Pro-File: Steve Rasnic Tem-
Ugly Behavior by Steve Rasnic Tem
Ugly Behavior collects 19 of Steve Rasnic Tem’s best noir tales, ugly stories about people behaving quite badly indeed. These are the stories in that box under your bed, pushed all the way back against the wall, the one that takes some effort to get to, the one you thought your momma didn’t know about.
Raves for Ugly Behavior
“Ugly Behavior is a powerfully dark collection of crime fiction showcasing Steve Rasnic Tem’s handling of uber-disturbing themes, characters, and confrontations. All of the pieces here are unsettling, wrenching, and affecting, yet polished to a poetic perfection. The author valiantly goes to the bad places and shares his insights so you don’t have to face head-on those same vicious struggles. As always, Tem demonstrates impressive range and sensitivity in this grouping of black jewels.”
—Tom Piccirilli, author of The Last Kind Words
“Steve Tem is a writer’s writer and he and his stories are hidden treasures. Here are some of those beautiful gems revealed.”
—Joe Lansdale, author of Edge of Dark Water
“Lusciously grizzly, creepy, and original, glimpses into the souls of people you would never want to meet. Tem actually scares me—hard to do—and I love it.”
—Vicki Hendricks, author of Miami Purity
“I’ve not only read Steve Rasnic Tem over the years I’ve also learned from him as both a writer and a human being. He’s one of the true masters.”
—Ed Gorman, author of The Poker Club
“I’ve read a lot of stories by Steve Rasnic Tem and have never failed to be impressed by their extraordinary range and originality.”
—Otto Penzler, editor of The Best American Crime Writing
Pro File: Steve Rasnic Tem
1. Tell us about your current novel or project.
The new book is Ugly Behavior, out from New Pulp Press http://www.newpulppress.com/titles/ugly_behavior/. I've never done an all crime/noir collection before, and this includes my best work in the genre from places like Crimewave, Hardboiled, The Saint, and anthologies such as Dark at Heart, Shivers, and New Crimes. It also includes a new story, "Saguaro Night."
2. Can you give us a sense of what you’re working on now?
I'm always working on multiple projects. Right now it's a book on writing with my wife Melanie, a Lovecraftian novella, a science fiction novel called Before Oblivion, and a novel based on my zombie short story Bodies & Heads.
3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?
Being lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak from the heart. I was a very shy kid, still am at my core, and for me writing was always the one way I could articulate what I cared about. I've never been a traditionally religious person, but for me writing was always a kind of prayer.
4. The greatest displeasure?
I'm not great at self-promotion, and although I definitely see the need for it, it doesn't come naturally to me, or bring me pleasure. I also think writers are generally underpaid for all they put into the work—that's not necessarily the fault of the publishers—I think it's a problem in the culture.
5. Advice to the publishing world?
I'm not sure I'm one who should be giving out any business advice, but I would say that decision times on books and projects have become impossibly long. And increasingly I hear about publishers who won't even respond unless it's a "yes." It's a bad trend, and I think it shows a lack of respect for what we do. Writers can't conduct their careers as a business that way, and it will drive some very good writers away from the vocation.
6. Are there any forgotten writers you’d like to see in print again?
Don Robertson, Gerald Kersh, to name two.
7. Tell us about selling your first novel.
That was Excavation. It began as a short story that didn't work. I tried to fix it and it grew. My agent at the time, Ellen Levine, had been sending it around for over a year. It collected some very nice rejections, but no serious interest. She did get a note from John Douglas at Avon saying he liked the book, but that it didn't really fit in to what he was publishing at the time. A year later the book still hadn't sold, and she received another note from John saying that the book had stayed with him, and things had changed a bit—was it still available? I was both thrilled and numb, because I'd pretty much given up on having a novel published at that point.