Friday, June 17, 2016

From 700 Words to Novels


Hello, I’m Ron Earl Phillips.

Hi Ron. It’s okay, I know you want to say it.

You may know me from such venues as… well this, Shotgun Honey, and as that guy who got taken away by ambulance at Bouchercon 2015. Fun times. I’m okay now. Mostly.

Five years ago I raised my hand and volunteered to join Kent Gowran, along with Sabrina Ogden, to start a flashzine called Shotgun Honey. That kind of makes the site middle-aged in internet years, and well since then, I’ve definitely hit my middle-age. We’ve published some of the best darn flash fiction of the crime variety we could find, at a pretty steady clip.

Since then Shotgun Honey has changed, grown, shrunk, and grown again.

Kent and Sabrina now have emeritus status, along with Chad Rohrbacher, Christopher Irvin, Joe Myers, Erik Arneson. The flashzine portion of Shotgun Honey is stalwartly guarded by current editors Jen Conley, Angel Luis Colón, and Nick Kolakowski. And for a while we even had Craig McNeely pinch hitting. These folks have helped give voice to 100s of author telling short stories in under 700 words.

To me, Shotgun Honey was created to give writers a voice and a venue in an overwhelming community of writers of crime, noir, and hard-boiled fiction. Short fiction builds the foundation of longer fiction. Teaches the fundamentals of story telling. If you can tell a story with a beginning, middle and end in under 700 words, there’s no reason you aren’t able to tackle longer short stories, novellas and even novels. Venues like Shotgun Honey build craft.

The benefit of being the managing editor, now publisher, of Shotgun Honey for the last 5 years is that I get to see writers build their craft, grow as writers, and make those big leaps.

December-Boys-high-res-copyThis week on my nightstand I have a copy of DECEMBER BOYS by Joe Clifford. My experience with Joe started with his first story on Shotgun Honey, “One Good Reason”. Since then he’s been a powerhouse, releasing a short story collection titled CHOICE CUTS, writing his memoir JUNKIE LOVE, followed by the over-the-top WAKE THE UNDERTAKER, to the first Jay Porter novel LAMENTATION. He was also editor for our insidious rival Out of the Gutter’s The Flash Fiction Offensive, not to mention one of the editors of TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLANDCrime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Springsteen.

DECEMBER BOYS is the follow up to LAMENTATION, and only being halfway through, it is already one of the best follow ups I’ve read. Still recovering from the events of LAMENTATION, Jay Porter is determined to derail his attempts at being a good father and husband, and even salvageable employee, as he is lured into yet another conspiracy. I don’t know how it turns out yet, but at least Jay has that bald co-worker named Ron to cheer him on.

I highly recommend you get both books in the series. LAMENTATION is only 99 cents for digital. I have it under good authority that there’s a book three in the works.

shotindetroit-patriciaabbottNot in my collection yet, but released this week from Polis Books is SHOT IN DETROIT by Patti Abbott. This is a sophomore novel release from one of my most admired Shotgun Honey alums. Patti has been a marvelous supporter and contributor, having contributed both flash fiction for the site and short stories for each of our anthologies. Last year saw her debut novel, CONCRETE ANGEL, which was fantastic. Patti had two previous collections with Snubnose Press, MONKEY JUSTICE and HOME INVASION.

Texas-Hold-Your-Queens-Front-Cover-largeWhile you’re putting all these books on your reading list, please consider our newest release TEXAS, HOLD YOUR QUEENS by Marie S. Crosswell.

I was first introduced to Marie S. Crosswell with her submission to SHOTGUN HONEY PRESENTS: LOCKED AND LOADED (Both Barrels Vol3) with “Predators,” a story of female private detective helping the police infiltrate a sex-trafficking outfit in LA. Shortly after that, TEXAS, HOLD YOUR QUEENS was submitted for our novella line. A very similar themed story featuring a pair of female detectives in south Texas, Mason Page and Farrah Tyler, working find the killer of a supposed illegal working girl found near the Mexican border. As leads are found and choices are made, the real story unfurls. Choices are made and consequences are had.

And while you’re waiting to pick up these great books, don’t forget to read this weeks flash fiction: “Hongdai: 4:23 am” by Aaron Fox-Lerner and “A Better Job” by Charles R. Rutledge.

Until next week, I’ll be dodging bullets and reading adventures.