Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Holidays

Hello everybody,

wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Look for exciting new blogs on Huey Dusk's Lounge And Clown Room about writing, trashy fiction and everything in between in the new year.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Edward Hopper

Ok, I am no expert when it comes to paintings. But, I know what I like... and Edward Hopper just does it for me. Yes I like all of the other greats, like let's say Monet and Van Gogh. I mean who could resist those Water Lillies and The Harvest, and the Potato Eaters? That aside, Hopper just feeds my soul. I look at his paintings with their great use of light and shadows and I have noir on the brain.

I also love the passivity of the people depicted in his work and the larger than life environment that looms over them like a Sword of Damocles.

I use passive voice in my poetry. Because like him, I want the reader to glean that there is action happening beyond the poem... as well as between the lines and the stanzas.

Also, just about every cafe or bar scene in my Huey Dusk stories, borrows directly from Hopper.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hotel Stationary: Reflections On My Writing Life

Burning in Paradise by Michael Madsen. A book of poems by yes, the very same Michael Madsen the actor. The Robert Mitchum of our generation. Burning in Paradise is a book of poetry, probably out of print.  Michael also has a collected poems on sale at But, if you can find a copy of the previously mentioned book, it will be well worth your money.

Madsen's poetry is amazing. Essentially, the poems are just rough journal entries about drinking, brawling, domestic disputes, lonely nights in Vegas or other destinations on the road, and some internal dialogue. If you want to compare it to somebody, Bukowski flashes to mind in big neon letters. Honestly, I like Madsen's even better. It is more contemporary.

I mention this book because it inspired my own poetry. My first chapbook Hotel Stationery, is definately stamped with his mark.

What differentiated mine from his, was my competing influence of Edward Hopper.

 For example, one of my poems in that book was a word image of a lady staring out of a motel window at passing cars on the interstate. My intent was to make the reader wonder who this woman is. Does she have family? Is she on the run? What's her story? Like in all good poems, I tried to leave a few informational clues, but you are never sure as a poet whether people get your meaning.

I could say the most interesting aspect of my poetry in that period was that it had a vicarious quality. I was 30-31 at the time, but I really hadn't had a whole lot of the "life experiences" that all good writers should have: I hadn't traveled, and I hadn't been married. So, again, I was reporting on others and their lives and it really showed in my work.

Today, I believe I am a steadier hand at the helm. Marriage, travel, and overcoming tribulation has opened the vault of inspiration. I also feel I can express myself with ease. I have alot easier  a time  including symbols and metaphor to back up my writing.

What also has changed is the type of writing I do. When I was younger, I wrote poetry and screenplays. Today, it is soley fiction-- more specifically crime fiction.

I guess one day early into 40,  I decided it was time to reinvent myself( I believe every writer should do that from time to time). Well, so far that has turned out to be wisdom from God, because since then I have had some publishing success and get to work with some fantastic editors. So, in closing, I am right where I want to be as a writer.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I can't say my character Huey Dusk was growing stale... but after reading the current manuscript for the next Huey story, my interest in him has been rejuvenated. Today I have had an explosion of ideas for new stories and different directions for the clown's journey. I guess this happens when I latch on to an author that I am starting to like. Currently, that is Ross Macdonald. As a result, I am thinking the next Huey story will shift away from Spillane and more toward Macdonald's style of writing. That is the beauty of writing about a clown... you can shift from genre to genre and prose style to prose style.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


On a favorite internet radio show of mine, the host often asks the guest about their definition of noir. He gets a range of answers. Well here is mine.

Noir means no innocent victims. A good example this would be a scene in the movie City Of Industry where there is a shoot out in a trailer park between two groups of heavies. During this gun battle the residents of the trailer park come out of their homes with shotguns and join the bullet fest; again, no innocent victims.

 In a lot of movies directors like to imply that a character has a dark side with their use of lighting and shadows. I particularly like shots where one side of the character's face is in the dark and the other is in the light. Very symbolic of one's complex nature which incorporates elements of good and evil. I also like scenes that depict violence taking place in dark alleys where punches an kicks come from all directions and it is unclear who is doing the beating.

If you want an example of noir depicted in the art world check out the work of Edward Hopper. His most noirish painting is Night Hawks which depicts a late night scene at a diner. In this picture we are not sure who these people are, whether they know each other, or if they are connected at all. Through the window outside, we see a menacing city smudged by an inky black night. One that will gobble up the characters the minute they walk out the door.

The work of Mickey Spillane is commonly characterized as noir. I think that is stretching it a little in that Mike Hammer is truly a good guy, even though he is very brutal. He always has a clear sense of what is right and wrong. Also, even though the police in Hammer stories may not be the most sympathetic people,  they are always sincerly trying to solve whatever crime comes across their desk.

My beloved clown PI Huey Dusk started out somewhat noirish. Originally, I wasn't sure whether or not he was going to be a killer clown. But, as time has gone on, I have put him in the camp of the good guys, even though he has a somewhat tarnished heart of gold.

I love noir stories and could talk about them all day. However, what I don't do is apply it as a formula to everyday life. I am a firm believer in the goodness of people and do my best to see the light in every situation. If you don't do that you miss out on the happiness in life.

Hopefully I have illustrated this in my latest Huey Dusk story, Bullets For Coffins in which I have added a lot more clowns and gooofiness.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


These days to hold my interest, a writer must be cinematic and very descriptive. I like stories with lots of action and atmosphere.

I like authors that set a mood by making use of the environment around them. I like descriptions of buildings and locales. I like use of simile and metaphor.

What I don't like, is writing that is too chatty and tries to be too clever. For, example, before the latest vampire craze, people at my writing group were writing fantasy stories and so help me, if every one of them didn't have witty repartee between two talking unicorns. *snoring*

Maybe it is because I am not great with dialog in my own stories that I didn't find two wise cracking mythical creatures funny. With the exception of the Huey Dusk tales, my pieces are very light on conversation. My characters are essentially defined by their actions. This is probably because I started out writing screenplays which are basically a cake recipe for the director. So, I have had to will myself to include interior dialogue-- but, I don't like it.

I like my characters to be forces of nature. Hemingway men and women of action. They don't need to reflect on what they have done or what they are going to do, they just do it. Mike Hammer is that way.

And that is why I have sponged up every story Mickey Spillane has written-- that goes for Richard Stark as well. Heck if those two wrote something on a cocktail napkin, I would buy it on E Bay and read it, studying every letter down to every comma.

Well, I am out of steam for right now, so I will stop rambling. To all, have a great Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ballistic by Trey Dowell

Ballistic, by Trey Dowell. I had heard and read great things about this story for the longest time. It was number five on the Untreed Reads best seller list and I understand why.

It tops out at ten pages and is an interesting little piece of fiction. In this story, Dowell mixes action and noir. This is something I can't remember being done before; if it has, it's been awhile.

The story centers on a hitman named Danny who is sent with a couple of other thugs on a job. To make a long story short, things go wrong for Danny and he ends up fighting for his life.

Danny is clearly a bad guy. However, Trey leaves you no choice but to root for him. He does this by employing a cinematic prose style and he chose a common setting that we are all familiar with: an office building. What this does is help us put ourselves in Danny shoes and we essentially become him. As a result, the reader feels that they are fighting for their life as well, and we want very much for Danny to succeed.

Dowell also did something else that was very clever and very simple. He gave Danny a backstory and a sexual past with the crime boss's mistress. You would think that this would make the reader like him even less, but it does the opposite. It gives him a rogue like quality and a seed of redemption. You figure that if somebody is willing to give themself or their love to Danny, we may as well give him a chance too.

Trey pulled out all the stops with this one and gives us a thrill ride all the way to the end and then smacks us in the face with a suprise ending.

I would like to see another longer piece from him like this nasty little one.  Ballistic can be purchased at . Buy it now!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

That Damned Coyote Hill by Heath Lowrance

Western and Horror are two genres that blend nicely. Heath Lowrance proves this in his Western short story That Damned Coyote Hill, another offering by Trestle Press

If I am correct, it is the first installment in a short story series about a mysterious gunfighter named Hawthorne.

The atmospherics  are wonderful. Lowrance chooses rain and mud as his back drop. This gives the piece a sepia-toned feel and reminds me of a faded photograph.

Instead of a man in black, Heath made his character a man in gray with some very striking facial features. This served as a nice metaphor and was in line with the spirit of noir.

Very good description of all the people and critters that  lurk in this universe.

That Damned Coyotee Hill  is a page turner with some great action sequences. I think even people who don't normally enjoy westerns will like this one as well. It can be purchased for 99 cents on Amazon Kindle

Monday, October 31, 2011

I have Chrome Balls, Don't You? by Giovanni Gelati

Seriously, that is the title of the story. It is five pages long and is written by Giovanni Gelati who when he is not writing comedic pieces, or scribing action adventure stories, is helming the great Trestle Press

I Have Chrome Balls, Don't You? is about the mysterious sport of Bocce. In this tale Gelati makes himself the main character. He did the same thing in his story Hotel Beaumont which he co wrote with B.R. Stateham. This works well in that it adds a more personal touch to the writing.

Giovanni must be an AC DC fan. Because his I Have Chrome Balls, Don't You? uses the same kind of double entendre that their song about a similar subject employed. He does it very well and did a great job of keeping a tether on his creativity and not degenerating into toilet humor. As a result, he penned some adult humor which was very endearing despite the subject.(that being the wonderful sport of Bocce) Along with his great insights on the sport, he made great use of the metaphor of the Bocce ball and equated it very nicely with other cylindrical objects.

I hope he cranks out more stuff because this author(me) will definitely read it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fear The Night(Drunk On The Moon) by Julia Madeleine

 Julia Madeleine continues the saga of werewolf PI Roman Dalton. This time he is summoned to Quebec when he is hired by a father to search for his lost daughter.

The story tops out at ten pages. Julia did very well constructing a good action packed plot in such a short space. Also in this piece, she chose the traditional PI story convention of first person reflective narration. What could have been cliche, worked very well because although she starts you off in familiar territory, by the end, she transports you to another plane of wretched existence. Along with that, she does a competant job of melding horror with the PI genre.

An excellent depiction of Quebec. It is exactly what I know that Canadian province to be: cold, run down, and peopled with some very tough characters. Also, it made for a very creepy back drop.

This installment holds up with the first one and delivers a crackling finale. As mentioned earlier, it is more kinetic than B. R.'s and Brazill's version. Nothing wrong with that. Very easy to follow and most enjoyable.  It is another Trestle Press original and can be purchased at .

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Purple, Bruised, Pulpy, Prose

It was a dark and stormy night and the rain felt like Chinese water torture. I stared at the spider web crack in the murky glass of the door to my office. Bored, I looked down and opened the drawer to my desk and pulled out my trusty revolver(one of the implements of this rough and dirty business) I spun the chamber and then put it on the tattered blotter. Then I pulled out a bottle of Mad Dog, unscrewed the cap, took a swig, and tipped the bottle to all the gutter punks and bag ladies.

Insatiable(Drunk On The Moon) by B. R. Stateham and Paul D. Brazill

Paul D. Brazill came up with a bold, unique idea... after launching his series with his first DOTM installment, he allowed a few of his favorite fans to pen subsequent stories. To be honest, this is something I am not sure I could do with Huey Dusk(which by the way can be purchased for 2.99 at ) A shameless plug. Sorry B.R. and Paul.  Like I said, it was a bold move. One that has obviously paid off for him.

Insatiable is one of those installments. It was scribed by my new Facebook friend B. R. Stateham who has carved a cultish niche for himself with his Call Me Smitty series  published by Trestle Press( Ok enough house keeping and time for the "meat" of the story(rim shot)

Insatiable, is another adventure featuring  our favorite lycanthrope PI Roman Dalton. This is a fullfledged mystery. It is a lot more procedural than Brazill's original story and it also differentiates itself by getting into the head of Dalton and showing us that he is capeable of doing some good investigative work. B.R. while making some poetic observations through out the story, keeps his prose short and stacatto. This works really well in that it shows us that Dalton's mind is brutal and efficient--almost like he is thumbing through a mental rolodex.

I also like how B.R. emphasizes the comradery between Dalton and Ivan the homicide detective. And even though they are good friends, because Dalton is a werewolf, he still looks at him like he would a rare T-Bone steak. This keeps with the spirit of Noir where the lines of love and hate are blurred.

Another good installment. I am truly jealous of these guys for creating such a great series-- but, not really. Actually I am cheering them on.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Drunk On The Moon, by Paul D. Brazill

Gum Shoes. Drooling wild eyed werewolves. Green lizards disquised as religious cult leaders. This all comes from the writing of Paul D. Brazill and his story Drunk On the Moon.

I am reminded of that line from the Doors song Riders on the Storm: "His brain is squirming like a toad..."  And with DOTM, Mr. Brazill's mind truly is-- I hope he considers that high praise.

But, I digress. DOTM deals with a private eye named Roman Dalton. He palls around with a bar owner/cabby named Duffy who is less than photogenic with his "Black Dyed quiff"(I feel dirty just repeating that)

Roman is an unusual PI in that he is a werewolf. He became such one night when he tried to take on a pack of Lycanthropes in a bar. So, now, he trawls the mean streets of The City tracking down leads and saving damsels in distress-- sometimes using a gun, or sometimes just ripping his foes into strips of London Broil. You get the general idea.

I'll say it again. I like DOTM. It speaks to all my sensibilities and slakes my thirst for hard-boiled fiction.

DOTM also oozes graphic novel. Dave Zeltserman says it reminded him of Sin City. I think that is a fair assesment. But, whereas Sin City was channeling Spillane, DOTM draws its inspiration from the work of Chandler and Hammet with its gritty, poetic comic book prose.

There are several other installments written by other Trestle Press authors. One is from  BR Stateham of Call Me Smitty fame. I will most undoubtedly scoop those up as well. Drunk On The Moon is published by Trestle Press  the publishing house created by Giovanni Gelati. The story is .99 cents and can be purchased on Amazon Kindle. An affordable read and money well spent.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


One of the quintessential characters in the Huey Dusk universe. Marcel is a mime. He started out as the leader of a scraggly group of mime toughs called the Dragon Street Mimes. They handled security for crime boss Floyd Carillo and did other nasty jobs for him. This was the same syndicate that Huey tried to make his bones with. Later on, he and his quiet buddies were recruited by Langley to spy on Floyd since he had the knack for getting his hands on sensitive and dangerous material with disastrous implications.

Although Marcel does alot of favors for Huey, he hates the clown's guts and is responsible for some of the predicaments he gets into. Huey is unaware of the Mime's loathing for him and Marcel prefers it that way. This is so he can manipulate the unwitting joker. Some day when it is necessary, he will take him out, mime style( an imaginary bullet behind the ear)

His reasons for hating the clown are two fold.

Marcel is very bright and has a scheming mind. He comes up with all sorts of plans. Unfortunatley, he is unable to communicate them which means he can't execute them either. This sends him reeling into a silent impotent rage. As a result, he looks at a clown like Huey who is all action and forward motion and he can't help but want to mess him up.

The other reason deals with the history the two have between each other. Both were Langley operatives and were involved in a very messy mission down south on the island of Guano. Their objective was to over throw the tiny country's dictator and make it safe for the Guanese people.

But Marcel and his mime troupe(formerly the Dragon Street Mimes) ended up killing the inhabitants of a tiny peasant village as well as the village padre. Marcel went farther and offed his mime buddies as well.

He blames his temporary blood thirsty insanity on the fact that Huey, who was leading a cadre of clown commandos, was not there to back him and the other mimes up when they took heavy fire from troops in the jungle. Huey swears that he and the rest of the clowns were pinned down on the beach by the same Guanese Army.

Marcel is a very complicated, emotionally fragile character. He has inspired one of the most famous lines ever produced in clown literature: 'That's because he's a mime you moron!'

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Goulish, Hellish Western.

Hey folks just a quick note. Right now I am so exhilerated about writing. I am writing this goulish, hellish western and me thinks I might be a little too influenced by BR Stateham's Call Me Smitty. But hey, if it keeps me going and helps me complete the story than why not? I promise Mr. Stateham that I will fix this problem in the edit and by the final draft, it will be my own ink-stained beast. But seriously, I can't get enough of Smitty and I heard Paul D Brazill's Drunk On The Moon is out of this world! That too is on my list. Anyway, you can get the work of both these great authors at Just click on the titles on the site and you will be directed to Happy reading!

Lou Blatz: Clown Detective

From time to time, I plan to profile various characters in my Huey Dusk stories. Today we are going to talk about Lou Blatz.

Lou is a clown. He makes a cameo appearance in The Pandora Case. In this story, he is a young patrol clown. I dressed him in traditional police blues and an oversized badge. I also gave him a overly long nightstick. His scene takes place down in the subway station where he and his partner Brody are patrolling. Both Lou and Brody see Joey Pantera(main character) standing on the platform not looking too good. They make him for a hophead and they go over with the intention of bracing him. Lou, in this instance, is looking for the smallest reason to pound Joey into bloody hen @#%$^. I don't have Lou say anything. I thought it would be more effective to have him menacing and silent-- but at this point in his life, he has an orange clown afro. So how intimidating can he be?

In subsequent stories, Lou and his partner have worked their way up to homicide detectives mostly, but they catch all kinds of cases. Lou now is definately the leader of detective duo.  He is point clown on all of their investigations and does most of the questioning. Lou's hair is shorter and is red and sprinkled with white and blue speckles; "like sprinkles on a donut". Clowns' hair grays in all sorts of ways. He is dressed in a rumpled dayglo orange trench coat and has a swollen clown nose due to a drinking problem.

He makes it his personal mission to harass Huey Dusk and often times has roughed the other clown up during questioning and interrogation. Huey just manages to chap Lou's clown hide and cause him to see red.

The other interesting fact about Lou is that he and his partner are on the take with several of the crime bosses in the city. With their earnings, they have bought a party pad downtown which they call the Spot. Here, Lou and Brody have some wild parties involving booze and balloon animals.

At some point Lou is going to have his own story. I think it would be very interesting to see Huey Dusk through the eyes of a character who does not particularly like him.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Call Me Smitty by B.R. Stateham

Folks, I have to say I am jealous! Just kidding. But the Call Me Smitty series is something I wish I wrote.  And that is because Smitty is one of the most hard-boiled characters out on the market today.

Now, about Smitty. His name was formerly Johnny. One day while at the bank, Johnny finds a discrepancy of about 30 Gs in his account. He finds out his twin brother stole the money from him. It gets better for us, and goes down hill for Smitty from there on. He arrives at home and finds his brother and his wife naked, and entangled in each others arms like"living mummies."

He hits his brother in the face with a tire iron and knocks him unconcious. He drags his wife outside and puts a gun to her head and pulls the trigger. The gun dry fires. He doesn't kill her, but instead walks away in a sobbing rage. This is the day he is no longer Johnny; intead, he is Smitty!  Part vigilante. Part cold-blooded assassin.

Other than the opening, we don't get too much back story on Smitty. Although, I really don't care. B.R. creates such a gloomy dismal atmosphere with his brutal poetic language. Because of this, I am able to suspend my disbelief and ride along on this roller coaster of mayhem and destruction.

The book is made up of several short stories.  They are almost like vignettes or bloody slices of life. I love that format and I think it really appeals to the modern reader with their busy schedule and fast-paced life style.

I hate to do this, because again, Stateham has made this series his own. However, if I was grabbed by the shirt and held up against the wall and forced to compare him with another author, I would blurt out on Richard Stark and possibly Mickey Spillane. But again, he is no carbon copy of either.

I can't get out of here without saying something about his publisher It is run by Giovanni Gelati who from what I have seen has a great business plan in that he is putting out some of the pulpiest modern day pulp out there to date. He has struck gold with Stateham.

I intend to follow this man's career for as long as he is writing.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hard Man

I've just started Hard Man by Allan Guthrie. I've only read the first four pages and so far it is great. Action and ass kicking from the get go. Also, very spare prose. I don't like to compare authors to other writers, but, it reminds me of Eddie Bunker's work(Mr. Blue in Resevoir Dogs). I will have more to say about the book when I have read a little further. As for right now, thumbs up!

Monday, October 3, 2011

More on Trestle Press: Why I am so excited about writing!

On Facebook, I used to occasionally post this message: "I have the writing bug again". I would state that when I was flooded with story ideas and enthusiasm about writing. When I get this way, I want to write every crime fiction story there is to pen, and read every author who has the smallest trace of mystery in their book or novel. In this case, there are so many tales to tell and read, but as always, so little time.

Well, I am happy to say the "writing bug" is back-- and I thank Trestle Press. Again, I am loving their covers and all of their titles. I can't wait to get my hands on Call Me Smitty by BR Stateham, and Paul D. Brazil's Brit Grit.  I tell you folks, I am starving or shall we say jonesing for some new tough guy or gal stories with just a dolop of horror thrown in. So, as soon as I get a little jingle in my pocket, I am going to click on and scroll through their list of authors and start buying their e novels and short stories for my little e reader that could, and lock myself away and read, read, read!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Trestle Press

I will have alot more to say about these folks when I have read their authors more extensively. But, I have looked at their website and I am excited. They cater to those who like horror and hard-boiled stories. If you are into writers like Joe r Lansdale, Richard Stark, HP Lovecraft, Mickey Spillane, welcome home! These people are edgy; and they do their authors justice by giving them great book covers. The books are in E format and can be purchased on Go to the website, and find a book that interests you, click on it and it will direct you to Amazon. Some of the books can be purchased through Barnes and Noble as well-- but I think the Kindle is the main way you can access these stories. Pricewise, they are $.99 to 4.99. Very affordable. And again, it's another place to quench your thirst for some rockin pulp fiction! 

P.S. Oh and by the way, check the author, BR Stateham. He has a series of stories about an assassin named Smitty that I hear is "smokin".

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

James Ellroy:Destination Morgue

Destination Morgue by James Ellroy. I really wanted to like this book. But no dice. It is a compilation of true crime pieces, personal essays and three novellas. Again, I really wanted to like this. I mean it's James Ellroy-- he's the "Demon Dog". It just couldn't hold my interest-- with the exception of his essay, Where I get my Weird @35$*. That was interesting because in his mixed up way, he talks about his inspiration for his stories which came from all of the crime novels he read and his environment which was 1950's LA in all of it's sleaziness. I guess I liked that one because I love to listen to writers speak about their influences both literary and other, and I like hearing them talk about the craft of writing. But the rest of the writing in this book was lost on me and here is why.

Ellroy, is famous for this short hand style of prose. In the case of novels like White Jazz  it works, in that the writing style becomes the character and is perfect for his antihero who is a dirty, and brutal L A Cop; it gives him a stacatto and rough voice and provides you with insight into how his mind works--simple and efficient.

Unfortunately, this technique doesn't work for his other novels and basically dry-gulched Destination Morgue. It was a real nuisance to read and looked like texting.

Again, I like Ellroy. And if you want to read some good stuff by him I would recommend my all time favorite of his, Brown's Requiem.   It's a straight PI novel written in the traditional style, but with all of the Ellroyesque flourishes we have come to know and love.

Along with this, read Hollywood Nocturnes, another compilation of novellas; my favorite being Dick Contino's Blues, about an accordion player who gets involved in  a government conspiracy. Hmm, sounds a little like Huey Dusk? Nah!

Anyway, I did not write this to pan Mr. Ellroy. I have the utmost respect for him in that he is a student of noir and crime fiction as well as the sun-baked mean streets of LA. I also appreciate his willingness to share with us his pain over his mother's murder(read his memoir My Dark Places, I have an autographed copy). He is a man with still  many demons to excorcise and contines to influence alot of fledgling writers such as myself. I just wish he would get away from this "LOL shorthand style" he invented and move onto something more readable.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cross Referencing

Right now I am listening to the book on tape version of The Cut  by George Pelecanos. One thing I enjoy about Pelcanos is that he cross references his stories with each other; mainly he does this with his characters. For example, in The Cut, his character Spiro Lucas mentions another PI character named Derek Strange from his books Right as Rain and Soul Circus to name just a few. He also alludes to his most famous character Nick Stefano. He is not the only one that does this. Michael Connolly also brings in his character Harry Bosch in the book The Brass Verdict  which is about Mickey Haller the lawyer in his now famous book The Lincoln Lawyer.

To me this makes the stories that more enjoyable in that it is fun to see your favorite characters through other characters eyes; like how Derek Strange doesn't quite trust Nick Stefano. Or, how Mickey Haller thinks Harry Bosch is an @#$%^.

This is what I plan to do in my own stories and in fact have already done it in the yet to be published  Pandora Case; a story where I have  Joey Pantera interact with a young, crazy, hoodlum clown named Huey Dusk who is trying to cut his teeth with the local crime syndicate.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Brief Thoughts On The Movie Drive

Yesterday my wife and I went to see the movie Drive. I thank her for indulging me since it was a flick I really wanted to see. Well, as of right now I will hold off on commenting any further until after I have read the book which has been sitting so patiently on my shelf  all these years.(I think it is time to read it). I will end this dispatch by saying I hope the book will give me a better perspective on the movie.

Friday, September 9, 2011

What Huey looks like

I want Huey Dusk to resemble either Mickey Spillane or Michael Madsen; that square jawed alpha male type, big and burly. He smokes his ubiqitous cigar which I've settled on being a cheroot with a frayed tip.

In the beginning, I dressed him in a ten gallon pork pie, a polka dotted trench coat and a large polka dotted tie.

In the second story I had him dress a little like Bogey with his purple trench coat and purple polka dotted tie and purple fedora with a polka dotted headband. I did this because in this tale he was acting more like a traditional hard boiled gumshoe.

The third story is even more gritty and has an urban street feel to it. To make ends meet  he has become a sleaze ball bounty hunter. So, I dressed him a little like Kid Rock with another ten gallon pork pie, a greasy buckskin jacket, a big gold cross on a "blingy" chain that he wears over his giant polka dotted tie. Also, in a tribute to Tom Waits, I gave him snake skin Stacy Adams clown shoes and a burgundy shirt.

I want Huey's clothes to reflect the times and situation he is in. Also, I get bored with having him dress a certain way.

Huey Dusk has been a very fun character to write about. I plan to be cranking out stories about him for a long time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Huey Dusk: The Clown, The Legend

Since I have renamed this blog Huey Dusk's Lounge and Clown Room, I think it is only fair to introduce you to the clown behind the name.

Huey is a character that I created and is the star of my novella Huey Dusk. He is a tough clown molded after the likes of Mike Hammer. He pals around with a maniacal mime named Marcel who he worked with at a spy agency called Langley. Together they created a very dangerous and murky history; such is the case with spies.

Huey through subsequent stories has evolved into a private investigator/ skip tracer. He often does some work for questionable and nefarious clients. But, deep down inside, he has a good heart and in the end tries to do the right thing.

He didn't start out that way.  I originally portrayed him as a cereal snorting psycho clown with a handy piece of piano wire in the very first flash fiction piece I wrote about him. Well, as time went on I decided that psycho evil clowns are a dime a dozen and besides, I like clown's too much to make him bad. But this change happened gradually.

I started the transformation by giving him a soft spot for children(keep in mind that even though he likes children, he is not always the best influence for them.) Then I gave him a past with the government and a strong dislike for government corruption.

So, in most of my stories he is always getting caught up in a Langley conspiracy which he sometimes doesn't know how to get out of. Usually he seeks the help of a fair and beautiful female operative to take down the bad guys in the end. But even though they kill all of the villians and set things mostly right, there is always evil still lingering out there.

Huey Dusk has been my most inspired creation and there are plenty of stories left about him and the universe he inhabits.

In the future, look for a second story Huey Dusk: The Case of the Sad Luck Dame to go live at But while you are waiting, you can still buy the original, Huey Dusk, at the same address.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dave Zeltserman: Outsourced

Today I just finished Outsourced by Dave Zeltserman and let me tell you this book is great! It's a heist novel and the twist is that the robbery is pulled off by computer geeks who were the victims of downsizing. 

This book is noir through and through. And even though it is it's own beast, it is clear that Mr. Zeltserman studied all of the hardboiled greats. In fact, for those of you who are Richard Stark fans needing a Parker fix, this should do it. Jim Thompson enthusiasts won't be disappointed either.

Like Thompson, Mr. Zeltseman does a great job of writing some very grotesquely human psychopaths. The examples in this story would be the characters Gordon and Joel, who even though they are dangerous and crazy,  both have a very relateable world views and backstories.

The other thing that Mr. Zeltserman does a very good job with is sense of place. He is reminiscent of George V. Higgins especially in his novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle.  Like Higgins, Zeltserman paints a very sepia-toned washed out atmosphere in his portrayal of Lynn Massachusetts.

Mr. Zeltserman has said he has been offered a movie deal. If Hollywood does make this into a film, I would hope to see someone like William Friedkin directing.

David Zeltserman is one of the best comtemporary crime fiction authors out there. I would put him on the same level with the likes of James Ellroy. His novel Outsourced backs up that assertion.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Harry Shannon

It's been awhile since my last blog... so I thought I would say something about a new author I've discovered. He is Harry Shannon. Now before I continue, I have to confess that the book I am reading currently, is the only one I have read so far. So I'm no expert.

It is called One Of The Wicked and it is part of a series featuring the character Mick Callahan who is a war vet, a recovering alcoholic and all around former hell raiser. What I appreciate about this character is that instead of being a PI he is a psychiatrist and radio personality; something different. And it works. Normally I would shy away from a story like this because it would have the tendancy to be pretentious and pseudo intellectual.

What makes it successful is that Shannon has made his main character very manly and he has him deal with some very hard core bad guys and as a result, there is a lot of ass kicking, finger chopping etc.

I feel this book leans more towards the thriller/men's adventure side than say a noir. But that just means more action for those who like it. So, if you are interested in yet some more good crime fiction check out the Mick Callahan novels. You can buy them in either paper back or E Book format on .

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Random Thoughts about Writing, Noir and Crime Fiction.

Today I have Noir on the brain-- as I should everyday, since that is all I read and write about. But today it is stronger than ever. I think it has to do with getting through a tough and somewhat boring part in my story which was basically a bridge, well more like a gateway section to the meaty part of the plot.

But back to Noir. I guess it suits me because it goes really well with my love of all things retro: Old motels with neon signs, jazz clubs, basically all the things Tom Waits sings about.

I also like the spare and no nonsense way the stories are told. It is like someone is spoon feeding you a very bitter dose of medicine and for some reason you want more.

Crime fiction or Noir doesn't neccesarily leave you with truths. I would say it is more of an escape-- or better yet a dark journey that makes you appreciate your own boring life when you return.

This journey analogy is most fitting for the old stuff. Old stuff meaning Chandler, Hammet, Spillane, Jim Thompson and Ross Macdonald. In those stories the private investigator does take a very linear journey. And through out it all, deep down inside, he or she has a very strong moral compass that helps them wade through the sleaze and other urban slime.

My clown Huey Dusk follows that format. My stories are about him finding out and affirming that he does have a compass and the world can make sense if he takes it upon himself to set it back on the right track. He succeeds to a certain degree.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pulp Empire

It is nice to see true pulp fiction making a comeback. This is especially the case on the internet. I guess cyberspace is perfect for this type of literature to incubate because people who surf the web are usually looking for quick reads and pulp fiction fits that bill.  Although the internet is speckled with many sites that feature these kinds of stories, I have to say my favorite is Pulp Empire.

Pulp Empire is the brainchild of Nick Ahlhelm who in his mission statement states he is dedicated to bringing true pulp fiction back in fashion; true, meaning stories that are similiar to ones about Doc Savage and many of the serial action heroes of  the Golden Age.

Pulp Empire also features a diverse selection of genres as well: Horror, western, Sci Fi, Mystery, and action adventure.

What I especially like about this website and the magazine is that even though Pulp fiction leans toward the lurid side, Nick stresses that he is not looking for gratuitous violence, sex or language. To me that gives the writing a very authentic an almost retro feel.

Pulp Empire publishes quarterly, both a digital and hard copy of their magazine. The hard copy can be purchased at I would highly advise picking one up. I guarantee you'll be thoroughly entertained. For further details and sample stories, also go to

Friday, August 12, 2011

Max Allan Collins

One thing I have learned as a "budding" new author is that you have to be versatile and sometimes cross genres. Max Allan Collins is that kind of writer.

He is most famous for his graphic novel Road to Perdition which was made into a movie directed by Sam Mendes. Along with that, he written several TV tie ins for CSI and Criminal Minds. He also scripted the comic Dick Tracy from 1977-1993(this according to Fantastic Fiction).

What I like about Collins is that he is a lover of pulp fiction from the likes of Mickey Spillane and Richard Stark. In fact he cowrote at least two novels with Spillane and wrote forwards in many of Spillane compilations. If you are a fan of either Stark and Spillane than I would recommend  three of his series:


Nathan Heller

Frank Nolan

Quarry and Nolan are direct decendants of Stark's Parker while Nathan Heller is Mike Hammer reincarnated. So, if you are a avid reader of crime fiction, than Max Allan Collins is your man.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Hello everyone,

hope all is well. I am doing fine... right now I have the house to myself... miss my wife but I think the time apart makes us love each other even more than we already do... everytime she goes away I am reminded of how nice it is not to be bachelor. What a boring life that was... but back then, I didn't know anything different.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell was born in Newark New Jersey. Along with his crime novels, he wrote several screenplays for television series. However, it is his books that were his signature pieces.

He was the creator of three series featuring a detective of some sort.  His most notable characters are as follows:

Whistler, Private Eye

Jim Flannery, Sewer Inspector

Jake Hatch, railroad detective.

He also wrote a couple of other stand alone novels; his best was a book called "Juice".

While all of his books are good, it was his tales of L A as expressed in the books about Whistler and the book Juice that are my favorite. These would appeal to lovers of Chandler in that he picked up where Raymond left off. The stories, while set in the 1980's, read like books from the 1940's.

His characters were also magnificent and reminscent of the ones you would find in Damon Runyon's work. They were down on their luck hard guys who skulked around in the shadows and would stick a knife in you, when your back was turned. This description would apply to both good and bad people in his stories.

If you want to read this author I would start with following titles:

In La La Land We Trust

Alice In La La Land

The Wizard of La La Land

Sweet La La Land


These are fast reads and will leave you wanting more from this great writer of crime fiction.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Route 66

It was called the Mother Road or sometimes the Will Rogers Highway and in some cases the Main Street of America. Route 66 connected Chicago with LA and was one of the most famous roads in the United States.

You can no longer travel the highway because it is chopped up by Interstate 44 and 40 like a snake that ran through a lawn mower. But you can still ride on the bits and pieces of it when you are in select states.

The most interesting of those sections would be LA because it has the most well preserved 50's  Art Deco structures along the way. The other place would be Tucumcari New Mexico where you can still see little motels with names like the Blue Swallow and the Pony Soldier.

I can't say that I've have traveled the road extensively except for when I was in California... but I have stopped in Seligman quite a few times which inspired a poem.

 One can still get a good taste for the kitsch and Americana feel though by traveling 44-40... especially if you are driving through Missouri and seeing all of the hokey bill boards and road signs pass by. And who could miss the giant twin arrows in Twin Arrows Arizona? Or the Big Texan Steakhouse in Amarillo?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Captain Beefheart/Trout Mask Replica

He had a voice that sounded like a glass of asphalt with a gravel twist. He was Captain Beefheart aka Dan Van Vliet. He sang with a group called the Magic Band and together they made some of the most experimental, surreal music of any of the groups in the 1960's. If you need to compare them with someone, think Frank Zappa, but even less commercial.

Captain Beefheart was very prolific... but Trout Mask Replica is the album everyone remembers. It was cosmic. It was absurd. It was, his masterpiece.

Fast and Bulbous!

To listen to it makes one feel that they have stepped into the Land of Oz-- but it's an Oz where the Munchkins have discovered magic mushrooms.

 It's also an album that influenced alot of punk bands and other great artists. The most notable singer was Tom Waits. For those of you who are Waits fans I would say that Trout Mask Replica had alot to do with his titles such as Sword Fish Trombones and Rain Dogs. Another artist that borrowed heavily from the Captain was Beck. The artwork on his first album was very similiar to Trout Mask Replica.

Even though I do like Clear Spot Light Kid and Doc at the Radar Station, those works do not come close to this album. It's unfortunate that Beefheart is no longer with us. Who knows if he could have given birth to another great masterpiece

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Tubes

In 1983 I went with my brother and two cousins to see David Bowie at the Tacoma Dome. While Bowie was outstanding, it was the band that opened for him that fascinated me. They were none other than the Tubes.

They opened their act by entering the stage wearing black business suits. Then, just like that, they pulled them off and under them they were wearing orange pants and shirts. The crowd danced and went crazy like it was a full moon.

 The lead singer, Fee Waybill, sang all of their trade mark songs:Mr. Hate, Talk to Ya Later, White Punks on Dope.

What was most remarkable was their stage show. For instance, during his song Sports Fans, he and two women dressed as cheer leaders spelled out the word Tubes by putting their bodies together. Then he came on as a whacked out glam rocker for the song White Punks On Dope. I think the most memorable moment was when Fee stripped down to studded underwear. Pure shock and awe for a fifteen year old.

But alas, this was 1983 and by then the Tubes had toned down their act. However, in their early days their stage show was a modern day Roman orgy of bondage and scantily clad women which the lead singer simulated sex with. In fact, their shows were so lewd they were banned in England. In one venue in London the local authorites took a fire hose to the fans when they set fire to the theater seats.

But despite their raucous concerts, their schtick was quite clever and very tongue and cheek, often times mocking pop culture. As mentioned before the lead singer came up with some very funny characters. His most famous was Quay Lewd, a glam rocker dressed in a white suit with plumage and oversized sequined sunglasses, who played a white oblong shaped guitar. He donned this outfit when he sang White Punks On Dope. My other favorite persona was Johnny Bugger and the Dirt Boxes. He took on this character when he sang the song I Was A Punk Before You.

What was also unique about the band was that it was not made up of just men. There was a lone woman named Re Stiles who would sing lurid duets with Fee Waybill.

The Tubes hit their stride with their most playable song She's A Beauty on their album Outside Inside. That album had a few other good tracks as well. My favorite was the Wild Women Of Wongo. They faded again into obscurity with their next album Love Bomb and after that I out grew them.

I will always have a special place in my heart for the Tubes. They were one of the first groups that I liked that no one else did. Today, compared to other bands their antics and stage show might seem pretty tame. But to date, I haven't seen a group that is as creative as they were.