Bakery bouncers and guns (or the lack thereof)

B01C0SQJWC-200px-1.jpgNext week marks the release of a collection I am very excited to be a part of: Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns, edited by Eric Beetner and published by Down & Out Books.

All of the stories in the collection are required to not involve guns, and proceeds from the collection will benefit the nonprofit States United To Prevent Gun Violence.

Some of you might be thinking: “Why are you bringing politics into your writing career? Don’t you know that you’ll alienate part of your audience? You are a crazy person!”


If some people decide they don’t want to buy my books because I contributed a story to this, I’m okay with that. I’d rather have said something that nothing.

Guns are a touchy subject. Here’s my take, for what it’s worth: Putting aside the thorny issue of mass shootings—I’m a lifelong resident of New York City. The gun culture here is very different from, say, Alabama.

In Alabama someone might buy a gun to go hunting or as a hobby. In New York chances are, if someone has a gun, they would like to shoot you with it. Plus, I used to be a reporter covering crime, and I’ve seen first-hand the havoc guns can wreak on bodies and families.

So, I personally am not a great fan of guns. Clearly, there is a problem with our gun culture, which is something I think everyone except the NRA can agree on.

How to address it is where we might beg to differ.

States United to Prevent Gun Violence has a couple of core goals I like a lot. You can read more about them here, if you’re interested. I sincerely hope this book sells a fuckload of copies and contributes to their mission.

Now, on to the collection.

The names in this thing are fantastic, and I feel proud to be counted among them: 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, 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, and Holly West.

I’m also happy my story “Creampuff” is out in the world.

Last year some friends and I were walking through the East Village and passed Big Gay Ice Cream on East 7th. It can get pretty crowded, and on this particular night, there was a bouncer outside, working a rope to control the flow of customers.

I love writing about New York City, and I especially love writing about the city’s food culture. So for me, a bakery bouncer was very much a thing worth exploring.

The story turned out better than I could have hoped, in that sometimes I write stuff that’s supposed to be silly or over the top—and I wanted to do something a little more thoughtful.

Especially because, as a writer of mostly dark and crime-oriented fiction, I’ve been thinking a lot about things like guns: The use of them, the glorification of them, but more than that, the toll on human life, and what the loss of a life does to the world around us, even if we might not immediately notice.

I’m very happy with how it turned out. And I was especially thrilled when Publishers Weekly reviewed it and said this:

Many of the best selections are character driven, such as Joyce Carol Oates’ strangely hypnotic “Lorelei” and Rob Hart’s “Creampuff,” which offers a warm slice of New York City life. 

Yes, this is me bragging a little. It’s an incredible, incredible honor to be cited like that, especially alongside an author like Joyce Carol Oates.

The book comes out on April 18. You can pre-order it, but I hear print copies are already showing up on doorsteps, and a few copies are currently sitting next to the register in The Mysterious Bookshop.

You can find it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as other places books are sold.

Thanks kindly to Eric for including the story, and to Down & Out for publishing it.

It’s a small drop in the vast ocean of a big, complicated, heart-rending issue—but to steal a line from Cloud Atlas, what is an ocean but a collection of drops?

Me and JP

For a few months now, in the wilds of Facebook and Twitter, I’ve been teasing a Secret Project. The time has finally come to share it.

I’m co-writing a novella with James Patterson.

He’s got a new venture called BookShots. Shorter works, propulsive narratives. It’s a long story, but I got an audition, and then got the gig, and we’re finalizing edits on it right now.

It’s pretty damn exciting. Also exciting: Fellow Polis author Derek Nikitas in on board for one as well.

I don’t know what else about the project I can share, so that’s all I’ll say for now… so keep your eyes peeled, and more soon!

Book tour and other cool stuff


So I recently got back from book tour—Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. It was a lot of fun. Chuck Palahniuk showed up to my Powell’s event, and bought my book and stood in line and asked me to sign it, which was kinda nuts. I also ate burritos and got some great books and did a bunch of other things. I would tell you more about it, but I don’t need to—I wrote a series about it for LitReactor.

Click here!

NEW YORKED marked down to $1.99


With the second Ash McKenna novel landing in less than a week, my publisher has marked down the eBook of the first, New Yorked, to $1.99 for a limited time!

Now, think about that. This is something I poured my heart and soul into for five years, and you can have it for less than what you paid for a cup of coffee this morning!

Not bad, right?

This is your chance to get in on the ground floor. I’m signed for four installments, and hope to finish it out with a fifth. It’s something that’s very personal to me, but also sometimes there are drag queen crime lords and men in chicken masks with guns. So it’s fun, too.

If you click here, you can see all the nice things people have said about it, and even read the first chapter.

And you can get it here:

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iTunes * Kobo

Already have it? Spread the word, or leave a review (reviews are a great way to help any author), or pre-order the next one, City of Rose!

Tour dates for CITY OF ROSE

The Feb. 9 release date for City of Rose approaches fast. Time to start spreading the word about places I will be, for signing books and reading stuff and drinking and other acts of general merriment.

I’ve included links to the Facebook event pages, where you can RSVP (which is not a requirement for any of this stuff—just show up!).

Feb. 9 – The Mysterious Bookshop, NYC

58 Warren Street, 6:30 p.m. This is a joint event with fellow Polis author, Dave White, whose new novel An Empty Hell comes out the same day. RSVP on Facebook.

Feb. 11 – Staten Island Barnes & Noble, NYC

2245 Richmond Avenue, 6:30 p.m. Reading/signing. RSVP on Facebook.

Feb. 15 – Powell’s, Portland, OR

3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 7:30 p.m. Reading/signing. RSVP on Facebook.

Feb. 16 – Noir at the Bar Seattle

Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 7 p.m. Reading with Johnny Shaw, Linda L. Richards, Dietrich Kalteis, Will Viharo, Sam Wiebe, Kat Richardson, Michael Pool and Owen Laukkanen. RSVP on Facebook.

Feb. 17 – Seattle Mystery Bookshop

117 Cherry St, noon. Reading/signing. RSVP on Facebook.

Feb. 18 – Noir at the Bar San Francisco

Iron & Gold, 3187 Mission St, 7:30 p.m. RSVP on Facebook.

Feb. 21 – Noir at the Bar LA

Mandrake Bar, 2692 S La Cienega Blvd, 8 p.m. Reading with Owen Laukkanen, Johnny Shaw, SG Redling, Patricia Abbott, Tom Pitts, SW Lauden, and Eric Beetner. RSVP on Facebook.