Friday, May 24, 2013

Story at Shotgun Honey

I've got one up at Shotgun Honey today, "Interview with an Asshole." And, indeed, the story delivers on its title.

I've always harbored a hatred for job interviews. Such a bunch of bullshit. This story sprung from my hatred of the question, "Why do you want to work here?"

It also features an asshole boss, perhaps my favorite stock character.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Why Free?

So some people have asked why I give my books away for free.

The answer is simple: Writing is not my job.

But this has a big payoff--I get to write whatever the hell I want. I'm not concerned about demographics or marketing or target audiences or blah blah blah. I just write stuff that I would like to read, then put it out in the world. It's cool when other people stumble upon my books and dig them too.

A couple of the anthologies I've worked on have a made few bucks to cover expenses and that kind of thing, but, at this point, I don't have any intention of making money off my writing. Not because I'm some kind of artistic purist, that's just not where I'm at right now.

Writing is not work to me. Selling my writing is work, and I don't need to do any more work than I already do.

Anyway, here's my novella, The Kind of Friends Who Murder Each Other, and a book of short stories, Watch You Drown. They're both free. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Robamapocalypse by Kevin Strange

Sometimes you know how fucking great a book will be just from its premise. A not-too-distant future giant robot Lord Obama controls the masses through zombie ultimate fighting.

Yeah, let's do that.

I heard about this book on Chris Boyle's Bizarrocast and went out into the ether and bought it. It's every bit as enjoyable and nutty as I anticipated.

In his intro, Strange makes it clear that this is an apolitical work. And surely this is a bizarre expedition into a parallel reality that leaves politics or anything else boring*, far behind. This read like a great, old school video game--a fast, furious adventure filled with non-stop carnage.

Don't confuse this with your typical post apocalypse book that takes itself way too seriously and is all dark and brooding and crap. Robama Pocalypse just kicks ass.

* I'm a politics and government teacher, but I like to keep my politics reading and my fiction reading separate.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mastodon Farm by Mike Kleine

Mastodon Farm is an experience.

It is about you. You are famous. Or at least you hang out with many famous people. You always listen to music when you drive your Ferrari. You like the band Vampire Weekend. You go places and do things and then go other places and do other things or the same things.

That's about it.

This book is simultaneously vague (there is no reason why you do these things, or even detailed descriptions of what you are doing) and specific (almost everything you do is linked to some pop culture material, a band, an actor, a clothing company, an author).

Each mention of one of these pop culture bits brings a flood of images and thoughts and feelings to mind, but then each one is hardly ever more then mentioned, each has no significance to it. This got me thinking that we falsely associate significance with pop culture material, when in reality these things tell us nothing about a person's (or a character's) identity. I don't know if that was Kleine's intention, but that's what I got out of it.

I also felt overwhelmed. The pure sensory experience of thinking of so many pop culture things made me exhausted, but in a strangely satisfying way.

Someone who blurbed the book said it was like watching twelve hours of TV on a Sunday. That seems apt to me--I was entertained, did nothing, then felt tired after doing it.

This is a smooth, lightning fast blaze through land of the absurd and one of the best bizarro books I've read.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Bouquet of Bullets by Eric Beetner

Nothing goes together better than flowers and crime fiction.

I think.

Wait, that doesn't seem right.


Anyway, Eric Beetner's short story collection, A Bouquet of Bullets, in many ways harkens back to golden age of pulp writers. This is narrative-driven stuff flavored with cordite and regret.

I had read several of these before, such as "My Asshole Brother," "What the Dog Saw," "Countdown," and "Why Are Mommy and Daddy Fighting?", but they proved entertaining and interesting the second time around. Beetner's smooth storytelling style is a joy to read and I burned through these quickly.

He has a knack for the classic stories that would be boring in a less capable writer's hands. Two stories about that well-worn subject, the hit man's retirement--"The Last Bullet" and "Hit...Me"--proved to be some of the best in the collection. At his best, Beetner's work is moving without being sentimental.

This is particularly true of the closing story, "Without a Body, There Is No Crime." The term chilling is over-used, but if you read this story, I think you'll agree that at the end, you feel physically colder than when you started it. It's probably the most convincing "harmless teenager morphs into killer" story that I've read.

This one from Snubnose Press is a steal at only $1.99 at Amazon