About Me

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"We need to make books cool again. If you go home with someone & they don't have books, don't fuck 'em."--John Waters

I'm the author of more than twenty novels including SHADOW SEASON, THE COLD SPOT, THE COLDEST MILE, THE MIDNIGHT ROAD, THE DEAD LETTERS, and A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN. Look for my next one THE LAST KIND WORDS due out May '12 from Bantam Books. Contact: PicSelf1@aol.com

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thank Christ that 2010 is Fucking Over

Or almost so. Man, I don't think I know anyone who had a truly good year. Every kindness was tempered with some vicious blow to the kidneys. Everybody was pretty wrecked financially, took a shellacking personally and professionally, and more than a little emotionally. Most of us made it through though, singed around the edges as we might be.

Those of you paying attention know my wife Michelle suffered a heart attack back on April 1st (prompting me to actually tell the 911 operator, "This isn't an April Fool's joke, man, send an ambulance pronto.") After a spookyass ride to the hospital where I followed behind the ambulance and watched as it stopped at all the stop signs, casually drove the speed limit, and waited patiently at red lights, only to see them finally turn on the siren about a half-mile from the hospital, they finally got to the ER and zipped her inside. (Ambulance driver drove around the parking lot twice looking for the ER entrance--seriously). In any case, she came through surgery with flying colors. She handled a few days in ICU and months of physical rehab like a trooper. She's now much healthier than me. And you, for that matter.

At least three of my buddies saw the dissolution of their marriages, and several watched as their careers took a major step backwards for one reason or another. For the first time in something like 11 years I didn't have a novel come out in print, although NIGHTJACK did see its digital and audiobook release.

For more on the beatdown, you can check out my essay "Dead Mower Dreams & the Weeds of Boo Radley."

But some good stuff did occur in 2010, so let me focus on that from now until we usher the nasty bitch right out the door:

A ton of my stuff was released on Kindle through Crossroad Press, including NIGHTJACK, THE FEVER KILL, ALL YOU DESPISE, FUCKIN' LIE DOWN ALREADY, SHORT RIDE TO NOWHERE, LOSS, and THE NOBODY.

Bookgasm noted FUTILE EFFORTS as Collection of the Year.

The audiobook of THE MIDNIGHT ROAD became available.

THE COLDEST MILE won the International Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original.

And of course, in the end, the best thing I can say about 2010 is that I survivied it, and so did you. We're both still here, my friend, trying to hold onto our faith. It's not always easy. In fact, often its impossible, but somehow we find ourselves still moving forward, trying our damnedest to collect the dream and haul it in close for a bear hug. Here's hoping 2011 is a little easier on us all. In the meantime, thanks for being here and sharing this bizarre thing called life with me.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Midnight Road Audiobook now available


The Blackstone Audio release of THE MIDNIGHT ROAD is now available. Seriously dig the reader, Donald Corren, who brings a real life to the story without indulging in theatrics. My thanks to Blackstone and Don!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New Books to Snatch Up Now

And here's a bunch of terrific new books by some of the best authors out there:

Ed Gorman's latest collection of crime fiction is NOIR 13. According to Publishers Weekly: "Gorman (STRANGLEHOLD) showcases the darker side of his talents in this solid collection, a mix of previously published and original stories. Gorman is comfortable with futuristic settings ("The Baby Store," in which a couple deals with the loss of a child and the prospect of having another) as well as fantasy ("A Little Something to Believe In," in which a changeling seeks the secret to paradise), but he's at his best in a crime story like "Flying Solo," in which two elderly Midwestern men facing a death sentence (cancer) embark on a new career of crime in the service of protecting others. In "The Long Way Back," successful brother Giff visits struggling brother Michael in their Cedar Rapids hometown and bails Michael out when his weakness threatens his family's well-being. In the chilling "Killing Kate," a husband decides on a unique way to punish his wife for her infidelity."

Dave Zeltsmerman's first e-book original for Kindle and Nook is VAMPIRE CRIMES, a high octane kick-ass thrill ride and easily, according to him, his "mos tnoir novel. Think Pulp Fiction with vampires to give you some idea." Fans of any of his 'man out of prison' noir books (Small Crimes, Pariah, Killer) are going to dig this one.

BYE BYE BABY is Allan Guthrie's first foray into detective fiction. The novella is due to be published by Barrington Stoke as part of their 'Most Wanted' series sometime in 2013 but is out now on Kindle in the US, the UK and on a variety of digital formats from Smashwords , and costs a mere 99 cents! The story centers on Frank Collins, an inexperienced detective who comes across a rather unusual kidnapping when a seven-year-old boy disappears after school. Collins has been looking to lead a high-profile case for a while, and sets out determined to prove his worth. But the missing schoolboy is only a trigger for another crime. It gradually becomes clear that someone is intent on exploiting the boy's grief-stricken mother, but what Frank Collins doesn't know is that they have plans for him too. According to the DO SOME DAMAGE blog:
"The approach is so fresh that it makes the whole thing feel like the first time I've read a police story."

Ken Bruen's latest is his most recent offering in the dark as sack cloth Jack Taylor series THE DEVIL. This eighth novel in the series is surprisingly tinged with the supernatural as Jack rushes forth to battle...well, you can guess. There's sly nods to previous Taylor tales and a showdown you have to read to believe.

Greg Gifune's GARDENS OF NIGHT is now available in paperback at Amazon, Horror Mall, Barnes & Noble and pretty much anywhere else you’d want to buy it. GARDENS is published by UNINVITED BOOKS, a new independent publisher owned and operated by author Robert Dunbar (THE PINES, THE SHORE, MARTYRS and MONSTERS). I hope you’ll all check out GARDENS OF NIGHT (which critics are already calling perhaps his best work to date) and support Rob Dunbar's www.uninvitedbooks.com.

Colorado author Patricia Stoltey's second Sylvia & Willie mystery, The Desert Hedge Murders, was released in paperback in September from Harlequin Worldwide. The first book in the series, The Prairie Grass Murders, is now available as an ebook for Kindle.

I called the great T.M. Wright's SALLY PINUP "a sly, subtle, stylish tale of terror that will keep you spellbound." It's a terrific novella out by Nick Cato's Novello Publishers, which usually publish humorous fiction. But Wright's SALLY PINUP, while clever and hep, is also disturbing in the same way that all his finest fiction is.

Gary A. Braunbeck's new non-fiction book TO EACH THEIR DARKNESS is the revised, corrected, and massively expanded version of his classic memoir FEAR IN A HANDFUL OF DUST, with typos and hundreds of other printing mistakes removed, and easily 60% new material. If you're not already a major fan of Braunbeck's then that just means you haven't read him yet. Correct that now, and start with this one, one of his very best.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Colliding Harder & Sparking Higher

So is there a difference between sentimentality, nostalgia, and just being caught up in vivid memory thanks to the holiday season and some particularly strong subject matter to the latest story? I’m not sure. Maybe I’m just a moody prick. Strike that, I know I’m a moody prick, but things have been colliding harder and sparking higher lately.

I just finished my first real horror piece in several months for a new antho, using as its core concept the Say You Love Satan/Ricky Kasso case from back in the 80s. For those unfamiliar, on Long Island when I was a teenager a story broke about four kids who went off into the woods of a Northport park together ostensibly to do some carousing. There, Ricky Kasso, a burnout, dropout dope peddler, and two of his buddies, beat, stabbed, eye-gouged, and eventually murdered Gary Lauwers. It took hours. Not only was the crime vicious beyond belief, but it became iconic for the times because of all the hysteria surrounding heavy metal "satanic" lyrics and supposed teenage devil worship of the period. Besides digging up graves and claiming to have occult powers, Ricky demanded that Gary Lauwers say he loved Satan before being butchered.
For the next couple of weeks Ricky led other friends up into the woods to show them the body while he solidified his legacy in the annals of local spook legend by saying a black crow gave him a message from the devil to kill Lauwers, and that the trees all bowed down to him as he murdered. If nothing else, it was good copy, and drove Tipper Gore apeshit.

It’s a brutal story with a lot of impact, especially if you were around the same age as the principle individuals at the time, which I was. Thinking about the case, and being homesick for family and friends on Long Island during the holidsays, has made me sentimental despite all the ugliness associated with the circumstances. It's put me in a bizarre mood that's still clinging as I start a new story, a crime piece, which keeps wanting me to traipse over the line into horror regardless of how hard I try to hold it in place.

Rarely have tales clung to me so desperately, although it’s atypical that I use real events as the subject of my stories to begin with. Hopefully I’ll shake free of this residue soon and I can throw myself back into the sequel of THE LAST KIND WORDS, which is really what I ought to be doing.

In the meantime, back to this crime tale, if I can wrestle it into form.

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Now available for $2.99 download: "In ALL YOU DESPISE, Tom Piccirilli’s characteristically lean prose grimly illustrates the high price of redemption and the violent limits of brotherly love. When a nameless man awakens to find his blood-spattered brother passed out in his trailer it sets off a chain of painful, hard-hitting events that tests family loyalty and shows the savage impact of a father’s dark legacy."

Here’s some generous words on NIGHTJACK by Greg Gifune, author of GARDENS OF NIGHT (definitely read Greg if you haven't already): "Per usual, I love the way you approached the concept. The unique angle at which you come at your subject matter and characters is often what fascinates me most about your work...you made all the right choices, and as a result, pulled it off seamlessly. Really well done."

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5 anthologies with my work have hit recently.

BY HOOK OR BY CROOK edited by Ed Gorman & Marty Greenberg features my piece "Blood Sacrifices & the Catatonic Kid": DAMN NEAR DEAD 2: LIVE NOIR OR DIE TRYING ed. Bill Crider & the late Dave Thompson includes "Zypho the Tentacled Brainsucker from Outer Space vs. the Mob"; FESTIVE FEAR GLOBAL EDITION ed. Steve Clark features my 20k word noirella "You'd Better Watch Out"; SPECTERS IN COAL DUST edited by Michael Knost includes "Holding the Line"; and THE BEST OF TALEBONES edited by Patrick Swenson has my oldie dark fantasy piece "Caucasus."