Phillip Thompson

Crime Fiction writer

Dead Mule 2Got the word yesterday that The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature accepted my story, “Kenny’s Saturday Night Cake Walk,” for its July issue. Very excited to be a part of this year’s Mule for a couple of reasons.

For starters, as the name implies, it’s a place for Southern writers — and all the peculiarities that goes with that. But, to quote the folks at The Mule, “Remember please, we are not simply a bunch of back-ass swamp-dwelling moonshine-drinking coon-hunting mother f’ers. We are — arguably — the last true bastion of individuality left in the U.S.” Indeed they — we — aren’t.

The Mule publishes fiction, poetry and essays. One of the unique — and entertaining — things about submissions at TDMSSL is the requirement to submit a “Southern Legitimacy Statement” with your submissions. When I first saw this, I did a double-take, but after reading several on the website, I was laughing so much that I knew I wanted to take a shot at this part. Here’s mine:

I didn’t have a “grandmother” or a “Nana.” I had a Granny. She wore red lipstick, always carried a pistol, drove fast, smoked cigarettes, believed in the Good Lord, cooked with lard (in which everything was fried — chicken, okra, corn, you name it), took all 10 grandkids fishing and was capable of slapping the taste out of your mouth if you sassed her (not that you ever would). She didn’t say “sweet” tea because there’s only one kind of tea in Mississippi (that’s spelled M-I-crooked letter, crooked letter-I-crooked letter, crooked letter-I-humpback, humpback-I), and if you ask for “sweet tea,” you’re clearly a damn Yankee. Or a carpetbagger, take your pick. She had more grandkids than she had room, so we stayed outside a lot in the summer — shirtless, shoeless, sweaty and loud and buying Co-Colas at Bubba Cox’s store or playing in the bed of Granddaddy’s dump truck. If we behaved, we could come in to cool off and listen to “Ode to Billie Joe” on the record player. She said things like “that boy’s as crazy as a junebug” and “bless her heart.” From the South? Hell, she was the South.

Available in July from Roundfire Books

Available in July from Roundfire Books

The second reason for excitement is that, by pure coincidence, the story will not only run a few days ahead of the release of Deep Blood, but it also has a tie-in to the novel. Consider it a preview to Deep Blood and an introduction of sorts to Colt Harper. So check out the Mule, get yourself a taste and get ready for Colt Harper this summer.

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