Thursday, 29 December 2011

'Preditors & Editors Readers Poll' 2011...

It's that time of year again. It's great to see so many of my writer friends nominated for awards this year. 

Personally, I'm ecstatic that my adult zombie short, Supper Time, has been nominated in the 'Best Short Horror Story' category. It's in good company along with the likes of...
...the popular Drunk On The Moon by Paul D Brazill... Getting High On Daisy by the inimitable Richard Godwin... The Endless Game by Anthony Cowin... It's A Curse by K A Laity... The Devil's Music, Raised In Hell by Julia Madeleine... and Still Alive by Erin Cole... the list goes on...

You can vote for your favourite horror short here...

Some selfless, hard-working ezine editors have been nominated... 
... notably and unsurprisingly, my long time mate, David Barber for resurrecting The Flash Fiction Offensive so adeptly... and my co-editor over at Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers, Lily Childs, who has invigorated TKnC with her class. Top notch U.S. editor, David Cranmer is also one of my faves, for the sterling work he does over at Beat To A Pulp.

If you have a minute, vote here...

It's also good to see that The Flash Fiction Offensive and Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers are in the race for 'Best Fiction Magazine' too! 

Here's the link:

Plus, David Barber's short, Best Mates and Lovers, earned a deserved nomination in the 'All Other Short Stories' section along with some crackers from Darren Sant, Graham Smith, Luca Veste, Ben Sobieck and Pete Sortwell, to name a few.

Vote here: 

Current standings are here.

The poll runs through to January 10th 2012.

Ps. Sorry if I missed you - nominations increase hourly.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays 'n' may your New Year prosper!

A heartfelt thanks for all your support to date. 
I hope Christmas 'n' New Year fulfils all your dreams!

Col 'n' family.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Great time with Graham 'n' the Brit Grit crime gang up at Gretna Green...

NOTE: Subs now open at Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers.
Good times: Denise, Graham , Matt, Col, Sheila 'n' Dave

To coin from Dave's story: 'Best Mates 'n' Lovers'! :-)
Yep, we had a 'mini-crimefest' up at Crimesquad reviewer-cum-writer, Graham Smith's stunning converted mill, (The Mill Forge) where many a Brit has kept with tradition to 'elope'.  None of us got hitched, but Dave Barber and I frolicked at the 'Kissing Gate'! (Don't tell the wives).

The bosses... Lisa 'n' Mand'.
On Friday we settled in and, along with Graham 'n' Dave, we chewed the fat about crime writing, editing, webzines, eBooks, our 'novels', plus 'man-talk' into the wee hours.  So, as is tradition, we all got shit-faced! :-)

On Saturday, after a splendid day Christmas shopping up the road at Gretna Gateway, we met up with thriller author Matt Hilton, his lovely wife, Denise and crime novelist Sheila Quigley.  In the bar on Saturday night, the stories and banter flowed smoother than the ale, and talk about laugh - I nearly bought a round. :-)

It was truly great to hook up with genuine, like-minded people who I'm proud to call my friends.  A top weekend was had by all, so thanks to our host, Graham and his wonderful staff at The Mill Forge, for their hospitality. I feel an annual event in the offing.

Enough rambling, I'll let the pics speak for themselves...

Pine Lake - check out the backdrop of the snow-topped Lake District mountains

Col 'n' Mand'
Wolf at the bar... spooky...
"One pint of froth coming up!"
"You're sacked, Bury!"
Love this pic.
Spent a bloody fortune... but they're worth it
Brit Gritters
Happy families: Joe, Mand, Col 'n' Olivia
Our wonderful kids... Melissa, Olivia, Joe 'n' Imogen
Warped minds of Crime...
No, Dave, that rope won't take your weight! :-)
Aw... Melissa, Imogen, Joe 'n' Olivia
I've already thought of a short story for this!
Kids havin' fun. For once am taller than Barber! 
On our way back... to reality...
But we couldn't resist stopping for the stunning view of the Lakes...
It was brill... I think you got the picture!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Guest's Crime Fiction Choice - Nigel Bird...

Firstly, allow me to welcome a writer I've admired for a good while now...

Nigel Bird's Crime Fiction Choice is The Baby In The Icebox by James M. Cain.

The Baby In The Icebox.  What a title.  It’s like an irresistible newspaper headline.  Imagine seeing it in the rack if you were, say, stopping off at the services to fill your car with fuel; I’d wager you’d buy yourself a copy or take a sneaky look at the very least.

It’s also the way this story opens, our man about to tell us the real story.  The one behind the newspaper articles.

Cain’s roots were in journalism, so maybe that should be no surprise at either of these things.

For lovers of James M, the setting here is likely to be familiar, though this story comes just before ‘Postman’, first published as it was in 1933.

We’re just off a highway at a stop-off.  There’s a diner and a gas station.  A couple run it and a there’s our odd-job man who both observes what happens and is also right in the middle of things.

Where we stray from  ‘Postman’ is that Duke, owner of the place, has the idea of getting hold of some wildcats to draw in custom.  The introduction of the characters to the wildcats tells us pretty much all we need to know about them, though we’ll know far more before things close.

It’s not long before the menagerie has expanded to include mountain lions and a tiger.  Not that it’s helping the business.

Duke sees himself as some kind of Tarzan, a fearless man able to command ferocious animals with his eyes.  Thing is, he’s the only pussy-cat in the place and needs a gun on his back before he’ll go in with his pets.

His wife, Lura, on the other hand, is able to control them with her presence.  Cain describes Lura as a tigress, the way her eyes are the same as the cat’s and the way she scratches and wondering paws in the diner with a slash of her nails.  The comparison is wonderfully drawn.  Lura is powerful, sexy and has something of the wanderlust of the feline.  She also has a heart.

It’s about the time that Duke takes to his own wanderings in search of cats that Wild Bill Smith The Texas Tornado shows up.  He’s a fake snake-doctor, but he’s not a bad guy.

One thing leads to another.  Me, I’d have willingly swapped places with Bill, any day of the week.  So would our narrator, if given half a chance.

The baby of the title comes along as a result of these encounters and where the icebox fits in, you’ll just have to read it and find out for yourself.  All I’ll say is that Duke isn’t too happy when he discovers the baby isn’t his and decides to use Rajah the tiger as the ultimate murder weapon.

So, what have we got in the story that makes it essential reading?

First of all, we have the title. Mind-blowing.

Next we have voice.  Cain slips into character like an actor.  He’s similar to later creations, but unique enough.  The narrator is sharp.  A bright guy.  Knows the ropes and probably his alphabet too.  There’s something of the street and the country about his language, but it’s only a little rough around the edges.

Our setting is vivid.  The isolation creates and intensity when required and makes the unusual lives  and goings on highly plausible.  The characters are as much part of the fabric as the house and the cages and their interactions describe place brilliantly.  Everything’s vivid even when not fully fleshed out.  For me, it’s visual and at the same time gives all my senses a work out along the way.

And the people, they’re as real as I am, so much so that it’s like an actual event he’s describing.

There are many ‘how to write’ books out there.  If you check out ‘The Baby In The Icebox and other short fiction’, you might just save yourself a few bob on those.

You might also find yourself wanting to write something just as great; that I’m afraid is something most of us can pretty much forget.

Read and weep.

Buy The Baby In The Icebox here.

Find out more about talented author, Nigel Bird at his popular blog, Sea Minor.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #21 - A GOOD DAY (Tales from the Longcroft Estate - volume 1) by DARREN SANT...

This short eBook opens with a pigeon scavenging for food, quickly setting the scene on the Longcroft Estate in an original way which made me smile knowingly.  Not that I scavenge for old kebabs, but with the credit crunch kicking in who knows, eh? The upshot, I knew where I was from the outset - in a harshly real place.

The story is told from the viewpoint of a selfish heroin addict, and I have to say that Sant's portrayal was as authentic as I've ever read.  I was particularly struck by the warped views of the addict and how he saw the decent folk in society as scum, and with the same contempt they rightly had for him.  Clever that.

When our druggie gets new neighbours, this gritty story takes a dramatic twist, which questions the morality of the man drowning in a sea of drugs.  The intrigue in this tale drags you along, and it ends with a second, bonus gut-punch, which again made me smile at the author's prowess.  Thoroughly enjoyable read, and a reminder of what goes on as we all innocently go about our daily routines.

My only negative would be that I wanted more, which is obviously a positive too.  So, I'll be buying more of Sant's work for sure.  Starting now with volume two, COMMUNITY SPIRIT.

Check out Darren Sant at Amazon, or at his blog.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

At last... LEE HUGHES is officially back!!!

A long overdue 'n' welcome return to a dark fictional world like no other.  Lee's work has left a void in the online writing community.  If you've missed his mind-altering stories as much as I, then enjoy his raw talent again here.

To announce his comeback, he's also treated us to another cracker on his blog here.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #20 - Magenta Shaman by Lily Childs...

This eBook may not be seen as crime fiction per se, but it is dark cross genre fiction, which qualifies it for my review series.

Note: I don't do bad reviews, only those books I love and feel comfortable  recommending to others.

Lily's unique creation, Magenta Shaman, truly is something to behold.  The strange world she inhabits via shamanic trances (Magenta, not Lily), is portrayed in such a subtly clever drip-feed to the reader that it fits as snugly as a woolly winter jumper; albeit one that prickles the skin!

In this first foray, Magenta's loyal husband, Tom, is dismayed that Magenta (or 'Maggie' as he calls her) has been secretly doing her dangerous and mystical work 'on the other side'.  Magenta has been reporting to 'The Judge', a character who features heavily throughout, but there's much more to him than meets the eye (no spoilers here).  In stark contrast to the transcendent place where Magenta does her work, back in the real world the seaside resort of Brighton offers a strong sense of place.

When Tom's instincts to 'protect' Magenta rise to the surface, knowing her compulsion to continue her work is steadfast, there's only one way for him to do it... join her on the other side.  Much easier said than done.  If Tom manages this, then will his inexperience put him in danger?  Will the 'protector' need protecting?

As Magenta safeguards the innocent souls on this distant and perilous plane, she encounters the fearsome Billowat, with razor fangs, one bite from which will 'zombify' you forever.  Your naturally instinct would be to run and never return.  Not so Magenta.  How can she when her mission is to bring back the creature's tooth! But is she is being watched?  Are things really what they seem?  And to what lengths will her beloved Tom go to save her?  And vice versa.

The writing flows as smooth as silk on a polished table, and the editing is top notch, as to be expected from a hawk-eyed editor.

Lily Childs reaches deep into the chasms of her mind and skilfully drags the reader into a new world in such a way that you're there beside Magenta with every perilous step she takes.  The ending gave me goose-bumps.  In short, the darkest, suspenseful love story I've ever read.  Buy it here.

And now Magenta's second outing is upon us... "Magenta Shaman Stones The Crow"... I've got my copy... what are you waiting for?

Monday, 7 November 2011

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #19... with a difference! HARD BITE AND OTHER STORIES...

Only 99 cents

Neighbour driving you crazy?
Mother-in-law making your scalp crawl?
Wish people would just GO AWAY?

do the dirty work for you.

"I started seeing an amazing trend," says writer Anonymous-9. Friends and loved ones read my stories
 and immediately left me alone. It never fails!"

Just look at a few of these powerfully repelling compelling titles:

Hard Bite
Killer Orgasm
Return of the Night of the Living Dead Monkey
from Sunset Boulevard
M-N-S (n) murder-necrophilia-suicide
(and 6 more)

Just send a gift copy to the person of your choice.
Your phone will stop ringing.
Annoying invitations will cease.
The doorbell will NEVER buzz AGAIN.

Still not sure? Read Alan Griffith's take on HARD BITE here. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Reviews for MANCHESTER 6, a couple of CHIN WAGS 'n' story news...

A few reviews are now up on Amazon regarding my d├ębut e-book, MANCHESTER 6.  It's always an anxious time wondering how your creation will be received in the big, wide world, but I'm happy to say, 'so far so good'.  Thanks to those who have taken the time and trouble to write a review - it's really appreciated as all feedback helps you grow as an author.

If you missed it, I was honoured to have been invited by acclaimed author of APOSTLE RISING, Richard Godwin, for a warts 'n' all Chin Wag at the Slaughterhouse, where we chewed the fat about criminal pathology, amongst other things. And, for the first time, I opened up regarding my endeavours, via the traditional publishing route, with agent Nat Sobel, and our ongoing attempts to get my crime novel series on the bookshelves.

LIVERPOOL 5 author, Luca Veste has also had a chitchat with me over at his popular Guilty Conscience site.  One of the topics discussed was the forthcoming charity e-book involving thirty-seven writers, OFF THE RECORD.  I'm chuffed to bits that my new story RESPECT will be included, inspired by Aretha Franklin's classic song.

Lastly, for now, after well over one hundred entries for this year Radgepacket - Tales from the Inner Cities Volume 6 (Byker Books), I'm ecstatic to announce that I made the cut! :-) Plus, there's a whole bunch of British writers in Paul D. Brazill's  forthcoming anthology, BRIT GRIT TOO.  

Congrats to all my fellow writers who made it into the anthologies, and commiserations to those who didn't.

That enough links for you? Okay then... back to the novel...


Thursday, 27 October 2011

MANCHESTER 6... E-book out now...

A heads up to let you know that my first collection of gritty crime stories in the 'MANCHESTER' series is out on Amazon.  UK readers click here (for a the price of a cheap brew!).  If in doubt, you can read the product description there too.  Non-UK readers click here.

Publisher, Trestle Press, reliably informs me: "Readers can purchase in whatever country they live.  It can be read on any e-reading device and whatever platform, smart-phone, tablet, e-reader."

Haven't got a Kindle? No sweat, as you can download 'Kindle for PC' free! :-)

Any issues, please use the comments section below.  

I sincerely hope you enjoy MANCHESTER 6...

Saturday, 22 October 2011

LIVERPOOL 5... MANCHESTER 6... now THAT'S entertainment!

What a game that was!

Yep, the secret's out (unbeknown to me, all over Facebook, while I was still editing the bloody stories - and, yeah, they're bloody alright!). So, after dragging my feet on the ebook lark, I've finally succumbed and am so proud to say, my own collection is imminent... MANCHESTER 6 will be out in the next couple of days.

I've been thinking about it for a while, after seeing a lot of my good buds bringing out ebooks.  My issue was simply not wanting to disrespect my agent, Nat Sobel, who I'm still working with on a prospective crime novel series.  So, I asked for Nat's blessing and, he said, "Go for it". Things moved fast then...

Thursday afternoon I emailed my proposal (for a series) to Trestle Press. An hour later their head honcho, Giovanni Gelati accepted, and by the evening 'Gio' (he's me mate now, innit!) designed the snazzy looking cover.  I was up all night editing, tweaking, cutting, tightening the six stories, and, after doing a blurb and bio, by the early hours of Saturday morning, it's all been sent to Trestle.

As us Mancs, say, "Am well chuffed".

I felt Trestle would be a good choice as many of my trusty writer buds are already with them. Which brings me to LIVERPOOL 5.

This developed for Luca just hours after I posted the interview with him below.  So to update his rapid rise to 'Authordom'... his collection is available to buy, for the price of a bag of chips, over at Amazon... here.
I love chips, so have already bought mine. What? You didn't know Amazon sold chips? They're doing everything now... e-chips are amazing... eat all you want 'n' yer don't get fat!  No? Okay, good night.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

You're havin' a laugh... well you soon will be at THE LAUGHTER SHACK!!!

The Laughter Shack is a fun new webzine that's now open for business. According to esteemed Editor, BJ Titzengolf, and his 'buxom' assistant, Joanne Kallot, "We'll be showcasing some well written, funny stories of up to 500 words". 

They also have a 'general dogsbody' about the place, so if there are any issues just shout, "Mike Oxlong!", and things should get sorted pronto.

In my humble opinion, this will be a breath of fresh air blowing through the blogosphere; something to lift your spirits, and give you a break from reality.

So, what are you waiting for...?  Get writing, reading, following and get yerselves over there! It's gonna be a right good laugh! :-)

Full submissions guidelines are here.  
Follow the Laughter Shack on Twitter @LaughterShack

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Interview with reviewer-cum-writer, Luca Veste...

Italian football's latest star!
Luca's popularity around the blogosphere is no surprise to me. It's testament to him being an all round (or oval) good egg, family man, friend, honest reviewer, and talented writer. We 'chewed the fat' about stuff, including - Manchester (Mancs) v Liverpool (Scousers), OFF THE RECORD (e-book for charity), being published, reviewing and, of course, the FTSE 100 index (I lied about the last bit)...  

1) The Beatles or Oasis?

Have to say The Beatles, otherwise they will revoke my Scouser card. 'A Day in the Life' is one of the finest songs ever written, so Oasis don't even come close to be fair.

2) Manchester and Liverpool are both major cities in the Northwest of England, and only 35 miles apart. What are the similarities and differences?

I don't really know Manchester all that well, but from what I hear from various Mancunian friends, there are lot of similarities in the poorer areas. A sense of community, that sort of thing. I think our sense of humour differs greatly though. I suppose Liverpool's history as a Port, Football and The Beatles stuff has given us an edge on Manchester, which we never really took advantage of. I think Manchester grasps any opportunities that comes their way a lot more than Liverpool ever has. Which means you get Olympic stadiums which become fantastic Football grounds, and Liverpool gets a nice new concrete shopping paradise instead.

3) There's a myth that Mancs 'n' Scousers simply don't get on. Do you think that this stems purely from football rivalry, or is it more deep-rooted than that? And, have we blown that myth out of the water with our friendship?

I think it's definitely a Football thing. Before the 90s, and Manchester United's rise to dominance, I don't remember any real anonymity between the two cities, well, not to the level it can get to now. I think it's a jealousy (ugh, as a Red, I hated typing that) thing for Liverpool fans, Everton fans don't really have the same anger towards Man Utd as Liverpool fans do. Plus, we're two big Northern cities, there's always a sense of competition between the two.

And you're a Man City fan, so we'll never know how it will have been if you'd of been Man Utd fan. Mind you, you'd be from down South if that was the case!

4) You bounced onto the blog scene, as a reviewer of crime/horror novels, in June this year, and have made quite an impact. Do you think that famous 'Scouse sense of humour' (he-he) played its part? Where was Luca Veste before June, and what was he up to?

I was reading. A lot. I lost my job a couple of years back, and it turned out to be the best thing that could've happened in a strange way. I started an access course at University of Liverpool (I came top of the class...after marrying above my station and having two beautiful daughters, it's my proudest achievement) and began looking at DOING rather than THINKING. It was something I was considering doing for quite a while. I was always reading reviews and stuff online, and wanted to have a go at it. It came from wanting to give something back to writers I enjoyed. If you look at some of my early reviews, they are all of my favourite writers...Steve Mosby, Neil White, Charlie Williams, Sean Cregan etc. I write how I talk really, and I think that comes through in the reviews. If I loved a book, you're able to tell from my review. It really took off when Lawrence Block put out a call for anyone wanting a guest blogger, and I threw my hat in the ring and he accepted. That was a cool day. 

5) I had the honour of publishing your first short story, TIME, over at Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers. The story was/is a cracker, proving you're actually a bloody good writer who also reviews.  Did this help give you the confidence to write your forthcoming short story collection, TEN LITTLE FINGERS?

Most definitely. I wasn't expecting the reaction I received for that. It was the second story I'd written. You can thank Charlie Williams (author of the Mangel trilogy of four books) for it really. During a Facebook discussion about something I can't remember, which degenerated into ridiculous ideas, I made the point that Vampires always have cool names, you never see 'Jeff, The Uninspired Vampire'. He sort of dared me to write Jeff's story, so I did on the spur of the moment, fired off 800 words and sent it to him. After that, I got the bug. Wrote 'TIME' next and thinking 'Nothing Ventured...' sent it off to TK'n'C. As soon as that was accepted, and the reactions I got, I started to believe it was something I could actually do. Receiving that email acceptance for TIME was another proud moment. So if anyone wonders who's to blame for the infliction of Luca Veste fiction on the world, blame Col Bury!

6) OFF THE RECORD is an inspired idea. 35 writers from all over the world, and charities will benefit. Tell us more about this and how it came about.

I was reading PULP INK, a fantastic collection of stories based on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, and really, that inspired it. After TIME was published, I started reading short stories a lot. They're a forgotten artform in wider circles, but there are some great sites out the showcasing these beauties. So, I was getting in touch with these writers, talking about their stories etc, and had the idea of putting a collection together, incorporating all of these excellent writers. I started sounding people out about it, deciding we needed a prompt, or a hook I should say, for the collection and was deciding between Film titles or classic Song titles, and went for songs. Everyone I asked said yes. Even when I shot high and emailed Ray Banks, who came back instantly with "What kind of an egregious c**t would I be if I turned this down for charity" which is still my favourite reply. I emailed so many of my favourite short story writers, and it just grew and grew. Now we have 35 writers involved, and some astounding names within. The charity aspect came from seeing Thomas Pluck and Fiona Johnson on Flash Fiction Friday donating money for each story they received that week. I thought, if they can donate they're own money, 35 writers can do the same sort of thing. And it got us Ray Banks, with instantly raises the credibility of the collection!

7) Do you have any plans to write more shorts, or a novel, perhaps, since you read so many?  I've always wished for more time to read, so where do you find the time?

I'm writing shorts all the time. I have quite a few I'm hoping to publish soon, and see how that for a novel, well there's a certain character called 'Shooter' who I've been working hard on making a longer novel work with. That's the dream, but 1500 words is easy...100,000 is a different thing altogether!

I smoke, so every hour or so, I go out in the back (never smoke in front of or around the kids!) so there's 10 minutes of reading. And there's always evenings where I'm up until 3AM reading to the end of a book. I love reading, so it's not something I have ever had to put aside time for, I just always read.

8) Do you think Liverpool FC stand any chance of beating Manchester United to that elusive 20th Premiership title, or will it be down to my beloved Manchester City to shut those spoilt brats up (not that I'm bitter!)?

I think LFC will be up there next season. This season was always going to be about getting back in top four, something that with the emergence of City and Spurs, is getting harder each year. King Kenny is rebuilding a squad at the moment and needs time. So, I'm desperately hoping City win the title this year, just to make sure they don't hit 20 before us!

9) The Manchester Ship Canal links Manchester to Liverpool (yet another historical link between the cities). Are Scousers envious that it was named the MANCHESTER Ship Canal?

We couldn't care less to be honest! You can have the Canal, we have a whole River!

10) So, now we all know what an accomplished scribe you actually are, do you think the reviews will continue?  Oh, and I nearly forgot... I've just read 'n' accepted your second short for TKnC... SCOUSE GRIT, intoducing you protag', 'Shooter' to the world. He sounds like a proper wrong-un. :-) 

That's great news! I love the TK'n'C site, it's a fantastic way of getting your stories out there, and there are always great stories featured. I'm honoured to get a second story on there.

Shooter is a character I've been playing around with for a while. He's based, in a small part, on my Grandad actually. He's nicknamed Shooter, and that always fascinated me, because he's never even seen a gun in his life! So, it came from there, and also life in Liverpool. I wrote a story about Shooter, and shared it with Nick Quantrill (someone I always go to first for writing advice, as he's a great writer and always nails it when it comes to talking about the process) he loved the character, so I'm hoping he gets out of my head and onto paper/screen a lot more now!

They will, just not at the rate I was getting them out in the first few months! I was doing one a day at one point, I was reading that quick. But, I'm in Uni full time now, so that cuts down on spare time a lot! I enjoy reviewing, especially if I love a book. 

Good stuff, Luca. Been a pleasure, mate. If you've enjoyed this interview, then let Luca know below. All comments are welcome (except Chinese porn!).
Read Luca's brilliant short story, TIME... and his latest short, SCOUSE GRIT.


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Coming soon... Mammoth Book of Best British Crime... plus, other really interesting stuff...!

Things are on the up when an aspiring writer, such as little old me, discovers he'll soon be sharing the pages with top crime authors.  For years I've admired the likes of Mark Billingham and Val McDermid, and more recently Matt Hilton, Nick Quantrill and Adrian Magson.  So, when you throw in Sophie Hannah and Zoe Sharp, amongst other accomplished wordsmiths, you know you'll have a short story collection to remember!  I just hope my first ever published (in print) crime story,  MOPPING UP (Tonto Books) justifies its selection.

It's an absolute honour to be involved, so a big thanks to editor Maxim Jakubowski for showing faith in my story.  The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 9 is out on February 2nd 2012.

Sorry if this is a bit of a 'me post', but I also have a crime short upcoming at A Twist OF Noir in the ongoing '600 to 700 (words) Challenge'.  Plus, I've submitted stories to a couple of e-book anthologies recently (to be announced, even if I don't make the cut!), and also to Byker Books for the popular Radgepacket - Tales From The Inner Cities (volume 6).  So, fingers crossed...

And, yes, I'm still chipping away at the latest crime novel. Don't forget, if you wanna read about my exploits over the last eighteen months with New York agent, Nat Sobel, then look out for a warts 'n' all 'Chinwag' coming soon...

Well, that's enough about you, let's talk about me! :-) Seriously, what writing projects are YOU excited about, or currently working on?


Ps. I've added a couple of pages to the blog 'n' tidied up a bit - let me know what you think...

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Writin', editin', drinkin' 'n' KILLIN... with me old bud, David Barber...

Mean 'n' moody crime writers love Killin...
Spent five wonderful days with my long time writing buddy, David Barber, and his lovely family, up in Crieff, Scotland. We supped some ale, I'll tell yer! I really needed to recharge the old batteries, and Dave and Lisa were perfect company to relax with.  The bonus that our kids get on great, made the break one to remember.

Although the day trip on the train from Dunblane to Edinburgh was enjoyable, the highlight of the holiday, scenery-wise, was definitely a little village in a valley, named KILLIN.  The name is intriguing in itself, but in no way reflects the place, as it's simply stunning.  Dave bumped into Matt Hilton there earlier this year, and I can see the attraction - it's a writer's dream.  If me numbers ever come up, then that's where I'm heading!  I'm not at all envious of Dave working up there, and he never sends me picture-texts rubbing it in with the tag line: 'my view from work!'
Killin is a writer's dream ...

Once our families retired to beddy-bo's, Dave 'n' I mixed our drinks and discussed all things writing (plus, a bit of football, of course), including, our novels, our ezines, deadlines and ideas for the future. If we'd have had more time we'd have spoken about time management. Anyway, I think we're both more focused now.

On our way up from Manchester, then on our way back down, we dropped in at The Mill in Gretna Green to see popular Crimesquad reviewer, Graham Smith, at the family hotel (for weddings), where he works.  Graham's certainly an expert on crime fiction, devouring a couple of novels a week.  Plus, he attends the crime events and festivals, where he regularly interviews authors old and new.  Coincidentally, he's just reviewed Matt Hilton's latest novel, Dead Men's Harvest.  Since Matt's 'author of the month', there's a nice interview with him too.
With Crimesquad's Graham Smith at Gretna Green.

Graham's also writing a crime novel and has joined Dave and my-good-self in the race to hit our respective first draft deadlines! Nowt like a bit of stiff competition to kick you up the arse, eh?

So now, I've returned to claustrophobic city life totally inspired... but I can feel the walls closing in already...

Thanks to Dave 'n' Graham and their lovely families for making us feel so welcome.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


The popular 'Brit Grit' series rolls merrily on, and I'm honoured to feature this week. To read about my top twenty 'Best of Brit Grit Blogs' over at Elaine Ash's cool website, go here.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


No, I've not been lining up me dog's number twos 'n' counting them. Just noticed my hit counter has packed up, 'n' so has TKnC's. WTF? Is it blogger playing up again, or have so many people been visiting that it's seized up? (Yeah, right). Can anyone shed any light on it? Cue the torch jokes...

Friday, 12 August 2011

'BRIT GRIT' is live... and a forthright 'CHIN WAG' coming soon...

Unfortunately, it's not crime fiction, but real crime that's dominating my thoughts at the moment. Dark, metaphorical clouds hang over England, including my beloved city, Manchester. I won't ramble on about it here - I'll just say, "sub-human scum" and leave it at that. However, I've been having a 'Chin Wag' with a good friend about this and other stuff, where I do say a lot more, including my endeavours with agent, Nat Sobel.  It'll be a 'warts 'n' all' affair, so watch out for that soon!
I'm also honoured to be involved in the new 'Brit Grit' series, which started last Sunday with Alan Griffith's superb short, 'Two Fingers of Noir'. Thanks to writer/editor, Elaine Ash for setting the whole thing up over at AshEdit. As you can see, my name didn't quite make the promo poster, but I'm in good company with Ian Ayris... One day, Ian, one day... :-)

In other news... Paul Brazill's 'Drunk on the Moon' series rolls merrily on... Dave Barber's back from his jollies, now editing again at The Flash Fiction Offensive... Matt Hilton's latest Joe Hunter thriller is out... and I had the pleasure of publishing a crackin' short by a reviewer who can actually write! Luca Veste's 'Time' is over at Thrillers, Killer's 'n' Chillers.

God, am such a name-dropper, aren't I? :-)