Lots of stuff coming across my radar these days from people I have become acquainted with over the past year or so that is all awesome — books and the people who write them, of course.
First off, I finally got ahold of my copy of Beat to a Pulp: Round 1, the first collection of stories from the weekly Beat to a Pulp site. Even though I don’t have a yarn in this book, I still have a special place in my heart for this one for two reasons. First off, these fine people saw fit to publish my first story, online, earlier this year. I’m talking about The Pickle, of course. Check it out if you haven’t yet. Secondly, David Cranmer has become a friend of mine, and frequent commenter here, and we are actually working on a little project together that will hopefully see the light of day sometime in 2011. Anyway, this collection is fantastic, with stories by many other folks I would happily consume alcoholic beverages with, and I hope it sells so well that a Round 2 sees the light of day that I can take a shot at getting into! So buy the thing already, eh?
The next batch of reads are all electronic in nature. Let me preface by saying about a month ago I broke down and bought a fancy new phone (a Samsung Fascinate, for those who care). One of the aps it came loaded with is a Kindle ap, which allows me to download Kindle books and read it on my phone. I had my doubts, but then these next three books came out that I decided to buy and try out on the phone. Turns out, it works pretty friggin’ great.
What I’ve learned is that while reading the backlit screen might be too much to handle in a front-to-back, full book reading, for cranking out a story or two while waiting at the DMV, or the doctor’s office, or (ahem) in the bathroom, this format is perfect. And the three I have are perfect for that:
8 Pounds: Eight Tales of Crime, Horror, & Suspense by Chris F. Holm. Chris is a great guy and a great writer. This is a DIY project where he formatted his award winning shorts for the Kindle and threw them out there for $0.99 to purchase. I love the initiative the man is showing here, and the stories are great. I’m inspired to put my own collection together at some point in the next year and follow the trail he’s blazed. Awesome.
Discount Noir is a collection edited by my friends Patti Abbott and Steve Weddle. This originally started as a flash fiction challenge thing for little blasts of mayhem that take place at Wal Mart. Obviously they couldn’t call it Wal Mart when they put the thing out for sale, of course, but you’ll get it when you read the pieces. I haven’t read all of them yet, but everything I have read is a lot of fun. If you like crime fiction, to shy away from a little blood and guts and gruesomeness here and there, then definitely check it out. My friend Dan O’Shea read his piece at the Noir at the Bar event I participated in, and it was a blast.
Imagine the worst day of your life. Now imagine that day in an airport. The eight authors of DoSomeDamage.com bring together eight stories of murder and mayhem in these linked stories — tied together by a single, horrible visit to the airport.
From the grandfather in Joelle Charbonneau’s SKATING AROUND THE LAW to a team of thugs from Jay Stringer, the stories here show what happens when all hell breaks loose on the concourse.
In addition to Charbonneau and Stringer, the collection boasts stories from John McFetridge (LET IT RIDE, DIRTY SWEET), Dave White (WHEN ONE MAN DIES, THE EVIL THAT MEN DO), Russel D. McLean (THE LOST SISTER, THE GOOD SON), Byron Quertermous (A LOAD OF QUERTERMOUS), Scott D. Parker (ROUND ONE), and Steve Weddle (NEEDLE Magazine).
Again, I haven’t gotten around to reading all of this one yet, but I’m stoked to get going on it. Please, good people, if you are a Kindle person, download all three of these collections. They are well worth your time!
Finally, I need to talk about RUT, from Scott Phillips. This is a fun book, kind of a post-peak oil crash; post-US as a “superpower”; post-Religious Right takeover of America, etc. tale of a biologist studying some weird shit going on in a little former ski resort, and the wacky locals who populate the town. The story is hilarious, and every character, even those with the smallest bit parts, are utterly memorable. I really loved it; the idea, the writing, everything. It’s the “World Made By Hand” book that James Howard Kunstler can only dream of pulling off!
What is cool is the model being used by the publisher, Concord Free Press. Here is how they work:
We publish great books and give them away. All we ask is that you make a voluntary donation to a charity or someone in need. Tell us about it. Then pass your book along so others can give. It’s a new kind of publishing, one based purely on generosity, and it’s changing the way people think about books
So I managed to get ahold of two copies for free; one was sent to me by Subterranean Books in St. Louis, the other was given to me when I visited Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis a couple weeks ago. For my donations, I gave to the Buffalo Field Campaign and also delivered a handful of cash to the Poverello Center here in Missoula.
So I urge everyone to order your free copy from Concord Press. And I have at least one to give away; email me or DM me on twitter or send me a message via Facebook and the first one who does so gets it.