Tom Pitts

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Writing is Stupid: Rimbaud Edition

I watched the Dylan/Scorsese Rolling Thunder flick the other day and got a little uncomfortable during the clip of Patti Smith at the start. I mean, she’s in full bloom and it’s a great document of Patti in her prime, but it’s tense. Like, jaw-grinding tense. She does a wild and rambling intro that, at one point, extols Rimbaud. Hadn’t thought about him in years. With good reason too. I’ll admit, all that poet as shaman stuff seems pretty out there. There are certain writers you can’t go back and read again.They’re great catalysts for creativity when you’re young, but it’s the literary equivalent of going back and listening to hardcore punk, it just doesn’t have the same pull. Kerouac,

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The Burden of Blurbs

I had this idea for a blog where I’d lay out my humble approach for getting blurbs as a way of steering some attention toward my new release. After a couple of tries, it was getting pretentious. All that “aw-shucks” I’m-so-humble shit. It pretty much boiled down to this: I was too chickenshit to do the dance and ask the biggest names, so I decided to ask the kinds of writers who mattered to me. I mean, that’s what a blurb is for, right? If I saw their names on a cover, I’d pick it up.     Besides, my “biggest”  blurb was my first, and one I never even asked for. So really, what do I know?   Truthfully,

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I’m gonna miss you, John Prine

Back ’round Christmas 2011, I was asked by a tech blog about The Song That Changed My Life. This is what I told ’em:   In 1992, I was 25 and stuck in rehab. Well, not really a rehab, but an Arizona horse ranch posing as a rehab. A place where we baked in the merciless heat outside of Tucson, shoveling horse shit, cut off from the real world and our lives. Not sure if you know, but rehabs are one of Arizona’s chief industries. Something about bleaching your soul clean in the sun, I guess. On the pitch, I was told there’d be music up there, that there were musicians—even the old drummer for Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band

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Piggyback is back!

It’s back. The little novella that could does it again. The book that pulled me into this goofy game is being re-released by Down & Out Books today. Back in 2012, the idea was to write the most lean and pared down tale I could. One that kept moving, like a good short film. I figured, if Piggy turns out to be only a short story, so be it. Turned out to be just as long as it was supposed to be. The new Piggy marks 6 years since its first publication, which really wouldn’t be a mark at all, except my third novel, 101, is coming out with Down & Out November this year. It builds on and delivers

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Announcement: American Static

I’ve been lying low lately. Only tiptoeing through the minefield that is social media during election season. But I’m coming out of the bunker because I’ve got some news.  Good news. My new novel, American Static, the second in my Northern California Quartet, is coming out this June (2017) with Down & Out Books. Very excited to make this announcement. Down & Out has been kicking ass all over the indie scene and I’m pleased as punch to be in the same stable with such a talented crew. American Static is a fast-paced thriller that starts off in wine country, pulls you through the rough streets—as well as the ones paved with gold—of San Francisco, and ends up in the

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Next Tuesday, Down & Out Books is releasing Unloaded: Crime Writers Without Guns, an anthology with a stellar line-up from all reaches of the crime writing community. Seriously, from way up the food chain with names like Joe R. Lansdale and Joyce Carol Oates to names like … well, mine. I thought I’d do a little disclaimer regarding my contribution. The story I chose is from my non-fiction files. It was an adventure I fell into in my first few months of living in the big city. It’s called Ioki and the Fat Jap (How I Became an Informant for the F.B.I.)   What’s to tell? It really happened to me. How does one get caught up in such a

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The Little Cesar Syndrome

Okay, so the last time I sat down to blog, I was halfway through Don Winslow’s Power of the Dog. Great fuckin’ book, by the way. As corny as it sounds, a major achievement is the best way to describe the Dog. Incredible. Anyway, I was pondering how fiction models itself after real life. At least it does if it’s good. The ol’ art imitating life thing. You know, contemplating, like we do. Cut to a month later, I’m reading the sequel to Power of the Dog, The Cartel. It’s another massive tome covering a huge space of time and history.  But … it IS a sequel. And it feels like one. Some of my favorite characters from Dog were

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Discovering the Cheatin’ Shortcuts of Our Literary Heroes.

If you can’t use your blog to pontificate and force your bloated opinions into the world, then what the hell is it good for? I was thinking of reviewing the book I’m reading—you know, on Amazon, Goodreads, all those important places that value my commentary—but then I decided my thoughts on this particular work aren’t a review so much as an op-ed. So I dusted off my blogging hat (the one with the tiny propeller on top) and wrote you all this love letter. I’m about halfway through Don Winslow’s Power of the Dog. I purchased the book about a year ago, but was so put off by Savages, (a book Ken Bruen compared to my own Piggyback,) I decided

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