Monday 31 October 2011

Saturday 29 October 2011

One Man's Opinion: Dig Ten Graves by Heath Lowrance

I feel like I should cut to the chase for Dig Ten Graves. Write BUY IT and leave it at that.

I'm seriously tempted. Let the book talk for itself.

That's easier said than done as there are so many voices here, different styles and genres that will keep you guessing from one to the next.

Heath Lowrance amazed me with the skill he showed in The Bastard Hand, so I was excited and curious about his release of short work.

What did I find?

More shining gold. More brilliance. More black holes to get sucked into.

Lots of these pieces had me genuinely on edge. One in particular had me wincing and wondering whether I could go on (Of course I did. Had to). All of them were great reads and worth the entry price by themselves.

My favourite, though, was the opening piece, I Will Be Carried Away. It's not just my favourite here, but ranks in my top 5 short stories of the year (and those of you who know me will know that I've read hundreds of the things).

It's a superb tale about being haunted by memories, being marked by the tings we do early in life, growing up, messing up and moving on. 

Man finds out ex-girlfriend is dead. Memories drip back to him from a rusty bucket inside his brain. There are things he can't remember and things he's going to find out. It's beautiful and powerful and superbly well-rounded, just like I want my short tales to be.

There's something of a theme through the collection, weaving with the 'now you see it, now you don't' thread of an embroidery. It has to do with what is commonly called a mid-life crisis. It also suggests a mid-life crisis following a difficult childhood, troubled adolescence and a mixed-up start in adulthood.

Not that I can imagine a man as talented and handsome as Mr Lowrance struggling with such matters.

There were times in the book where I thought the author had got into my head.  Read my thoughts.  Painted my own fears onto a wall I couldn't miss.  Observed me wondering why alarm clocks and work and routines are still ruling my life when I'm old enough (way old enough) to know better.

A quote from a later piece, a tale of a suicidal man whose attempts at suicide are about as futile as his existence:

"He'd begun to suspect that there'd been no turn, that it had been the road he'd always been on, since the day he was born. If God handed out road maps to every soul about to be incarnated on Earth, he'd probably given Henry the one that traversed all the rocky paths, all the unpaved back roads and quagmires and potholes. The one that led, finally, to a huge drop into the crapper."

With humour like that, the difficult subject of meaning to life is tackled with humour and left for the reader to ponder.

Terrific stuff.

Monday 24 October 2011

One Man's Opinion: BUCKET NUT by Liza Cody

I got really cross reading this book.

Really cross.

With myself.

It was first published in 1992 and I've only just got round to reading it - what a waste of a lot of years.

Worse still, the review I saw of it at the Drowning Machine was posted about a year ago - no excuses then (but thanks, Naomi, for the tip).

The tale is of a lady wrestler, Eva Wylie.  She's had a tough life and she's a tough lady.

We meet her as she deals with her wimp of an opponent, once again playing out the villain in the pantomime ring.

She lives in a static van.  I read the book in a static van in Grange, though it was a little more comfortable than Eva's scrapyard home - it would be hard for it not to be and the electricity remained connected.

The plot builds beautifully. 

Eva is keen to get money.  She wants to fix her teeth and to gather enough cash to help her appear to be a worthy human being when she eventually tracks down her sister. 

To get said cash, she works for Mr Cheng, part muscle/part delivery girl.  They pay, she asks no questions.

In an act of bad-fortune, she ends up doing a bouncer's shift at a club which is about to be attacked by Mr Cheng's turf-war enemies.  Worse than that, she unwittingly helps out one of those enemies and adopts her like one might a bird with a broken wing.

It's kind of nice for her to have someone to live with other than her guard-dog mates, Ramses and Linekar.

I don't think I'm going to write more on the plot.  Suffice it to say things get easily complicated and the solutions are never close to hand.

What I loved so much about the book was the depth of every character.

All of Eva's surrounding cast are brilliantly sketched. It's like she's a method actor who's been inside all of them to find out what makes them tick.  I felt concern for the author at times due to the depth of her empathy.

That concern was stretched to the limits with Eva herself.  She's big, tough and hard.  She has a heart that's half-gold, half Mercury.  She's as forgiving as anyone can be, yet she's an avenging angel.  Cody expresses things through Eva (or maybe it's the other way around) that wouldn't be out of place in books of philosophy, social-science, language, poetry or joke books.  In another age I think Cody might have been a revolutionary, a suffragette, a saboteur.  In 1992 she was a bloody marvel.

While I read, I also felt a debt to her.  Felt as if the book had been influencing my own writing over the past years.  That might seem impossible given I've never read a novel by her before, but if Ray Banks, Allan Guthrie or Charlie Williams read this book (as I'm sure they did), the path of that influence makes sense.

It's such a big, powerful book this, a bit like Eva herself.  

An absolute gem.

And a plea from me, if there are other similar gems out there, please point them out - don't assume anything with this reader.

Monday 17 October 2011

Dancing With Myself: LUCA VESTE interviews LUCA VESTE

Hello Luca.

Hi Luca.

So are we going to do the original joke about how it’s weird talking to ourselves, or the new post-modern switch were we make a point of not mentioning it?

Erm, I think we’ve already gone for something else to be honest.

So, for the purposes of this interview, can I be called Jeff…to save on confusion?

That would kind of defeat the object of talking to myself, wouldn’t it?

Hmm…can we call you Jeff?

What?! No. Can we just get on with it. I’ve got yoga at ten past.

OK, OK, sorry. So who are you then?

Apart from being you…I’m Luca Veste, a Husband to a loving wife, Father to two daughters, a mature student and a Half Italian, Half Scouse guy. I also write stories and review books in my spare time.

Sounds interesting. Tell me more about the reviewing, how did that come about?

Well, one day in June, a Saturday I believe, I set up the blog ‘Guilty Conscience’. I had two goals. Read things I wouldn’t normally read, and talk to Steve Mosby about his books. I achieved both of these in the first six weeks. It’s been all downhill since really.

And now you write. Isn’t it a bit of a clichĂ©, book reviewer is actually frustrated writer?

Possibly. It wasn’t something I was intending on doing though. I just started by accident really. My Dad is the writer, I was more interested in acting than writing. I was interested in the writing world…

The ‘Writing World’? You can be so pretentious sometimes…

You’re one to talk.

What’s that supposed to mean?

Nothing. Anyway, I was always interested in books and the process, and the Internet gives you a level of access to some very gracious writers, who’re always willing to talk to readers and are generally very appreciative. So, in conversation with one writer, Charlie Williams, he sort of dared me to write a story entitled ‘Jeff, The Uninspired Vampire’. I did, and haven’t stopped since.

No, you haven’t. How many facials have we missed because of your damn writing…

Oh, great. Now you’ve destroyed my cred.

You never had any cred. I was the one with the cred.

Can we stop saying cred now. Spell check doesn’t like it.

So, what’s the latest with the writing thing, any luck yet, or can we get back to doing real stuff, like putting that shelf up?

Well actually, yes. I’ve just signed with publisher ‘Trestle Press’ who are releasing a collection of five of my short stories called ‘Liverpool 5’.

Why ‘Liverpool 5’?

Well, the stories are all based in and around Liverpool, England. There’s five stories, so Liverpool 5. It also happens to be the area of Anfield in Liverpool (L5).

What are they about? Am I in them?

Why would you be in them?

Didn’t take you long to forget the little people did it…

Listen, let me answer the first question. The stories are short pieces, mainly about Life and Death. I’m fascinated with death as a concept. As a staunch atheist, I am constantly aware of my own mortality. This has its good side though, as, if I want to interview a name such as Linwood Barclay, I email him and ask, rather than deliberating on it and not having the balls to do it. I decided in the last year, life’s too short to wonder what could have been. So, now I just do it. There’s a bit in a story in Liverpool 5 which sums up my whole life view these days, involves a piece of paper at a funeral and your whole life can be boiled down to that. Still waiting to hear back from Stephen King though…

Heavy stuff. Bet you’re great fun to be around…

Well my wife thinks so.

I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

What’s that supposed to mean?

Well, this seems to be as good a time as any to tell you. We’ve been having an affair.

You what?! Wait…I think I have to be OK with having an affair with my own wife.

Phew. That was close. So, what are your plans for the future?

Well, coming up soon, I’m putting together an anthology of short stories, called OFF THE RECORD, it features over thirty writers, with all proceeds going to charity. Based on the prompt of classic song titles, it’s going to be a great collection. We have some excellent names involved, Ray Banks, Helen Fitzgerald, Nick Quantrill, Nigel Bird, Neil White, Thomas Pluck, Chris Rhatigan, Les Edgerton, Sean Patrick Reardon, R Thomas Brown, Ron Earl Phillips, the list goes on and on…

Sounds special. Good luck with it all. Hope it all goes well!

Thanks me.

Finally, you always ask writers the same two questions at the end of your interviews, so here’s your chance…first, what’s your perfect writing environment?

In a locked room, with a large window. An overflowing ashtray and endless supply of Jack Daniels.

And your actual writing environment?

In my living room, having to smoke outside, and there’s no Jack Daniels because I have to get up in early in the morning, whilst my wife watches some documentary about nature or is asleep in bed, and the kids are asleep in their room.

Yeah…you think you’re wife’s asleep in bed…

Come here, ya little git!

Sprinting To Marathon

Writing and athletics.  Not things I usually link together.

I was thinking about the different skills used in longer and shorter events - the marathon and the sprint, the novel and the short story.

There aren't many sprinters out there who can turn in a good marathon time and there aren't too many middle-distance runners challenging the 100m world record.  They have different muscle strengths and skill sets which mean that it doesn't work to spread the net too widely.

At the same time, I have no doubt that world-class athletes can manage all the events in times that would laugh at anything I tried to do.  100m is about the distance I'd be prepared to run for a bus; after that you'd be looking at calling in the medics.

Usain Bolt might be one of the exceptions to any of this.  He has the lanky stride that could suit any distance as far as I can tell and I love him for that.

I've recently been varying my length in fiction.  It's not been easy and it hasn't been a natural progression.  There are many aspects of writing which are similar, just as runners put one leg in front of the other, breathe and move their arms.  There also enough differences to mean being good at one aspect of writing doesnt' mean an easy transfer to another.

There are examples of writers who manage short and long forms with elegance.

People I know who do great jobs as all-rounders are writers I admire greatly.

F Scott Fitzgerald, who could even manage to write a great unfinished novel.

Ernest Hemingway, brutal with words when long or short.

Allan Guthrie, brilliant builder of chaos and fine when limited to a short word-count.

Richard Brautigan, Charles Bukowski and Reed Farrel Coleman, not only running short and long but throwing the poetry javelin.

Hilary Davidson, Gary Phillips, Eric Beetner and Heath Lowrance, killers with short jabs or straight lefts and rights. 

James M Cain, master.

Ian Ayris, whom I've not read in novel form, but know that when I get my hands on the soon to be released Abide With Me will need to be careful it doesn't blow off my fingertips.

Donald Ray Pollock, a man who created his own event.

There'll be more.  I want you to tell me who they are so that I can check them out.

I think I write some good short stories and yet I've always wanted to write a novel.

My first attempt at a novel just lurks in a cave of darkness.  It won't come out and I'm too scared to go in and drag the thing.

My third, I think I've completed as well as I'll ever manage.  More on that one day, I'm sure.

My second, that was different altogether.

It started with a story, a short piece called 'An Arm And A Leg'. 

When Jen Jordan read it, she was right back to me claiming it for Crimespree.  Bless her and her brother for that.

Next it was accepted for the 'Mammoth Best British Crime Sotires'.

I was bowled over.

It seemed to me I had a great opening for a novel.

I set to writing it and took advice.

On the one hand, to make this attractive to publishers, a police presence might help. 

That was tangent one.

On another, if I could build up my dog-fighting theme in a way that followed the journey of one pup into the ring (and wasn't Jack London another with legs to suit any distance or terrain?) it might keep a reader involved.

I twisted and turned, twisted bits of string together to make rope - long, beautiful, golden rope like Rapunzel's hair.

I stood back.  Looked at it.  Couldn't see the wood for the trees.

Asked for help and received some of the best.

My opening didn't work.  Nor did the follow on.  And the next chapter?  Chapter 4, though, that was OK.

Off I went.  I probably cried.  I found another idea (novel attempt 3) and left the other on the shelf.

When I went back to the shelf, there was plenty to work with.

I took my 70,000 word story told from 4 different points of view and cut out two characters entirely. One of them, Smokey Arbroath, I could hardly bear to dispose of I'd come to love him so much.  

Smokey's wife had to go, too, and she had some of my favourite lines.

After that it was the favourite chapters that were cast aside.

Next came the fat and chaff from the remainder.

I found a little fairy dust, polished hard here and there and 70000 words had been trimmed to 22000. 

Rapunzel was now a skinhead.

I sent my novella to Trestle and hey presto, it's now available as 'Smoke'.

My fears that it might have been a haircut too far seem unfounded.

I thought it was good and so do the reviewers and readers so far.

I guess the only way you can tell whether I have moved successfully from sprints to middle-distance is to read the thing.

And I'm rubbing in the Wintergreen to see if when I completely finish the marathon I do a lap of honour or collapse at the line.

If you want to find out what happened to the bald Rapunzel, you can thank Mr Allan Guthrie for his wisdom and Trestle Press for taking the risk.


Friday 14 October 2011

Dancing With Myself: DAN ANDERSON interviews DAN ANDERSON

It's been such a wonderful week at Sea Minor. 

The release of my novella, SMOKE, was one of those nervy times when I had to hold my breath to find out what people thought.  Thanks to Fiona Johnson and Thomas Pluck, writers and readers of excellence, I can now rest easy, confident in the knowledge that I got things right.  No end of bad reviews will be able to take these two crackers from me - they mean a hell of a lot; thanks to both.

Thanks also to Trestle for having the confidence in my longer work. 

Now I'm itching for my novel to come out, but that's just going to have to wait a while longer.

Back here with feet on the ground, here's Dan Anderson who's dancing by himself.

Dan: Have a seat and tell us what’s been happening in your literary world? You can stay in your underwear and keep the opened can of beer.

Dan. Things have been going well. I’ve received a lot of positive news in the past several weeks. I’ve recently signed a three-book deal with Tell-Tale Publishing Group LLC. They will publish my next humorous mystery, the Eye of the Tiger in early 2112. They will also republish my first two mysteries--Bad Vibrations will be titled Killing Me Softly With Your Love and Death Cruise will be titled Black Magic Woman-- since they are anxious to have all my mysteries under their banner. I am to be a featured mystery writer for one of their new imprints.

I also received good news from another source. A Hollywood Entertainment Company came across my first two novels, Bad Vibrations and Death Cruise, and is interested in turning them into films. I have signed an Options Agreement permitting motion picture production of these novels. Here's hoping the options are exercised and my mysteries find their way to the silver screen.

Dan: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got interested in mysteries.

My complete bio can be found on my author’s page on my publisher’s website. For those of you with ADDs like me, I’m a retired VP from Prudential Financial Services and a retired Financial Representative from Nationwide Financial Services. I have a B.A. in History and an M.B.A. I am an Army veteran having served with the Americal Infantry Division in Vietnam. I have been married for 35 years and have a son in college and a dog that jumps on my desk and pees on my manuscripts.

I’ve loved mysteries ever since I was old enough to go to the library and tall enough to reach the check-out desk. Like 90% of mystery authors, I developed my interest from reading the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series. I collect mysteries and have a couple thousand of them in my library, some ranging as far back as the 1890’s. I took early retirement and writing seemed like a natural vocation to pursue. Where else can you sit around the pool in your underwear, banging on your laptop and drinking frosty pitchers of margaritas? Plus, I live outside of Las Vegas which is a mother lode of ideas about the prurient side of human nature and behavior. I try to get down on the Strip several times a month to interview the demimondaines—for research, of course.

Dan: Can you give us a quick glimpse of each book.

I’ll give you the press releases since they’re already written and I’m basically lazy.

With the publication of Bad Vibrations, a humorous mystery, award-winning author, Dan Anderson, takes us on an unforgettable romp through the noir underbelly of Southern California in the pursuit of a serial killer who murders his female victims in a most unusual manner.

Chauncey McFadden, a portly, wisecracking private detective with limited homicide experience, is hardly prepared for the danger and intrigue into which he is drawn when he is lured from his world of mundane investigations to find the perpetrator of a series of grisly murders. Realizing that he may be in over his head, Chauncey watches the body count climb as he pursues one lead after another with discouraging results.

The pursuit of the killer leads through a cast of zany characters that includes a quirky police lieutenant who puts Chauncey down at every opportunity, a crime syndicate boss who forces Chauncey to work for him, a secret government intelligence agency that operates outside of normal boundaries, and an international consortium of Palestinian and yakuza terrorists. Will the beleaguered Chauncey survive an attack on his own life and bring the killer to justice, or will he become another fatality at the hands of the ruthless serial killer?

Dan Anderson combines his two favorite subjects, mysteries and humor, to bring a new voice to the genre and show how much fun reading can be in the hands of an irreverent craftsman.

In Death Cruise, Chauncey McFadden, a Los Angeles PI, receives a frantic phone call from the president of a Miami-based cruise line. Two employees have been killed in port, and Chauncey is hired to solve the crime and prevent further atrocities. He boards the next cruise for a two-week jaunt in the Caribbean, and brings his girlfriend along as a female operative. The portly, wisecracking Chauncey has limited homicide experience but naively accepts this job thinking it will be little more than a free vacation.

Death Cruise is a riveting, fast-paced story that includes a drug-smuggling cartel with voodoo roots, an aging silver screen legend who is not what he appears to be, a corporate takeover artist thwarted in his recent attempt to seize control of the cruise line, and an international assassin for hire.

Along the way a drug-smuggling operation that brought cocaine into Miami from Caribbean islands is uncovered—the last shipment having vanished onboard before delivery—which has prompted a vendetta upon those deemed responsible.

From Jamaica, Curacao, Venezuela, Barbados, Martinique, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic, Chauncey barely escapes three attempts on his own life and muddles through a maze of murder to solve not only his original homicide assignment but a host of other crimes as well.

Death Cruise is a serious, literate mystery written in a humorous vein. It soars in originality and entertainment value, and has been cited for being more than a great mystery—great fiction as well.

Dan: Chauncey is quite the unique character. Is he based upon anyone you know or have known?

He’s my doppelganger. I tried to avoid having a protagonist who is the stereotypical tough guy who has a moral code just short of apostolic canonization, has the looks that allow him to bed every female even remotely connected to the case, and flexes biceps the size of frozen turkeys. My character is physically unimposing, but manages to overcome the many challenges he confronts to achieve personal and professional redemption. An ex-English teacher, he has an enriched vocabulary for a gumshoe and is constantly in a state of financial deprivation. He has a strong value system, but not obsessively so.

Dan: Is it difficult for you to come up with the quite compelling premises of your central plotlines?

Not at all. I never know the plotline when I begin a novel. I have some basic story lines in mind, but the novel and character development unfolds as the writing progresses. The PC and word software have made it so easy to go back and add red herrings, expand minor characters into major ones, and add parallel and intersecting plotlines. It is also great having an online dictionary and thesaurus to expedite research which is so basic and fundamental to mysteries. I like to read poetry because it provides metaphors and similes which can be adapted and modified to improve the richness and vitality of your dialog and description. I like to have several plots working at the same time, although they don't necessarily have to reach a denouement simultaneously at the end of the novel.

Dan: What do you think is responsible for this surge of interest in your books?

They may have been influenced by all the positive reviews received by Bad Vibrations and Death Cruise, such as the one below from Thomas Sullivan, literary giant and Pulitzer-nominated author, who said:

"If you've ever mourned the decline of classic PI intrigues with their whip-sharp wit and atmospheric galleries of people and places, here is Dan Anderson resurrecting that Golden Age with a superb tour de force from sex to hi-tech mystery. No flinching on this one, but the marriage of the sordid with elegant prose is delightfully effective. Read and enjoy!"

There are many five-star reviews on my books on Amazon and Barnes&Noble. To use Death Cruise as an example, reviews mentioned by readers as having an impact include:

The Infinite Writer magazine which selected Death Cruise as its Book of the Month selection.

"Every now and again a writer comes on the scene with a voice and style that is uniquely his. Author Dan Anderson is, happily, one of these. In his new book, Death Cruise, second in the Chauncey McFadden series, it is obvious why Dan is considered one of the most fascinating and entertaining voices in the mystery field today.

“The opening line grabs the reader's attention and urges him to turn page after page. There is never a let-down. Anderson's descriptions and imagery fire the imagination and set the reader right in the middle of the action. He is a master at combining edge of the seat mystery with hilarious asides that temper the graphic descriptions.”

The Midwest Book Review says:

"PI McFadden doesn't present as your typical private eye. He looks more like a chunky college professor than Humphrey Bogart. But his brainpower is on par with Nero Wolff without the name recognition.

Dan Anderson's characters form the cornerstone of his writing. The bad guys are SO bad. Unsavory characters plague even the ship's staff. Anderson's plot operates on many levels simultaneously. In the midst of all this "badness", Anderson manages to take his readers on an entertaining cruise. Attention to details of the ship's routine adds icing to the cake.

Death Cruise is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Anderson has a great sense of humor, as well as a flair for the macabre. He is an excellent writer with a thorough understanding of the vagaries of our fellow human being. A great read!"

The following excerpt is from The Mystery Addict.

"I just read the ebook version of Death Cruise, and let me get right to the point. Mr. Anderson is the best mystery writer in the country right now. His plots are fantastic, his characters are so vividly drawn that they jump right off the page, and the writing exceeds anything else you'll find in the genre . . .

In Death Cruise, the CEO of a Miami-based cruise line calls Chauncey to investigate the murder of a couple of cruise line employees in port, and prevent further promised murders at the hands of a mysterious caller named Zunimba. Chauncey barely gets aboard when the bodies begin to pile up on the ship and on Caribbean islands. Anderson's descriptions of Chauncey's fellow passengers are priceless and will have you in stitches. He is either an experienced cruise passenger, or else has done his research well. You will learn more about cruising reading this book than by actually taking a cruise. I won't give anything else away. You'll have to read Death Cruise for yourself. I run across very few books that entertain me so thoroughly. My only complaint is that Mr. Anderson can't turn out a book every month. I am a fan for life and recommend Death Cruise without reservation."

The following excerpt is from Apex Reviews.

"Death Cruise is a thoroughly entertaining crime thriller. Through a skillful combination of intersecting plotline and unsavory - though highly irresistible - characters, author Dan Anderson presents the reader with a deliciously intriguing case of whodunit set on the high seas. With the bulk of the story carried on his stout, portly shoulders, Chauncey serves as quite the compelling protagonist, one who may appear more like a league bowler than an ace detective - but whose intelligence and crime-solving prowess cannot be denied. Deftly suspenseful - and surprisingly humorous - Death Cruise is a standout mystery read. Highly recommended."

Dan: Other than the great reviews, what other kinds of feedback have you received?

My two books have won a number of literary awards. The critical response has been overwhelming. For example, Bad Vibrations has been awarded:

• The Independent Publishers IPPY Book Award - Silver Medal, Best Regional Fiction

• The Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Award - First Place, Published Mystery

• Books & Authors - Murder Mystery Book of the Year

• Florida Lighthouse Book Award

• Houston Writers Guild Commendation

Death Cruise was just published but has already received:

• The Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Award - First Place, Unpublished Mystery

• The Royal Dragonfly Book Award- Mystery, 2nd Place

Dan: How can readers contact you for further information or with questions?

I would love to hear from readers. My email address is . My Facebook page is  and my LinkedIn page is . My author’s page on the Tell-Tale Publishers, LLC website is  and my new website page is .

Dan: Any final thoughts you’d like to share and what are your publishing aspirations?

Final thoughts . . . hmm. Mysteries are a great fictional genre. Mystery authors have a duty and obligation to follow strict rules regarding fairness to readers. They need to do their research carefully or they will lose credibility with their fan base which is the kiss of death in this business. Each chapter should be an exciting and well-crafted continuation of the development of plot and characters. Mid-novel sag must be avoided at all costs. Authors should always remember that their works are in intense competition with other forms of entertainment media, and their novels should provide the biggest bank for their readers' bucks.

I would like to turn out a mystery every six months. I was planning on doing one a year, but insistent fans keep hounding me to accelerate my schedule so I will accede to their demands if at all possible. My goal is to have each mystery be qualitatively better than its predecessors since some mystery authors tend to continue writing long past their period of creativity and contributions to the genre. I want people to be able to read each mystery and have a "Honey, listen to this" moment. I would like them to reread scenes because they were moved by the originality and uniqueness of expression. I hope the Options Agreements come to fruition and my fans have the opportunity to see Chauncey and his coterie up on the silver screen.


I really enjoyed the first book in this series. Gritty, urban and a really good view of a struggling area.
I gave that one a 5 star review and wondered if the author would be able to keep up the high standard.
The answer is clearly yes. What is shown by this is the versatility of Mr Sant - this guy is no 'one-trick pony'.

This one kicks in with the action straight away.

Within 2 paragraphs the reader will know that Tracy is in trouble, that she owes a thug called 'Taff Hargreaves' a good deal of money and that she has until the end of her week to pay it back (he'll accept payment in kind, it turns out).

Tracy doesn't want to pay. Feels hard enough to get by while wondering how she ever imagined Longcroft could ever have been a wise place to make a fresh start.

Her strength turns to nought when Taff meets up with her son, even settling an issue with his bullies.

That puts her into a very tight spot indeed.
Watching on as that spot tightens is genuinely gripping and the resolution (however unexpected) is utterly satisfying).
Now, I can't wait to get into Mr Sant's story collection Flashes of Revenge. I'll let you know how I get on.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Dancing With Myself: RICK MOFINA interviews RICK MOFINA

Before we get cracking with the next 'Dancing With Myself' interview, I just wanted to let you know of a Goodreads giveaway, courtesy of Kuboa Press.

For the rest of the month, residents of the US can get a free copy of Dirty Old Town (and other stories) as a tree-book for free.  Just follow the link and click the enter to win button and you should get a copy.  Which is pretty amazing. 

I have some now and love them for their size and production values.  If you've read it and enjoyed, I'd recommend getting the 3D version.

And so to business.

Please welcome Rick Mofina to Sea Minor.

Take it away, Rick.

RM: We'd like to know a little bit about you for our files.

RM: Is that thing on? Are you recording this?

RM: Yes and yes. All on the record. You know how these things go.

RM: Yeah, well, for the record you never read me my rights

RM: Can we get started. Tell us about yourself.

RM: I grew up in a working-class family east of Toronto, in Belleville, Ontario, Canada. I was always writing since I was maybe seven years old. It is an affliction. I was fifteen when I sold my first short story. I was eighteen when I hitchhiked to California and wrote a (dreadful, still unpublished) novel about the experience. After university, I was a cub reporter at The Toronto Star, the same paper where Hemingway worked, before I embarked on a career in journalism that spanned three decades and several newsrooms. My reporting has put me face-to-face with murderers on death row in Montana and Texas. I covered a horrific serial-killing case in California, an armoured car heist in Las Vegas and the murders of police officers in Alberta. I have flown over Los Angeles with the LAPD, and gone on patrol with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic. I have also reported from the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East.

During that time, it took me several years to understand what I wanted, or needed, to write about. I had written and abandoned a few novels.Then one day, I was assigned to my newspaper’s police beat. I didn't want the beat, but that was the job. Unless you’ve done something similar, nothing prepares you for it. You see what cops, paramedics, fire-fighters, emergency experts see. For me, as a reporter by day, novelist by night, a light had been switched on. Covering human tragedies and dramas up close was overwhelming. But on another level, having a university degree in English Literature and Journalism, and having took a couple of interesting courses, one titled Religious Responses to Death and a gem called, American Detective Fiction, I felt I was equipped to try to make sense of what I was experiencing. To try to convey through fiction the truths I’d learned. It was during my time as crime reporter with the Calgary Herald that I sold my first book, If Angels Fall. I am now starting work on my 15th novel.

RM: Tell us the best and worst times from your reporting days.

RM: One of the best, well, there was a little girl who had a terminal brain condition and her dream was to meet a certain music star. When her family’s situation was made known to my news organization, we wrote about it. The music star learned about the little girl and her dream came true at a concert. The family invited me back stage for the meeting, there was not a dry eye there. I'll always cherish that one.

The most scary moment, there were many, let’s see … One quiet night I was working alone in the newsroom on the cop beat when a call came in for me. It was a convicted murderer who was calling from prison. From the psych ward. I didn’t know him, but I had written about him. That night he confessed to me how he tricked his way to get access to a telephone because he needed to talk to somebody outside the institution. So, I said, talk. He then went into every detail, every vile, disgusting detail, of how he abducted two young women then held them hostage in a suburban home. Then he told me exactly how he murdered one but decided to let the other live. He was not remorseful, or even emotional. He just wanted me to have a clear accounting. Then he hung up. My spine rattled for hours after. I had trouble sleeping that night. That’s only one strange experience from the beat.

RM: But you've since left reporting and have a day job in another aspect of communications while still writing a book every 10 months.

RM: Right.

RM: Do you miss being a journalist?

RM: I miss aspects of it. The adrenalin rush of being parachuted into chaos with the goal of making sense of whatever drama is unfolding – of finding the story within the whirlwind. Then having to tell that story in plain, sparse language to a large, immediate audience while facing a deadline. I miss working with other reporters, photographers and editors, of sharing war stories. I don’t miss having to talk to people victimized by tragedy. No matter how many times I had done it, it never ever got easier.

RM: So all of this kind of stuff that filtered through you, goes into your fiction?

RM: I guess so.

RM: And you still have a day job, tell us how you produce a book every 10 months.

RM: As I recently told Joe Konrath, since I’ve been published this is my routine: I rise around 3:45-4:00 a.m. Head to the computer and read over chapters and make notes. Then on my 50-minute bus commute to my fulltime day job. I use those notes to advance my story. I do the same on the 50-minute commute home. I work on those notes at bedtime and repeat the process at the crack of dark. On weekends I turn those notes into chapters. I write in hotels, at airports and on airplanes.

The craft and product are paramount.

I put everything I’ve got into my work. My readers get the absolute best I can give because without them, a story never lives. I go to conferences on my own dime because as a midlister you take nothing for granted. You do all you can to hang on to the pursuit in which you’ve invested much of your life.

RM: Tell us about your books - what you have out there - what you have coming.

RM: Well, I have about 2 million books in print in 20 countries. (Stress in print). I have 12 published books out there - two more on the way - and I have just published my first eBook, an anthology titled, Dangerous Women & Desperate Men, with the theme of ordinary people on the brink. The collection includes four of my short stories. It's available on major online sites and if you want to sample the book, you have the option to buy each story individually.

With the first story, “Blood Red Rings,” I wanted to partner the reader for one night with seasoned cop Frank Harper. After 24 years of putting his life on the line, Harper sees it all tick down to one defining moment. “Blood Red Rings,” first appeared in Crimespree Magazine where Jon, Ruth and Jennifer Jordan have opened the door of their revered publication to short crime fiction.

The second story, “Lightning Rider,” is the study of a damaged woman determined to achieve what she believes she is owed. The reader meets Jessie Scout, a twenty-six-year-old woman who had endured a life steeped in pain and goes to Las Vegas, a city of risk, not to gamble, but to collect. “Lightning Rider” first appeared in Murder in Vegas, edited by Michael Connelly. It also won Canada's top literary prize for crime fiction, the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story, presented by the Crime Writers of Canada. It is also featured in Deadly Bride and 21 of the Year's Finest Crime and Mystery Stories, Edited by Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg.

In the third story, “Three Bullets To Queensland,” we meet Ike Decker, a loss recovery agent, for the armored car industry. His dream is to leave the U.S. for Australia but the only thing in his way to realizing it is Paco Sanchez and $1.2 million in stolen cash.

The last piece is, “As Long As We Both Shall Live.” It features Liz Dalton, a hard-working middle-aged woman. When her world was coming apart she fought back with a shocking vengeance. This story is presented in the format of transcript, much like a court document. The story first appeared in Blood on the Holly, an anthology of Christmas mysteries edited by Caro Soles and published in 2007 by Baskerville Books. “As Long As We Both Shall Live,” was named a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story.

With this collection I wanted readers to step into the lives of everyday people as they battle extraordinary circumstances.

RM: What about your other books?

RM: I have a standalone, Six Seconds, a global thriller about how two ordinary women, heartbroken mothers from two different worlds, one from California, one from London, become entangled in a worldwide plot to change history. Recently, through a promotional deal that has since expired with Expedia and iTunes in the UK, the eVersion of Six Seconds held the #1 Amazon UK ranking for all free eBooks.

RM: Can you tell us a bit more of the story behind Six Seconds.

RM: Six Seconds took shape by refining a number of unrelated scenes, dramas and events I had observed during my time as a reporter; such as the heart-wrenching anguish of interviewing a mother whose child had vanished. Then there was the time I was on assignment in Nigeria, not long after the September 11 attacks. I was in Abuja where I saw a boy in a slum wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with Osama bin Laden’s picture and message calling him #1 Hero. On that African trip I also visited Ethiopia where I watched old women, who lived in some of the harshest conditions on earth, weaving fabric on a loom in the slums of Addis Ababa. Prior to that, I was in the Gulf where I talked to British aid workers, and at Kuwait’s border with Iraq; I also visited the tank graveyard in Kuwait city. I talked to peacekeepers from Canada concerned about the toll land mines were taking on children who plucked them from the dunes.

And I’ll never forget the big-city homicide detective back home who confided that he was haunted by the case he couldn't clear. I also remembered years back, when Pope John Paul II visited my city where I was attending university. I went out to see him and met an international student who joked about assassination as the papal entourage passed by our group near the campus.

It got me thinking. What if I took these elements and twisted them into fictional threads that were all connected? What if ordinary people from different parts of the world became ensnared by extraordinary events that could alter history as a clock ticked down on them? Suppose it all came down to six seconds?

RM: Tell us about your series, I understand in each one a reporter is the protagonist.

RM: My current series features Jack Gannon, a reporter in Buffalo, New York, who is haunted by his blue collar roots and the disappearance of his sister Cora. We meet Gannon in Vengeance Road (2009), where he sets out to nail a Buffalo cop for the brutal murder of a troubled nursing student. In the follow, The Panic Zone (2010), Gannon achieves his dream to work for a worldwide news wire agency based in New York City. Gannon is dispatched to Rio De Janeiro to investigate a café bombing that took the lives of two fellow reporters. The story takes him around the world. Then comes In Desperation (2011) where Gannon finds his long lost sister Cora, whose own 11-year old daughter has now gone missing. This Christmas Gannon returns in The Burning Edge, where Gannon takes up the story of a single-mom, who is a supermarket cashier from Queens. She becomes a key witness for the FBI after she survives a botched armored car heist that leaves 4 men dead in metro New York City.

So far, the Jack Gannon series has received one Thriller Award Nomination from the International Thriller Writers, two Shamus Award Nominations from the Private Eye Writers of America, and a Seal of Excellence Nomination from RT BookReviews.

RM: Your earlier books?

RM: My trilogy features Jason Wade, a rookie reporter with the Seattle Mirror, whose story is told first in The Dying Hour, then Every Fear, followed by A Perfect Grave. The Dying Hour was a finalist for a Thriller Award. For this series I did drew upon my time as a rookie reporter at The Toronto Star. At the Star, I learned the news business by reporting craft working in the suburban bureaus and the metro news desk at One Yonge Street. I covered a range of stories, including a murder trial, and a takedown by the SWAT team looking for an escaped killer. I also did time in the "torture chamber", the cell-like room housing banks of chattering police scanners where you kept your ears pricked for the first hint of a story that could stop the heart of the city. Or break it. After I left The Toronto Star, I embarked on a news career that would span three decades and several newsrooms. Over the course of that time, I would write about death in all of its terrible manifestations. Reporting on death never got easier. If anything, I grew more philosophical, searching for deeper meaning in its aftermath. In the courage of families, in the determination of detectives and in the lives of reporters who struggled to make sense of the chaos unleashed on them all. But it was in writing The Dying Hour, with rookie Jason Wade, pursuing the first big story of his news career, which I looked back on mine. Through Jason, it was easy to re-live the thrill of landing a scoop and the adrenalin-fuelled days of my summer at The Toronto Star.

RM: Tell us about your first series, featuring Tom Reed and Walt Sydowski based in San Francisco, California.

RM: They live in five books, If Angels Fall, Cold Fear, Blood of Others, No Way Back and Be Mine. Reed is a hard-hitting journalist, Sydowski is a grizzled SFPD Homicide Inspector. Reed is a compilation. I think he embodies the sins and virtues (yes there are virtues) of every hard-driving new reporter I’ve ever known. Every aspect about him is drawn from someone’s reality somewhere. Then I push him as far as I can. He works well with Walt Sydowski. He represents every case-hardened detective I’ve ever met, including one or two with the SFPD Homicide Detail and some Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigators. And he stands as a foil and father-figure to Reed. I’ve used some of my father’s actual biography in shaping Sydowski, in that my dad is Polish. He was a child when the Nazis invaded Poland. So I’ve given that background to Sydowski. Other elements I gleaned from other detectives, including one whose dad was a barber and another who breeds canaries. Blood of Others won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel presented by the Crime Writers of Canada.

RM: In closing them any advice for aspiring writers?

RM: Just an overall message or two: The only guarantee that you will fail, is if you give up. The only thing impeding you stares back at you in the mirror. Don't make excuses for not writing, create sentences. Don’t trouble other people looking for the magic beans, because you have them in your hand. Get to work. You have to earn the right to be on a book shelf -- real or digital -- next to all the other authors who have all paid their dues. Do your homework, read, study the industry, be realistic and ask yourself the following: Are you a writer? Or, do you want “to be” a writer? Real writers reading this will understand the difference immediately. Those who don’t get the meaning of that, never will. And, as Stephen King, said, "Do not come to this lightly."

Oh yes, don’t quit your day job.

- End-

And that, everyone, concludes what is a superb interview.  Many thanks Rick.  Fantastic work.

Monday 10 October 2011


Tell us who you are.

I’m Jochem Vandersteen. I blog at , am the founder of the Hardboiled Collective and writer of the Noah Milano and Mike Dalmas stories.

The Hardboiled Collective?

That’s a group of like-minded hardboiled crime writers, including Matt Hilton, PD Brazil, Bruce DeSilva and others, who support one another’s work.

Tell us about your series.

I’ve written a lot stories that appeared online featuring Noah Milano. He’s the son of a mobster and severed his ties to him as a promise to his dying mother. Now he tries to make an honest living as a security specialist but often ends up having to use deadly violence. There’s also a collection , a novel , and a new novelette out.

Then there’s Mike Dalmas… Husband, father, vigilante... Mike Dalmas left Special Forces to become a dedicated family man, but when his daughter gets molested he had his revenge, killing the pervert who committed the crime.

Now the Bay City cops keep him out of jail if he takes care of their dirty work. The things their badge won't allow them to do but for which Dalmas has the right skill set. His first adventure is out now, via Trestle Press and he’s been compared to classic men’s adventure stories. I guess he’s a mix between Dexter and Reacher

What are you reading now?

I’m reading several books at the same time. There’s the excellent Michael Haskins’ Free Range Institution and Michael Wiley’s A Bad Night’s Sleep as well as The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly.

Who inspired your writing?

Robert B. Parker, Andrew Vachss, Jonathan Kellerman, Harlan Coben, Dennis Lehane, James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Lee Child.

So you like PI fiction?

Yeah, I do. I also like comic books and other crime stuff from Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell, M.R. Hall, Mark Billingham and others. But yeah, mainly PI stuff.

Isn’t PI fiction dead?

At my blog you can find out it isn’t. Lawrence Block recently pointed out at my blog again that the story of a loner setting things right will never go out of style. Sometimes he might be called a cop, reporter or vigilante. But he’ll always be a PI in style.


What’s up next for you?

More Mike Dalmas stories. Maybe even a Dalmas novel. If the Noah Milano novelette sells well there will be more of those. And more blogging of course!

Saturday 8 October 2011


I’ve known chaos.

My mind won’t work in straight lines. I’ve done things that are highly irrational all my life. Lucked out many times to get through to my 47th year on the planet.

Many of my friends live in chaos, too. Skirt in and out of the shadows. Cross the borderline between sanity and insanity on a regular basis.

And then I read ‘The Chaos We Know’ and feel like my life’s been completely sheltered and protected from the very beginning.

I know no chaos like the characters Keith Rawson introduces in his collection.

What’s more, these guys have got so used to their upturned lives that they wouldn’t see them as crazy if you drew all over their foreheads in lipstick and forced them to look into mirrors.

These stories are dark. The places are shady. The drugs and booze and violence are merely the furniture for everyone to settle their backsides into, those arses fitting into the cushions like conjoined twins separated at birth.

People on Rawson’s pages barely keep afloat. Imagine drowning in a sewer, bobbing on the surface only because of your indigestion and where the only way to breathe is to swallow a mouthful of filth at the same time and you may just get a sense of where these guys are.

It may seem like I didn’t enjoy it. Maybe I shouldn’t have either, but I lapped it up. Huge helpings of good fiction to keep me thoroughly entertained and engrossed wherever I happened to be reading.

The pictures are well-painted, the characters so well-sculpted, I’d swear Keith Rawson must have lived one hell of a life and gone through it with a photographic memory.

A couple of stories stand out as my favourites.

The first is about a box. It’s a box where a crazy father locks his family when they commit minor offences. When he puts his wife in on one occasion and she fails to make a noise for a good 4 hours, he starts to get worried. And, boy, does he need to be.

The other, ‘Memory Lane’ tells the tale of a crook turned cop turned crook who’s put in a rather unusual Catch 22.

Here are a couple of descriptions that might give you a sense of the mood:

‘The two major differences between them [mother and wife] being that my mother could never shoot a convenience store clerk in the face for not emptying the register fast enough, nor could she hit a deflated, blackened vein with a hypo loaded with a sweet mixture of coke and smack at twenty paces.’

And this pondering over maternal desire:

‘I asked her if she could really see herself having a little bundle of diaper rash and shit sucking on her tit all day?’

It’s brutal, raw and sometimes difficult.

It’s also powerful, engaging and skilfully done.

You’ll see this book when you get up your Amazon page. You’ll avert your eyes and try and keep away. You know it’s not good for you to visit places like this. You also know you’re going to click in the end. Isn’t it better to click ‘buy’ now rather that waste all that energy fighting the inevitable? Well isn’t it?

5 stars

Friday 7 October 2011

Dancing with myself: ANDREW NETTE interviews ANDREW NETTE

Andrew: Welcome to Sea Minor.

Andrew: Thanks, nice to be here. And thanks to Nigel Bird for hosting us.

Andrew: Not going to start off with a witty joke about the weirdness of this interviewing your self-gig?

Andrew: No.

Andrew: Okay, let’s cut to the chase, you’re another bloody would be crime writer, yeah?

Andrew: Trying to be, Andrew, trying to be.

Andrew: What led to this?

Andrew: I worked as a journalist for several years in Asia in the mid-nineties, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, and since then in various research positions in the community sector and trade union movement. All these jobs involved writing but I always wanted to write crime fiction. So, in late 2007, I quite my job and moved to Phnom Penh for a year with my partner and then two-year old daughter. I free-lanced as a journalist and television fixer and wrote the first draft of a crime novel set in Cambodia.

Andrew: So, don’t keep us in suspense, give us the pitch.

Andrew: 1996, the long-running Khmer Rouge insurgency is fragmenting, competing factions of an unstable coalition government scrambling to gain the upper hand. Missing in the chaos is businessman Charles Avery. Hired to find him is Vietnamese Australian ex-cop Max Quinlan. But Avery has made dangerous enemies and Quinlan is not the only one looking. Teaming up with Heng Sarin, a local journalist, Quinlan’s search takes him from the freewheeling capital Phnom Penh to the battle scarred western borderlands. As the political temperature soars, he is slowly drawn into a mystery that plunges him into the heart of Cambodia’s bloody past.

Andrew: Sounds interesting? Why Cambodia?

Andrew: I’ve been fascinated with Cambodia ever since I first visited in 1992: the history, the people, the contrast between the wild-west atmosphere of Phnom Penh and the rough but incredibly beautiful countryside. Things happen there that you couldn’t make up if you tried. I always thought Cambodia would be an excellent setting for a crime novel. But I also wanted to capture the broken country that was Cambodia in the nineties, to write about those people trapped in the cracks between two periods of history, the choices they made and what they did to survive.

Andrew: Has the manuscript been picked up yet?

Andrew: No. It’s been shortlisted for a couple of awards, including the 2010 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in the category of ‘Unpublished Manuscript by an Emerging Victorian Writer’, and is currently doing the rounds of the local publishers.

The feedback’s been good but no bites yet. Hopefully, it’ll get picked up eventually.

Andrew: Okay, let’s back up a bit. Why crime fiction?

Andrew: I’ve always read a lot of crime fiction, particularly darker, more hard-boiled fiction. I was never interested writing in any other genre, simple as that.

Andrew: What instilled this love of crime fiction in you?

Andrew: My late father. Along with a lot of men in the fifties and sixties, Dad loved his crime novels. He had a thing for Carter Brown, Mickey Spillane, John MacDonald and Ian Fleming. As the seventies progressed, Dad got into popular thrillers by Alistair Maclean and Wilbur Smith. Even as a child, I remember being fascinated by Dad’s collection of crime paperbacks. Their lurid cover art, the seamy cadence of titles like Nobody Loves a Loser and Bid the Babe Bye-Bye. I suppose his reading habits just rubbed off on me.

Andrew: Give us a taste of the Australian crime-writing scene.

Andrew: There’s certainly some great Australian crime fiction. For example, Peter Corris, who singlehandedly reinvigorated the Australian PI novel after the local pulp paperback industry died in the early seventies. I love Garry Disher, whose Wyatt books are a local version of Stark’s Parker books, as well as Leigh Redhead and Malla Nunn. A great book that came out last year is Line of Sight by West Australian David Whish Wilson. If you want to read a solid piece of dark, hard-boiled Aussie crime fiction, check it out.

That said, I think our publishing industry generally is pretty narrowly focused, including crime fiction. The filter manuscripts have to pass through is fairly small. As a result, we get a lot of cosies, police procedurals, forensic analyst characters and real crime. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of space for darker, more innovative stories.

Andrew: Who is to say it’s not just sour grapes on your part because you haven’t managed to get your manuscript published yet?

Andrew: That’s a fair call. As I said above, there are some great local crime writers. My hometown of Melbourne also has boasts a very active literary scene, a lot of great bookshops and literary festivals, of which the annual Emerging Writers Festival is one of my favourites.

But the reality is due to size and other factors, Australia has a very small cultural industry and as a consequence, a small memory making machine, so to speak. For example, we are only just now starting to see the emergence of smaller niche publishers focusing on crime or with crime as one of a several genres they specialize in. We are way behind the US and, I suspect, the UK, in that regard. I can’t help but think one of the reasons this has not yet happened here is the absence of the vibrant network of crime fiction web zines and blogs. I really believe the two go together.

Andrew: I believe you are involved in one of these on line ventures?

Andrew: I’m one of the editors at Crime Factory. I enjoy it immensely. It’s also been great to become friends with the other Australian editors, Cameron Ashley and Liam Jose. They are great guys and have really opened my eyes to the international hard-boiled and noir crime-writing scene.

In the US, Crime Factory and other on-line crime magazines are seen as prestigious forums for emerging and established crime writers to place short fiction, and they’re are often read by literary agents and publishing houses. The contrast with Australia, where we are relatively unknown, fascinates me. Just trying to get local writers to submit short crime fiction for the magazine has been a tough sell. Hopefully, that’s something we are going to change in the coming months.

Andrew: Do you blog?

Andrew: Mate, does a bear shit in the woods?

My blog, Pulp Curry explores crime fiction and film from Asia and Australia.  You can check it out at I started it to publicise my writing, but it weems to have taken on a life of its own.  I love working on it, but if I'm not careful it takes up a lot of time I should otherwise be spending on long-term, more substantial projects.
Andrew: What else have are you been up to?

Andrew: I’ve been getting into short fiction. I really enjoy the challenge of the short story format. It’s also stops me obsessing about my manuscript.

I have a piece in Crime Factory: The FirstShift by indie US crime publisher New Pulp Press. I also have a story appearing in an upcoming anthology, TheOne That Got Away, by a new local publisher house called Dark Prints Press, which specialises in crime and horror. Fingers crossed, I’ll have a few other stories around the place in the coming months. By the way, if anyone’s got an anthology on the boil and wants to include an original, gritty Australian voice, I’m your man. Drop me a line via my blog.

Andrew: What about another book?

Andrew: Yeah, I’ve got a few ideas on the go. I have a couple of sequels to Quinlan book up my sleeve, including another story in Cambodia and one in Vietnam. I’ve also been plotting a novel based on the character that is in the Crime Factory and Dark Prints Press anthologies, an ex-Australian serviceman turned criminal called Gary Chance. Now, if I could just find a way not to have to work full time I’d have the time to do all this.

Andrew: Dream on, sunshine, dream on.

Andrew: That’s precisely what I plan to do.
Sea Minor loves those last lines.  Dream on all of us, dream on.

Many thanks, Andrew.

Other news. 

I'm very excited about news just in that I'll have my novella 'SMOKE' published soon by the ever-growing and rather amazing Trestle Press

Excited, too, about the new cover, which looks like this:

I really like it and hope that you do to (at the risk of sounding like the Rolling Stones).

I'm also pretty amazed still to have my Untreed Reads story Into Thin Air up there at number 3 in the Waterstones ebook > short stories chart.  Who knew?

Thanks for being here and have a great weekend everyone.