Monday, December 2, 2019

Some notes on NAPTOWN NOIR

If you haven't checked out the submission guidelines at the Uncle B. Publications website, you may not be aware I am editing a charity anthology titled NAPTOWN NOIR. The proceeds will go to the Indiana Literacy Association. It is my belief that nothing liberates like literacy. With few exceptions, I can't think of a more important social cause.

For those who don't know, Naptown is the nickname jazz artists gave to Indianapolis in the 1930s and 40s, when America's music still ruled the world. Indianapolis was a major stopover between the South and Chicago. Near what is now MLK and Indiana Avenue, a thriving jazz scene existed during this period. All the greats stopped in Indy and played there. As the country turned its back on jazz in favor of the more simplistic rock and roll sounds hustled to the youth, the jazz scene in Indy, and the rest of the country, for that matter, died down. By the way, Indy does have a wonderful jazz club today near Broad Ripple. It's called the Jazz Kitchen and I suggest a visit should you spend any time in Indianapolis.

So, what am I looking for? I am not interested in stories filled with gratuitous violence, sex, or foul language. It's not that there isn't a place for such things in crime fiction, this just happens to not be such a place. Remember the old James Cain novellas, how he flew very adult topics in just under the radar? That's what I'd like to see. I am not interested in mysteries, whodunnits, or police procedurals. I am looking for CRIME FICTION. Think Jim Thompson or Elmore Leonard. I am also not looking for stories beating readers over the head with some sort of message (even if I myself am often guilty of doing so!).

Finally, there must be an Indianapolis element of the story that demonstrates the writers knows Indy well. You don't have to be from Indianapolis, but you certainly need to study the town and its history. I will spot a Chicago or L.A. story 'fixed' to sound like a Naptown story from a mile away. Do your homework.

I look forward to reading submissions as they arrive.

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