Dodging Bullets: Fortitude and Publishing

Last year television was introduced to a new network called PIVOT, and well there wasn’t a lot good with the channel save for one series starring Stanley Tucci as an American investigator sent to Fortitude to conduct an investigation of the death of a noted scientist. Fortitude is an isolated community in Arctic Norway, which is an amalgamation of nations, yet is under the rule of no particular country. The eponymous series was collaborated and produced by PIVOT and Sky Atlantic. The series starred, along with Tucci, Michael Gambon (Harry Potter series), Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who (9th), Cracker), Sofie Gråbøl (Night Watch, The Killing (original)), and Richard Dormer.

FORTITUDE, as I said, was pretty much the only good thing about PIVOT, in less than a year the network shut its doors and hopes for a second season. The series is part mystery, part science fiction, and season one was some of the best acting on television. But, has Stanley Tucci ever not deliver? Earlier this year, I was happy to learn that FORTITUDE would be back with Dennis Quaid in the lead and Sky Atlantic now partnering with Amazon to produce. Available today free to Amazon Prime member, you can start streaming FORTITUDE season two. And if you missed season one, it is also available, so make it a long weekend.

Before you dive into the television series, Shotgun Honey has started its own the road to second lives. Today, I am excited to reissue through the Shotgun Honey imprint the second printing of FEDERALES by Christopher Irvin. All the books hold places in my heart, but I still vividly remember reading FEDERALES for the first time with utmost dread and by the time I finished I was excited. The dread came from having worked with Chris via Shotgun Honey, who was a second generation editor taking over for Chad Rohrbacher, and I was fearful that the story would be publishable,  even for a press as inexperienced as One Eye Press. But I was excited because the book initially had remnants of one of my favorite movies, Man on Fire starring Denzel Washington. I often tell people that there are no new ideas, the uniqueness in stories comes from how the ideas are worked and presented. So yes, FEDERALES is a book about personal redemption and the responsibility to others, but Chris made FEDERALES all his own.

Expect to see other One Eye Press books see second printings under the Shotgun Honey imprint in the coming weeks.


Mexican Federal Agent Marcos Camarena dedicated his life to the job. But in a country where white knights die meaningless deaths, martyred in a hole with fifty other headless bodies in the desert, corruption is not an attribute but a scale; no longer a stigma but the status quo.

When Marcos’s life is threatened, he leaves law enforcement and his life in Mexico City behind for a coastal resort town–until an old friend asks him to look after an outspoken politician, a woman who knows cartel violence all too well. Despite his best efforts, Marcos can’t find it in his heart to refuse, and soon finds himself isolated on the political front lines of the war on drugs.

Inspired by true events, Federales is a story of survivors’ compulsive devotion to a cause in the face of ever-darkening circumstances.

Where to Buy

FEDERALES will soon be available in paperback from and, or ebook from Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.


“Christopher Irvin s FEDERALES is an absolute gut-punch of a novella. The story of one man s search for redemption and justice within a Mexican system that has long-forgotten the meaning of either will haunt you long after the last page is turned.”

Todd Robinson, author of The Hard Bounce

FEDERALES is a sweaty, feverish sojourn into a fetid limb of the Mexican drug war, where sentiment, principles and fellow feeling have no place. Christopher Irvin’s read will carry you swiftly through to the fitting end.”

Sam Hawken, author of The Dead Women of Juárez

“In his debut novella, Christopher Irvin deftly captures the frustration and futility of the Mexican Drug War. Part character study, part thriller, FEDERALES reads as a brutally human parable that tells a story that is sadly all too real.”

Johnny Shaw, Anthony Award winning author of Big Maria and Dove Season

In Case You Missed It

The Scientist by M. G. Juelle

The Miami skyline dangled over lavender clouds like stalactites made of pink light and shadows.

“I could die right now,” she said.

“It would take at least eight—”

“It’s an expression, silly.” She laughed. “Means I’m happy.”

Read More

We are always open to submissions. So if you want to be like one of the folks mentioned above, hit us up at the Submissions Manager.

Until next time, all the best.

Dodging Bullets: We’ve Got You Covered Blacky!

Welcome to the relaunch of Dodging Bullets where I will talk shop about all things Shotgun Honey related, plus a few odd and ends that I find interesting.

What do I find interesting this week? Shotgun Honey turns 6 years old this month and we still churns out some of the best crime flash fiction on the web. That wouldn’t be possible without the editors who read stories good and bad seven days a week as they flow through our submissions manager.

Kent Gowran, Sabrina Ogden and I started the gauntlet back in 2011, and it was a solid format for selecting the best stories and to guide those that were good to be better. Those early selections lead to our replacement editors in Chad Rohrbacher, Christopher Irvin, Erik Arneson, Joe Myers, Angel Colón, Nick Kolakowski and Jen Conley. Jen really deserves a medal. Not only is she a great writer, but an outstanding teacher, and she has been part of the gauntlet longer than any other editor. I really can’t thank any of them enough for being part of Shotgun Honey.

If you are looking for an incredible collection of stories, I highly recommend Cannibals by Jen Conley from our publishing partner Down & Out Books.

Speaking of books, I have a lot of books to talk about. First off, just look at the cover for Blacky Jaguar Against the Cool Clux Cult by Angle Luis Colón. Click the cover. Purdy isn’t it? It is the long awaited follow up to The Fury of Blacky Jaguar, and the second book in the Song of Piss & Vinegar series, originally published in 2015 and to be re-issued later this month. Keep an eye out for One Eye Press re-releases over the next few weeks. If you missed them the first time, you’ll get a chance to pick them up again.

Like Federales by Christopher Irvin which will be available next Friday with a brand new cover. Click it. I know you want to.

2017 will be a year of new books, 7 in total, and re-issues, 6 or 7 as well, and a possibly a couple bonus books. And 2018, wow, I can’t wait to share what we’re hoping to do then. I’m excited, but let’s look at the new books in a nutshell.

  • Hardway by Hector Acosta (2/17/2017)
  • The Place of Refuge by Albert Tucher (3/31/2017)
  • A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps by Nick Kolakowski (5/12/2017)
  • Blacky Jaguar Against the Cool Clux Cult by Angel Luis Colón (6/23/2017)
  • Les Cannibales by DeLeon DeMicoli (8/4/2017)
  • Dead Clown Blues by R. Daniel Lester (9/16/2017)
  • Knuckledragger by Rusty Barnes (10/27/2017)

I call them my sexy seven because you know you want them. You did pick up The Place of Refuge last week? It’s not like you’re going to make it to Hawaii on your own, so why not read about it as Detective Coutinho tracks down a serial killer on the Big Island? Need more convincing? Read some more about Albert Tucher and the The Place of Refuge:

Show your support for Shotgun Honey authors by buying a book today. And if you can’t swing a book, be sure to read our weekly flash fiction offerings and leave the authors a comment. A little praise is invaluable.

In Case You Missed It

A Jump In the Dark by James Pate

That summer, Paul and Suzie would drink during the day, watching old movies on TCM and talking about their favorite actors and directors. And they would drink at night, having a few Jim Beam-and-cokes before stumbling out to The Lampshade, the bar a few blocks from their gray-brick duplex. Paul had lost his job as a cashier months before, when the manager of the Kroger’s near downtown Memphis caught him sipping tequila from his thermos. Suzie had been out of work even longer.

Read More

Fame by Michael Snyder

For as long as I can remember, all I ever wanted was to be famous. It was not a whim or passing fancy. There was no special talent I was pursuing. It’s not like I wanted to be great at something. I just wanted people to whisper and point when I walked into a room. I wanted them all to want a piece of me, to want to be near me, to want to be me.

Read More

And the story that started it all on April 6, 2011…

Two-Phones by Daniel B. O’Shea

Smart-ass in front of Slim in the security queue at Midway couldn’t keep his mouth shut, guy dumping his shit in the plastic box, two fucking cell phones and a PDA coming off his belt like he was Batman or something, a fat money clip with a Franklin on the outside.

Read More

We are always open to submissions. So if you want to be like one of the folks mentioned above, hit us up at the Submissions Manager.

Until next time, all the best.

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.


2015 Merry Bookmas

With only days to the big gift giving event known to many as Christmas, you’ll see or have seen a lot of best of and recommended 2015 book lists. This is in general a nice nod to those who have given you a little literary enjoyment in the chaos of life. Book people love to read, and there isn’t a better gift (other than a winning lotto ticket) that they appreciate more. I know I’m thrilled my stockings will be filled with books this year.

I had wanted to pool the recommendations of my editors and close contributors to compile a 2015 Merry Bookmas list, but things have been crazy in the Earl of Rontown‘s life, and so I offer my meager opines on the books I’ve enjoyed in 2015.