Thursday, December 5, 2019

Your Holiday Reading Needs

The holidays are here. Time to buy presents for your friends who read books. I got all your needs met. Let's start with a double-shot of Tech Noir. Switchblade Magazine came up with this project and ended up with an overflow of great stories. Editor Scotch Rutherford split the stories into two camps and sent one over to Pulp Modern. The result is the best thing since Marvel Team Up. You need both issues. If you're an Alec Cizak fan (and, by the way, thanks if you are!), you need both issues. I put together the editorial talent responsible for the PM issue and I have a story called "Post-Biological Stress Disorder" in the Switchblade edition. Get them both. Read them. And review them.

If you didn't get the memo, ABC Group Documentation published a collection of my horror stories (weird fiction is the more appropriate term, but outside of the pulp fiction community, few people know that term) called Lake Count Incidents. It's gotten great reviews so far. It's worth reading, trust me. It has some adult material, but nothing gratuitous.

If you missed Pulp Modern, Volume Two, Issue Four, shame on you. Both PM issues released this year were fully illustrated. Folks are picking up on the fact that this is a stellar issue. Buy it. Read it. Review it.

I also had short stories in Tough 2 and Switchblade #11. These two journals
have taken over as the premiere crime fiction journals of the contemporary age. As a side note, the original All Due Respect blog is making a comeback thanks to Chris Rhatigan and David Nemeth. That means there will be three solid markets for crime fiction writers (and they all pay).

Remember: You could spend your hard-earned Christmas money on corporate-approved fiction that takes NO chances. You could read the same thing, manufactured over and over again, just given a slightly different title and a slightly different cover, and feel safe and comfortable because you know there won't be any surprises, won't be anything that challenges the worldview the corporate media has pounded into your head and convinced you reflects your actual opinions and experiences...OR, you can read something that will remind you you're alive because it will shock you, offend you, rock you right out of your safe space and send your pulse into hyper-drive. Independent fiction like the journals mentioned here are the last gasp of free expression. No other medium is working as hard to challenge the status quo. And if art doesn't challenge the status quo, what the fuck is the point?

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.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

All Your Holiday Reading Needs Met

The special edition of Pulp Modern, Tech Noir, is now available on Kindle from Amazon. Don't forget to buy the companion issue from Switchblade (it started as a Switchblade project that Pulp Modern eventually got involved with). The Pulp Modern issue features unbelievable art by Ran Scott and, as always, outstanding art direction by Richard Krauss.

As previously mentioned, Lake County Incidents is available in both print and kindle editions. This is my contribution to the great line of horror anthologies that influence me, including Dark Forces, King's Night Shift, Bierce's Can Such Things Be?, and Campbell's Alone with the Horrors (contains some of the scariest f'ing stories ever written). Most of the stories in this book were written after Scott Parker shamed me a bit on social media, saying he'd never written anything that couldn't appear on television. I took that as a challenge to write stories that pack the same punch my noir stories do, only without the excessive profanity you'll find in my crime fiction. I like the idea of flying challenging ideas under the radar like that. This is a book meant to be enjoyed by anyone from about 14 to 104 years old.

Some of you may have noticed an announcement regarding Uncle B. Publications moving into the field of book publishing. Here are some projects lined up for the next year or so:

David Cranmer and I have been discussing putting together a single volume of all the Drifter Detective novellas and stories. Look for that to be one of the first non-Pulp Modern releases from Uncle B.

I'm working on a collection of novellas with a couple of other writers from Los Angeles. Don't want to give too much away, but my contribution to that volume could never be shown on television...

I will be putting together a Naptown Noir anthology of crime stories that take place in my hometown, Indianapolis. Proceeds will go to an Indiana literacy charity.

I will also be putting together two rock and roll anthologies -- one will be a collection of stories inspired by the music of David Bowie. The other will be called Now There Was a Story!, in which the songs on the Johnny Cash album, Now There Was Song!, are turned into stories. Those will also be charity volumes, the charities as of yet to be determined.

If any of these anthology projects sound interesting to you, contact me and we'll talk further.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

LAKE COUNTY INCIDENTS now available!

My collection of weird fiction, LAKE COUNTY INCIDENTS, is now available. Get yours in time for Halloween!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Deadlines: A Tribute to William Wallace

William Wallace was a big supporter of my work. I contributed a story to the charity anthology Deadlines: A Tribute Anthology called "Las Vegas Foot Massage." There are many familiar names in this anthology (if you're down with the underground, that is). It's sitting there on Amazon with no reviews and that's truly criminal. Open your wallet for a good cause, read the book, and leave a review.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Interview at Thriller Magazine

I recently answered some questions for Thriller Magazine. You can read the interview here.

Lake County Incidents did not make it in time for your summer reading. It'll be here for Halloween season, which is much more appropriate, to be honest.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Mr. Cizak at BULL Magazine

I have a story at BULL you might enjoy. It's called "Snotknockers" and deals with, among other things, the wounds left by childhood bullies and society's double-standards when it comes to revenge.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mo' Fiction at FFO

I'm pleased to have my flash fiction piece "Temporarily Embarrassed Millionaires" at Flash Fiction Offensive. Thanks to Jesse, Beau, Jim, and Mick (and anyone else involved) for keeping that site running.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

It's Summer. Things Are Heatin' Up!

First of all, in case you missed the news, Pulp Modern has returned:

Despite the best efforts of the feds and corporate publishing stooges to prevent it from happening, Pulp Modern returns with a vengeance. Featuring brand new fiction by Rex Weiner, Russell Thayer, C.W. Blackwell, Albert Tucher, Matthew X. Gomez, Scott Forbes Crawford, Adam S. Furman, Adam S. House, and S. Craig Renfroe Jr. Issue four marks a return to Pulp Modern's roots with original illustrations by Ran Scott, Alfred Klosterman, Dan W. Taylor, Rick McCollum, and Brian Buniak. The stories begin with a wild L.A. trip courtesy Rex Weiner, the man responsible for Ford Fairlane, and travel the gamut of crime before shifting to sword and sorcery, science fiction, and closing with a pair of brutal rural horror stories. Get a glimpse of the future of genre fiction, get a copy of the latest edition of Pulp Modern. Edited, as always, by Alec Cizak and designed by Richard Krauss and featuring the cartooning genius of Bob Vojtko.


As if today weren't awesome enough, here's the big cover reveal for my collection of horror stories, Lake County Incidents, to be released real soon by ABC Group Documentation:

Summer's here and the time is right for readin' in the streets!

Remember to read and review these books on Amazon so this fucking movement gets to where it needs to be!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Ladies and gentlemen, your Pulp Modern Volume 2 Number 4 Lineup:

The following heavyweight champs of independent fiction provide some amazing stories for the new issue of Pulp Modern:

C.W. Blackwell
Scott Forbes Crawford
Adam S. Furman
Matthew X. Gomez
Adam S. House
S. Craig Renfroe Jr.
Russell Thayer
Albert Tucher
and
Rex Weiner

Look for the new, completely illustrated issue this May!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Something Wicked is on the Way...

Photo by Don McCullin
I've got some nice publishing notices I'll reveal more about in the near future. I've also got a collection of weird fiction coming soon called Lake County Incidents. The stories take place in three small towns I invented that sit in northern Indiana, just below Gary. Should be here just in time for your summer reading pleasure (and nightmares).

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Mr. Cizak at the Flash Fiction Offensive

Photo by Yuan Sang
I've been working for nearly a year and a half on the final book in the accidental trilogy that started with Down on the Street and continued with Breaking Glass. Not sure why the last book has taken so long, but the good news is I finished the rough draft and will begin with the wonderful work of revising it when summer starts.

One of the things I do to keep my writing skills sharp is write flash fiction pieces that force me to consider what's actually important in a story. I just had a piece published over at Flash Fiction Offensive called "Progress." I feel it's the kind of story that would have given Hitchcock a nice chuckle. Many thanks to Jesse, Beau, and Jim, the editors at FFO, for making sure this excellent venue continues. There are certain places I will always enjoy sending work to, and FFO is one of them.

Shouldn't take you but a second to read and if you've got what uptight, polite society calls a sick sense of humor, you should enjoy it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Lots of Stuff

Been a long time. For those of you desperate to know what's going on in the life of a super-duper underground writer, here's an update:

December, 2018: Due to work reasons, had to move from Montana back to Florida. Packed up everything into a U-haul trailer and drove with my (then) girlfriend across the country, experiencing a delightful variety of dangerous road conditions. It was quite an adventure. I was grateful not to be alone for the journey.

Just before heading to my hometown, Indianapolis, for Christmas, I got word that a woman helping me search for my biological parents had tracked down my biological father. Quite astounding. I met him and two of my step-sisters while in Indy. Very amazing to meet my genetic tribe.

Shortly after returning to Florida (on Valentine's Day, to be exact), I proposed to my girlfriend on the beach and she said yes. We got married fourteen days later.

As for writing and publishing, at some point here my collection of macabre stories, Lake County Incidents, should be available from ABC Group Documentation.

Richard Krauss and I continue making improvements to Pulp Modern. The next issue is being slowly built, month by month, with single-day submission windows. We're working with a few artists to bring original artwork to the journal. If you haven't been around to visit Pulp Modern lately, now's the time to correct that. Issue four should be available in the summer.

I'm putting the finishing touches on the rough draft to the final book in the "Unholy Trilogy," this time featuring the title of a song from my favorite Lou Reed-associated work, the unbelievable Velvet Underground record Loaded (hipsters probably hate this record, I think it's fucking brilliant. Not one bad song from beginning to end. The older I get, the closer that record inches to the number one spot on my Top 10 Records of All Time list). Unlike Breaking Glass, this book is a bit of a return to the hardboiled style of Down on the Street. It's got some Magical Realism going on and, thanks to Bob Kraft's Excellent Adventures at a Florida massage parlor, has become rather topical. It probably won't be available for at least another year, though.

I'll have some short story and flash fiction publication announcements to make soon. In April, for instance, I'll be at Flash Fiction Offensive with a nasty little piece called "Progress."