Friday, December 30, 2011

Lucky 13 . . . The Best Of 2011

Here's my list of the best books I read this year. It was difficult to narrow it down, I could easily have twice the number up here. I tried to have ten only but I couldn't do it. So, I managed to chop the list down to a baker's dozen. Lucky 13.

I'm listing them in no particular order because choosing where they should stand in comparison with each other is impossible. Although, if I had to say which one was my absolute favourite, if I was about to be kidnapped by aliens (for example) to read them bedtime stories and they said I could only take one of these books, it would probably be Stuart Neville's The Ghosts Of Belfast. That one blew me away.

And now for the Lucky 13...


In Nine Kinds Of Pain by Leonard Fritz


The Lonely Mile by Allan Leverone


Between These Pages, These Places by Frank Duffy


Frankenstein by Dean Koontz


Street Raised by Pearce Hansen (new 2011 kindle edition)


The Ghosts Of Belfast by Stuart Neville


Devils In Exile by Chuck Hogan


Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist


The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich


Mountains of Smoke by Frank Duffy


The Bastard Hand by Heath Lowrance


Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth


Beautiful, Naked & Dead by Josh Stallings



Monday, December 26, 2011

Between These Pages, These Places by Frank Duffy


Whenever I start reading a Frank Duffy story, I can barely pull myself away. I let the dinner burn, the dogs whine to be let out, my own writing wait—so powerful is the lure of the arrangement of Duffy’s words on the page. You get sucked down into this beautifully dark, intimate, almost salacious vortex that seems other worldly, and yet strangely familiar. And it’s completely hypnotic.

So while my husband mops up the dog pee, I serve the burnt (it’s Cajun blackened!) chicken, and try to put into words for my family how amazing this guy’s writing is that I’m reading. They listen and nod, chewing their over cooked chicken. We enjoy lingering at the dinner table engaged in conversation, but I’m anticipating it being over so I can get back to reading Frank Duffy. As long as Frank is writing, I will be reading every word, every short story, novella, and full length work. I wish all the stories by other authors I read could be this damn good.

Get a copy of Between These Pages, These Places on Amazon kindle. If you like Koontz and King, I know you'll love Duffy. And when you've finished reading it, read Duffy's novella Mountains Of Smoke. It's simply brilliant.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Review of Richard Godwin's Getting High On Daisy



In the fifth installment of Paul D. Brazill’s fantastic Drunk On The Moon series, Richard Godwin, has created a dark and delicious tale about Roman Dalton, the werewolf PI in only a way that Godwin can—brimming with sex and violence. Getting High On Daisy is classic Godwin at his finest. The character of Daisy is introduced in this story, a beautiful woman with a whip who dabbles in BDSM. Roman seems to have a primal sexual addiction to her as well as a psychic connection.

Daisy also suffers the same affliction as Roman and together they make a tantalizing team. Except that she’s missing. And Roman, after waking from the usual moon-lit hangover, not knowing where he’s been or what’s happened, can’t remember where she is or even who she is. All he knows is that he’s got to find her, and save her as it turns out, from a horrible fate. Getting High On Daisy is an aphrodisiacal fusion of erotica and noir, lewd and brilliantly written. It will leave you hungry more.

But wait, there is more Godwin to be had, check out his new crime novel, Apostle Rising.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ink, Skin & Paper

Meet Teresa. She's enjoying an ebook while getting tattooed. Teresa's reading the stories in The Lost Children: A Charity Anthology. It's an excellent collection of noir from some of the finest crime writers in the industry, the brainchild of Fiona Johnson, Thomas Puck, and Ron Earl Phillips. The anthology contains thirty stories that benefit two children's charities. So you can enjoy reading some cool stories knowing you're helping a great cause.

Teresa particularly enjoyed The Return of the Grievous Angel by Paul D. Brazill.

"It's really interesting," says Teresa. "There's a good amount of detail, yet he leaves a lot to the imagination, which I like."

Teresa works as a prison guard and she can kick your ass. So if she recommends a book, well...I'd buy it (just saying). The ink she's having done is the start of a full colour oriental sleeve. Today, Fabien, artist extraordinaire at Malefic Tattoos, did the outline for the samurai.



We'll check back with Teresa another day and see how the sleeve is progressing and if she's got any more recommendations for books to read while getting inked.

In the meantime, do yourself a favour and buy this book. Available on Amazon

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Miles To Little Ridge by Heath Lowrance


There’s something about a cowboy that makes a girl’s heart pound a little faster. I must admit I’ve always loved those ten-gallon hat and leather wearing, big gun toting, whiskey drinking outlaws of the wild, wild west. I’ve enjoyed all the Clint Eastwood westerns (he’s the coolest of the cool). But I can’t say that I’ve ever read a western before, so it was a thrill to dive into the new edition of Edward A. Grainger’s western short story series Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles. This new installment called Miles To Little Ridge is written by Heath Lowrance, author of The Bastard Hand.

Being a fan of Lowrance’s writing, I knew it was going to be good. And as expected, I was not disappointed. Lowrance has skillfully crafted a stylish and compelling tale that tantalizes like a shot of whiskey to a desert-parched throat. The voice is authentic and the setting so real you can almost smell the horses and taste the grit of the kicked-up dust in the air. This was a great read with the right amount of knuckle-bearing violence you would expect from a good cowboy story. The only complaint I have is that it ended.

But that’s okay because there’s more where that came from...

Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles





















That Damned Coyote Hill

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Making Of Love Letters From The Insane


Fiction writers are like vampires in a way. We suck the stories, experiences, histories, etc. from our friends, relatives, and even strangers, and feed it like raw meat to the beast with an insatiable appetite for words dwelling inside of us. A little while ago one such exploit of a friend of mine triggered a story. My writing beast flayed, dismembered and feasted upon it like a stranded plane crash victim in the Alps gone mad and cannibalizing his mates. The result is a creepy short story called Love Letters From The Insane that appears in volume one of the new noir anthology, Dark Pages, by Trestle Press. It's one of twelve short stories by some amazing international authors of noir.

The main character in Love Letters From The Insane is based on my good friend Dan Lauzon, whom my husband and I have known for many years. Last summer he was visiting from Montreal, as he often does, and a group of us went out for dinner and some drinking. Danny started talking about something that happened to him years ago when he got a job changing the locks inside of the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital. There were 3000 locks inside of this place (if you can image a place big enough to have that many locks) and due to the master key going missing, they all needed replaced. The job would take three weeks to complete and, being that he was from out of town, Danny had to stay in a motel. The idea of the master key in a psych hospital going missing was something I found fascinating. Then, having to change three thousand locks because of it, was even more so. But what put this story over the top for me, was the fact that one of the patients, a woman, at the hospital escaped and came looking for Danny. What happened when she found him is quite unbelievable, but entirely true.

Now because this is ficiton, I added a decidedly creepy twist. That type of story deserves a creepy little twist. So what ends up ultimatley happening to the main character in this story (the guy Danny is based on) is from my twisted imagination. But other facts remain the same, including the history of one particular patient, a pedophile aptly named Peter Woodcock.



Dark Pages is available on Amazon. It contains twelve deliciously wretched crime stories by twelve fantastic authors from around the world. And it will satisfy your beast of an appetite for noir.

Check out my friend Danny's Facebook page for his original metal band Entropy. You can hear his stuff on Youtube. Unlike the character in my story, he's still able to play the guitar.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

An Indecent Death - Excerpt Of David Anderson's Debut Thriller


An Indecent Death is available now at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, the Apple iStore and everywhere e-books are sold. A Striking Death, also featuring Detective Sergeant Nicholas Drumm, will be available soon.

Excerpt: Chapter 3, from An Indecent Death...

Detective Sergeant Nicholas Drumm of the York Police Services, Violent Crimes Unit, was enjoying a well-earned day off. Life had been hectic just lately and the spring sunshine felt good on his face. It could be a little warmer, he thought. He wouldn’t mind that at all. There was plenty of time for cold days in winter. Once spring arrived, he was eager for warmth and resented even one more day where he was forced to shiver.

Drumm was working in his back garden, doing the tidying and weeding required after the long winter. The garden was a mess. He remembered that in November, he had lost interest, as he usually did in the fall, and let it go. He was looking at the resultant clutter with some dismay, wondering how he would be able to get it back to the way he wanted it. Dead stalks were everywhere, there were dozens of pesky dandelions that were already threatening to take over the whole garden, the invading clumps of grass, not to mention the accumulation of doggy droppings from Will.

“Will! Don’t I shovel enough shit at work? Sheesh!” Determinedly he picked up the spade and commenced to edge the border.
“Won’t get done by looking at it, right, Will?” Drumm often chatted to his dog, a habit that he expected many men his age had developed. Especially when they lived alone, as he did. Will was a five year old Shetland Sheepdog, sable in color. As Shelties go, he was pretty special, Drumm thought, not for the first time. Will accepted whatever life threw his way, wouldn’t bark at cars or strangers, loved traveling and was always there to listen. Not the greatest guard dog, he had to admit, but he more than made up for it with his other qualities.

“We’ll have to go for a long walk soon. Right, buddy?” Shelties needed a lot of exercise and Drumm often felt guilty because he didn’t have enough time to get Will out like he should. The dog was content, though, to lie around in the sun, awaiting Drumm’s time and attention when he could afford to give it. A walk would be just what I need today, thought Drumm; might make me feel better.

Yesterday had been a tough day. There was the usual stress at work, the office politics and the petty disagreements. He was worried about his health again and hated the fact that he was worried. In fact it pissed him off that he couldn’t stop obsessing about his damn blood sugar. Drumm had always prided himself on being in charge. He knew himself to be a control freak, and when he couldn’t control his mind, it bothered him. And then there had been the phone call.

His phone had rung last night, not so long after he had gotten home and was looking forward to a relaxing evening watching baseball.

“Nicky?” And that one word, spoken by a female voice, meant that his evening was ruined. Only a few people called him Nicky, and only one female that he could think of. No, most people called him Nick, or Nicholas, or maybe Mr. Drumm. “Nicky” meant that it was Emily, and Emily meant trouble.

“Hello, Emily.” His voice was flat, and wary.

“I’ve been thinking.”

That was not good, not good at all. Emily was his ex-girlfriend, former live-in companion, ex-roommate, common-law wife, or whatever it was called these days. They had never been too sure how to characterize their relationship. Except, for the last six months of it, life for him had been hell on wheels. That was a label he was pretty damn sure was accurate. Drumm loved her dearly, loved her outlook on life, loved touching her, loved most things about her, in fact. But she was emotionally unstable, and he had found that difficult to take. Towards the end of their time together, things had degenerated to the point of shouting matches and weeping. Emily wanted him to give up his career with the Police Services and while he was willing to do a great deal for Emily, that was something he just couldn’t agree to. He felt it was unfair of her to ask that of him and he would get angry. They would fight, and then they would make up, and the making up was heaven. But then the cycle would begin again, until sometimes he felt like was on a merry-go-round, and the constant flare-ups drove him to distraction. He had eventually had enough, they had had one last explosive argument, and she had moved out. Clothes, TV, everything she possessed and kept in his home – it had all left with her.

That had been three months ago. For the first two weeks, he had thought he would die of misery. He had wanted to call her every day, nearly every hour sometimes. Work had gotten him through it, and the past month had seen the ache of her departure die down to the point where it was manageable. And now here she was calling him again, just when he was beginning to get a handle on his feelings.

“OK, Emily, I’ll bite. What have you been thinking?” Despite himself he had to ask.

“I think we should give it another try. Now wait, I know what you’re going to say. Just hear me out. Please?”

Drumm could picture her saying that. She was probably sitting on her couch, feet tucked up underneath her. She would be curling her hair around her finger as she talked, not even aware she was doing it. Those blue eyes of hers would be focused on some distant point and there would be a look of concentration on her face.

Drumm stopped himself daydreaming and said, “Alright, Emily, I’m listening.” God help him. He could hear Emily take a deep breath. When she began speaking, it sounded like there was a catch in her voice. Was she crying?

“I’ve been miserable, Nicky, and I can’t stand it. I miss you so much. I thought it would get better with time, and it has, a bit, but life sucks right now. I want us to try again.”

“Emily,-”

“I’m different now, Nicky, really I am. I’ve thought about us, a lot, and what we had. I can’t just give up on it. We were too good together.”

“We weren’t good together when we were yelling at each other every day,” he pointed out. Drumm could still remember the bitter words of that last argument.

“I know, I know. Neither of us could go through that again. But I’m different, now, I promise. I…. I’ve been taking counseling, seeing someone, a doctor. I’ve been trying to figure myself out and why I was asking you to give up being a detective. I’ve realized some stuff.”

Drumm was almost amused. “Really? And what have you realized, Emily?”

“I wanted you to think of me as the number one thing in your life, Nicky. But I wasn’t always. Your job came first.”

Drumm snorted. “That’s nothing new! You told me that a dozen times.”

“I know. And I know that the YPS will still come first. But I’d rather share you with the force than not have you at all. My doctor has helped me to see why I used to feel the way I did. I was always worried that something would happen to you. Or when you were late, that you were spending time with one of your lady officers. Like that Sue Oliver.” Detective Susan Oliver was an attractive woman in her early forties who had worked with Drumm on a homicide the previous year.

“You never said that before,” said Drumm. “That’s ridiculous! I was never interested in anyone else, especially Sue Oliver.”
Drumm had found the woman competent but maddeningly slow and fussy.

“The doctor has helped me see that. I know myself a lot better than I used to, that’s for sure,” Emily said. “And I know you’re what I want. I’ll do what it takes to make things work, Nicky. As long as you’re willing to try too. I don’t expect you to say yes right away. Think about it, please, take some time. Call me tomorrow and we’ll get together for coffee. Just one small step, and we’ll see how it goes. Please, Nicky.”

And he was lost. He knew it, and maybe she knew it too. For appearances’ sake he said, “I don’t know, Em. I’ll have to think about it.”

“That’s what I want, Nicky, Just think about it, please, and call me tomorrow. I love you.” And she had hung up on him.

That call had been just after dinner, and instead of contentedly watching baseball, he had sat fretting about Emily. A couple of beers had settled him somewhat and he had been careful not to let the two stretch into six or seven. But he had had a lot of trouble sleeping. Should he call her? Was he ready to get into all that again? But he was just fooling himself. He knew he would phone.

Drumm sighed and bent over his spade again. A little more edging got done. Will lifted his head and eyed him briefly, then settled back contentedly into the grass. Over on the little retaining wall that he had built, Drumm’s cell phone rang. This time it was Staff Inspector Mark Chappell, his boss.

“Drumm? Chappell here. What are you doing? Not busy are you?”

“Now why would I be busy, sir? It’s Sunday and I am gardening. On my day off.” Drumm really didn’t want to work today.

“A policeman’s lot, eh, Drumm? I have a job for you.”

“And I assume it can’t wait until tomorrow?”

“The dead can’t wait, Detective Sergeant. Justice needs to be done and all that. Call just came through from Woodbine. We’ve got a body in Hillsdale Park. Looks like a female, shallow grave. An elderly couple found her this morning, just about an hour ago now. I want you to take this one.”

Drumm thought that the dead actually could wait, had, in fact, all of eternity to wait, but he knew better than to say so. He was a little surprised. It wasn’t really his turn, so it was odd that he was being asked to take this case on. And on his day off too.
“What aren’t you telling me, Staff? Why me?”

“Because it’s probably a teacher, Drumm. And if it is, I want you in charge of the investigation.”

Drumm, in an earlier incarnation, had been a public school teacher for a couple of years, before he came to his senses and realized teaching wasn’t for him. It had been two years of frustration and futility. He had gotten out before he had done serious damage to the little darlings he had been asked to “educate”. Because of that limited experience, the Staff Inspector had given him, in the past, a couple of cases involving schools, figuring that Drumm had some kind of insight that his other officers lacked. There had been a sexual assault involving minors which had happened on school property one Saturday night last summer. And Drumm recalled another case where an eleventh grader had been beaten in a stairwell of his school one afternoon.

Did Drumm have some kind of special insight? Hardly, he thought. But he was familiar with the educational bureaucracy and all its working parts. He had a good idea of the roles of all the school personnel, how they worked together, how much power a principal had, the rights of parents and students, a hundred little things that might come in handy. He understood, for example, how important a school secretary was, and how much the entire building depended on her. He did have some inside knowledge and it had proved useful in those earlier cases.

“Why do you think it’s a teacher, sir? Was there chalk or something found on the body?”

“I think it’s a teacher, Detective Sergeant, because one Paula Noonan, age 32, was reported missing Saturday. And she, Detective Sergeant, is a seventh grade teacher at Elmdale Elementary School. That’s all I’ve got right now. Oh, and you can have Smith and Wesson. If you please, get yourself out there, as soon as possible.” And Chappell hung up.

Somewhat bemused, Drumm put his phone away in his pocket and returned the spade to the shed. His gardening would have to wait quite a while, he guessed. Walking into the house, Will trotting happily after him, Drumm started making his plans. Smith and Wesson? That wasn’t too bad. Detective Karl Wesson was a good, solid cop, dependable and with a sensible head on his shoulders. Detective Lori Singh was typical of the new generation of female officers: young, fit, highly intelligent and quick to learn. It didn’t hurt that she was of Indian extraction, a real bonus in today’s increasingly diversified society. She was sometimes teamed with Wesson. Singh and Wesson, Smith and Wesson. Some wag at the station had called them that early on and the nickname had stuck. No, this might work out fine. Emily forgotten for the moment, Drumm hurried to make his preparations. When Staff Inspector Mark Chappell said as soon as possible, it didn’t do to dawdle.

For more about David, please see the interview with him at http://www.nicholasdrumm.com.

David Anderson has been a writer all his life. He lives with his wife and Shetland Sheepdog, Wilson, in a small town in southern Ontario, Canada. Wilson is the model for Will, the Sheltie featured in his novels. His owner is Detective Sergeant Nicholas Drumm, of the York Police Services. David spent more than thirty years in the classrooms of Ontario as a teacher of young children. All David's books involve (fictional!) crimes involving teachers or other aspects of school life.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Q&A With Author Glenn Gamble

Glenn Gamble has dropped by today to talk about, Bon Appetit...

Tell us about your latest book.

After spending years building his gambling empire, Jim Money would love nothing more than to have a loving wife, and a stable family life free of the criminal elements that haunt him. He thinks he's found that with Jessica.

Until...

Jim Money bites off more than he can chew when he goes to collect a gambling debt. He's beaten, shot at, finds out that his girlfriend is involved with his best friend, and is forced to work with a woman he despises all in one day.

In trying to discover what is going on, a more sinister truth is brought to light.



THE PLAYERS:

Jim is a loan shark who wants nothing more than to ease out of his criminal lifestyle, marry his girlfriend and start a family.

Jessica is Jim's unreliable girlfriend who runs off with his best friend for an inexplicable reason.

Steve is Jim's best friend and enforcer. He's animal-like, and a deadbeat's worst nightmare.

Carla is Steve's tough as nails wife and who has a nose for detecting anything out of the ordinary. Jim disgusts her, but ends up teaming with him to find the answers that she's NOT looking for.

Chuck is a deadbeat who refuses to pay back money owed to Jim and almost gets him killed.

James is Chuck's hotheaded younger brother who destroys first and never ask questions.


Interesting that you're a former professional poker player and your last name is Gamble, coincidence?

No, Gamble is my pen name and I chose gamble because I like to write stories that are geared around a gambling theme.


How much of your novel is based on personal experience?

I’d say 10% of my story. I spent a lot of time in the gambling lifestyle, but I wasn’t a Jim Money type of gambling kingpin, but I know how a gambling operation is run based on my dealings with people from that walk of life.


Your favourite authors. Who do you consider as your literary influences?

My favorite authors are JA Konrath, Dean Koontz, Blake Crouch, and James Patterson. I think those authors have had an influence on my writing in one way or another.


What are you reading these days?

Exposed by JA Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson
I’m about 70% done with the book according to Kindle.


What can we expect next from Glenn Gamble?

I got a prequel to the Jim Money series coming out. The name of the book is BUSTED which takes you into Jim Money’s college years when he gets his first taste of adversity in his newfound gambling endeavor. In this story, you get to see a young Jim Money who faced with a situation that seems too big for him to handle, and is forced to grow up, but en route to doing so he has to overcome his lack of self-assurance. Frank and Steve also play big roles in this story as his lifelong buddies who lack the maturity of their older counterparts in the previous stories. I expect this story to be available before Black Friday.


Anything else you'd like to share?

I enjoy telling stories and entertaining people. For that I thank everyone who has read my blogs, clicked any of my blog tour links, and bought any or all five of my books. I really look forward to seeing, hearing and reading your feedback in regards to my books, which you can check out at the following links:

Amazon

Nook

Smashwords

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trestle Press Author Mark Cooper

Trestle Press author extraordinaire Mark Cooper is here today with a guest post and new short story...


All Flesh Must Be Eaten

Okay, this whole blog post was originally going to be about Zombies. I love them – I make no bones about that – but to me a zombie story has never been about that shambling horde of reanimated corpses that are lurking just outside your door, waiting to feast upon your flesh. Zombie stories are all about the dysfunctional nature of human relationships; all the little prejudices that people carry around inside their heads are magnified when forced into a survival situation, leading to groups of survivors invariably self-destructing due to their own inadequacies. It’s not the undead you need to fear in a zombie tale; it’s the living.

As I said, that’s what this blog post was going to be about; however it isn’t. I could wax lyrical about the mathematics of death; zombie attack behaviour; the fact that hitting a cow at 60mph is just the same as hitting a brick wall – except the cow ends up inside the car, killing all the occupants in the front seats, but I won’t. That’s for another day and another post – maybe even an essay. I had a change of heart and decided to approach something more frivolous – in fact, I’ve decided it should consist of a new piece of fiction. Well, I say new but it’s actually about 4 years old. I found it when I was looking through my backup hard drive searching for space the other day and I realised that over the last 10 years I’ve written in excess of 400 short stories – to varying degrees of quality – and I forgot how much fun it was to write it. It actually took 86 minutes to write this short – it was a timed challenge that I participated in as a member of a long since defunct Yahoo group.

Anyway, enjoy this little offering in the spirit in which it is presented – something slightly silly that’s to be enjoyed but ultimately forgotten...bit like a Cadbury’s Crème Egg really!

Regards.

Mark


Being Bigfoot

Spirit Lake, Washington State

The camera shook in his hands as he tried desperately to steady himself, not quite believing what he had captured in that small two-inch square viewfinder. About ten feet away from him, in the thick undergrowth of the woods the creature shifted on its haunches. Oblivious to the observer, it continued to pick at the berries on the tree, inspecting them before popping each one into its mouth.

The camera operator shifted forward slightly, trying to improve his view. As he moved forward a twig beneath his feet snapped. The creature – startled by this sudden noise – turned and looked straight at the camera. Its facial features were clear to see even in the early morning light. The wrinkled nose, the leather-like skin and an all too human pair of bright blue eyes looking into the lens.

“Bollocks,” Alan said. “I told you we needed to do a better job on the eyes Keith.”

“Sorry.” The creature replied with an English accent. It raised its hands to its head and pulled the furry covering off, revealing a boyish looking face underneath. “Do you want to try it again?”

“No,” Alan said as he switched the camera off. “Battery needs charging.”

“Okay.” Keith struggled to disentangle himself from the thick undergrowth. “Are you sure these berries are safe to eat?”

****

Alan stood outside the small wooden shack and watched Keith make his way up from the boat. He watched his friend negotiate the slick stones that doubled up as a path from the river to their accommodation. A rumble of thunder above him prompted his eyes to wander upwards. Multitudes of threatening grey clouds rolled in off the hills.

“Great,” he muttered. “More rain.” He found his attention drawn back to his friend. He couldn’t repress the smile from breaking out across his face as he looked at the collection of large fish Keith held aloft.

“Told you I’d catch something eventually.” Keith declared triumphantly. Alan shook his head.

“Yeah,” Alan replied. “Pity it’s our last day. We’ll never eat all those.” He took another look at the sky above them before opening the door. “I’ll put the kettle on.”

****

The fire roared. The flames cast everything in the room with a faint red glow. Keith placed his knife and fork on the plate and pushed it to one side. Seconds later, the sudden expulsion of air from his gullet exploded from his mouth.

Burp

“Jesus…” Alan said, waving away the imaginary smell with his hand. “That’s disgusting.”

“Excuse me.” Keith said. Both men laughed.

“That one certainly beats the crap out of what we bought at the grocery store.” Alan said as he picked his plate up and got up from the table. Keith nodded and followed his friend into the kitchen. As Alan scraped the fish bones from the plates, Keith opened the refrigerator and pulled out two cans of beer. He opened one and handed it to Alan.

“I propose a toast.” Keith said. “To three weeks of wet, windy weather and the joys of the great outdoors!”

“Cheers!” Alan said as he threw his head back and drank from the can. Keith quickly followed suit, and a second belch escaped his mouth. “You’re an animal, you know that don’t you?”

“Oh yeah!” Keith replied then both men broke into comfortable laughter. “Right, what do you say to polishing off the rest of this weak as piss Yank beer before we hit the sack?”

“Sounds good to me mate.” Alan replied. For the next three hours they sat and talked as they proceeded to slowly churn through the crate of alcohol that sat in the middle of the room. After what seemed like the tenth time of going to the toilet, Keith dropped down into one of the two chairs in the sparsely furnished cabin.

“Do you think anyone is going to buy it?” He asked as he grabbed another can of beer.

“What?” Alan replied in a semi-drunken stupor. “The film?”

“Yeah.” Keith said. Alan shrugged his shoulders.

“I don’t see why not. We came out here to make a movie about the bio-diversity of the Pacific Northwest and we just happened to capture something unbelievable on tape.” He mused as he rolled the beer can around in his hands.

“Unbelievable?” Keith almost choked on his beer. “I dressed up in a suit and trudged around in the undergrowth for three days.”

“Well, I’d have liked to have caught the real thing, but that’s got to do I guess.” Alan said. “Mike is going to be pissed when we beat him to that prize money.”

“Which one?” Keith said, alcohol making him pauses slightly before continuing with his sentence. “The fifty grand for some real footage or the ten grand for the best fake?”

“Either is fine by me. I have bills to pay.” Alan said. The sounds of the dogs barking in the distance persisted. “What are dogs doing out here?”

“God knows.” Keith said. “It’s still raining – Jesus, does it always rain here?”

“Nine months of the year my friend.” Alan said. Keith shook his head.

“So it looks like I’m going to have to move the truck otherwise it’s going to get stuck in the morning when we leave.” Keith said as he struggled to his feet. Alan leaned back in the chair.

“Don’t forget it’s an automatic.” He shouted after his friend as he scooped up the keys from the table by the door.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

****

Alan wasn’t sure how long he’s been asleep. He woke with a start as the cacophony of sound assaulting his ears, combined with the sensation of a pair of hands grabbing his shoulders catapulted him from his drunken nap. At first his mind couldn’t make sense of the words Keith was saying to his – his voice was agitated, his eyes wide with a hypnotic mixture of fear and excitement and his skin ashen.

“What? What’s happened?” Alan asked as Keith’s words were flowing over him, his alcohol-fuelled mind unable to process them. “Shit – slow down Keith.” Keith stopped talking, released Alan’s arms and stood back from him. He ran his hand through his hair as he paced back and forth and took deep breathes. Keith stood still and looked at Alan.

“I said I think I’ve just ran over Bigfoot.”

****

Neither of them said anything. Keith was fidgeting nervously as Alan stared at the sight captured in the headlights of the truck. Even in the rain and the artificial light there was no mistaking what they were looking at. The creature was at least seven feet tall with thick, matted hair covering it.

“What do we do with it?” Keith asked. Alan shook his head.

“I dunno.” He replied. The harsh barking of the dogs was getting closer – and it was accompanied by the distinct sound of human voices. Unfriendly sounding ones as well. “But I think we need to get it indoors before things get ugly out here.”

****

Thud

They hauled the creature into the wooden cabin, several times losing their footing in the unstable mud beneath them as they struggled to manhandle the mythical beast out of the rain.

Once inside, they carefully laid the creature down in the middle of the living room and pushed the chairs aside to give them space to move around the large, hairy body.

“Jeez…it’s heavy.” Keith said as he slumped down in one of the chairs.

“He’s heavy, not it.” Alan replied. Keith looked at him with a puzzled expression on his face. “You had the head end, I had the business end and I saw his undercarriage.”

“Nice.” Keith muttered. “Is he dead?”

“No, no – he’s breathing. Look,” Alan said as he pointed that the chest of the creature. It rose and fell

“Look at the size of it’s, er, his feet!” He exclaimed as they both peered at the gargantuan appendages at the end of the beast’s thick, muscular legs.

“What do you think they are? About a size sixteen or so?” Alan said. Keith shook his head.

“Christ knows, maybe bigger,” he muttered. “I’m sure they’ve got a pair of shoes in his size at Nike though.” Alan scratched his head for a second.

“Hang on, how the hell did you manage to run over a Bigfoot?” he asked. Keith shook his head.

“I dunno.” Keith spoke quietly. “I managed to get the truck out from the back then as I was coming around I started to get stuck in the mud. As I was trying to get free my foot slipped off the brake. The truck lurched forward and hit something.” He paused for a minute. “Next thing I know, I’ve collided with a woolly mammoth.”

“Not mammoth.” The gravely, thick voice made both men stop talking immediately and look at the mythical creature lying on the floor. It was sitting upright and looking at them with deep, soulful eyes. “Biped.”

“Jesus…” Alan whispered.

“Wow,” Keith muttered. “Chewbacca speaks English.”

****

The teeth cut down into the flesh of the fish effortlessly. Alan and Keith were mesmerised by it as it tore through the meat. The hair that covered most of its body was a grey colour – not black, as they had first thought when they had brought it in from the rain. Keith gingerly reached out his hand and stroked it. It was soft, not coarse, as he’d expected.

“Why Hu-Man touch?” The creature asked as he swallowed the raw fish.

“Why not?” Keith said.

“How…what…why…?” The questions raced through Alan’s head too quickly for him to formulate them correctly. The creature looked at him.

“Hu-Man has, Jokaero have not.” It replied bluntly. “Jokaero come here, take what need, go back through door.”

“Jokaero? Is that your name?” Keith asked. The creature looked at Keith, then at Alan.

“Hu-Man.” He said pointing at the two men. “Jokaero.” It repeated, pointing at himself.

“I get it – collectively they are the Jokaero.” Alan excitedly theorised. He looked at the creature. “I’m Alan. This is Keith. We humans.” He said, and then pointed back at the creature with an expectant look on his face. The creature looked at him.

“Ymarl.” The creature replied and beat his fist against his chest. Suddenly both men recognised what might be a smile break across the grey skinned face of the beast in front of them. Ymarl tore the last bit of meat from the fish and discarded the remnants on the floor next to the others it had devoured.

“Cool – now we know his name.” Keith said. “Big question is what do we do with him?”

“Christ knows.” Alan said to his friend, then returned his attention to the fantastical beast sitting cross-legged less than five feet from them.

****

An hour later the two men had watched Ymarl eat his way through the remaining fish that Keith had caught earlier that day. As he discarded the last carcass in the fireplace the still night that surrounded the cabin erupted in a blast of feral barking. As startled as both men were, Ymarl suddenly curled up into a foetal position and howled.

“What’s wrong with him?” Keith shouted above the din. Alan shook his head. He quickly moved over to the beast and kneeled down next to him.

“Bark…Hunt…Hurt…” Ymarl’s words suddenly made sense to both men.

“They’re hunting him!” Alan said excitedly. He got up and grabbed the duffel bag from the corner of the room and threw it at Keith. “Quick, put that on! They want something to hunt then we’ll give them something to hunt.”

“What?” Keith couldn’t believe what his friend was suggesting. “Are you shitting me? Have you forgotten they have guns here?”

“Oh come on, stop being such a girl.” Alan replied. “Besides, if this goes according to plan then you won’t actually need to go anywhere once you’ve gotten the suit on.”

“What? You have a plan?” Keith sounded bemused as he pulled the outfit from the bag. “Well it had better bloody work…”

****

A few minutes later, the sound of the dogs had reached the cabin. Alan opened the door and was met by three pairs of gnashing teeth and several beams of torchlight shining in his face. Alan instinctively raised his hand to protect his eyes.

“It’s the British guy!” one voice called out from the darkness. A man stepped forward onto the porch. Alan recognised him from the nearby town – his name was Henderson or Williamson or something like that, Alan couldn’t recall.

“Hey there,” He said as he approached Alan. “You guys haven’t seen or heard anything strange out here tonight have you?”

“Mister Henderson, is it?” the man nodded. “No, I can’t say that I’ve seen anything odd this evening. What are you folks looking for?” Alan asked. There was a sudden crashing sound of man against furniture from inside the cabin, coupled by a murmured “sorry” from Keith.

“Bigfoot!” a voice called out from behind Henderson, who looked somewhat dismayed that somebody had broken ranks. “They’ve seen it here in the last few days!” Alan looked at them, then laughed.

“Bigfoot? You’re out looking for Bigfoot?” He said between guffaws. “I’m sorry – just stay here for a minute.” Alan turned and disappeared into the cabin, then returned momentarily with a shabby, pathetic looking brown haired figure next to him.

“That’s it! That’s the monster!” another voice called out and was swiftly followed by the firing pins of several weapons being readied. Alan held up his hands to prevent any further action.

“My friends, I’m sorry to tell you that you’ve been chasing shadows.” Alan spoke with authority, projecting his voice as best he could. The creature raised its hands to its head and lifted it from the body – revealing Keith beneath it.

“It’s the other British guy!” the same voice from the back of the group called out. Henderson spun round.

“Myron, will you please shut up!” he barked. He turned around to face Alan.

“My friend and I were producing a little home movie as part of a bet with some co-workers,” Alan said. “So, Keith here has been running around the woods and I’ve been filming him. Sorry.” There were audible moans from the mob, which had already begun to disperse before Alan had finished his explanation. As Henderson walked away he looked at the two Englishmen for a moment. Alan and Keith both smiled at him and waved him goodbye. He shook his head as he resumed his somewhat deflated walk into the wet night.

“Good thinking Batman.” Keith said as they watched them recede from sight. Alan only managed to let out a huge sigh of relief before heading back into the wooden construct.

****

The first ray of sunshine warmed Keith’s face as he kept scanning the horizon for any signs of life. Once he was certain that there were no lingering groups of psychopathic American hunters he waved his hand to signal the coast was clear. The sight before him as he turned around caused him to stop for a moment and shake his head.

“Ymarl go now.” The gravely voice was quiet. Alan looked up at the Jokaero. They looked into each other’s eyes. Ymarl suddenly reached out and pulled Alan towards him, embracing him. The behemoth hugged him, his muscular, hairy arms wrapping around Alan’s body. Alan tried his best to return the hug, however his arms barely reached around the tree-trunk like torso. “Thank.” He said and then proceeded to do the same with Keith.

“It’s “Thanks”.” Keith joked as Ymarl let him go. “Go on, get off home you big lump before some hick shoots you and puts your head above their fireplace.” Ymarl nodded in agreement. Without another word Ymarl turned and sauntered into the edge of the forest. As the two men watched him gradually disappear from sight they were rewarded with a brilliant white light engulfing Ymarl’s figure. The light flickered, and then dissipated, leaving nothing behind.

“Hey, looks like he was right about being an inter-dimensional explorer then.” Alan replied. Keith shook his head.

“I can’t believe it – we had a real life Bigfoot with us all night,” he mused. “And we’ve got no proof of it whatsoever.” Alan pursed his lips then walked around to the front of the truck.

“I wouldn’t say that the evening was a complete loss.” He said as he plucked a clump of hairs and a small patch of skin from the radiator grill of the vehicle. “I can see the headlines now – I ran over Bigfoot.” Both men smiled.

“So, where next?” Keith asked.

“Not sure.” Alan replied. “I was thinking about the Gobi Desert – I heard they have a pretty mean Death Worm out there that’s alluded photographic documentation.”

“Great.” Keith said as he rubbed his hands together. “I’ll get my shorts then.”

****

Mark Cooper is a 37 year old civil servant, father of three and life-long lover of the strange and bizarre. When he isn’t trying to understand the greater mysteries of the universe or how to synch his iPod to his laptop he can be found in various comic book stores in the central regions of England spending money his wife doesn’t know about.

He currently has five works in print from Trestle Press publishing; an espionage series entitled How I Met Your Mother available from Amazon & Amazon UK; a zombie fiction entitled Infection and a short vampire tale under the title Blood.

Links

http://www.amazon.co.uk/INFECTION-ebook/dp/B005LPTAAA/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-ebook/dp/B005TVG2X4/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1319574355&sr=1-4

http://www.amazon.co.uk/First-Date-Your-Mother-ebook/dp/B005LPEFWS/ref=sr_1_9?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1319574392&sr=1-9

http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Met-Your-Mother-ebook/dp/B005GA99OW/ref=sr_1_10?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1319574422&sr=1-10

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Bullets-Three-Mother-ebook/dp/B005YEQX2Q/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1319919910&sr=8-3

Friday, October 28, 2011

Author Chantal Boudreau

Trestle Press author and fellow Canadian, Chantal Boudreau, has dropped by with a guest post today. Chantel is the author of Weird, Wicked & Wonderful and The Ghost In The Mirror.


Fictional Speculation by Chantal Boudreau

My husband and I were casually discussing the publishing industry and my latest release, Magic University, when we noticed a bizarre likeness between the current debate over traditional versus self-publishing and the divided magic system in my fantasy series. Any similarities were entirely coincidental, considering how long ago I actually started writing my series - more than a dozen years ago - and that the magic system pre-dated even the books I have written. If I had based my Master versus Renegade conflict on the great publishing debate that has strengthened as a result of online sellers and POD publishing, it would mean I had precognition. I’d be willing to accept that, a very handy trick, but I doubt anyone else around me would believe it.

There may be more to the similarities than just random chance, however. Sometimes things in life do mimic ideas captured in speculative fiction. The reason for this, I’d have to say, is that a writer does not function in a vacuum. Writing, as with any art-form, is a means of expression, a response to our environment, be it physical or social. We might be predicting things to come while contemplating current affairs and weaving them into our tales, not because we’re psychic, but because we can see in what direction society or technology is headed, even if we only recognize it on a subconscious level.

With science fiction, it’s much more obvious than other speculative fiction. Authors really are trying to foresee the future. The author usually selects a specific technology that is making advances or some sociological or political aspect that appears to be headed for change. They research the topic to death (the good ones do, anyway) and then they make a prediction based on the knowledge they’ve gathered. Nobody is terribly surprised when some of these predictions come to pass. They’re based on hard facts and educated guestimates. All the best science fiction authors at some point have made predictions that have come true.

But just because there’s no open association with the world we live in, or there is the addition of elements supernatural, doesn’t mean that fantasy and horror can’t play the same role; they just happen to do it on a subtler level. Political commentary might be hidden behind the shield of fictional factions in some non-existent kingdom. Fears of the impact of developing technologies, ones based on legitimate concerns, might manifest in the form of renegade techno-zombies bent on chaos and destruction.

So the next time you read some speculative fiction that really makes you stop and think “what if?” consider the fact that they just may be on to something. That type of fiction isn’t just a matter of whimsy and fanciful creation, and it’s not constrained by the limitations of mainstream thinking.

Chantal Boudreau is an accountant by day and an author/illustrator during evenings and weekends, who lives by the ocean in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two children. In addition to being a CMA-MBA, she has a BA with a major in English from Dalhousie University. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she writes and illustrates predominantly horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and has had several of her short stories published, including her tales “Palliative,” “Just Another Day,” "Waking The Dead," all zombie stories, and “Dry Heat,” all appearing in horror anthologies, her paranormal fable, “The Ghost in the Mirror,” her fantasy humorous digital short, "It's All About the Tourists" and her novelette “Shear Terror”. Fervor, her debut novel, a dystopian science fantasy tale, was released in March of 2011 by May December Publications. Other releases contracted for this year include her novel, Magic University, the first in her fantasy series, Masters & Renegades, released in September.


You can find Chantal Boudreau on Amazon

Monday, October 24, 2011

Laughing At The Death Grin review


Pulp Metal Magazine’s Laughing At The Death Grin is a delicious compilation of some of today’s most talented crime/thriller writers. In this ebook collection of 13 noir and horror short stories, we meet a medley of unsavory characters that partake in some dark and dastardly deeds, leaving you feeling satiated and yet strangely wanting more...

The Argument Bunny by Ian Ayris is a quirky and heart wrenching tale about a desperate man’s break with reality.

Melanie Brown takes you on a curious ride in The Wild Beast, that’s a tasty combination of suspense, humour and erotica.

Meet Fredrick Cireman, a washed-up music composer and “hopeless drunk” whose life comes to a sad ending in, U.V. Ray’s, esoteric tale, The Solidarity Of The Damned. A completely compelling read.

Danny Hogan’s A Gun Called Comeuppance, is a gritty violent story about a gun toting hard-as-nails woman who’s after revenge in a post apocalyptic era.

Scars is a creepy horror story by the talented Jodi MacArthur about a woman tricked by a sinister creature out in the cornfield who puts a blindfold on her and a scythe in her hands.

If you like your noir gritty, B.R. Stateham brings it in Tough Way To Order Carry-Out, where an unusual death in a restaurant’s kitchen has the police following a hunch to find a killer.

In Chris Rhatigan’s dark and nasty little flash piece, It Wasn’t Slim Ricky, a P.I. is trying to drown the truth in a bottle of whiskey about what really happened to the murdered man he’s been hired to investigate.

Paul D. Brazill delivers a fun little anecdote liberally spiced with his fabulous brand of humour in, The Big Hurt, as a safecracker who, in a chance meeting, acquires a new assistant after his old one comes to a rather unfortunate end.

The Kennels by Richard Godwin is a chilling and satisfying account of a boy and his dog and a new step-mother who has a penchant for sticking hat pins where they don’t belong.

A young woman has the misfortune of getting arrested for solicitation in the bleak, but fabulous story, Circumstances by Charlie Coleman.

Greener by Heath Lowrance is a riveting story about warring lawn care companies. It even has the added appeal of an angry dwarf to give it that fascinating little element that takes it over the top.

Michael A. Gonzales has created an atmospheric story in Boogie Town Inferno, about growing up in the Bronx housing projects in the 70s. A grim story, brilliantly written, with some unexpected twists that stays with you long after its ending.

Cycle by Frank Duffy is a dense and chilling tale that grabs you unexpectedly by the throat. Guaranteed to put a layer of ice across your morning coffee.

Excellent anthology. Grab it for a mere $0.99 on Amazon

Coming December 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Interview With Darren Sant

Trestle Press author, Darren Sant, stopped by today to share with us all the cool stuff he's got going on. And it's a lot...



You've got a number of ebooks out now with Trestle Press. Tell the nice people what your series, Tales From The Longcroft Estate, is all about.

They are stories set in a fiction housing estate. They are stories of people who are going through dark times. Tales of loan sharks, drug addicts, gangsters and of everyday people struggling to make ends meet and the challenges they face. These stories are not about the black and white but about the shades of grey in between.

Although the stories are dark and often featuring criminal acts I also include an element of humour where I can. Every bit of darkness must eventually turn to light right?

In truth Tales from the Longcroft Estate as a concept is growing and changing with each story. It’s my aim to develop the setting with each story and to see familiar characters return again or at least get a passing mention. My latest Longcroft story Temple and the Cross is just about finished I am editing it before submission to Trestle Press.

To find out more about Tales from the Longcroft Estate follow: @Longcroft_tales on twitter. Here is a link to the first two stories:

A Good Day

Community Spirit

Then there's Flashes Of Revenge. What's the premise?

Flashes of Revenge is actually a collection of six short stories. They are all flash fiction so don’t expect any lengthy rambling prose. These are short punchy tales told in relatively few words. The beauty of flash fiction is that you tell a complete tale quickly and not a single word is wasted. Each tale is like a hard right to the jaw, written for maximum effort. A collection that will make you sit up and pay attention.


All the stories are, as the title suggests, centred on the broad theme of revenge. Some tales are darker than others and again I use humour where appropriate to give the reader something more than just darkness.

You've also just done a collaboration with horror writer Sam Lang called, Severed. What's this story about, and how was it working on this with Sam?

Severed is actually an opener for a series that we are both working on. It’s essentially an apocalyptic zombie tale. I’ve not written in the genre before so it’s a challenging project. However, as a writing partner Sam is hard working, prolific, supportive and inspirational. It’s fair to say we got on well and complimented each other. I am a big fan of Sam’s Reprisal serial that Trestle Press is currently running and would urge your readers to check it out.

We don’t yet know where the series will take us but we are currently working on ideas for the second part of this series.

So why do write such dark and disturbing stuff Darren? Does your mother know you what you're up to?

I’m interested in human nature and what motivates people. Quite frankly the darker side is so much more interesting as a subject matter for fiction. As for my Mother she knows I have always been a deep thinker and would probably rather I get these ideas out than let them fester inside my warped mind!



Where is this place Hull I hear that you're from? And what do you do there where you're not making up stories?

Hull is in the North East of England. It’s a port town that used to have a thriving fishing industry that is no more. The people here are friendly and down to earth. I’ve lived here just over ten years and grown to love the place. It is home.

Well I work full time and I’m passionate about music so I can often be found attending gigs for local bands. I am married to Julie and have two step sons and two cats. Life is pretty busy.

I understand you write poetry. Is it gory stuff too or does it have a different theme?

I don’t write poetry much these days. Some folk are glad about that! When I do pen a poem it is usually political or ecological in nature. As someone once said I write poetry with a social conscience.

What else can we look forward to from Darren Sant? Any novel length projects in the works?

I have a story coming up in Luca Veste’s Off The Record Anthology that is going to be raising some money for charity. This is a collection of stories inspired by classic songs. My story is called Karma Police and was inspired by the Radiohead song of the same name. This is a science fiction tale, which isn’t my usual style, but it suited the story nicely. Luca’s excellent blog has interviews with a number of the Off The Record contributors and can be found here: http://guiltyconscienceblog.blogspot.com/

I also have a story in Paul D. Brazill’s Brit Grit 2 called Dope On A Rope. This is one of my more playful efforts and it came out as a funny one despite having violent deeds going on throughout. Paul’s excellent blog will feature updates on this anthology and can is found here: http://pdbrazill.blogspot.com/

I don’t have anything of novel length in the works yet. However, as the latest Longcroft tale is twice the length of the others and more involved it’s clear to me that the more I write the more I am stretching myself. Time will tell on that novel.

Visit Darren Sant's blog

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Liverpool 5's Luca Veste



Luca Veste's debut collection of short stories on ebook called, Liverpool 5, is on fire at Amazon, gaining huge attention. Luca dropped by today for a quickie interview:

Your new short story ebook collection Liverpool 5 was just published by Trestle Press and is recieving a lot of attention. How does that feel?

Unbelievable. The whole process has been something of a whirlwind to be honest. In the space of a few days I'd hit Number Four in the short story charts, which was an incredible feeling. It's a real boost to a new writer to hear peoples reactions to it.

So I heard this writing thing is relatively new for you and you’ve been primarily a book reviewer. What motivated you take pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write fiction. And can you tell us about the first story you ever wrote?

I kind of fell into it. I wrote a story as a dare really, back in June, called 'Jeff...The Uninspired Vampire'. It was a joke story based on a conversation with the writer Charlie Williams, based on the fact Vampires always have cool names and do cool and moody things these days. I wrote it and enjoyed the process, and wrote another story. On a whim, I sent it to the excellent 'Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers' website, which showcases short stories. They accepted 'TIME', my second ever story, and the reactions were very positive, so I just carried on. Now, just a few months later, I have a collection of five stories published! All very strange really, as I just assumed I'd be reviewing, and that would be my contribution to the writing world.

Can you tell us about your writing style and what or who influences that?

I'm not sure I have a style really. Yet. I write about characters and their stories. Mostly about death as well, as that subject fascinates me.

I'm influenced by what I read mainly. There are some writers out there doing incredible work, Steve Mosby, Vincent Holland-Keen, Nick Quantrill, Sean Cregan, Julie Morrigan, Ian Ayris, Ray Banks, Helen Fitzgerald...I could go on! All have something in common though, they all are excellent at creating characters a reader can connect to. They're not afraid to delve into the dark side of life, and that influences me greatly.

I understand you’re also a student, studying criminology and psychology, which sounds fantastic for a crime writer. What are your goals with your education?

I'd love to work in either Clinical or Forensic Psychology when I graduate. A long way, and a lot of hard work, before I get there however. I love studying though, so it's a great time.

What are you currently writing and what can we expect from Luca Veste in the future?

I'm currently fine-tuning another five stories for the sequel to Liverpool 5. After that, I have a novella I want to write in the next month or so. Then, a full-length novel. Working my way towards the 90,000 word mark slowly. That scares me a little!

Buy Liverpoool 5 on Amazon

Visit Luca's blog, Guilty Conscience

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Bastard Hand by Heath Lowrance


After Charlie Wesley gives the psych hospital the slip, he decides to head down to Florida to start his life over. Charlie is a curious character. His brother is dead but he talks to him inside his head, and he’s got this bizarre notion that his hands are glowing bright yellow. He also has a unique ability to heal himself—knife wounds, bullets, and severe beatings, hardly slow him down. After he meets another equally odd character named Reverend Childe, a charismatic but sketchy Baptist minister with a hidden agenda and more than a his share of vices, Charlie takes a detour in his plans and ends up travelling with him to a little Mississippi town called Cuba Landing. There Charlie finds himself smack in the middle of a mystery; the strange disappearance of the church’s former Reverend whom his new buddy Childe, has come to replace.

Charlie’s direction in life seems vague at best, and he’s also a lousy judge of character, getting himself involved with some street gang who ends up trying to kill him. This dire combination is what seems to keep getting Charlie in hot water. I found myself a little frustrated with his choices and trying to understand what motivates him, and then I’d remember, oh yeah, he’s not playing with a full deck. That explains everything. But eventually it begins to feel like Charlie is actually the only sane one in Cuba Landing and everyone else is nuts.

I had two other books I was reading at the same time but damn if I couldn’t put this one down until it was finished! The writing is superb, provocative. The story fascinating, original, and offbeat. Highly recommended.

Find it on Amazon

Visit Heath Lowrance here: http://psychonoir.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 30, 2011

Death Plays Poker by Robin Spano


Death Plays Poker: A Clare Vengel Undercover Novel
By Robin Spano
ECW Press (October 1, 2011)

In Canadian author Robin Spano’s second novel, Death Plays Poker, rookie Toronto cop Clare Vengel is on an undercover assignment as a professional poker player to try and crack a series of murders. Someone is strangling world class poker players in their hotel rooms and it’s Clare’s job to infiltrate the group and find the killer. Spano has put together an amusing, well-drawn cast of suspicious characters. Each chapter in this intriguing mystery is told from a different character’s point of view, a smooth transition that’s expertly handled. Clare’s character is an appropriately tough, but flawed, take-no-crap kind of heroine who’s truly likeable.

Robin Spano is a fantastic new voice in Canadian crime writing and Death Plays Poker is a winner.

Savage Rage By Brent Pilkey


Savage Rage
By Brent Pilkey
ECW Press (October 1, 2011)

Savage Rage is Brent Pilkey’s second book based on the character Jack Warren, a tough Toronto cop with an attitude, working the mean streets of 51 Division. Pilkey himself a veteran Toronto officer has lived these same streets, and brings his 22 years of experience to the pages of this intense new series. I read Pilkey’s debut novel, Lethal Rage, and really enjoyed the Toronto setting. There was actually some controversy within the police department when his first book was going to press. Because Pilkey is still actively working as a police officer there was an effort by his higher-ups to try and block publication, but eventually they relented. Good thing too because it’s a great read.

In this second book, Warren is tracking a violent criminal mastermind who stays one step ahead of the police hot on his tail. Savage Rage is a compelling, well crafted thriller. At times it does feel less like fiction and reads somewhat like a memoir but regardless, Savage Rage will keep you turning the pages long after you should have shut out the lights and gone to sleep. Highly recommended.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Q & A With Dani Amore


Tell us about DEAD WOOD…

Dead Wood is a story about a violent murder in Grosse Pointe – the exclusively wealthy community that sits right on the border of Detroit. It’s also about a man who made a horrible, horrible mistake and is now seeking both the truth and redemption. Along the way, he crosses paths with an ex-con on a violent rampage, an enigmatic music star doing damage control, and a mysterious hired killer with links to his own, unfortunate past.


So this is not a follow up to DEATH BY SARCASM?

No, DEATH BY SARCASM features Los Angeles private investigator Mary Cooper. She’s a good detective and an even better smart ass. She will be appearing shortly in a sequel I’m tentatively calling MURDER WITH SARCASTIC INTENT.

So why publish DEAD WOOD before the sequel to DEATH BY SARCASM?

The short answer is that I wrote DEAD WOOD almost simultaneously with DEATH BY SARCASM. But DEAD WOOD was with a friend of mine who was reviewing it for pre-publication blurbs. In the meantime, SARCASM was ready to go. I launched SARCASM, and immediately started working on the sequel. In the meantime, DEAD WOOD came back with some great blurbs, and it was ready to go.

So you have two different series going on?

Yes. And they are very different. The SARCASM/Mary Cooper novels are a bit darker and a little edgier. DEAD WOOD is a bit more traditional. I think they each reflect their physical environment. SARCASM is very much L.A., while DEAD WOOD is very Grosse Pointe.


There’s been a lot of debate about eBook pricing. Why did you settle on 99 cents?

There has been a lot of debate, hasn’t there? And it’s been pretty heated! I’m not gonna lie, it was a tough one for me. I think $2.99 is a very fair price for a novel. However, the marketplace is interesting right now. Ultimately, I chose 99 cents because I hope to earn a wide readership for each series. And it’s going well – readers of the first two books are demanding the sequel to each. Which is extremely flattering.


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Have you ever heard of pin shooting? I go to my gun range on nights when they have pin shooting contests. Basically, they set up bowling pins on little stands and you have ten seconds to clear your table. I have a high-capacity Para-Ordnance .45. You blast away, and then if there are little pieces, you shoot them off, too. It’s great fun. I win quite often.



What are you reading right now?

A kick-ass novel called THE DEVIL’S MUSIC.






Find Dead Wood here:

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Find Death By Sarcasm here:

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

“Dead Wood is a fast-paced, unpredictable mystery with an engaging narrator and a rich cast of original supporting characters.” –Thomas Perry, Edgar-winning author of The Butcher’s Boy.

“From its opening lines, Dani Amore and her private eye novel DEAD WOOD recall early James Ellroy: a fresh attitude and voice and the heady rush of boundless yearning and ambition. Amore delivers a vivid evocation of time and place in a way that few authors achieve, nailing the essence of her chosen corner of high-tone Michigan. She also deftly dodges the pitfalls that make so much contemporary private detective fiction a mixed bag and nostalgia-freighted misfire. Amores’ detective has family; he’s steady. He’s not another burned-out, booze-hound hanging on teeth and toenails to the world and smugly wallowing in his own ennui. This is the first new private eye novel in a long time that just swept me along for the ride. Amore is definitely one to watch.” — Edgar-nominated author Craig McDonald


Dani Amore’s writing reminds me of the great thriller writers -- lean, mean, no nonsense prose that gets straight to the point and keeps you turning those pages.” --author Robert Gregory Browne

"As gritty as the Detroit streets where it's set, DEAD WOOD grabs you early on and doesn't let go. As fine a a debut as you'll come across this year, maybe any year." --author Tom Schreck

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pulp Ink Review


Purged from the dark and twisted minds of some of the most talented crime writers today, Pulp Ink is an intense and dirty fusion of nefarious short stories and smack you right in the kisser flash fiction. Rising up like a carousing prize fighter in a dark alley, these stories will clobber you with an elbow smash to the noggin when you least expect it.

Sometimes you never know where you’ll end up falling in love. It could be tied to a chair in a cellar with a woman who’s got a gun to your head, and who’s nice enough to dig a bullet out of your ass, as in Jodi MacArthur’s story, Jack Rabbit Slim’s Cellar The $5 Mil Hak. This is one particular story from this amazing collection that has lodged itself inside my brain and remains there long after reading it. It’s simply a perfect story in every way. I loved it so much I’ve read it more than once.

AJ Hayes pulls no punches as he shines a light into the shadows of human trafficking in his wickedly powerful tale, Padre.

What’s a girl to do when the boy she goes to such lengths to impress, ends up rejecting her? Why Masie will show you just what ought to be done in, Your Mother Should Know, by Allan Guthrie. A truly disturbing story of young love gone wrong.

Another girl you don’t want to mess with, or make a loser out of, is Rosie, the six-foot-four arm wrestling champion in Nigel Bird’s edge-of-your-seat tale, A Whole Lotta Rosie.

Sometimes it’s best not to find missing loved ones as in Paul D. Brazill’s, The Lady & the Gimp, A Peter Ord Investigation. When a private eye is commissioned by a childhood friend to find his mother, the happy reunion turns into a bloody disaster in a taut atmospheric tale of lust and loss.

Some people take their movie watching very seriously as in the chilling, cautionary tale, A Night At The Royale by Chris F. Holm. When you behave like an insolent little jerk while people are trying to watch the show, bad things can happen.

A master thief realizes that every time he goes on a job some bizarre illness befalls his wife in Patricia Abbott’s, The Wife Of Gregory Bell. A deliciously dire story with a rather Twilight Zone mood.

What happens when a newspaper reporter shows up to a meeting with something other than the customary microphone? Chis Rhatigan spins a tense, heart-pounding and tragic story of a reporter’s experience with slipping a gear in, The October 17 Economic Development Committee Meeting.

And this is only a fistful of the fierce and raw tales that will grab you unexpectedly by the squash and send you in a spinning headlock to the pavement, then take the combat boots to your ribs. Quite simply put, Pulp Ink is some nasty good fun. Highly recommended!

Get it on Amazon for a mere $0.99!