Fiction: A VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER By Tom Leins

11am. The Black Regent Rooming House. I peel the bloody dressing off my nose and drop it into the sink. Jesus. My face looks like something out of a fucking horror-show. I’ve been sticking my nose into other people’s business for longer than I can remember. Usually for money, sometimes out of sheer perversity. My…

A Floor Plan for Fiction (Using real settings for your canvas) by Tom Pitts

Setting aside the ongoing argument about whether art imitates life or life imitates art—because I think we can all agree there’s a simpatico relationship between the two—I’d like to talk for a moment about those times when art must imitate life. For pragmatic purposes, I believe there’re times when, as a writer, you have to…

Fiction: Outlaws by Robert Ragan

So many people want to be outlaws. They want the adrenaline rush that comes with the gunfire. They don’t realize the blood remains on their hands long after it’s washed off. Devin would make fun of you for having a conscience. He had the best work ethic of any thief out there. Creative when putting…

Fiction: The Power of the Donk by Jim Shaffer

 When Tommy slammed on the brakes of the ’56 Chevy Bel Air, two things happened: Ellie’s face bounced hard off the dashboard and the body on the back seat bashed against the front seat and collapsed on the floor.           “Gonnamn it, Tommy!” She sounded like she was talking in a bucket.           Ellie punched…

FICTION: REVENGE CAN BE SWEET BY PAUL MATTS

‘You there yet?’ Daniel’s voice is coming through clearly on my new Nokia mobile phone. ‘Not yet mate. Just met Kush in McDonalds.’ ‘Thought he couldn’t make it.’ ‘Turns out he can. Now saying he wouldn’t miss it for the world.’ We both laugh. ‘We’ll see Jake inside I s’pose,’ I suggest. ‘Yeah, I guess….

FICTION: MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME BY BEAU JOHNSON

For his eighty-six years, Mantooth appears stronger than he is.  Veins on his forearms like cables.  A chest that could still be classed as barrel.  None of it mattered.  Not once we begin.  Four teeth falling from his mouth and we’re halfway to the place I want us to be. “You’re going to tell me…

Tom Ripley’s Film Career by K A Laity

The film version of The Talented Mr Ripley from 1999 did a lot to bring some attention back to the works of Patricia Highsmith. By the time of her death in 1995, she had done a lot to drive people away from herself (read Joan Schenkar’s biography to get a vivid picture of the author’s…

BLOOD ON THE BLACKTOP RURAL NOIR BY S.A. COSBY

Years ago, when I first started writing what would become my first crime novel, My Darkest Prayer, I had a fellow writer tell me they didn’t like “country” or “rural” noir. When I asked them why they said: “I just don’t buy it. I can’t believe all that crime happens in the country.” I’ll clean…

Fiction: Conscience, Inc. by Richard Prosch

The Montrose advertised itself as the Lake’s finest dining experience: smoke-free, fat-free, carb-free, noise-free, gluten-free, sodium-free, and mostly flavor-free, though there were a few minerals in the water. But everybody said its appetizers were to die for. Andy  held up a sample—a hand-crafted, adobe-crock boiled cheese curd. “Jeez, Andy. Don’t put that stuff in your…

Fiction: The Rex By Morgan Boyd

Kate had something to tell me, but she wouldn’t say it over the phone.  I knew it wouldn’t be good news, so I started scheming ways to leave work.  Cutting out early would have been doable except for the weather. Aging movie patrons descended upon the cinema like rats at the first sign of a…