Thursday, May 08, 2008

Hi-jacked in Detroit

I’ve been bitching all week about my blog problems--white space and pictures disappearing and today I woke up to find my blog had been hijacked by some psychobilly dude from Minnesota. If I don’t let him get a few words in here, who knows what will happen. I don’t want to find out….

"Last stop: J.D. Rhoades' What Fresh Hell is This?"

We're all anxious on the way up to Detroit to pick up accomplished literary and crime fiction short story write Patricia Abbott (and now a Derringer Winner, too). I mean, will this unruly crew of "violence artists" be a bit too much for her? Her work tends to outclass some of ours a bit. Will we be acceptable in our torn jeans and rumpled blood-stained T-shirts (don't ask)? Well, we park out front to find Patricia gut-punching a mugger, so all our fears are abated.

Patricia Abbott's work has appeared all over the web now--Storyglossia,, Spinetingler, Demolition, plenty of others. And she's also finding homes for her stories in the print world, places like Bayou, Fourteen Hills, and Murdaland. Why's that? Because she gives you great characters, people you want to follow around, see what sort of trouble they'll get into. Take this line from "The Trouble with Trolls": "Patrick climbed into the car on Tuesday evening wearing the damp look Denny associated with him since he'd begun tending tropical fish." Can't you feel it too? Or from "Ric with No K": "They say my mother was a dreamy sort of girl. It was hard to talk to her about anything real, but she knew every fact about Demi Moore and Tom Cruise. She grew up on those stars. She didn't even need to see their movies after a while. Jessie just made her own movies up in her head." Yep, kind of like the great cult crime writer Charles Willeford, who Larry Block praised for being able to invent compelling and intricate characters with only a few surprising details. You see it all over Patti's fiction (and forthcoming in a really great piece we're going to publish in Plots with Guns soon). It's about the people, damn it! It's not about the puzzle or the plot or the gimmicks. It's about the people dealing with the consequences of crime--others and their own.

Right up my alley. I also write literary short stories in addition to crime fiction, and I often blend them in together, genre labels be damned. The reason I like reading and writing "literary" crime fiction (actually, I like putting "literary" right next to "pulp". Something sweet about it) is so that I can see how characters respond when pushed to their limits. What do they do? How do they feel about it? That's the coolest, and I hope I pulled it off in Yellow Medicine. Billy is weighed down with bad choices, and then even worse choices to cover up the bad ones. But he's still alive, still kicking, and trying to find a way to make it all okay...for him. And I just had to see where it all ended up. You should, too. Psychobilly Monday (May 12) is now closer than it way yesterday. Can you wait that long? Is the anticipation killing you?

Patricia climbs aboard the Hummer-sine and starts passing around a photo of her daughter, Megan, holding her newly-won Edgar. Truly proud. And if you think Megan can write some pretty twisted noir, remember that there's a source for that appreciation...and she's on the road trip with us. This net leg, though, will test us all, sometimes in ways we might not be prepared for. Where are we going? Newcastle. England. We'll be picking up...(even his name sounds dangerous)...the shining star himself, Ray Banks.

Driving time: A fortnight!

Tune for the leg: "Bad Luck" by Social Distortion



Bryon Quertermous said...

**running behind the Hummer-sine, holding a 40 of King Cobra and some beef jerkey, waving for them to stop before they leave Detroit**

pattinase (abbott) said...

Neil wrote the narrative. Can you tell he's never met me? And he talked way too much about me and not enough about himself. I hope the book does well. I'm gonna buy mine at Aunt Agatha's.

Neil said...

I completely judged you from emails, blogs, and your fiction. and I'm afraid you can beat me up.

We'll meet you down the road, right? B'con?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Wait, I thought that was you outside in the Hummer? Am I dreaming?

Neil said...

Well, it's a *virtual* road real life, I don't wear trucker caps (often) nor do I weigh a lean mean 160 pounds (sigh).

Lisa said...

This is my new favorite daily stop.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Lisa.