THE PAST YEAR:
Last year, through the support of fantastic people like you, I was able to release the first five books on the Broken River lineup: The Least of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones, Peckerwood by Jedidiah Ayres, Street Raised by Pearce Hansen, Gravesend by William Boyle, and XXX Shamus by Red Hammond. Since then, Broken River has maintained a relatively steady schedule throughout the year, releasing 2-3 books per quarter, for a current total of 15. We've done everything from Michael Kazepis' breakout crime drama Long Lost Dog of It, to Cameron Pierce's masterpiece Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon, to David James Keaton's colossal and hilarious The Last Projector. Here are all the covers, in all of their glory. You can take a peek at the first eleven books with this handy, totally free sampler!
The books have received praise from authorial titans and review juggernauts alike. From Tom Franklin and Megan Abbott to The Los Angeles Review of Books and Electric Literature, it feels like every corner of the literary world has had nothing but nice things to say about our project. And that brings me joy.
In the spirit of Broken River's reckless and headlong rush into literary scene, we are trying something special, risky, and huge for the first quarter of 2015. We're going to put out a dozen books on the same day. Because it's happening in March, I named it March Madness, because I am never lax in making an easy joke. For some presses, that's not a huge deal. For a scrappy little indie running on ramen noodles and passion, that is a massive undertaking. Usually they'd be released three to a quarter over the course of the year. But I've got my summer and fall slots filled, and I want to get these books to you now. So why do them all at once? Ideally, what I'd like to see happen would be a crossover effect, in which folks who come to the Madness looking for one or two authors come away finding ten more that they love. Is this realistic? We won't know until we try. And on my end, I can say that every book is a winner. I'm consistently floored by the level of talent that knocks on my door (or you know, sends me an e-mail) every single day. These are the cream of the crop. Every single one.
I've enlisted four heroes to help me on this journey. Michael Kazepis, he of the phenomenal Long Lost Dog of It, will be piloting the new King Shot Press imprint of BRB. Michael is a fantastic author and a keen judge of quality. After reading the bizarro kick-in-the-face Trashland a Go-Go, and seeing the incredible job Constance Ann Fitzgerald did with her limited-edition box-set of zines (by seven different talented women), I knew that she had both the control of the word and the eye for talent necessary to run her own imprint. I have my complete faith placed in these two individuals. And they will do wonders. On the Broken River end, I enlisted historical novelist and painter Alan Clark, who is something of a legend, to assist me in the editing of the noir mind-floop On the Black. Finally, I got Wonderland-Award winning author and wearer of great clothing Brian Allen Carr to edit Robert Paul Moreira's debut collection, Scores. That's a team, right there.
But the books! You want to hear about the books. We can do that. Allow me to present the rogue's gallery of Broken River Books' 2015 March Madness:
BROKEN RIVER BOOKS:
Death Don't Have No Mercy by William Boyle
Boyle's debut Gravesend was one of the breakout hits of the original Broken River launch. His second offering is a short story collection following the lost souls of the Gravesend neighborhood he portrayed so vividly in his debut. Heavy drinking and bad decisions follow, in the fine noir tradition, but Boyle has always had a knack for digging deeper, and finding the beating heart of even his most unredeemable characters.
On the Black by Ed Dinger
A septuagenarian with dementia comes to in a room. There's a dead body on the floor, a gun in his hand, and a woman telling him she's his granddaughter. He's placed post-it notes all over a sofa, tiny notes, obscure clues. Will he be able to think quickly enough to remember his past and solve the murder? This, Dinger's first novel, is a unique and powerful crime drama.
Scores by Robert Paul Moreira
South Texas is becoming the go-to place for a certain kind of fiction. Plainspoken, effortlessly poetic, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny (see the opener, "Dick Tea"), Moreira's very first short story collection evokes a sense of place and emotion reminiscent of a Scott McClanahan or a Brian Allen Carr (who happened to edit this one). Like I said, there's something about the South. I'm beginning to wonder if the heat just strips away all the fat of the prose, leaving only bone.
The Blind Alley by Jake Hinkson
Hinkson is renowned for his hard-hitting crime fiction (Hell on Church Street is a personal favorite of mine), but he also happens to be an encyclopedia of all things film noir. After reading a truckload of his essays in various spots all over the web, I asked him if he'd like to collect those bad boys into a collection. And he did, and god bless him. This is a masterpiece of noir scholarship, a book that led Anthony-Award-winning writer Ed Gorman to dub Hinkson "The Roger Ebert of Film Noir."
Will the Sun Ever Come Out Again? by Nate Southard
In this collection of novellas, Southard melds the heartfelt brilliance of his crime work and the sinister and downright disturbing nature of his horror novels in a fire of wicked wordsmithery. Southard has a way of getting into the characters and really bringing them to the surface, even when they're cannibalizing each other and opening portals to worlds of Things That Should Not Be Seen. Featuring an introduction by cosmic horror maestro Laird Barron.
Visions by Troy James Weaver
A hypnotic descent from childhood to adulthood. A boy sees angels, finds love, loses it, and becomes heartbreakingly aware of the world around him. Using a dreamy prose that calls to mind the films of Harmony Korine, Weaver crafts a deft and disturbing portrait of the young life of a David Koresh-like cult figure.
The Principle by J David Osborne
Two hunters come across a bag of money in the woods, a dead drop for two local low-life meth cooks. They take the money. Pretty typical noir setup, right? In this script, however, the money is never found. Instead, we follow the fallout as one of the two cooks just can't let go of that stolen money, despite the fact that another drop is coming along next week.
As I mentioned above, Broken River is proud to announce two new imprints! The first is Ladybox Books, run by Constance Ann Fitzgerald, author of Trashland a Go-Go:
The first two books are:
Jigsaw Youth by Tiffany Scandal
"Lose your best friend because you finally Came Out. Spend days driving aimlessly because there’s nothing to do. Serve your rapist breakfast because you need your job. Fall asleep to gunshots and sirens because that’s the only sense of home you’ve ever known. Hold hands with ghosts. Your life is in pieces, but you can’t be broken. Wipe off the blood. Tired of being told who to be, what to wear, how to act and who to fuck. Break the rules and learn fast how to never get caught. All you need is nothing, but you’re happy with your car, guitar and camera. Throwing around polaroids of tits like they’re money, you swap stories about adventures and realize that we’re all running away from something."
Watch the trailer for Jigsaw Youth here.
The Pulse between Dimensions and the Desert by Rios de la Luz
A grandmother builds a time machine out of the trinkets she's collected throughout the years. A vigilante woman in Juarez cuts off a bus driver's ear. Wolf spirits prowl. In these stories, de la Luz explores the fantastic in order to mine the deeply personal. Every single story in this collection is packed with power and feeling.
KING SHOT PRESS:
Michael Kazepis, author of Long Lost Dog of It and the upcoming mixtape novel Nothing Crown, is heading up King Shot Press.
The first three books are:
Killer &Victim by Chris Lambert
"Alexander, the first crowd-sourced city, has come to rival NYC as the premier metropolis in America. It's known as The Paradise City, the first step of a new era. But tonight: A haunting art performance. A killer's quest for redemption. And a photo shoot in a field set aflame. These plant in Alexander seeds of chaos that, when they blossom, will see paradise tearing itself apart." Chris Lambert runs the movie review website Film Colossus, and this first novel's strength of voice is reminiscent of Don DeLillo.
Strategies Against Nature by Cody Goodfellow
Aging punks recapture the greatest show of their youth through barbaric rituals. The lone survivor of a hellish Interstate pile-up follows an otherworldly sound to its source. A father desperate to cure his daughter’s condition uncovers a multinational corporation’s unspeakable plan for solving world hunger. In these eleven stories, Cody Goodfellow explores the bizarre and the deeply human, using the kaleidoscopic language only he is capable of.
Leverage by Eric Nelson
Somewhere between where men and women seek red-eyed revenge and rolls in the hay lay the characters in Leverage, from the farm roads of mid-60’s Texas to contemporary suburban New Jersey. As each of them wander in the pursuit of happiness and peace of mind, the American dream is made lucid at a fever pitch where schlub is king and the sun shines on a dog’s ass from dusk until dawn.
You can watch the trailer for Leverage at Vol. 1 Brooklyn here.
As an extra add-on, you can acquire this phenomenal t-shirt by artist extraordinaire Nick Gucker, featuring King Shot's mascot, Shithead!
It is important to stay moving in this industry. It feels that if you stop for even a moment, you might drown. I wrote about that struggle in a blog post here. This March Madness campaign is designed to bring Broken River, its partners, its writers, and its readers into the next stage of development. We must continue to grow and push ourselves. The community has been overwhelmingly supportive, and it's because of them that I'm even still doing this a year later. Thank you so much for everything you do. I hope you enjoy these books.
First of all, holy cow! You guys really showed up for this thing. I am eternally grateful and humbled by your response. You know what this means: WE CAN DO STRETCH GOALS!
$10,000 - We will pay a pro-rate of 5 cents per word for the first ever Broken River Annual, a book-sized "magazine" of short stories, essays, and film criticism. This has been a goal of mine since the beginning: to get authors what they deserve.
ALSO: if we hit that $10k stretch goal, every single contributor will receive an e-copy of Edie & the Low-Hung Hands by Brian Allen Carr, absolutely free. We're calling it "The 13th Warrior" reward.
Risks and challenges
The risks involved are the same risks I've faced since I've started this press. It will be a challenge to fulfill all of these orders, as it will be a lot of time at the post office. Other than that, the work has already been done, and the books are ready to go.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)