Sam the Thug hits double digits

My crime fiction character, Sam the Thug, with a last name I’ve forgotten, celebrated a milestone this October when his tenth short adventure appeared in Guilty Crime Story Flash. It’s great to immediately connect with a character and have that character connect with readers! I love writing someone with rough edges, a worn-down soul, and only a few morals. For Sam, murder is out of the question. As for other crimes, it all depends. Usually it depends on whether his clients can afford his standard fee of two grand.

Sam is a former San Francisco reporter who turned to a life of crime to pay the skyrocketing cost of living in the city. He’s got a couple mouths to feed besides his own, his daughter “Little Sam” and their black cat Satan. The latter Sam acquired in the short story “Stuffing for a Sacrifice,” which appeared December 2020 in Pulp Modern Flash. Sam first appeared in 2019’s Shotgun Honey story, “Cosplayers Shouldn’t Kill.”

Below is a list of where you can read and/or purchase Sam’s complete tales, and look for Sam’s eleventh adventure coming soon. And, perhaps, a novel length adventure in the years to come.

  1. “Cosplayers Shouldn’t Kill” First appearance FREE here
  2. “Kerouac’s Second Scroll” Second appearance PURCHASE here
  3. “The Man with Moist Lips” Third appearance FREE here
  4. “Stuffing for a Sacrifice” Fourth Appearance FREE here
  5. “Art Model Noir” Fifth appearance PURCHASE here  
  6. “Jimi’s Dime Bag” Sixth appearance PURCHASE here
  7. “Write on me, Sam” Seventh appearance FREE here
  8. “A Late-Night Touch of Death” Eighth appearance FREE here
  9. “The Palm Reader of Haight Street: A Halloween Tale” Ninth appearance FREE here
  10. “The Other Sam” Tenth appearance FREE here

Murder & Mayhem in the news

Thanks to KOLD News and Tucson Local Media for featuring my latest nonfiction book, “Murder & Mayhem in Tucson.” And also thank you to Barnes and Noble at the Foothills Mall for having me over for a book signing last week. Look below for a few pics and click here to read the story on my latest book in Tucson Local Media.

Sam the Thug meets a palm reader

What happens when Sam the Thug meets Madam Halo in San Francisco’s Haight Street on Halloween?

Find out in “The Palm Reader of Haight Street: A Halloween Tale” – up now from the fine folks at Punk Noir Magazine.

Read the story free here and happy Halloween!

Monterey Noir available in audiobook

Book one of the Barker Mysteries, “Monterey Noir,” is now available in audiobook from Wordwooze Publishing . Narrator Theo Holland does an outstanding job reading Barker’s first adventures! Click here for the Audible copy!

Book Blurb:

A homeless hero with the crime-solving skills of Sherlock Holmes.

Not every hero lives in a mansion or works from a smoky, hard-boiled office. Enter Barker, a mysterious man with no memory of his past. Ferociously handsome and acutely observant, Barker makes his home under the soggy planks of Old Fisherman’s Wharf along California’s foggy Central Coast. His closest friends are an assortment of stray dogs, ranging from a large Rottweiler to a tiny Shih-Tzu, who live with him. Adventure and intrigue have an uncanny knack for crossing Barker’s path.

In this first entry of the series; Bernie, Barker’s sole human friend, bestows his makeshift home upon the man and his dogs just before dropping dead. It’s up to Barker to honor Bernie’s last wish, to atone for his sins, which doesn’t prove to be an easy task. Meanwhile, forces are at work in other parts of the fog-swept city, which will lead the homeless detective and his dogs to a deadly confrontation in the heart of Monterey Bay itself. ©2020 Deerstalker Editions (P) 2021 Wordwooze Publishing

Murder & Mayhem in Tucson is available now

“Murder & Mayhem in Tucson” is now available online everywhere and throughout the southwest. Featuring true crime and tragedies that helped shape the history of Arizona’s second-largest city, MMT is a thrilling addition to anyone’s nonfiction library! Special thanks to author Tom Pitts for writing the foreword.

Buy from Antigone Books here.

Barnes and Noble here.

Amazon here.

And don’t forget I’ll be doing a signing on Saturday, October 9th, at the Barnes and Noble at the Tucson Foothills Mall location on the west side of town from 1 to 3 p.m. Details here.

Watch the book trailer below:

Murder and Mayhem in Tucson reviewed in Punk Noir

My fifth nonfiction book, “Murder & Mayhem in Tucson,” will be available everywhere Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. Punk Noir Magazine had a few nice words to say about the new book, which features tales of death and destruction of Tucson, Arizona, and the surrounding area. Read their review here!

Copies for the book can be found locally at Antigone Books in downtown Tucson, Barnes and Noble locations in Tucson and beyond, as well as online here.

I’ll be signing books, in person, at the west side Barnes & Noble location from 1-3 p.m. October 9th. Learn more here.

BOOK SIGNING: Barnes and Noble in Tucson

Murder & Mayhem in Tucson will be available everywhere Sept. 27th, 2021.

I’ll be at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers west side mall location for a book signing event on Saturday, October 9th, from 1-3 p.m. Copies of my latest book, “Murder & Mayhem in Tucson,” will be on hand for the event! Hope to see you there!

Look here for details on the event. The store is located at Foothills Mall, 7325 N. LaCholla Blvd. Ste 100 in Tucson, Arizona. Call them at 520-742-6402.

OUT NOW: 100 Word Horror – Rock Band

New from Ghost Orchid Press, with my drabble (100 word) piece, “Dick Done Hung Himself, is their anthology “100 Word Horror: Rock Band.”

Read the blurb below and order a copy here!

Grunge, pop, dance… Whatever your genre, music can be a huge source of inspiration for writing. For this anthology of Hundred Word Horror stories, we challenged a band of talented writers from around the globe to write a horror story in just one hundred words. The only stipulation? It must be inspired by a song.

Here you’ll find cursed rock stars, demonic records, and deadly one-hit wonders. Wherever possible, we’ve listed the song inspiration along with the story, so you can sing along to your heart’s content.

Just be warned: you’ll never listen to these songs the same way again.

REVIEW AND INTERVIEW: I’ll Pray When I’m Dying with Stephen J. Golds

“Love Like Bleeding Out With an Empty Gun in Your Hand” and “I’ll Pray When I’m Dying” by Stephen J. Golds. Pictured with Fido the Saguaro.

Broken people in a broken system.

Could describe us all. Each of us are damaged goods in some way. Definitely sums up the cast of characters in the historical, noir-injected book, “I’ll Pray When I’m Dying,” the latest from author Stephen J. Golds. “Broken” is a word that deftly describes our lead protagonists, Ben Hughes and his father, William–two compelling and dark people.

Ben’s a detective with the Boston Police Department circa 1940s and not the kind of cop you’d want to stick a medal on. He suffers from a profound case of obsessive-compulsive-disorder (OCD) and won’t shy off from putting a bullet in a sucker’s head. He works vice and, on the sly, moonlights for the local Boston mob. Through Ben’s father, readers learn how Ben became so broken. Kidnapped kids, however, provide a chance for Ben to prove he can, perhaps, fix himself.  

I’ll Pray When I’m Dying can be read as an engaging, and violent, standalone novel or as part of a trilogy of books that include “Always the Dead” and “Say Goodbye When I’m Gone.” While the characters may be a bit busted up, there’s a beauty in their lives and an elegance to the prose. Nothing needs fixed there. It’s damn well worth the time.

Read my interview with Golds below and get your fill at his website here. Snatch a copy of the book here.

WHITEHURST: How would you describe I’ll Pray When I’m Dying to the guy standing behind you in the checkout line at the grocery store?

GOLDS: More than a crime story, it’s the story of two men, father, and son, battling their own demons and mental disorders. Both taking different paths. The crime setting is just that, the background.

“I’ll Pray When I’m Dying” by Stephen J. Golds
Red Dog Press (June 27, 2021)

WHITEHURST: The book features both Boston and London. What inspired those locations for the stories? And what inspired the stories to begin with?

GOLDS: I’ll Pray When I’m Dying is actually a standalone novel but part of a trilogy. In chronological order – I’ll Pray When I’m Dying, Always the Dead (rereleased by Red Dog Press in September 2021) and Say Goodbye When I’m Gone. The trilogy spans 1926-1966 and takes place in a variety of locations including Hawaii and Los Angeles. I wanted to write three standalone novels that read as one long riff on the Criminal American Dream. I’m fascinated by Boston, New York and Los Angeles crime non-fiction, so not a lot of people know that the novels are in fact all semi-fictional and based on real people. I put a lot of myself into the trilogy and that’s really what inspired them. Say Goodbye When I’m Gone is about a father’s love for his daughter. Always the Dead is basically about a toxic relationship and PTSD and I’ll Pray When I’m Dying is really about my own battles with OCD.

WHITEHURST: The book has some bloody ends, many at the end of a gun. How are you with a gun?

GOLDS: I’m not great. Maggie’s draws. My father was a trained sniper in the military, but the apple fell pretty far from the tree. The last recent time, I shot anything was a .45 and an AK47 at a shooting range in Saigon, Viet Nam which was fun.

WHITEHURST: You’ve got a few books under your belt. What’s on the horizon?

GOLDS: Now that I’ve finished the trilogy and a crime novella, I’m looking to jump genres and put my writing chops to the test writing other things in other styles. Watch this space.

Stephen J. Golds

WHITEHURST: What drew you into the violent world of crime fiction?

GOLDS: It’s a perfect storm of personal things from my past and my interest in non-fiction crime stories.

WHITEHURST: What authors have been an influence in your life? Is there one you recommend to everyone who’ll listen?

GOLDS: I would have to say Charles Bukowski. He taught me that you can write about ugly things in a beautiful way. I’d recommend Ham on Rye to everyone. He had soul. Something a lot of writers and authors are lacking these days in my opinion.

WHITEHURST: What’s your typical writing day look like?

GOLDS: I don’t really have a writing schedule. I just write when I feel like it. But when I feel like it, I really feel like it and will blast through a first draft of a novel in a few months.

WHITEHURST: Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what are your top five hits?

GOLDS: I like to write in complete silence. Maybe I’m not smart enough to focus on two things at once. But one of my hobbies in collecting old Soul records. No Music, No Life kind of guy.  I’m a big fan of Sam Cooke, Sam, and Dave, also enjoy The Animals, The Clash, Rolling Stones, The Smiths, and Elvis.

“Say Goodbye When I’m Gone” By Stephen J. Golds
Red Dog Press (October 24, 2020)

WHITEHURST: What’s one thing your readers may not know about you?

GOLDS: I have a lot of hobbies besides writing and reading. Big into tattoos, surfing, skateboarding, billiards, collecting old stuff. I’m also bilingual.

WHITEHURST: And finally, any advice for those interested in criminal writing?

GOLDS: All ideas have already been done to death in the crime genre so try and write something a little different. Think out of the box or make your writing about something you care about deeply like mental health or homelessness or something along those lines. Also be honest in your writing. Most of all, be honest with yourself.

Stephen’s bio:

Stephen J. Golds was born in North London, U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life.

He writes primarily in the noir and dirty realism genres and is the co-editor of Punk Noir Magazine.

He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling the world, boxing, and listening to old Soul LPs. His books are Say Goodbye When I’m Gone, I’ll Pray When I’m Dying, Always the Dead, Poems for Ghosts in Empty Tenement Windows I Thought I Saw Once, Cut-throat & Tongue-tied, Bullet Riddled & Gun Shy and the story and poetry collection Love Like Bleeding Out With an Empty Gun in Your Hand.