A short post today, first up being my newest rendition of a very old song called “Jack of Diamonds.”
In case the embed below doesn’t work, here’s the youtube link.
Now here’s a piece of art by my pal the actor Gary Warner Kent. It’s called “Tusitala,” and starts with the line: “I Thought I Saw Jesus This Morning.” I love this and I think you’ll love it too.
Here’s the youtube link in case the embed below doesn’t work.
Next you should check out the film project on Gary Kent called “Love & Other Stunts” which is in the fundraising mode now on indieGoGo.com. Check it out here and I think you will be glad you did. It’s a real worthy artistic-type cause.
Gary Kent, tough guy, cool cat
The pitch starts off thusly:
The most interesting man in the world
I was at a writing conference in the late ’90s when I met a white-haired hustler with a Burt Reynolds mustache and a knowing grin. He introduced himself as Gary Kent and told me about a cult biker film he’d starred in called Satan’s Sadists. That night I tracked down a copy of the film and watched it, then I tracked down Gary and wrote a couple of articles about his unique film career doubling Jack Nicholson and Robert Vaughan, and staging stunts and special effects sequences for notable directors Peter Bogdanovich, Monte Hellman, Richard Rush, Al Adamson and Don Coscarelli for movies including Hell’s Angels On Wheels, Psych-out, Targets, Bubba Ho-tep, and the noir Westerns The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind.
Also check out Gary’s blog. I happened to meet Gary Kent at a screening of “The Cockfighter,” a Monte Hellman film starring Warren Oates and also the late Charles Willeford, who wrote the book and the screenplay, and is one of my favorite writers. This screening also included a showing of one of Hellman’s other films, I forget which one, but it was fabulous. So, anyway, if you meet a real hip guy at a real hip film with all these other associations of cool, you remember. But Gary is a memorable guy who has led an interesting life anyway.
By the way, I hope you viewed yesterday’s post. It includes a video of another blues song I’ve been working on (“High Water Everywhere Part 2″ by Charley Patton) and an admonition for all of you not to buy GRAVE DIGGER BLUES if you feel that you are not hip enough for it, because in fact, it might be TOO WEIRD for you. I’m always looking out for you, see?
GRAVE DIGGER BLUES may in fact be too weird for you. Maybe you’d rather listen to Celine Dion and wear elephant plaid to your high school reunion.
A collage I made with Mata Hari (left) meeting Margaret Atwood (right)
The digital era has given birth to a brave new world for publishing, but who cares about them, what we really care about here are the authors. Some of us are doing great, and a great many of us are, well, wondering what it might take to sell a few books, maybe even quit that detested day job. This thing, which is given many collective names, including E-books, E-publishing, Kindle, Nook, iBook, and so forth, seems to herald a world of new opportunities for some of us writers who have so far not hit The Big Pay Day.
Let’s not get too cynical just yet. Some e-authors out there have tasted success, but it’s still a tough business to get a break in. Even with the help of Twitter, where e-authors can Tweet “Buy my new Kindle novel on Amazon for free…” every five minutes. Or more. I rarely tweet anything like, for example, “Buy the fabulous Blues Deluxe Edition of GRAVE DIGGER BLUES for iPad on iTunes now, or you’re a hopeless nerd” or “Buy GRAVE DIGGER BLUES on Kindle, with its super-weird novella + more than 100 great, sexy photos & graphics right now or DIE,” more than two, maybe three times a day.
Margaret Atwood, who has 367,000 Twitter followers, retweeted me, who has somewhat fewer follower.
Back on December 27, Lois alerted me to this story on NPR that might help me get a leg up on the e-book world market. She heard Margaret Atwood, the Canadian author of best-selling novels The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin, and others, being interviewed about her new novel, Postitron, which is being serialized on byliner.com. By logging onto Byliner, which is free, readers can download new short stories and chapters of serial novels to their digital nightstand to read later, and can also read blogs from various big-name authors and other literary news. Margaret has embraced the new model with a bear-hug, it seems. She’s also got a project on Wattpad called Happy Zombie Sunrise Home, written collaboratively with Naomi Alderman.
And during this interview, Margaret said that she even retweets authors who send her the URL of their own novels. I found this hard to believe, but Lois assured me that that’s what Margaret said. I found the interview, listened again, and sure enough, that’s what she said. So I tweeted Margaret Atwood, who happens to have 367,000+ followers (and I have a somewhat smaller number) and she did it. She retweeted my tweet.
Thank you, Margaret. She is pretty hip, after all. I mean, check out this graphic on her Twitter page.
Margaret Atwood channels her inner Madonna, or is it the other way around?
Bearing that in mind, I thought I should up my game and try to return the favor, so I created the graphic collage that appears at the top of this post, showing the great World War I courtesan and suspected spy Mata Hari meeting Margaret Atwood, the best-selling Canadian author who retweeted my tweet about Grave Digger Blues, which, by the way, you can try a free sample and then perhaps buy (complete with 100+ photos & graphics, a blues soundtrack, select audio chapters + some video) for your iPad on the iTunes/iBookstore, or for Kindle and oodles of other devices on Amazon (novella + 100+ photos & graphics), or the $.99 Bare Bones version (text only, no photos or music) at Smashwords.
So I figured it would be the gentlemanly thing to go ahead and show my appreciation by creating this modest and admittedly rather crude (I don’t have Photoshop, just Apple Preview) collage of two real interesting women. I tweeted the image to Margaret a couple of weeks ago, so I should be hearing from her soon, hopefully around the same time I get the new sales reports showing just how much her retweet did for sales of GRAVE DIGGER BLUES…. the hippest hardboiled apocalyptic detective and jazz novella that’s ever challenged you to… dig it.
Have I mentioned that we’ll be plugging this baby with an E-Book Meet Up at SXSW 2013?
GRAVE DIGGER BLUES may in fact be too weird for you. Maybe you’d rather listen to Celine Dion and wear elephant plaid to your high school reunion.
“Jesse Sublett dazzles in his latest offering, a surreal noir escapade for the Kindle and iPad called The Gravedigger’s Blues. Sublett composed the work using iAuthor which enabled him to embed paintings, collages, photographs and several songs in the iPad version. It makes for a rich, multi-media, multi-sensory experience.
When you open the book you come face to face with a video of the bluesman in dark glasses and a houndstooth coat, singing a mysterious, melancholic tune. The video adds an element of intimacy to the reading experience. We’re all familiar with the standard author photo. Now imagine the photo come to life, and set to music. It’s very cool. There are several other audio-only jazzy-blues songs included in the book which help to set the mood. I particularly liked The Headless Supermodel, a humorous, hip skewering of L.A. vacuity.
Sublett is a gifted visual artist. He includes several photo collages in this work. They are strange, unsettling compositions. I may never recover from the gothic horror of Dick Cheney in drag. Sublett’s paintings have a modernist feel. They are bright, intense things heavy on the boobs.
This e-book is a goody-bag of delights. I found it hard to read the book straight through, but perhaps it isn’t meant to be read that way. Dip into the book, here and there. Hear some songs, see some art and read the book, in sections, to enjoy this wonderful prose stylist, letting loose, experimenting with and stretching the bounds of this exciting new medium- the enhanced e-book.” — Kate Walker, writer, book & music reviews blog
President of the Ex Girlfriends Club.
She’s too good for you.
Why do we dream what we dream?
The above blurb is from an advance copy of Kate Walker’s review of GRAVE DIGGER BLUES for her wordpress blog, and I’m delighted not only by her comments but by the notion of being written about on the same site which writes seriously about Katy Perry (I’ve been a fan ever since the first dose of ear candy from her reached out from the radio and grabbed me) and Daniel Woodrell, the acknowledged master of that sub-genre of crime fiction called country noir.
Things she does to drive me crazy
She said sex was like pizza.
BIG DEAL, XMAS STEAL: To encourage readers to check out GRAVE DIGGER BLUES, all 3 of my Martin Fender novels, plus the short story Moral Hazard, are free in the Amazon Kindle Store through December 26. Alternately, of course, you could do whatever you want to do a Amazon and then quickly go to the Apple iBookstore and get a free sample of the Blues Deluxe Edition for iPad of GRAVE DIGGER BLUES, with music, video and audio chapters, which, sadly, Kindle does not have the technical capacity to deliver. Nor, sadly, do over 99% of my rival authors.
Delfina next morning.
Due to an epic case of Apple OS X corruption on my trusty-not-rusty MacBook Pro, the past week has been one of rebuild-and-restore here at Grave Digger Blues, Incorporated, and I have not been able to finish a new political blog post for my Secession Chronicle page or our cousin, the mighty OpEdNews.com site.
Obviously, as a blatant attempt to keep you returning to this page, I’m offering a selection of original images here, including a few of the aforementioned “heavy on the boobs” original images from moi, your favorite noir author and surrealist blues troubadour. Also this recently discovered video link on Hulu, by which you can enjoy the Biography episode: ATTILA, SCOURGE OF GOD, which I wrote for Biography A&E a few years back. It’s a fairly low budget piece of nonfiction television, but quite informative, I think, and the show was well-received. I’ll write a few notes about it later, in this same space.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Jesse Sublett, your faithful blues & noir correspondent
Your faithful Blue Xmas correspondent, a k a, the Author & Musician, Jesse Sublett
My favorite short comment recently: A Twitter follower of mine wrote: “This guy Jesse Sublett is nuts! But he’s my kind of nut.”
This wild man who crashed into your room, was he a minotaur? Huh? A Ford Taurus? No, man, this cat drove a Buick. (Picasso)
Since I last wrote to you about Grave Digger Blues, my new eBook crime novella for iPad and Kindle, a couple of cool new reviews have come in. Nice comments. See them below ( I’ve also added them to the Grave Digger Bluespage).
This is something really different. Grave Digger Blues is a departure from Jesse Sublett’s excellent books. The Martin Fender series takes the detective novel on a tour through the music demi monde by way of Austin. His memoir, Never the Same Again is as enthralling as any work of fiction and it’s real. Now, he’s trying something new. Grave Digger Blues brings in Sci-fi, a bit of poetry, and art. It’s nothing less than an attempt to re-think the novel for the digital age and it’s really brave. Some sections work better than others, but it’s a good ride. I’m hoping that Sublett plans to take this further, he’s on to something and I want to see where it goes. — Kathleen Maher, writer
The Blues Cat, his blues was epic, like a film noir in real time, all those hard luck songs about trains and cheap whisky, jail, no money and bad women like shrapnel from a bomb embedded in his soul.
Grave Digger Blues is perhaps too gentle a name for Jesse Sublett’s vision of the end of the world as we know it. To sing the blues, you have to have lived the blues. To write about hell on earth, you have to have lived it. Jesse has, and has emerged the stronger and more perceptive for it. Grave Digger Blues showcases his prowess as a writer, songwriter, performer, and graphic artist. I am jealous of precious few writers; Jesse Sublett is one of them. –Richard Zelade, author
Maybe it was revenge for all the things we’d done to her, but Mother Nature wasn’t herself anymore. Nobody was.
I really appreciate this kind of support. If any of you have read the book and enjoyed it, it would be really great if you went to the Grave Digger Blues listing on Amazon and also the listing in iTunes or the iBookstore and give it a rating and write a few lines about it. If you aren’t involved in this kind of publishing, you have no idea how essential it is to have that feedback in order to make any sales. It’s difficult to get the old school media to review eBooks, so eAuthors are very dependent on fans and friends for their positive feedback.
You may already be aware of the cameo appearances in my new new by walking catfish (an oversized mutation of an Asian species, Clarius batrachus, a k a, walking catfish, which have undergone disturbing changes due to radiation in the environment in the last weeks before the end of the world), or I hope you are aware of that, anyway, but it’s possible you might have missed this story about aggressive catfish which I found on NPR yesterday. I’m posting it here for your enlightenment. Ladies and gentlement, I present Krulwich’s nature blog, shining a well-deserved spotlighted PIGEON EATING CATFISH. Or you can just go straight to video, below.
NPR’s Krulwich rightly compared the catfish to orca, the killer whale. Ever seen those big cute panda bear sea mammals come shooting up out of the surf onto the shore to grab and devour a cute little sea lion? It’s quite impressive. Also you may or may not be familiar with the fascinating snakehead catfish (Channa striata, and other related catfish), which can migrate across land from pond to pond. There was a scare about those beasts taking over in the US a couple of years ago. They’re also common in Asia. Strong fighters. Sport fishermen like tussling with them.
Snakeheads are sold in the U.S. both as food in Asian markets and as pets, being prized for their hardiness and aggressive habits. Snakeheads in U.S. waters are generally assumed to be former pets whose owners tired of them and dumped them.
An interestingly put factoid here about the appetite of these boogers, expressed in a cost-benefit ratio from an article posted in 2002.
Snakeheads are sold in the U.S. both as food in Asian markets and as pets, being prized for their hardiness and aggressive habits. A six-inch snakehead that costs $7 will eventually eat up to $8 of goldfish a day.
The nation wrestles with the dark parts of her soul.
You may have noticed that I’ve begun blogging about the Secession craze sweeping the country lately, particularly the darker corners of the Old Confederacy, and the old Lone Star State has been leading the way. Leading the way to Clown Heaven, that is. I find this a very interesting story and I’ve been posting new blogs here and then uploading them to OpEdNews.com, a great progressive news site. You can link directly to those stories at OpEdNews and give them some props, tweet them, like them on Facebook, and various other forms of digital love. The first one was ESCAPE TO CIVIL WAR LAND, published Dec 9, and the second is SECESSION OBSESSION UNABATED.
GRAVE DIGGER BLUES is in the Twittersphere, the Bloggerama, Indieland and everywhere, man. Don’t let Pearl Harbor Day sink your mood. Mix yourself a redhead, put your rowboats up on the La-Z-Boy and dig into this crazy new crime-and-mayhem adventure. I’ll let Indie Author News explain the rest:
Friday, December 07, 2012 New Indie Book Release: Grave Digger Blues (Jesse Sublett)
New Indie Book Release: Grave Digger Blues – Jesse Sublett -
Crime Fiction – set in the near future (November 19, 2012 – 52,000 words plus Bonus Material – more than 100 photos, drawings, and collages)
“Grave Digger Blues is a dark fever dream that’s part noir, part stand-up. Sublett’s writing is as apt to scare the hell out of you as it is to make you die laughing.” – Reed Farrel Coleman, three-time Shamus Award-winning author of Gun Church
Grave Digger Blues is a blast of surreal, post-apocalyptic noir, set during the last weeks of the world. Dual protagonists drive the narrative–The Blues Cat, an itinerant, doomed jazz musician, and Hank Zzybnx, a private detective and damaged war veteran.
It’s a dangerous and strange world, shot through with bizarre beauty and dreamlike weirdness. Grizzly bears and alligators have invaded the cities, walking catfish prowl the exurbs, and the best bar in town was formerly the city Morgue.
A right wing rebellion has wrecked the infrastructure of US, and the planet is wracked by daily earthquakes, bizarre weather and mutated species. Old politicians litter the bars and circuses. Dick Cheney is a drag queen… Newt Gingrich is a security guard at WalMart.
During these hard times, the only profitable work left for a private eye is murder for hire. Hank is exclusive about his clients and only accepts contracts on people who are truly despicable menaces to society. Fortunately, as he puts it, “There’s always some scummy sonofabitch out there who needs killing and somebody willing to pay for it.”
Despite being a hired killer, in this bleak nightmare world, Hank is a sympathetic character, even a poetic figure. He’s haunted by the benevolent ghost of Marilyn Monroe, fragmented memories of the war in Murderstan, and a grifter mother who hated him before he was born.
The Blues Cat is a lady’s man, but constantly being attacked or hounded by disgruntled husbands and neurotic groupies. His body is a road map of scars from the innumerable attempts on his life. He’s followed across the country, from one dive to the next, by a 300 pound thug called The Muffin Man.
“Grave Digger Blues is a nasty, raunchy, rude-boy romp that I totally loved. In its sinister way it is very, very funny. The exquisitely rendered visuals and other enhancements are great. You’ll love it, especially if you hate the Beatles.” – W.K. Stratton (Chasing the Rodeo, Boxing Shadows, Floyd Patterson: The Fighting Live of Boxing’s Invisible Champ)
About the Author:
Jesse Sublett is an author, musician, artist and all-around Austin character. He’s been an influential figure in the Austin music scene since 1978, when he founded the seminal rock n’ roll band, the Skunks, a band that is credited with helping put Austin on the rock n’ roll map. In the years since, Jesse has shared the stage with and / or recorded with luminaries like Patti Smith, ex-Rolling Stones, Go-Go’s, Elvis Costello, members of Blondie and the Clash, Jon Dee Graham and countless others.
Jesse’s first series of crime novels were set in the Austin music scene, published by Viking Penguin: Rock Critic Murders (1989), Tough Baby (1990) and Boiled in Concrete (1991). With a blues musician protagonist Martin Fender, these novels were lauded for their authentic and lyrical descriptions of the world of the working musician, critically acclaimed by critics and many well-respected authors, like Robert B. Parker, James Ellroy and Michael Connelly.
Jesse’s nonfiction books include his music and true crime memoir, Never the Same Again. The book chronicles his experiences as a musician, a harrowing battle with Stage 4 throat cancer, and the investigation of the murder of his girlfriend in 1976 by a serial killer. Never the Same Again is a rocking read–alternatingly terrifying, dark, uplifting and funny.
James Ellroy ( Confidential, American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand ) said: “Never the Same Again is a harrowing, wrenching, spellbinding work of great candor and soul.”
Michael Connelly (The Black Echo, Lincoln Lawyer, The Black Box) said: “Never the Same Again is an important work. Sublett takes us on a ride through life that is crazy, funny, and sometimes deeply tragic, but ultimately, an inspiring and always highly readable survivor’s tale.”
Connect with Jesse Sublett via Twitter @jesse_sublett
Rock Critic Murders & Tough Baby, my first two novels, are free to Amazon prime members until noon Friday. Here’s the link.
Remember, the enhanced-for-iPad version of Rock Critic Murders is only available in the Apple iBookstore. Rock Critic Murders 25th Anniversary Edition for the iPad, can be found here and it includes video, lots of music and dozens of cool photos and drawings by yours truly.
Now out as an eBook, cover art by Mona Pitts
The First Martin Fender Novel, available in the Amazon Kindle store.
Update: Saturday morning, 9:15-10:15: Been on the phone with Apple, trying to find out if the error messages I got last night while delivering the iBook are going to hang me up or not. Finally got with a senior adviser who said no error messages are appearing there, so it ought to be in the iTunes Store / iBookstore today or tomorrow. Also, there’s a little late-breaking message from Montpellier, France, by Ed Ward, which I have just added below.
Ginger Snapp as Lorraine, the femme fatale of Rock Critic Murders
OK, so I’m doing this thing, this ePulp DIY thing, like Black Mask magazine but for handheld devices and your MacBooks and Kindles and Nooks. Does anyone go down to B&N to get nookie? Just wondering.
So I’ve done a couple of ePubs which are on Amazon now… and working feverishly on a couple of cool, ultra cool things using Apple’s iBooks Author app. I’m not going into detail right now, but dig this: ROCK CRITIC MURDERS, THE 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION FOR IPAD (RCM 25), should be out very soon, on iTunes, in the Apple iBookstore, etc. Finishing touches this weekend. Then another project I’m very excited about and will blab and blog about later. I wanted to post a couple of screen shots and clips, then get back to work. Looks like I may also write about this for a SXSW issue of the Austin Chronicle, too.
This thing will have lots of graphic images, including photos, many photos of The Skunks (because that’s where a lot of the experience that informed the semi fictional world of Martin Fender came from), plus video clip commentaries from many Austin characters, like Joe Nick Patoski, Ed Ward, Jon Dee Graham, Billy Blackmon, Louis Black, Robert Draper, David Fox, and others. Many of these same people were either caricaturized (rather crudely, I admit) in this novel, and I’m glad they’re good sports about it. As Louis Black says, “The only rock critics who were actually upset with the book, Jesse, were the ones who didn’t get killed in it.” Also I make a dozen or so stops around Austin, talking about my favorite places. Skunks video clips, Cloud 19 songs, etc. Lotsa cool stuff, if you dig that kind of thing.
Anyway, I’m adding some video clips from the RCM 25 project later, but here are some of my favorite screen shots.