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Greg Bardsley

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Thuglit

Five questions at Scrivo

richardsonMark Richardson and I have been comparing notes on fiction-writing for years now. We have had some great talks about it all. Whereas, he’s more likely to tell me about the latest story by nearby peninsula genius Tobias Wolff, I’m more likely to tell him about some amazing stories I’ve read in Plots with Guns or the now-defunct Murdaland.

He reads fiction in The New Yoker. I read fiction in Thuglit. And then we trade.

A few years ago, we had a debate about Eat, Pray, Love.

Along the way, he’s turned me on to some great shit in his publications. And I’m happy to report that maybe I’ve turned him on to noir and transgressive fiction. Case in point, Richardson is now weighing in on UNCAGE ME, the anthology of noir that includes my story, Hotshot 52, and has asked me to answer five questions over at his new blog, Scrivo.

Mark is a great writer with an amazing track record in fiction — every story he’s written has been picked up so far. And Scrivo already has made some interesting observations about  the pursuit of fiction-writing.

You can chek out his bog and his five questions of me right here.

Sex, thugs and me

Last Friday I took the family to the local bookstore for a triumphant little moment.51hq6hm6vql__ss500_1

I was coming to pick up my copy of Sex, Thugs and Rock & Roll, the new Thuglit anthology that includes my story, “Big Load of Trouble,” alongside those by Changa buddies Anthony Neil Smith, Jed Ayres, Jordan Harper and Patti Abbott. It also includes pieces by some very admired crime authors — Scott Wolven, Joe R. Lansdale, Marcus Sakey and Jason Starr, to name a few.

Of course, I could have ordered my copy via Amazon, and you surely can HERE. But I wanted the experience of seeing it in a bookstore, buying it in a bookstore, fanning through the pages to find my story — in a bookstore.

And I have to say, I felt pretty damn good. I felt like an average Joe getting called up to the majors for a weekend, and having a blast the entire time.

Then, when I started reading the pieces in this anthology, I got an entirely new rush. This, my friends, is a tight collection of compelling storytelling. Case in point: I re-read “Politoburg” by Ayres and was blown away all over again, and was reminded how my first reading of that piece in Thuglit in 2007 led me to praise it on this blog, which is how I got to know the guy.

I’m not the only one impressed by this anthology. One of the stories was nominated for a prestigious Edgar award, and Publisher’s Weekly recently weighed in with this review.

Robinson’s second anthology derived from the online magazine Thuglit is an improvement over 2008’s Hardcore Hardboiled. Jason Starr gets things off on the right foot with “Double Down,” a short but punchy contemporary PI tale, with an unapologetically amoral main character largely indifferent to the consequences of his greed. Joe R. Lansdale offers perhaps the strongest entry with “Bullets and Fire,” in which the narrator gets accepted into a hardcore urban gang by punching out a little girl, for reasons that only become apparent in the denouement. An ex-con’s despair over his estranged grown daughter drives Marcus Sakey’s “The Days When You Were Anything Else,” which ends with a twist that’s no less powerful for being predictable. While not every selection is top-notch, this volume also showcases a number of lesser-known authors who will undoubtedly be heard from more in the future. Sarah Weinman’s introduction extols the virtues of online publication. (June) — Publisher’s Weekly

So …. maybe you’d like to have a little Sex, Thugs and Rock & Roll in your life.

If you need a babysitter …

If you’re looking for a babysitter, or a driving instructor, you may want to pass on Terry, the reluctant parental guardian in Jed Ayres’s story, “1998 Was a Bad Year,” which appears in the latest edition of  Thuglit.thug301

There’s something about this story that first disturbs, then amuses. You know guys like Terry are out there, somewhere, and that’s the disturbing part. But when you’re in the hands of a writer like Ayres, you want to go on that ride. It’s like this ’78 TransAm skids up onto your lawn, spins a donut and blares the horn, and the next thing you know, you’re happy to be sandwhiched between a couple of shady characters in the back seat, destined for a joyride into a world of neo-degenerancy you just don’t wanna miss.

Well, you get the idea.

Also in this edition are top-shelf tales by Changa buddies Jason Duke and Hillary Davidson, as well as stories (which I hope to soon read) by Eric Beetner, Patrick Cobbs, Robert S.P. Lee, Sophie Littlefield and Myra Sherman. Check them out.

pulp1Meanwhile, over in the United Kingdom, Pulp Pusher is running Frank Bill’s “These Old Bones,” which hits you in the jaw right from the start. Warning to those with delicate sensibilities, or those who prefer introspective, meandering “literature” about a sweet girl in a bonet walking through fields of daiseys with “Papa”: keep walking, don’t look at Frank Bill. For the rest of you: come over here.

Dude ….

Dude …

Dude ….

Very … very cool.

Ayres alerted me to the recently unveiled cover for “Sex, Thugs and Rock & Roll,” the second anthology of crime stories produced by Thuglit and Kensington Books. This edition happens to include my piece, “Big Load of Trouble,” and a great story by Ayres (“Politoburg”). We’re the what the cover refers to as “Others” — and damn proud of it.

Love the cover design. Can’t wait to see this one drop, come May 26 — in bookstores, on Amazon and elsewhere. … I tip my hat to you, Todd Robinson, you frickin’ badass.

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