Hi all. I usually don't post much personal stuff here except book announcements and the like. There's been so much going on lately, though, I feel as if I should post something. I've taken time off from new stuff only to revise the next book in the Killer from the Hills series, The Last Danger, which appears in October from Shotgun Honey/Down & Out Books.
I have five–count them, five–new stories coming out in the next few months to a year, a flash piece coming out soon in Shotgun Honey, then also stories in Toe Six, Mystery Tribune, Switchblade and Goliad Review. Goliad Review will feature the longest story I've written since grad school, around 9000 words.I haven't had a short-story run like this in quick succession since the early to mid 2000s, when I published the majority of my short stories, before switching over to novels. I'm also happy that four of those feature Kraj, a Croatian hitman who's appeared before in Manslaughter Review, Full of Crow, Revolution John, Plots with Guns, and Bull (that story was a Derringer Short Story Award finalist for 2017) and happier to report I have a complete–still untitled– novel draft featuring Kraj. I'm still researching it in spurts and revising heavily, and hope to have it in submittable form before summer 2019, plus several more Kraj short stories which form a narrative arc.
I've worked on and researched for Kraj off and on since 2015, My first novel took a year and half to write. Kraj will end up taking three, one year to draft, one to research, one to rewrite. I'm going to be proud and nervous both to get that out in the world, just because I've taken so much time with it. I don't want to screw it up, having taken so long, and I'm trying to write it in such a way that the research doesn't show. Most of the action takes place in the present, but key scenes occur in Croatia in the 90s, a time of war and great turbulence, to say the least, and I want to make sure I get it as right as I can.
Tough is moving along nicely, with the first print collection due out in July, and every week a new story or review published. Matthew Lyons's story "The Brother Brujo" will appear in Best American Short Stories 2018, edited by Roxane Gay, and I have high hopes that stories from 2018 will appear in the other annual prize anthologies for 2018 and 2019. I'm certainly going to be nominating various pieces individually, and having the print collections to submit this tear en masse, as it were, will help me get taken more seriously (by which I mean multiple anthology appearances), keep the Tough name in people's ears and help build reputations for writers and Tough alike.
Otherwise, I'm reading as much as I can with home repairs and summer busyness going on. Highlights of the past six months include the new Laura Lippman, Sunburn, and Zagreb Exit South by Edo Popovic, and Zagreb Cowboy by Alen Mattich. I'm also making my way slowly through the Black Lizard books published and republished in the 80s with Barry Gifford at the helm. Detour, by Helen Nielsen, and Swamp Sister, by Robert Alter, among them. And the Big Book of the Continental Op, by Dashiell Hammett. I'm also reading in manuscript or ARC several forthcoming books: one by Jay Gertzman, writing about David Goodis, due out soon from Down & Out Books, and books by Brian Tucker, Matt Phillips, Charles Dodd White and Bill Soldan.
That's about it. I'm going to hunker down, revise some, read a lot, and try to enjoy the rest of the summer. I hope you do the same.
I'm slowly making my way through Swamp Sister and I really appreciate the descriptions, as you say. It's immediately captivating. I can't remember why i put it down the first time.
Your book really makes me want to read Goodis again. I particularly want to find Of Tender Sin, but copies run upwards of 30 bucks so I'm holding out for something cheaper. I'll probably break down soon like I did on the Sallis book Difficult Lives.
Thanks for the plug, Rusty. I think you will love Swamp Sister. The man had a direct style that makes for fast reading (until you have to slow down to digest all the implications. His descriptive powers are first rate. Carny Kill is also fine.