Benjamin Sobieck is the author of The Writer's Guide to Weapons: A Practical Reference for Writing Firearms and Knives in Fiction (Writer's Digest Books), Glass Eye: Confessions of a Fake Psychic Detective, The Invisible Hand (New Pulp Press, late 2015), the Maynard Soloman crime fiction humor series, Cleansing Eden and numerous short stories scattered about the lonesome alleys of the Internet. His website is CrimeFictionBook.com.
What is your writing process?
I write with a deadline, even if it's an artificial one. It's amazing what you can get done when you take procrastination off the table.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
It's not the first story I ever read, but "Jurassic Park" scared the hell out of me as a kid. I'd read it before bed and come down with a serious case of sleepwalking.
8 Funny Detective Stories represents Maynard Soloman's first eight cases of mystery, malarkey and misadventure. Each combines the slapstick fun of The Pink Panther with the sharp wit of The Onion, if both lived in an RV watching nothing but old Westerns. Fans of Carl Hiaasen's crime fiction humor, Elmore Leonard's bumbling bad guys or snappy current events satire will enjoy these quick reads.
Maynard Soloman, a cantankerous private detective full of old-timey insults, slices open a ring of kidney thieves in this crusty short story.
A band of baddies is posting ads for kidneys for sale on the Internet - at a sinister price. It's up to Maynard to climb into a bath tub of ice in a seedy motel to bust the ring in action.
* BONUS: Includes Dr. Maynard's Guide to Kidney Transplants.
These renegade authors are burning bridges. Each one of their 15 short stories is a match and a commitment to never to look back. Readers can expect tales of revenge, redemption and the road ahead - but never regret.
on Nov. 08, 2011
"Barbotte" weaves the story of an illegal gambling operation trying to get its money back after being ripped off. John McFetridge provides a lesson in how much story you can cram into a tight space without getting anyone lost. This being a free read, I can't recommend it enough. I'd've paid for this one. And I will defend the author's writing style in this piece. The paragraph structure is classic noir. Pick up Raymond Chandler or Elmore Leonard to understand the approach McFetridge uses.
Top 5 Reasons You Can't Get Laid in Montreal
on Dec. 09, 2011
"Top 5 Reasons You Can't Get Laid in Montreal" is a very short work that borrows from the author's upcoming novel, "Naked Montreal." Despite having never been to Montreal, not speaking French and not desiring to get "laid" by anyone north of Minneapolis, I found this sample more than whetted my appetite for the novel. The top five reasons are funny enough, but it's the additional list at the end that killed me. Don't blush if you find this under the sex section. Roberts plugs enough good-natured humor in these brief pages to satisfy readers in any genre.
Where to Get Laid in Montreal
on Dec. 10, 2011
When the writing is this good, you can't help but give in to temptation. (The temptation of reading, of course. What did you think I meant?) This very short work is the perfect yin to the yang of the author's "Top 5 Reasons You Can't Get Laid in Montreal." I've read both and, despite having never been to Montreal, consider myself a de facto expert on the topic. Even if you don't normally peruse the sex section, give both e-books a try.
Ninjas of the 512
on Feb. 18, 2012
Does it really matter what political parties "stand for" any more? What if you stripped away the bumper stickers, the phony piety and hollow everymanism to expose their true essence? You'd probably end up with something similar to ninjas and pirates. Both hate each other. Why? Who cares. Let's fight.
There are similar scenes in Laura Roberts's excellent humor novella, Rebels of the 512. (Note to author Roberts: I know you're an editor and may ding me for using "Roberts's," but I stand firm on using 's on singular nouns. Just be glad I didn't write "scene's" just now. You'd probably kill me.) In a pitched battle between ninjas and pirates, the exhausted sides agree to settle it on an arm wrestling match.
While this makes for good humor, it reveals a potent remark about politics. Heated debates often devolve into childish gestures hurled between sides. Whoever puts up the strongest fight wins, regardless of whether it was the best outcome.
Understanding the political references isn't critical to enjoying Rebels of the 512. Neither is living in Austin, Texas, where the piece takes place. Nor is knowing much about Texas Gov. Rick Perry, parodied here as villian "Nick Harry."
All you really need to know is that Gov. Harry's budget cuts put teacher Suzie Jimenez out of a job. She goes on the warpath with a group of ninjas determined to defeat Harry's pirates. Hilarity ensues.
But the plot isn't what makes Rebels of the 512 tick. It's Roberts's sense of comedic timing that really matters - and shines. Writing humor is all about knowing when to plant and harvest a joke. It's something that can't be taught. An author either has it or doesn't. Roberts has it in spades.
That's why Rebels of the 512 is such a fine read. This is an author who knows how to write humor. Don't be fooled by the slapstick, it's not an easy thing to do. That she wrote it in three days as part of a contest proves Roberts's humor chops beyond the remotest shadow of a doubt.