Online Issue 12: Zombie Cat

Lots of good stuff in this issue, as well as some news, so let’s get to it.

 

Willie Davis chats about his novel Nightwolf. Davis has some keen insights about the benefits of being an author, a razor sharp wit and some interesting anecdotes to share. Plus, there are links to where you can find him on podcasts. Check it out! And don’t miss my review of Nightwolf by Willie Davis.

Paul D. Brazill is back, sharing all the tunes referenced insharing all the tunes referenced in Small Time Crimes and the link to his playlist. In case you missed it, Paul dropped in a few issues back to talk about Last Year’s Man.
Gray Basnight is here to chat about alternate history thrillers, New York City, hurricanes and more.
Tom Leins is back to talk about Meat Bubbles and Other Stories. In case you missed it, he was here a few months ago, talking about the perfect cast for this collection.

dscf1052-0Who is this man that is not my husband? Who is Allan Guthrie, you say? Brian shares thoughts on the author he now considers to be a cult writer. The tragedy is that there are now a whole crop of hardboiled/noir writers coming up who don’t know who Al is and this needs to be remedied. The next time someone tells me that they are brave or redefining the genre because they killed the dog I have two words for them: Allan Guthrie. Oh, and did you do it to be shocking or did you earn it on the page? Being a shock jock doesn’t take talent. Anybody can say or write something inappropriate that will upset people. Earning every horrific moment of pain and violence you write? Making someone writhe in their chair as they read but having them so deeply hooked they have to keep turning the pages? That’s raising the bar in writing, and few will match Allan Guthrie’s talents at that. I sense a re-read of Savage Night in my near future.

 

zombie cat header wordpress final

Since so many people have forgotten (or don’t know) who Allan Guthrie is, there are also a lot of people in the crime genre circles who may not even know about Thuglit, Demolition, Pulp Pusher, Spinetingler and the far too many other notable ezines that were prevalent a decade ago.

When the owner of Spinetingler shut the site down, I was keenly aware of how much stuff I had out there that was lost. I was also aware of how many short stories no longer had a home. As a writer myself, I’ve had a number of short stories that were published online that have disappeared when other sites shut down.

That’s why I’m announcing today the launch of a sub-site for Toe Six Press: Zombie Cat.

Zombie Cat will publish reprints of short stories… maybe more. For now, we start with short stories that have been previously published. As long as they don’t conflict with rights bought, if the story has previously appeared in print or online it can be considered for republication. However, I don’t want things that are presently posted on an author’s website. The priority is stories that do not currently have a home online.

We kick things off today with “Absolution” by Mindy Tarquini, a story originally published in Spinetingler’s 2006 Spring Issue.

Reviews
Thoughts on Reviewing

Reviewing is one of the toughest things for me to do sometimes. On the one hand, it’s easy to give an overview of a plot-driven story and be enthusiastic about how it got its hooks into you and kept you turning the pages. That’s a certain type of story in its own right.

There are other types of stories. Literature was the perfect marriage of thriller and commentary, for example.

I wouldn’t even hazard a guess about how many books I’ve reviewed in my life. I was taught to review back when I was 20, in college studying journalism. And I had to produce things back then. When I started Spinetingler I wanted to talk about books I liked, so I started reviewing again.

These days, I review for Toe Six and Underground Book Reviews. Reviewing for UBR has changed my reviewing system, because I also judge the Book of the Year award for them, and have for the past two years. I was thrilled to see novels like Brian Cohn’s The Last Detective win BOTY last year and The Last Great American Magic win the year before. Hell, I don’t even know what genre The Last Great American Magic is, but I don’t care. Fantastic read. Enjoyed every page of that.

The great thing is that this means I get to read a variety of works that don’t always fit into neat genre categories.

It’s also meant that over the past few months I’ve had to revise my ranking system. I used to say mentally every book starts out as a 4 out of 5, which is a great read to me. 5 stars was reserved for books that really blew me away or stood out as special for some reason. Books that had major developmental and technical issues would fall down the rankings.

However, since the BOTY system relies on reviewers giving books 5 star reviews, and since that’s subjective, I realized that any book that does it’s job should get top billing, or it won’t be considered for the annual awards.

The simple reality is that I hate ranking systems. They are wildly inconsistent. Ask 20 people how they decide what a 5-star read is and you’ll probably get 23 answers. Art, by its very nature, is subjective. So my objective with written reviews is to give people enough information to decide if the book is right for them.

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Online Issue 8

 

On the book front…

Paul D. Brazill talks about Last Year’s Man while I weigh in with my quick take on Brazill’s latest

Anne Frasier is back with The Body Counter and she shares her music soundtrack with us

Do you know who Brian Cohn is? If you don’t, time to go buy a book! Brian talks about his latest, The Unraveling of Brendan Meeks, while I share my thoughts on his other book, The Last Detective

Reviews of Bearskin * Death of an Honest Man * Head Wounds

Did you miss it?

Brian’s latest Music Monday post is right here

I also shared some very personal things about my latest writing projects and myself over at Crimespree

Cages

It’s easy to sound like you have principles until you have to take a stand. A lot of my friends on social media have been saying that if you’re okay with children being kept in cages then unfriend them. This came to a head yesterday on Facebook when an author made a letter-of-the-law post about crossing the border being a misdemeanor and then went on to point out that nobody arrested gets to keep their kids with them in a cell.

Mr. Lofland then cried victim because some people unfriended him.

Look, if people on your friends list are saying ‘get off my lawn’ if you’re okay with kids in cages and then you make a post like that, you were asking for it. And for Lee to suggest it wasn’t political is asinine. Of course it was.

Journalism is as much about what you don’t say as what you do say. Making that post and failing to point out that when someone is arrested for solicitation or for being suspected of murder we do not take their babies and put them in cages. We don’t tell the staff who have to care for those children not to comfort them.

What also was not discussed was how these families were treated until a matter of months ago.

It wasn’t a post about the letter of the law. It was a post justifying putting those children in concentration camps.

Mr. Lofland has had many followers flock to his defense calling those who disagreed with him names in comment after comment. Meanwhile, Mr. Lofland has blocked myself and others.

And I’m okay with that. If you’re okay with kids being kept in cages then either have the common sense to keep your mouth shut about it if you don’t want to find out who has a moral problem with that or find the door. I suspect I’m not the author for you, because I have moral issues with things like that, and I have no interest voluntarily engaging with your warped world view.

And for some, it’s time to buck up or shut up. I really didn’t think I needed to say that if you’re okay with putting these children in cages best we go our separate ways. I thought that my friends list had been thinned out over politics already, but apparently not. Authors who have been railing against this policy can put their money where their mouth is and hit the unfriend button and boycott The Writer’s Police Academy.

The fact that Lofland blocked myself and others because we disagreed with him is more than enough to tell me his post had a clear agenda. But he wanted to come off like a victim and get sympathy in the process.

I’m not a victim for being blocked by him for simply stating my issues with his post (and not calling him any names).

The victims are children taken away from their parents and stuck in cages.

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