Origins of the police

File under things that make you go hmm….

Works in theory

The Five Points district of lower Manhattan, painted by George Catlin in 1827. New York’s first free Black settlement, it became a mixed-race slum, home to Blacks and Irish alike, and a focal point for the stormy collective life of the new working class. Cops were invented to gain control over neighborhoods and populations like this. The Five Points district of lower Manhattan, painted by George Catlin in 1827. New York’s first free Black settlement, Five Points was also a destination for Irish immigrants and a focal point for the stormy collective life of the new working class. Cops were invented to gain control over neighborhoods and populations like this.

In England and the United States, the police were invented within the space of just a few decades — roughly from 1825 to 1855.

The new institution was not a response to an increase in crime, and it really didn’t lead to new methods for dealing with crime. The most common way for authorities to solve a crime, before and since the invention of police, has been for someone to tell them who did it.

Besides, crime has to do with the acts of individuals, and the ruling elites who invented the police were responding to challenges posed…

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My sister, my self

My mother passed away early this morning. The support and love shown both online and off has been inspirational. I disappeared for a while there, even walking away in mid-conversation with some of you, for which I apologize. The coming days should see me gradually become more active here again. In the meantime I’m tending to my mother’s affairs. Special thanks to my aunt and cousins for everything they have done over the last couple weeks and continue to do, to Roger and Jeanne for giving me a place to crash near the hospital and grab a few hours sleep here and there, and to Jennifer for keeping everything in my personal life going while I was preoccupied. My aunt wrote this wonderfully frank tribute to my mother today, packed with plenty of adorable childhood pictures. Be well, and take care of your loved ones.


13445327_1018435218226814_5180474692144154131_n I love this picture of Jill, standing between Ginger F. (right) and me. Look at that laugh while we’re in the snow, waiting for the school bus at Ballietts’.

Jill is dead. My younger sister, 69, my sweet, funny, bright, troubled, generous, kind, sad sister died at the beginning of this first day of summer.

I’ve been waiting, but not ready, for this day since she nearly starved herself to death as a high-schooler. We had no word for anorexia then or any tools for dealing with it, and I think that’s when she ruined her health. She had a Scarlett O’Hara-sized waist, and her hair came out by the handful.

I don’t remember when the pendulum swung waaaay back. I must have been in Boston, struggling with a college life for which I was completely unprepared.

When she was in college, we, meaning our mother, started getting the dramatic phone…

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Cover Reveal: STOLEN AWAY by Kristin Dearborn

Shotgun Logic

Today I have the honor and the pleasure to be presenting to you for the very first time the cover to Kristin Dearborn’s new novel STOLEN AWAY, coming on June 25 from Raw Dog Screaming Press. I’ll be reviewing that book over on This Is Horror soon, so watch for that, but don’t wait for it by any means. You can pre-order the book right now. In the meantime dig this lovely cover art by the talented artist, Daniele Serra. Thanks to Raw Dog Screaming Press for allowing me to share this with you.


About the Artist:

The cover was created by Italian artist Daniele Serra. He is a winner of the British Fantasy Award and has worked with companies such as DC Comics, Image Comics, Cemetery Dance, Weird Tales Magazine and PS Publishing. Visit his web site to see more of his art:


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Catching Up On Things: Film Adaptation

Ridley Scott, director of Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, and The Martian

There has been a lot of news recently, so much that I have not been able to even blog about it. I’m going to post briefly on each item daily for a while just to get it all out.

51v1t48NzmL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_First: the major film news regarding a book we published at Raw Dog Screaming Press, Wraiths of the Broken Land by S. Craig Zahler. You frequently hear about literary material being optioned, but in this case 20th Century Fox went a step further with the commitment to make Wraiths of the Broken Land their follow-up to The Martian, reuniting director Ridley Scott, screenwriter Drew Goddard (Daredevil, The Cabin in the Woods), and producers Simon Kinberg, Michael Schaefer, and Aditya Sood.

Jen and I have enjoyed our publishing partnership with Zahler, going on to publish his science fiction novel Corpus Chrome, Inc. after doing Wraiths. While all of that is rewarding, it was especially nice to see his film Bone Tomahawk–which he wrote and directed–do so well on its release last autumn, since he had been fighting an uphill battle to make that film the whole time we knew him.

fid16068There was a ton of publicity once the deal broke on May 10th, and of course sales have skyrocketed. Unfortunately Amazon ran out of paperback copies in a single day, and couldn’t keep the book in stock for two weeks straight, but it seems they’ve finally ordered enough copies to keep up with the demand. Of all the articles my favorites were at Fangoria, Yahoo Finance, and Geek Tyrant, but there was also good coverage at Entertainment Weekly, Variety, and Deadline.

Zahler is preparing to start production on his next directorial effort, Brawl on Cell Block 99, by the end of the summer, and is also going to be writing the Puppet Master relaunch. There’s more big news in the works, but for now all I can say is read Corpus Chrome, Inc. and Wraiths of the Broken Land to stay ahead of the crowd.

RDSP Signs Maria Alexander’s YA Novel SNOWED

maria-alexanderWe are very pleased to announce that we’ve signed Maria Alexander’s second novel SNOWED continuing the productive collaboration that began with MR. WICKER which garnered a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. It’s slated for release later this year and is sure to be a popular title for the winter holidays.

SNOWED is about Charity Jones, a 16-year-old engineering genius who’s much-bullied for being biracial and a skeptic at her conservative school in Oak County, California. After a particularly painful day, Charity’s social worker mother brings home a teen runaway named Aidan to foster for the holidays. Matched in every way, Charity and Aidan begin to fall secretly in love. But he’s not the only new arrival. Charity soon finds the brutally slain corpse of her worst bully and she gets hard, haunting evidence that the killer is stalking Oak County. She and her Skeptics Club investigate the death, finding at every turn the mystery only grows darker and more deadly. But one thing’s for certain: there’s a bloody battle coming this holiday season that will change their lives – and human history – forever. Will they be ready?

Stay tuned for more updates on this amazing release!

About the Author

Maria Alexander writes pretty much every damned thing and gets paid to do it. She’s a produced screenwriter and playwright, published games writer, virtual world designer, award-winning copywriter, interactive theatre designer, prolific fiction writer, snarkiologist and poet. Her stories have appeared in publications such as Chiaroscuro Magazine, and Paradox, as well as numerous acclaimed anthologies alongside living legends such as David Morrell and Heather Graham.

Her second poetry collection—At Louche Ends: Poetry for the Decadent, the Damned and the Absinthe-Minded—was nominated for the 2011 Bram Stoker Award. And she was a winner of the 2004 AOL Time-Warner “Time to Rhyme” poetry contest.

When not wielding a katana at her local shinkendo dojo, she’s being outrageously spooky and writing Doctor Who filk. She lives in Los Angeles with two ungrateful cats and a purse called Trog.

Explore her website: You won’t regret it.

What they are saying about Maria Alexander and MR. WICKER

BOOKS-mrwicker“…the fantastic premise of memories so terrible they need to be excised and hidden away makes this a horror novel to anticipate.”Library Journal starred review

“Convincing in its haunting whimsy, Alexander’s emotionally complex faerie tale comments on grim reality with chilling metaphors….Illness, loss, and heartache color this splendid, bittersweet ode to the ghosts of childhood.”Publishers Weekly

“…a gothic tale in the old sense of the word; secrets, hidden libraries, crows, candles, haunted pasts and uncertain futures, sprinkled with dark shadows and hooded figures.”—Madeleine Swann for Dirge Magazine

“At once mythic and immediate, MR. WICKER by Maria Alexander is a vivid synthesis of dark folk tale and modern horror.”—Fangoria

“Suicide, love, lust, lost dreams and twisted purgatories…Maria Alexander’s Mr. Wicker is an original, crafted of startling images and darkly poetic language. Eerily effective.” —Steven Barnes, author of Lion’s Blood

Mr. Wicker is as deeply disturbing a debut novel as I’ve ever read.”— Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Code Zero and Fall of Night

“Elegant chills, genuine awe, and true tragedy are all ingredients in the spell cast by Maria Alexander’s Mr. Wicker. Anyone who has encountered Maria’s short stories surely expects her first novel to be extraordinary, and she doesn’t disappoint. Mr. Wicker is rich, lovely, and deeply unnerving.” —Lisa Morton, author of Malediction and Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween 

“Exquisite pleasure and pain coexist in her nightmare world of sinful decadence. The reader is thrust into the abstruse plain of suffering where there is no bliss without grief and longing remains unsated.”Dreadful Tales

“…elegantly stunning…” Fatally Yours

“…handles the subtleties of the mystery genre well…”Rue Morgue

“Maria Alexander’s stories are darkly funny and deliciously addictive.”—Jon Evans, Arthur Ellis Award-winning author of Dark Places

“A darker, angrier Neil Gaiman.” ­—


Steel Magic Cover Reveal

_Steel Magic-Jacket.indd

Title: Steel Magic

Series: Steel Empires Book 2

Author: J.L. Gribble

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Alternate History

Release Date: July 6, 2016

Pre-order Link:


Funerals are usually the end of the story, not the beginning.

Newly graduated warrior-mages Toria Connor and Kane Nalamas find themselves the last remaining mages in the city when a mage school teacher mysteriously falls ill and dies. But taking over the school themselves isn’t in the cards. They’re set to become professional mercenaries-if they make it through the next 18 months as journeymen first.

The debate over whether to hunt mutated monsters in the Wasteland or take posh bodyguard jobs is put on hold when a city elder hires them to solve the mystery of the disappearing mages. Toria and Kane’s quest brings them to the British colonial city of New Angouleme, where their initial investigation reveals that the problem is even greater than they feared.

But when a friend is kidnapped, they’ll have to travel to the other side of the globe to save her, save themselves, and save magic itself.

About the Cover Artist:

Bradley Sharp was born in 1977 in Oxfordshire, UK. From a young age he filled many sketch books, so it only made sense to study Graphic Communication at Nene University, where he received a BA Honors degree in 1997.

But the real world called Sharp away from academics, so he traveled around the globe a couple of times, working as a graphic designer. Now he makes a living by designing magazine spreads, but freelances with vector illustrations, allowing him to create something far-removed from what he does in his nine-to-five job.

Sharp finds vector to be an easy tool and believes anyone can use it. “I’d say my artwork is nothing more than glorified doodling. I like the logical inconsistencies of surrealism and find inspiration from many places such as music or the science fiction genre. Dog Star’s novels lend themselves well to my style. I look forward to working with DSB in the future, and hope fans will like the imagery as much as they enjoy the words.” Find Sharp’s work online at

About the Author:

Gribble photo colorBy day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. She is currently working on the Steel Empires series for Dog Star Books, the science-fiction/adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press. Previously, she was an editor for the Far Worlds anthology.

Gribble studied English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She received her Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where her debut novel Steel Victory was her thesis for the program.

She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (, on Facebook (, and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits).

$50,000 International Literary Award for Unpublished Work


As you might have gathered by now I am very interested in promoting diversity in the publishing world, even when (read: especially when) doing so would not directly benefit somebody of my body type and background. With that in mind I present a major award for work featuring women…


Half the World Global Literati Award

We are looking for short stories, novels and screenplays, written in English, that give a voice to the inner lives of women. Your work can be romantic; a tale of science fiction; a sensual or erotic exploration; a comic caper; a thrilling mystery or a biographical memoir. We ask only that it gives fresh insight into the lives of women.

  • Generous cash prize and global exposure
  • Collaboration opportunities in multiple areas of entertainment
  • Open to works across a range of genres

If you are an author with a script slumbering in a drawer, we want to hear from you.

Take the next step and submit your creativity here.

The Award is an initiative of Half the World Holdings, a women-focused investment platform.


Join a growing community of authors and artists working toward greater diversity in speculative fiction at


Percy Jackson and the Diversity Thief (Minus the Thief Part)

rp-logo143x111Yesterday one of my son’s favorite authors, Rick Riordan (the Red Pyramid series, the Percy Jackson series, etc.), announced he will match donations up to $10,000 for my publishing colleague’s crowdfunding campaign. Who is this friend of mine? Bill Campbell, the mastermind behind Rosarium Publishing.

I first met Bill at the World Fantasy Convention in 2014, but it wasn’t until after he invited me to a talk being given by Phenderson Djèlí Clark on the long-overlooked African American works of science fiction from the 1800s and early 1900s that things really started to happen. That was a great event, one that was standing room only, and afterwards a group of us–authors, editors, and artists, including Phenderson–went out to break bread together.

Rosarium-billBill was part of that initial group, some of whom have gone on to form the Diverse Writers & Artists of Speculative Fiction (of which I am a founding member–more on that soon!). We’ve hung out off and on since then, and I can tell you from my 17 years in publishing this guy is noteworthy; he is not just a fan, not just a creator, not just an entrepreneur with great business sense, but somebody who strives to keep improving and upping the game for everyone.

Which is precisely what his fundraising campaign is about. To keep producing top quality products such as Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany edited by Nisi Shawl & Bill Campbell, which was just today listed as a finalist for the 2016 Locus Award, he’s taking things to the next level.

stories for chipWith just over $5,000 left to go (when you factor in Riordan’s generous forthcoming contribution) the goal is within reach. If you like the idea of receiving all manner of great perks while also ensuring really cool things get made for a wider audience than ever before…please go and donate now! Even just $5 does actually make a difference! Also, please consider spreading the word to make this final phase of the campaign a success.

Thank you!

Here’s the direct link to the Rosarium Indiegogo:

Monday Musings: “Your Books Are So Good, I Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Them.”

My publishing company has been plagued with serial returners (scammers) on Kindle, although I could not prove this is what was happening. Someone would just happen to purchase all the books we publish by a particular author, then return them. Now one such person has gone public to berate an author for not making their books free, thereby forcing the reader in question to go through *all the effort* of actually having to return them, since they cannot afford all the books they purchase. Read on for the result…

M.A. Kropp

This happened to an author of my acquaintance. She got an email from a “fan” and the gist of it was this:

Dear Ms. Author.

I really like your books. I think they are well-written and I enjoyed reading them. (So far, so good, right? Hang on.) However, I have returned them all because you priced them at $0.99 to $2.99, and that is too much to pay for them. I can’t afford to pay that much for a book, even though I liked it. In the future, can you make sure you make all your books free so I don’t have to return them?

And, when the author in question blocked this “fan” (and it seems, reported her as an abuser of the return system on ebooks), she sent another email chastising the author for blocking her and forcing her to open a second account (presumably to harass the…

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Last Call For a Beach Weekend, and the Collide International Award


Join me this weekend, March 25-29, for a weekend of making your book happen. Also, if you are looking for a lot of money, three months in Geneva and Liverpool, and the chance to involve scientists in creating your work then continue reading below. First: Write at the Beach details…

Brainstorm, compose, edit, format and upload a Kindle book in just three days! You’ll need to do a little prep before this weekend but you’ll come out the other end with a completed product ready for sale. This workshop is ideal for any level of writer from unpublished to those with multiple releases. Learn speed techniques and leave your inner editor behind. You could even create a pen name and test out a new genre.

Never self-published on Kindle before? We’ll walk you through the set-up. Add optional extra writing days to fit your schedule and work on longer projects. Cost for the weekend is $350 and includes basic proofreading and cover design consultation. Details & signup here:

* **

COLLIDE International Award

1. Introduction

Arts@CERN has flourished since its creation in 2011, binding arts, science and technology to contribute to a fast growing knowledge-based culture. Today, we are pleased to announce the COLLIDE International Award, a major international residency programme and a new collaboration between CERN and FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool).

COLLIDE International Award is a unique opportunity for artists to spend dedicated time in one of the most important laboratories in the world, where crucial questions about nature are addressed. COLLIDE aims to encourage curiosity, offering experimental and open-minded artists an extraordinary framework to inspire creativity both within the sciences and the humanities. Ultimately, COLLIDE proposes to transform the way art and science encounters are understood, and to challenge new modes of dialogue and enquiry.

As the cradle of the World Wide Web and home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CERN is an eminent centre of science and technology with great relevance in the culture of today. As an international centre of excellence in these fields, CERN is an inspirational place for artists, designers and creators of any kind to explore and extend their research in the fascinating world of particle physics.

FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) is the UK’s leading media arts centre based in Liverpool, bringing people, art and technology together. FACT harnesses the power of creative technology to inspire and enrich lives through a wide ranging programme of exhibitions, research and innovation, and community-led projects. FACTLab is FACT’s experimental laboratory, a collaborative environment for interdisciplinary practice-based research and production operating at the crossroads between art, science and technology.

2. Criteria of the call

The competition is open to artists of any nationality or age. Their  proposal  should reflect upon encounters between art and science, and offer challenging methods of collaboration  with CERN scientists. The scope of this proposal should also consider a second developmental phase at FACT, where the artists will have the opportunity to expand their research and test its applications through FACTLab’s facilities and engagement with a wide range of communities. The ultimate goal for the residency will be the research and development of new concepts in laboratory contexts.

COLLIDE Open Call for Entries encourages the participation of artists interested in the ideas described above, complying with any of the following criteria:

  • Artists interested in the cultural significance of science.
  • Artists working with digital and scientific media, technology and concepts as inspiration for their work.
  • Artists engaging with an innovative discourse on contemporary culture, following ambitious standards of creativity.
  • Artists demonstrating an active interest in the institutional visions, research methodologies, and cultural engagement of CERN and FACT.
  • Artists interested in the processes of fundamental science and particle physics who are able to extrapolate this understanding into projects of artistic excellence.
  • Artists pushing the traditional forms of collaboration between the artistic and scientific fields, and asking innovative and provocative questions in this respect.
  • Artists approaching science and research from diverse angles of enquiry, such as political, ethical, or sociological perspectives.

3. Conditions and participation

COLLIDE International Award grants an artist with a fully funded residency at CERN and FACT. The artist will spend the first two months at CERN, Geneva, followed by a one-month stay at FACT, Liverpool (not necessarily consecutively).

The award includes the following conditions:

  • 15,000 Swiss Francs as an Award.
  • Allowance for two months at CERN, Geneva and one month at FACT, Liverpool.
  • Travel costs and accommodation within a fixed budget for the three months of the artistic residency at CERN and FACT.

 The awarded artist is expected:

  • To work with a scientific partner at CERN, and with the teams of Arts@CERN and FACT during the residency, exploring ideas and research and interacting with various communities in each location.
  • To conduct interventions, talks and/or workshops during the residency, including CERN and FACT staff, as well as other relevant communities such as artists, scientists, academics.
  • To communicate the creative process and research developed during the residency through social media platforms, a blog or similar, in order to reach global audiences.
  • To meet regularly with the CERN scientific partner in order to discuss the process of artistic research, exploration and discovery, and to additionally work with other scientists.
  • During the residency at FACT, to establish conversations and explore collaborations with scientists and academics from Liverpool University and Liverpool John Moores University.
  • To communicate regularly with the teams at Arts@CERN and FACT to develop the proposal and ensure its satisfactory completion during the residency.

The main scientific language used at CERN and FACT is English, therefore it is essential to speak English fluently.

FACT and CERN are equal opportunity organisations and are fully committed to a policy of treating all of its collaborators equally.

4. Key dates

The deadline for applications is May 23rd, 2016.

The Jury of this edition is composed of a panel of experts including Monica Bello, Head of Arts@CERN, Geneva (Switzerland); Patrick Gyger, Director of Le Lieu Unique, Nantes (France); Tara Shears, Physicist at LHCb, CERN (Geneva) and at University of Liverpool (United Kingdom); Mike Stubbs, Director of FACT, Liverpool and Professor at Liverpool John Moores University (United Kingdom).

The jury board will meet in June 2016 and the results will be announced at the end of June 2016.

The decision of the jury is final and allows no further communication. The acceptance of the prize constitutes the acceptance of these conditions.

5. Submission of proposals

Artists intending to apply shall submit a proposal adhering to the criteria of the call. The proposal should describe, in detail, the project that the artist intends to undertake during the residency at CERN and FACT. The proposal should be accompanied by a filmed statement (no longer than five minutes), defending the relevance of the intended project.

All documents must be submitted in English. The jury will not review incomplete proposals.


6. Contact and information


The man your librarian warned you about…


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