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...

Recent publications 

Night School in You Must Be This Tall To Ride
Wheel Clatter in Emprise Review
Spatula Hands in Mud Luscious
A Boy and His Dog in Dogzplot
Sliver in PANK
Big Dumb Animal in Kill Author
Insane Barker in decomP Magazine
Apology in Night Train Magazine
Dog Park in Keyhole Magazine
Happy in Dogzplot
Dock Rules in Lit Up Magazine
Eating Crow" in Dogzplot
FNG in Mud Luscious
The Renter in Mud Luscious


Steven J. McDermott's short story collection Winter of Different Directions

Available for purchase from:


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Support independent bookstores? ISBN: 9780615142807


The following stories from the collection are available online:

Swept Aside" in The Angler

Single Malts of the Olympic Peninsula in Word Riot

Tough Act in SmokeLong Quarterly

Fresh Sludge in Thieves Jargon

Crane Man in Scarecrow

Tools in The Angler

Blue Jeans and Black Leather originally appeared in Red Wheelbarrow


Other published stories include:

"Enter Wheelchair Man" in Timbercreek Review

"Oxygen" in Passages North

"Seven Blocks North, Two Miles East" in Carve

"Nothingness" in Aethlon: The Journal of Sports Literature

"My Summer Vacation" in Carve

"Proper Emotions" in Cenotaph

"Discipline" in The Rockford Review

"Go" in Westview

"Taps" in Cenotaph

"Duplicity" in Cenotaph

"Sanitation" in Tuesday Shorts