The Cons

I’m a little late to the party, but the real question is: am I fashionably so?

BoucherCon in St. Louis = goodness.

I was able to meet a lot of fantastic folks: From the nicest people on the planet (yes, I’m looking at you Mr. and Mrs. Holmes), to the craziest bastards (ok, Cam, where do I get one of those hats?), to the most down to earth fellows (How does Mr. Rawson think of this demented shit when he seems so “normal”).

I hate flying. With a passion. On the way to St. Louis there was a problem with my ticket. It took over 30 minutes to get that addressed. The whole time I’m clenching my jaw while my wife, smartly, takes over and gets it straightened out. She’s good for me. A jail cell would have been a lot worse than being a little late.

On the way back, it was worse. First, my checked suitcase was over the limit because of all of the books I was taking home. I was glad I could get enough of the titles shoved into my carry on (even though my back is still sore). It would have been very difficult to explain to my wife why I was missing all of my boxers and t-shirts. Security was awful. I get in a line that snakes around the lobby like we were waiting for ribs at Pappy’s. I’m next in line to go through when 7 pilots and stewardesses break in line. “It won’t take long,” they say. Sigh. When I finally go through, it’s the usual routine: Shoes, belt, phone, change, computer, etc. Then I hear the dreaded, “Sir, can we put your bag through again.” I wonder if they are going for Ashley and Rawson’s Crime Factory #1 – I wouldn’t be surprised. “Sure,” I say. The swabbing of my bag arouses my attention though. The pulling out my pocketknife gets me shaking my head. Shit. I forgot it was in there. I’m surprised it made it through Greensboro, but whatever.

They give me two choices: check it which entails locating checked bag, bringing up to front counter, putting it in, re checking bag, and going back through security; or throwing it away. Goodbye sweet pocketknife I shall miss thee.

Ron Earl, my roomie, meets me outside the hotel and shows me the digs. Nice place. Close to main convention. Even better, he’s a nice guy who doesn’t snore. I stuck by him most of the time which was pretty cool.

I pick up my name tag and about 8 pounds of books then hit my first panel. Did I mention I hadn’t eaten? I was freakin’ hungry while I lugged books around.

Overall the panels  were pretty damn great. I was able to catch people like Scott Phillips, Frank Bill, Christa Faust, Tom Schreck, and others share their stories and insights. The panel moderated by Katrina Holm, Death by Good Intention, featuring Donna Andrews, Shirley Damsgaard, Rosemary Harris, Julie Hyzy, Joanna Slan, was perhaps one of the best out of the conference. Funny and insightful, it didn’t get much better.

It was wonderful meeting all my Twitter friends and authors I’ve only read. Some very good discussions with big man Kent Gowran, the sweet Sabrina Ogden, Thomas “shortest man alive” Pluck, the finger guy, Mrs Drew, KatKap (Kathryn Ryan) who is sitting on a gold mine of a story, the tallest man there, Jeidiah Ayers (who, btw, is the only guy who could pitch a children’s book “The Underwear Fairy” without smiling), the shady Matthew C. Funk and his partner in crime the cracked Callaway, Mattew McBride and Daniel O’Shea, the gracious Hillary Davidson (Yea, on the award for The Damage Done), that Andrew the Canadian Maneatingbookwrm, my good pal Barna Donovan, and so many more I can’t list them all here. Just an impressive, impressive group of people.

Now let me just say, I like food and I ate a lot of it. Alligator, ribs, oysters, more pulled pork. Jameson. Yes, it is a food group all by itself.

The biggest downfall of BoucherCon: I have too much fucking shit to read now and my wife is getting sick of the piles of books littered around the house. Eh, what’s a fella supposed to do?

I’m hoping the Snubnose family will be able to represent next year – and if you haven’t checked the crime family yet, go on and take a peak. Yeah, I’m blessed enough to in there with my novel KARMA BACKLASH which will be coming out in 2012.

Pics from BoucherCon can be found here.

Show Some Love

FFF, Friday Flash Fiction, is back and there are some stories you will want to check out.

Here’s J. F. Juzwik‘s My Brother’s Keeper

and Matt Potter’s In The Hot Seat

FFF is a community writing project. Anyone interested in writing, whether an amateur or a seasoned professional, is welcomed to join.

Our goal is to encourage writing by providing bi-weekly prompts for participants. This can come in the form of a sentence, a group of words or a photo. New prompts are posted on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month and due the following Friday.

A message from our good friends at Dark Valentine:

If you haven’t checked out Dark Valentine’s “Fall Fiction Frenzy” (31 stories in 31 days) now is as good a time as any. We’re on day #5 now and today’s story is a cautionary tale about love by Jennifer Lyn Parsons:http://darkvalentine.net/index.php/2010/10/fall-fiction-frenzy-5/

Artwork is by Pamela Jaworska. Coming up…tales by Cormac Brown, John Donald Carlucci, Brian Trent, Christine Pope and Barbara Emrys. Art by Jane Burson, Mark Satchwill, Joanne Renaud and Laura Neubert.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t send you over to Julie Sumerell’s site where she touches on Hilary Davidson’s new book The Damage Done.  

FFF is baaaack

Friday Flash Fiction #40 edition. It has been some time since I entered into the foray. It’s run by Cormac Brown and he says:

THIS IS A BLOG WHERE A STARTER SENTENCE IS GIVEN EVERY FRIDAY@12PM PST. YOU WILL THEN HAVE UNTIL THE FOLLOWING TUESDAY@9AM PST TO COME UP WITH SHORT STORY OR POEM. I ONLY ASK THAT YOU KEEP IT; FAIRLY NON-POLITICAL, THAT THE VIOLENCE IS NON-GRATUITOUS, THE SEX IS FAIRLY TASTEFUL, AND THAT YOU ARE RESPECTFUL OF THE OTHER WRITERS THAT POST HERE. ENJOY! IF YOU ARE STILL CONFUSED, PLEASE CLICK THIS HEADER FOR THE RULES.

Now before I get to my story, I think you should head over to Twist of Noir and check out Hilary Davidson’s story. Very, very good.

You want a song too? Ok. Mmmm.

Now my story — please feel free to share your comments.

Karma Backlash

“I heard footsteps on the wet sidewalk and the sound of keys.”

I heard an engine; I heard my dog’s collar rattle as she trotted off; I heard the exhale of smoke.

It had to end like this. Always had to end like this.

Not to get philosophical or anything, but screw it. All I know is I had dreams. Most nights I’d wake up with a metallic taste in my mouth and sweat on my upper lip. Even a corner preacher who sported a thick beard and dark coveralls told me the end was near.

That night, after hearing his words, I knew it to be true. I lost my appetite. I even had to throw my damn Gyro away, but some stupid mutt was sniffing around the trash so I gave it to her instead. Stupid four-legged creature stayed by my side ever since.

I should amend that; she stayed by my side until the very moment that I found myself lying in the gutter’s embrace, my side aching, feeding the metal grate my hemoglobin and plasma.

She was a good dog. As good as I always imagined a dog to be. This is according to the fact I never actually “owned” one myself. What a piss poor thing to say anyway. “Owning”. As if we can ever “own” a living, breathing thing.

Like, let’s say there is a God or whatever. Does God own us? If so, are we getting trained? A big cosmic newspaper to our ass in the form of a hurricane flooding our community or a fire burning down some  kid’s house? If we ain’t owned, and we can wander on down the road without ever looking back, which is fine by me, what the hell we need God for? To wear some collar that proclaims us his?

It’s strange what a man thinks when he’s about to be done with thinking forever.

I ain’t got no regrets. The life I had was fine by me. I had a good sense of intuition that saved my ass more than once. I had some girls. I finally got a dog to walk.

I knew this was coming so I settled into my routine, and gave structure to the skittish bitch. The boys knew right away I had had enough. I never had a routine, and then to have such a regimented clock, well, I think they were relieved. At the bar, I’m sure they said I was a real man. A stand up guy. Braver than most.

I heard the shoes scrape the pavement close to my head. I heard the hammer pull back. I heard a scream and a growl, or a growl and a scream, and an explosion of noise as the bullet pinged off the curb. I turned just in time to see Earl shoot my dog. The bullet entered the chest, but the blood and bone matter exited the back. My dog, she didn’t whine. She didn’t whimper. It took a few second for her to realize she was dead and to release Earl’s forearm from her mandibles.

It was just a mutt, not some fancy German Sheppard or Rottweiler or Pit Bull. It wasn’t supposed to come back. It wasn’t supposed to lay a rotten fang into human flesh, let alone the man sent to kill me.

The next shot entered below Earl’s chin, but the blood and bone matter escaped from the top of his head.

Nobody hurts my dog.