Read chapter one of Sangre Road by David Tromblay.
It seems like a short few months ago, in those halcyon pre-corona virus days, that I said good-bye to Nick Kolakowski and Renee Pickup to introduce Nikki Dolson and Paul Garth as new members of the infamous Gauntlet. Since then, headed by Hector Acosta the trio ushered in over 50 new stories, having read hundreds of submissions from promising authors from around the world. It’s a great team.
Hector Acosta has been a part of Shotgun Honey since our first year when we published his story “The Big C”. He would go on to contribute five flash fiction pieces (and one western) in total, as well as three short story contributions to the Shotgun Honey Presents anthology series. We even published a book together. A really good book which in hindsight could be considered a YA novella: Hardway.
Through his stories, I got to know and see him grow as a writer, but it was through social media and our common love of Deadpool, that I got to know him as a person. I knew that he would be a great person to be part of the Shotgun Honey family, and I was happy when Hector agreed to join in July of 2018.
As of this month, Hector decided it was time to step down from the Gauntlet. It is not lip service to say I will miss his contribution immensely. He has a great sense for storytelling which can be seen in “Turistas” which was published in ¡Pa’Que Tu Lo Sepas!: Latinx Fiction for Puerto Rico, edited by former Gauntlet member Angel Luis Colón. It’s a great story in an anthology full of great stories. Get it!
With any exit we try to fill the void, to keep the balance of the three person Gauntlet, a fresh voice. Over the last few months, I’ve gotten to know a writer of great potential, and in fact will be published later this year with a flash fiction piece, as well as his short novel Sangre Road, first in a series. David Tromblay joins as of this week as the third member of the Gauntlet. A former member of the Navy, now a writer, memoirist, and teacher, David brings a love of reading and an understanding of language.
He has an incredible memoir coming from Dzanc Books title As You Were.
A hypnotic, brutal, and unstoppable coming-of-age tale―told from inside the shockwaves set off by the Indian boarding schools, exacerbated by a decade and a half spent inside the Armed Forces―exposing a series of inescapable prisons and invisible scars of attempted erasure.
We look foward to David’s contribution.
Thank you Hector, again, for your tenure as Editor and Gauntlet member. We look forward to your future works, and hope to see you facing the Gauntlet soon. I’m sure Paul will let you slide if you’re a few words over.
Shotgun Honey is pleased to announce the release of our 4th anthology: Shotgun Honey Presents v4: RECOIL. Twenty-three tales of crime from all walks of life by a talented catalog of creators. Available from your favorite online vendors in paperback and e-book, or direct order from Down and Out Books.
- “Tell the Man About Love” by Rusty Barnes
- “The Ghost Road” by Susan Benson
- “Hotelin’” by Sarah M. Chen
- “The Wrong Affair” by Kristie Claxton
- “Victory in the Spring, 1987” by Jen Conley
- “Avenues” by Brandon Daily
- “Noise” by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett
- “After the Bombs” by Hector Duarte Jr.
- “Missing Persons Day” by Danny Gardner
- The Art of Negotiation” by Tia Ja’nae
- “Dirty Devil Dance” by Carmen Jaramillo
- “Beer Run” by Nick Kolakowski
- “Turner’s Bar” by JJ Landry
- “Johnny Still Goes to Atlantic City” by Bethany Maines
- “Jericho” by Tess Makovesky
- Detour” by Alexander Nachej
- Toothpaste” by David Nemeth
- “The Thing I found Along a Dirt Patch Road” by Cindy O’Quinn
- “Three Fingers” by Brandon Sears
- “Too Many Mullets” by Johnny Shaw
- “The Last Mistake” by Kieran Shea
- “The Walk Home at Night” by Gigi Vernon
- “Kerouac’s Second Scroll” by Patrick Whitehurst
Shotgun Honey Books, an imprint of Down & Out Books, is now open for book submissions for our limited 2021 catalog of 4-6 books. We will be selective, looking for books in the crime genre that are unique whether they be coming of age (Hardway, Dillo, The Furious Way), road trips (A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps, The Carrier), humor laden romps and stomps (The Fury of Blacky Jaguar, Fast Bang Booze) or detective and hard crime (Suburban Dick, Face Value, or A Place of Refuge).
We are looking primarily for short novels and novellas over 25 thousand and up to 60 thousand words. We will entertain collections, but with our limited catalog, it has to be solid.
Should we not fill our catalog for 2021 during this window, submissions will open the first Monday of every month until we do.
Since 2011, Shotgun Honey has been honored to have a variety of talented writers helm what we fondly call the “Gauntlet.” A right of passage for every story that graces our site, where the story is reviewed individually by three submission editors and requires a majority vote.
It started with Kent Gowran, Sabrina Ogden and myself, and has shuffled with following generous and talented folks: Chad Rorbacher, Joe Myers, Erik Arneson, Chris Irvin, Jen Conley, Angel Luis Colón, Nick Kolakowski, Renee Pickup and Hector Acosta.
Nick Kolakowski stepped down at the start of the year, transitioning to a role as associate editor for Shotgun Honey Books, an imprint of Down & Out Books. Nick is the author of the Love & Bullets Hookup series, as well as the dystopian novel Maxine Unleashes Doomsday. We hope to see more work from him the future as I recommend all his works.
Renee Ascher Pickup also stepped down in 2019 to focus on the diverse publishing efforts of Bronzeville Books, which we here at Shotgun Honey greatly endorse. She brings a unique view and voice to every project she is associated with, and we’ll miss her contribution.
This lease the talented Hector Acosta to read all those submissions. Because we didn’t want to weight of the world upon Hector’s shoulders, and there was a bit of catch up to do, in December we closed submissions. And now our pantry is bare.
I am happy to announce that Flash Fiction submissions are open once again, and who is going to man the “Gauntlet?”
Joining us for 2020, I would like to welcome Nikki Dolson and Paul J. Garth. Nikki Dolson is the author of All Things Violent and Love and Other Criminal Behavior. And Paul J. Garth is a short story author who’s work can be found on Shotgun Honey, most recently with “Eulogy”, and in various collections and web magazines. Both present diverse POVs from various areas of the US, and Hector likes them. As the senior man, that’s important.
We’re looking for new stories, diverse voices, and interesting twists. Are you ready for the new “Gauntlet”?
Coal Black is unfiltered mountain crime. Set in the hills of eastern Kentucky, these tales lay bare the dark realities of the region. Sometimes the backdrop is the opiod epidemic and all the human detritus that comes with it. Other times it’s poachers or petty thieves who take center stage, people whose wild desperation invite danger everywhere they go. High in the hills the action takes place, alongside the rarely seen animals who hunt up there, and sometimes alongside the “haints” and spirits of popular folklore.
“And They Shall Take Up Serpents,” features two high school kids who set up a score on a strip mining site where they plan to make off with some tools and copper wiring. What they don’t take into account is what’s in the church van they borrow to haul off the goods, or what’s waiting deep in the forest on top of the hill. “A Queen’s Burial” pits a pair of brutal, drug dealing brothers against a simple mountain man who’s buried something they want, though they don’t know what it is. When they finally decide they don’t want, it may be too late. A weary, middle-aged female sheriff searches for a lost girl in the hills that rise up behind the abandoned coal tipple where kids party and drop oxy contin in “Coal Black Haint.” But the search brings back memories of her own daughter who disappeared years ago. What happens next involves more than just some lost girls angry at their mothers. The search leads back to the story of a violated young nun who took to the hills decades ago and was never found.
These stories are full of action, twists and turns, and characters on both sides of the law who navigate the treacherous, often violent terrain that spares so few. Coal Black is a collection of gritty crime stories—cleverly drawn tales with sometimes savage surprise endings.
Praise for Coal Black
“Chris McGinley’s aptly named COAL BLACK grabs the reader by the shirt collar and doesn’t turn loose. These stories are as dark as the coal that is no longer in the mountains McGinley writes about, channeling the haints of Donald Ray Pollock and Frank Bill while speaking in a hard edged voice that is undoubtedly the author’s own. These are tough tales about tough people and I can’t imagine someone picking up this book and not being impressed. I know I was.”—Charles Dodd White, author of In the House of Wilderness
“Mesmerizing and intense, the stories in COAL BLACK are a treat to read, every honed sentence reminding us that we’re in excellent hands as we travel into the darkness of haunting crime and equally haunted countryside. This collection rocks.”—Rusty Barnes, author of The Ridgerunner and The Last Danger
“These stories offer some of the best rural noir you’ll ever read. They are a pitch-black journey into the heart of America.”—Nick Kolakowski, author of Maxine Unleashes Doomsday
About Chris McGinley
Chris McGinley teaches middle school in Lexington, KY. His stories have appeared in Out of the Gutter, Yellow Mama, and Near to the Knuckle.
Where To Buy
About the Book
Meet Kraj—pronounced krai—a low-level errand boy and hitman masquerading as a bouncer for Tricky Ricky Gutierrez, nefarious owner of the Twist, a club in upstate Elmira NY. A place that has both a LGBTQIA night and a cowboy country night, this cockeyed corner bar in northern Appalachia supports Ricky’s illegal schemes, and serves as a rural balm for Croatian-war refugee Kraj.
Kraj plies his trade over a short span, moving from petty theft to strong-arming tips from people at the door, breaking up redneck fights, protecting the club’s nubile female staff and collecting gambling debts owed Tricky Ricky. Kraj eventually gets sucked further and further into Ricky’s underworld plans, where he wants to be seen as a man on the come-up, but he has problems moving up in Ricky’s organization will never solve. His sister Ana, missing since the Croatian War for Independence, never strays far from his mind.
Kraj, together with his sometime girlfriend Cami, newly become manager of a franchisee McDonald’s, and his manager Mikael. negotiates his way through underground fight clubs, prostitution rings, drug deals, petty thievery, and of course, murder. Tricky Ricky gives Kraj a great deal of rope and autonomy to operate.
Will he hang himself with it or swing?
“Kraj is a human wrecking ball, hiding a tactical mindset, along with his sense of humor. Barnes’ Croat knockaroud guy is masterfully subtle, yet amplified by the colorful characters around him.”— Scotch Rutherford, Switchblade Magazine
“Rusty Barnes leads us on a pulpy underworld adventure populated by toughs, scumbags, henchmen, double-crossers, pimps, and con men of the first water with his latest collection The Kraj Stories. Opening the book is stepping into the cage and each turn of the page is a quick jab to the face. You’ll close the book and find yourself with a bloody nose, a crushed larynx, and, if you’re really lucky, that you’ve been set on fire.”— Eryk Pruitt, author What We Reckon
About the Author
Rusty Barnes grew up in rural northern Appalachia. He received his B.A. from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and his M.F.A. from Emerson College. His fiction, poetry and non-fiction have appeared widely, with stories forthcoming in Mystery Tribune and Toe Six.
About the Book
Derek Weaver’s a junkie.
He’s also homeless and jobless and into his dealer for way more cash than he can hope to repay. So when he’s given an ultimatum by the regional heroin supplier—commit a home invasion and steal enough jewelry to cover that man’s debt or take a one-way trip into the Atlantic on a lobster boat—he makes the only possible choice.
But things go sideways and Derek soon finds himself a multiple murderer on the run from both law enforcement and the mob. Trapped in a diner, using his own brother as a hostage to prevent police from storming the building, Derek begins to realize the only way out of a hopeless situation may come from facing down ancient demons he’s long ignored.
“Chasing China White starts with a simple premise—a desperate junkie agrees to do a favor for his dealer—but with each page, Allan Leverone raises the stakes and turns the screws until you’re left holding your breath at the edge of your seat. This noir tale is impossible to set aside until you follow its spiral all the way down.”—Hilary Davidson, Anthony Award–winning author of One Small Sacrifice
“As dark as the bottom of a well, this story clips along from one calamity to another. The real suspense here is whether Derek will see redemption, but Leverone makes us question if anyone really does. This is a strong dose that gets your heart pumping and will make you sweat, but like an addict, you won’t want to quit.”—Eric Beetner, author of All the Way Down
“As poignant as it is bleak and violent, Allan Leverone’s Chasing China White is a powerful, expertly-written slice of gritty, bare-bones crime fiction, and just like the addiction it explores, once it has you in its grip, all you want is more. Highly recommended.”—Greg F. Gifune, author of Dangerous Boys
“Allan Leverone has a new one out— Chasing China White —a novel with a thrilling plot, evocative setting, deep characterization—suspenseful—you can’t put it down–this book has it all.”—Les Edgerton, author of Adrenaline Junkie, The Bitch, The Rapist and others
About the Author
Allan Leverone is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty novels, four novellas and countless short stories. A former winner of the prestigious Derringer Award for excellence in short mystery fiction, he lives in Londonderry, New Hampshire with his wife of thirty-five years, three grown children and three beautiful grandchildren. He loves to hear from readers; connect on Facebook, Twitter @AllanLeverone, and at AllanLeverone.com.
About the Book
Criminal defense attorney Agnes Rodrigues got her client Hank Alves acquitted of a murder in the rainforest of the Big Island, but the victim was a cop’s wife, and a case like this doesn’t end with “not guilty.” When someone takes a shot at her client, and that someone looks like a cop, Agnes knows no one in Hawaii will take on the job of protecting Hank.
Agnes travels to New Jersey to hire ex-prostitute Diana Andrews and her crew of bodyguards, who have a reputation as the toughest in the business. But Diana refuses the job. The Jersey girl has been to the Big Island before, and it almost killed her. Diana’s own people persuade her, but her decision puts her in the crosshairs with Agnes.
The bodyguards are soon earning their payday, but nobody can be protected forever. Keeping Hank alive means finding the real killer, and Diana might know the answer from first career. And what Agnes has to do outside the courtroom will make her an honorary Jersey girl, if it doesn’t kill her first.
“A lean, mean confluence of complicated women and the seedier side of paradise, The Honorary Jersey Girl is suspenseful and plenty of fun.”—Kristen Lepionka, Shamus Award-winning author of the Roxane Weary mystery series
“The Honorary Jersey Girl has the kick-assiest cast of women — badass bodyguards, wily hookers, and a fierce attorney — who power this taut, relentlessly-paced novella that rips through the gritty underworld of Hawaii like a stray bullet, searching for flesh to pierce. This is deeply satisfying noir from a master of the craft.”—Kevin Catalano, author of Where the Sun Shines Out
About the Author
Albert Tucher is the creator of prostitute Diana Andrews, who has appeared in eighty short stories in such venues as THUGLIT, SHOTGUN HONEY, and THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2010, edited by Lee Child and Otto Penzler. Diana’s first longer case, the novella THE SAME MISTAKE TWICE, was published in 2013. Supporting characters from her world, which includes the Big Island of Hawaii, are featured in THE PLACE OF REFUGE, THE HOLLOW VESSEL, and the forthcoming novella THE HONORARY JERSEY GIRL, all from Shotgun Honey. Albert Tucher recently retired from the Newark Public Library.
About The Furious Way
Lucy Ramos is out for blood—she needs to kill a man, but she has no clue how. Lucy calls on the help of aged hit-man, Tito Garza—also known as El Perro of Pedro. Garza’s signature method of killing? Using dogs to maul his targets to death. Now, in his golden years, Garza lives a mundane life in San Pedro, a port town south of downtown Los Angeles. With a backpack full of cash, Lucy persuades Garza to help her murder her mother’s killer, Assistant District Attorney Victor Soto. Together, the forgotten hit-man hungry for a comeback and the girl whose life was shattered as a child set out to kill the man responsible.
But killing Victor Soto may prove to be an impossible task. The newly elected Assistant District Attorney’s wealth and political clout keep him well-insulated. Lucy and Garza’s plan is further complicated when Lucy begins to develop feelings for Victor Soto’s son, Martin. With their romance threatening to derail the mission, Lucy fights to keep Martin out of Garza’s cross-hairs when his violent urges become more unpredictable.
Will Lucy’s feelings for Martin jeopardize everything she’s worked for? Will Garza’s unchecked rage cause innocent people to die? Lucy Ramos and Tito Garza are furious, deadly, and driven by vengeance—but vengeance comes at a price.
About Aaron Philip Clark
AARON PHILIP CLARK is a novelist and screenwriter from Los Angeles, CA. His work has been praised by James Sallis, Gar Anthony Haywood, Gary Phillips, Eric Beetner, and Roger Smith. In addition to his writing career, he has worked in the film industry and law enforcement. Clark currently teaches English and writing courses at a university in Southern California. To learn more about him, please visit AaronPhilipClark.com.
“T.S. Eliot referred to it as tradition and individual talent, the manner in which new work at once honors, builds upon, and questions what has come before. Chester Himes, Richard Wright, James Baldwin—Aaron Philip Clark has been paying attention.”
—James Sallis, author of Cypress Grove and Chester Himes: A Life
In 2012 we published our first book, Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels, an anthology featuring 29 tales of crime from authors like Frank Bill, Chris F. Holm, and Kieron Shea. We continued with two additional volumes in 2013 and 2015, Reloaded and Locked and Loaded. All three were general crime, noir and mystery compilations. All three are still in circulation and are a good indicator of the kinds of stories we like.
In late 2019, we’re going to do it again and are actively looking for submissions for Shotgun Honey Presents Volume 4, yet to be titled.
Deadline for submissions is Sunday March 31, 2019.
Shotgun Honey, in association with Down & Out Books, is pleased to release The Last Danger by Rusty Barnes. This follows up the 2017 release Ridgerunner, and and concludes the harrowing tale of Matt Rider, one time wildlife conservation officer turned infamous “Killer Matt.”
Catch Up for Only 99 Cents
If you haven’t read Ridgerunner, now is the time to catch up for The Last Danger. For a limited time, you can get a digital copy of Ridgerunner for only 99 cents from your favorite e-book providers.
Killer Matt Returns
Three months after a shootout with the renegade Pittman family robbed him of his brother, Matt Rider is trying to put his life back together. His wounds are many, his sworn enemy Soldier Pittman may wake up and begin to tell what he knows, his wife is on the knife edge of sanity, and his teen daughter has gone missing with the son of his sworn enemy.
In a whirlwind series of killings, thefts and rash decisions, Rider ends up muling drugs across the Canadian border for the Pittman family in order to save his daughter and wife from an even worse fate, even as he betrays them. Rider must choose between what is best for his conscience and what his sometimes murderous instincts tell him: kill them all.
About Rusty Barnes
Rusty Barnes is a 2018 Derringer finalist and author of the story collections Breaking it Down (Sunnyoutside Press 2007) and Mostly Redneck (Sunnyoutside Press 2011), as well as four novels, Reckoning (Sunnyoutside Press, 2014), Ridgerunner (Shotgun Honey/Down & Out Books, 2017), Knuckledragger (Shotgun Honey/Down & Out Books 2017) and The Last Danger (Shotgun Honey/Down & Out Books 2018), His fiction, poetry and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies like Dirty Boulevard: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of Lou Reed (Down & Out Books 2018), Best Small Fictions 2015, Switchblade, Mystery Tribune, Goliad Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Red Rock Review, Porter Gulch Review and Post Road.