Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Tattoo And A Review Featuring Noir Nation 2

Sam, our apprentice at Malefic Tattoos (also my daughter) recently got her Chris Cornell portrait worked on by Fabien. While getting tattooed, Sam enjoyed some stories from Noir Nation: International Journal of Crime Fiction 2 on the iPad, which incidentally is Noir Nation's tattoo issue. It contains not only some great crime fiction but an interesting essay by Tom Vater on the history of tattooing in Thailand, as well as some photos of tattoos.

One of Sam's favourite stories was Thomas Pluck's "Tiger Mother". She really liked the ass-kicking mama in the story. Speaking of ass-kicking mama's, I just happen to have a story in this collection myself called "Mama's boy". The mother in that story who lives only in the memory of it's main character was one serious ass-kicker. But not in the good sense.

Paul Calderon's intense and compelling story "Primitive Grace" was a fav of mine in this collection. Liked too that it took place in Toronto. The main character gets herself in a whole heap of trouble trying to unload some hot goods in china town.

Still a ways to go on this tattoo before it's complete but already looking pretty amazing. Fabien specializes in portrait tattoos so if you're looking for an artist skilled in this area check out his work at Malefic Tattoos.

In the mean time pick up Noir Nation 2 on Amazon. It's a pretty cool fusion of noir short stories and tattooing. Just get it because it's awesome.

Oh yes, almost forgot, for all you ink maniacs check out Coloured Folk Invade Downtown Toronto

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Tattoo And A Review Featuring, Author Heath Lowrance

Another session on my dragon half sleeve today at Malefic Tattoos, with my daughter Sam, our apprentice, and Fabien both working on it together.

I chilled with Heath Lowrance's new novel on my iPad, City Of Heritics, just released this month by Snubnose Press.

I've been waiting on this book from Heath for a while now, and as I suspected it's been worth the wait. I'm only a few chapters in, but it's damn good, hard to put down, and kept me up late the night before.

The story is about an aging gangster named Crowe who's just out of the pen after a seven year stretch. Now back out on the streets of Memphis, he hooks up with his old crime operation to do a hit on the man who brutally murdered and mutilated the mob boss's wife.

Yeah, I'd say that guy's in a wee bit of trouble.

It was a rainy day today, a little cold and dreary, so we decided to do things up old school at the tattoo shop and broke out the bottle of maple whiskey that Fabien brought back from Quebec where he did a two week guest artist's spot at Nephtys Tattoos in Sherbrooke.

Brandy, our piercer extraordinaire, joined us and the first shot went down so smooth I had to follow it with three more. I swear to Bob we don't normally do this at the shop. Actually we never do this. But here we are drinking on the job and probably giving tattooist everywhere a bad name. Yeah, cause we didn't have that already, even though the fact is that most tattooists today are art nerds coming straight out of art school (like my daughter), and not prison the way the stereotype would have it.

Anyway, today we had more fun than being on a rooftop with an AK47 and a herd of zombies... Well, maybe not quite that much fun, but it was close.

In the chapter I'm reading in City Of Heritics, Crowe has just woken up with an old friend he finds at a club called the Cuba Libre. A beautiful black bartender named Faith who makes bacon and eggs for Crowe and serves it up with a bottle of rum for herself. Yes, for breakfast. That's what she's drinking. Rum. The last time I had rum for breakfast I was in Mexico. I'd get up with the birds, park my ass in the hot tub that overlooked the ocean, order my first of many Pina Coladas and watch the sun rise. And there I would stay for most of the day. My kind of vacation.

Heath Lowrance's first book, The Bastard Hand, is another awesome crime novel that takes place in the Mississippi where Heath has previously lived. I highly recommend this novel. It has something like thirty-one five star reviews. So, yes, people are loving it.

Heath has a collection of short stories available called Dig Ten Graves. It has over twenty five star reviews. Check out the previous Tattoo And A Review Featuring, Heath Lowrance where I talk about Dig Ten Graves.

Heath also has a very cool story in Pulp Ink 2, a collection of crime fiction, along with myself and some supremely talented crime writers that I recommend as well.

You can visit Heath at his blog Psycho-Noir where he writes about crime fiction and stuff, and learn more about his other books and stories. He's got plenty.

Cheers City Of Heretics, another impressive crime novel.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Tattoo And A Review Featuring, Action - Pulse Pounding Tales by Matt Hilton

Today I'm at Malefic Tattoos getting inked by not only Fabien, by my daughter Sam (the kid as I affectionately refer to her), tattoo apprentice extraordinaire.

I've got Matt Hilton's Action - Pulse pounding Tales Vol 1 rocking my iPad to cope with the pain. The only thing distracting me is reading about other people's pain in this collection of deadly short crime stories about bad people doing bad things, usually to other bad people.

Did I say pain? Yes, in spite of the pharmaceuticals in my veins there is pain. The elbow and the inside of the elbow are particularly nasty places on the human body.

Look at my face in this picture. I'm being tortured. Okay, I'm lying it's not really that bad.
You can tell I'm faking and I take the drugs cause I like the buzz.

Matt Hilton put together this really cool collection of short stories in Action - Pulse Pounding Tales Vol.1 , inviting a number of other talented crime writers to contribute. The result is an impressive collection of down and dirty stories that cut a violent, blood-soaked swathe across the page. Stories that are intense and brutal and superbly written.

I particularly enjoyed Terrence P. McCauley's "Blood Moon of 1931". Gangsters in the prohibition era running around with tommy guns. Love it. The completely hypnotic and elegantly written, "Avenged: Sixfold" by Natasha Marie Thomas, the story of a serial killer cop, was another favourite of mine. I was pleased to see Paul D. Brazill's story in the mix. Always get a thrill reading some Brazill. As I was to see Irish writer K.A. Laity with her brilliant story "Chickens".

Sam and Fabien are both working me over at the same time in this shot. The savages! What a strange feeling that is. Kind of like lying on a nest of fire ants. Or disturbing a hive of killer bees--serial killer bees--with not only stingers but miniature machetes in their little insect legs. Kind of like that.
No little kitten scratches from these two, makes me wonder what I said to upset them. No wonder I resist getting tattooed. Fabien started this design more than a year ago. But now the two of them have decided that I would be the perfect canvass to collaborate on while Fabien instructs Sam on the fine art of tattooing. So I'm forced to get this piece finished.

By the way, Sam is taking appointments if you'd like to get inked. She's been tattooing for a couple of months now, getting better and better. Check out my previous post, My Daughter The Tattoo Artist and you can see the tattoo she inked on herself. Also A Tattoo And A Review With My Daughter Sam, where she reviews one of my stories.

Matt Hilton has a series of action books featuring Joe Hunter. According to Matt's website,"He's not a cop. He's not a bounty hunter. He's not a private detective."So who is he? I have no idea. You'll have to read the books. Judging from his story "Satisfaction Guaranteed" in this collection, they're guaranteed to be damn fine and worth the read. Visit Matt Hilton's website and you can find out all about it.

In the meantime, pick up Action - Pulse Pounding Tales Vol. 1 on Amazon and Amazon UK. Or else. Or else I'm going to unleash the fire ants and machete wielding serial killer bees on your ass.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Tattoo And A Review Featuring Pulp Ink 2

Meet Daniel. He stopped in Malefic Tattoos for a six hour session the other day on his full colour phoenix sleeve. So I put my iPad in his hands and had him take a look at Pulp Ink 2, just released last week by Snubnose Press.

Daniel doesn't read much noir or crime fiction. He reads biographies and he reads whatever his mom gives him, he says. Well, I did my best to lure him away from Mama's recommendations over to the dark side of fiction with these gritty stories of murder and mayhem. Sorry Mama (not really).

Daniel enjoyed "Kingdom Come" by Kevin Brown, said it was well written and entertaining. He also liked "Kidnapped" by Mike Miner, one of my personal favourites in this collection. I loved this story in fact. It's delightfully heartbreaking.

Another of my favourites is "My Life With The Butcher Girl" by Heath Lowrance. Check out this opening paragraph, love this:

"I want to tell you about her eyes, but I lack the poetry of spirit. They were green, but not just green. They were the green of a wild animal, or an innocent alien visitor from another planet. They were wild and hungry, and a sort of sweet, glorious death lingered in them."

This story and Mike Miner's "Kidnapped", have similar heartbreaking themes of men being destroyed through their love for damaged women. Oh those damaged women, they really know how to take a guy down. Let this be a lesson, guys should stay far far away from them.

I particularly enjoyed Court Merrigan's "Glinty-Eyed Robert". It was my first time reading his work and I was completely captivated by his style and descriptive prose. Simply brilliant.

Daniel works as a firefighter, one of those hot guys women lust after. Although he says he hasn't done any of the bare chested and oiled-up caledars. Too bad. According to Daniel most firefighters don't look like that anyway. Oh say it isn't so, you dream crusher!

As I was thinking of the fact that Daniel is a firefighter, I said, "I wonder if there's any stories in here with a fire." And as I thought about it for a moment, I realized that my story, "How We Come Undone", in fact has a fire in it. Why son of a gun! I swear that was a complete coincidence, although it sounds contrived. Daniel had to read it after I told him and Fabien that the fire was an actual event (although not the horror that followed in my story, or I'd be writing this from a 6x8 steel and concrete cage).

When I was a teenager my friend and I accidentally set someone's sofa on fire. We were in the shower, although not together. Just prior to this my friend had dropped the ember from a cigarette on the sofa and it rolled down the back of the cushion. I tried to explain to Daniel and Fabien how it could be that we were both in the bathroom but only one of us was in the shower, but the guys wanted to go with the idea of us in the shower together. So I indulged their perverted little brains and went with their fictitious version of events, that my girlfriend and I were in the shower together, soaping each other up. And I thought perhaps I should write erotica. Except my book titles would have to be something like "Fifty Shades of Death In the Shower with a Ball Peen Hammer" Cause that's how my brain works. Sex is good sure, but follow it up with a good killing and I'm in.

Getting back to Pulp Ink 2, this slick killer anthology is available in kindle version or hardcopy. Check out the first Pulp Ink as well. I've got a review of it here.

I failed to get a good shot of Daniel's phoenix tattoo at the end of their session cause, well, I had oiled-up firefighters on the brain (in the shower together) which clearly shut down all rational thought. So next time he's in, I'll get some pics. Of his tattoo that is. In the meantime, what are you waiting for? Go get Pulp Ink 2!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Review - Richard Godwin's Mr. Glamour

Richard Godwin is another of those talented British crime writers I've come to love. His style is unique--bold and gritty and entirely compelling. His second novel, Mr. Glamour (Black Jackal Books), is a dark and disturbing murder mystery with just the right amount of terror and suspense to keep you up late at night.

The police are on the trail of a cunning serial killer hunting London’s rich and famous, leaving a blood bath in his wake. A psychologically broken serial killer (aren’t they all?) and yet the investigators tracking him might be just as sick as he is, as the line between good and evil blurs. Godwin excavates the darkness that lives where you least expect it to.

Visually descriptive with well-rendered characters, each damaged in their own way, Mr. Glamour is a frightening and violent novel that’s hard to forget. I love how Godwin mixes an erotica flavour in his writing, almost lulling you into this salacious voyeuristic place and then in the next moment someone gets murdered. Truly Chilling. Highly recommended.

Get it on Amazon and Amazon UK.

Visit Richard Godwin at his website

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Coloured Folk Invade Downtown Toronto

The 14th annual Northern Ink Exposure rolled into Toronto this weekend, held at the downtown Hilton, and brought a wave of coloured people to the event. This is the place where the audience is also the attraction with the vast majority of exposed skin being all sleeved up.

Malefic Tattoos had a booth this year and Fabien was tattooing up a storm. When he wasn't working hard he was playing harder at the after parties with the likes of the Detroit's legendary artist Bob Tyrrell.

If you have never before been to a tattoo convention and are a lover of ink
or wish you could only be so cool, it's worth checking it out. Most major cities have annual tattoo conventions with artists flying in from all over the globe.

Not only do artists come from all around the world to attend the convention, so do some of their clientele. Kai Uwe Faust of Kunsten pa Kroppen came from Denmark and his customer flew in from Florida to get inked by him. Yes, that's a stick he's tattooing with. But of course there's needles in the end of it.

Kai has a traditional celtic norse style that is entirely hand poked. The sleeve he's working on here in the pics was done over a two day period. Definitely impressive work that he does.

Artists came from as far away as China, Japan, the UK, Australia, Germany, all across the states and Canada.

HoriHui of Taiwan was showcasing some mad oriental skills. Some very impressive work. I wouldn't mind having something done by this guy one day. I'll have to save some space on my skin.

I don't think he speaks much English though so I wonder how well "ouch" translates in other languages. I'm sure I'd be fine as long as I could learn some primo Mandarin swear words while getting tattooed.

Another tattooer that came from far far away was Erin Chance of New Zealand, inking some wicked original designs at the show.

I was really impressed and inspired by Erin's work. She's got this fantastic style that's kind of a combination of old school tattoo art with a Victorian flavour. Erin is another artist I would love to have some ink done by. And this is the problem with going to tattoo conventions. So many great artists, so little skin.

Nikko Hurtado who does hands down the best colour portraits in the entire industry, apparently did a portrait of Bob Tyrrell on someone this weekend. Now that's true love right there, getting a portrait of someone on your flesh. People just love Bob that much it seems. Everyone in the industry knows who Nikko is, but if you've never heard of him, you have to check out his work. You'll be blown away.

Update July 18th: This is a picture of the Bob Tyrrell tattoo that Nikko did at the show. Pretty sweet.

And while we're on the topic of tattoos, here's a sneak peek for all you noir and crime fiction lovers of the cover art of Noir Nation's tattoo issue.

If you're at all like me, then the combination of ink and gritty noir fiction is like total perfection. My two passions unite for what promises to be a spectacular event. This issue should be out very soon on a digital bookshelf near you, and I'm pleased to say I've got a story in there, along with some other fantastic writers.

For more info on the Toronto NIX convention and to see some of the other phenomenal artists who were in attendance, check out or vist their Facebook page.

In the meantime go get something inked!

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Daughter The Tattoo Artist...

Meet my daughter Sam. She just started tattooing a couple of weeks ago. After doing a few small free ones on her friends, she decided to tattoo herself. It's a strange thing to tattoo oneself. I know, I've done it before just to see what it was like. I did a very small bee on my foot and it was definitely weird.

So when Sam said she was going to tattoo herself and showed me a picture of a rather large bee that she wanted to put on her leg, I gave her that mother look. You know the one, that one-eyed squint with the slight disapproving raise of a perfectly penciled on eyebrow. That do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do look? Yeah, that's the one she got from me. The old reproachful, and at the same time, completely hypocritical look that moms are ever so skilled at executing.

After trying unsuccessfully to convince her to make it smaller (I don't think I've ever said those words in the shop. We always suggest bigger), Sam would not be swayed. Sadly, the mother look has lost all it's power! She is 19 after all, and can do whatever the hell she wants. But you know mothers, we don't always acknowledge this fact not when it comes to our precious little babies.

So I helped her place the stencil on her leg (hard to get it on straight when it's on yourself) and said, "Well, I can always laser it off another time." Because we offer laser tattoo removal, which is quite effective if you want to divorce your tattoo. Who says it has to be forever? And after an hour or so of steady concentration, this is the outline she did on herself . Impressive? Most definitely! Aside from tattooing grapefruits, pig skin and synthetic tattoo practice skin, Sam has previously done maybe three or four tattoos on other people. So it was most impressive that she brought this level of skill this early to the tattoo on herself. Mother is proud.

Here is Sam tattooing her nephew John today who is a year younger than her. This is perhaps her seventh tattoo. All the free ones were quickly scooped up. Starting next week she will be charging for her work at a reduced rate. If you're in the Toronto area and want Sam to tattoo you, drop by Malefic Tattoos and have a chat.She's usually around Monday to Saturday between 1 and 7pm. Except for this weekend when she'll be with us at the Toronto NIX Tattoo Convention downtown.

Take a look at this picture of Sam and John taken in 1995 when they were both babies. My how they've grown. All that sweet innocence, where did it go? Lost somewhere between the baby formula and the tattoo ink.

Check out A Tattoo And A Review With My Daughter Sam where I tattoo her while she reviews one of my books. It's kind of awesome.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Evening Of Mystery At Ben McNally Books

The fabulous Ben McNally Books downtown Toronto, along with ECW Press, hosted a fun evening with some of Canada's coolest crime writers.
John McFetridge entertained everyone reading an excerpt from his latest book, Tumblin' Dice.

John's a great guy and a fantastic writer. Check out the review I did recently for Tumblin' Dice over at Spinetingler.

John McFetridge has written a number of crime novels all based in Toronto: Dirty Sweet, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Swap and now Tumblin' Dice, which was just released in March. His writing style has been compared to Elmore Leonard and he indeed writes some dark and gritty stuff with lots of swearing. Love that. You can never have too much foul language in a crime book. You've got to be able to offend your grandma if you want to do it right.

David Whellams, author of Walking into the Ocean, also read to us.

David is an Ottawa based writer and has a background in criminal law. His book, Walking into the Ocean is a mystery novel set in Britain and features Veteran Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Peter Cammon who, while investigating the murder of a woman, discovers and even

bigger mystery involving a number of deaths that might be the work of a serial killer. Sounds like fun to me. Who doesn't love serial killers?

Toronto author Brent Pilkey read an interesting excerpt from his book; a humorous little part that went into detailed descriptions of cop's underwear. I'll never be able to look at them without thinking about what might be in their pants, I mean under their pants. Under wear? Their pants. Yes, that's it. I got cop's briefs on my brain now.

Brent is a Toronto cop himself so when he talks about cops (and their boxers) he knows what he's saying. Savage Rage is Brent's second book set in Toronto, featuring the character of officer Jack Warren. You can read my review of Savage Rage over at Goodreads. It's a pretty cool book, as is Brent's first one, Lethal Rage.

Another Toronto writer, Dorothy McIntosh, author of The Witch of Babylon was at tonight's event, showing her support. Dorothy chatted me up about the new book in her trilogy coming out soon and it sounds fantastic. I've got a review of The Witch of Babylon on my blog. It's a page turner.

Ben McNally's is a great little book store on Bay Street, with a really elegant atmosphere. Check it out if you're in the Toronto area. And be sure to visit ECW Press for a list of all the books of tonight's featured authors.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Tattoo And A Review, Featuring Drunk On The Moon

Werewolves are always getting a bad rap. In movies and in stories the werewolf is typically portrayed as a vicious creature to be feared and loathed. But according to Eric, who came into Malefic Tattoos today to continue the work on his reverse tribal full leg piece, werewolves are just misunderstood.

"As long as they only kill the bad guy, it's fine," says Eric as he paused from reading Paul D. Brazill's Drunk On The Moon, werewolf PI anthology.

Eric said he liked how Drunk On The Moon has an interesting twist on the stereotypical werewolf.

Indeed it does. The werewolf in Drunk On The Moon is Roman Dalton, a hard drinking, dark and brooding Private Investigator who, when the moon is full, changes into a werewolf. That's when things get really interesting as he does battle with zombies and other unsavoury monsters. What? Yes, you read that right, that's what I said. Zombies. Nasty things they are, the undead.

There is no cure for the lycanthropy surging inside the pages of this book. There is no amount of wolfbane potent enough, no exorcism strong enough, no silver bullets pure enough to stop this shape shifting, whiskey loving Canis Lupus creature of the night. And that's a good thing, because it's a damn good collection of noir-meets-horror stories written by some fine writers.

Some of my favourite stories in this collection are Katherine Tomlinson's "A Fire in the Blood" where Roman goes to see a necromancer after having nightmares and learns that a particularly nasty Persian fire demon is after him. "Blood and Alcohol" by horror writer Frank Duffy is another that stands out for me. It's no secret I'm a big fan of Duffy. His novella Mountains of Smoke is simply brilliant. I also enjoyed Richard Godwin's "Getting High on Daisy". Godwin has this interesting dark and provocative style that boarders on erotica.

Jason Michel's "Back to Nature" story is also pretty cool. As are all the others by such excellent authors Allan Leverone, K.A Laity, B.R. Stateham, John Donald Carlucci, Paul D. Brazill, and myself.

While Eric might not have lycan in his blood, he's certainly got ink. Ink transforming him from just another average white guy into a fascinating human canvas. I don't think he's ever howled at the moon after one too man whiskeys down at Duffy's bar as Roman has, but Eric did mention something to me about moon dust (whatever that is) so I think he might have more in common with our werewolf PI than he's letting on. Eric isn't afraid of any big bad wolf either because... well, I think he is one.

Check out Eric's review of Heath Lowrance's Dig Ten Graves.

Eric also reviews Julie Morrigan's Show No Mercy

Drunk On The Moon, get it on Amazon and Amazon UK. Available in ebook and hard copy.

Paul D. Brazill blogs over at, You Would Say That Wouldn't You?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Two Killer Anthologies...

I'm honoured to have stories in both of these amazing anthologies with some very hot crime writers.

The first one is Burning Bridges, A Renegade Fiction Anthology. It's a compilation of fifteen short stories featuring writers:

Allan Leverone, Paul D. Brazill, Julia Madeleine, Heath Lowrance, K.A. Laity, Mark Cooper, Darren Sant, George S. Geisinger, McDroll, Edith M. Maxwell, Benjamin Sobieck, Tace Baker, Joshua J. Mark, L. Vera, and B.R. Stateham

You can get Burning Bridges on Amazon for 99 cents with the proceeds donated to the non-profit group, Literacy for Incarcerated Teens. Or you can get it free on Smashwords. Whichever you choose, just get it because it's awesome.

The next one is Paul D. Brazill's Drunk On The Moon, the story about a werewolf P.I., or werewolf noir as we like to call it. It's written by a number of fantastic crime writers:

Paul D Brazill, Allan Leverone, K.A. Laity, B.R. Stateham, Julia Madeleine, Richard Godwin, John Donald Carlucci, Frank Duffy, Jason Michel, and Katherine Tomlinson.

Find Drunk On The Moon on Amazon and Amazon U.K.

Please consider writing up a review on Amazon when you've read them. Reviews are like gold to writers.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Tattoo And A Review Featuring, Allan Leverone

One of our favourite clients, Teresa, was back today at Malefic Tattoos for some more inking on her Japanese sleeve by Fabien. Teresa enjoyed a few stories from Allan Leverone's dark collection Postcards From The Apocalypse.

Teresa said she really liked that Allan's stories are all so varied. Her favourite story in the collection is Suspicions, about a serial killer.

"It reminds me of the TV series Dexter, with that twist at the end," says Teresa.

Teresa works as a prison guard in Toronto. So of course I wanted to know if there are any serial killers housed in her prison.

But, fortunately the serial killer is a rare breed, and there are none currently incarcerated there. Interestingly, Teresa says the murderers she does have in her jail are some real sweet talkers and make the best inmates because they're doing long time.

"It's the ones in for drug charges or DUIs that act like punks," says Teresa. Makes sense to me to be polite to your prison guard, murderer or not.

On the subject of penatentuaries, it was just announced that the legendary two-hundred-year old Kingston Pen is slated to close it's doors, and so is Teresa's prison as Ontario turns Mimico jail into a superjail in Toronto at a price tag of $1.1 billion. I bet there will be a serial killer or two doing some time in there, now that all the jails are getting amalgamated.

Allan Leverone is an awesome writer (and a cool guy). I really enjoy how he's got these little forwards to each story in Postcards From The Apocalypse, that give you a little background, where he got his inspiration from, where the stories first appeared, and the awards he's won for some of them. Allan's novel The Lonely Mile is a serial killer story by the way, and it's fabulously intense.

Teresa's sleeve is coming along nicely. Today they worked on some colour and detail in the geisha on the inside of her upper arm. We told Teresa that when it's completely finished she's going to be the envy of the slammer.

You can see more of Teresa's ink in her previous reviews of The Lost Children's Charity Anthology and Keith Rawson's The Chaos We Know.

On May 1st, Allan and I will be sharing a book title with some other hot crime writers. Burning Bridges, a renegade anthology, available for your e-reader. The great thing about this collection of kick-ass stories is that it's going to be absolutely free. Yes, that's right, I said that four letter word, and I'll say it again. Free. As in complimentary. Cause that's just the kind of nice people we are. So don't forget to check that out.

Be sure to stop by Allan's website. He's also on a virtual book tour at the moment over at Partners In Crime for his latest release, Paskagankee.

Check out his Amazon Page if you'd like to learn more about his books. He's got lots!