Also this week (!), Kzine, a Kindle-only genre magazine, publishes its 11th issue, which includes "On Conti Street with the Kintner Dame," by yours truly. This story has about as much in common with "To-Do" as two-toed sloths have with Picabo Street. It's a lot of fun, though, and it sits in good company in the magazine. The issue is available at Amazon here. I think it's a free read for Prime members who have a Kindle.
In case you're not convinced enough to click through, here's a little bit about each story. "To-Do," which I've called the grandma story once or twice on this blog, is, in brief, about a fairly awful woman biting off more than she can chew.
|You go, little turtle! (You're not endangering children, like Lily is.)|
Writing about her was challenging and satisfying, as was writing about the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts many years after I lived in it. I tried to make the story slightly different than the norm visually, and to (maybe) trash some reader expectations for the rhythm of a 3,400-word piece. Other than that slight push toward experimentation, I haven't got a lot to say about this one. I worked hard on it, but writing it wasn't a mystical creative experience.
"Conti Street" came out of a dream I had about a band composed of zombies. When I wrote the dream down in my notebook, I thought of just doing a throwaway line in some story about how if zombies formed a shoegazing band, no one would even notice they were zombies. But then I had another dream about a strange silver coat with magic powers (which I as dreamer never quite sussed out). My determination to write a goddamn noir story already formed a chemical reaction with those ideas, and Jean-Jacques McHugh was born. I want to write another one with him, but I haven't written a lot of genre stuff lately and I'm kind of discouraged from the get-go. I loved writing "Conti Street," and nearly everyone to whom I gave it loved reading it, but I had a hard time placing it. Most noir magazines today, I discovered, want gritty-ass modern noir instead of old-fashioned Philip Marlowe stuff. Me, I love Chandler, but it's possible that I love parodies of Chandler just as much
, and I hope "Conti Street" walks the line between the two as lovingly as I intended.
If either of those stories has brought you here, welcome! Make yourself at home. Leave a comment. Have a drink. The bar's open and I can be pretty talkative.