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In Which I Have Issues

Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Paging Mr. Harper, Glenn Harper please pick up the white courtesy phone. I make it a policy at CrimeSpot to ask permission before I add anyone's blog. I'd really like to add Glenn Harper's International Noir - but I can't find any contact information anywhere! If anyone can help, please send him a note and ask him to contact me at

I drink the Kool-Aid. I finally broke down and got an iPod after bravely resisting for years. One huge bonus: I can now listen to podcasts during my one-hour-each-way commute (drawback: it's hard to concentrate while shouting, "Watch where you're going, you stupid $%&*!"). This led me to discover, home of the podcasts "Out Of The Past: Investigating Film Noir" and "Behind The Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed".

So far I've only checked out the interviews with Megan Abbott and Duane Swierczynski, but they're really interesting. For example, one of these facts is true, from Duane's own mouth:
  1. Duane has the body of a man half his age. He keeps it in the freezer.
  2. "Swierczynski" is not his real last name. He shortened it from "Swierczynsckicallafragilisticexpialidocious".
  3. Duane and his brother Greg were named after the Allman brothers.

I report, you decide! These podcasts are more than an excuse for cheap jokes at Duane's expense, they're also very interesting, so be sure to check them out. If you don't have an iPod you can listed from your computer. If you want to look like a complete dork.

Cheap Thrills. Sarah Weinman is conducting a critical roundtable at her site with Jerome Weeks, Hallie Ephron, and Dick Adler. They're discussing the new book The Triumph of the Thriller. So far Part I and Part II have been posted.

I have issues, part I. The new print mag Out Of The Gutter arrived the other day. If Murdaland is the spiritual descendant of Plots With Guns, Gutter is the bastard child of Blue Murder. I've plowed halfway through it, and so far it's profane, lewd, violent, and frequently funny. Despite its low-rent origins, it's also a nice looking package, with a few mock ads similar to those you'd find in old pulp mags (my favorite is "Money In Gerbils!"). Scroll to the end for complete contents.

I have issues, part II. Bryon Quertermous sends word that the winter issue of DEMOLITION is now live. Obviously Bryon is trying to buy off various literary critics (David J. Montgomery, Anthony Rainone) by publishing their fiction. Full contents at the end.

And I thank you. I believe I neglected to mention that someone finally took me up on my offer, and killed me in a story. Sort of. In "Call Me Cupid" he bumps a guy named Ted Powell, which I guess is close enough to my first name, Edward. Other than that, he's NOTHING like me. I swear!

Out Of The Gutter contents:

"Final Tally", by Victor Gischler
"Goodbye Love", by Hana K. Lee
"Punishment", by J.A. Konrath
"Beer, Cheese, and the City Lights", by Dale Bridges
"Footwork", by Paul Grimsley
"Only the Strong Survive", by Seth Ferranti
"I SAW RED", by M.L.B.
"Violent Delights", by Harry Shannon
"Clover", by Billy Elizondo
"Dirty Laundry", by Todd Robinson
"Spring Break in Mexico", by D.Z. Allen
"The Millstone", by Joe McKinney
"Last Shot", by Sandra Ruttan
"The Errand", by Dale Bridges
"The Bet", by Charlie Stella
"Chinese Finger Trap", by M.L.B.

DEMOLITION contents:

"Cheer For Me", by Ed Lynskey
"Mi Vida de Lucha", by David J. Montgomery
"Diner This", by James McGowen
"Crossing Borders", by James Stickney
"Power of the Gods", by Anthony Rainone
"Riptide", by Keith Gilman
"White Tile", by Rob Kramer
"Stone Cool", by Peggy Ehrhart

posted by Graham Powell at 6:06 PM

Richard S. Prather Dies

Friday, February 16, 2007
Richard S. Prather, creator of L.A. private eye Shell Scott, has died at his home in Arizona. Although he's not a household name today (outside of certain circles of fans), Prather sold over 40 million books, and Shell remains one of the genre's most unique individuals.

Sheldon Scott was an ex-Marine who stood 6'2" with crew-cut hair so blond it was white. Perpetually in his early 30s, Scott made his debut in 1950's Case of the Vanishing Beauty and went on to appear in 39 more novels or collections. My first introduction was "Dead Giveaway" (collected in the superb Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories), and it's still one of my favorites.

There was plenty of sex in those books, but in contrast to today's angst-ridden couplings, Shell and the numerous (VERY numerous) ladies who succombed to his charms generally had a great time. Prather made it seem like good clean fun, not sick or twisted.

But Prather could also write hard core when he wanted to. I recently read his novel The Peddlar, reprinted by Hard Case Crime, and I was very surprised by the frank language he used in describing a prostitution ring.

Christa Faust wrote a fan letter to Prather a while back, and I thought, "Damn, I should do that too". But I never did and now it's too late.

Jeff Pierce has a nice roundup that links to many other tributes to Prather. Be sure to check it out.

posted by Graham Powell at 6:06 PM

A Worthy Cause; Mug Shots #4

Monday, February 12, 2007
First, an apology. In my last post I gave Bryon Quertermous the business over his new site template. After thinking about it I decided I was a little too hard on him. Bryon hasn't said anything, and probably took it with good humor, but still. Not everybody feels the need to show off how macho they are, and while busting your friend's chops is a time honored tradition, next time I'll do it in private. Sorry, dude.

Books for the troops. David Terrenoire has a family member leaving for Iraq and is asking for book donations:
As anyone who has ever been in the service knows, boredom is an unavoidable part of military life. Books help, especially the kind of books we read. Nothing takes your mind of the brutalities and war like a good multiple homicide.


Today I'm asking you to step up. You can send your books to me and I'll forward them, or you can send them direct. And please, if you want to do something more than slap one of those three-dollar magnets on your car, pass this address along to fans, friends and family.I know you guys won't let me down.

Here is Brett's address:

Cpt. Brett Sachse, MD
240 Med Det 28 CSH
APO AE 09348

Here is my address:

David Terrenoire
5 Chipley Ct.
Durham, NC 27703

I'll let you know how it's going in future posts.

I'm sending along a box of paperbacks myself, and I encourage all of you to do the same. Especially any authors who have copies of their books just gathering dust. Thanks.

Mug Shots #4. Since I just posted J. Kingston Pierce's mug last week I should probably make y'all wait a little longer for your next dose, but I was inspired and can't help myself. Allow me to present Anthony Neil Smith, former editor of the legendary Plots With Guns, author of the novels Psychosomatic and The Drummer, and all-around good guy. Or is that... WEDGE ANTILLES!

Hey, it could happen. After all, Smith is from the Gulf Coast, and the Antilles have been an important family down there for centuries. I mean, they've even got two island chains named after them! (Too obscure?)

Now that he's moved up to the Great White North, maybe another comparison would be more appropriate:

An old friend returns. Back in the day, you didn't have too many options for getting hot fresh mysteries off the Internet. You had Blue Murder. You had The Thrilling Detective. You had Judas Ezine. And you had Nefarious. All of those except TTD eventually went dark, but now Nefarious is back and open for business.

The new issue has short stories, a review of the film Children of Men, and a primer on writing flash fiction. Worth checking out, for sure.

posted by Graham Powell at 10:12 AM

Mug Shots #3; Two Quick Notes

Wednesday, February 07, 2007
In this edition of Mug Shots we visit venerable J. Kingston Pierce of January Magazine and The Rap Sheet. I have to admit that I thought this up months ago, but laziness compelled me to wait until the moment was right. So, is that Jeff Pierce or... CAPTAIN LOU ALBANO!!

(First alternate: Jeff "The Dude" Dowd, with a bonus for being named Jeff.)

It's about time. Murdaland Magazine's online store ("coming in November") is now open, so if you're like me and are too lazy to get your ass up from the computer and walk to the mailbox, you too can now order a subscription. Unforseen complication: you will have to get up to fetch it when it arrives.

Last and, well, least. The next Big Blog Short Story Project (B2S2P) is now searching desperately for contributors. Details here. And check out Bryon's site redesign. My reaction: OMFG. You can't put a price on those doodled hearts.

(I say it with love, man. No, not that kind.)

posted by Graham Powell at 11:37 AM

So Cool

Saturday, February 03, 2007
I upgraded to the new version of Blogger this past week, and Gerald So (one of my co-bloggers at Nasty, Brutish, Short) spiffied up the place with new features such as labels. Until I viewed the changes I didn't realize how much he'd been doing on the site. So bravo, Gerald!

Patrick Shawn Bagley over at Hillbillies and Hitmen has posted the entries in his "Heavy Metal Noir" contest - flash fiction with a hint of crime and a dollop of spandex. Head over to his site to check out the entries, then send in your vote.

Gosh, it seems like just the other day I was talking about ThugLit - wait, it was just the other day. Their February issue is now out, and features a story by one of my favorite new writers, Pat Lambe. I'll post the full contents later on in the week, but why wait? Go ahead and read it for yourself.

posted by Graham Powell at 11:46 AM

So Far, So Good

Thursday, February 01, 2007
Before I get to the news of the day, allow me to say - I go out of town for the weekend, and you ALL upgrade to the new Blogger? That's how it seemed, at least, and that's the reason the site was down for a couple of days.

A little over a week ago, celebrated its one year anniversary. The first year was a lot of fun, with new, interesting blogs popping up all over. I had the chance to meet a number of contributors down in Austin and hope to meet more of you over the next couple of years. You guys are what makes this site great; you write the stories, I just provide the Word templates.

In Other News: Bill Crider has been nominated for an Edgar award, as everyone who matters knows (note: if you didn't know this, you don't matter). The nominated story, "Cranked", was a direct sequel to a story he wrote for "Going Twice", the second big blog story project, and appeared in Damn Near Dead, one of the best anthologies of 2006. Congrats to Bill, to editor Duane Swear Sweirz Duane S., and to publisher David Thompson.

To celebrate, Duane held a contest for the best absolutely true fact about Bill. I was a little late to that party, but I happen to know that Bill has a secretary named Lincoln, and Abraham Lincoln had a secretary named Crider.

Dave Zeltserman at Hardluck Stories is now accepting submissions for the "truthiness" issue. Inspired by Stephen Colbert, Dave's zine was even plugged on Comedy Central's web site. In related news, I'm starting the "Dave Z. Sells Out" countdown.

Have I mentioned that ThugLit is now a monthly? After vaulting into the top rank of crime 'zines last year, now only do they pay but you can't seem to get rid of them.

Last, critic Dick Adler is running his new novel, Men's Adventure, in installments over at the Rap Sheet. I implore you to go check this out immediately.

Incidentally, I just noticed that I have mentioned, just in this post, a virtual anthology posted to blogs, and webzine that has become one of the top markets in just a few issues, and novel serialized in blog posts. Anyone doubt the web has changed publishing?

posted by Graham Powell at 10:20 AM