Thursday, December 20, 2012

Next Big Cock on the Block and Stuff

Note: This is the blog I'd intended to post last week, but put off after the events in Newtown. To remain consistent, I'm a day late again this week. Anybody who follows my writing knows this is a habit. A bad habit, but fuck it. I apologize to those I've tagged. They're free to say bad shit about me.

So, if you have any writer Facebook friends, especially those who write speculative fiction, you’ve probably seen the “Next Big Thing,” blog gang bang that’s been passed around like a cheap hooker at a bachelor party. And guess what? It’s my turn. Thank you, John Mantooth! I call sloppy seven-hundred and seconds.

Anyway, the idea is I answer a few questions about my work, and tag a number of authors who I’m interested in and they do the same next week.

Confession, like everything I do, I’m a day late. For some reason, I must have missed the day they taught how to read a calendar. I apologize to my vast sea of readers and to those whom I’ve tagged (not in the nasty way).

Without further adieu:

Question: What is the working title of your book/work in progress?

Answer: The Nines. Which is significantly more tame than the last project I finished in November – Mondo Blood Presents: Escape from Shit Town.

Q: Where did the idea for the book come from?

A: It’s a story that fits into my Money Run mythos (see American Gomorrah or, ebook). I’d realized I’d set stories in the southwestern desert, the Nevada desert, the corn fields of the heartlands, rural Louisiana and an unnamed large metropolitan area from the northeast, but nothing in my native Colorado. Thought it was time to write about someplace I’d actually seen.

Q: What genre does the book fall under?

A: While I’m probably mostly known for darker speculative fiction, I’d have to say it’s a magical realism piece with crime/suspense components. And no, magical realism doesn’t mean elves and unicorns. The explanation given to me is that magical realism deals with an element or elements that are bordering on outrageous, but treating them like they’re perfectly normal and socially acceptable in your setting. Of course, the person who explained it to me coulda been full of shit, too.

Q: Which actors would you choose to play the characters from your book?

A: There’s a lot of viewpoint characters in the book. It’s kind of actually how I structured it – for each chapter to be told from one of a cast of rotating characters.

He’d be too old to play them now, but Warren Oats (Sergeant Hulka in “Stripes”) would be perfect to play the dual roles of Henry and Artimus DeVine.

Tien Howard would be ideally suited to Lost’s Yunjin Kim, and Tien’s husband, David Howard, reminds me of Judah Friedlander.

The easiest one to pick out of all these would be for one of my favorite Money Run characters – Sister Dazy. Way, way easy – Christina Hendricks. Anybody who’s read any of the Money Run stories is going to immediately agree with me on that one. Let me take a second to catch my breath.

There’s several others, but in the interest of time and your attention span, I’m just going to move on.

Q: What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A: Like synopsis aren’t bad enough, but one sentence? I can make it a run-on sentence right? Fuck it, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want to.

A down-and-out “cop” is charged with keeping a vital highway clean from "complications" so a very special shipment can go through with no interference or witnesses, but a mishap leads to complications and the assorted characters must deal with trying to secure the cargo reaching its destination, the possibility of a domestic terrorist permanently closing down their critical highway, and with every other characters’ competing (and usually not-so-savory) motivation.

Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agent?

A: The plan is to try and lure one of them agent thingies. I’ve published several things in the small press, cracked several pro markets with short stories, but if I want to put on the big-boy pants, I’m going to have to try the agent route sooner or later. If it doesn’t work out, I do have a couple of publishers who have already expressed interest.

Q: How long did it take you to write the first-draft of your manuscript?

A: I’ll let you know when I’m finished. I have about ten chapters left – they’ve been coming in at an average of about 1200 words. So, literally, I could be finished any day now. However, I think I began the thing over four years ago.
I’ve put it aside several times to work on other projects that, you know, pay and stuff.

The story started out as a flash fiction piece, then I decided I needed to show a little more and it was going to be a short story. Then more – novella. Finally, I said fuck it, let’s go for the whole enchilada. I know these changes in structure tripped me up more than they helped. And I had one character that my instincts told me to stay with, but her story wouldn’t reveal itself to me. I ran into a wall on that several times. However, I know the rest of the story now. I’m past most of the difficult parts to write.

Plus, I have an odd disadvantage on how I write when it comes to first drafts, but because my process is that way, final drafts aren’t usually far behind. That’s a story for another blog post, though. The one where I celebrate finishing this damn thing.

Q: What other books in your genre would you compare this story to?

A: I’m not so sure if they’re in the same genre, but I’d say it’s a mix of Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD, Palianiuk’s INVISIBLE MONSTERS and Hunter S. Thompson’s FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS.

Q: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A: I’m not a big believer in inspiration. If you want to write, sit down and write. To this point, I’ve been more of a short story guy. I believe that maybe I’m a sprinter and not a marathon runner (although I’d probably have a heart attack if I actually tried either of those right now). But I couldn’t go without giving novel writing a try. This is that try. I’m hopeful I’ll like the result enough to give it another shot – especially since I’m excited as hell about my next idea (but I have three short stories due first – see how that works?!).

Q: What else might pique the reader’s interest in your book?

A: Oh, it’s got something for everybody. Well, the depraved side of everybody – hookers, nuns, alcoholics (and that’s all one character), lot lizards, car crashes, sex slaves, ‘roid rage, explosives, speed knitting, strippers, dudes shot from cannons, dudes not shot from cannons, Winnebagos, nest eggs, domestic terrorism, hand puppets, explosive dildos and Nipsey fucking Russell. That should cover it.

This concludes the first part of our show. If you need to use the bathroom, now would be ideal.

Cue intermission music - doobie-doobie-doo...

You back? The second requirement to this is I tag five writers. It wasn’t made clear to me that I can tag people who’ve already participated, so I went with some that haven’t been. And yes, I can count, but I only went with one less. I figured if I’m going to be a day late, might as well be a writer short. That’s how I roll.

With even less further adieu than before:

First, Jason V. Brock, an opinionated, conflict-loving writer and editor and film maker and...all that stuff. His most recent work has just been released from Bad Moon Books, but I'm sure he'll tell you about that.

Brett Williams is a very promising and prolific young writer, and a hell of a nice guy. FROM MURKY DEPTHS is his latest release, but at the pace he writes, there might be six more available by the time I post this.

A guy whose been banging around the small press for years, John Paul Allen, is a veteran writer with a ton of "street cred." Good effin writer.

The wild card here is Cindy Leimgruber. She's new. She's young. She models, she acts, she sings, she writes paranormal romance. She'll also be interesting to follow.

And, with that, ladies and gentelmen, our show concludes. Thank you for your patronage and drive safely. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here!


Friday, December 14, 2012


NOTE: I was a little late with my "Next Big Thing" blog post that was due a couple of days ago. With today's events, I'm postponing this until next week. My apologies to those whom I've tagged, but bad taste and all.


Where to start?

With emotion, I guess. Isn't that where you're supposed to hit a reader? And there's a myriad we're experiencing. Enduring, actually. Maybe just suffering through.

Numbness, sorrow, anger, confusion. There are a lot of different people affected by today's events. There's a lot of different ways for them to deal with their emotions, to react, to cope.

Two emotions dominate me right now. Not anger - because that's not strong enough. Rage, though. That's one. A rage that left me screaming in my car, punching the steering wheel. Rage at the asshole or assholes responsible (as of this writing, it's still not clear). Rage that we allowed it to happen.

The second emotion is disgust. We knew this was coming. What, there was no evidence? Aurora wasn't enough? Minnesota wasn't enough? Oregon, just fucking yesterday, wasn't enough. And I'm disgusted by all of us for our apathy. I'm disgusted with me.

But, somehow, it's never the time to talk about it. I understand many who are complaining that this is being politicized are trying to cope with their emotions, to simply put one minute after the other, make sense of complex events a little at a time.

I will not wait anymore to discuss this, though. I waited, out of respect, after Columbine (that happened less than five miles from where I lived at the time), and then it got too far in the past and wasn't the right time again somehow. I waited after Aurora (That happened about five miles from where I live today) and after Virginia Tech and after Arizona and after Minnesota and after - fuck it, pick an incident, because you can come up with five on your own. I waited and waited and waited and now we no longer have the luxury to wait. Now is the time to FUCKING ACT!
These events are so prevalent today, news shows have "go-to" people for massacres. How fucking sick is that? I waited, and we waited and what did we get? We got today. And I will not wait one more fucking second. I WILL NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN AGAIN TOMORROW BECAUSE I DID NOTHING TODAY. It is time we act, we actually do something about gun violence, about massacres of innocent people now instead of procrastinating out of "respect for the victims." Let's not wait until the children are buried because maybe we have another story tomorrow. How about we act out of respect for possible future victims?

Honestly, when was the last mass shooting before this one? Think hard - oh, you don't have to. It was actually yesterday. At a mall. In Oregon.

This is it. Today is THE final fucking straw. Many of us have culpability. Many of us knew gun control, and let's call it what it has become and should be known as - massacre control, was something that needed to be part of the public discourse. Those in this camp ignored it. Ignored it because there was an election to win. Ignored it because it's a hot topic and might sway swing voters to vote for the other side, and in the end, the big picture would be lost. I let the "big" picture get in the way of the actual bigger picture.

I will be culpable no more.

It's been widely reported that the shooter used a .223 caliber rifle. The Aurora theater shooter had an M-16 with a 100 round barrel magazine and a .40 caliber semi automatic hand gun. The asshole that shot Gabby Giffords had a 19mm glock w/ a 33 round magazine. These are not weapons for hunting or self defense. These, the ammo used in them, are designed for mass assaults.

You want a handgun for self defense? I disagree, but I do think it's your right. A handgun, as in singular. If you want a couple of rifles to go hunting, I disagree, but I think it's your right. You want assault rifles and are clearly obsessed with weapons, then you are the exact person to not have them and it is no longer your right. One's need to compensate for the size of their penis does not grant them a right to have weapons only the military should access to. Where do you draw the line? The Second Amendment only says "right to bear arms." (And for the moment I'll ignore the militia provision to do this and the fact that the Supreme Court has consistently said that the actual right is only allowed to members of the National Guard.) Isn't a rocket launcher an "arm?" A nuclear warhead? Mustard gas?

There is a right to draw the line, and that line was drawn today. Those that have been complacent will not stand for this any longer. People who didn't even bother to vote in one of the most contentious elections in our history are calling their congresspeople and senators. Those who waivered for one second on gun control are looking at it again. The tide has turned because of today. Because me, and people like me, will no longer allow the NRA to allow this shit to happen. To lobby to almost ensure it will happen again.

And if you think today isn't the day to talk about it, if you think the NRA is not to share in this blame, then I point to dozens of dead kids who did nothing but go to school. Your argument is invalid.

My disgust is.

Make no mistake. I understand it's not simply weapons that led to this. There's an entire litany of shit that needs to be addressed. But we can no longer afford to deny that people with guns are behind these events. And those people need to be stopped.

Those who want to do something, call your representatives.

Sign the petition for the president to open up debate and begin the ending of these events: Petition

I will not wait any more.