Steven's bookshelf: read

The Big Kiss-Off
4 of 5 stars
Cade Cain has spent the last two years as a POW in Korea when the war ends and he returns to his home town in Bay Parrish Louisiana that he hasn't been back to in 12 years. His wife divorced him while he was a POW and is affiliated with ...
More Good Old Stuff
3 of 5 stars
A companion to The Good Old Stuff and the last of the stories JDM deemed worth of rescuing from the pulp magazine archives. All vintage 1946-1949, and with equal parts brilliance and warts, as you'd expect from a writer first learning hi...
The Cheaters
3 of 5 stars
The Sleaze-Noir label is kind of funny, but I like it, and this is a fun sleazy read about a guy who buys a bar to get rich running a string of hookers and also to get his hands on the 40DDs of the wife of the guy he bought the bar from....
Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett
3 of 5 stars
At 800 pages and 8 pounds (is that a tree?) this book is physically imposing, not to mention it has Beckett's grizzled mug on the cover. If the personal biographical details are your thing, you'll find plenty here (Becket fought in the r...
Raymond Carver: An Oral Biography
4 of 5 stars
Aside from the expected juicy biographical details from his "Bad Raymond" days, there are some amazing insights into his writing from a bunch of his writer friends: Richard Ford, Tobias and Geoffrey Wolff, Stephen Dobyns, Jay McInerny, e...
The Red Hot Typewriter: The Life and Times of John D. MacDonald
5 of 5 stars
Hadn't expected to blaze through this in an afternoon but it was compelling. Because MacDonald's writing career began in the pulp magazines - when starting out he wrote 800,000 words in the first four months and received over 1,000 rejec...
Switch Bitch
3 of 5 stars
Kind of funny to read all the reviews from people who grew up with Dahl's children's books and then read this book. His rakish characters and writing style in this one reminds me quite a bit of George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series, ...
Hard-Boiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Stories
5 of 5 stars
I've been reading and re-reading this book for a month now and think it is a quite important work, not just on crime fiction, but of literary criticism in general. At the beginning I was skeptical about the connection between hard-boiled...
What If? : Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
5 of 5 stars
Used this when I taught creative writing courses. Much more approachable for beginners than Gardner.
Wild Wives
4 of 5 stars
This is a fast-paced archetypal noir. Reads more like a treatment for screenplay and I'm surprised this one was never made into a movie, because it has all the classic 1950s noir elements. The opening scene, though, with the girl with th...


Steven J. McDermott is the author of the story collection Winter of Different Directions and the editor of STORYGLOSSIA. His short fiction has appeared in journals such as Aethlon: The Journal of Sports Literature, Carve, Passages North,  Word Riot, Mud Luscious, SmokeLong Quarterly, Dogzplot, and many others. Most recently his stories have appeared online at Keyhole, Night Train, decomP, Necessary Fiction, Kill Author, and PANK. His story "Blue Jeans and Black Leather" was also produced as a short film and shown at several film festivals. His story "When A Furnace Is All That Remains" was recently selected for Best of the Web 2010.

Born and raised in Seattle, Steven has bounced around western Washington most of his life with stints in California and Scotland adding seasoning. He currently lives on Fidalgo Island on the edge of the San Juan Islands with his wife Therese, where he manages a marina and operates a brokerage that sells and leases boat moorage. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and his BA in English and Philosophy (with a minor in Anthropology) from Western Washington University. He also has degrees in Landscape Design and Turf Management as well as a certificate in Golf Course Greenskeeping (earned in Scotland) from the City and Guilds of London (whose roots can be traced back to the mid-13th century).

He knows how to operate a backhoe and drive a dump truck and his previous jobs include director-level high-tech management and management consultant positions, where he worked at Boeing, Motorola, McCaw Cellular, AT&T Wireless, and Microsoft . Prior to his tour in management, he worked a bunch of high-tech jobs--programmer writer, web/UI designer, technical writer, systems analyst, and project manager for software development and process improvement projects. Before working in tech land he ran his own landscape design business, worked on five different golf courses, poured and finished concrete, and taught math and English to at-risk high school students. He's never worked in the fast food or a restaurant industry, but did work in several convenience stores. And there was that summer spent selling Burpee seeds door-to-door. He never had a paper route, although he filled in for a friend once, and ended up owing money after breaking three windows.