Barnes is a poet, novelist and editor and runs the blogazine site Tough.
Tough provides a paid outlet for short story writers as well as the odd-review and is well-worth checking in on every so often. Click here to view.
I've enjoyed Rusty's work before - Ridgerunner back in 2016. I've heard rumours of a follow up in the making, so I'm keeping my eyes peeled for it.
I'm not a massive fan of poetry, but his two books - Mostly Redneck and Reckoning sang out to me. Rusty was kind enough to offer me a copy of each of these, but unfortunately the US Postal Service managed to destroy the parcel in transit. Happily I now have them in my collection.
Rusty Barnes has his website here.
Mostly Redneck (2011)
"It's not unusual these days to find folks who can write a gleaming sentence, a beautiful paragraph, a shapely scene: a multitude of MFA programs have seen to that. Rusty Barnes gives us the lovely language, sure, but he uses it to burn a hole through the apparent world, and to show us the world within the world that is thus revealed. Rusty Barnes can really see, and he teaches us to see as well, gimlet-eyed and unafraid. What a gift!"
—Pinckney Benedict, author of Miracle Boy & Other Stories
"These razor-sharp stories are gems that give us tough and tender characters who represent the best and worst of us, in prose so sharp and inventive that we're shown a sky 'the color of an old dog's mouth' and discover Saddam Hussein selling hot cashews near Faneuil Hall. Mostly Redneck is a lovely, raw collection about the wondrous nature of everyday life in all its beauty and ugliness."
—Silas House, author of Eli the Good
Richard Logan begins his summer day as any fourteen-year-old might: working a farm job bringing in hay, avoiding his hard-headed father, and hanging out with his friends. When he stumbles onto an unconscious woman in the woods, he has no idea that the process of helping her will lead him into the darkness of the deeply held deceits of his rural Appalachian town. Both brutal and beautiful, Reckoning shows the seams and limits of family love and community tolerance while Richard discovers where manhood truly lies.
"Rusty Barnes's long-awaited first novel doesn't disappoint. It's an action-and-suspense-filled story of growing up in the hills of Pennsylvania, where life is hard and often dangerous. The love story of Richard and Katie is honest, rich, and artfully told. This is an impressive debut novel."
—Thomas Cobb, author of Crazy Heart and With Blood in Their Eyes
"Rarely can a writer ratchet up a story's tension as relentlessly as Rusty Barnes does in Reckoning, a beautifully told and almost painfully suspenseful novel in which the stakes couldn't be higher. I loved this book."
—John M McManus, author of Bitter Milk