after I submitted the story for their consideration, David shot back an emphatic Yes. Not only did they publish the story, but David interviewed me for his blog as well. David and Elaine have been wonderful supporters of my work — as they’ve been for many other writers — and I’m grateful that they gave “Insatiable” such a good home. David’s incredibly kind post about the Spinetingler Award was a sweet reminder of how lovely they are to work with.

There are a few other people who need to be mentioned, too. One is Keith Rawson, who reviewed my story for his “Short Thoughts on Short Fiction” column in the BSC Review. Keith’s enthusiastic comments brought “Insatiable” a great deal of notice, and made a wider audience take note of the story. Another is Sandra Seamans, who named “Insatiable” one of the Top 10 stories she’d read in 2009. (Sandra’s own wonderful “Survival Instincts” was nominated for a Spinetingler Award, too.) Also, a special shout-out to my friend Kathy Ryan, who strong-armed countless people into reading “Insatiable” (she’s an ex-cop and she’s fierce!). A huge, heartfelt thanks to all of you.

Apr 12 2010

“Fetish” at Beat to a Pulp

My short story “Fetish” is up at Beat to a Pulp, one of my favorite online crime magazines. This is the second tale I’ve published on the site; the first, “Insatiable,” came out in September 2009. (“Insatiable” is currently a finalist for a Spinetingler Award for Best Short Story; voting on the awards is open to the public through April 30, 2010.)

The editors of Beat to a Pulp, David Cranmer and Elaine Ash, are wonderful to work with. They are smart, savvy, and willing to do whatever it takes to make a story work. When I sent them “Fetish,” I knew that it was much longer than the stories they usually publish. David and Elaine asked me to make the story longer, to flesh out a couple of scenes I’d glossed over. I’m grateful that they pushed me to go the distance with it.

Here are the opening lines of “Fetish”:

Paul saw the blonde walk into the bar and stifled his urge to run. Her eyes caught his, and she tossed her long hair back and moved towards him, each step punctuated by the click of a stiletto heel. What the hell was she thinking, wearing black leather boots in the middle of June? Paul sat up straighter and finished his beer.

“Hey, kiddo,” he said as she slithered into the booth opposite him. Her scarlet lipstick matched the shade of her clingy dress. She really should be wearing a bra, he thought, then blushed. It was getting harder to look at her.

“How many times have I told you to stop calling me that, Dad?” she asked. “I have a name, remember?”

The rest of the story is here.

Apr 11 2010

Welcome to the Dark Side

I’ve been threatening to start a blog for a while now. A second blog, I should say; I already have one called the Gluten-Free Guidebook. If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy — or if you just like to travel — please stop by. It’s been up and running for just over two years and covers a subject that’s close to my heart (and stomach).

But if you want to read more about my dark side, stick around here. I write crime fiction, and my first novel, THE DAMAGE DONE, will be released this October by Forge. You can find my short stories all over the Internet, on sites such as Thuglit, Beat to a Pulp, A Twist of Noir, and Crimefactory. For years I’ve been writing travel guidebooks for Frommer’s and sneaking the things that really interest me — Gothic architecture, cemeteries, and film noir settings — into them. Now I’m using my travels to places like Prague, Paris, and Peru as backdrops for my fiction. It’s much more fun this way.