Thursday, April 25, 2013

Waiting to Finish Frank Bill's DonnyBrook

I was passing through New York--about two months back--when Donnybrook by Frank Bill arrived in the mail. I had just begun reading Bill's novel when I let BTAP-published poet Kyle Knapp borrow it with the idea that I'd pick it up again in four days time. Well, one thing led to another, and Kyle and I missed each other at the next junction ... and I still haven't finished Donnybrook, though I'm promised it is in the mail. Kyle posted a review on Amazon that reads:

An exemplary work of art; a raging bloodbath, that leaves you begging for more. 
Imagine Chuck Palahniuk reborn in a mental asylum to a hermaphroditic witch doctor and then loosed into the woods. He discovers there an abandoned library haunted by a ninja. Ok... maybe that's a bit much, but it is a good metaphor for what you're getting into! Frank Bill's novel has the spastic energy of a beating heart. I stayed up into the small hours night after night until it was finished, too eager to turn out the light. Friends borrowed the story jealous of who was ahead of them in line, as we all agreed that this novel was going to be the next hallmark of youth-run-amok. For a guy that grew up religiously watching Fight Club--and sneaking off into the night after a few beers with his friends to beat the hell out of each other... This is it! This is the next Holy Pyre of the Damned. Enjoy at the risk of falling in love on the battlefield!
Hell, wanna finish reading this in the worst way but have to wait for it to arrive in the mail, again!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Letters: Edgar Allan Poe

I have no faith in human perfectability. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active - not more happy - nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. — Edgar Allan Poe to James Russell Lowell, July 2, 1844

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Big Booty Judy and Vienna Sausages

So, you think you’re staying in a hotel with some class. It’s nice. The rooms are modern and stylish. The service is friendly. You have all the amenities of home, including a fully equipped kitchen. Just like living in a one bedroom flat (as my British pals would say). All with the added bonus of housekeeping. And a pool. And free breakfast. Not to mention a social hour every weekday evening, but you’re too whooped after work to partake. (Heck, you barely have the gumption to write, but the view of the courtyard with the meticulously landscaped area around the pool with flowering shrubs and palms is inspiring, and you place the desk just so you can look out the window and pretend you’re Ian Fleming at Goldeneye in Jamaica. Well, kinda.) It makes you forget that you’re staying in a hotel, away from family and friends, and tames the thoughts that you’ve put out your loved ones again. You almost feel a sense of normal.

Until this …

You wake up and head off to the gut-wrenching job. No time to stop for breakfast. On the stairs as you start down is an open can of Vienna sausages with a note from Big Booty Judy leading some, I guess, deliriously happy suitor to Big Booty’s room. “Almost there, sexy!” the note (didn’t come out in the pic) reads.  Another can of sausages waits on the landing and at the very bottom of the stairs is a condom -- still in the wrapper -- on the floor.

Before you get to the vehicle, the cold reality sets in … Yeah. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Doughnuts Are The New Cupcake

I think I might’ve mentioned that I’ve been staying at a hotel for a spell. When you stay somewhere long enough, you start to notice patterns. And there is a particularly annoying pattern that I’ve noticed with this particular stay.

Everyone seems to flitter like moths to the window light at my end of the hall to talk on their cell phones. I could kinda understand if any one of them had a room near mine, but none of them do. My room is the last one in the hall, with no room across from me and I know who’s staying in the one next to me.

So, there’s this guy talking on his mobile phone outside my door. LOUD. Discussing what should’ve been a personal matter. I looked to my wife as I grabbed my cell phone and then went the door, pretending to be in the middle of videoing a narrated tour of the hotel.

“This is the hall outside our room.” I panned around and put him in the lens view. “And here is the window. Nice view, as you can see …” and I rambled on a bit more as I milled around the hall like him, talking just as loud. (Btw, the window is not a draw for some breathtaking view … unless you find a parking lot and a strip mall across the street spectacular.)

He looked at me with a suspicious side-eye, as if he couldn’t understand what I was doing. He fidgeted and fumbled in his conversation for a moment, then he walked away, never saying a word to me.

I detected annoyance … I know it couldn’t be my listening in on his conversation, after all he was talking loud enough for me to hear him through a closed door. Couldn’t be that I made an intrusion in his space, since the hallway is public space. Was it aiming my phone camera in his direction? Worse than a gun these days, right? No worries, bro, I don’t have a YouTube account—though many author friends say I should.

But what the hell is the matter with some people? Maybe it doesn’t bother him when someone is outside his door talking about child support at the top of their lungs. But shouldn’t it?

After I went back in the room, my charmer asks, “Everything, ok?”

“Yeah,” I say. I motion to the newspaper she’s holding. “What are you reading?”

“Nothing worthwhile.” She sets the paper on the table. “Just an article that says doughnuts are trendy again.”

“Oh,” I sigh.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

4/2/13 9:36 PM

As I lumbered through the lobby, a bunch of barefoot and giggling teenagers (yes, they still do that), flowed passed me, out the door into the hotel courtyard, aimed for the pool. I took the stairs and heard a man one flight up from me, bitching to himself, “F---ing tourists!” I passed him mid-flight. He wore a hotel maintenance shirt and forced a smirk on his hard face. Poor bastard—another man with a soul-sucking job.

A conference was in full swing on the 3rd floor just down the hall from my room. A Christian conference. Lots of beaming faces greeting each other. Standoffish, I parted the hall like a beaten-down Moses. Just wanted to get to my room.

And there, my beautiful wife and daughter were waiting with big smiles, while the pleasant aroma of a pasta dinner wafted through the room. All with the added bonus that my books had arrived: the final print proof of BEAT to a PULP: Hardboiled 2 and Ross Macdonald’s The Ivory Grin and The Blue Hammer. Macdonald’s  Lew Archer is comfort food reading for me. The best detective the genre ever produced waiting to be read.

I started thinking ‘bout the hard-faced maintenance man on the stairs—hope he has something equally rewarding waiting for him. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Night of Blood and Fire ...

An abandoned Army fort is the perfect hideout for the worst criminals around. Or so they thought. In the fort basement lurks evil--The Sisters--bringing Plague to the fugitives, poisoning minds and souls, and thirsting for blood. When Hawthorne is led to the fort in pursuit of a thieving murderer, he must also fight the Sisters. And, when ugly ties to his own shadowy past are revealed, the mysterious gunslinger is pushed to his very limits ... and into the darkness.

"Hawthorne: Bad Sanctuary" by Heath Lowrance is available.