Greg Bardsley


Greg Bardsley

Greg Bardsley is the author of The Bob Watson [2016] and Cash Out [2012], which was listed by the New York Times as one of five notable novels written about Silicon Valley. His award-winning short fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. A former columnist and speechwriter, he lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Favorite read of 2011

This past year I read some great books, but in terms of delivering page after page of reading pleasure, nothing quite measured up to Frank Sinatra in a Blender by Matthew McBride.

McBride’s debut novel was one of the funniest books I have read in a long time. I laughed hard. I laughed so hard, in fact, that I wept — tears rolling down my cheeks, my nose running. There’s also a pretty compelling story in there, centering around the wonderfully drawn Nick Valentine (think, Bad Santa meets Hunter S. Thompson) and his hilarious little dog, Frank Sinatra.

I won’t spoil anything here, but suffice it to say McBride pulls off the difficult trick making you care about some of the most amusing, disturbing and low-functioning people you could dream up, and he does it with grace, economy and flare. I couldn’t put it down.

Hat’s off to you, Mr. McBride.

‘REVOLTING’ — Publishers Weekly

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have a story in the new, critically acclaimed anthology, Crime Factory: The First Shift, featuring fresh fiction by Ken Bruen, Dennis Tafoya, Charlie Stella, Dave Zeltserman, Craig McDonald, Leigh Redhead, Aidrian McKinty, Scott Wolven, Jedidiah AyresKieran Shea and many more.

Hailed by the Library Journal as “a beast of noir,” The First Shift is edited by maestros Cameron Ashley, Keith Rawson and Jimmy Callaway, and I am honored to have my new piece, Microprimus Volatitus, included even if Publishers Weekly calls the story “revolting.”

Warning: As this story features a horny, volatile primate the size of a canary that competes with an equally horny and volatile man, there *is* some ear penetration and hair soiling, and a variety of other unsavory activities, including but not limited to various incidents of blunt trauma, nostril abuse, tequila binging and intraspecial revenge. …. So, this story is not for everyone.

Our depraved litle baby is walking

It’s been a long time coming.

Been talking about this idea, working this idea, executing on this idea (slowly) for more than two years.

The idea? To publish a collection of fiction inspired by Dick Cheney.

Long story deceptively short, co-editors Kieran Shea and Jedidiah Ayres and I recruited 23 wonderfully sick writers and artists to help create something really kind of special: D*CKED: Dark Fiction Inspired by Dick Cheney [be sure to check out Shea’s behind-the-scene’s report on the making of our book].

I’m proud of our depraved little baby; it’s packed with great writing, creative storytelling and inspirational artistry.

Expect coverage from some major outlets in coming days and weeks, but for now I suggest you get yourself D*CKED.

Big news in the land of Greg Bardsley

I will give you some clues, and you can guess what’s happened ….

  • I have been dance-walking in public.
  • Several times in recent weeks, I have succumbed to gentle weeping.
  • I have told my agent, David Hale Smith, that the next time we see each other, he should prepare to  be monkey-hugged. … Tightly.
  • Buoyed by third-party validation, I have  been relentless at home. The wife has given me two weeks before I need to “cool it with the jokes.”
  • I have subscribed to the Twittter channel of publishing maestro Cal Morgan, and I have declared that if anyone F’s with Cal, he or she is instantly F’ing with me. Thugs, texting motorists, careless target-shooters, daydreaming crane operators and stray lightning bolts take note – stay the F away from Cal or I will seriously F you up. …. Try me.
  • This year is fine, but now I really can’t wait for next year.
  • And holy shit, I have a revision due Oct. 15

In other words, Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins, has bought my debut novel, CASH OUT, and has targeted a launch date of Fall 2012.

And I am still blown away.

I mean, Harper Perennial? Cal Morgan and the gang at Harper? Really? This really has happened? The same outfit that publishes Jess Walter, Dennis Lehane and Chad Kultgen? …. Me? Really?

I feel like a dog that’s been given a large stick of salami. I don’t ask questions. I don’t say, “Why are you doing this? Are you sure you have the right guy? I’m not supposed to have salami.” … No, I just take that salami and get to work. And that’s exactly what I plan to do.

It has been a long time coming. Thankfully, I have had a lot of fun – and learned so much – along the way. And because I get to work with the amazing folks at Harper, not to mention DHS and my posse of fellow writers who’ve been so generous with their time, I know my learning is only ramping up.

This is just the beginning, but I do have to thank some folks: My manuscript readers (Riske, Ayers, Richardson, Canon, Shea, Bill and Bruen); my wife Nancy, always enabling and always my toughest reader; my mom and sister, who always believed; the aforementioned badass agent DHS and the amazing Lauren Smythe at InkWell; my generous supporters and blurbers who didn’t have to but did (Black, Dorst, Huston, Bruen and Bill); my earliest and most relentless champion (Smith) and, of course, Cal Morgan and his gang at Harper.

Now, back to the dance-walking. [I think I am done with the gentle weeping].

P.S. – This post comes nearly four years to the day after I wrote my first item for this blog — something about “chasing the chimichanga” (publishing a novel). … Weeeee-ird.

She giveth and she taketh

Life can be that way, sometimes – as soon as it gives in one area, it takes in another.

It happened again these past seven days.

Last week, I received word of some really nice comments made by The Los Angeles Review of Books, which took kindly to my contribution to the anthology, By Hook or Crook: The Best Crime and Mystery Stories of the Year [Tyrus Books]. The review, which called the anthology “forward-thinking,” also praises pieces by Sandra Seamans, Bill Crider, Laura Lippman and Tom Piccirilli.

Then this week I was saddened to learn that one of the editors of the anthology, Martin H. Greenberg, has passed away after a sustained illness. I never met Greenberg, but all I had to do was look at his body of work to understand what kind of impact he had on the business.

I think Jedidiah Ayres over at Ransom Notes does the best job explaining why Greenberg will be missed so dearly.

Aw, man … Those guys have all the fun

Talking about Jed Ayres and his Noir at the Bar buddies.

This weekend Jed brought in yet another impressive group of transgressive-fiction writers for his ongoing Noir at the Bar series of readings in St. Louis (I think the name pretty much describes what happens). If the uncensored details on Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere are any indication, the night was packed with the kind of storytelling that would make a parolee blush. Jed pretty much sums up the night up here.

Anyways, reading about these events makes this old man wish for younger days, when I didn’t have to think abnout the kids and The Suits and geriatric realities when considering a cross-country road trip.  So I am left thinking of Ayres, Bill, McBride, Phillips, O’Shea and the rest of that lot — with all their fun and games — and I mumble to myself, “Those guys have all the fun.”

My sweet consolation

One of the things about earning coin during the day, writing crime fic at night and being a family man throughout is that you don’t get to read nearly as much as you’d like.

My consolation? I have some scary-talented buds sending me some of the best crime fic around.

Case in point, I have been thoroughly enjoying Tony Black’s latest sensation, Truth Lies Bleeding. If you haven’t read Black yet, do yourself a favor and check out this novel by the talented U.K. prose stylist, who once again has managed to suck me in with a story that appeals to the mind and heart. With Truth Lies Bleeding, Black introduces us to yet another fascinating and fully evolved character, Edinburgh Investigator Rob Brennan, who is dealing with demons on many fronts, not the least of which is a ruthless killer who’s left a mutilated corpse in a back-alley dumpster. The police procedural element of the book is captivating, and the emotional connection to Brennan is nearly immediate. Top-shelf material from Black — again.

Also just “in”: My e-book copy of Matthew McBride’s breakout first novel, Frank Sinatra in a Blender, which I admit to taking a peek at last night despite the fact I’m in the middle of other books. I mean, with a title like that, how could I not take a peek? Regardless, I was laughing out loud within minutes and can tell that I will thoroughly enjoy that morsel.

Meanwhile, had the pleasure of reading some underground prose (for now, at least) by the prolific and powerfully voiced Kieran Shea – learn that name. … And Crimefactory just came out with a sick new issue with crate of great pieces by Eric Beetner, Jedidiah Ayres, Tony Black, the Nerd of Noir, Nigel Bird and Mike Sheeter. … Oh, and there’s some seriously discounted, tart transgressive fic by Anthony Neil Smith over at Herman’s Greasy Spoon.

And finally, was thrilled to see an excerpt of my recently completed novel appear in the legendary Plots with Guns. If you like your Crazy Larry and your Calhoun, be sure to check out The Frequency, To Which He Must Attend.

Did “that” just happen?

I still can’t believe I am in this thing.

I mean, I’m right after a piece by Mickey Spillane and Max Allen Collins, and right before a story by Dana Cameron. And the name parade by no means ends there. This thing is packed with stories by legends like Dennis Lehane and Mary Higgins Clark. … And Laura Lippman. … And Tom Picirilli and Dave Zeltserman. …. And Luis Alberto Urrea – holy shit, what a story he tells in the 2009 Edgard Award winner, Amapola.

 Is this real? Do I really have a story in the same anthology as these writers?

 Hell yeah.  


The book arrived a few months back, but it’s been crazy here at Bardsley Industries — bills to pay, revisions to write, speeches  to complete – and I never got the chance to note the moment, or even thank editors Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg for including my story.

I’m grateful and humbled — and still thrilled.

P.S. – If you’re a collector, be sure to consider the leather-bound, limited-edition version of this book with every story signed by its author.

He wasn’t avoiding me, after all

I kept hearing about this Beetner guy.

I’d see his name mentioned in crime-writing blogs, or I’d listen in as someone at Bouchercon would name him “a writer to watch.” And I was thrilled when the Million Writers Award named his powerful, elegantly told Thuglit story, “Ditch,” one of the three best pieces in all of online fiction in 2010. … But even so, I’d never seen the guy, chatted with him or exchanged notes with him, which struck me as a bit odd considering how tight the pulp/noir writing world seemed to be.

I found myself asking, Who, really, is Eric Beetner? Does he really exist? ….. Or worse, is he avoiding me?

At Bouchercon, I finally got to meet Eric, who I found to be very real and very cool. We soon after learned that we’d both nagged bad-ass literary agent David Hale Smith for our new manuscripts (I mean, check out that client list). We’ve since been comparing notes, sharing news and even collaborating on a skunkworks project that’s still under the tarp.

Recently, I’ve learned that he and author J.B. Kohl have published a second novel with Second Wind Publishing. In short order, Borrowed Trouble, has won praise from a variety of respected authors, including Hilary Davidson, who called it “pulp fiction at its finest.”

I had to interrogate these two.

Eric and J.B. (aka, Jenifer) were kind enough to play along.

Chimichangas at Sunset: How did you guys end up writing novels together?

Eric: I do some work with the Film Noir Foundation managing some of their social media websites, and Jennifer wrote to me asking if she could link to our site. I checked out the site she wanted to link and read about her first book, The Deputy’s Widow. It seemed like my kind of thing so I bought one and I liked it. I wrote to tell her so and sent along one of my shorts, Ditch, which was in Thuglit.

Jennifer: I really liked Eric’s work. The thing I noticed most was that our styles are similar. I got to thinking that if we wrote something together it would be a fun experiment and might actually lead somewhere interesting. I pitched him the idea of writing together . . . and heard nothing back. I think he contacted me again later about a publishing question or something along those lines and I approached the subject again. This time, he seemed receptive to the idea and within a week he sent me an idea he had for this boxer whose brother gets killed in the ring. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Chimichangas at Sunset: When I see double bylines on a novel, I always envision two people huddled around a computer. One guy is practically resting his chin on the typist’s shoulder, whispering, “No, don’t make him a transvestite. He has to be a born-again. Remember? Or a midget. A midget I could live with.” … Or, I imagine one guy on a lounge chair at the beach —  zinced up nose, dark shades, cigarette hanging off his lips — as he barks insane story ideas to his poor S.O.B. partner who’s pecking away in a dank basement outside Cleveland. …. What’s it really like?

Eric: I don’t think we’re typical by any stretch. We do everything by email. We live on opposite coasts so we’ve never had the chance to meet in person. So we’re each typing away in our respective time zones in solitude and sending out chapters into the ether and then waiting for a reply with more words to build on top of.

Jennifer: LOL. Well, Greg, your scenario would never work because I don’t use zinc on my nose . . . it clogs my pores. Eric and I have the perfect relationship. Don’t get me wrong, Eric is a great friend–one of the best I have–but I love that I don’t have to talk business with him and that we don’t have to sit in an office together and hash stuff out. We work from an outline that changes when needed–we read each other’s stuff. We edit each other’s stuff. We get the work done. It’s easy and fun. I guess that doesn’t sound very glamorous, but that’s really the way it is. 

Chimichangas at Sunset: If you had to pitch BORROWED TROUBLE to the cast of “Jersey Shore” ….

Eric: I think I’d say it has a lot violence and bad words in it. And it’s cheaper than Snooki’s book. And if there’s ever a movie made of it there are parts for all of you . . . because there are a lot of corpses.

Jennifer: I agree. Plus, don’t forget the trashing of houses and the sex and bondage. On film. 

Chimichangas at Sunset: In writing BORROWED TROUBLE, what surprised you the most?

Eric: Once again how seamless it all went. We each had a chance to write each other’s characters this time around which we didn’t get to do much of in One Too Many Blows To The Head and I expected that to be harder but I think we’re both such fans of each other’s work, even within our own book, I approached it with a real sense of respect like I had to get it right to do this guy, Dean Fokoli, justice.

Jennifer: I would have to say I was surprised at how well we did at getting the characters right. We didn’t have to correct one another on anything regarding mannerisms or language or physical description. I think I was surprised at how well Eric knew Fokoli. I had no issues with anything he wrote. He did my character justice and, in a weird way, it was flattering to read the chapters Eric wrote with Fokoli in them.

Chimichangas at Sunset: What’s next for you two?

Eric: We’re outlining a new book, different from the first two. We’re also involved in a collaborative novel with our publisher that has been really interesting. It’s called Rubicon Ranch and eight different writers from our publisher each contribute chapters building on a central mystery. It’s being published on the web right now in installments and when it’s all done it will be a published book. At this point even we don’t know who the killer is. We’re really hoping it’s our characters.

I’m also nearing the end of my fourth solo manuscript and my agent is shopping one of my solo books to publishers right now. I continue to write short stories but I keep getting ideas for novels so my output has been severely cut back. I want to do more since it is a great way to get out in front of readers. Plus it’s fun.

Jennifer: I’m looking forward to the next book we write together. Right now we’re in the “tossing out ideas to each other” phase. And that is always fun. I’m curious to see what else we can come up with. At this time we have no plans to stop writing together. And we both continue our solo work. I’m finishing up my second solo novel now and I’m not really sure what I’ll do with it once it’s done. Try to sell it, I suppose. 

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