This week, I released my collection of Faustian bargains. I’ve always enjoyed stories about making a deal with the Devil. In literature class, my favorite stories were “The Devil and Tom Walker” and “The Devil and Daniel Webster.” The symbolism and deepness of the stories is something you simply can’t find in most modern stories. When I would read supernatural anthologies, a deal with the Devil story was certain to make me smile.
In the 90s, I would dig around in libraries, looking for the stories. Ghost story collections and suspense collections had a good chance of having exactly one Faustian bargain story. I always wanted a book of nothing but stories featuring deals with the Devil. I never found one.
About two years ago, I had the idea for Joshua’s Pawn Shop. Almost immediately after I finished the first one (“The Buick Eight,” which I only released recently), I had the idea for a set of companion stories: Lou’s Bar & Grill. This would be the collection of Faustian bargains I had always wanted to read. Like Joshua stories taking place in the store, these would all revolve around a locale, Lou’s restaurant. I first imagined five stories in the collection and set out to write the first.
“Crazy Moon” almost wrote itself. Once I had a clear picture of the Laney, things fell together (come to think of it, once I had a clear picture of the main character, all of them fell together nicely). Shortly after finishing it, I started “Sixes Wild.” At the completion, I noticed how the two stories each exemplified one of the seven deadly sins. Laney had embraced wrath while the four players in “Sixes Wild” were slothful. “Why stop at five stories?” I thought, “Go for seven.”
Story ideas for the other five came quickly. As I finished up “Snake Oil Man,” “Keeping Up Appearances” leapt into my mind almost fully formed. Then “Crime of Passion” and “The Sore Loser.” “Changing Ways” was the last idea to come to me and the last one written.
While writing the later stories, I shopped the first ones around. Several places like “Sixes Wild” but one of them really liked it! Nathan James Norman’s Untold Podcast accepted the story to perform as a dramatic reading. It came out on their special, double-length episode where Nathan first interviews a third pastor/writer about Christian art. Give a listen. I’ve heard almost everything on the Untold Podcast.
So there’s two of the seven stories that you can get for free (at this time of writing). I hope you enjoy them.