St. Louis Noir@theBar, or why I love beer at home.

So we did that. My wife and I loaded up the car and rolled northbound up Interstate 55. To the heartland of the New American Noir.

We split the drive into pieces. Got to a truck stop fireworks stand just after someone had tried to rob the quarter-drop gambling machine it had next to the Jesus Tee's.

Got a few winks at cheap motel somewhere in Darkansas. Almost made into Louis before an 18-wheeler blew itself up and caught fire to six lanes of traffic. Almost.

2 hours of detour later we made it just in time to head to the reading...

WHICH WAS TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME.

Jed Ayres was great on the MC. Keaton rolled in just in the nick. Highlander was present and accounted.

And the readers: Scott Phillips was a pleasure to meet. Jack Ryan and Clayton Lindemuth were awesome. House Benedict brought down the rafters, both Lord and Lady. And McBride: that son of a bitch rolled right in at the last minute and dropped an ax murder to close out the night.

We beered and burgered at Blueberry Hill. Talked shop til the wee. I knew about that thing before you alls did. So neener.

Slept. Late for once in life. Got up. Saw the arch. Toured a brewery. Saw a wax Obama and Hulk and hit the road. Ate some Amish sausage. Slept in a Drury.  Made it to the grandparents. Picked up the toddler. And finally rode on home.

And holy shit I'm still tired.

The lesson?

Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, MO, will ship its coldest beer right to the kwik stop across the street from my neighborhood. And I can drink it in all its Gateway Glory from the amazing comfort of my coastal southern home by my fireplace and holler at you folks with my internets just fine.

No Amish sausage here, though. And that's a bummer.

Anyway, buy 16 TONS. Buy it this week on Kindle and email me your confirmation and I'll mail you a signed copy of the paperback free of all charges. Say pretty please and I'll pull a Keaton and stick a random DVD in there.

Anyway

AC Slaters.

So this whole YA thing...

Yep. Going there. But, wait for it.

So, you know, Slate's dumbass thing because it's dumbass Slate and what did you expect, really? Come on.

To save you the click, I'll oversimplify this sucker: Adults should be ashamed to read YA lit. Blah blah. We've been round this rosey before.

If you'll recall, I writ this a while back. Not saving you the click this time. F'n read it. 

Anyway, it probably seems to slant more away from "YA Lit" than "All Growed-Up Books." But, the spirit of the piece applies again here.

First of all, I hate all these damn labels. What the hell makes a thing "Young Adult" anyway? Short sentences? I like those, too. Sometimes. Maybe not always. And what is a young adult, for that matter? Someone who can just now vote and pay taxes? Seems vague. "Kid" I know. "Teen" I know. "Adult" I know. Young adult is somebody that can now be drafted.

Nah, it's just some dumbass marketing thing, mythinks. It's like, you're between ages X - Y, so these books are okay for you to read. Is it just the lack of them mean old, dirty, cussing language words, like: shit, fuck, asshole, dumbass, cunt, and goddamn? (lot of people just left the blog).

Probably.

Actually, I think that's maybe exactly it.

But it still sucks. Labels kind of suck, in general. And it leads to more snobbiness (because Thor knows we needs more of that shit in 'Merica) --- see, even I just did it.

But, I read the proper label stuff, says the fucking nerd. Or snob. Or eltitist (wait, I actually like that word and want to be one. You know who was "Elite?" G.I. Fucking Joe).

Maybe we should make a new word: Snerd. Or Nob. Yeah. Nob. Awsum.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, Snerds.

You can pick on "YA" all you want. 'Merikuh. Freedum. And shit.  But, you like it, too.

I see this all the time:
This shitty meme.
This. Shitty. Fucking. Meme.

Look, I don't care about Twilight. Never read it or seen them movieses. Don't care. Might one day watch the movies. Maybe. Who knows?

But I did see Lost Boys way back when, and I hated that shit. Because LOST BOYS WAS TOTALLY THE TWILIGHT OF ITS DAY.

LOST BOYS WAS TOTALLY THE TWILIGHT OF ITS DAY.

LOST BOYS WAS TOTALLY THE TWILIGHT OF ITS DAY.

LOST BOYS WAS TOTALLY THE TWILIGHT OF ITS DAY.

LOST BOYS WAS TOTALLY THE TWILIGHT OF ITS DAY.

LOST BOYS WAS TOTALLY THE TWILIGHT OF ITS DAY.

I'm gonna keep saying until you hate me. With all your hate, Snerd.

LOST BOYS WAS TOTALLY THE TWILIGHT OF ITS DAY.

Because it was. You say this pretty young boys don't sparkle? Look at all that bling. I was there in the 80's. That was total popcorn, YA, pretty boys for the ladies to look at, pop. And YOU loved it, Snerd! Bahahahahahahaha!!!

 Yeah, anyway. Now, I'm snerding again.

And dudes, *sigh* dudes, always whine like little girls (---see what I did there) [Yes, Roxeanne, I know its still offensive, and no I don't really care *plays "has a daughter" trump card, throws flash grenade and runs back to his point] about Twilight. Oh, woe is me, but sooth and forth, thy love of the Twilight saga has vexed my faint spirit, and I shall place thy womanhood essence no more upon the pedestal of my highest adoration. But woe is me, and my awesome man-ness, says the dude.

Except that dude loves him some Conan. Yeah he does. And John Carter (because who doesn't? Really? Oh, you don't? Well, fuck you). And Doc Savage. Yeah, Savage! Rules. And all those other badasses. Yeah, they're YA, too! They're fiction for boys. And they were awesome. Still kinda awesome. They could lose some adverbs. But still awesome. And totally for YA boys.

Wait. Nailed it.

SEXISM!! (Now am I back in the cool book, Roxeanne? No? Still got a penis, that's true. Damn).

Yeah, there's some veiled sexism in this whole argument, but that's another blog post. Or Facebook rant. I dunno.

But, ultimately, this goes back to do what you want. Like what you want. Stop giving a shit about what the internet says. Including this dumbass blog. Yes, this one. As in me.

Because you know what else is YA? TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. You know, that book your 8th grade English teacher said was the greatest book of all times ever and ever? Yeah, well, You Were In 8th Grade. That's YA.

So suck it.

Now go read a cool book. In fact, Read 16 TONS. It's for sale today only. Like a special or something (actually an Amazon goof that I'm totally milking before I fix it). So go buy it now. Before it's tomorrow. Shit, are you reading this tomorrow? Well, you missed it. Unless, you're reading this in like 3 weeks from now, in which, yeah go buy it, it should be for sale for reals. 

Look, here's the cover:

Isn't it awesome? Fuck yeah, it is. Buy it.


Pluck Goes 70's Hard.


http://thomaspluck.com/blade-of-dishonor/

Let me just come right out and say this: This book kicked my ass. It kicked about 100 asses, total.

It kicked my ass in the way it was written. This book moves fast. I mean FAST! It's hard for me to always appreciate that style of writing, but Old T-Pluck does the near-impossible: He makes fast reading that's still smart writing (to be fair, most fast reading is a kind of smart writing, but often those horse are of other color). This shit is sharp as its titular blade.

Just look at the damn opening and tell me you don't want to read this book:


 Pluck's story follows Reeves, an ex cage-fighter who stumbles on his grandfather's spoils-of-war Japanese sword that serves as the major plot device to set the story in motion. There are ninjas here, folks, and that should be enough said. If not, then let's clarify: these are Thomas Pluck's brand of ninjas.

The story sings with its own bloody-knuckle rhythm and pulls few punches. This is true 70's-era pulp in its finest form. This is Leonard-level work. And I mean old Leonard. 70's Leonard. God rest his soul (I hope he told Peter that every damn sin on the list "was Justified").

Did I say this book kicked my ass already? I did? Well it kicked it twice. One for all the reasons listed above. Twice because it reminded me of everything I ever wanted to do with my writing. This is the book I wanted to write. On some level, I like to think of my first book, Raise a Holler, as something like this. That's not for me to say. But, this is EXACTLY the style of book I am hoping to accomplish with my next, the first of a series, called 16 Tons.

Anyway, go buy this book right now.

"Yeah, but have you read it?"

You don't know til you drink it all!

Oh yeah. This is happening.


You know that discussion you get into, the one with the people and the trendy book that's in all the airports and that your friend's wife just loved, and now he's all like, "yeah, it was pretty good; it had a good story, interesting characters, etc. etc. blah blah, old argument, logical fallacy, incorrect premise, and so on..."


Yeah. That one.


And you know where this is going, where it always goes. First you try to just move on to a new topic, because seriously, it's not a law that you HAVE to read every book-of-month Cosmo-pick that the ladies around the office are just swearing by (this week). And, let me repeat that, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO READ THE POPULAR BOOK. YOU CAN READ WHATEVER YOU WANT. IT'S CALLED CHOICE. AND INDIVIDUALITY. AND SOME OTHER COOL CONCEPTS PROBABLY BROUGHT TO YOU BY TOM PAINE AND T-JEFF.


But, moving on didn't work. They've cornered you. They're pressing you for your opinion. After all, you must have one. Everyone should have an opinion on some flash-in-the-pan gone-tomorrow pop-fiction novel. This is important stuff, not trivial bullshit like national healthcare or war. They always force this issue. The reason, I find, is that it becomes important to them, since you're a reader (maybe even a writer, as well), who's known for having odd or non-mainstream taste in your books. Because, you know, America. And shit. But, somehow this translates to the people at the dinner party or the office mixer, or what have you, as you being a "book-snob" or some other such nomenclature that demonizes having individual preference.


So, they need to bully you into the corner, because they think they've stacked the deck, and you are going to come out looking like the idiot and they so much smarter than you, here in this context.


And, finally, you acquiesce.


"It just doesn't interest me. It's not the kind of book I'd like to read," you say. "I don't enjoy the language, the way it's written, the author's voice, tone, style, etc."


You've been as nice as you think possible, leaving everyone room to go home more or less intact.


But, wait, here it comes...


"YEAH, BUT HAVE YOU READ IT?" they ask, all smirky and winky and shit.


"I read the first few--"


"AHA!! YOU HAVEN'T READ IT, SO YOU DON'T KNOW!!! BWAHAHA BWAHAHA!!" And some other faux-superiority bullshit.


"No, I read enough to know that I--"


"NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU HAVEN'T READ IT, SO YOU DON'T KNOW!! YOU CAN'T SAY UNTIL YOU'VE READ IT!!!!!"


*sigh*


And, now in their minds, they've become infinitely smarter and superior to you in every way possible. You're practically the Al Qaeda of books now, as they've shown.


I suppose I should end this blog here, since anyone who is like those described above will have stopped reading by now in order to go forward being *"that guy."


But, instead, and for no reason other than my own lack of anything else to do at this particular second, I will trudge on in this probably less than interesting discussion with myself.


Because that argument is bullshit.


Why?


Because I don't need to drink an entire carton of milk before I can say it's bad. I don't even need to drink one sip. I can smell that shit as soon as I open the lid.


Because I don't need to eat my entire plate of food to know that I don't like the way it tastes. The first few bites are enough.


I don't need to marry every girl I meet before I know if it really might work between us.


I don't need to actually get a tattoo on my body before I know if I want to have a tattoo.


I don't need to spend 7 years & $100,000 on medical school to know I don't want to be a doctor.


I don't need to zip up in latex, get handcuffed, and participate in an orgy before I know I wouldn't like it.


I don't need to practice the drums and join a band before I know I wouldn't want to.


I could keep going, but why?


Seriously, you pick up a book, you read the first few sentences, paragraphs, even pages. If it doesn't pass the sniff test, then put it the hell down. We all got 99 problems in this world and having to fist this head-pounder into your brain ain't one.


So, you go read 50 Shades of Twilight. I'll go read Lonesome Dove. And, Jonathan Franzen can fuck himself. And, we'll all have a pretty good time.


Oh yeah, and that whole "Well, you gotta get through the first 100 pages or so, and then it gets good" argument? Yeah, that's bullshit, too.


Now, go enjoy your life.

*"that guy" is an asshole. 

I Hereby Claim The Pulitzer


I am officially claiming the Pulitzer prize in fiction for the year.
The news hit this week that the Pulitzer Board decided not to don the prize to a novel. Maureen Corrigan, who served as juror for the fiction prize, wrote in an article in the Washington Post, "We'll never know why the Pulitzer board declined to award the prize this year, because, as is the board members' right, they've drawn their Wizard of Oz curtain closed tight."
Whatever their justification, whether from a perceived dearth of eligible titles or from sheer omission or reticence to read the usual suspects, it stands to reason that the award is up for grabs.
Or, it was.
I took it.
Am taking it.

There should be Pulitzer winner for fiction 2012. And, I hereby lay claim to it. Unless the Pulitzer Board chooses to name a winner (and I met Karen Russell in Gainesville, touring her Girls Raised Wolves debut, and her new book Swamplandia has a Gator on the cover, so that's my vote for close second), then I am adversely possessing the award.
Raise a Holler wins the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for fiction!















This is a test of my new android mobile blog posting application.

Ebooks in a Post-Facebook World

Yeah, I said it: Post-Facebook.

No, I honestly didn't think it would ever happen either. But, this post by Pat Betram gets into some pretty serious upcoming limitations that the now publicly-traded FB is about to land on us simple, grassroots business-folk like the fiery hammer of an angry white God.

The article throws out little gems of info like this:

A major change is coming now that FB is traded publicly. If FB allows promo anywhere on the site, the pages lose their competitive edge. FB also loses potential advertising bucks.
What this spells out is the effective dismantling and forced uselessness of Facebook as a network. Of course we all use it for promotion, not just of ourselves but of others in whom we believe, like, support, or just happen upon and feel compelled to, wait, what's the word? Oh, right, FUCKING SHARE!!

It's a social network. This is what people do when they are social; they NETWORK! If I'm at a barbecue, or on vacation, or at a bar, or out of town on business, some cafe for lunch, and I meet someone, the first thing, EVERYTIME, they ask is: "So, what do you do?"

Same goes for meeting up and hanging out with friends, acquaintances, colleagues, etc.: "So, how's work?"

"How's business?"

"How's the job?"


Etc.

Why? Why is it this way? On what key aspect, core-component of both human nature and human interaction has Facebook BOLDY missed the boat?

WE. ARE. WHAT. WE. DO.

Plain and simple.

We are what we do. We always have been. We always will be. I'm a writer. I write. I write stories. I write books. I write articles. I write blogs. I edit and publish a magazine. And I teach all of the aforementioned. That is what I do. That is what I am. If I'm not allowed to discuss, debate, share, collaborate, advertise, and market those CORE components of who I am on a particular internet social engine, then, well, I will simply leave that platform in favor of one or more that will.


Thus, Facebook becomes instantly reduced to a bunch of useless teens posting their prom pics, and the rest of us, you know, the working professionals who drive the economic current, yeah, we'll take our business elsewhere.
So, the question left is, where do we go? Who will pick up the slack?

I suppose there's always (and has been) Twitter.

Google+ is starting to sound a lot less pointless.

It's too bad there's not some great big internet super giant that can just swoop in and fix everything, one with the vast resources and experience it takes to undertake a project like this, one with a track record of completely re-designing bloated, short-sighted, and failing industries and making them ten times more streamlined and viable than they ever imagined.

Oh, wait...

Maybe there is....