Tag Archive for: noir at the bar

Author Events

by Bethany Maines

Like the Olympics author readings are cause for applause (from the audience), tears (usually from the author over their story), and gasps of surprise (like when someone literally falls out of their chair).  Unlike the Olympics, these events usually go better with alcohol. 

I recently participated in Noir at the Bar Seattle a quarterly reading event that brings together a variety of authors to share their work.  The entire purpose of the evening is to delight the audience with tales of crime, murder and debauchery.  And the latest event was no exception.  From serial killing teenagers to con men and a very threatening masseuse each tale took the listeners down a different dark alley.  Located at the aptly named Alibi Room at Seattle’s Pike place market (near the gum wall, for those who have been) the venue provided excellent atmosphere.

I enjoy the opportunity to read in public, but this wasn’t always the case.  It’s nerve wracking to reveal any artistic work to the judgement of the public, but then having to be the vehicle for that art, whether it’s dance or some other type performance, puts the judgement not just on the work itself, but on the performer.  Or in other words, you’re all staring at meeeeeeeee! 

What has helped me is to realize that the act of reading is separate from the story itself.  I can have the perfect story, but if I biff the performance then no one will know.  In order to present my beautiful baby story to the world in the best way I must ovary up and give it a proper introduction.  Fortunately, my introduction for Tammy Loves Derek, a happy-go-lucky tale of gold-digging and revenge went well.  Perhaps in the future I will be able to find it a nice publication to match it up with.  But I will definitely be looking forward to the next opportunity to share my words with an audience.

Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

Experiencing Noir at the Bar

Paula Gail Benson

I think about writing or film described as “noir,” the words bleak, cynical,
dark, and fatalistic come to mind. I’m immediately reminded of black and white
movies, usually produced during the 1930s or 1940s and often featuring Humphrey
Bogart. In a list of Bogart’s top 31 films, 13 of them are identified as noir.

Lawrence Block

In Noir at the Bar: An Oral History, written
by Keith Rawson in 2014, a more recent phenomenon of crime authors reading their
noir short stories or passages from longer works, originated in 2008 in Philadelphia,
then spread to St. Louis and Los Angeles. Events often take place in
conjunction with a mystery conference, but may be “stand alone” evenings
organized by local writers groups.

Dr. Warren Moore

at the Bar arrived in Newberry, South Carolina, a small college town near the
center of the state known for its famous Opera House, on October 10 when Dr. Warren Moore, an excellent author
and Professor of English at Newberry College, organized an event at Bar Figaro.
He selected the perfect location. Bar Figaro offered a tiffany domed, brick
walled, atmospheric backdrop for readings by professors Dr. Moore and Dr. David
Rachels; former students Kasey Stuart-Schroer and Karina Tarbell; and invited
guests, including Lawrence Block, who was spending a semester at the college as
Gerding Writer-in-Residence; Block’s daughter, Jill D. Block; North Carolina
author and filmmaker Eryk Pruitt; and S.A. Cosby, who read his Anthony
nominated story, “The Grass Beneath My Feet.”

author captivated the audience with somber, evocative works in the tradition of
Edgar Allan Poe. Their presentations offered the perfect entertainment for an
October evening. And, the door prizes given between readings added to the fun
and the introduction of readers to new authors.

Moore promises that more events will be planned for the future. I’m delighted
this program has made its way to our community and look forward to attending
more Noir at the Bar.

Noir at the Bar

by Bethany Maines

This week I’m engaging in a local Seattle event called Noir at the Bar.  There are several of these around the country—they’re a collection of live readings from crime writers with a few open mic slots at the end.  I don’t do crime exactly.  I’m more action-adventure / mystery. If you’re wondering about the distinction, I would say that the crime genre usually involves a higher body count and more depression and alcoholism.

A public reading is a difficult beast to master. The story or piece has to fit the time allotted and it has to be satisfying to the audience.  Just reading a chunk of my latest work in progress wouldn’t be helpful for the audience. There wouldn’t be enough set up and no conclusion.  It’s OK to leave the audience wanting more and pondering the deeper meaning.  Leaving them just plain confused and wondering what the point was is not acceptable.  Also, the piece has to be somewhat performed. Simply reading is more than a little bit boring, unless you have a Morgan Freeman voice.  In which case, congratulations, read whatever you want.  But I don’t sound remotely like Morgan Freeman, so I have to work a little harder.

For this event I’ve written a more crime oriented piece involving plastic couch covers, cupcakes and a husband who wishes he hadn’t popped home for a nooner.  It’s got some rather naughty words and I’m hoping I don’t stumble over them.  It’s my feeling that if you’re going to swear in public you should do it with authority.  Although, I have to admit that while dropping an F-bomb doesn’t scare me, but somehow the line about tampons has me intimidated.  Wish me luck!


Try out a crime-tinged adventure from Bethany Maines. 
Shark’s Instinct – $1.99 –  AmazonBarnes & Noble – KoboiBook

Fresh out of prison and fresh out of luck, twenty-something Shark wants back into The Organization. But when Geier, the mob boss with a cruel sense of humor, sends Shark to the suburbs to find out who’s been skimming his take, Shark realizes he’s going to need more than his gun and an attitude to succeed. With the clock ticking, Shark accepts the help of the mysterious teenage fixer, Peregrine Hays, and embarks on a scheme that could line his pockets, land him the girl and cement his reputation with the gang—if he makes it out alive.

is the author of the Carrie Mae Mystery Series, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous
short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some
serious butt with her fourth degree black belt in karate, she can be found
chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You
can also catch up with her on YouTube,
Twitter and Facebook.