Midwestern Mysteries & Me

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 9.15.06 AM

I’m in the current issue of Mystery Readers Journal talking about my roots in the Midwest. Thanks are due to the fine hostess, Janet Rudolph. Although I’ve not lived in my home state in ages, something of that heritage remains. Pick up a copy!

Radio Radio

Listen to me have a natter with Hannah Kate on Hannah’s Bookshelf. It’s a free ranging discussion that takes in my many writing hats from academic to crime and historicals as well as the weird fiction that comes out under my own name. At the end I choose the three books I’d like to have left after the apocalypse. Have a listen!

Pirate Crew

I always approve of pirate hats — arrr!

On the Radio with Hannah Kate

How is it possible that I was interviewed on Manchester radio and never once mentioned The Fall?! Not sure, but I had a great time talking with Hannah Kate, whom you might know from Hic Dragones as well as her radio interviews. Last week she had Ramsey Campbell on, so be sure to check out her other interviews.

Tune in today at 2pm UK / 9am NY for Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM (if you’re in the area) or listen online wherever you are! Find out how I juggle my pseudonyms, what I’m up to next, why I love #FolkloreThursday and what three books I’d want to have on hand for the apocalypse. Be sure to let Hannah know what you think.
White Rabbit advert 2

Packing for a Getaway

I started the day teaching from the Sermo Lupi and making comparisons to current apocalyptic predictions. In 1014, Wulfstan made similar prognostications about the lack of a future, due of course to our sinfulness, leofan men. I tried to point out to them that medieval folk would have had many of the same reactions as we do — mostly because they had to get back to the work of getting enough food to live on.

Actually I started with my students working on their productions of Hrotsvita’s plays, but I didn’t have to do much in that class except answer questions while they practiced and did some blocking. I love Hrotsvita: her works run from would-be necrophiliacs to virgins threatened with the brothel life and deals with devils. Drama is so much better when the students perform it. They actually understand what’s happening!

Of course, I need to pack as I am on the road tomorrow to #RallyinRaleigh for Bouchercon. Hope to see a lot of folks there. I’ll be in Graham Wynd mode, promoting both Chastity Flame (first novel free in your bag thanks to Smashwords) and of course, Satan’s Sorority.

I will endeavour to send some missives from my travels, though more likely on FB and Twitter because of course, they’re easier. And handing out these:

Satan's Sorority Promo

Dames, Dolls & Defiance

SpeakEasy sqwebA couple of dames talking: yeah, that’s me and the Queen of Everything AKA S. L. Johnson talking about art, inspiration and why restrictions are good for creativity on SpeakEasy Radio.

If you missed Friday’s programme, it was a short one with humour (the cardinal rule, keep it short) with Graham Wynd‘s ‘Ham on Heels’ and Henri Bergson. Be sure to check out all the interviews with the Rogue anthology authors at Graham’s webpage.

Tonight at 7pm I’ll be at the Arts Center of the Capital Region reading my poem “Songs of Defiance” in the Speaking Truth to Power event. It’s free! I wrote the poem after the 2004 elections, while despairing in Houston, and it appeared in the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology right next to a poem from Alessandra Bava! Working on my multimedia presentation even though it’s not certain we’ll have the tech (and excuse to gaze lovingly at Blake images).

And happy birthday Euan!

SpeakEasy Radio: Ham and Humour

Today’s brief episode on SpeakEasy Radio deals with Ham on Heels, S. L. Johnson‘s illustration that inspired it, Henri Bergson, Totie Fields and more. In my abundant free time, I have a book to write on comedy. Maybe someday I’ll get to it…

Gammon Heels 2015

Out of My Head: Noir Bizarre

©SLJohnson 2015

Where do ideas come from?

Creative folk get asked that a lot and the answer is always everywhere, but sometimes I find it interesting to write down the chain of sparks that started a fire, so to speak. I know “Ham on Heels” started with a conversation I had with Stephanie Johnson (Flint & Steel, baby!).

Of course I can’t recall at all what led to that image or what the conversation was about but as she often does, Stephanie turned the idea into a cool image. We both laughed with delight and I saved it on my ‘to-do’ list to write the story. I should check the email’s date to see how far back that was but it’s been a while.

So the next thing I did, in keeping with the rigorous creative process I maintain, was forget all about it. Or not exactly forget, but forget why I had this image in my head. Gradually it was replaced with the cool image that Stephanie made and there it languished.

And quite unexpectedly one day the story popped into my head, whole and Athena-like. Was it the same story? A new one? I have no idea. Seriously. I don’t know, but I wrote it and sent it to Jason at Pulp Metal Magazine who has a taste for the bizarre and it made him laugh, so he published it (it’s good to know editors’ tastes). Stephanie even tweaked the image a little to make it more perfect (I thought it was already!). I hemmed for a moment over who would get credit, me or Graham Wynd, but it seemed so quintessentially noir despite the bizarre, that in the end I went with Graham.

Yes, I have those conversations with myself. Oh, and my other selves. I contain multitudes.

Graham is on Twitter now, too. Follow him for more crime-related stuff.