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!



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.


“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.”



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.


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:

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:

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.

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