Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Tattoo And A Review Featuring, Shotgun Honey Reloaded

The fine folks at Shotgun Honey have done it again. They  just put out another awesome collection of crime stories with Shotgun Honey Reloaded Both Barrels Vol 2. It's a collection of twenty-five kick ass short stories from some amazing crime writers, and that's no bull. I'll tell you what is bull though, the tattoo being done while Shotgun Honey was used as a means of distraction from the pain. Pain? Yes, pain because tattoos hurt goddammit, as they should. 

Shane Driver, a writer of short stories himself, came into Malefic Tattoos recently for his first tattoo, by Fabien (probably not his last because he's got lots more skin and we have no shortage of ideas).

Shane got a bull inked on his shoulder. He said it didn't hurt. After suffering chronic headaches for the past four years, the result of a broken jaw (I didn't ask), Shane said he actually felt better after getting tattooed. So there's another advantage to getting yourself some ink, it can reduce other pain.

The stories Shane liked best in Shotgun Honey Reloaded were "The Howl At The Park" by Hector Acosta. Shane described it as an intense dark story with a surprising end. He also enjoyed "All Alone" by Erik Arneson.

Shane said Patti Abbott's "White Funeral" had a great hook.

"She did a good job at capturing the dependent and somewhat odd relationship between Kay and her mother," Shane said about Patti's story.

"The Trouble With Sylvia" by Cheri Ause had great suspense and a distinctive voice, Shane said. He also liked the subtule  humour running through the story. That story just happens to be one of my favourites too.

Be sure to get yourself a copy of Shotgun Honey Reloaded . It's an impressive collection.

 And now for the bull...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Keith Zafren On The Secrets Of Being A Great Dad...

As a crime fiction lover, you might expect that's all I think about or talk about when it comes to books. While I do write mostly murder and mayhem (except for my poetry), my reading palate is quite diverse. When my beautiful daughter Samantha, now an amazing tattoo artist at twenty, was a little tyke I read a few parenting books because kids don't come with instructions. Generally the way we learn to parent our own kids evolves from the way we were raised ourselves, which can be seriously flawed. It's only when we endeavour to become better versions of ourselves, that as parents we excel.

I feel lucky that I had an amazing dad growing up, not everyone does. Keith Zafren, author of "How To Be A Great Dad", did not. And it's this that inspired him to create an organization called The Great Dad's Project and help mentor men on how to become better fathers. Today I'm interviewing him so we can discover all about the valuable work he's been doing...

What is the Great Dad's Project all about?

The Great Dads Project is all about transforming fathers into dads. That is, any man can become a father; it’s biologically easy to create a child. It’s entirely another thing to commit to a child’s well-being, to create a great sense of self-esteem, a sense of belonging, and a deep knowing that the child feels loved and wanted. Dads have immense power over the self-concept of their children. The Great Dads Project envisions transforming biological fathers into loving and engaged dads who make a remarkably positive impact on their children for life.

Research shows that millions of men around the world now long to be better dads, though countless numbers are ill equipped or crippled psychologically to do so. Many men today are frustrated, discouraged, and even heartbroken over their inability to achieve the kind of relationship, influence, and happiness they long for in their fathering role. The consequence for many is that they neglect or abandon their fathering role since they feel ill prepared, inadequate, overwhelmed, or unsuccessful.

The Great Dads Project is about changing that. We elevate, inspire, and coach men to commit themselves to the awesome, life-giving, and world-changing experience of fathering the next generation.

Why has this become so important to you?

My dad had a profound impact on me. I’m sorry to say that the impact was substantially wounding and detrimental to my self-concept for most of my life. As recently as this past month, I uncovered another layer of pain I had to work through and another piece of forgiveness I needed to extend to my father. I posted a blog about it your readers might find of value. You can read that post called Forgiving my Father—Again!

I would say I was a wounded son for a big part of my early life. When I had my first child at age thirty-seven, I suddenly became a bewildered new father. Though I desperately wanted to be a good dad, a better dad than I felt my father had been to me, I had no idea what to do. I knew what I didn’t want to do, but I had no model for the right kind of fathering I wanted to express. I spent years reading books, taking classes, and asking good dads I knew to talk with me, to teach me, and to help me grow as a dad. I’m so happy to say that today my three sons (now ages 12, 14, and 15) would tell you I’m a great dad. I can say that humbly, but with tremendous pride and satisfaction. I was a highly unlikely candidate to become a great dad. If I can do it, I know any many can. And I want to help as many fathers as I can feel the joy and fulfillment I now do in becoming the dad I wish I’d had.

Why did you write your book "How To Be A Great Dad"?

I worked with about 600 men in prison over a six-year period. That’s where most of the material I eventually wrote into my book got tested and proven. I have a message that grows out of my own pain and healing, and out of my work of serving people for the last thirty-two years. I was a pastor for twenty-three years, I worked with incarcerated dads for six years, and I’ve been working with dads outside of prison for the past three years. I’ve been able to simplify my message to make it not only easily memorable, but incredibly practical and useful. I wanted a way to get that message into as many dads’ hands as possible, so it seemed like writing the book was a good place to start. The full title of the book is How to Be a Great Dad—No Matter What Kind of Father You Had. It’s available on Amazon now in print and eBook formats. And your readers can read reviews of it there by both men and women.

Jack Canfield, the co-creator of the #1 New York Times Bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul brand and author of The Success Principles wrote a beautiful foreword for the book. In it he wrote, “On first meeting Keith Zafren, I immediately felt a strong connection to him, his work with The Great Dads Project, and the book he had written about it. I immediately related to what Keith was aspiring to accomplish. I believe Keith’s message is very important. I enthusiastically support him in his efforts to reach out to men everywhere, to help them heal and grow to become the great dads they long to be, and their children so desperately need them to be.”

When you became a father yourself was there anyone you looked to as a positive role model?

Oh yes, I had to. Though I vowed not to repeat the mistakes I felt my father made, I also knew how easily those vows could be broken and that it is just psychologically inevitable that if we don’t consciously break patterns from our childhood, we invariably repeat them. I love how AA says, “What we don’t pass back we pass down.” I didn’t want to extend the legacy of father wounding any further. So I sought out father mentors from whom I could learn. I watched them closely with their own children. I invited them to meals, took them to play golf, invited myself to their homes for dinner, and I asked them questions, loads of questions. But in the end, it was watching how they fathered up close that made the biggest impact. I needed father mentors, so I took the initiative to seek them out and learn from them. Cory Ishida, John Bruce, and Joe Dabaghian were the three who most impacted me and modeled for me what great fathering looked and felt like. All three had the kinds of relationships with their kids I longed for. And I’m forever grateful to these men for what they modeled for me, the way they taught me, and the ways they loved me by helping me grow.

What do you think kids need the most from their fathers?

I’ve studied enough child development theory and read enough books to confidently say that what children need most from their fathers really can be summarized under what I now call The Three Core Fathering Practices I teach men in my workshops, write about in my book, and coach in my private coaching with men. These three fathering practices are like the three legs of a stool—each bearing equal weight of great fathering. I call these practices affirmation, acceptance, and affection.

Affirmation: refers to verbal and written words of specific praise regarding our children’s character, decision-making, and treatment of others more than their appearance, achievement, or performance. A father’s written and verbal affirmation helps children believe they are smart, capable, and able to achieve whatever they set their good minds to.

Acceptance: speaks to our unconditional and unending embrace of our children no matter what they do, how they fail, what they choose to value or believe or pursue, or with whom they associate. A father’s unconditional and unending acceptance communicates to children that they belong. It helps them know and feel that they are ours, we want them, and we will never, ever turn them away.

Affection: applies to both spoken and physical expressions of love, tenderness, warmth, and care. A father’s affection helps children know they are loved and lovable, as well as worthy of good, healthy, fulfilling relationships in the future.

If you’re readers are interested in reading more about these three skills, they may want to read my blog post Three Secrets to Dad Success.

What is the most important thing a parent, mother or father, can do for their kids?

Love them in a way the child can feel! Children, all children, need to know and feel they are loved. Nothing matters more. And the three practices I coach and teach of affirmation, acceptance, and affection will get every parent there repeatedly over a lifetime of great parenting and bonding. How do we love our children so they can feel it? Affirm them; accept them; share affection. I’d love to help you learn how. Please contact me about Becoming a Great Dad Coaching.

Who would benefit from reading your book?

Although it’s likely obvious my primary audience is men who have not had the kind of relationship with their dad they wish they’d had, it turns out that all men, including men who say they’ve had fantastic dads, love my book and are thanking me for how practical and easy to follow it is. They’re saying it’s making a big difference in the kind of dad they’re becoming.

Steve Hall from Australia writes, “I guess I have to say upfront that I am lucky to have had such amazing parents as what I had. That being said, Keith's book contains lots of awesome and very actionable strategies that will make me a better Dad to my teenage children. If you have kids or you are going to have kids, you really need to read this book. It brought a tear to my eye more than a couple of times whilst reading it.”

To my surprise, somewhat, lots of women are finding it exceptionally helpful, in part for them as mothers, teaching them some parenting skills in such a simple and easily understood way, but also for helping them better understand their man, particularly if he didn’t have a great relationship with his dad, while others comment that it helped them heal some of their own issues related to their dads.

Jennifer Read Hawthorne writes, “I am not even the primary audience for this book, yet I was moved to tears numerous times by Keith's book. It gave me a new perspective on my own wounds--having lost my biological father five weeks before I was born, and it showed me how I can be a better mother to my two adult stepchildren. The content is relevant and timely, and Keith provides an answer to a problem that has the potential to profoundly impact the world by modeling and teaching how to transform non-love into love. What could be better than that?”

So, I suppose those who would most benefit from reading my book are parents who love their children (of all ages) and who want to learn how to express that love in practical ways that stick. That is, in ways that help their kids really feel it. If you read the reviews of my book posted on Amazon, you’ll see both men and women recommend it.

What is next for Keith Zafren?

I want to help as many fathers as I can become great dads. Great dads shape great kids. We can literally change the world by helping more fathers know how to love their children through affirmation, acceptance, and affection—and through their own healing journey. So what’s next for me is coaching more men individually, in small groups, and in workshop settings.

If you want to talk to explore Becoming a Great Dad Coaching, please check out my website, read about my coaching offer, and contact me today.

If you want to sponsor a workshop, please contact me through my site and let’s talk.

Poet Andrew Merton wrote, “The American man who grew up with a father who was affectionate, strong, and significantly involved in the upbringing of his children is so rare he is a curiosity.” The Great Dads Project exists to transform fathers into great dads, reversing the effects of weak, uninvolved, or just plain bad fathers and eliminating the rarity and curiosity of affectionate, strong, and significantly involved dads.

That’s what’s next for me—being a great dad myself and helping as many other fathers as possible join me along the journey.

Thanks for asking!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

So I Broke Up With My TV . . .

It was time. We'd been off and on again for months. Things weren't getting any better. It was the same old crap every morning and every night. I was getting tired of it. It was all such a big time suck anyway. Time that I needed to spend writing. So I did it. I broke up with my TV, kicked it to the curb, parked its ass on the pavement. Adios amigo, so long, it's been a slice, but we're through. 

When I came back from San Diego in June and moved into my condo I decided a television was not going to be a part of my decor. I have a small one bedroom and a TV would just take up way too much of my precious space. Turns out it was a great decision, like I knew it would be. I don't miss having a television. I don't need it. I don't think about it. And I don't want it back.

Even prior to deciding not to have a TV anymore I found that I wasn't watching it all that much. I'd stopped watching the news with my morning coffee. It was just a daily diet of all the drama going on in the world, messing with my zen. If something really important is happening, I'll eventually hear about it whether I want to or not. So whenever I did put the TV on it was tuned to a wildlife program (if I could find one) and I'd have it on mute while I sat in front of it on my laptop pounding away on my manuscript. Other than costing me money, it was serving no real purpose.

I listen to a lot more music now that I don't have a TV intruding on my life. I subscribed to The Vault, Canada's version of Spotify. Although, interestingly I don't listen to music anymore while I write. I find even the most unobtrusive type of music distracting. I need to be unplugged from everything it seems, except the sounds of the city outside my balcony. So the music is for when I'm not writing. It's weird. I know.

I do love to indulge in hanging out in the bathtub, drinking copious amounts of wine, eating chocolate whilst watching an old Hitchcock movie. But I don't need a TV for that. My laptop can handle it. And I don't have to suffer through those idiot Charmin toilet paper commercials with those stupid cartoon bears and their little pieces that get left behind. Like that's not a play on does a bear shit in the woods? Please. It's also bad taste. And do we really need commercials to tell us to buy toilet paper? Or anything else?

There's a TV in the gym in my building. I keep that one off too when I'm working out. Yeah, me and TV are so over each other. If I could take it to court and sue it for alimony, I would do that too.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Tattoo And A Review, Featuring: Shotgun Honey's Both Barrels

My daughter Sam (affectionately referred to as the kid), came down to California for a visit last week and booked herself an appointment to get her head tattooed. Yeap, that's right, that's what I said...her head. Tattooed.

Gemma, tattoo artist extraordinaire from Full Circle Tattoos in San Diego, created the killer design for her cranial modification and spent the next hour and half inking it on the side of her skull.

While chilling in the chair, Sam enjoyed distracting herself with some kick ass crime stories from Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels Vo.1

Sam said she liked Dan O'She's story titled "Father's Day" with the twisted ending. Her favourite was Patti Abbott's, "How To Launder A Shirt". I'd have to agree that was one great story. I also liked Glenn Gray's "Intubation", totally loved that transvestite character with the shot gun who can't walk by a mirror without posing. I won't mention what exploded in the basement. You'll have to read the story yourself. "The Blonde Chimera" by Cameron Ashley is another brilliant and really well written story that I particularly enjoyed.

Shotgun Honey's Both Barrels is an awesome anthology featuring a collection of crime writers who know how to tell stories so well it will make you forget even needles being poked into the side of your head. If that's not talent I don't know what is.

Speaking of talent, I have to tell you that Full Circle Tattoos has some of the best artists in all of San Diego. As an artist myself, that's an educated opinion I'm offering. There are dozens of shops all over San Diego and I can think of only three shops, including Full Circle, that have artists I would ever consider getting tattooed by.

Gemma did manage to tattoo the same small flower design from Sam's tattoo on my wrist. It was after much persuasion by the kid. Tattoos hurt, and well...I'm a baby. Since I backed out on our last mother-daughter tattoo, I had no excuse this time.

As a mother, at first I was not thrilled by the fact that my little girl wanted to get a tattoo on the side of her head (although she is turning twenty next week and can make her own decisions), but the design is so sweet and really suits her with that wicked-awesome hair do. Not everyone can pull off this look. I think Sam does it with a lot of style.

It pleases me enormously to see the way people react to her head tattoo. Total strangers come up to her with huge smiles, eyes all lit up in amazement at what they're seeing. Not only do they ask questions, she gets full on interviews like a celebrity, and people asking to take her picture.

Reactions from everyone have been really positive, and as a mother of course, that's what you want for your baby. 

There are those few people who just stare, completely stone-faced like she just stepped off some magnificent space ship where all the females on Sam's planet are exotic, tall beauties with My Little Pony hair cuts and stunning tattoos, like the most rare and beautiful flowers. The sight seems to leave them both speechless and breathless, and completely mesmerized, unable to look away. That's just the kind of effect you have on people sometimes when you're this damn special.

If you're a fan of crime fiction don't forget to check out Shotgun Honey's Both Barrels. If you're in the San Diego area and in need of a good tattooer, go see Gemma at Full Circle Tattoos.

And then...we went to Disneyland!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Rapist by Les Edgerton

The Rapist is a disturbing look into the twisted mind of a narcissistic psychopath on death row. A vulgar odyssey reminiscent of Nabokov’s Lolita, although far more depraved, Les Edgerton has crafted a dark and brilliant story that leaves you as equally unsettled as it does in complete awe.

Not only does Les write some killer crime novels like, The Bitch, which was named the Best Thriller of 2011 by Preditors & Editors, and was nominated for Best Thriller of 2011 by Spinetingler Magazine, The Perfect Crime, and Just Like That among others, but he's also written books on the craft of writing. Hooked is  a must read if you write fiction.

From The Rapist: 

     "I was framed," I said, playing.
     "Shoot!" he laughed. "I read your file."
     "Okay," I countered, "what do you think, then?" 
 "I think," he started, and then paused, furrowing his brow into wavy lines,
"that you're some kind of genius that doesn't belong anywhere. I'd say you're like movies I've seen sometimes where the main guy has been miscast. Like a comedy that isn't funny because the hero isn't. I mean, the line are funny, you can see that, but you don't laugh because the actor doesn't say them right. It's like he's in a different movie than the others."

Les Edgerton is the author of fifteen books. He teaches creative writing on a university level, through private coaching of writers, and on various on-line venues. Visit Les at his blog  

Friday, March 15, 2013

All The Wild Children by Josh Stallings - Review

There's something about writing one's memoir in all its good, bad, and ugly truth that must make you feel somewhat like standing naked in the middle of Times Square. And while I myself may or may not have ever been naked in Times Square, I'm not telling because unlike Josh Stallings, I don't have the guts that would permit me to open up my diary to the world...if I had a diary.

But I must applaud him and everyone else who shares their soul with the world this way. Mine is always thinly disguised inside of the characters I write. At least I like to imagine it is.

Josh Stallings memoir "All The Wild Children" is bold, stark, heart-breaking, often humorous and quite beautifully written. The Stallings kids basically raised themselves when their parents checked out of their parenting roles for other pursuits. They did the best with what they had, growing up in an environment of violence, drugs, alcohol, and guns, and somehow managed to live through it all and even thrive. My favourite parts in this book are two particularly crazy fights between Josh and his older brother Larkin that remind me a bit of my older brothers. There's a knife fight when they were kids that's quite funny (if you can imagine a knife fight being funny, well maybe it's less of a fight and more just playing around), that had me completely cracking up.

Stallings refers to his upbringing as being "raised by two abused and broken narcissists" and yet I still see and feel so much love from his parents in both their own unique "broken, narcisstic ways" coming through on the page (maybe it's what Josh feels for them too that is being revealed) and more than enough love from his siblings, and in his marriage, to last anyone a lifetime. There are rich passages that are poetic and deep and supurbly written in "All The Wild Children", especially in reference to his son Dylan. The timeline jumps between the various stages, and ages, in his life are done with ease and consistency, making it powerfully stylish and a pleasure to read.

Perhaps it's his earlier years, enduring so much instability in his life and family that prepared Stallings for later struggles. Every so often throughout the book he writes, "this is the new normal", which I found interesting and gratifying. Because to me that shows how adept he is at not only rolling with the punches life will continue to dole out, but at accepting and embracing change. It's that kind of courage that makes us strong, makes us grow, and learn, and become who we are.

Josh's first two crime novels, "Beautiful, Naked & Dead", and "Out There Bad" are also quite awesome and should not be missed.

Excerpt From All The Wild Children:

The hills all around Eagle Rock are in flames. Fifty years of chaparral fuels the wildfire. This is what happens when nature is contained too long. With no burn-off, dried brush has stacked higher and higher until one random spark. Then forty-foot walls of flame sweep down from the high country and into our once safe city.

Twenty years ago Jared was two years old and the hills across from our house in Montecito Heights caught fire. Helicopters roared overhead. Fear soaked the air. Coyotes and rabbits dashed frantic out of the brush. And my younger son connected all the dots wrong. Helicopters and sirens meant danger. Firemen made fires. He would tremble when a chopper flew overhead for years.

Now the hills of Los Angeles are in flames and my son’s head is on fire. I don’t recognize him any better than I recognize my city. Ash is falling like snow, and the storm clouds are made of smoke. There is a stranger inside my son, and my son is a stranger inside my home.

Jared is 2 and inconsolable. I hold him to my bare chest. Skin on skin, blood of my blood. He is a lad of big emotions. He is his father's son. He has his mother's dark hair and dark eyes, but he has his father's heart. I hold him until he falls asleep. I lay him in his bed and rub my thumb in a circle between his eyebrows. He is down for the count. It is clear that rest is what he needs but if you make the mistake of pointing this out, he won't sleep a wink. Or he might, but he’ll fight it tooth and nail. I have the bite and scratch marks to prove this.

Jared is 23 and running wild in the streets. He has drunk and raged his way out of his last four jobs. He lets me know he is leaving home in a text. I m movin to SF cant liv wid yo wife. I take him at his word. Within ten days his bedroom is packed and boxed and transformed into a spare bedroom for our niece to stay in while she looks for a place. He does not rage when he arrives home, tail between his legs. He plays it off as if he expected it. He keeps his rage buried deep. He carries his rage, just under his bruised skin.

What happened? What off-ramp led to this foreign neighborhood?

Jared is 16 and missing from school. I leave work and go searching. His girlfriend climbs into my SUV and we roll. We look at all the haunts. He is in none of them. Deep dread fills my heart. “Rocko and Jared sometimes hang out in the Drunk Tank.” I stare at her blankly. “In Echo Park. It's a house they call the Drunk Tank.” That is all I need to know and I’m gone.
Erika is in the truck. We cruise up Alvarado Boulevard. Erika gets directions to the Drunk Tank from Rocko’s mother. Rocko shoots dope with my son. Rocko is smart as hell. He is AP off the charts smart. Rocko will be doing hard time by his nineteenth birthday.
Outside the Drunk Tank we sit at the curb. “Whatever happens you don’t come in. If it goes wrong, leave and I’ll meet you at home.” I am calm as I take a Buck knife from the glove box and slip it in my jacket. “If our son is in there, I will bring him out.” I’m back in the ghetto fighting for my life as I move up the walkway.

Jared is 4, he has his red cowboy hat on. He is riding a pony at Griffith Park. His smile is pure sunshine. I would do anything for that child.

“He’s not here.” The girl at the door cops a small attitude. A young man behind her sits on the floor watching I Love Lucy. He looks up at me, all bluster and tough. The girl starts to shut the door on me.
I push the door open.
“You have no fucking idea who I am. You see a concerned dad and have no idea where I come from.” I am still, speaking without emotion. Cold. “I just got out of prison, and I don’t want to go back, but I will.” It’s a lie. So what. “I’m not leaving without my boy.”
The girl breathes slowly looking up at me. The kid on the floor watches TV like his life depends on it. The mood I’m in, it may.
“I’m not leaving without my boy.”
“You won’t believe me he’s not here?”
“I won't.”
“Guess you’re going to want to search the place?”
“Yes, I will.” I keep myself neutral, hand in my pocket on the knife, ready for whatever. She steps out of the way. I walk past the sitting young man. He still won't look up. The girl leads me from room to room. Two stories and a basement. I feel bad about scaring the girl, but not bad enough to stop looking for my son.
I leave without him.
Erika and I go home and wait for the inevitable phone call. I pray for the hospital as opposed to the morgue.
Jared is 14, he and I are in London, hanging in a friend's flat in Islington. Deb and I are talking movies and smoking. Jared is on the floor with Jo-Anne, a crime reporter and her husband Jemar, a flamenco dancer, they are playing a board game and laughing. He is amazing, he is my running mate. My travel partner.

The phone call comes. It is the emergency room. My baby boy overdosed on opiates. He will tell me they were pills he mixed with beer. The nurse will tell me they found him out cold on the sidewalk, if a neighbor hadn’t reported it he would be dead. I will call my brother and the next day, still hung over I will place my boy on a plane to Texas. Two weeks. My brother and brother in-law will clean him up and send him home. Only it won't take. He has years left to run. His college fund will be spent on rehabs, and none will take.

The fire is 48% contained today. My son is wild in the streets. Out on a run. I don’t know if he is still alive. I don’t know how I feel about that. I know that my ambivalence makes me sad.

The fire is 60% contained. Erika finds soot in the downstairs bathroom sink. Matches lit below a spoon to heat heroin leave soot. We learned this when he was sixteen. That was six years ago. Now it makes me feel hollow. I feel shallow. My emotions too weak to make it to the surface.
I wonder if the LAFD will extinguish the wildfire before my son extinguishes his. I wonder how it will make me feel. To contemplate my son’s death, forces me to face what I put my mother through.

“Hey Ma... yeah it’s me... I’m fine...” I’m on the cell driving across Los Feliz. I don’t tell her about her grandson or my feelings. I carry my own water. “Boys are good... I just called to tell you I’m sorry for every time I made you worry if I was going to die.” She laughs and thanks me. She tells me a story I’ve heard before.

We are on the beach, I am seven or eight, I have an orange towel around my neck, like superman’s cape. I start climbing a sandstone cliff. My mother watches as the little boy scampers up higher and higher. He is too high for her to catch if he falls. He is too high for her to help. She has two choices, scream up and tell him to come down, or turn away and not watch his daredevil climb. She turns her gaze out to the water and prays, God, this is Jane, please watch over my boy. He’s in your hands now.

Jared is 6, he and I are in Joshua Tree. He wants to climb a rock cliff. We do. Both of us fearless. Both of us aware we are sharing something very special. On top of the rocky spire is a flat tabletop rock. Jared looks out over the valley. We are over a hundred feet in the air. “I’m so glad Mom isn’t here!” He screams, tiny fists pump over his head.

I am 50. I miss that little boy who is so much like his father.
I am 50 and the fire is still burning in Los Angeles.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Tattoo And A Review Featuring Noir Nation 2

Sam, our apprentice at Malefic Tattoos (also my daughter) recently got her Chris Cornell portrait worked on by Fabien. While getting tattooed, Sam enjoyed some stories from Noir Nation: International Journal of Crime Fiction 2 on the iPad, which incidentally is Noir Nation's tattoo issue. It contains not only some great crime fiction but an interesting essay by Tom Vater on the history of tattooing in Thailand, as well as some photos of tattoos.

One of Sam's favourite stories was Thomas Pluck's "Tiger Mother". She really liked the ass-kicking mama in the story. Speaking of ass-kicking mama's, I just happen to have a story in this collection myself called "Mama's boy". The mother in that story who lives only in the memory of it's main character was one serious ass-kicker. But not in the good sense.

Paul Calderon's intense and compelling story "Primitive Grace" was a fav of mine in this collection. Liked too that it took place in Toronto. The main character gets herself in a whole heap of trouble trying to unload some hot goods in china town.

Still a ways to go on this tattoo before it's complete but already looking pretty amazing. Fabien specializes in portrait tattoos so if you're looking for an artist skilled in this area check out his work at Malefic Tattoos.

In the mean time pick up Noir Nation 2 on Amazon. It's a pretty cool fusion of noir short stories and tattooing. Just get it because it's awesome.

Oh yes, almost forgot, for all you ink maniacs check out Coloured Folk Invade Downtown Toronto