NOIR NATION NO. 4: INTERNATIONAL CRIME FICTION RELEASED IN PAPERBACK

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Noir Nation is the only mystery magazine in the world that joins international crime fiction and tattoos. Its content is often dark, hard-boiled, sometimes creepy, but because it embraces crime fiction in all its forms, readers can also enjoy the occasional humorous story and cozy mystery.

In celebration of Canada, Noir Nation No. 4 showcases several stories by Canadian writers, including Mary Agnes Fleming, as well as stories set in Canada by non-Canadian writers. In keeping with the journal’s international flavor, there are also stories from other parts of the globe. The issue is dedicated to Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor, who was murdered during the terrorist attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.

Collected by Las Vegas writer and managing editor Jonathan Sturak, this issue contains entries from some of the very best and emerging hardboiled and literary crime fiction writers on the international scene, among them Lauren Cahn, Marina Perezagua, Richard Godwin, Melodie Campbell, Bianca Bellová, Joseph Lepis, Neliza Drew, Rob Brunet, Nik Morton, George Beck, Chloe Evans, Bruce H. Markuson, Jeffery Hess, Tony Haynes, Mike O’Reilly, Gerald Seagren, Edward McDermott, Ryan Priest, Peter Anderson, Al Cerda, and J.B. Christopher. The issue also offers an interview with Joseph Trigoboff, author of the best-selling novel The Bone Orchard and the recent memoir, Rumble in Brooklyn.

Editorial by Jonathan Sturak

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Canada is known for its many wonders, mostly associated with the cold, ice fishing, skiing, dog sledding and being the ice hockey capital of the World.  But Canada and Crime Fiction have more in common than just starting with the letter C. Organizations such as the Crime Writers of Canada have fostered some of the top contributions to the genre. Canadian authors Gail Bowen, Catherine Astolfo, and Ted Wood have graced us with characters who sift through the shadows inside the borders of Canada. Before them came May Agnes Fleming, one of Canada’s first popular novelists, whose “Death of Esther” is included in the Classic Noir section of this issue.

Growing up in the snowy mountains of Pennsylvania, I know a thing or two about the cold and what it does to a person. It keeps you alert, bundled up and hidden away. It becomes the villain in your story, where you do everything in your power to protect yourself from its frigidness. Several years ago, I escaped the cold and moved out West to the dry desert in Las Vegas, Nevada. I remember one time sitting on a bench inside the busy Fashion Show Mall on the Vegas Strip. Thousands of people were perusing the store windows, sharing laughs on the benches, and listening to the pitches from the kiosk workers. It seemed as if everyone was completely unaware of me; however, I was aware of them. A woman wearing a black miniskirt snaked through the crowd. She was tall with jet-black hair and milky white skin that surely was kept hidden from the villainous cold. She was alone, holding a little handbag, and browsing the store windows. Shoppers of all walks of life seemed to clear a path for her, whether she knew it or not, but I think she knew the power she had, and I think she craved it. She was the femme fatale in the mall that day and she could’ve had a pistol in that little handbag, and I’m sure most people would have let her shoot them. As she neared me, I noticed that she had something tattooed on her shoulder. A butterfly? A yin yang? A heart? No, it was a maple leaf.

This anecdote about Las Vegas stuck with me, and when Eddie Vega asked me to be the managing editor for this Canadian issue, I jumped at the chance.

We received hundreds of submissions from talented writers around the world. Our goal for this issue was to celebrate Canada, while continuing our mission of advancing the cause of international noir by publishing a selection reflective of the kind of writing being done around the world. Hit men to hit women, loner to lonely, child hero to childless hero, personal conflict to family conflict, all of the stories had powerful themes that spoke loudly, and sometimes disturbingly, about what ails the human condition. It was an absolute honor for these writers to entrust us with their words, which we now entrust to you.

I welcome you to read these stories, embrace them, think of that cold place up north when you read them, and don’t forget that the cold is not the only villain. See if you can find that woman with the maple leaf tattoo, but be careful–she’s real and inside waiting for you.

Jonathan Sturak
Managing Editor
Noir Nation: International Crime Fiction No. 4
www.NoirNation.com

LIGHTS OUT: A NEW FILM CO-PRODUCED AND WRITTEN BY JONATHAN STURAK

With much anticipation, I’m very pleased to share the trailer to the new short film that I wrote and co-produced called LIGHTS OUT. The story is about a family who wins a Vegas vacation and finds that the city tempts them with forbidden fruit.

The premiere of the film will be at the 168 Film Festival, Friday, September 12 and Saturday, September 13, 2014 at the Aratani Theater in the Japanese-American Cultural and Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA.

Watch our new trailer, vote on it, and please share!

LIGHTS OUT
Directed by Marlon Jay Manuel
Produced by Gigi Guizado and Jonathan Sturak
Written by Jonathan Sturak
Director of Photography Jim Sams

The 168 Film Festival is a signature speed filmmaking competition. Teams have 168 hours (7×24) to shoot and edit a short film based on a theme and a Bible verse (pre-production lasts 10 days). Tens of thousands of filmmakers have competed since 2003.

Our randomly assigned bible verse is below. You’ll be surprised how we interpreted this for our Las Vegas film!

Genesis 3:6
When the woman saw the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

NEW NOVEL RELEASED: GEEK VS VEGAS

GeekvsVegasKindle_smAre you ready for one night in Vegas that you’ll never forget? People are calling Geek vs Vegas “Funny as Hell” and “Office Space meets The Hangover.”

Benjamin Pollock is 26 and has been working a dead-end job for three years in Los Angeles. He is overwhelmed with options in life, not knowing what he wants to do or whom he should model his life after. But things change after his old college roommate, Javier, invites him to Las Vegas for a night of sin with the promise that getting laid will solve his problems. From swingers clubs, to hookers, to Russian spies, Benjamin’s goal of getting laid turns into a goal of staying alive through the night!

Part dark comedy, part coming-of-age tale, Benjamin represents the voice of Generation Y, lost in their twenties with too many pathways to take in life. Where will Benjamin be in ten years? Married? Kids? Single? Dead? He must make it out of Vegas alive to even have a chance to reach his thirties!

Geek vs Vegas is available NOW in paperback and on the Amazon Kindle. Click the cover to read the exciting introduction! Cheers!

REVIEW OF BETTER BY JOHN O’BRIEN

BetterBetter by John O’Brien

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

John O’Brien always gives us a privileged view into the depths of his characters, their secrets, their hidden agendas, their romantic thoughts, which are for our eyes only. And he slows down scenes, making it all about the moment. “Better” is a strange book in that it takes place solely inside the confines of a mansion overlooking the California coast. This is where we meet William, a permanent house guest of the Lord of the Manor, Double Felix. Their interactions are a play on language, a literary contest every morning over a glass of vodka. “Better” demonstrates how language is character and character is language.

Read this book after you have read O’Brien’s more commercial “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Stripper Lessons.”

View all my reviews

MANAGING EDITOR FOR NOIR NATION NUMBER 4

NoirNationEddie Vega, publisher of Noir Nation Books, has asked me to be the managing editor for the latest edition of Noir Nation: International Journal of Crime Fiction, Volume 4. I’m excited to take over the responsibilities for this issue with selecting the highest quality of crime fiction from the hundreds of submissions received. This volume will be the “Canada Issue” and the stories will feature a connection to the country that has its own share of shadows. Look for more information in the New Year about this exciting issue!

final-cover-nn-3Also, don’t miss Volume 3, which is out now! Make sure to check out my exciting short story, FEED ME, which is about a mysterious bird who terrorizes an unsuspecting family.

NEW NOVEL RELEASED: HIS FIRST, HER LAST

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His First, Her Last is based on the true story of my journey to the Philippines in March 2011. A collection of more than 7,000 islands lost in the Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is a place unlike any other. A driver of a $100,000 Mercedes-Benz talking on a cell phone shared the road with a man whipping a horse. In a traffic jam, a woman walked between cars selling cooked eggs containing partially developed chicks. Just beyond a city with lights as bright as Las Vegas, the ghost of a woman wearing white has been seen for decades lurking in the night.

These slivers of culture inspired me to share this beautiful land and its people with you through the eyes of Jason and Hazel, an engaged couple about to put their relationship to the ultimate test. Their worst fears come true inside this island nation and it takes their will to survive to find their way together. I invite you to take a journey across the world where you will find love, life, and what it means to be alive.

Click the cover to download the FREE opening chapter, which is where the journey begins. Cheers!

VEGAS WAS HER NAME – NOW AVAILABLE

Noir Nation Books has just released my exciting new thriller novel, Vegas Was Her Name. The book is available now on Amazon. Take a journey through the shadows of Las Vegas where you’ll follow the lives of four individuals all concealing a secret. Be sure to check out a sample on Amazon!

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