Monday, May 9, 2016

UNLOADED :: West Coast Launch and Giveaway

The West Coast launch of the highly anticipated anthology Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns was held at Pegasus Books in Berkeley last Friday. Organizer/Master of Ceremonies Eric Beetner and his panel put on a spectacular event and wowed the full house. To hear the panelists tell it, Eric is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and as much as I love a good argument, I cannot quarrel with their testaments. I'm proud to call him my friend and sometimes partner in crime.
Unloaded is Eric's brainchild and he has put together an outstanding group of crime writers, all of whom jumped at the chance to contribute to the anthology sans compensation. As we all become both horrified by and, to some measure, inured to, the mass murders and other gun fatalities in this country, many writers of crime fiction have begun to ponder the issue of guns in their work. Are they necessary? Are they easy/lazy? What would happen if stories didn't include guns?

Rather than a reading, Eric facilitated an engaging discussion, with Kelli Stanley, Tom Pitts, Holly West, Joe Clifford, and S.W. Lauden providing perspectives from a variety of backgrounds, writing styles, and personal beliefs. Serious topic aside, the evening was also anything but short on humor.

The twenty-five top-notch authors involved in this project prove their words are mightier than any weapon. The lineup is full of best-sellers, award-winners and nominees, old vets and new blood alike. They fall on all sides of the political spectrum when it comes to gun control, and some are gun owners. But to a one, they jumped at the chance to show that we can all make do without gun violence.

Down & Out Books has published a great anthology, edited by Eric, and thanks to them all of the proceeds will go to benefit the nonprofit organization States United To Prevent Gun Violence ( Contributors include:

J.L. Abramo
Patricia Abbott
Trey R. Barker
Eric Beetner
Alec Cizak
Joe Clifford
Reed Farrel Coleman
Angel Luis Colón
Hilary Davidson
Paul J. Garth
Alison Gaylin
Kent Gowran
Rob Hart
Jeffery Hess
Grant Jerkins
Joe R. Lansdale
S.W. Lauden
Tim O’Mara
Joyce Carol Oates
Tom Pitts
Thomas Pluck
Keith Rawson
Kelli Stanley
Ryan Sayles
Holly West

Here are some shots from a grand night out:

     Eric listening to Kelli Stanley's always-interesting take one of many heady questions.

     Current Anthony Award nominee Holly West!

     Tom Pitts is a funny and fascinating dude. 

          Joe Clifford's story is a doozy from a wonderfully weird mind:

     S.W. Lauden's story includes a clown. Creep.

If you haven't read the above authors, or have and want to know what they have going on in the recent and near future, here's a quick look at what you can check out from each of them:

Eric has a great bunch of work coming out, including a re-release of the first in his hit man series, The Devil Doesn't Want Me, in June, followed by the sequel, When The Devil Comes To Call, out in July or August. Leadfoot, which is the sequel to crazy fun and awesome Rumrunners, is out in November. The Short List, the sequel to The Backlist, co-written with Frank Zafiro, is out in August. Somewhere in there will also be Eric's second western novella, Blood Moon.

 Kelli has been working feverishly on the fourth Miranda Corbie novel. Miranda is a private detective plying her trade in mid-Century San Francisco. If you want to be transported to that time and place, there's no one better than Kelli, who is a research goddess. City of Sharks is coming soon, so there's time to catch up on the first three in the series.

Tom just had his novel, Hustle, re-released by Down & Out Books with a super cool cover. He also has two novellas available, Piggyback and Knuckleball.

Holly is working on what sounds like a great new modern day piece, but you can jump right into her Mistress of Fortune series (Mistress of Fortune -- nominated for a Left Coast Crime Best First Novel Award -- and Mistress of Lies), set in late 17th century London and featuring amateur sleuth Isabel Wilde, a mistress to King Charles II who secretly makes her living as a fortuneteller. Holly was also just nominated for an Anthony Award for her short story Don't Fear the Ripper, which can be found in the Protectors 2 anthology edited by Thomas Pluck.

 Joe has also written a series that garnered Anthony attention (I told you this was a stellar group, didn't I?). The first in his Jay Porter series, Lamentation, was a nominee for Best Mystery Novel in 2015. The second in the series, December Boys (awesome cover), is coming in June. You can also pick up Joe's Junkie Love, a harrowing tale of addiction and mental illness based on Joe's own experiences.

Steve has two very different books out at present, Bad Citizen Corporation (punk rock crime fiction) and Crosswise (murder in a Florida retirement community). I think his next offering comes out next year.

If you've stuck with me this long, you deserve a prize, even though you've learned about some great crime fiction and a few potentially new authors. I have a copy of Unloaded to give away. Just leave a comment below and I'll pick a winner by random number generator over the weekend. This is one you want to get your hands on and the proceeds go to a good cause, so even if you don't win, go pick up a copy or two.

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About Malcolm Avenue Review

I was lucky enough to be born and raised in a nifty, oak-shaded ranch house on Malcolm Avenue, a wide-laned residential street with little through traffic, located amid the foothills of Northern California. It was on that street and in that house I learned most of my adolescent life lessons, and many grown-up ones to boot. Malcolm Avenue was "home" for more than thirty years.

It was on Malcolm Avenue, through and with my family and the other families that made up our neighborhood of characters, that I first learned about and gained an appreciation for the things I continue to love the most to this day: music, animals, photography, sports, television/movies and, of course, books.

I owe a debt of gratitude to that life on Malcolm Avenue. It gave me a sense of community and friendship, support and adventure. For better and worse, life on that street likely had the biggest impact on the person I've become. So this blog, and the things I write here, are all, at their base level, a little bit of a love letter to Malcolm Avenue.


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