Friday, June 6, 2014

Casualties of War

Whatever your views may be on the Amazon / Hachette spat, please think carefully before jumping on board the 'boycott Amazon' bandwagon. As far as I can see, neither party is blameless and neither one is really in it for the good of the creative people who actually write the books. It’s all about the money. Regardless of which billion dollar corporation ends up having the biggest dick in this pissing contest, it is the small presses and indie authors who are getting a literary corn-holing.

I’m all for the freedom to choose. I want you to be able to purchase the books you love from a vendor of your choice. Amazon has the right not to stock Hachette’s titles in the same way that other bookstores, such as Barnes & Noble have the right not to stock titles published through Amazon’s publishing arm, Create Space. But as an author, who is signed to independent publishers I don’t have the luxury of choice. I know that Amazon has massive flaws, but it is the best and in the case of my self-published short story collection, SMOKE ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM, the only viable platform I have.
Maybe, if people were to keep boycotting Amazon for the year or so it would take to make them financially sit up and take notice then things might start to change. It could even herald the arrival of new companies to provide both Amazon and the traditional publishers with some fresh competition, although somehow I doubt it. One thing I know for sure is that any prolonged embargo will mean the end for a lot of small presses and indie authors who depend on Amazon to get their words out into the world. If you stop buying your books from Amazon, for thousands of writers that means you stop buying their books period.
I have a day job. If you don’t buy my books I can still pay my mortgage and feed my family. That’s not the case for every independent author and publisher. It’s all about the money for them too.


Monday, June 2, 2014

All Due Respect #3

Go get some awesome!
ALL DUE RESPECT is back with another killer issue, featuring the likes of Jake Hinkson, Angel Luis Colon, Patti Abbott, Jessica Adams, Mike McCrary, Rob Hart, Alec Cizak, Jen Conley, and yours truly. Being published in ADR is a pretty big honor. High quality crime fiction magazines are hard to find these days and even harder to get into. ALL DUE RESPECT is right at the top of the tree.

Huge thanks to Chris Rhatigan and Mike Monson for allowing me to lower the tone of their excellent publication.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Roadkill Review: Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto

If you have heard of Nic Pizzolatto, the chances are it will be because you watched, True Detective. I saw the first couple of episodes, but found myself struggling to connect with the story. I’m not a big fan of ritual and occult themed stuff. However, I had no problem connecting with Pizzolatto’s debut novel, GALVESTON; in fact I couldn’t put the damn thing down.

Roy Cady is a bagman for the New Orleans mob. The newly diagnosed cancer in his lungs and his past indiscretions both mean that his time is nearly up. Roy knows that the routine job he is sent on by his boss is just a thinly disguised attempt to hasten his demise. The hit doesn’t go as planned and a blood-soaked explosion of violence somehow ends with Roy as the last man standing, or as Lleweyln Moss put it, the ultimate hombre.
The last woman standing is Rocky, a beaten-up teenage prostitute who turned the wrong trick that night. Roy is no knight in shinning armor, but even a hard bitten ex-con like him can’t bring himself to leave this young girl to her fate. They take off together, heading west along a road littered with dive bars, low-rent motels and shattered dreams. Neither Roy nor Rocky seem to have much of a future and it’s hard for them to see what’s coming when they have to keep looking over their shoulders.
Nic Pizzolatto’s concise prose paints a colorful yet unsentimental picture of the south that at times reminded me a little of Gifford or Crumley. Although Pizzolatto's descriptions of the run-down towns of the gulf coast almost verge on the poetic in places, they never get in the way of the story. His characters soon become flesh and you find yourself being pulled into their ashed-out world of tough breaks and faint hopes. It would require a heart of stone not to feel for Rocky as she tries so hard to keep from fucking-up again.
While the narrative is prone to jump around at times and there is nothing particularly ground breaking about the plot, these picky gripes are easily washed away by the sheer power of Pizzolatto’s writing. GALVESTON may just be my read of the year. It’s a brutal, haunting and beautifully doomed piece of noir with a finale that feels like a knife being twisted in your guts. As John Travolta once exclaimed, I say, god damn what a rush!
Seriously, you need to read this.