Soft Kiss, Hard Death, full squirm

I made an American squirm

And it felt so right…

Nick Lowe, American Squirm

This is going to be a fun one.  Way back in very early January, I got a late Christmas present.  Ed Kurtz, author of the fine and crazy gory Bleed, (which I reviewed here), shot me an email.

He’d created this character, Sam Truman, a PI in an unnamed city closely modelled on New York (though it can also look like LA at times) around 1960 or so.  He’s disgraced after shooting a man who he thought was waving a weapon at him. Turns out it was a dildo, leading to the loss of his PI license and constant abuse by the cops of the city.

Or to put it more succinctly, from the SamTruman.com site:

Sam Truman is a disgraced and unlicensed former private investigator without a proverbial pot to piss in.

So now he takes fringe cases.  The ones no decent PI would take.  Or the cases that his clients don’t have the money to pay a real PI for.  Either way, they always take a weird turn.

So, the esteemed Mr. Kurtz, having read and apparently enjoyed Vanishing Hope asks me if I’d be interested in writing one of the Sam Truman mysteries.

Well, let’s see.

  • I tried writing one mystery about a year before and it was a dismal failure.
  • I know nothing about PIs beyond what I’ve seen on television.
  • I was born in 1962, so my memories of 1960 are non-existent.
  • It takes place in New York.  I’m a Canadian boy.

So, of course I said yes.  I didn’t even have a damn story idea.

Yes I was living in a wonderful world

Everything was fine

Nick Lowe, American Squirm

The good thing was, just a week before, during the Christmas holidays, I’d compiled all my story ideas as I was going to write 500 words a day in 2012, come hell or high water.  So I went over all the ideas with an eye toward what could be thrown back to 1960.  And then I found one.  A story I’d started but never completed called Out.

It’s a nasty story, let me tell you.  The original concerned an on-the-road sales guy who picks up a strangely alluring hitchhiker with some…disastrous results.  I did a little literary magic and presto change-o, it became a Sam Truman Mystery.

I started writing the story Jan 21, attempting to double my 500 word/day output to 1000 and 21 days later, on Feb 10, I finished the first draft.  And I will admit right now that there was a couple of awkward moments.

Tried to mate in a horrible state

Deep, deep into the night

Nick Lowe, American Squirm

The first was when I tried to Google a fact in the story.  I’ll just indicate that it involved certain…elastic properties of a specific area of the human body.  My son came down as a page loaded and immediately expressed concerns over my choice of websites.  Okay, he referred to me as “a sick freak.”

The second squirm-worthy episode came when I came to actually write the scene that involved the research I’d been doing above.  I don’t know about you, but squirming in a chair while trying to compose a tense scene is…not easy.

Anyway, I finished off the story, then sat on it for a much shorter period of time than I normally prefer.  I usually like to let it sit for a solid couple of months.  This time, I gave it ten days, then three days of edits and sent it off to Ed for approval.  Shaking in my freaking boots all the while.

Ed came back singing my praises.  There was a little more editing to be done, but about 80% of the novella’s first draft, which I’m quite proud of.

The first Sam Truman Mystery, Catch My Killer, written by Ed Kurtz, involves Sam getting involved with a corpse reanimated by a dead woman, more walking dead, and, ultimately, an army from Hell.

The second, The Last Invasion, finds Sam searching for a lost girl and instead running into the beginnings of an alien invasion.

Then comes mine, Soft Kiss, Hard Death.  And, while admitting to perhaps a slight bias, I think the cover artist, Joshua Hansen outdid himself.  Seriously.

The plan is for Abattoir to release a new novella every six weeks, so after mine, the next one should drop somewhere around August 15.  As well, for those who like to hold the actual paper copy in their hands, an omnibus edition will be coming around the end of the year, likely collecting the first three or four mysteries.

This is my second novella to be published (the first being Vanishing Hope through Burning Effigy <plug plug>) my second publication this year, after my short story Stealing Corey appeared in the Whispered Words anthology (through Piquant Press) in late May.  I’m crazy excited as this is a whole different direction for me.

I hope you like it.

As always, if you do like it, I’d love to hear from you.  If you don’t like it, I’d love to hear from you even more.  I’m always interested in what my readers think, good or bad, so don’t hold back.  Let me know.

**UPDATE: It’s out now and you can buy it here.

7 thoughts on “Soft Kiss, Hard Death, full squirm

  1. That’s awesome!!!
    Have you written a blog about receiving the initial email from Ed Kurtz?? I feel like that would make for a pretty interesting read.
    Very cool how this all came to be.
    Looking forward to reading it!! :D

  2. This is six ways of awesome! I love the concept of Sam Truman Mysteries. Reminds me of the Ellery Queen series. I love the abrupt twist, where anything is possible. Bringing the pulps back!

    What great covers too!

    As a fan of paper, will you be bringing this to a WCDR meeting?

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