Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary – Only Fools Fall in Love

Whoever would have thought that Hunter S. Thompson had a soft, sensitive side, a deeply emotional side, pained by loneliness? The Rum Diary is a love story, the only love story Thompson ever wrote, and in my opinion, it’s his best work. Love without romance is not easy to pull off. Sex without romance is a piece of cake, which is what we usually get in dick lit. But The Rum Diary isn’t porno. There’s not much graphic sex in this book, just a bit at the end, by which time you’re aching for it. This is a love story. Continue reading Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary – Only Fools Fall in Love

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Hack Writing 101: The Lost Meat Spear Manuscript

My Brief Career Writing Porn Novels for Greenleaf Classics

It’s a dirty story
of a dirty man
and his clinging wife
doesn’t understand

—  “Paperback Writer,” 1966 (Lennon-McCartney)

I started my writing career in the early 70s, writing primarily fiction—pseudonymous and anonymous two-cents-a-word stuff. Mostly, I wrote porn novels, but also short stories for the women’s romance/confession mags—“My Husband Ran Off with the Babysitter”—that sort of stuff, and occasionally short stories for the cheapo men’s mags. Continue reading Hack Writing 101: The Lost Meat Spear Manuscript

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Quote of the Day, Hunter S. Thompson

I sat there a long time and thought about a lot of things. Foremost among them was the suspicion that my strange and ungovernable instincts might do me in before I had a chance to get rich. No matter how much I wanted all those things that I needed money to buy, there was some devilish current pushing me off in another direction—toward anarchy and poverty and craziness. That maddening delusion that a man can lead a decent life without hiring himself out as a Judas Goat.

—  Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary

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The Grifters by Jim Thompson – Robbers and Robbers

Jim Thompson is regarded in literary circles as a master of noir fiction. His books are published by Random House and many of them are available in hardback editions. It didn’t used to be that way.

The Grifters was first published in 1963 and I first read it in 1963. I got it off a rack in a dime store. The book was not what we call today a “trade paperback,” which is a larger format than the standard pocket-size pulp paperback, generally a book that is judged to have some literary merit; no, this was a pulp paperback, which at that time probably sold for 75 cents. I believe all of Thompson’s novels initially came out as pulp fiction. Read ’em and throw ’em away.

Continue reading The Grifters by Jim Thompson – Robbers and Robbers

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Quote of the Day, Kurt Vonnegut

Where do I get my ideas from? You might as well have asked that of Beethoven. He was goofing around in Germany like everybody else, and all of a sudden this stuff came gushing out of him.

It was music.

I was goofing around like everybody else in Indiana, and all of a sudden stuff came gushing out. It was disgust with civilization.

— Kurt Vonnegut, Armageddon in Retrospect

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Secrets of a Winner (a short story) by Michael Konik

Secrets of a Winner, from Becoming Bobby by Michael Konik

Until someone actually hands you $602,400 in cash, you can’t quite understand how special you feel. Let me tell you: Pretty special.

The money doesn’t weigh much. Ten bricks of $10,000 in $100 bills for each 100K. And then 24 hundreds in a paper clip. You keep feeling like there should be more, like perhaps they forgot the rest. But after you count it five or six times, it finally hits you: $602,400. In cash. Continue reading Secrets of a Winner (a short story) by Michael Konik

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Dick-lit Tracy – Here Goes Nuthin’

I was sitting in my office late one night, staring at the pile of bills stacked up on my desk, wondering if I’d ever see another payday.

In walked a tall blonde in a short skirt.

“Mr. Snyder?” she said. “I need help.” Her lipstick was red. Her eyes were blue. Her voice was like maple syrup dripping down the side of a stack of flapjacks.

“It’s my husband,” she said. “I think he’s a vampire.”

A vampire? I can do vampires. I’m a write-aholic. I can write anything—for money. Continue reading Dick-lit Tracy – Here Goes Nuthin’

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American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – Pervert or Prophet?

I read this book the way I watch grizzly slasher films. I squint my eyes so they’re barely open and quickly scan over the gruesome parts, trying not to comprehend too much, but for some godawful reason, I’m unable to just turn the page and move on to the next scene. Bret Easton Ellis will be remembered for this book—one of the strangest “horror comedies” ever to spew from a mind more twisted than Edgar Allan Poe’s, more macabre than H.P. Lovecraft’s, and more harrowing than Stephen King’s. With American Psycho, Ellis raised the bar for thriller writers.

Allow me to reproduce here just a few sentences of a scene that goes on for a number of pages. WARNING: I’m not joking. Continue reading American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – Pervert or Prophet?

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Chad Kultgen’s The Average American Male – What Salinger Couldn’t Say

This novel by Chad Kultgen reminds me more than any other book of J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. The main difference is that The Average American Male is simply more honest about the way young guys think about sex. I’m sure just about every guy who reads The Average American Male starts cracking up almost immediately because he relates to the way the narrator’s mind works, mentally undressing every attractive female he sees and imagining raunchy sex acts. It may be a slight exaggeration of the “average” American male’s mind—granted:  most men don’t masturbate ten times a day—but the mental activity itself is not that far from average. This really is how guys think, all guys—I suspect even gay guys think like this, except that their fantasies are about men instead of women.

Continue reading Chad Kultgen’s The Average American Male – What Salinger Couldn’t Say

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TOM WAITS GETS LOST IN TRANSLATION

Scarlett Johansson sings
Tom Waits: Singin’ in the Pain…

After posting my review of Bukowski’s Post Office on Monday, I became curious about what average readers were saying about Bukowski these days, so I went to goodreads to check out the reader reviews. One interesting thread started when a reader posted a comment that reading Bukowski always made her think of Tom Waits. The thread went on for some time as many others agreed.

I’ve long been a Tom Waits fan and just reading the reviews made me want to listen to one of his old albums. Looking through my CD rack, I had to laugh when I came upon “Anywhere I Lay My Head,” a CD I’d purchased a couple years ago and had forgotten about. Continue reading TOM WAITS GETS LOST IN TRANSLATION

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