Editors’ Pick: GAIJIN COWGIRL by Jame DiBiasio

aa90ff7e2bf33d5f4f5331b65084b737Jame DiBiasio moved to Hong Kong from New York in 1997. He is an award-winning financial journalist and editor. Gaijin Cowgirl is his first novel.

 

 

 

 

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Gaijin-CowgirlGaijin Cowgirl

Working Tokyo nightclubs is easy money for beautiful and troubled American Val Benson – until a wealthy client with a dark past reluctantly gives up a map to a stash of Japanese war loot and tempts his favorite girl into a dangerous treasure hunt. But the Congressman’s daughter is not the only one interested in the map: Yakuza, crooked cops, human traffickers, rogue CIA agents and her father are hot on her trail, snapping at her high heels.

So begins the dark, epic journey of a new anti-hero of Asian Noir, a protagonist both ambiguous and courageous, and utterly unreliable. From comfort women and tomb-raiding in Japanese-occupied Burma to the murderous echoes of the Vietnam War, long forgotten crimes come roaring back to life, as Val leaves a trail of destruction and chaos in her wake.

Together with her best friend, the equally unreliable nightclub hostess Suki, a British kickboxer and a washed up Australian treasure hunter, Val travels through Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok to the Thai-Burmese borderlands for a dramatic showdown with her pursuers. Finding the treasure before someone less deserving does is her only hope for survival, and perhaps redemption.

Gaijin Cowgirl by American writer Jame DiBiasio is a breathless page turner with a beautiful, dangerous heroine to match.

Click here for a free preview on Amazon…

Win a FREE book! April is Reader Appreciation Month!

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April is READER APPRECIATION MONTH and VegaWire Media and Noir Nation would like to give away FREE ebooks of their exciting titles. Entering is simple:

1. “Like” the Noir Nation Facebook

2. Comment on the “Enter to Win” Facebook post HERE

Every Friday in April, one winner will be chosen at random and will receive one FREE copy of a VegaWire ebook of their choice including all Noir Nation Books and Bare Knuckles Press titles. The winner will receive their choice of a MOBI (Kindle) or ePub (Nook, iBooks, etc.) file. No purchase necessary. The winning entry MUST have “Liked” the Noir Nation Facebook page and commented with “Enter me” to be eligible. VegaWire Media and Noir Nation love our readers and this is our way at showing it!

Interview with Vegas Lit’s Arnold Snyder

Vegas Lit is a new fiction imprint of Huntington Press in Las Vegas. Arnold Snyder is the senior editor. Vegas Lit seeks to publish first-rate literary fiction or genre fiction that transcends its category.

“Writing nonfiction is an intellectual exercise, while writing fiction is an emotional experience.”

Q: You are the senior editor of Vegas Lit, a new fiction imprint of Las Vegas publisher Huntington Press. Tell us about this exciting new venture and your role in it.

A: I’m really excited about Vegas Lit. As senior editor, I get to choose the books we publish and I personally work with the authors, which is something I greatly enjoy. I’ve been writing and editing nonfiction for more than thirty years and this opportunity to work with fiction writers was something I couldn’t pass up.

All of the best fiction today is coming out of the small presses. The big New York publishing giants are cranking out predictable, boring books. They take very few chances. Their industry is dying, but that doesn’t mean the audience for books is dying. That’s a myth. Look at the data sometime for the number of ebooks being published, being sold, being read. There are more readers hooked on books today than ever and this is one of the most exciting times to work in this industry.

Ten, twenty years ago, it cost an arm and a leg to publish a book, print a book, distribute a book. Each title took a huge investment. All serious writers needed agents if they expected to get anywhere. Small presses existed, but they were like voices crying in the wilderness. They couldn’t get distribution. People didn’t know they existed. Technology has changed that. There’s a literary revolution taking place and it’s exciting to play a part in it.

Q: Cover designs for books published by Vegas Lit are provided by local Las Vegas artists. Why did you choose to find covers this way?

A: Hey, just go gallery hopping in downtown Vegas on the first Friday of any month and you’ll know the answer to that question. In the past ten years, this town has become a mecca for artists. There’s no other city like Las Vegas. The thousands of show people who live in this town, and those who do the design work and costuming and lighting, not to mention the musicians—there’s just a high percentage of talented artists of all types here. And creative people tend to be very tolerant of diversity. Artists are drawn to tolerant places and it’s probably significant that it’s also relatively cheap to live here, compared to say, New York, L.A., or San Francisco.

The first two Vegas Lit titles have cover art by Joseph Watson. The third one that comes out in the spring will have cover art by Montana Black. I first saw the work of both artists in their downtown galleries.

Q: You are not only the senior editor, but also the inaugural author with the Vegas-based novel, Risk of Ruin. Tell us about it.

A: At the age of fifteen, in 1963, I read Jim Thompson’s The Grifters. That novel inspired me to become a writer. What I liked about Thompson’s novels was that there were no good guys. Every character had a dark side, but still, you found yourself rooting for and caring about the bad guys.

My narrator/protagonist in Risk of Ruin is an outlaw biker, professional gambler, sometime drug dealer—not your normal leading man. It’s a challenge to get the reader to relate to a character like this, but that’s why I write. It’s boring for a writer to make his protagonist tall, dark, handsome, brave, clean, and reverent. And it’s bullshit. Real people aren’t like that. Everyone has a dark side, a crazy side, a mean side, a violent side, a stupid side, a spiritual side. My protagonist is not a very nice guy or even a very sociable guy a lot of the time. He’s a forty-three-year-old scooter tramp, angry at the world and his lot in life, who becomes obsessed with an underage girl who’s working at a strip club using a fake ID.

When I started writing this book, I talked about the idea with another writer. I told him it was basically a love story about a social renegade in his forties who has a love affair with a runaway teenage girl. He told me it was a terrible idea to write a book like that, because the concept itself would turn people off so much so that no one would read it. He said the guy would come off creepy, no one would see it as a love story, and the best I could hope for would be that it would be taken as some kind of psychological study of a pervert, sort of like Nabokov’s Lolita. That made the challenge even greater and I think I succeeded in what I was trying to do. Risk of Ruin is a love story. It just has a bit more violence and desperation and far less typical characters than most love stories.

Q: You have an impressive resume of over a dozen nonfiction books on casino games and gambling published over the years. How is writing fiction similar to nonfiction? What are the differences from your perspective?

A: In fiction, everything comes out of the author’s head. This gives the author incredible freedom, but he can also get stuck. His characters come alive and may not want to go where he’d planned to take them. He’s got to wait until his characters take him where they want to go. Writing nonfiction is an intellectual exercise, while writing fiction is an emotional experience.

Q: Many people living in Las Vegas can’t wait to leave, while others can leave yet the lights won’t let them. How is your relationship with Vegas?

A: I love Vegas. It’s an honest place. It’s about sex and money and greed and fun and kicking back and letting go and regretting, if you must, tomorrow. But today, let’s party. It’s a healthy attitude for people in this society, especially today as the whole world appears to be changing faster than any of us can keep up with it, and a lot of the changes aren’t for the better. There’s an intense energy in this town. It’s a town full of dreamers and schemers and people who take chances.

Q: Where do you see Las Vegas in ten years?

A: Eight years from now, the Republicans will get the country back. One of the first things they’ll do is start sending the nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain. They’ve got hundreds of millions invested in that mountain already and the only reason the country’s nuclear waste stockpiles aren’t already being dumped in Yucca is Harry Reid, and everyone knows it. He’ll be gone. And within a year of the opening of Yucca Mountain, the Las Vegas casinos will start making book on when there will be a radioactive leak or spill.

Then, there’s the water issue—will we at last be able to steal the Great Basin water, and how long will it last in the Big Drought that’s brewing?

And if the water issue’s resolved and we aren’t nuked out of this state, Las Vegas is vulnerable to the price of oil. If people can’t travel to Vegas cheaply, this town is in for hard times. If the cost of flights and bus tickets and a fill-up at Chevron goes through the roof, we’re in trouble. We’ll start to see boarded-up casinos. I see that as a realistic possibility within ten years.

Nevada is a state filled with ghost towns and I imagine Las Vegas will shrink back to dust someday. But as long as I can personally get my bets down on the nuclear disaster sweepstakes, I’ll be happy. I’m a gambling man, so just give me something to bet on.

Arnold Snyder is a high-stakes professional gambler who has been writing about casino games for over two decades. He was the publisher and editor of Blackjack Forum, a quarterly journal for professional gamblers, from 1981 through 2006. His books The Blackjack Formula, Blackbelt in Blackjack, and Poker Tournament Formula 1 and 2 each challenged the conventional wisdom on optimal strategy for beating these games. In January 2002, Snyder, who is one of the great legends of blackjack, was elected one of the seven charter members of the Blackjack Hall of Fame. Snyder’s 2012 novel Risk of Ruin is the first of a planned series featuring characters who are professional gamblers. His blog, Write-aholic, contains reviews and essays of fiction and other writing-related topics.

Real Lawyer or Scammer? The Mystery of Hank St. James, Esq.

Noir Nation has been following the story of a large group of indie writers who, acting out of a profound ignorance of their own legal agreements with Amazon and Barnes & Noble, attacked a legally authorized eBook lending site run by a disabled Army veteran named Dale Porter.  (click here for background information).

Since then, some of those writers have apologized for their libelous smears and fraudulent DMCA takedown notices; while others — at least one of whom is associated with the LexiCon Writer’s Conference where some of this started — have thrown up gorilla dust hoping that no one actually notices that they regret nothing but the blowback for their tortious smears (see here).

The story has now taken a sharp turn into the outright bizarre. Dale Porter received an e-mail from a person calling himself Hank St. James, who claims to be an attorney representing the copyright holders of a long list of books credited to 39 writers (see list of books and URLs here).

In the communication that Porter received, St. James 1) states under penalty of perjury in a United States court of law that the information contained in his notification is accurate and that he is authorized to act on the behalf of the exclusive rights holders for the material in question 2) requests that Porter remove or disable access to the material as it appears on his service in as expedient a fashion as possible and 3) offers his lawyer’s e-mail address as piratesinker@gmail.com and his legal mailing address as:

Hank St. James, Attorney
246 Main St.
Wilkes Barre, PA 18706

Here is the mystery:

A search of Pennsylvania attorneys shows that there is no attorney by that name in Pennsylvania. A search of the county property records shows no such address. A simple search of the Gmail address shows that someone named Jack can be contacted with it, and that over 100 DMCA takedown requests are associated with that same address. Oddest of all, given his expertise in digital piracy, Pirate Sinker does not seem to know very much about viruses and antivirus software.

 

Noir Nation on the US suit against Apple and some legacy publishers

Eddie Vega, Editor Noir Nation

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed an antitrust suit against MacMillan and other legacy publishers for conspiring with Apple to increase eBook prices. It was the right call.

Instead of trying to understand the implications of digital delivery of literary content on reading habits, Legacy Publishers—the LegPubs, as we call them at Noir Nation—aided by brick & mortar bookstores, including the defunct Borders, and the now struggling Barnes & Nobles, decided instead to maintain their market share by colluding against Amazon, an innovative company which has changed international publishing and retail markets forever.

What does it mean if the world is round and not flat? Asked bold seafarers like Christopher Columbus. It means a pandemic reach. It means easier, safer, and faster access to the global markets.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, asked similar questions about books. And the result was a revolution in thought and habit. As Bezos built his globe-setting digital ship, the LegPubs were racing each other in their day boats, happy in their little harbor.

Even little harbors have access to the sea, but one does not sail the ocean seas with day boats or dinghies, but with a tight ship and a bold crew. The LegPubs, however, didn’t even try day boats. They tried collusion, a dull and lazy way of navigating any problem. And some will now sink.

To read more, go here and here.

Noir Nation editors at eBook panel – video available

L-R: Eddie Vega, Cort McMeel, Norb Vonnegut, Evan Ratliff, Sree Sreenivasan, Andrew McGowan

An exciting presentation at the National Arts Club on the future of eBooks. Sponsored by the club’s Literary Committee and Photography Committee, the Online News Organization, and the Yeats Society of New York, the panel included Cort McMeel (of Noir Nation and Bare Knuckles Press), thriller author Norb Vonnegut, Evan Ratliff (of The Atavist) and Sree Sreenivasin, student dean of the Columbia J-school. Eddie Vega moderated. Mo Krachmal served as video producer. To see portions of the video, click on the image above or click here.

Noir Nation’s Cort McMeel to serve on eBook Panel

Noir Nation founding editor Cort McMeel will serve on a panel exploring the future of eBooks. It will be an   exciting  look   at   how   story   tellers, fiction and nonfiction, are using new media technology to keep readers   informed  and entertained. Come learn about the economic prospects of eBooks, how they are created, their comparative advantages to print books, and their connection to online social media.

The panel will feature new media journalists Sree Sreenivasan (Columbia Graduate School of  Journalism,  DNAinfo,  WABC-TV) and Evan Ratliff (The Atavist, The  New  Yorker, National   Geographic).   They will  be  joined by financial novelist Norb  Vonnegut (St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunn  and  St. Martins/Minotaur Press).

The panel is being sponsored by the National Arts Club, The Online News Association, and the WB Yeats Society of New York. The panel will  be moderated by writer & journalist Eddie Vega.

Date: March 16, 2012 at 8 p.m.

Where: Grand Gallery, National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY 10003

Smashwords abandons its writers

Given the dark content that noir crime fiction writers from around the world created for Noir Nation’s last issue and its next one, our early decision to avoid Smashwords and publish with Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble has proven fortuitous.

TechCrunch has more details of how PayPal cried BOO! and Smashwords jumped so high it landed on a different planet, one that fearless defenders of free speech would  recognize immediately as alien soil.

Like Smashwords, Noir Nation faced efforts to censor it. In our case it was Google. Unlike Smashwords, we never blinked. Instead, we lawyered up, stood by our writers, and prepared for economic death — all for the right of our writers to be heard.

Noir Nation’s Editor-in-Chief is a son of Parris Island. On his crib were writ these words: Semper Fidelis.

It means you don’t abandon your writers.