Friday, 31 December 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR... plus some musings on 2010.

So 2010 draws to a close. Personally, it's been a tough year mentally and I've learned a few lessons along the way (more on this below). After somehow fitting in a total rewrite - plus edits - of my crime novel, under the able tutorship of my agent, alongside a jam-packed family life, full-time work and editing webzine, Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers, I managed to keep my head above water... just! In between I also penned a dozen or so short stories, some of which made it into anthologies, others featured in webzines, and four recent ones are currently under consideration as I try to branch out to newer 'markets'.

Meanwhile, my beloved Manchester City are making steady progress near the top after 34 years of waiting! Perhaps I'm mirroring them with the writing journey, and 'success' awaits...?

Who knows what 2011 will hold for any of us? I'm still in that limbo of wondering whether my endeavours will prove fruitful. Maybe the global credit crunch is having a major impact on publishers committing to new authors. Or, perhaps, I'm just a shit writer!

The wait to find out has taught me a couple of important things, and they 'spring to mind' as cliches - guess that's why these cliches were initially coined.

Keep your feet on the ground... always. Never count your chickens... Don't put all your eggs in one basket. And the most crucial ones of all for wannabes... Never lose sight of the importance of family. Look after and appreciate your bread and butter - your job that pays the mortgage, because writing won't... not for a long time, if ever. Sacrifice, yeah, but get your priorities right.

I kinda new these things already, but this wait for news (it was mental torture at first to a sensitive soul such as little old me, but now I'm easy) has reminded me big time of my responsibility to my wonderful wife and kids.

HOWEVER, writing is my passion. I MUST do it. So I will continue with belief and enthusiasm. And, to end on another cliche: patience (most definitely) is a virtue.

A hearty thanks to all those of you who've offered support and words of wisdom throughout 2010. Have lovely New Year celebrations with your families, and may your individual 2011's be propserous.


Ps. This was initially gonna be me saying which crime stories, shows and novels I'd enjoyed in 2010, but, as us Mancunians say, 'I went off on one!' :)

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas 'n' Happy Holidays...

The kids are buzzing 'n' daddy's got the beers in! To all my friends throughout the blogosphere... have a good 'n'.


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Richard Godwin's first novel, APOSTLE RISING, sounds like an absolute cracker...

Just listened attentively to fellow writer, Richard Godwin, being interviewed over on 'The Authors Show' about his first novel, APOSTLE RISING. It's out in March 2011, but I, for one, eagerly anticipate its release because I've a strong feeling it could be one the best first novels of 2011.
Accomplished speaker Richard explains all in his own inimitable way here.

Ps. Thanks to Ian Ayris for the heads up.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Blog posts well worth a nosey...

On my travels around the blogosphere, I stumbled across a couple of things particularly worth sharing. So, in case you missed them, do check out the nostalgic and intriguing 'podcast' posted by John McFetridge over at crime blog Do Some Damage. It's a 4-part conversation between writing legends, Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler! It really is unmissable.

The Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler 'podcast'

Also, on Nicola Morgan's blog there's a link to editor Lynn Price's candid views, including pitfalls and a reality check on how tough this industry can be.

When a Contract is Cancelled.

Catch you all soon,

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice...

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #10

CHARLES IN CHARGE - by Sean Patrick Reardon

Sean chose the rarely used 2nd POV for this Halloween short over at TKnC, and expertly pulled it off.

When a family man fighting his demons takes a trip to the fairground with his teenage daughter, things go horribly wrong, culminating in an unexpected denouement.

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #11

PILLOW TALK - by Jodi MacArthur

Found this beaut over at Beat to a Pulp. From the title, I initially thought it was gonna be a cosy number, but how wrong could I be?

The central character, Henrietta, has to be one of the most disturbing female protags I've read in any short around. Fierce, yet unembellished, in its delivery, this creepy tale will keep you shuddering long after the final word.

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice #12

SLASH AND BURN - by Matt Hilton

In the third of the Joe Hunter crime thriller series, Matt Hilton provides the compulsory action, bullets, explosions and body count. However this time, not only is it sprinkled with dark humour, but also a pleasantly surprising touch of romance for tough guy Hunter, which adds further story depth.

In this adventure, Hunter is up against a murderous businessman (Huffman) who has kidnapped Hunter's dead, Special Forces friend's sister in a bid to save the former's corrupt empire from crumbling. If this isn't enough, the formidable Bolan twins on Hunter's tail remind me of Heavyweight Champs, the Klitschko brothers.

When reading a novel it's preferable to learn something new, and here I could certainly tell from the face-to-face combat that it was penned by a martial arts expert. The author is the first to concede it won't be everyone's cuppa, but if you like escaping via entertaining, dynamic prose and the thrill of the chase - in this case, from Florida through to Little Fork, Kentucky - then look no further than Slash and Burn.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice... resurrected!

A little over a year ago I started punchy reviews of short stories and flash fiction I'd enjoyed around the net. However, with my own novel writing, added to hectic family life, a demanding full-time job, plus co-editing Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers, although I enjoyed doing it, I had no 'choice' - pardon the pun - and it was placed on the proverbial back burner.

Well, it's back! But this time I'll be including crime thriller/mystery novels. Check back later in the week for Col Bury's Crime Fiction Choice numbers 10, 11 & 12.

If you can't wait (yeah, right!), see the first nine here. And remember, I only choose stuff I really loved reading and want to recommend to friends.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Manchester features heavily in the crime novel I've written, and my Detective Inspector Jack Striker is obviously a fanatical blue (well, they say write what you know).

Currently the city is abuzz with banter regarding tonight's Manchester derby versus our illustrious (and somewhat spoilt!) neighbours, Man.United. As always my beloved Man.City are underdogs, so I've got everything crossed they don't 'do us' by snatching a last minute winner (in Fergie time!), like they did in three of the four derbies last season.

Just setting off with my lad now... please God...

What an anti-climax. For those of you interested, it was a bore-draw...nil-nil... orchestrated by two fearful managers, especially ours sadly. But at least we didn't lose and the pee-taking will be tempered somewhat... THANK GOD.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, FOLKS... fancy some topical flash?

Well, not much reading or writing done tonight, as I've been up 'n' down answering the door and I'm all out of treats. That'll teach me to stick a pumpkin in me front window, eh? Whatever happened to the old Halloween songs...? Now the kids just grab a handful 'n' do one - maybe that's the 'trick' part? And some of them were bigger than me, so I'm not arguing!

Anyway, my kids love dressing up and I hope those of you with - or without - children have a had a good time. Why not round it off with some topical crime fiction? Check out a tasty Halloween treat by Sean Patrick Reardon over at Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers, or my resurrected flash below...

Happy Halloween, Officer

‘The target is taking a left, left, onto Market Street. Temporary loss…’

‘Stick with him, John. I’m ten metres behind. Louey’s in position opposite.’

‘Okay, Morse. Got eyeball again. He’s speeding up. Right, right, down Back Piccadilly. Temporary loss…’

‘Let’s just nail the scumbag. With blood on his jacket, he’s obviously bang at it,’ said Louey, thinking of the pending paperwork and the fact he should’ve been taking the kids to a Halloween party. Fat chance.

‘Be patient, Louey. Wait…eyeball again. He’s just turned left, left, into an alleyway. And, watch it, it’s dark down here.’

‘Right behind you, John,’ said Morse.

Louey shuddered in the meagre moonlight as the night wafted its chill down Back Piccadilly.

John’s voice, a whisper now. ‘Left, left, into the alleyway. Even darker now…shit!’

The scream halted Louey. ‘John? You okay?’ Adrenaline flooded his veins, his heart-rate doubling.

Morse’s misshapen figure did a swift left into the alleyway.

‘What the fuck? No…pleeease…’ crackled through his earpiece.

Louey withdrew his baton and torch then sprinted.

Torchlight revealed Morse on the floor, a shadowy shape stooped over him. Louey raised his baton.

A squelchy noise made him lift the beam higher. He froze on seeing the target’s blood-swilled face and manic smile - John pinned up against the wall, his neck gaping dark crimson.

Shuffling behind. Louey pivoted, shined the beam.

Bloody fangs grinned at him. His last thought was of his kids.

‘Happy Halloween, Officer.’

Got a taste for it...? Then pop over to Erin Cole's blog and sample her fantastic 13 Days of Horror, but feel free to comment before you go.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

An interview with crime thriller author, Adrian Magson...

I've been looking forward to picking Adrian's brains (especially since watching Hannibal!), as Mr Magson is one of those writers who's been there, done it 'n' got the T-shirt. He recently showed that hard work and perseverance does pay off with a well-deserved double two-book deal.

Q1) You have a reputation of being one of the nicest and most supportive authors around. Having had the pleasure of meeting you a few times, I can firmly concur. But for the people who haven't had this pleasure, could you give us a potted history of how you got into writing, and your early successes and failures?

You trying to make me blush? Potted history: I started writing short stories when I was in my teens, and sold the first one - a crime caper called 'Hole in One' - to a London newspaper when I was 19. Decided I'd got it made... but it was three years before I sold another one! I think that's what's called a reality check. After that, I spent years writing in my spare time while holding down a variety of day jobs. My early sales were mostly to women's magazines, and that's how I continued. It was the most active market for selling short fiction at the time - and still is - and a really good apprenticeship in learning how to write for a specific market, which was romantic and relationship stories (I even wrote under a female pseudonym for some years). I also wrote several novels which didn't sell, probably for good reason. Apart from shorts, I wrote features for magazines here and abroad, wrote some comedy material for Roy Hudd, a short play which was performed at the Oxford Literary Festival, and in between that wrote slogans for t-shirts and scripts for greetings cards (both for companies in the US). In short, I was a writing tart, picking up work wherever I could while still adding to my world-class collection of rejection slips.

Q2) You do a regular slot called 'Beginners' in Writing Magazine, and another interviewing debut authors ... how did these come about?

Luck and circumstance. My name was put forward by Liz Smith of My Weekly when someone else dropped out. I'd written a lot of different things for Liz by then, so she knew I could turn my hand to it and meet deadlines. By then, I had some insights to share both as a beginner and a more experienced writer, and knew what worked. But I also knew that writing is as much about getting your bum on a seat and doing it, not simply talking about it or having a fluency with the language and grammar. And that's the way it's been ever since. It also led on to me teaching creative writing, which was another string to the bow. The profiling of debut authors came later.

Q3) Before your recent double success, you had a few novels out. How did they do?

That was a series of five books between 2004 and 2008 (the Riley Gavin/Frank Palmer crime novels) based in and around London. The two main leads were a woman reporter and her sidekick, a former Redcap. They did reasonably well (I was described by the publisher as their best-seller), and I got some great reviews here and in the US, where they did well in libraries.

Q4) So how does it feel to get TWO 2-book deals after years of trying?

Even better than one two-book deal! That was down to luck and a good agent (David Headley). I decided in 2008 that I wanted to switch genres to write a contemporary spy series (always supposing I could sell the first book, anyway). That was 'Red Station', featuring MI5 officer, Harry Tate. I completed the book and gave it to David and continued writing, this time a French police thriller - basically to see if I could, as I didn't normally write procedurals. By the time David sold 'Red Station' to Severn House, I'd finished 'Death on the Marais', which features Inspector Lucas Rocco, and he promptly sold that, too, to Allison & Busby - all within 48 hours. It was a lesson I'd learned writing for magazines: don't ever stop writing because you never know if someone will say "What else have you got...?" (see also with an early manuscript below). Fortunately, Severn House have just asked me to sign a contract for two more books in the Harry Tate series, so that takes me into 2012. I was particularly pleased to be with both publishers because Severn House are very strong in the library and trade paperback markets here and in the US, and A&B have a very strong crime list - the best of both worlds for me. And they're both such a pleasure to work with.

Q5) Give us a blurb on Red Station and tell us about Harry Tate?
Red Station is basically a 'what if' thriller. What if a character who usually follows orders is put in a situation where he finds himself at odds with his employers? In this case, Intelligence officer Harry Tate finds himself betrayed and marked down for termination because of departmental expediency. Harry is a former soldier, loyal Security Services (MI5) officer, and when a drugs bust goes bad and two civilians are shot dead, he's hustled out of the country to avoid embarrassing media questions. His new posting is called Red Station in Georgia, and he's under a No Contact Rule, which means he's off the radar and being watched closely. What his bosses haven't told him, though, is that Red Station is a punishment posting for washed-out spooks from MI5 and MI6... and Harry won't be coming home again.
Of course, in the best tradition of thrillers, Harry decides to fight back. While writing this, incidentally (and to show we can't make anything up, no matter how hard we try), I'd just written the scene where Harry arrives at Red Station and asks his new station chief what he's supposed to be doing there (it's a remote spot with little obvious strategic interest). He's told to keep his eyes and ears open because the Russians are coming (well, they're always good for a threat in a spy thriller, aren't they?) Three or four days after writing this scene, I turned on the television to find that the Russians had marched across the border into Georgia. Surprised is putting it mildly, because it threw me into a spin. This was now old news. Do I carry on or junk it? I decided to carry on, mainly because I hate throwing anything away, and just because Vlad Putin was feeling spitty, why should I dump a good story? In the end, it actually helped fasten the story more firmly to a specific place and time, and gave Harry a greater reason for breaking out and having what my wife Ann calls his MacGyver moment.

Q6) Lucas Rocco is a French cop. Cool name, by the way. Why did you choose this location and was there a lot of research involved? Plus, did it conflict with the very different spy novel starring Harry Tate, or were they written years apart?

I was partly educated in France (my parents lived there for 20 years from the late 50s), so a lot of the research was more in the way of cross-checking and reminding myself of facts. 'Death on the Marais' - the first book in the series - is set in the 1960s, which was a period of huge upheaval and change in France, so a volatile pot for me to write about. The central character, Lucas Rocco, is a French police inspector. I chose the name because I wanted one that English-speaking readers could relate to, and one which fitted the character. Rocco has a tough sound and Lucas is a French-sounding name, too, although mostly pronounced locally without the 's'. As a character, he's tall and dark, dresses impeccably in imported clothes and for all sorts of reasons stands out from the pack. The Plot: As part of a new nationwide policing initiative to spread investigative resources throughout the regions, Rocco is sent from his base in Paris to Picardie in rural northern France. He has to cope with totally different circumstances, different procedures and people, and his new boss, Commissaire Massin, was his former commanding officer in Indochina (France's own Vietnam), whom he last saw having an attack of cowardice and cowering in a foxhole, and had to drag to safety. This places Rocco in an awkward position with plenty of potential conflict between them, but that's part of the plot. Rocco is not only dealing with new situations, but is now faced with the worst one - that of a boss who'd rather see the back of him. And when he finds the body of woman in a British military cemetery, and she turns out to be the daughter of a highly-placed industrialist and former SOE officer with a big secret to hide, his situation worsens because Rocco is not one to back down when it comes to solving a case. It's a very different book to and was written straight after I'd finished 'Red Station'. I simply put on another head and got on with it. That sounds a little glib, maybe, but after years of writing all manner of different things, I've got used to compartmentalising and focussing on the current job in hand.
For various reasons 'Death on the Marais' involved more research and fact-checking than 'Red Station', but maybe that helped me NOT get the two confused. Mind you, I'm not saying I didn't wake up now and then and wonder who the hell I was writing about.

Q7) Akin to our mutual friend Matt Hilton, it seems your best successes to date have sprung from your creation of 'series characters'. Did you have this in mind from the outset, or was it a conscious change of tack?

A: Absolutely. I like writing series characters, because if it works well, it's a great way to build a core of readers. As you know first-hand, Matt Hilton can certainly attest to that, and he's building a very extensive and loyal following for his Joe Hunter series. I like reading series novels, anyway (Lee Child, Robert Crais, John Sandford, Matt H, Tony Black, to name a few) so I understand the pleasure in getting the latest instalment, to see where the characters go next. I still have people asking when the next Riley Gavin will be out, which is very flattering (the answer is, they're on an extended break) and now have readers asking when the next Lucas Rocco or Harry Tate book is due. That is a real buzz.

Q8) Clearly persistence has paid off in your case, but have you any advice for all the wannabe authors out there?

A: KEEP WRITING. That's the main one. You never know when something will happen, so don't sit on your laurels and wait for your one writing project to be bought, whether it's a short story, feature or book. The moment the completed one hits the mailbox, start another. I once sent off a thriller many many years ago to a big publisher and got a 'Not this one - but what else have you written?' rejection letter. Trouble was, I was away from home a huge amount at the time, and when I was able to write, was working on a typewriter (that's a mechanical device rather like a PC but without electricity or memory) and hadn't got anything else to show them. By the time I did have, the editor had retired. That was really tough, because what he'd been saying was, 'I quite like your style and would like to see something else'. A lost opportunity? Possibly. I certainly thought so. So I got working. Before I got my first novel published (2004) I wrote all those others things, and often had up to 40 short stories circulating in the market here and overseas, as well as trying out comedy scripts, plays, gags - even drawing cartoons. It probably comes from my sales background, where I learned the art of accepting rejection as a 'not this time' rather than a 'never', and worked on the basis that the more I did, the more likely I'd be successful one day. For me, that still holds true . Luck is a core ingredient in any creative job, but someone - I forget who - was right on the button when they said "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

Q9) So what's next for Adrian Magson?

A: I'm currently writing what I call 'Rocco 2', as well as thinking hard about 'Harry Tate 3' (Harry 2, called 'Tracers', comes out in March). I also have some short stories on the boil and a non-fiction book in mind. That sounds like a recipe for mental implosion, I know, but it's the way I work. Coffee helps.
In the meantime, thank you, Col, for kindly giving me this opportunity.

Adrian, it was an absolute pleasure, and thank YOU for providing us with your inspirational words of wisdom.

Adrian's website.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Feeling lucky, punk? My new story, LUCKY SHIT, over at A Twist Of Noir...

Christopher Grant's 600 to 700 Challenge rolls on over at A Twist Of Noir, and number 608 (words) is my turn. Feel free to pop over and comment at ATON or below.

Ps. In a rare, but rather large, cock-up, I had to re-submit due to formatting issues and, while cutting 'n' pasting, I missed off the last line... I'll reveal it (my last line, not my....!) in a subsequent post, and you can tell me if it was required or not, as I still feel the current ending works.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Ian Rankin interview... over at author, Nicola Morgan's blog...

UK's number one crime novelist, Ian Rankin, creator of 'Rebus', gives some cracking insights into how he struggled to make it to the very top (not Rebus - Rankin!). A must-read for all aspiring crime writers - well, any writers actually - over at author Nicola Morgan's blog. Nicola has a wealth of knowledge on writing and the publishing industry, and regularly offers pertinent advice. Have a nosey here...

Sunday, 10 October 2010

A TWIST... over at A TWIST OF NOIR...

Christopher Grant, the editor of top American ezine A Twist Of Noir, has a new 600 to 700 (words) 'challenge' beginning Monday 11th October. It's not a contest as such, more of a test to see if writers can keep things punchy.

Personally, I think it's a refreshingly creative idea, and I'm sure it'll prove a resounding success. Obviously, it's an honour to be playing a small part myself, alongside some seriously talented fellow scribes.

Here's the line up... 600 to 700 Challenge.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

HIT THE NORTH!... Paul Brazill interviews little old me...

My latest interview is up over on prolific writer, Paul Brazill's blog, You Would Say That, Wouldn't You? It's part of his popular 'HIT THE NORTH!' series, whereby he speaks with writers from the north of England.

I chat about my crime novel, living in Manchester, and co-editing ezine Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers.

If you fancy a nosey, just click the here.


Ps. The photo is of the Beetham Tower in Manchester city centre.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Laugh? I nearly bought a round...

Since I'm finding this 'wondering' state somewhat torturous, I thought I'd lighten the mood with three punchy jokes. I have my own favourite, but would be interested to know what my friends around the blogosphere think, in a not-so-scientific test on humour...

1) Bloke threw a block of cheese at me.
I said to him, "That's not very mature."

2) Sausage and an egg in a frying pan...
Sausage says to the egg, "Hot in 'ere, innit, mate?"
Egg replies, "Bloody'ell, a talking sausage!"

3) Two birds sat on a perch. One asks the other, "Can you smell fish?"

What? Don't give up the day job, Col? Okay, but let me know your favourite, so I can re-visit the lab and assess the results. :)

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Eastern Standard Crime is back... plus a few musings...

Geoff Eighinger is re-opening Eastern Standard Crime on October 1st. I have fond memories of the site, as my short FORUM OF FURY was given a very positive review there once upon a time. Plus, several writer friends received acclaim for their stories on the likes of Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers and A Twist Of Noir. I recall TKnC actually winning a 'Bullet Award' from ESC in August 2009, as did, the somewhat stunned, David Barber for one of his first published stories, SORRY LOVE. I blogged about it here on TKnC.

However, to avoid the burnout that saw Geoff close the site last year, he will be only reviewing crime novels from North American writers (sighs). Who knows, he may branch out to the Brits one day (hint, hint, Geoff).

To diverge, may I thank all my blog friends who chose to spread the word about my recent good news of earning representation from highly-respected New York agent, Nat Sobel.

Also, I had a lovely surprise earlier in the week when EVEN MORE TONTO SHORT STORIES slapped onto the hallway mat. It contains my first ever story in print, the gritty, no-nonsense, MOPPING UP - which introduces characters from my crime novel, including Detective Inspector Jack Striker. In a welcome twist of fate, I'm honoured to be sharing the pages with Matt Hilton, whose story THE SKIN WE'RE IN is well worth a nosey.

Thanks, too, to Matt Hilton, who assisted me with my crime postings over at TKnC, as I've been particularly busy lately. There has been a flurry of posts recently and you may have missed some excellent stories, including some cracking debuts, so why not check out the last dozen or so? You won't be disappointed. And please let the writers know what you thought, constructively!
I'm rambling, so catch you soon... hopefully with good news on my crime novel, which is doing the rounds...


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Hooking up, with a trio of writer buds...

Recently I took a hard-earned break and headed up to Scotland to spend some time with my long-time writing bud, David Barber. It was great to finally see where Dave and his lovely family lived, and to take in the stunning scenery up in 'the heart of Scotland'. The snapshot (top left) was taken a stone's throw from Dave's home. And, despite Dave positioning himself, on that rock, to look taller than I, we all know the truth. The cool dude at the front is my lad. It seemed fitting to celebrate the finishing of my crime novel and the good news on the agent front, with my old school pal. We had a damn good laugh, 'chewed the fat' about writing, and I sampled not only a few bottles of a dark Scottish ale, but also Dave's age-old whisky. Needless to say, I can't recall much else of my trip!However, one place I couldn't forget was Loch Lubnaig, where Dave says he beat me at skimming stones. Funny how every time I did a 'sixer' or 'niner' he seemed to be looking away, so it didn't count. Dave 'n' Lisa took us all over the place during our short stay... to several lochs, water falls, castles, a wildlife park, and Rob Roy's grave, to name a few. And our kids got on just great. One thing's for sure: we'll be back again next year.
On our return I couldn't possibly miss out on hooking up with a man who's been not only a great mate, but also an inspiration to me, and many other aspiring writers... thriller author, Matt Hilton. We met in Carlisle and, as a thank you for all his support, I bought him 'dinner'. We celebrated my recent good news in true northern style... with a cappuccino at McDonalds! (The champagne's on ice - just hope it dunt melt).
Then we were off again, eastwards, to a family wedding in Lincoln, which was thoroughly enjoyable. However, since the kids wanted to see The Humber Bridge, and I wanted to meet up with another writing bud, we took the scenic route home, and headed for Hull... Nick Quantrill territory...
Hands up if you've ever played football on the shores of the The Humber with a crime novelist... Yep, Nick, me lad 'n' I did just that, as we had a good old chinwag about this writing lark and the (mis)fortunes of our respective footy teams: Hull and Manchester City. At 1.4 miles long, the Humber Bridge is mightily impressive, akin to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. But I think that's where the similarities with Hull end! Nuff said.

It was great to see Dave, Matt 'n' Nick, three better lads you couldn't wish to meet.

Ps. 'Stuff' is happening re' the novel, but I'm frankly too scared to tempt fate. It's somewhat surreal, as I'm at the 'wondering' stage in a kind of torturous limbo...

Monday, 23 August 2010

BLOG-FLASH...New York agent, Nat Sobel, has 'signed up' little old me...!!!

But things could've been so very different...

Around October 2009 I heard from A Twist Of Noir Editor, Christopher Grant, that a powerhouse in the publishing world was hunting on the internet for new talent. I believe Chris put forward a few names, and, being the type of genuine guy who looks out for his mates, Chris kindly pointed Nat Sobel in the direction of Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers. Matt Hilton gave me the heads up that Nat Sobel had described my writing as 'impressive' and informed me to expect an email. Gulp, I thought, recalling what Nat had done for Stuart Neville and The Ghosts of Belfast.

Now then, obviously the tingle of excitement was there, but I heard absolutely nothing for a few weeks, yet there were rumbles in the blogosphere that other writers had been invited to send stuff to Nat.

Then it struck me like a slap in the face...

While co-editing TKnC, Matt 'n' I were receiving lots of spam per day, as our emails were on the site for all to see 'n' abuse... I had deleted Nat Sobel's email!

Had I blown my big chance before it had begun? In early November I wrote Nat an email designed to resurrect my chances, and thankfully, he requested the first pages of my crime novel. However, those pages changed several times, with Nat looking for 'improvement'. I later sent him the whole novel and he suggested many, many changes.

By early 2010, when Nat asked me to basically start from scratch, my head nearly popped! It was very heavy going, but I soldiered on, and re-sent it. When many more changes were suggested it nearly sent me under! If I change that bit, then that bit doesn't make sense... I was tired from work... the kids kept interrupting me... the dog kept interrupting me... the wife kept interrupting me... sleep kept inter'... you get the message. My family have been brilliant throughout and I sincerely appreciate their patience.

I did the changes, and noticed the novel was taking shape and reading better. A couple of months ago, I sent off draft three. The waits in between each draft being sent were torturous. Expecting a, 'No, you're shit really, and this was a big mistake.' It came back requiring more edits... so I did them, wondering when I'd actually reach a point when it would be good enough.

Last night at 3.00 am (I write better at night) my email pinged with Nat's response to draft four... That tingle of excited again... "...It seems to me that you have done all the work I’ve asked for... We are going forward... My plans for the novel are... ...I can’t guarantee publication, but I am going to really try...."

I didn't cry (okay there was a solitary tear, but don't tell Nat!), but my relief was tangible.

Nothing has happened yet, I know, but big steps have been taken on this steep learning curve, and I am honoured to be represented by someone as experienced and professional as Nat Sobel. And it's fair to say that he squeezed this novel out of me.

I would like to thank all my friends in the blogosphere for your support and encouragement, in particular those I'm in daily contact with - you know who you are.

Also a big shout to Chris Grant for the fateful role he played. And who says networking doesn't work?

The moral of the story is... check your spam before clicking delete!


Ps. Off to Scotland for a few days for a rest :)

Monday, 16 August 2010

Proof of crime novel... 'completed', at last.

After twenty years of spasmodically learning my craft, last Sunday - August 8th - saw a huge, psychological milestone reached for little old me... the completion of the crime novel, I'd tentatively started in early 2007. BUT, the 'journey' wasn't without its 'moments'... 89,300 words of sweat, tears, tantrums and turmoil!

A year later, I hit a brick wall, plot-wise, at 41,000 words. Dispirited, frustrated and doubting I had the stamina to write a novel, I left it for a while.

Around April 2008, I began a second novel that had been pecking to be created for months. It included many of the same characters as my first attempt, but was set some years later. My enthusiasm for this story was boundless... initially.

As the 41,000 word milestone loomed, I began to encounter similar problems... stamina and enthusiasm fading, as I struggled, 'head-poppingly', with plot... again!

In August 2008 my great friend, thriller writer Matt Hilton, suggested I start a blog, post some short stories - I had loads of ideas for them - and get some feedback. So I took an audibly deep breath and took Matt's advice, thinking, But I've only ever shown my writing to me pets n me mum before now...eeek! However, positive feedback spurred me on, keeping the dream alive. Maybe I could write, after all... but could I write a novel?

In a eureka moment, in early 2009 , I decided I could merge the two 'half-novels' together. This was very tricky, but I managed it... well, sort of. Chopping and cutting, re-writing and editing, until I had a mishmash of 70-odd thousand words... but, alas, it still wasn't right.

There was a point where, despite my tenacity and ambition - or because of it? - I had to pull away from it all, as it was becoming too much. But that's when you know who your friends are, right? Many offered encouragement and I'm truly thankful, but there were four in particular, who have been constant throughout, and had more faith in me than I probably had myself... my brother, Dek, Dave Barber, Lee Hughes and Matt Hilton - cheers, lads!

A couple of trusted friends gave me feedback, and liked it (but they would, I hear you say!). By this stage, my confidence was up, due to having successes with numerous short stories accepted for e-zines, plus a few online competition wins, and even bagging slots in three anthologies. However, two other factors, in keeping me upbeat and focussed, were crucial too. The growing success of Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers, whereby I read and edited many top notch stories, and had contact with some really talented writers. Plus, the online writers' group, Writers' News Talkback, where I found, not only encouragement in abundance, but also many genuine friends.
Obviously, the followers and commenters (except the Chinese porn trolls) on this blog have been a Godsend as well.

So, in summary, the writing community within the blogosphere kept me going, and pushed me that extra mile. Well, that, and the fact I'm a stubborn old git! :)

And so, I kept my head down, between work, the kids, and life, rattling the keyboard and, after much turmoil, the result is... proof, to myself more than anyone, that I do have the stamina to complete a novel.

This is sounding like an acceptance speech at the Oscars, and I've done nothing yet! But it's a really big deal, to me, getting to this point, after looking like it was impossible. I have high hopes for this book. I'd say it's a third draft, but in reality it's probably a sixth or seventh draft. No doubt, there'll be more tweaking to do in the future, too.

And, yes, someone is currently reading it... and it's not me mum! Can't say anything yet, in case it goes tits up, but watch this space...


Ps. I'm still undecided on the title, so feel free to vote on your favourite, top right.

Friday, 23 July 2010

My fiction debut in print... Even More Tonto Short Stories, publication date announced...

Over at indie publishers, Tonto Books, head honcho, Stuart Wheatman, has been working his butt off, trying to keep his head above water throughout the credit crunch. This has delayed the publication of his latest annual short story collection, Even More Tonto Short Stories - aka EMTSS. However, I'm extremely pleased to announce that the definite date it becomes available to the public is AUGUST 5th 2010.

"So, Col, how did you bag a place in such a coveted anthology?"

"Bit nosey, aren't you? But thanks for asking. I guess, I'll have to tell you then."

"Well, we're not that arsed, really, Col, hearing about your poxy short story."

"Why are you here then? To put one of those Chinese porn links on my site? If I ever catch the bas... And, anyway, it's not 'poxy', you cheeky git. It's got stories from real authors in, not just me."

"Okay then, smartarse, name one."

"Never heard of him!"

"Alright, how's about crime mystery author, Sally Spedding, or Robert Endeacott... plus, it's edited by Caroline Smailles."

"Okay, then, Mister Big Shot, so how did you get in?" (Yawns, scratches arse.)

"Well, since you're so interested.... Just under a year ago I broke me left wrist and was in plaster up to me elbow. And, yeah, I'm left-handed. A novelist friend, Sheila Quigley, mentioned there was a few days left on Tonto's competition to win a place in their popular anthology. So, one-handed, and one-fingered, I tapped away all day, and just manged to make the deadline.
I awaited the results, and Bob's yer Auntie's live-in lover!"

"Well done, I suppose. Anyway, I need to go n watch some paint dry, so am offski."

"No worries, and thanks for popping by."

"See ya... maybe... 說文解 六國文字/六 ................. !"

"OY!!! What have I told you, mum?"

(Joke, it wasn't me mum, really.)

To find out more about the winning stories - including my 4,000 word short, MOPPING UP, introducing characters from the crime novel I'm currently editing - go here.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Interview with new mystery novelist, Michael Robert Gordon...

There's a new novel out in the crime genre: Killer Commute by Michael Robert Gordon...

1) So tell us a bit about Mike Gordon n how you ended up writing.

I'm a married man with four wonderful children and a beautiful wife. I feel like I just wrote the lyrics for the Talking Head's song, Once in a Lifetime. Anyway, I work in sales for a logistics company. My past life includes freedom, stints in the Merchant Marines, construction, painter, and fraud investigations for a bank. Writing has always been a part of my life since childhood. It's something I need to do to maintain any sanity; it's a safe nonaddictive escape from the world.

2) I recall publishing your short last summer on Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers. It featured Detective Mick Doran. Was this his first tentative step into the big wide world?

Actually it was. I appreciated the response from some of the readers, if I remember you felt there could be more stories coming. I'd like to work on a serial.

3) Killer Commute, give us a blurb.

Mick Doran, a hypochondriac is a veteran detective for the MTA, Metropolitan Transit Authority leads an investigation into the deaths of two attorneys. The problem is he has to work with his ex-wives husband. His investigation leads him to a former conductor, Mitchell Richards. The novel utilizes lyrics from REM's Mr. Richards (from their last album) and captures what the average commuter experiences on their ride on the Long Island Rail Road, but there's so much more. Here's a blurb... just to be clear, Reggie Sanders is Mick's new partner and Kevin Elwood is the first victim.

"Don’t be an asshole all the time. Just once try to control yourself.I know it’s difficult for a prick like you. What happened was a long time ago.
"Reggie laughed. "Right, that’s exactly how I feel. What happened was along time ago. You were under a lot of stress back then. Let it rest,water under the bridge and all that. Right? So, what do you say, let’s work together on this case. Is that cool?"
"Sure, sure."
Mick didn’t care what Sanders thought; his main concern was convincing the DA that he should lead the investigation. And yet Mick knew the reasons were purely superficial. Sanders had stolen Mick’s wife—he didn’t want the asshole leading the case.
Mick’s stomach was killing him. He stepped into the aisle and kneeled on the seat next to Elwood, carefully leaned over to move the corpse's head to check the other side. He saw where the cord had cut off the air. There was a small maroon bruise close to the Adam’s apple.
Slowly, Mick rolled the coat sleeve up the left arm and moved his handover Elwood’s cold flesh, carefully inspecting the veins. There was nothing.
"What are you doing?" Sanders asked.
"Pay attention and learn. I’m determining if he was injected with anything. I’m looking for small punctures. Do you remember that unsolved case back in ’88? A victim was found on a train with a needle-mark in his arm, but he was not a drug user. We couldn’t solve it; spent weeks chasing after false leads. Then another victim showed up. Something like this. The train just pulled into the last station and the victims were found DOA. That was a mess. Passengers were scared of sitting next to one another. We had a letter from the killer. He wrote to Newsday saying he wanted to wipe out anyone who looked at him the wrong way. Turns out it was a hoax."
"Don’t remember. Guess that was before my time."
Sanders moved his immense body into the row of seats behind the body.He looked over Elwood’s neck, and made a note in his book. "It looks like the killer came behind and reached down with a cord or something and strangled him. He was an attorney,you know."
"No shit. Anyone with a brain can tell he was an attorney from the case on the rack. What else do you know about him? Married? Where did he work? Does he have partners? Did we check for a cell phone? Hey,what’s that?"
Mick shined the light onto a piece of paper on the darkened floor.
"What?" Sanders asked.
"It’s a punched ticket. Why would that be on the ground?" Mick inspected the one-way peak-time ticket and noticed the distinct diamond-shaped hole punch, but did not pick it up.
"What do you mean?" Sanders asked.
"If it’s a one-way, most conductors keep the ticket. There’s no reason to give it back. Unless it was used as a receipt or a marker on the seat and it fell down. Mick carefully leaned over the victim and picked up the ticket.
"This is interesting, see the hole in the ticket? Every conductor has their own punch. So there’s no confusion if you transfer from one train to another. Where’s the conductor?"
The ticket was to Port Jefferson. Mick placed the ticket in one clear plastic bag and leaned over Kevin Elwood’s stiff leg and picked up a crushed 16-ounce can of Bud and dropped it in another clear plastic bag.
Mick sighed since Reggie hadn’t answered. "Sanders, is the conductor still here?"

4) So how did the publication become reality n enlighten us about Champagne Books.

Publication was the typical series of queries and rejections to agents and publishers. I would say there was an interest in most of them. One agent suggested I rewrite the novel from first to third person. I did. I thought it would be represented, but they still rejected it. I was looking for a press that would publish books not just e-books. If you're a commuter you want to hold a paperback in your palms. Champagne appealed to me and I noticed there were a low percentage of acceptances. This is important since it tells the writer this publisher is serious about their projects. There are a lot of e-book publishers that will accept your work quickly so be wary of those. I’ve been very happy with the support from the writers and the staff from Champagne, especially the editorial work Cyndi Davis provided. She pulled this book into shape.

5) Any tips, or advice, for aspiring novelists?

Write. Write more often than before. Set time aside each day, you can do it. Learn from your mistakes, make writing a craft, and write more often, but write. Share your work. Believe in yourself. It’s a lonely gig and no one is going to make you write except you. Don't assume you need a quiet place. Killer Commute was written on the train, since I have little time to write. The hour and half each way is a blessing. Be the master of your destiny, I heard that before, but it’s true. We have this gift each day to create a day and fill it with life and what we want. Set a reasonable deadline; write a novel in three weeks. Bang the keys like a maniac. Find a writers group. Do not pay to have your work read or represented or published. There are too many predators that will suck the life and money out of you. If anyone requests a fee, tell them to go fuck themselves.

6) So what's next for Mike Gordon - retirement, putting yer feet up?

Now it's promo time, getting the book out there and trying to line up interviews, reviews, and meet some interesting readers and write whenever and where ever I can.

Cheers, Mike, and good luck with the novel.

Suspense/Mystery novel, Killer Commute, will be published by
Champagne Books July 5th 2010.

To find out more visit him at his blog, or at

(Photo, copyright of Emma Tess Gordon. Cover art, copyright of Trisha Fitzgerald.)

Monday, 28 June 2010

Sod the footy... Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers is back!

After a much-needed hiatus, and all round rethink, I'm thrilled to announce that Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers is back, and open for submissions from July 1st onwards.
Click on the title above to reveal more, including a revamp(ire) of the site, new submission guidelines, plus a welcome surprise!
Ps. Please feel free to spread the word.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

"Come on England!" (FF's sake!).

Hi chaps n chapettes,
I will soon be providing updates regarding my hiatus, but am not quite ready yet. However, I couldn't resist a football post - which one could argue is both 'crime' n 'fiction'.

I'm sure most of you are aware that the Football World Cup is well underway in South Africa. England, to coin an apt cliche, have flattered to deceive so far, drawing two of their group games to leave a must-win fixture versus the mighty Slovenia on Wednesday. Maybe we could say the 1-1 draw with the US was our way of maintaining that, somewhat strained, 'Special Relationship' (told you I'd include fiction). But the draw against Algeria was a bridge too fookin far! I made a bold prediction before the match: let's just say I got Algeria's nil correct n leave it at that.

Coupled with the naff performances n players speaking out against the manager's questionable tactics, our camp is in disarray. But I suppose it could be worse, looking at the French squad who imploded n sent a player home which, incidentally, is where they're all heading now (au revoir - he,he!). Poetic justice, I feel, after them cheating v the Irish in the qualifiers.

The passion for the England side is still massively strong over here, with red n white Saint George's flags hanging out of windows on every street, flying on many cars, and no doubt the pubs will be full again for the next game. If our over-paid players could just put their over-inflated egos to one side n just play the game - we bloody invented - at their optimum levels then we'd easily brush aside the Slovenians. Alas, the pressure is akin to a bubbling volcano, as the notorious English press are circling for the kill, so ...sod it ...2-1 England! (more fiction?).

You heard it here first (gulp).

Oh, n the 'crime' bit... well, if we lose n go out it would be a heinous crime committed by our multi-millionaire players against all true England fans.

So FF's sake... "COME ON ENGLAND!"

Catch y'all soon,

Monday, 7 June 2010

Hey guys n gals... I'm back... well, nearly...

Hi Folks,
Just a quickie to let you know that my time away from blogging has been utilized to sort out a few extremely important issues. Throughout my hiatus I've tried to keep in touch as best I can with this fantastic writing community we've all created.

I'm on the home straight now regarding the 'important issues' that needed resolving. Despite some of the aforementioned being private, I will be back real soon with updates and things will be much clearer then.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Col Bury's Blog Break...

For personal reasons I'm taking a break. My time and energy is required elsewhere for a while. There are some extremely important things I need to address.
Meanwhile, since you find yourself here, be sure to check out the many crime fiction related pieces by scrolling down on the right... including: author interviews, my take on selected short stories, my own short stories, crime comedy, reviews and excellent links to writing websites - feel free to leave comments.

Many thanks for the support and feedback received over the last eighteen months from my many friends out there in the blogosphere.

Back soon enough,

Ps. I'll still be checking in and also co-editing TKnC.

Monday, 22 March 2010

SHOT TO DEATH - Stephen D. Rogers...

I agreed to help fellow crime writer, Stephen - who has, what sounds like a cracking anthology, out called Shot To Death - whereby I had to choose a starter sentence from one of his short stories... read all about it and Stephen's interesting insights into the short story below...

Stephen D. Rogers is the author of SHOT TO DEATH(ISBN 978-0982589908) and more than six hundred stories and poems. He's the head writer at Crime Scene (where viewers solve interactive mysteries) and a popular writing instructor. For more information, you can visit his website,, where he tries to pull it all together.

SHOT TO DEATH contains thirty-one stories of murder and mayhem.

"Terse tales of cops and robbers, private eyes and bad guys, with an authentic New England setting."- Linda Barnes, Anthony Award winner and author of the Carlotta Carlyle series.

"Put yourself in the hands of a master as you travel this world of the dishonest, dysfunctional, and disappeared. Rogers is the real deal--real writer, real story teller, real tour guide to the dark side."- Kate Flora, author of the Edgar-nominated FINDING AMY and the Thea Kozak mysteries.

"SHOT TO DEATH provides a riveting reminder that the short story form is the foundation of the mystery/thriller genre. There's something in this assemblage of New England noir to suit every aficionado. Highly recommended!"- Richard Helms, editor and publisher, The Back Alley Webzine

"I should have been sleeping but I couldn't" - C.O.D.
So begins one of the 31 stories contained in SHOT TO DEATH(ISBN 978-0982589908).

Within that beginning lurks the ending to the story and everything that happens between the beginning and the end. Or at least it seems that way to me.

"I should have been sleeping...." How doesn't lack of sleep complicate matters? Moods sour, tempers flare, and decisions stain.

"...but I couldn't." Why? Was the narrator keeping himself up or he was being kept up? If being kept up, was it something internal or something external? I imagine that if you compiled a list of all major events, you would find that very few of the positive ones developed out of exhaustion. Negative events? Exhaustion is probably right up there with drugs and alcohol.

"I should have been sleeping but I couldn't." The sentence ends on a down note, which means the story should as well.

So far, what I have is a situation, not a story. How do I get from the first to the second?

He should be sleeping but he isn't. Something is keeping him from sleeping. He hasn't been sleeping. He's exhausted, and thus his judgment is impaired. He knows he hasn't been sleeping and thus he decides to improve his situation by actively affecting whatever has been keeping him from sleeping. But his judgment is impaired. He acts on a plan developed when trying to change. His critical thinking is affected by the very situation he's trying to change. The more important changing the situation is, the less capable he is of making the right choices.

But the plan is already in play. He's just waiting for events to unfold, for the guilty to pay. (Thus the title, "Cash on delivery," and having to cough up the money after it's too late to cancel the order.) Ending on a down note.

All that remained was the writing.

For a chance to win a signed copy of SHOT TO DEATH, click on over to and submit your completed entry. Then visit the schedule at to see how you can march along. And then come back here to post your comments. Phew.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Final round of voting on Joe Hunter short story comp'...

Matt Hilton's 'Joe Hunter' style short story competition is now at round two. Voting has been reset to zero and the top three stories from round one now feature on both Matt's blog and Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers.

Up to the launch of Matt's latest novel, Slash and Burn, on March 31st voting for your favourite story on both sites is permitted here and here.

Monday, 15 March 2010

An interview with debut crime novelist, Nick Quantrill...

Nick Quantrill's debut novel, Broken Dreams, is released by Caffeine Nights this week and I had the pleasure of meeting up with Nick at the Trafford Centre in Manchester recently where we chatted about crime fiction, our aspirations, Nick's road to publication and, of course, football! (I can hear the sarcastic comments already about my Caribbean blue jumper... and don't worry, am not squeezing Nick's hand too tight - that's the normal expression of a hardened Hull City fan!).

So tell me about this unassuming bloke, Nick Quantrill from Hull. How did you become a crime writer?

I think I became a crime writer first and foremost as a consequence of a being a big reader. As I child, I loved mystery stories and read anything I could get my hands on. As an adult, I worked my way through Steinbeck and Hemingway before moving onto more contemporary stuff like Roddy Doyle and Irvine Welsh, but the love of mystery had got under my skin. I was also reading the likes of Ian Rankin and Elmore Leonard and I could see links and overlaps between all these different writers, and joining the dots lit a path for me to follow.

Many people probably haven't heard of Hull, so please enlighten us and why did choose it as a setting for your novel?
Hull’s an isolated sea port out on the east coast of England. The reason people probably don’t know the city too well is that it’s not the kind of place you pass through by accident, or on your way to somewhere else. You need a reason to visit. What strikes me in terms of it being different to other cities is the curious inward looking mentality of the place. Sometimes it can be a strength, like during the floods of 2007 when the city looked after its own, but sometimes it breeds an air of cynicism and wariness of new ideas which really drags the place down. Why write about Hull? Because it’s home.

Tell us about your previous successes, be it short stories, articles and the progression up to writing Broken Dreams.
So why a PI and not, say a procedural or a straight crime novel?

Before writing novels, I tried a few different things. I started out by writing reviews of CD's, restaurants, anything I fancied, for a local website. Once I made the decision to write fiction, there was no looking back. My first short-story, ‘Punishment’, won the Harper Collins Crime Tour competition back in 2006, which really was the definition of beginner’s luck! After writing a fair few more shorts, I had a crack at a novel, ‘Black and White’, and although it had some elements I liked, it turned out to be more a vehicle for learning how to actually write a novel, rather than something I seriously thought I might get published. I’ve messed around with a few different characters, police, PI, assorted low-life, but nothing felt completely right until Joe came along. I wrote a proto-type PI story and the reaction to it was far, far better than it had been for the others, so I knew I was out onto something. Without the nagging doubt of trying to get police procedure right, I was able to get under Joe’s skin a bit more easily than with some of the other characters I’d created.

How did the acceptance from Caffeine Nights come about and did you try other publishers or agents first? And how did it feel to see your name on front of your own novel?

I’ve always posted short-stories on my website http://www.hullcrimefiction/ and had pages on MySpace and Facebook, so I was networking from day one. The pay-off was that when I was ready to punt ‘Broken Dreams’ about, I had a good feeling of what was out there. I had a wish-list of independent publishers I liked the look of and I was very fortunate to agree a deal with one of them. It’s taken about a year to get from signing the contract to publication, and there’s been some great moments along the way, but seeing the cover and holding the final product in my hands – brilliant.

Give us a quick Bio of Joe Geraghty.

Joe’s a former rugby league player, turned PI, once he learns the hard way that he has an aptitude for the work. He works in the Old Town of Hull in a small office with his colleagues, Don and Sarah Ridley, who are father and daughter. When Joe’s wife died in a house fire, it was Don who took him under his wing, and with Sarah’s help, he started to put his life back together. Joe’s an ordinary man trying to do a difficult job. He’s nothing special, he’s not hard, he’s just trying to make a living the best way he can.

Give us a quick blurb of Broken Dreams.

How about the blurb from the back of the book? I’ve also started to think, rightly or wrongly, that’s it’s the story of a neglected city’s past, present and possibly its future:

‘Joe Geraghty, Private Investigator, is used to struggling from one case to the next, barely making the rent on his small office in the Old Town of Hull. Invited by a local businessman to investigate a member of his staff’s absenteeism, it’s the kind of surveillance work that Geraghty and his small team have performed countless times. When Jennifer Murdoch is found bleeding to death in her bed, Geraghty quickly finds himself trapped in the middle of a police investigation which stretches back to the days when the city had a thriving fishing industry. As the woman’s tangled private life begins to unravel, the trail leads Geraghty to local gangster-turned-respectable businessman, Frank Salford, a man with a significant stake in the city’s regeneration plans. Still haunted by the death of his wife in a house fire, it seems the people with the answers Geraghty wants are the police and Salford, both of whom want his co-operation for their own ends. With everything at stake, some would go to any length to get what they want, Geraghty included.’

Any tips for aspiring crime writers?

I have two tips, neither hugely original, which probably means they have some value. Firstly, reading is a necessity. I love crime fiction and I’m as likely to pick up a Lee Child novel as I am the latest from, say, George Pelecanos. The trick is not only to read for pleasure, but to work out what you like and what you don’t like about a particular author’s style. The other tip is to not hide your work away. Now’s a great time to putting stories out on the Internet and beyond. There’s great websites like, and, to name but three, and they’re all hugely supportive of new and emerging writers. It’s a great way to learn.

Do you think Hull City will stay up!!?

You’re asking me this on the back of a massive thumping at the hands of Everton! It’s always going to be tough for a small club like us to compete with the biggest clubs in the world, but I think we’re making a decent fist of it, despite what the detractors may say. I’d be gutted if we were relegated at the end of the season, but ultimately it doesn’t matter too much. I’ve been a pass-holder for a number of years, and like most sports fans, Saturdays are about the excitement of the game, catching up with friends and having a laugh. The opposition is secondary. What I’ve learnt over the last couple of years is that it doesn’t matter whether it’s Everton or Exeter who thump you 5-1, it still hurts the same. Will we stay up? I think we will. Just. But don’t quote me on that.

So what's next for Nick Quantrill?

The main aim is to get a decent draft of Joe’s next story, ‘The Late Greats’, in my hands over the summer. It’s coming on nicely, but there’s still work to do. I’m starting to think about the book after that and have a couple of things in mind, so I’m fairly happy with what I’ve got in the pipeline. I’ve also had some interesting offers come my way, so it’s just a case of working out what there’s time to do. I’ll also be doing my best to promote ‘Broken Dream’. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this stage and I don’t want it to stop just yet.

Thanks for the interview, Nick, and good luck with Broken Dreams. Let's hope it's the start of something big for you.

Check out Nick's cool website here and order Broken Dreams here.

I'll be reviewing Broken Dreams in the not too distant future on this blog.
Ps. Hull have sadly parted company with manager, Phil Brown (pictured)... but, hey, at least Nick's got his novel out!!!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Birthday Blues...?

Well, I was having a lovely little 21st birthday until... huh?.. okay, so you've seen my photos? Double it then! As I was saying before I rudely interrupted me-self... I was having a lovely 42nd birthday with some of my family round when - in true antisocial git style - I just had to watch my beloved blues (Man.City) playing live on Sky versus Sunderland.

In desperate need of points, and one-nil down for most of the match, my mood changed from happy-go-lucky birthday boy to someone out of one of me crime stories! I found me-self shouting n swearing at the telly, something I've not done in what must be two, three, maybe four... days... when I watched some Tory MP spouting bullshit on BBC's Question Time. So one by one my family slipped out of the room for cover, leaving just me n me Mum (she's a hardcore blue, yer see).

It's sad for a grown man's mood to be dictated by the (mis)fortunes of his sports team but, hey-ho, nobody's perfect. Anyway, an jury time equalizer did the trick n me head bounced off the ceiling! Suddenly it was a happy birthday-cum-mother's day again (pathetic? yeah I know) and we all had a great party with E-numbers everywhere you turned.

The nicest part of the day was as I opened my last present saying, "I hope it's a pair of slippers cos that's all I needed to be honest." (God, I am getting old!). It wasn't slippers, but my two wonderful kids scrambled together their pocket money for me to buy a pair, which I thought was a nice touch (they're both 21 - joke - 7 n 8 really). It gave me goose bumps and reminded me that if my beloved blues would've lost then it wouldn't have mattered so much after all because I have something far more beloved... my beautiful family.

Ps. Having said all that, if City had lost I'd have kicked 'em all out int Manchester rain!!!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Joe Hunter comp' - voting now open...

Matt Hilton's now opened the voting over at JOE HUNTER'S FIXERS to determine the top three short stories in the competition to win a signed first edition hardback copy of SLASH AND BURN.
Despite Matt being a good buddy of mine, I couldn't resist the challenge of writing out of my comfort zone so I did enter and thoroughly enjoyed the process. My decision was based on Matt reassuring me that the voting would be anonymous and clear for all to see.
There are ten action-packed crackers to choose from. Just click the title above and vote for your favourite read.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Check out my 'Guest Write' about 'Crime Comedy' over at Paul Brazill's mighty fine blog...

Just a quickie to let you know Brazilliant blogger extraordinaire, Paul Brazil, recently invited me to do a guest blog. Read my take on humour's place in crime writing by clicking the title of this post...

Monday, 8 March 2010


Just a quick heads up on a few crime fiction related bits n bobs...

* Only four days to go to the March 12th deadline (when the voting goes live) to win yourself a signed copy of SLASH & BURN, Matt Hilton's 3rd crime thriller novel in the popular Joe Hunter series. If you fancy your chances you've just gotta write a Hunter style short story here.

* Got a nice little mention (for my recent short, A PUBLIC SERVICE, on A TWIST OF NOIR) from Gary Dobbs AKA Archavist over at his damn fine blog, THE TAINTED ARCHIVE.

* Watch this space for a Q&A with debut novelist, Nick Quantrill, around the day of his book launch of BROKEN DREAMS on March 20th.

Catch you all soon,

Saturday, 6 March 2010

A PUBLIC noir flash now showing over at A TWIST OF NOIR...

Just a quick heads up to say my noir flash A PUBLIC SERVICE has been kindly accepted by Christopher Grant over at leading American crime webzine, A TWIST OF NOIR.
This is what ATON's editor said about it..."Col, great story. Nice twist ending, actually a real ending..." There's more, but I don't wanna give the game away.
As usual, just click on the title above to have a gander and be sure to have a good browse as there are some cracking stories on there.

A.J. Humpage's great new blog teaches new writers how to write a short story...

A.J. Humpage, one of our regulars over at TKnC, has started a new blog called 'All Write - Fiction Advice'. A.J. uses her extensive knowledge, gleaned from over twenty years of writing, to provide easy-to-follow insights into the task of piecing together a short story.

Having read many of A.J.'s stories I can safely say that she certainly qualifies as an expert in this field. So any new writers (or established ones for that matter) who sometimes struggle to polish their fiction to perfection won't go far wrong by visiting A.J's blog - just click on the title of this post and you're there.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Bought the kids a dog... he's chewing into everything... including my writing time... HELP!!!

I'd like to introduce you all to the new addition the Bury household... RILEY. Before anyone asks, 'What's this got to do with crime, Col?' see below for the criminal damage!!!

Now I know the old saying, 'A Dog's for life, not just for Christmas,' and I have raised a Bordie Collie before and trained him to a high standard. However, that was pre-kids and pre-writing/editing, and I'm finding six month old RILEY to be a bloody handful. It seems Golden Labs' are much more boisterous than I envisaged. He's chewing everything...!
Mandy's shoes...£35.00.. Ker-ching!
Laminate flooring trim... £20.00...
Plastic bin...£10.00....
Leather football...£15.00...
Washing basket...£12.00...
Daughter's headband...£2.00...
Son's lunchbox full of food...£20.00...
Tights, socks, misc' clothes...£30.00...
Toys, dolls, etc... £25.00...
Son's remote control kick up ball (pictured)...£8.00...
MY COAT...£35.00!!!
His own new bed...£12.00...
The kids' hands...priceless!
Grand total (so far!)...£224.00...Ker-fookin-ching!!!

Now I know he's still a puppy and teething, and some of you may find this funny, but it's wearing a bit thin when in the midst of it so I'm open to advice.

On the positive side at least he's not pooing n weeing in the house and he does bark at the door if he wants to...but, boy, can this guy dump for England... he's like a 'Play-Dough' machine!

Bog-eyed Col.

Ps. I know I'm leaving myself wide open for sarcasm here, but seriously Riley is on his final warning so all sensible suggestions welcome.

Monday, 1 March 2010

NIck Quantrill's debut novel, BROKEN DREAMS, coming soon...

Just a quick heads up for lovers of the PI story - debut novelist and Hull's finest, Nick Quantrill, unleashes his protag', Joe Geraghty, on the world on March 20th.

Click the title of this post to learn more about what makes Nick tick...

And be sure to check back here on the publication date for an in depth interview with this exciting new talent on the crime author scene.