Requiem for a Thug

When PLOTS WITH GUNS closed after it’s first run, I was mildly disappointed because they were a trailblazer and such, but also because I would never be able to submit to them (at least that’s what I thought at the time). But now, with the news that THUGLIT is shutting down, I’m left with a huge hole in my heart. I will forever be linked to THUGLIT is several important (and at least one filthy) ways.

I was first exposed to Thuglit at my first Bouchercon in Toronto. I was very new to the scene and didn’t know much about the online fiction world. But Todd was in one of the panels handing out free T-shirts with the THUGLIT logo on them and I just thought it was some weird urban journalism site. A couple of years later, I had a story about donkey sex and violent men and no real place to send it. I flashed back to THUGLIT and checked out their website and it looked right up my alley. I sent Todd my story DONKEY SHOW and he accepted it, beginning a long and successful relationship not just between myself and THUGLIT, but the whole online writing community. I followed DONKEY SHOW with two of my favorite short stories, MURDER BOY and ALTER ROAD.

Todd Robinson gave me two of the greatest milestones in my writing career to date as well. He was the first person to give me money for my fiction, and he was the first one to get me into an anthology. At the time of the first THUGLIT anthology, I’d published some good stories, people knew my name, and for the most part everything was swell. Except I had this intense BURNING desire to be in an anthology. I wanted to go into a bookstore and see something with my name on it on a Barnes and Noble or Borders shelf. Todd Robinson gave me that and I will owe him a debt the rest of my life.

When PLOTS WITH GUNS closed, they left a huge void in the crime fiction landscape. Other than Thuglit, there was not much else out there. That’s why I started DEMOLITION. But the passing of THUGLIT leaves crime fiction readers and writers in a much better place. Crisply designed, professionally edited, and balls out promoted, journals like CRIME FACTORY, BEAT TO A PULP, NEEDLE, and of course, PLOTS WITH GUNS 2.0 will continue the mission of great fiction outside of the mainstream market, but none of these journals would have been able to thrive as well without THUGLIT keeping the fire alive during the dark ages.

So Todd, Alison, and the rest of the THUGLIT crew. Thank you, with the deepest gratitude.

Thug for Life.