3 Netflix Recommendations

Here’s a quick look at a movie and two television shows Beth and I watched on Netflix (and enjoyed!) recently.

Swerve, an Australian crime film:

Halt and Catch Fire, an AMC show about creating computers in the early to mid 1980s.

The Lava Field, a show about an apparent suicide in Iceland. (Although the only trailer I could find is subtitled in Dutch, the U.S. Netflix version is subtitled in English. Also, it looks like this is called The Cliff in some places — and the four episodes currently on Netflix appear to be season two, although they tell a self-contained story.)

Broke Hack Mountain

broke_hack_mountainSix writers. One cabin. Very limited cell service.

What could possibly go wrong?

Rob Hart organized a writing retreat over the long Fourth of July weekend, christened it Broke Hack Mountain, and it was extremely productive. Rob invited Todd Robinson, Jon McGoran, Josh Bazell, Dan Krokos, and me to come along, and we spent a ton of time pounding away on our keyboards. And eating. And making fire. And eating. And snoring.

Rob’s summary of the weekend is great: Broke Hack Mountain: A Recap, and Tips for Planning Your Own Writing Retreat

Extra thanks to my wife Beth, who sent me to the cabin loaded up with fruit salad, grapes, bananas, and more. She saved me from a diet of exclusively bacon and steak!

N@B in Queens was Amazing

Alex Segura and Scott Adlerberg know how to throw a party.

Noir at the Bar in Queens was amazing. I’m still pinching myself to make sure that’s really me in this photo of outstanding authors:

Noir at the Bar in Queens - June 2016

Left to right, that’s Alex Segura, the nearly hidden William Boyle, Angel Luis Colón, Jill Block, Lawrence Block, Sarah Weinman, Scott Adlerberg, me (nearly fading into the background), Jen Conley, Thomas Pluck, and Rob Hart. Lyndsay Faye is seated in front of the gang, and I think Jason Starr had to leave before the photo was taken.

Everyone was on their game — so many great stories were told! And the venue (The Beast Next Door) was perfect. If you get a chance to attend a Noir at the Bar event in your area, don’t miss it.

Noir at the Bar - Queens - June 2016

“A Decent Hand” in Spanish

Cuentos En EspanolMy short story “A Decent Hand” — about a Poker player in Wilmot, South Dakota, in February 1884 — is now available in Spanish.

In fact, this is the first publication anywhere for “A Decent Hand” since it has not yet been published in English. (It was accepted, but the publication ended operations before “A Decent Hand” was published.)

Read it here: Una Mano Decente

Translation by Carolina Maria Russo-Holding. “A Decent Hand” is my 16th story available in Spanish. All of the translations are available here.

Noir at the Bar in Queens: June 26

Noir at the Bar - Queens - June 2016Later this month (Sunday, June 26, to be exact), I’ll be reading at NOIR AT THE BAR in Queens, New York.

The lineup is… intimidating.

MWA Grand Master Lawrence Block.

That one name is enough reason to make your plans right now. But the lineup of amazing authors continues…

Jason Starr. Sarah Weinman. Lyndsay Faye. Rob Hart. Alex Segura. Julia Dahl. Jill Block. William Boyle. Scott Adlerberg. Thomas Pluck.

Plus (as if you need more reasons to join us), my old Shotgun Honey buddies Angel Luis Colón and Jen Conley will be there, too! (Jen’s new book CANNIBALS is out now and getting great reviews.)

N@BQ5 (super-helpful acronym) will take place at The Beast Next Door, 42-51 27th St., Long Island City, NY. The fun starts on Sunday, June 26, at 6 p.m. And it’s free.

I hope to see you there!

Jessica Zempel Wins First James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship

Zempel Family at Sodak ShoresJessica Zempel, a student at Wilmot High School in South Dakota, is the winner of the first annual James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to graduates of Wilmot High School who display an aptitude in creative writing by authoring a short story.

Jessica’s story, “Love, Lust, and Death,” was chosen as the winner by novelist Jon McGoran.

Set in Quedlinburg, Germany, “Love, Lust, and Death” is about a serial killer and a woman who falls in love with him and tries to reform him.

Earlier this month, Beth and I traveled to Wilmot to present Jessica with her $250 prize during Wilmot High School’s Academic Awards Program. The night before the program, we enjoyed a great dinner at Sodak Shores with Jessica, her parents, and her English teacher, Danielle DeGreef.

Jon McGoranJessica also received an autographed copy of Jon’s latest novel, the excellent DUST UP and an autographed copy of THUGLIT #16 featuring my short story “It Bothers Me,” set in Wilmot.

A special thanks to Wilmot High School principal Larry Hulscher for all of his assistance and to English teacher Danielle DeGreef for encouraging so many students to submit stories.

You can learn more about the scholarship, including the reason it goes to a student at Wilmot High School, right here.


If you’d like to make a tax-deductible (at least in the U.S.) contribution to the James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship Fund, the South Dakota Community Foundation makes it easy.

You can contribute with a credit card online. (If you contribute online, SDCF covers all transaction fees. There’s no cost to you or the fund.)

Or you can contribute by sending a check made payable to “James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship Fund” to:

South Dakota Community Foundation
P.O. Box 296
Pierre, SD 57501

No contribution is too small. Thank you!