"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, November 14, 2010

In Which the Errant Writer Returns, However Briefly

Eight months without a blog post. And yet--somehow--the world keeps on doing its collective thing. So just for the record, I'm not dead and I didn't go off to walk the Earth like Cain in Kung Fu.

Or is it Kane? I dunno.

Even though it's been quiet here, I've had plenty to keep me busy: promotions at work, trips to camp, parting ways with my agent and getting turned down by another, revisions and even some new writing.

New writing?

Oh, yeah. I've been working on nasty little bit of country noir that's almost ready to rear its ugly head. Ever seen road-kill used as a boxing glove? Yep, I went there.

And I'm reading.

Lots of reading.

Always reading.

If there was one thing guaranteed to piss off my old man, it was the sight of me sitting down with a book. But he was a prick and I hardly spoke a word to him during the last ten years of his life. So there you go. To this day, I just can't bring myself to trust anyone who dislikes books.

So read something.

I'll be back later.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chris Holm Springs into Action

I'm not a regular reader of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, but I do pick it up whenever it featured work by writers whose work I admire. Like Chris F. Holm. He writes memorable short fiction and it's only a matter of time before some publisher snaps the two novels he's completed so far.


The May 2010 issue of AHMM kicks off with Chris' latest story, "Action." If you enjoy Donald E. Westlake's Dortmunder* series of novels and short stories, then "Action" is your bag, baby. It's a funny, fast-paced heist story. The May AHMM is on the newsstands now, so rush on out and buy a copy.


*Bonus points if you can spot Chris' little tip o' the hat to the late MWA Grand Master.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Deep Thoughts from Tough Guys: The Blacklin County Leads the Way Edition

The saddest words of all were "It seemed like a good idea at the time."
--from Of All Sad Words, copyright 2008 by Bill Crider

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Guest Blogger: Stephen D. Rogers




The Shot to Death Blog March

"I am so going to fuck you up"
--from "Tenant at Will"

So begins one of the 31 stories in Shot to Death (ISBN 978-0982589908). Within that beginning lurks the ending to the story and everything that happens between the beginning and the end. Or at least it seems that way to me.

I love the emphasis created by the word "so." That first line shows me a real can-do attitude that I have to admire. Just as long as the person talking isn't talking to me. This time.

An opening like that, with no clear directive, forces me to forge a framework. Immediately I can scrap all characters who could be expected to utter such words as well as all characters who might expect to hear them.

"I am so going to fuck you up." So says a mother to her daughter.

That daughter is a tenant at will, free to leave at any time, and yet she listens to such abuse. Maybe she kicks it back, but she's there to hear it in the first place.

Can she not afford to leave or does she feel obligated to stay? What would change either of those two possibilities?

Maybe both are true. Maybe she can't afford to leave and she feels obligated to stay, although perhaps her mother's attitude is chipping away at the latter.

The former would change if the daughter was offered somewhere else to live. Perhaps love is on the horizon. Or at least a relationship that isn't so acidic.

She has, however, been in a dysfunctional situation, and those have a tendency to cling. She might escape. She might even find love. Even so, I fear her mother is going to get in the last word.

"I am so going to fuck you up."

All that remains is the writing.

For a chance to win a signed copy of Shot to Death, click on over to stephendrogers.com and submit your completed entry.

Then visit the schedule to see how you can march along.

And then come back here to post your comments. Phew.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Forgotten Books Friday: Shadow on the Sun by Richard Matheson


If Elmore Leonard and Joe Lansdale were to collaborate on a western, the result might be something like Richard Matheson's Shadow on the Sun. Though best known for horror classics like I Am Legend and Hell House, Matheson is no slouch when it comes to western tales.

In Shadow on the Sun, we meet Billjohn Finley, an Indian Agent who has negotiated a new treaty between the U.S. government and a band of Apaches led by Braided Feather. The situation is tense, with the white townsfolk of Picture City doubting the natives will keep their word and the soldiers of Fort Apache ready for any excuse to wipe out the band. When the bodies of two men are found horribly mutilated outside of town, their brother demands that Finley send for the cavalry to attack Braided Feather's people. But what about the dark, oddly scarred stranger who has come to Picture City asking for archaeologist Albert Dodge and the Apache known only as the Night Doctor? Finley refuses to the believe that the Apaches are behind the killings, but he's the only white man interested in uncovering the truth.

Shadow on the Sun was originally published by Berkely in 1994. Tor has recently brought it back into print as a $13.99 trade paperback. Go get it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jason Duke Rules the Night

Check out this trailer for Jason Duke's forthcoming novella, Phoenix Nightlife:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rea and Writing

I haven't done much writing since my mother-in-law got sick. That's not whining on my part; I wouldn't trade being able to spend time with Rea during her final days for anything (except for having her back with us). Rea was one of my best supporters and she'd want me to get my ass back in the chair and start working again.


The new novel is waiting for me. Bitter Water Blues is still in need of a publisher. I owe an editor a short story for an anthology scheduled to be released in the fall. There are promised reviews and interviews. Time to get busy again.


So to keep you happy (or maybe just snickering) until I'm fully back up to speed, here's a shot of me reading "The Cove" at the Stone House in Freeport on January 14. Thanks to Penelope Schwartz Robinson for the photo...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On Hold

I'm going to be away from Bitter Water Blog and Facebook for a while as my family deals with a medical crisis. It's not Tonia or the kids or me, but someone of tremendous importance to us and we need to devote all of our energy to helping her get through this. I'll be back when I can.

P.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Who's in the New Lineup?

Editors Gerald So, Richie Narvaez, Anthony Rainone and Sarah Cortez have announced the list of contributors for the third annual issue of The Lineup: Poems on Crime. Check out these names...Patti Abbott, Joe Barnes, Henry Chang, Reed Farrel Coleman, Sarah Cortez, Michael A. Flanagan, Anne Frasier, James W. Hall, David Hernandez, Amy MacLennan, Carrie McGath, James M. McGowan, Kristine Ong Muslim, David S. Pointer, James Sallis, Jackie Sheeler, Wallace Stroby, Larry D. Thomas and Francine Witte.

I don't know when this thing is coming out, but I'm looking forward to reading it. You can still order the first two issues (for which I was a co-editor, besides having a poem in issue #1 and writing the introduction to #2) from Amazon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Coming Distractions

Next week at Bitter Water Blog:

My reviews of Gil Brewer's Flight to Darkness (recently brought back into print by New Pulp Press) and C.J. Box's Three Weeks to Say Goodbye.

An update on my current WIP and possibly a rant or two.

Exciting, ain't it?

The Best Crime Novels of Aught-Nine, According to Me

Because what the world needs is one more "best of" list, I offer mine. These were my favorite new crime novels of 2009, listed in no particular order.

Abandon by Blake Crouch
Black Water Rising by Attica Locke
Sanctuary by Ken Bruen
A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield
Get Real by Donald E. Westlake
Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott
Gutted by Tony Black
Hogdoggin' by Anthony Neil Smith
Slammer by Allan Guthrie
The Coldest Mile by Tom Piccirilli