Saturday, 31 December 2011
Top Ten Short Reads
Busy times here, so brevity is the key.
I'm keeping it short for 2 reasons. One, it's my birthday and two, I've just managed to delete an almost fully fledged post without it being saved or auto saved. How it happened - check out old saying 'less haste more speed'.
But I'm not bitter. Well, just a little.
My birthday will be spend with my parents and later my wife and kids. It will also be spend in a car driving the 5 hours between the 2. I'll be happy enough, though. Kids in the back seat for company and Dirty Old Town continuing to roll along.
There's also the Pablo D'Stair competition. I did lots on that one and praised Pablo for his courage and his ability. I still think he's toast. Pop over to the site and find out how to take part in this immaculate conception.
And here's my top ten list of short story collections by individual authors from the year. I've read a huge number and I've also still got a pile of to-be-reads.
Please excuse the lack of extra detail. Keeping it short and sweet is the order of the day.
Dave White More Sinned Against
Patti Abbott Monkey Justice
Edward A Grainger The Adventures Of Cash Laramie And Gideon Miles (the follow up collection is free today here).
Heath Lowrance Dig Ten Graves
Paul D Brazill Thirteen Shots Of Noir
McDroll Kick It
Anonymous-9 Hard Bite
Darren Sant Longcroft Estate series
Russel D McLean The Death Of Ronnie Sweets
Julie Morrigan Gone Bad
R Thomas Brown's Mayhem!
I've dashed those off using the top of my head. If, through the day I get one of those 'doh' moments, I'll be sure to edit the page (though not remove any of the above as I feel pretty safe with such a strong list) and I've even pressed save (less haste, see).
And like I said, Happy New Year.
Friday, 30 December 2011
One Man's Opinion: The Killing Of Emma Gross by Damien Seaman
The Killing Of Emma Gross is based upon a true story, set in a period when ‘the Ripper’ (or ‘Vampire Of Dusseldorf’) was terrorising families in Germany in the late 1920s.
It's out of the Blasted Heath stable and it's another of the thoroughbreds they seem to enjoy working with.
The murder we’re concerned with is of one Emma Gross, a prostitute found killed in the room of a seedy hotel where customers pay by the hour. It’s one that comes as part of a rather unfortunate package.
Seaman takes the idea of this unsolved case and weaves a wonderful story for the reader to delight in.
The book opens with Detective Michael Ritter with the body of Emma Gross and we get a fly on the wall view of what happens.
From that point on we’re inside the head of one Detective Thomas Klein. In fact, we’re not just inside his head but inside his whole body as it reacts to each situation and new emotion in different ways. It’s quite a skill Seaman has with internal settings, giving us not only Klein’s insides, but small rooms and oppressive atmospheres that lend to the whole piece a claustrophobic feel which entirely makes sense for the period and situation.
Unfortunately for Klein, he has something of a history with his senior colleague Ritter and this leads to trouble when their paths cross over the case.
Klein has been tipped off about the ‘the Ripper’ Peter Kurten and sets off to arrest him in a church.
Instead of making Klein the hero, Ritter turns the world upside down and Klein is given a roasting in an interrogation room.
The bringing in of a Berlin hotshot soon sees Klein back on the case and he’s soon sent off to work on a maverick operation that leaves him vulnerable from every angle.
Klein is a superb character. An old storm trooper who’s allowed himself to go to seed, he moves through the underbelly of the city with all senses bar smell switched on.
We get a glimpse of what it might have been like in a post-war world where the communists have been crushed, there’s an economic depression and Freud has a spreading influence that percolates through German Expressionism. I got flashes of the movie ‘M’ every so often (Fritz Lang’s very early talkie from the period and dealing with a serial child-killer) – that’s a film I admire greatly so if the effect was intentional, I take my hat off.
Seaman throws in some German language every once in a while, usually in terms of humour (the word ‘arsch’ is slipped in wonderfully from time-to-time).
I’d say he also did a lot of research, but it’s leaked to us subtly rather than rammed.
It’s a must for the fan of the police procedural and is even more of an essential read for those fans looking for something with a strong and unique flavour.
Monday, 26 December 2011
Dancing With Myself: ANDREZ BERGEN interviews ANDREZ BERGEN
Happy days, everyone.
Thanks for all your Christmas wishes.
I'd like to wish you all happy times in whatever form works for you.
I'd like to thank the folk out there buying and reading my books, too. I may not know who you are but, believe me, every time I clock up a sale you get a smile (like the bell and the angel getting its wings).
In case you still haven't seen, if you buy a copy of Smoke and send me the info, I'll give you (courtesy of Darren Santa) a copy of Flashes Of Revenge and you'll be able to have your pick from the Trestle catalogue, too. Three for the price of one.
And here's a really great interview from a man who likes to title a book.
Welcome Andrez Bergen, author of Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat.
To tell the truth I haven’t the faintest idea. I’ve been here a decade, but I’m still a gaijin. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love Tokyo and Japan and the people here, but I didn’t come here to discover “scenes”. I did all that kind of stuff back in Melbourne, in Australia, and I was a bit over it when I moved over here. Being anonymous and outside scenes – with respect to music as much as writing – has its advantages. But I guess there must be decent crime/noir scene. Seishi Yokomizo did some pretty gothic horror detective fiction in the 1940s and ‘50s, and more recently Shuichi Yoshida has been on fire.
Also Ellery Queen seemed to think there was a healthy Japanese scene when he put together the Japanese Golden Dozen: The Detective Story World in Japan in the 1970s. (http://www.amazon.com/Ellery-Queens-Japanese-Golden-Dozen/dp/0804812543)
Great interview, Andrez. It's been great to have you both.
All that talk of films gets me thinking of The Man In The Seventh Row from Blasted Heath. Maybe there's room for some collaboration one day.
Sunday, 25 December 2011
The Top Ten Ways To Start Off Your Kindle Collection
Hilary Davidson's debut novel is first rate. The plot is as gently layered as a fine choux pastry.
And because The Damage Done isn't available as an ebook yet, I can pick on extra, which is to be:
The Good Son by Russel D McLean
McLean's touch is interesting. Mostly I found it easy and flowing, one of those page-turners that brings a constant source of pleasure. He almost fooled me with that, for he also has a range of weapons at his disposal. He has blunt which he uses now and then to stun, throwing in a cold, hard phrase to unsettle. There are the sharp objects in there - descriptions and force that cut as the phrase turns. There are guns and fists lurking too. And there's a little wry-smile that jumps out when you're least expecting it as if Harry Lime's lurking in the shadows and having a bloody good time.
All in all, you get youself a copy of each of those and you'll be in reader heaven.
May I thank everyone who has helped me along in any way this year (and there have been so many). Kind words, comments, purchases, reviews, moral support, a gentle slap, visits here and enthusiasm for life. However you've been in contact, may I wish you and yours a very happy Christmas
Saturday, 24 December 2011
Dancing With Myself: MICHAEL ABAYOMI interviews SIR MICHAEL ABAYOMI
If you're looking for last-minute Christmas books for an e-reader, here are three places you'll find great gifts:
Blasted Heath has a growing collection of amazing fiction for you to try. Absolutely. I'm currently reading 'The Killing Of Emma Gross' (on sale at 99p!) and it's a wonderful police-procedural with a rather unique flavour.
Snubnose Press are stars for the top of the Christmas tree. Each of the books I've read from them has been of the highest order. Yesterday I posted reviews for Eric Beetner and Patti Abbott's work. At the end of them you can see what they have brewing for 2012 and it's going to be intoxicating.
Untreed Reads are having a half-price sale all day today, finishing at midnight PST. I'd recommend 13 Shots of Noir and Grimm Tales, Discount Noir and will give a little plug for my festive, existential romance 'Into Thin Air'.
Santa job over.
I really was Santa the other day, by the way. I had an emergency call from our Wraparound team and he hadn't turned up. They needed an imposter to step in and do the bell-ringing, Yo Ho Ho thing. I was off like a flash and loved it.
And here is the main business of the day, the interview with Sir Michael Abayomi. Take it away, Sir.
Good day, ladies and gentlemen. It is with unquantifiable pleasure that I introduce to you our guest for today: the sensational, multi-talented, self-proclaimed international bestselling author, Sir Michael Abayomi.
Feels good to be here.
Now, for the benefit of those who have been living in a cave for the past year or so, I think we should start this interview with a formal introduction.
Yes. Of course. Well. My name, as you all should know by now, is Michael Abayomi. I was born in the beautiful city of Lagos, Nigeria, and I am the bestselling author of the Neuro series of books: The Mediator, The Host and The Second Rebellion.
Wait just one minute. Before launching into your sales pitch. You keep describing yourself as a bestselling author, when there are many out there who have never come across your work.
What do you mean? Are you questioning my credentials. Why, I am featured in the very first issue of International Bestseller magazine. Sadly, that issue doesn't get distributed until the 21st of December, 2012. But you just wait and see.
Shouldn't the whole world be ending right around then... according to doomsday advocates?
Yes. Well. In the quite likely event that it doesn't, I'll be proven right, now, wouldn't I?
A bit convenient if you ask me. But anyway, on with the interview. So tell us: when did you start writing? What inspired you to start weaving tales from the fabric of your imagination?
Real fancy words you've got there. Let me see. I've been writing since when I was a wee lad. Oh, wait. That ain't quite true. I've been coming up with stories since I was a kid; didn't start putting them down into words until I was round twelve. Didn't get any good at it until I was eighteen. By then, I'd fallen in love with the art, no thanks to a certain series of books called Harry Potter.
And since then, you've written quite a number of books I'm sure...
Well. Not quite. For I'd been busy with school, and then work. But I plan on making up for this in 2012. I plan on writing not four, not five, not six, but SEVEN books, all part of a series you see.
Wow. That sounds... rather ambitious. But for those of us willing to sample your work right now, what can you tell us about the books you currently have available - you know, the ones you claim catapulted you to the top of the bestseller lists?
*eyes widen with delight* Ah. Yes. Those ones. Where to begin? The series is called Neuro, and there are three books in all. The first is called The Mediator, and it is about a lawyer trying not to get screwed over by a corrupt justice system. The second is called The Host, and it is about a wealthy geezer brought back to life by the implantation of his memories into another man's body. The final one is called The Second Rebellion, and it is about this kid who gets chosen to test out a new device, called the Virtual Reality Visor, which places users in a virtual reality world called Gomorrah; it's sorta like a cross between The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings, only cooler of course. Wicked.
I'll have to admit, your books have quite an impressive premise, which brings me to my next question. You seem to juggle between quite a few genres. What audience did you have in mind when writing these books?
Hmmm. Well, my books are what I'd like to term an easy read. They can all be read comfortably in one sitting. You can even sip some tea while you're at it. Or coffee if you prefer. So if you enjoy reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Dan Brown, Stephenie Meyer, William Shakespeare, Robert Ludlum, J.K. Rowling, Danielle Steele or the Holy Bible, then my books are definitely for you.
And if you like drinking water of course...
Yes. That too. Like I said, Easy Read®.
I'm afraid that's all the time we have for the interview. But before you go, is there anything else you'd like to add?
I'm on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and Amazon, and you can also check out my blog, where I talk about writing and being an international bestselling author.
Nicely put. Thanks for dropping by.
Thanks for having me.
Friday, 23 December 2011
On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas
The Twelve Nights Of Christmas. That should be enough to keep you going through the holidays.
This collection contains twelve stories "inspired" by the classic Christmas song. Be warned, though, this cup of cheer is poisoned. Katherine Tomlinson has put a twisted spin on the holiday sentiment and created stories that belong more to the dark than the light.
One Man's Opinion: DIG TWO GRAVES by ERIC BEETNER
Thursday, 22 December 2011
GRIMM TALES is a collection of stories by some of the top names in online crime fiction, all based on classic fairy tales. As novelist Ken Bruen writes in his introduction, "Ever imagined what would have come down the dark pike if The Brothers Grimm were more Brothers Coen and wrote mystery?" The collection is edited by John Kenyon, editor of Grift magazine, and contains 17 stories by Patricia Abbott, Absolutely*Kate, Jack Bates, Eric Beetner, Nigel Bird, Loren Eaton, Kaye George, Blu Gilliand, Seana Graham, Eirik Gumeny, R.L. Kelstrom, John Kenyon, BV Lawson, Evan Lewis, B. Nagel, Sean Patrick Reardon and Sandra Seamans.
I read these tales when the competition was running and, I have to say, there's a lot of talent in this collection.
Ken Bruen says, 'The stories all display not only marvellous invention, turning the whole concept of fairytales on its mysterious head, but breathing new life into a genre that has become, if not familiar, certainly stale.'
I'm with Mr Bruen with this collection, but not in relation to the familiarity of the traditional tales; to me the best fairytale still have an immense freshness at every reading and I'm glad that as a teacher and a father I get to visit them often.
As Christmas comes near, Darren Sant have put together an offer you can't refuse. Well, you can, but you should at least think about it.
Smoke, three times chosen in Best 5 reads of the year, has been dropped to 86p / 99c. Trestle Press are offering a free book for every purchase of Smoke if you contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with proof of purchase. Darren and I would like to go further. If you buy a copy between now and New Year, you'll not only get the other Trestle book, but a copy of Flashes Of Revenge (and vice versa), a very entertaining read indeed.
I'd take me up on that. The rest is up to you.
And three more sleeps.
Favourite fairytales, by the way...love Snow White for the sipping from the wine goblets; Rapunzel for it's shocking brutality and romance; The Tinder Box for those dogs under the tree roots; Shockheaded Peter and the moral tales; Rumplestitlskin for it's all over the place twists and turns... we've all got them. Here's a list from the Guardian to remind you how good they can be.
While you're buying Grimm Tales, by the way, why not get yourself a free download of the original sinners.
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Dancing With Myself: MIKE MINER interviews MIKE MINER
There's a brilliant interview here today, so please hang in here.
Before you get there, some news of the Flash Challenge against Pablo D'Stair.
I'm trying to round up stories for the Challenge against Pablo. They need to have fewer than 1000 words and to be with me by 27th December. Please also include a bio and a photo so that you can bathe in the light of the contest site OUT OF BULLETS, THROW THE GUN .
The collective piece will go up against Pablo's on 1st January. Readers will have a chance to go through both and pick their favroutes by 31st January. And remember the three cash prizes for best 3 in show should the collective come out on top, $100 for the top story. That's pretty big bucks for under 1000 words.
Do Some Damage have been pumping out some great posts recently and at Guilty Conscience you'll find some great reading recommendations from some talented writers.
And Trestle Press have a two-for-one deal just now that's going on over Christmas. There's some great stuff up there to choose from, so check that out.
Anway, that's the appetizer over.
Here's my star of the show, Mike Miner. Big welcome.
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Brit Grit Too
I also mentioned that Brit Grit Too would be a good companion as a choice. I'd forgotten, at that point, that BGT is for charity. That means it would be a good idea to choose any other Trestle Book as your Smoke two-for-one and, let's face it, there's a barrel of talent to choose from.
Edited by Paul D Brazill, one of Britain's outstanding up-and-coming talents and enormously generous spirits, Brit Grit Too collects 32 of Britain's best up and coming crime fiction writers to aid the charity Children 1st children1st.org.uk/
The BRIT GRIT mob is coming to kick down your door with hobnailed boots. Kitchen-sink noir; petty-thief-louts; lives of quiet desperation; sharp, blood-stained slices of life; booze-sodden brawls from the bottom of the barrel and comedy that's as black as it's bitter--this is BRIT GRIT
Table Of Contents.
1. Two Fingers Of Noir by Alan Griffiths
2. Looking For Jamie by Iain Rowan
3. Stones In Me Pocket by Nigel Bird
4. The Catch And The Fall by Luke Block
5. A Long Time Coming by Paul Grzegorzek
6. Loose Ends by Gary Dobb
7. Graduation Day by Malcolm Holt
8. Cry Baby by Victoria Watson
9. The Savage World Of Men by Richard Godwin
10. Hard Boiled Poem (a mystery) by Alan Savage
11. A Dirty Job by Sue Harding
12. Squaring The Circle by Nick Quantrill
13. The Best Days Of My Life by Steven Porter
14. Hanging Stan by Jason Michel
15. The Wrong Place To Die by Nick Triplow
16. Coffin Boy by Nick Mott
17. Meat Is Murder by Colin Graham
18. Adult Education by Graham Smith
19. A Public Service by Col Bury
20. Hero by Pete Sortwell
21. Snapshots by Paul D Brazill
22. Smoked by Luca Veste
23. Geraldine by Andy Rivers
24. A Minimum Of Reason by Nick Boldock
25. Dope On A Rope by Darren Sant
26. A Speck Of Dust by David Barber
27. Hard Times by Ian Ayris
28. Never Ending by Fiona Johnson
29. Faces by Frank Duffy
30. The Plebitarian by Danny Hogan
31. King Edward by Gerard Brennan
32. Brit Grit by Charlie Wade
It looks tasty as anything and I reckon it's a must have, don't you?
And it's for such a good cause, it would make a timely Christmas treat in many different ways.