LIKE THUNDER available now!

Ladies and gentlemen, my new novella LIKE THUNDER is now available from Thunderstorm Books.  Part of their Elemental line, this chapbook is a fun little collectible (and I like to think the story’s pretty awesome, too).  Go check it out!

To four friends desperate to start a new life, it seemed like a good idea: knock over a cartel safe house, grab as much coke and cash as they can find, and disappear. They had a plan. It should have been easy.

But then came the storm.

And the standoff.

And then something changed the entire world.

“Like Thunder is a potent dose of face-numbing fun. Like a Tarantino movie with an ending that would make M. Night Shyamalan shit his diaper and suck his thumb. Nate, as usual, serves up a steaming dish of bad assery.”
—Shane McKenzie, author of Muerte Con Carne and Toilet Baby

SLAB CITY paperback, ebook, and giveaway

Hi, everybody.  It’s been a while.  That’s my fault.  I do most of my yapping over on facebook, these days.  I’ll try to bring it back over here, so we’ll see how that goes.

So what’s new?  Well, my zombies featuring hot rods, go-go dancers, paranoid militants, bikers, retirees, and an old man with a giant pistol and a lot of drugs novel THE SLAB CITY EVENT is about to graduate from limited edition to paperback and ebook. The folks at Sinister Grin Press tell me both edition should be available within the next few weeks.

To help celebrate this good news, Sinister Grin is also hosting a book giveaway over at Goodreads. Head on over, sign up, and maybe you can win some free books!

See all of you soon!

Oklahoma Appearance, Pale Horses Hardback, more….

First up, on April 11th I’ll be reading and signing in Norman, Oklahoma for another round of Noir at the Bar.  This time, I’ll be appearing with fellow Austin authors Shane McKenzie, Ed Kurtz, and Gabino Iglesias, as well as Paul J. Garth, Troy James Weaver, Robert Spencer, and J. David Osborne.  Place is The Blue Bonnet at 321 E Main St, and the time is 8PM.  Be there!

Also, Pale Horses is now available in a limited edition collector’s hardcover from Thunderstorm Books.  The print run is limited to 66 copies, all of which are signed. Daniele Serra provided the amazing new cover.

Finally, my brother Mark’s postumously released novel One Summer is now available for purchase through Barnes and Noble.  Feel free to check it out.  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’ve been reading Mark’s writing since before I picked up a pen.  Guy’s good.

Mia Moja and One Summer

Happy Monday, folks.  I just wanted to take a second and bend your ear.  There are a couple of books I think might interest you.

The first is MIA MOJA, an anthology celebrating Thunderstorm Books’ 100th hardcover. Edited by myself and Michael McBride, this sucker contains novelettes from Brian Keene and Bryan Smith (reprints) and original novelettes by myself, Mike, J.F. Gonzalez, Mary SanGiovanni, Shane McKenzie, Gene O’Neill, and Ronald Kelly.  This one is a signed hardcover limited to 80 copies and should be considered by serious collectors.  Check it out.

The second book I want to tell you about is pretty personal.  I became a writer because of my older brother Mark.  He was one of the kindest, funniest spinners of stories I’ve ever known, and he could do great things with language.  For years, he wrote the satirical Mud Hollow News for our local paper.  He also wrote several novels, but none of them were ever published.  When my brother Mark died unexpectedly a few years ago, he left us as an unpublished writer.

Now, his sons have changed that.

ONE SUMMER is the book Mark considered his masterpiece.  Clocking in around 242k words (yeah, it’s a long one), ONE SUMMER of four friends who encounter a slew of trouble and terror while on a camping trip.  I never got to read the manuscript, so I’m very excited about getting a crack at the novel in its “closest to finished” state.  I hope you check it out.

Noir @ the Bar New Orleans!

March 22nd. 7:30PM. The Irish House at 1432 St. Charles Ave.

I’m pleased as punch to announce that I’ll be appearing in New Orleans for the first time next month. I’ll be taking part in the New Orleans chapter of Noir @ the Bar, and I’ll be appearing with the incredible crime authors Charles Gramlich, Greg Herren, Laura Lippman, and Megan Abbott. It’s exciting to join these great authors.  I already have my copy of Megan’s Bury Me Deep packed up so I can get her to sign it.

Long story short, this is an amazing lineup.  If you’re anywhere near New Orleans, you don’t want to miss this sucker.

IN THE DARK available for pre-order

IN THE DARK is available for pre-order through your local comic book shop. It features brand-new horror comics by myself, Rachel Deering, Scott Snyder, Justin Jordan, Cullen Bunn, Duane Swierczynski, Brian Keene, F. Paul Wilson, Tim Seeley, Marguerite Bennett, Matthew Dow Smith, James Tynion IV, Sean E. Williams, Mike Oliveri, Mike Henderson, Mack Chater, Alison Sampson, Valerie D’Orazio, and many more.

On a personal note, this sucker marks my return to comics after eight years away.  It’s great to be back.

To pre-order from your local comic shop, give them this code:  FEB140452 IDW

Smell ya later, 2013

Wow.  More than two months since my last post.  Sorry about that.  Sometimes, it feels like I spend more time apologizing for a lack of blog updates than I do writing blog updates.  Interesting.

Anyway, 2013 is winding down hard.  I figured that means it’s time for my pseudo-annual recap and promise to keep better track of things in the new year.  Let’s dig in, shall we?

In retrospect, I suppose 2013 was neither good nor bad, just one of those mixed bags we find outselves in as we trudge through our adult lives.  Honestly, that feels a tiny bit depressing.  There’s a little bit of a “This is the rest of your life” feeling to it, but I’m self-aware enough to know the rest of my life will be what I want it to be, so I suppose there’s no reason to be bummed.  Ha!  Have at thee, feelings!

Professionally, it was a year that was somehow relatively slow, disgustingly frustrating, and amazingly powerful.  It appears it was also a pretty good year for adverbs and adjectives. PALE HORSES, a book I’ve worked on for at least the past five years, was released in October.  While I’ll probably write better books in the future, PALE HORSES is the best thing I’ve written to date.  I mean that.  At no other point have I written something with characters that sing like in this book.  Of course, that’s just my point of view.  What I’m trying to say is that I’m very proud of PALE HORSES.  I sincerely hope you guys read it and enjoy it.

Four other books came out from me this year.  Abattoir Press released THE PALE MAN, fifth in their Sam Truman series.  Working on someone else’s property was a fun challenge.  Sinister Grin released a signed limited edition of THE SLAB CITY EVENT, a zombie novel told as a series of short stories that proved to be an interesting experiment. Deadite Press released a trade paperback of my vampires attack a prison novel LIGHTS OUT, and they also released the paperback of SIXTY-FIVE STIRRUP IRON ROAD, a collaborative novel between myself, Brian Keene, Shane McKenzie, Edward Lee, Jack Ketchum, Wrath James White, J.F. Gonzalez, Ryan Harding, and Bryan Smith.  Proceeds from that book go to benefit the great Tom Piccirilli, who is successfully recovering from a bout with brain cancer.

2013 was also the year I finally started working in kitchens again.  Back in the late nineties, I worked in a casino buffet.  After two years, I left that job knowing exactly as much about cooking as I had when I started, which is to say nothing.  This year, I interned at a local Thai place (that sadly shuttered six week later).  I learned more in six weeks than I had in two years at that casino.  Most importantly, I learned that I really do love cooking and that I want to do it professionally.  I’m happy to report that 2014 will see me start my first pro kitchen job, the kind where I’m really expected to cook instead of just shoving large amounts of chicken pieces in an oven and hoping for the best. 

But what does 2014 have in store, writing-wise?  Well, Thunderstorm Books will be releasing a new novelette of mine called SAFE HOUSE, and later in the year they’ll be releasing a signed limited hardcover of PALE HORSES.  Sinister Grin will eventually release a paperback and ebook of THE SLAB CITY EVENT.  After that, I’m not sure.  I’m currently working on two novels, but I have no interest in trying to sell them until I feel they’re ready.  I’ve reached a point in my writing career where I’m not worried about “Keeping my name out there.”  I want to tell the best stories I can, to write as well as possible, and that takes time.  How much time?  We’ll see.  I’ll let you know when I know.

So that’s 2013.  It had its ups; it had its downs.  Once again, I can say I survived the year relatively unscathed.  Here’s to 2014.  May it rule hard.

Pale Horses is here!

It’s here.  The book I’ve spent at least three years waiting to unleash on you is now available in paperback and for kindle. Pale Horses, my first crime novel, is (in my humble opinion) the best thing I’ve ever written.  A huge leap forward in my writing.  I want to extend a sincere thank you to the good folks at Snubnose Press for taking a chance on me and to everyone who read it, offered notes, or agreed to blurb this sucker.  It means a lot.

So, now I’ll tell you a bit about Pale Horses.  I’ll tell you it sits in the gray area between the crime and horror genres.  A quick synopsis is below, as well as some kind words other writers have had for the story and a link to a blog about why I wrote it in the first place (hint: it’s a pretty damn personal story).  I hope you like what you see, and I hope you check out Pale Horses.  You won’t be disappointed.

Most days, Sheriff Hal Kendrick can remember his wife’s name, but what frightens him are the days he can’t. When a local woman is found dead, naked and dumped on the banks of the Ohio River, Sheriff Kendrick is determined to solve the crime before Alzheimer’s disease destroys his ability to reason. No matter the cost, he will leave his county better than he found it, but murder is only the beginning, a spark that ignites a firestorm of violence, betrayal, and deceit.

Most mornings, former marine Korey Hunt can remember the previous night. Other times, he only remembers darkness. When a body is found on his family’s property, Korey wants to believe he’s incapable of murder. Deep down, however, killing is all he knows.

Death rides a Pale Horse, and no one in its path escapes unscathed.

Why I wrote Pale Horses.

Advance praise for Pale Horses

“Death rides a Pale Horse. Welcome to Folk County where Death’s ride is fueled by sex, meth, and corruption, and a cast of broken characters stagger through emotional darkness trying to find their way to something resembling normality. Fast paced, magnificently written, and memorable, Pale Horses recalls the best of Jim Thompson and Elmore Leonard while blazing its own trail. It’s small town noir that reads like a kick to the teeth, and even when you see the boot coming you can’t turn away.” – Lee Thomas, Bram Stoker Award and Lambda Literary Award-winning author of The German and Ash Street.

“Nate Southard’s Pale Horses is a fast-paced, smart, and nasty noir shocker, full of both heart and guts. And, his Hal Kendrick is a revelation. Achingly real and equally doomed, Sheriff Hal is someone you won’t be able to forget. I promise.” – Paul Tremblay, author The Little Sleep.

“Three damaged men. One mutilated corpse. A small Indiana town headed toward a homegrown apocalypse. Nate Southard’s Pale Horses is powerful and heartbreaking noir and not to be missed.” – Lynn Kostoff, author of Late Rain and A Choice of Nightmares.

“Nate Southard knows the secret to a great murder story: whodunnit doesn’t really matter. It’s about the characters, and Pale Horses is filled with memorable ones. You’ll care about these people.” – Sean Doolittle, author of Lake Country and Safer.

The Hardest Part

Sometimes, I wonder what the hardest part of writing might be.  I’m not sure why I do this.  Maybe I just like torturing myself.  There’s certainly evidence to support that theory.  Then again, writing is a huge part of my life.  It makes sense that it would infect my thoughts more than a little.

So what is the hardest part?  I think it’s different for everybody.  For some, it’s just sitting down and doing the work.  For others, maybe it’s finding markets for their work (though let’s be honest: if you think there aren’t enough horror markets out there, you have far too narrow an idea of horror).  A few find promotion to be a chore and a half.  For one of my friends, the hardest part appears to be sitting down and writing without chain-smoking.  For another, the hardest part appears to be success.  They really appear to hate being successful.  Weird.

But what’s the hardest part for me?  I’ll admit I have a few problems with promotion.  The gears in my brain just have a lot of trouble working that way.  Other times, it’s writers’ ticks.  My good friend Lee Thomas is usually my first reader, and not a story/book comes along where he doesn’t find some character train or turn of phrase that pops up again and again.  In Scavengers, for instance, characters kept getting sick.  It seemed the zombies weren’t dangerous becuse they could eat you so much as their presence made you lose your lunch.

If I really had to choose the hardest part of writing for me though, it would have to be improvement.  More to the point, it’s very difficult for me to improve my craft as quickly and thoroughly as I’d like.  A long time ago, I decided I wanted everything I wrote to be better than what came before it.  I made constant improvement as a writer one of my longterm goals.  That, at least, I can control to some degree, which isn’t something I can say about finding an agent or landing a book with one of the big New York publishers.  So now, every time I write I find myself constantly analyzing.  Is the prose tighter?  Are the characters deeper?  Almost always, they are, but I find I improve by inches.  There are no great leaps forward.

And this drive to improve really kicks the self-doubt up a few notches, let me tell you.  Recently, I wrote a 10,000 word novelette for an upcoming anthology.  When I landed the assignment, I thought it would be easy.  He Stepped Through was roughly the same length, took about a week to write, and was one of the best pieces I’ve written.  However, when I turned in the story two months and four aborted attempts later, I felt like I’d been in a bar fight.  Everything about writing that novelette just exhausted me.  Every sentence I had written filled me with emotions ranging from frustration to sadness to disgust.  The novelette was good–really good, the editor tells me–but I thought I could do better.

Now, I’m moving on to the rewrite of a novel.  Three months ago, I thought the book was in great shape.  Lee Thomas eviscerated it, though.  It needs a ton of work, and I’m just hoping I can fix it instead of having to scrap it.  I’ve had to do that in the past.  In fact, both Down and the upcoming Pale Horses were each written at least three times.  I’m not even talking editing/rewriting.  I mean I finished the book, thought I can do better, and started over completely from page one.

Look, I don’t know if I’ll ever land an agent or get that big book deal.  I can’t promise I’ll keep putting out books with the frequency I have been.  There’s no telling if I’ll ever be successful enough to have a ‘writing career’ in the long run.  All I can control is my writing, my craft, and my desire to constantly improve.  So that’s what I’ll be doing.  For me, it’s the hardest part, but it’s also the best part.