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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

[Goodbye 2010] My Year As A Writer

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past year as a “writer,” and I use the term very loosely, it’s this. There are a lot of us writers out there. Seems like everywhere I turn I run into one. It almost seems like a cliché. Lots of writers, bloggers, and novelist's.

Are there really that many writers out there? And what criteria must one meet to consider oneself worthy of such a title? I ask myself, am I one of those guys who fall into that category somewhere between being an actual writer and being a wannabe? In truth, I don’t really think of myself as a real writer, because to me, a writer is one who supports him or herself because someone pays them money to make stuff up. What I do know is that I’m trying like hell. I’m traveling that road and it’s not without roadblocks and landmines.

Another thing I learned about writing this year is that I’m a pretty shitty blogger. And it’s not because I don’t enjoy it, because I do. It’s because… okay, it’s because I don’t enjoy it. To be honest, writing a blog is hard work, and I’ve got mad love for anyone who can do this with even the slightest hint of regularity. Chuck Wendig I'm talking to you. Your blog is superior and it sets the bar to which all others should be judged. I've tried to blog faithfully, but I cannot. As you can see for yourselves my posts have been few and far between.

At first I’ll admit I had grand ambitions. I traveled to Lebowski Fest in Kentucky, I traveled to the Steve McQueen Festival in his home town of Slater, Mo with my son, Nick. I went to interview my buddy, author Marshall Terrill. He’s written 12 biographies from everyone including Sonny West [Elvis Presley’s bodyguard] to “Pistol” Pete Maravich. I met him a few years ago and he tried to hook me up with his agent. Needless to say it didn’t work out.

And who could forget my blog post about Black Hogan? I mean, C' mon. Everybody loves Black Hogan ===>

So I’ve made a few attempts and gained a few followers and just know that I’m grateful for the attention GOT PULP? receives considering the limited amount of posts which I offer.

And now to the point of this post. Not only was my blog starved for content, but I started thinking what a good year it’s been for me because of you. Because you follow my tweets or because you’re reading this now.

It was last December that I really started taking my writing serious. I started a blog. I set a few small goals, but never lost sight of the big picture. You don't get to the top of the ladder by starting in the middle. You start at the bottom rung like everybody else and you fight your way to the top.

I started making friends who were nice enough to point me in the right direction. I decided I’d try and write a short story or two. See if I could get them published. Since then I’ve had 12 published and another 8 ACCEPTED and ready to come out between now and next summer. I also Rewrote part of my first novel from waaay back in 2003, I began 10K on a western, 15K on a gangster story about life in the 1930’s, and now my current project. The one that’s been consuming me since November 12th. The current word count stands at 47,426 words as of yesterday, when I was interrupted mid-sentence by the State Patrol [more on that later]. I’ve been writing my ass off, but it’s come at a cost.

Two years ago I made roughly $140 THOUSAND dollar$ and this year I’ve made less than 2 grand. I also walked away from a job of 13 years and I was almost halfway to retirement. I could’ve been out at 48 years old with 2,500 a month and full benefits. Instead I sprinted from that facility at a pace that would have made any track and field coach proud. Now I face a future which is bleak and uncertain. But at least I know I'm alive.

Why in the fuck did I do this?

It was either the ballsiest thing anyone I know has ever done, or the stupidest thing anyone I know has ever done. And believe me, as I write this post in the freezing cold I’d be lying if I didn’t say at least part of me feels compelled to think the latter. Although most would agree a wiser course of action could be recommended, the absolute truth is you cannot put a price on a dream. I made $32.00 an hour in a time when everyone else was out of work, but I was a slave. Held captive only by the imaginary bounderies I allowed myself to believe existed. Either one day this writing thing will pay off or I’ll end up flipping burgers. But at the end of the day, I'll always know I tried.

All in all this past year has been a mixture of both good and bad. As a [cough] writer, I was happy to see so many good things happen for me. I think everyone trying to survive in the writing game ends up with one story that people seemed to remember them by, even months after it was published. For me that story is Have Chainsaw, Will Travel Published in Plots With Guns this summer. It seems to have gotten me hundreds of followers/friends on Twitter/Facebook and I see numerous references being made referring to me as that Chainsaw Guy.

How awesome is that? I’ve thanked Anthony Neil Smith a thousand times both in public and private and I’ll do it once more just to show him I’m not fucking around when it comes to my Thank You’s.

I’ve also been asked to do a few interviews. Here are two. and

Both of the interviewer[s] thanked me for being honest. They said it made for a good interview because I didn't hold anything back. Why would I? If you're not honest with yourself you're just boring. Fuck boring. Nobody remembers boring.

One of the shitty things that happened was getting the living fuck beat out of me by like 6 dudes and breaking my face. But I still managed to go to work everyday at my day job cutting down trees [with a chainsaw] until those pricks laid me off back in August. Of course, there was no unemployment money since I drew it out the last two years going to college, which I quit to take the chainsaw job which I no longer have.

So, here I sit. Alone in a big empty farmhouse. Freezing my nuts off in a pair of sweat pant, seriously thick writing socks, a stocking cap, an insulated hoodie, and the most badass pair of house shoes you’ve ever seen. And I’m throwing the words down like nobody’s business until my hard drive takes a massive dog shit at word count 45,217. I rush to my computer guy, beg him to literally stay after work because I have a novel trapped on my hard drive and nothing else in the whole world matters except the retrieval of that story. Oh yeah, I don’t have much money to pay you.

But he does, THANK YOU JOE! at JUST DIGITAL in Owensville, Mo. You truly are a computer Ninja and you really saved my bacon.

And it must be said, behind every struggling writer is a supportive partner. Whether it’s a husband, a wife, or a blow up doll. Without my wife, none of this would be possible. She believes in me so much she doesn’t want me to work. She wants me to write, knowing she’ll have to work overtime plus her days off if she has the chance. How do you say thank you for that kind of support? Partners of writers need their own paid holiday. If I ever become president I’ll see what I can do about that.

So that brings me to yesterday, typing my new novel with gusto! Writing with purpose, when suddenly I got that signal that only someone who’s had bad luck with the police can receive. Like a sixth sense, my internal fuzz buster went berserk. I turned around and there was a State Trooper walking in front of the kitchen window, headed towards my front door. And just as I was tending to a magnificent croc pot of homemade deer chili.

So I did what anyone with strong survival instincts would do. I immediately ran out the back door, through the yard, and around the house. I met him on the front porch, asked if there was anything I could help him with.

Rule #1 NEVER OPEN YOUR DOOR FOR THE POLICE. I’m telling you from experience. The first thing they’ll do is stick their foot inside the door so you can’t close it. TRUST ME. You open a door for a cop, he’s coming inside.

I asked him what he wanted? Told him my motorcycles hadn’t left the garage in months.

He suggested we go inside and talk [uh huh], but I told him I wasn’t comfortable having strangers in the house. Perhaps we should talk in the car.

“Okay,” he said.

So I told him I'd Be right back and I returned to the police cruiser with a tupperware container full of hot chili. I wanted him to know this wasn't my first time in a cop car and I can assure you with great confidence he didn’t know what to think about that. Before he left I had him run me down to the mailbox.

NOW, I can’t tell you what he wanted. All I can say is this crazy bastard was on a fishing trip. A fact finding mission to gather information and intelligence about something I may or may NOT have been involved in back in the late 90’s… so it’d be in my best interest not to say anymore. Obviously I’ve probably said too much already, but know that we went on to have one of the most interesting conversations I've ever been involved in.

And the whole time he’s telling me how good that chili smells.

I promise him it’s the best I’ve ever had, but I never offered him any. And in the end, in true asshole fashion, I left my plastic bowl in the car and pushed it back under the passenger seat with the heel of my badass house shoe.

Now before you think I’m some kind of complete asshole, let’s remember he was being tricky. Questioning me about things well after the statute of limitations has expired. His goal was to get me to confess to something I obviously didn't do. And he was accomplishing one thing and one thing only by talking to me, and that is wasting my fucking time. I’m a writer [remember] My time is precious. And I am now writing for survival.

Through a combination of well-worded emails and my natural bullshitting skills, I’ve managed to gain the attention of a very cool agent in New York. NO, he’s not repping me, but he said a few very nice things about me. And what he said was so heartfelt, genuine, and honest, it almost brought me to tears.

Yes, yes, I know. I’m the same guy that just said FTP! in the above paragraph, but the few kind words he said to me created a driving force that propelled me forward enough to write 48K+ words in three and a half weeks. Sure they might be shit, but I feel strongly it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. But of course, I probably always think that. Still, even if he hates my book, I love it. And his positive influence helped make it possible. His confidence in my ability inspired me to create a world full of make believe people. Then kill them all.

It's been a good year for me. Another big highlight was being asked to speak to a high school creative writing class, only to be rejected by the school board at the last minute once they googled me. Sad face. And I was really looking forward to that. Someone needs to teach our youth how to properly dispose of a body and I can tell you with a straight face that I've researched such things to greater lengths than any one man should.

If there's a writer out there reading this and it feels like you have a book in you somewhere, then FIND IT. What in the hell are you waiting for? I know life is full of twists and turns, but if you want it bad enough it all boils down to sacrifices and which ones you're willing to make. Just look how I’m doing it. In the cold, with no money, limited heat and food. Not to mention now I’m looking out the windows every five minutes for more cops to show up.

But I'm doing it in style.

So, if I can do it, YOU can do it. I'll have fresh writing coming out in the new NEEDLE Magazine, as well as the Crimefactory Special addition Kung-Fu Factory. Plus a short story in Crimespree Magazine next year. Please, buy them all! I’m proud of the accomplishments I’ve made in 2010, but more proud yet of the relationship’s I’ve made with other writers, publishers, editors, and agents.

Thanks for reading this. Happy Holidays mofo's,


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Interview with Erik Lundy

I recently hung out with writer, stand-up comedian, comic book artist, and assistant editor of PLOTS WITH GUNS, Erik Lundy. Between drinking whiskey and making fun of people, we talked about his stories, his jokes, and his affection for Mark Twain.

The Adventures of The Lundy - Origin issue

GOT PULP? - For those reading this who don't know much about you, give the audience a brief history of Erik Lundy. Where you were born? Where did you go to school?

The Lundy [AKA Erik Lundy] - I was born a poor white child in Salem, MO, living on a dirt road 6 miles outside of town. I drank paint thinner when I was two, so that probably explains some of my creative choices. I was a shy kid, drawing comics, writing stories, just about anything I could scratch into a notebook to avoid talking. I moved to Springdale, AR a little later, went to the U of A in Fayetteville a couple years, then graduated from the University of Missouri in Kansas City with an art degree and a buncha uber-useful classes in lit and film theory.

Drawing comics kind of got me interested in directing, and I decided to forego grad school at Florida State to move to LA. I kicked around there for ten years, writing jokes for comedians, working in animation, making websites, optioned a couple TV shows. And, doing a lot of standup, of all things. As the former shyest kid in the room, I’ve always been proud of being able to do The Hollywood Improv.

I got to do some amazing stuff in LA, grow as a person and an artist, and meet some of my best friends. But, after the writer’s strike, The Biz changed. And, honestly, LA is also a place where you can work REALLY hard at getting nothing done. About the same time, I started getting back into comics, as well as writing and publishing short stories. (Including my first accepted story, over at Plots With Guns Basically, just making stuff that I could for the most part finish myself. It’s DEFINITELY not all good. But, it’s a great feeling to make something that lives and breathes in the world rather than it just sitting on a hard drive waiting on the permission of agents and execs.

So, back in March, I wiped everything outta my life that wouldn’t fit in the Acura and peeled off back to KC to live on the cheap, be close to family, and make stuff. All of which can be found over at (PLUG!)

GOT PULP? - Rather than finish grad school at Florida State, you went to Hollywood instead. I'm sure you've had memorable experiences, but do you have any regrets? How would things have been different if you'd went to Florida State?

The Lundy - Other than the jalapenos on my sandwich today, I don't really have any regrets with anything in life. It's a waste of energy that won't affect anything anyway. If I'd went to grad school, there's the chance that I'd be directing or screenwriting now, and there's also the chance that I'd have gotten some north Florida broad pregnant and be fixing gas station security cameras. (Or, more likely, nude modeling.) Plus, I probably wouldn't have ever done standup then, and don't think I'd have the confidence to do some of the things I do now.

GOT PULP? - As a shy kid from a very small town, what was it like to do your first stand up gig out in California? How nervous were you?

The Lundy - My first gig was at a small place in North Hollywood. I brought one friend with me, I think to make sure I couldn't bail. I was terrified. I don't know how I got through it. I used to drive all the way to gigs, I'm talking 45 mins each way sometimes, get nervous and go home. Nausea, sweats, pre-game diarrhea.

A while back, I found one of my early tapes, and I remember I thought I'd destroyed that night. But, looking at the tape, I couldn't believe how 1. quiet I was, and 2. how I just stared at my shoes.

GOT PULP? - As a comedian, your job is to make other people laugh. What makes you laugh? What's your idea of funny?

The Lundy - As I've gotten older I've started separating clever and funny. I think the difference is the honesty involved. When I see a clever for the sake of clever joke it brings me out of the moment and makes me think, "No you didn't do that." The equivalent in writing might be shoving a plot onto a character versus allowing a character's actions to form the plot. Two of the most honest and funny guys on the planet are Bill Burr and Louis CK. There's not a word in their set that they don't believe.

As for stories, unwarranted hubris. I also love small time stuff. Like, I love the guy who thinks two hundred bucks will change his life, but the option in his head is cashing in pet life insurance rather than working a weekend at the pizza shop.

I'm pretty scatological, too. And I can watch monkeys doing people stuff all day.

GOT PULP? - What age did you begin drawing and what kind of things would you draw?

The Lundy - I hate stories where a dickbag pinpoints an exact moment of a revelation. “I was laying on the beach when the second tower went down. That’s when I decided the world needs my comedy!” But, I’m gonna be that dickbag to an extent. When I was probably 10’ish, I was laying on my gramp’s floor copying a Colossus pinup from Classic X-Men by a great KC guy named Steve Lightle. (I’ve never made this connection, but I own the original art for this pinup.) My gramps was digging what I was doing, and he was my hero when I was little. The guy could drive a tractor, cut down trees, and fart longer than a successful rodeo ride. So, positive reinforcement from him had to make something click in my brain.

GOT PULP? - You also draw comics. Tell us something about that.

The Lundy - To go back to regrets, the closest I have is that I gave up drawing comics for ten years. My brain works in words and pictures. Then again, I was doing different stuff and may have burned out and sold real estate. Plus, I’ve learned a billion things that I hope help my comics.

About the time I was most frustrated in LA, I went to San Diego to meet folks and pitch. However, and this is something I’ve come to respect about comics, you have to do the work MAKING comics to be considered. So, I took a great class at Meltdown Comics in LA a year ago and have been putting the work in ever since, making web comics and trying to grow. And, publishing crime fiction stuff in our little world, which has a lot of crossover with comics. Two of my heroes are Duane Swierczynski and Victor Gischler.

Any artist with one eye will confirm this – I’m not that good of an artist. This isn’t an insecurity. It’s a fact. I can draw well enough, and Photoshop backgrounds, to get my stories out in the world. But, I’d gladly write for a slew of more amazingly talented artists to add to. However, I feel if I only write, the fact that I’ve learned what I’m asking of an artist has been a positive and humbling experiment. No, “Hey, do a fourteen panel fight page with eleven characters in each.”

My comics are pretty goofy. Little crime stories like, strips at, and a retarded redneck bounty hunter/superhero series at My goal is to get my own characters in print, as well as tinker with my favorite existing characters. It’d be a dream to put words in the mouths of Wolverine or the Hulk.

Another thing I’d like to mention is the sheer supportiveness and positivity of comics. Folks aren’t as worried about someone taking their gigs as they just want to see great comics.

GOT PULP? - Let's change gears. What was your first car? What ever became of it?

The Lundy - 1985 Chevy Celebrity. White. I once pegged it out at 85 outrunning a tornado's funnel cloud between Joplin and Arkansas.

It met its Demise head-on with a Chevy half ton truck, when I trusted some hosebag in a Civic waving me out for a left turn from the Fayetteville Hastings parking lot.

GOT PULP? - What's the craziest thing you've ever done?

The Lundy - I'm pretty stable. My stories skew more stupid than crazy. Like the second time I maced myself. (The first time was an accident.)

GOT PULP? - [Having experienced this myself, I can verify being maced is quite unpleasant] Let's talk about your writing. What kind of stories do you write? Where can this audience find a taste of your work?

The Lundy - I'm WAY more Raizing Arizona, than No Country For Old Men. Every time I try writing something completely "serious," I see a joke and can't help being a wiseass. A friend was once told that his characters, "shoot for the lowest star," which I think is a beautiful quote. I also like writing rural stories, since I have a point of reference geographically and for characters. I love redneck dialogue. Like the Irish, they can turn a phrase. I'll probably write something based in LA some day, but I'm sure it'll be some goofball redneck doing dirt in the city.

I've got a few stories online at, the latest issue of Crime Factory, and Southern Fried Fiction. And, a semi-retarded road novella on Smashwords (Also on the Nook and iBook store), which was a script I dorked with for years, and I just wanted to get it out in the world and never touch it again. (Links on

GOT PULP? - Telling jokes, drawing comics, writing stories, how do you find time for anything else? Describe a typical day in the life of The Lundy.

The Lundy - Umm, I'm a bit of a workaholic and an insomniac. I have my day gig, then head to the gym, then home to write or draw. An hour of TV to decompress before bed. I haven't been doing as much standup since the move, which frees up time. Currently, I'm single (laaaadies?), and a relationship changes thing, obviously. And, part of the reason for moving back to KC was to be with my family more. So, I make sure to make time for that. I force myself to block out my goals at the beginning of each month, focusing on one thing at a time.

GOT PULP? - If you could bring back one pereson from the dead who has influenced you and have breakfast with them at Denny's, who would it be?

The Lundy - Without a doubt, Mark Twain. One of the funniest, meanest sonsabitches to ever live. Plus I'd love to get a pic of him with gravy in that mustache.

Contact Erik Lundy

Twitter -

Facebook -

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Review of Noir at the Bar Six


For those of you that don't know, writers Jedidiah Ayres and Scott Phillips have been putting on this little thing for a while now called, NOIR AT THE BAR, in downtown St. Louis - Home of Bouchercon 2011 - and I was fortunate to be there last Thursday, October 21st, for what I know was the coolest NOB to date.

Jedidiah was the MC and he did a damn fine job, adding bits of spontaneous humor with every introduction. If you don't know Jed, he's a funny guy. And tall. The kind of guy that can grow one hell of a good beard. Something that pisses off those of us who can only produce rough, shitty beards. But the fact that he is a kick ass writer allows me to overlook this. Even though his beard is much better than mine.

<== Jonathan Woods

Jonathan Woods, from Texas, opened things up as he read from his book, Bad Ju Ju. Two short cliffhangers that left you wanting more. He was a pretty cool cat. I had a chance to hang out with him, feel him out. His writing is a little different, his second story was crazy. But that's cool. I like crazy. Everybody likes crazy.

Cameron Ashley, one of the co-editor's of Crimefactory, made a stop on his world tour at our little corner of the globe - he's from Australia - Cam is a dynamite guy! First class. He's amazing, and I could write this whole post about his awesomeness. Loved the guy. Easy to open up to. Genuine. Plus, he talks funny. I wish I would've had more time to pick his Aussie brain.

Chris La Tray ==>

Then there's Chris La Tray, from Montana. Another one of my Internet pals, and a fellow writer like me. [Except, unlike me, he actually has a book coming out].

But seriously, THAT'S AWESOME for him, and I can't wait to get a copy and support him. I really liked Chris. Just like Cam, I felt I'd known him all my life. It didn't feel like the first time we'd all hung out.

La Tray read his piece for the upcoming Crimefactory SPECIAL EDITION called Kung Fu Factory, which I, myself, am proud to be a part of. It's a boxing piece and it kicks one thousands kinds of ass. It's a great story where you can really get inside the character, and the ending is spectacular.

Up next, Scott Phillips read an excerpt from his upcoming novel RUT. Scott is... fucking crazy! *shrugs shoulders * I guess those are the words I'm looking for. Of course, if you're reading this, I assume you already know. Well, Scott read from RUT, a book that looks and sounds crazy as hell. I'm told that it's absolutely hysterical. Which only makes sense given the fact that it was written by THIS GUY ==>

<== Dan O' Shea

And of course, last but not least, there's my good buddy Daniel O' Shea, who read a piece from the Discount Noir collection. The one that's currently available from Untreed Reads. I was especially happy to get to see both Dan and Chris read because it was their first public reading. I'm glad I was there to see them pop their cherries, so to speak. It wasn't that long ago that I read my own story for the first time at NOB 4, so I knew exactly how they felt. For the record, they killed it.

All in all, it was an amazing night. All of us in attendance, have been, or will be, published in Crimefactory. It was an honor to spend such an evening with these crazy bastards. Spending time with other like minded individuals who know how to party. The kind of tough guys that would have your back if shit got out of hand and you had to clear the room.

Me and Cam ==>


NOIR AT THE BAR has a reputation as a hot spot for original crime readings and many great writers have done business there. Malachi Stone, Frank Bill, and Anthony Neil Smith come to mind. Who knows, maybe one day you'll stand behind the microphone. So polish them readin' skills, grab your favorite shotgun, and keep your eyes open for the next edition of NOIR AT THE BAR.

Jonathan Woods, Me, Jedidiah Ayres, Chris La Tray, Dan O' Shea, Cameron Ashley, & Scott Phillips

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The King Of Cool


We arrived in Slater, Mo, to a small friendly town with a tiny motel. The kind of motel that at one time was probably something else. We paid for the night and found our rooms. Small town motels can be funny sometimes, and this one was funnier than most.

For starters, I was promised an office where I could write my story. In this case, my office was a closet. Complete with a small refrigerator. Which I used for a desk. The only thing funnier than the office was the bathroom. Not only was it the narrowest, shortest bathroom I'd ever seen;it was also to be shared by all three rooms.

My purpose in Slater was simple. Steve McQueen Days. An annual festival to celebrate the hometown hero, none other than Steve McQueen himself, and boy does Slater roll out the red carpet. If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that fans take their hero's pretty serious. Well, McQueen's fans are certainly no exception. I met fans from all over the country, even Canada. As well as another couple from England. The McQueen Festival drew a pretty serious crowd, and not just fans of Steve McQueen, but fans of pop culture in general. Movie stars, writers, motorcycle enthusiasts, comic book collectors, fans of cinema. It's an interesting place to spend the weekend.

Who was Steve McQueen?

That's the question that I really wanted answered, as I experienced Steve McQueen Days from more of a “behind the scenes” point of view than most of the other visitors. I'd become friends with Marshall Terrill, author of a dozen celebrity biographies, including three about McQueen.

We always find some time to hang out during these festivals and this time I armed myself with a tape recorder. What follows are bits and pieces of my recent interview with the author of Steve McQueen, Portrait of an American Rebel.

GOT PULP?- Had you always wanted to be a writer? And, if so, what possessed you to finally sit down and start the process?

Marshall Terrill- I was going through a divorce. My wife had just left me, and then I lost my job. I was at a point where I just had nothing left to loose and thought I'll just roll the dice. With no wife at home and no job to go to, there was really no reason I could think of not to do it. That's kind of what pushed me into writing the first book.

GP?- Why McQueen, of all the subjects out there to choose from?

MT- I always felt he had a certain mystique about him. He was certainly one of the most interesting celebrities out there because he was never predictable. Plus he did a lot of things us guys would dream about doing if we were in his position. And he got away with it. He was the bad boy. He was the rebel, and that's who all of us guys wanna be, right?

GP?- Even though there were already a few other books written about McQueen, why did you choose to write another?

MT- True, there were other books written about him, but I always felt like they never really got it right.

In Portrait of an American rebel, the complexity of Steve McQueen, the person, is slowly revealed, as Marshall takes us through McQueen's early life in his hometown of Slater, Mo, all to way to the inner circle of Hollywood's elite.

Marshall Terrill leaves no stone unturned in his quest to find the truth behind the man and the legend. The interviews he conducted for the book read like a virtual who's who of yesterdays Hollywood, including actors James Coburn, Richard Attenborough, Robert Vaughn, and Adam West.

GT?- How much research goes into a book like this. For this third book, what's your schedule been like?

MT- Well, I work a full time job, so I get up in the morning about six AM and write until eight or so, then I go to work. When I get home, I go for a ten mile bike ride everyday. That's important. Then from about eight until ten, and sometimes twelve, I work. On Saturday and Sunday, I'll work twelve hours a day, and it's not just writing;it's transcribing interviews, editing, research...that's why I need that ten mile bike ride. It's helps me think about what I need to write. I can concentrate..focus, formulate.

GP?- How do you feel about deadlines? Can you take me through the writing process for you?

MT- I hate deadlines. I usually don't write on deadlines very often. What I usually do is write the book, finish it, have it edited and polished, and then I shop it around for a publisher. A publisher is more apt to agree to a finished project than a concept. Or a proposal. You really have to establish yourself in order to sell a book, via proposal. In my thirteen books, I've only sold two that way.

GP?- Why did you choose non fiction writing, as opposed to fiction?

MT- Whenever I read, I wanna learn something, so I've always read non fiction. I want to learn something about who I'm writing about and I do. There's so much research that goes into it.

GP?- I don't know how much this effects the non fiction business that your involved in, but how do you see the future of publishing on your end? Specifically, do you have any thoughts or opinions on new technology like Kindle? You've hinted at retirement.

MT- Oh, I absolutely do. I have an opinion on it. I don't like that direction, and it seems like if that's what the markets going to dictate, I don't wanna write anymore. I want it to be in a book, not a Kindle machine, where people read it out of a machine (laughs) that's not how books were intended. I'm just totally old school that way.

GP?- You're going to stop writing?

MT?- I'm hanging up my spurs.

GP?- Because of these advancements?

MT- Yes, that's part of the reason. Writers are really getting effected financially by these advancements. Let's face it, we're starting to see the death of everything. Music, with iPods, and now we're beginning to see the death of video stores..there's the red box..and now books..but the thing is, the market is dictating that, so I can't criticize the way that the markets going. Therefore, if I'm gonna write a product that's gonna end up on some machine, then I'm just gonna take myself out of the equation.

When the interview ended I thanked Marshall for his time and I thought about one of his quotes from his first book about McQueen. I think it accuratly describes the answer to the question that I asked myself in the begining.

Who was Steve McQueen?

--> Steve McQueen was many individuals wrapped in one. He was honest, dishonest, loving, hating, caring, devious, simple, complex, intelligent, uneducated, modest, cocky, mature, childish. He was capable of espousing his love for his wife, and truely mean it, then suddenly have an affair. He could be extremely cheap with friends while being generous to strangers. He would talk of the dangers of drugs, yet he couldn't stop himself from taking them. Paradoxes have always fascinated me, and Steve McQueen was the ultimate paradox. [ Marshall Terrill ]

As I left Steve McQueen Days behind me, I couldn't help thinking about what it must have been like to actually be McQueen? Being a superstar in the 60's and 70's. Being friends with such legends as Bruce Lee and Frank Sinatra. Being a stunt man, and a race car driver. He remains an amazing figure in our pop culture history, not only because of his movies, or his quotes, but because of his drive to succeed. From a boy who ran away from home and took a job selling pencils, to a United States Marine, to one of the highest paid actors in the world. Steve McQueen really was the King of Cool. He was a rebel on a motorcycle. Fearless and tough, the kind of guy who always held his middle finger up to the world.

Barbara McQueen and I with a signed cover of Cosmo I bought at an auction. [She's on the cover]-circa 1974

In Slater, the Pharmacy is also a restaurant

Me and actress Adrienne McQueen of HBO's True Blood

Slater built to scale on a model train set

A limited edition comic book called THE NAM about 60's pinup and Viet Nam War Legend Chris Noel

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



Professional wrestling is fake. Yes, I know I just got done saying it was real, but I was lying. Come on, you know that shits not real;besides, I just wanted to get you here. Now you're trapped, so you may as well keep on reading. I promise this'll be short and sweet. Okay, here we go...

I recently attended a Professional, and I use that word loosely, wrestling event in downtown St. Louis. It was a pay per view event for TNA, which meant it was live. Which meant there'd be millions (or at least hundreds) of people watching at home, not to mention we had front row seats. Except it wasn't really front row, but more like to the left side of the steel cage. Right behind one of the huge steel support beams, which means we couldn't see much. But still, we did our best to enjoy this event, and who is 'we' ? Well, that would be Black Hogan and myself.

Let me backtrack for a second. Black Hogan is a Hulk Hogan impersonator, and a damn good one. Hell, he looks just like him (well.....) okay, he kinda looks just like him, and we actually met through a common love of motorcycles. See Black Hogan, like myself, has a strong passion for street bikes, he even has a custom Spiderman themed Yamaha R1

It's also important to mention that when he rides the R1, he also wears a custom Spiderman costume. Why in the hell would anyone do this? It's simple. “I do it for the kids.” Thats was his answer the first time I asked him and it hasn't really changed. Except now his fan base has grown and it's not just kids that are interested. It's everybody.


The first time I ever went out with BH, that's what his close friends call him, I was unprepared for the public response. It was pure madness in every sense of the word. He was literally mobbed every few feet. Everyone wanted a picture, or an autograph, or both. And he's always happy to oblige his fans. Except he doesn't call them his fans. They are his Blackamaniacs, and Blackamania was running wild in St. Louis last this weekend BROTHER!

What initially began as a costume for a Halloween party (his original idea was to go as Black Chuck Norris, but they were fresh out of Chuck Norris costumes) has grown into a part time business, complete with a Facebook page, YouTube videos, a website, personal appearances, as well as starring in a music video. (He's even shared the stage with rappers, the Ying Yang Twins) It seems like these days everybody wants to meet Black Hogan, and for good reason, he's a really cool dude.

Did I mention he's a Professional dancer?

It's true, and I've seen him bust-a-move on more than one occasion. Last month we went to Las Vegas and shot a dancing video at the -5 Ice Lounge, for a documentary we've been discussing. Except he calls it a Blackumentary, and it's all about his exploits on this journey of his, and it's a journey that's attracting serious attention. Enough attention that he won first place in the Hulk Hogan Fu Fest earlier this year.

Fu Fest?

The Fu Fest was held back in February and it was considered to be the biggest gathering of mustache's at one place in the world. It was an event which celebrated the mustache in all of it's magnificent glory. It even featured members of the American Mustache Association (no, I'm not making this up) as well as a strong, heart felt speech by the President of the association himself, where he expressed his passion for the mustache and spoke of how the mustache was much more than mere facial hair, but also a symbol of confidence and power.

Enter Hulk Hogan, who walked onto the stage (slowly and in great pain) to thunderous applause as the crowd came to life and all of those in attendance (with mustache's) raised their fist in the air, as well as their beer, and showed the living American legend some love.

As the judging got under way I could see the competition was fierce, but after one look at Black Hogan, I could see the chiseled look of determination across his face and I knew that neither he, nor his fake mustache, would be denied. Black Hogan is a real American, and he would not be going home empty handed. Did I mention for BH, home was Minnesota, and he'd traveled to St. Louis via a 14 hour bus ride?

So after winning the Fu Fest, he received two front row tickets to the big TNA pay per view event, and he took me, his friend, his bro, his half-ass manager, and this takes us back to the beginning of the story.

Professional wrestling is about as real as an honest politician. In other words, nothing about it is real, but maybe that's the point. It's all about entertainment, and after watching with our floor seats so close to the action, this fact was reinforced by the constant pulled punches and missed kicks, although you'd never know it because those crazy fans were screaming at the top of their lungs. That's one thing I can say about Professional wrestling, while it's quite obviously fake, the fans are defiantly real, and most of them parted with a fair chunk of change just to be in attendance.

In the end, it was another memorable experience with a guy who travels a path to an odd kind of success and perhaps one day he will eventually ascend to the top of the ladder, and maybe when he gets up there he'll do a leg drop onto someones head. For me, that was the best part of the night, the violence. Comical as it was, it's still always cool to see grown men hit each other. Especially when weapons are involved. Even if that weapon is a chair. Or a table. Or even a laptop. Yes, someone actually hit Ric Flair with a laptop computer. Then an acoustic guitar. Now I've never been a big fan of the Nature Boy, I'll admit that, but here's a guy who's been wrestling since like 1947, but I'll tell you, the man is a warrior. Not only is he still alive, but the poor bastard just stood there covered in blood while all of these young guys beat the living hell out of him. He just stands there and bleeds, chest slapping himself and yelling, “WHEEEEWW.." Yes, after all these years, the Nature Boy can still take a pretty good ass beating.

So perhaps our destinies are intertwined and it is violence that is the common thread which unites us. He distributes violence in the ring and I distribute violence by a keyboard. It should be noted that BH is a fan of crime fiction as well, and I snapped a candid photo of him reading through my copy of NEEDLE magazine that I'd just pulled from the mailbox before I picked him up.

But even among such famous personalities as Hulk Hogan and the Nature Boy, Black Hogan still stood out. Way out. At times he even had his own cheering section and we were constantly on t.v., plus, every time I turned around somebody was taking a picture(s).

So have a good day, and if you get a chance to chest slap someone then I suggest you take it. A co-worker gets all up in your grill, just put them in a head lock. Or choke them. Choking is always an excellent choice, but if all else fails, hit that bastard in the cubicle with your laptop and yell "WHEEEEW" and think of poor old Ric Flair stumbling around in the ring covered in blood.
Then ask yourself one question. What would Black Hogan do? You can probably guess the answer to that. He'd tell 'em to say their prayers and eat their vitamins and then he'd leave the ring a winner. Just like he did last Saturday night

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005)

Hunter S. Thompson was a great observer of life. He was a genius and a maniac, and I discovered his writings at a very early age. He was a journalist and an author. He loved words, he loved guns, and he loved drugs. He was, by many peoples standards, the king of self-indulgence. - But it didn't start out that way.

He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of an insurance agent. He attended public school as a child and entered the air force after a run in with the law, only to receive a dishonorable discharge in 1958 for what was widely considered outrageous behavior. It seemed his superiors felt his disregard for military dress, as well as authority, were too much of a negative influence on the other men.

Hunter was resourceful and he began to do what had always come easy for him, so he took a job as a sports reporter on the base, then moved onto a small newspaper in New York.

After being fired from that job, as well as a job with TIME magazine, he moved south to Puerto Rico, where he wrote briefly for a bowling magazine. He spent his free time on the beach, drinking rum and smoking weed.

Thompson returned to the states in 1960 and traveled to California, where he settled in Big Sur. He wrote his first novel there, but it was never published. Over the next few years he bounced around the globe, writing for the Dow Jones-owned, The National Observer, but he quit when they refused to let him write about the Free Speech Movement in Berkley, California.

By 1965, Hunter found himself in San Francisco, at the height of the hippie movement, indulging in the excess of the Haight Ashbury counterculture. It was the beginning of change, and society was awakening to a world of pacifism, free love, and LSD.

The dawn of a new era was fast approaching and Hunter was at the center of it all. He was working as a free-lance writer when his big break came. It was in the form of a story about the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, written for a magazine called The Nation, that drew him critical acclaim, as well as serious attention from publishers.

It was at this point that Hunter introduced the world to what he described as "Gonzo" journalism.


Created almost entirely by accident and desperation, Gonzo journalism became Hunters trademark as a last minute impulsive decision to involve himself in the action of the story to such a degree that he would become a main figure in his own reporting. He subscribed to William Faulkner's theory that the best kind of fiction is better than any kind of journalism.

No example of this is greater than his literary masterpiece entitled, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, an article that was first published in Rolling Stone magazine in 1972. It was a groundbreaking piece of work that offered a rambling account of a drug filled weekend in Vegas between Thompson himself and his attorney, as they set out to cover a motorcycle race and a law enforcement convention in the desert.

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs begin to take hold," that was the opening sentence of the book that first caught my attention, and set in motion the initial urgings that would send me down the torturous path that only a struggling writer could know.

I found myself intoxicated by his words and the power of his honesty. He offered a non apologetic alternative to the standard writings of his time. He was a bold rebel, standing on the threshhold of a great adventure, with a spirit that soared high above the clouds.

Hunter inspired me to be myself and to be honest in my writing. He scorched his mark deep into the memory of a million people. He is missed.

Hunter S. Thompson's Suicide Note

Football Season is Over

"No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun-for anybody. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax-This won't hurt."

After he wrote this note he slid a .45 into his mouth and pulled the trigger

Wednesday, February 17, 2010



Anyone familiar with pop culture is familiar with The Big Lebowski, a 1998 film written and directed by the Coen brothers. We all know and love the Coen brothers. For those who don't know, these guys are responsible for one of the greatest cinematic achievements in the history of film. That's right, I'm talking about Miller's Crossing. One of my favorite gangster films. Not to mention, No Country for Old Men, and of course there's Fargo. Plus, they made The Man Who Wasn't There, as well as Raising Arizona. But wait, didn't they also make O' Brother, Where Art Thou? [We're in a tight spot] and Burn After Reading?

These guys are super talented and it's hard to say which film is there best, but one thing is apparent, none of their movies have 'Achieved' the level of fan appreciation and support as The Big Lebowski. There is even a Religion called Dudeism, which was founded in 2005, and their primary objective is to 'promote a philosophy and lifestyle represented by the character the Dude' (I guess Dudeism members do nothing but not work and smoke pot)

The Big Lebowski is a movie thats been compared to Raymond Chandler's novel, The Big Sleep. It opened to little commercial success over a decade ago (March 6th, 1998) so as we near it's twelve year Anniversary, I though it would make for an interesting blog post from someone who is an 'Achiever' himself. Someone well versed in the ways of the Dude, or his dudeness, or el duderino, if your not into the whole brevity thing.

I'm a Lebowski, you're a Lebowski

Every now and then a movie comes along that some people love and other people hate, and The Big Lebowski is certainly no exception. As a matter of fact, I believe in this case it all boils down to “Who gets it” and “Who doesn't,” and I'm proud to say that I fall into the first category. I get it, and I've gotten it since the very first time I viewed this film back in 1998.

I just assume everyone who's reading this already knows of the Dude's struggle to seek compensation for the rug that “really tied the room together.” The rug that was pissed on by the Chinaman. Wait, the Chinaman is not the issue..okay, I'm sorry, Asian-American is the correct nomenclature,..well, you see where this is going..

So, after many years of being a fan of the film, I discover there's actually a festival of other 'like minded' individuals, such as myself, who appreciate the movie so much that they decided to have a party in it's honor. A festival. -And suddenly Lebowski Fest is born! Or, achieved.

What started out as a couple of guys drinking White Russians in a Louisville bowling alley has grown into a money making, cash producing juggernaut that unites thousands of fans, ACHIEVER'S, throughout the United States every few months in places like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. There is even a documentary called The Achiever's. I knew I had to go.

I can get you a toe

After waiting months for the day to arrive, the night before we leave I'm riding motorcycles with a friend, and a dog, a very stupid dog, runs out in front of me while I'm going 70mph. It was almost midnight and I hit him with the front tire. I don't go down, but it isn't pretty, but before I can go any farther, I must back up for a second.

Only a month earlier I had the misfortune of being in yet another pretty serious motorcycle crash (this one was actually my fault) and I wasn't even supposed to leave the house, much less go to Lebowski Fest, and I sure as hell didn't need to be on a motorcycle. I had three broken ribs, a fractured scapula, and both of my arms were completely wrapped in bandages because I left most of my skin back on hwy A, on the curve where I went down going 100mph. In a tank top.

So, back to the night in question, and motorcycle wreck number two. Like I said, I didn't crash, but everything hurt like hell and the front of the bike was wasted. The dog, you ask? I'm afraid he was wasted too. My buddy said he didn't get up.
I made it back to the house and my wife scalded me for being so stupid. I'd heard it all before, but she couldn't say much because she rides a motorcycle too, and she understands my love of riding. I could barely walk and I needed to go to the Emergency Room, but it wasn't happening. Nothing could stop me from 'Achieving,' so with my favorite crutches in hand (crutches from a previous encounter with bad luck) we made our descent to Louisville, Ky, home to Lebowski Fest.

That's like, your opinion man

Louisville in July sucks on crutches, that needs to be said up front, and by the time we made the trek from Mo, I was really starting to feel the pain. My right ankle was swollen and black, and I walked around like a gimp. Both of my arms were completely wrapped in gauze that was coated with vasoline, and I looked like a real freak. Lucky for me I wasn't the only freak in town, because as soon as we got there, we truly realized how dedicated some of these fans were.

Everywhere we looked we saw Walter Sobchak, Donnie, or the Dude, we even saw a few Maude's. Pretty much the whole cast was there and everyone was in full costume. The atmosphere was pretty laid back, which was to be expected, and everyone we met was a friend. Thousands of strangers coming together to drink Caucasians and throw rocks in an unstructured utopia which included members of The Church of the Latter-Day Dude (I'm serious).

Nobody fucks with the Jesus

When I mentioned the dedication of the fans I wasn't exaggerating. The only thing I can compare it to is the Trekkie phenomenon, or perhaps The Rocky Horror Picture Show, because the other fans, 'Achiever's,' showed nothing less than complete and total devotion to the characters they portrayed. Standing in line for beer, Walter Sobchak bypassed the end of the line and walked strait to the front where he wasted no time butting in. When I heard someone question him, he said, and I quote, “I didn't watch my buddies die face down in the mud just to come back here and wait in line for a fucking beer,” and the crowd went crazy.

Welcome to Lebowski Fest, a place where the ultimate fans come for a chance to interact with other fans while they support the greatest bowling movie of all time. (Kingpin is a close second, just saying)

The next day we began our morning with beer and tacos, never a good idea, but still, this is Lebowski Fest I told myself, and we headed to downtown Louisville on our quest to 'Achieve.' Along the way we saw Jesus walking down the street, then we saw a couple of Dude's, then a Walter Sobchak, and not the Walter from the night before, but this was a different Walter. A skinny Walter. “Hey Walter,” I yelled out the window, and he yelled back, “I don't roll on shabbos.” We laughed at this, but he didn't.

When we finally make it to the taco store we find there is a serious crowd and I see an argument has broken out between two Walter's. I thought we might actually see a fight, a really strange and interesting fight, but it turns out they were just putting on a show. Damn, I always enjoy a good rumble too.

As we leave, I find myself standing behind a 400+ lb. black Jesus, and it's both cool and interesting to see such a diverse crowd having so much fun with themselves. Knowing most of these people work regular jobs just like you and me, but for this one weekend in particular, they are not just your average Joe. These people are like superhero's and everyone is shaking their hand and taking there picture. For this one weekend only, they transform themselves into their favorite character, and some of these characters 'stay in' character all weekend. The guy in front of me was no exception. When he stopped rather abruptly, I accidentally jammed him in the back of the leg with one of my crutches. I'm quick to offer my apologies and tell him, “I'm not very good with these things,” but he just shrugs me off and says, “Nobody fucks with the Jesus,” and walked out the front door into the warm Kentucky morning.

Mind if I do a Jay?

Saturday night was the big finale and the crowd at the bowling alley was in fine form. We were surrounded by various characters from the movie and a few people had truly 'Achieved' pure genius with the creativity of their costumes. The Dude walked by in a robe and flip-flops and he had a joint dangling from his lips. I should of asked him if he wanted to do a jay.

Awards were handed out for the best costume and the furthest distance traveled, and the winner of the second award came all the way from Belgium. He said the whole trip had cost him over $3,000 dollars so he deserved the award, but the award I wanted was 'the best hard luck story,' (I went to the ER on the way home with a chipped bone in my ankle and torn ligaments/tendons? in my wrist) but I didn't get it. I thought the bandages and the crutches might play in my favor, but no such luck. The winner was a guy from California who said he blew up the engine is his car or something trying to get there, but I think he was lying, he probably lived in Louisville. My only complaint about the whole weekend, if I had one, was being overlooked for the hard luck prize, I mean, come one, I was on crutches. Of course, considering the elaborate get-ups and what not, maybe they thought I was just another one of the crazies, after all, some people will do anything for a free t-shirt.

Duff, the Ace of Cakes and A Registered Sex Offender (with a record)

Lebowski themed cake for the Food Network Channel

Melissa and the Sherriff of Malibu

He is 'The Walrus'

Brian Posehn from the Devil's Rejects

Walter Sobchak

Friday, February 12, 2010

My thoughts on Vonnegut

The Mind Police

The story “Harrison Bergeron” was written in in the early 1960's, about a future that was supposed to be perfect. Or at least equal. The story is set in the year 2081 with the central theme being control, specifically, control the government has over our lives. It describes a futuristic view of a world where everyone is the same, not by creation, but by law.

In this world, even a citizens' thoughts are subject to control. The first example of this is seen in the third paragraph where the reader discovers the main character, George, who's smarter than he should be, is required by law to wear a radio in his ear, tuned to a government transmitter.

In our world today we can see various forms of government control all around us, if only we would wake up and open our eyes. While the rest of the world is distracted by the government stimulus package, bills are being signed and laws are being passed that restrict our control. Gun control, specifically, according to the National Riflemen Association, is about to be taken to the next level and most Americans don't even know it.

If the government has its way, laws will be passed by the end of the year that require a gun to be destroyed after its owner dies, therefore eliminating the opportunity for a father to pass along his deer rifle to his son if he chooses too. This is a fine example of the powers that govern us rewriting our Constitutional amendment to bear arms. They might take away our guns, but they cannot take away our thoughts, at least not yet.

In the story, the specific function of this radio transmission is to monitor the people's thoughts
before they get too deep. Every twenty seconds or so, a sharp noise is broadcast to every radio receiver causing the subscriber to experience severe disorientation. It disrupts the user's thought process to the extent that any possibility of completing a series of complex thoughts or actions would be unlikely, maybe even impossible.

The ability to communicate with members of your own family is minimal at best. Between the above average citizens who cannot complete a thought and the perfectly average ones who can only think in short bursts, it is easy to imagine a world void of all color and individuality, and maybe thats the point.

While much of Vonnegut's vision of the future seems far fetched and exaggerated, it is safe to say that “Harrison Bergeron,” like much of Vonnegut's work, was very much ahead of its time. After reading it, one must ask themselves why a society would choose to violate the very principles the constitution was founded upon. If the ability to think freely has been taken away, would constitutional amendments even matter?

This futuristic story is relevant today because you can see the writing on the wall if only you look close enough. If your not allowed to think, you would never have the ability to form a mental notion in your head to say what you wanted. Or buy a gun. Or go to church. You must assume the Handicapper General does not suffer these restrictions, so ultimately, the government becomes a dictatorship that controls us, and we become the slaves to our own thoughts.

For those who think the future he prepares us for is impossible, you must remember the time in reference is still over seventy years away from today. Harrison Bergeron was shot down by the Handicapper General to take away society's hope and he is dead because the future is a world without hero's, at least Vonnegut's future.

But there is little doubt that technology will provide the Government with the proper ammunition to destroy itself from within, and their ability to spy on each and every one of us is already more sophisticated than we realize. If they wanted to read the license plate of your car while it's parked in your driveway they could do it by satellite. They can eavesdrop on your conversations and they can read your emails. Big brother is out there and he is curious. Perhaps Vonnegut was onto something after all.