"When you talk about writers who are right there on the cusp of getting published and earning wider recognition, then Patrick Shawn Bagley's name is right there near the top of the list." --Brian Lindenmuth, Bookspot Central
Friday, May 3, 2013
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Luce stared at the table, rubbing with his thumb at a worn spot in the Formica top. The old man blew through his nose and pushed himself up from the table, lumbered over to a cupboard from which he took a bottle of whiskey that sat on a high shelf. The bottle was mostly full. With his wife scowling at him, Luce poured some into two tumblers and handed one to Doyle.
A cold feeling seeped through Doyle’s guts. Elman Luce’s stinginess with liquor was just as legendary as Mrs. Luce’s hatred of the stuff. Whatever the old man had to tell Doyle, it wasn’t going to be a joke.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
So what happened?
Stuff. Stuff happened. I fired my agent. Then I stopped writing for a while.
No, that's not quite true. I've been writing every day, often for hours at a stretch. But that's part of my day job. See, I supervise two homes for adults with cognitive disabilities. My work entails writing behavior plans, support plans, reports, protocols, etc. There are meetings, budgetary considerations, staff to train and manage. I teach Mandt. I work as an agency investigator for Adult Protective Services, which also requires mucho writing. I love my job and plan to stick with it for a long, long time.
So what about fiction, all the short stories I wanted to write? What about novels? What about Bitter Water Blues?
I'm working on a couple of short stories set in Wesserunsett, though I'm not sure where they're going. I've started a new novel that is, well...pretty fucking weird. And I'm having a blast writing it (hat tip to Chris F. Holm; he knows why).
As for Bitter Water Blues, that one has become my "trunk novel." Sort of. I'm currently rewriting sections of it as a novella called The Ballad of Hag & Earl. It is some of the nastiest, grittiest country noir you'll ever see. And you will see it. The rest of it is probably best left buried and forgotten.
I've learned a lot about making time for the writing I want to do, as opposed to using my day job as an excuse for avoiding it. Will I regain that up-and-comer status of just a few years back? I sure as hell hope so. I want to get back there and then hit the next level. And I hope you're all still interested enough to read my new stuff when it comes out.
Thanks for being cool and hanging around.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
The Adjustment by Scott Phillips. Post-war America as experienced by a jaded veteran with a penchant for hookers, booze and putting the hammer down on anyone who crosses his boss...until the boss fucks with him.
Choke Hold by Christa Faust. Angel Dare is back. 'Nuff said. Read it.
The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock. This one made me feel the same as when I first read William Gay. Violent. Sad. Gut-wrenching. I read it twice.
Road Rules by Jim Winter. I'm not much of an e-book guy, but Road Rules was worth a bit of eye-strain. Winter has served up a tasty slice of gonzo noir.
El Gavilan by Craig McDonald. This might be 2011's most relevant crime novel. The battle over immigration rages through a small Ohio city. I don't know of any other writer who had tackled the issue in such a clear-eyed, compelling manner.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Poets are sick.
Every fucking one of them, going all the way back to Homer—and still countless generations before that blind old fart set the standard for Western literature, some Cro-Mag with a rancid animal hide swaddling his junk stood up beside a campfire and wove stories about a great hunt or the cruelty of gods or the downright fun of slamming a handaxe into your enemy’s face.
Get it now?
Poets are bat-shit crazy because more than anyone else, they feel the power of words.
And poetry is the world’s oldest form of storytelling.
Embrace these simple concepts and we'll get along just fine.
Which brings me to volume four of The Lineup: Poems on Crime.
As someone who had a small hand in shaping the first two anthologies, I’m proud to say The Lineup gets better every year. This time around, we see a man haunted by war crimes (Reed Farrel Coleman’s “Slider, Part 7”), a woman getting revenge on her dead lover’s ex-wife (Germaine Welch’s “Houston Oil Man Missing”), the cold lives of prostitutes (“Street Girls: Selected Memories” by Stephen Jay Schwartz) and the beginning of a rape victim’s endless nightmare (J.D. Smith’s “From a Deposition”). Kieran Shea (“In Oaxaca, 2006”) and Keith Rawson (“A Story to Tell Our Daughter”) deliver the goods, too. From Ken Bruen, whose novels are epic noir poetry disguised as prose, we get “Funeral: Of the Wino”:
For far too long
a lithium above despair.
Which brings me back around to my point about poets being sick.
These poems are as noir as it gets, buddy. Each one is a distillation of pain, greed, loss, false hope, betrayal, desperation and death. The poets themselves are hard men and dangerous women. The difference between them and the rest of the tribe? The poets don’t turn away from the darkness. Poets don’t flinch.
Crime poetry seeks an understanding of what drives us to rob, cheat, torture and kill each other. Some of the stories in The Lineup are true. Others are made up. But every one of them is real. Editors Gerald So, Reed Farrel Coleman, Sarah Cortez and Richie Narvaez have put together a crew of poets who aren't fucking around. Charles Bukowski would have felt right at home in these pages. Not to mention Johnny Cash and Bon Scott.
Poets are sick.
And it's a good fucking thing for all of us.