"You know what? The bastard blows me out of the water. This guy writes Maine like Ardai writes New York. If you're not reading him, you don't know what you're missing." --Chris F. Holm, author of The Big Reap, The Wrong Goodbye and Dead Harvest.

"Bagley's got the poet's eye, but that doesn't mean everything is prettier in his work. It means the ugly stuff is more vivid. More intense. Like a sudden switch from analog to HD. And that's a trait to very much admire in his work." --Anthony Neil Smith, author of Hogdoggin', Yellow Medicine, The Drummer and Psychosomatic.




Sunday, May 18, 2008

Meme Break

Sandra Ruttan tagged me for this “Meme about Various Things,” and I’m taking a few minutes to do it because she’s good people.

Here’s how it works:
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing ten years ago?
I worked in a bookstore, pretended to be a poet and spent a lot of time showing off and/or bragging about my four month-old daughter.

What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?
I only have time for one thing today: finish the long-dragged-out revision of Bitter Water Blues so that it can be e-mailed to a certain eagerly waiting agent by Tuesday afternoon. Everything else has to wait. It’s tough because there is much work to do around here, and the day is perfect. The apple trees have blossomed, I’ve got a big ol’ jug of sun tea brewing on the porch, the wild strawberries are nearly ready and the lilacs will be in full bloom in just a couple more days.

What are some snacks you enjoy?
I like: popcorn; beef jerky; almost any fresh fruit; those bagels with onion, sesame seeds, the works; and carrot sticks (no, really).

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
That’s a whole lot of zeroes. It’s hard to wrap my head around the idea of any individual needing that much money, let alone possessing it. Then again, it might be nice not living paycheck-to-paycheck for once.

I would pay off the mortgage and my student loans, buy about twenty more acres, plant a big orchard, super-size the vegetable garden, buy more animals and put away enough money for us to live comfortably and to ensure that my girls could go to the best colleges. Oh, and I’d buy myself a new desk and a more comfortable chair.

Then I would create a park in town, set up a trust fund for our public library and donate the rest to conservation, humanitarian and social justice charities.

What are five places where you have lived?
Utica, New York
Herkimer, New York
Friendship, Maine
Hollywood, California
Madison, Maine

What are five jobs you have had?
Factory laborer, bookstore manager, freelance reporter, editorial assistant, shoe salesman.

What were the last five books you read?
Acacia by David Anthony Durham (currently reading)
A Hell of a Woman edited by Megan Abbott
Dark Passage by David Goodis
The Discoverers by Daniel J. Boorstin
The River Congo by Peter Forbath

What are five web sites you visit daily (in no particular order)?
Crimespot (and from there to several crime-writerly blogs), The Howling Curmudgeons, Obama for America, John Scalzi’s blog and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Tag 5 People
This is the hard part. I don’t know many people well enough to feel comfortable tagging them, and I hate to keep tagging the same ones over and over. So I’m going to break the rules and not tag anyone this time. If you read this meme and feel like doing it yourself, cool. If not, that’s cool too. Just let me know if you post one.

Back to work.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Great Psychobilly Road Trip of 2008: Day 5, Part 3

The sign at the end of my driveway reads Trespassers will be violated. Survivors will be shot. Still, there are some guys who just have to push their luck. I'm glad I didn't open fire this time, because it was Anthony Neil Smith and a whole bunch of crimedogs. We made them feel right at home. The only hitch came when my wife made them use the outhouse instead of the indoor toilet. She said, "They came a couple thousand miles drinking cheap beer and eating jalapeno pork rinds. They're not setting foot in my bathroom." I cleaned all the spiders out of the outhouse, so everything was cool after that.

Now here's Neil:


Last stop: The Jordans (Crimespree) at Central Crime Zone

Sneaking up to Patrick Shawn Bagley's cabin in the Hummer-sine is a lot like...well, it's a lot like the opening strains of this
John Fogerty song. But we finally make our way past the mud and swamp gas of rural Maine to find the man himself standing beside a rusted pick-up truck full of ice and hundreds of cans of Schlitz. Oh, man. Then he pulls out a .44, gives the wheel a spin, and says, "Let me go kill us some lunch."

He's the man who proudly
describes his own writing as "Hill. Billy. Noir." and who told Declan Burke he would pitch his novel-in-progress, Bitter Water Blues, to publishers this way: "Publish it or I'll split your head open with a rock, wrap you up in a tarp, weigh you down with skidder chains and sink you in the bog behind my house." But don't let the bluster trick you--the man has an MFA in Creative Writing, and he's a published poet. But a good kind of poet, one like Bukowski and Richard Brautigan. In fact, he's teamed up with some other crime writer-slash-poets for a project called The Lineup. Looks good to me. Add to that his short stories popping up across the web in places like Spinetingler and Thrilling Detective, and you've got a triple threat rising. I like the way this guy thinks.

And he recently quoted Yellow Medicine's Billy Lafitte on this blog, so you know he's got his head on all cockeyed if he's getting his wisdom from that loon. See what I mean for yourself by (say it with me now, altogether) picking up
Yellow Medicine on Psychobilly Monday (May 12) at one of those Barnes & Noble joints (or order it online if you're out in the boondocks like Patrick).

Mr. Bagley kindly tosses the remaining Schlitzes into a foam cooler so heavy it takes Gischler, Armstrong, Sweirczynski, and Abbott to lift it into the Hummer-sine. Then he tosses a bunch of fresh venison steaks on top of that and says, "We'll build a fire tonight for those. Unless any of you are.." (dramatic pause) "...veg-uh-terry-uns." Then he spits on the ground.

Not me. I'll be tucking into those steaks. And then I'll let Shelby take the wheel while I check the road atlas to see how long it will take to get to our next destination, back over Michigan-way. Seems we forgot to pick up
Bryon Quertermous, head honcho at Demolition, and he's fighting angry about it.

Driving Time: Longer than you might expect
Tune for the leg: "Camel Walk" by
Southern Culture on the Skids

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Return of Deep Thoughts from Tough Guys: Special Psychobilly Edition

You’re thinking I’m a bastard. A real nasty piece of work. All I can say is that I don’t force anyone to do anything they don’t want. I’m willing to risk my neck night in and night out to protect my citizens, so if I go above and beyond to help a young lady in need, how she shows her gratitude is entirely her decision.

—Deputy Billy Lafitte in Yellow Medicine, ©2007 by Anthony Neil Smith (coming May 15 from Bleak House Books)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Shoot to Thrill

"Pandora," featuring my disgraced PI Gideon Cross has been accepted for publication in a forthcoming issue of Thrilling Detective. Giddy hasn't appeared in a story since 2004's "The Western Gate" (in The Sandy River Review, a little university lit mag). I had put the character aside for a while, but I'm writing more about him now. Hopefully, you'll soon be seeing a lot more of Giddy.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Shoot the Piano Player

I just picked up a copy of Shoot the Piano Player by David Goodis. How the hell did I go so long without reading this guy? I'm only a few pages into the novel, and Goodis has me floored.