Sunday, 29 April 2012
I'd written this story a couple of days ago, and kept it in a draft post on Blogger which for some unknown reason then decided to eat all the content, and leave a draft post with the title intact, but nothing else. Only discovered it this morning, when I went to write it, and so had to write it again from scratch.
I've done this before, and it's a frustrating position to be in, because when I rewrite that accidentally-deleted story or scene, it never feels as good as the original. My suspicion is that this is entirely self-deception, and that if you made a bunch of writers do this and then posted their rewritten work together with their sneakily-restored first drafts, no-one would be able to consistently tell which is which. Still, it always feels that something is missing.
Anyway, it's done, and as I posted it I realised that this is the last story for April, and so I've managed to get through a third of the year keeping to the idea behind 52 songs of writing and posting one story a week. Which is something of a surprise for two reasons - firstly, that I've managed to stick to it which is a minor miracle in itself, and secondly, in my head it feels like we are a few weeks past Christmas, and suddenly a third of the year has gone.
April's been a good month for me. My sales are up across all of my books, although One of Us is having depressingly slow start. Some reviews should be coming through soon, which may help that. But the rest are doing well...nothing spectacular, but each month since the start of the year has been better than the last, and if that continues I'll be very happy. I entered a piece of flash fiction in the Flashbang competition (crime story in no more than 150 words), first prize a couple of tickets to CrimeFest 2012 down in Bristol, and made the longlist of 20, shortlist of 8 to be announced on Friday, and winner later in May. Think all the shortlist win things like a DVD of The Killing or some crime novels, so if I make the shortlist, it will be good regardless.
Monday, 23 April 2012
Friday, 20 April 2012
From the criminal minds of the Abominable Gentlemen come four tales of murder, malfeasance and malarky:
"The Aerialist" by Alan Ryker
"Packob's Reward" by James Everington
"Poe's Blender" by Aaron Polson
Penny Dreadnought: Uncommitted Crimes contains approximately 14,000 words of both new and previously published fiction. You can buy it at:
Thursday, 12 April 2012
Speaking of which...if you want to read the first chapter, Keith Brooke's posted it as an extract. If you read it and enjoy it, it just so happens that there's some links afterwards that will take you to where you can get the book. An uncanny coincidence.
And to fit with tomorrow being Friday 13th, my collection of eight strange and chilling short stories, Ice Age, is going to be free on Amazon for two days. Tell your friends. Actually, feel free to tell complete strangers on public transport, too.
Sunday, 8 April 2012
For the rest of today, Ray Banks' Dead Money is free on Amazon, and because he and the Blasted Heathens crew are the warm-hearted bunnies that they are, they're throwing in his novella Gun too (which I reviewed, here, and very good it was too).. Find out how to get them both here.
Friday, 6 April 2012
When you type words into the google search box in my browser it gives you popular search phrases you can pick to save having to type out the full thing. I wanted to know something about setting up mail on my new toy, and I got as far as typing in "how know if" and the first suggestions from Google have a kind of sad poetry to them, particularly in the order they come in.
- how know if a girl likes you
- how know if a guy likes you
- how know if you are pregnant
- how know if you have HIV
- how know if your in love
Thursday, 5 April 2012
What I meant to say, is that between now and Friday, you can get the bargain of a lifetime and pick up Nowhere To Go for absolutely nothing from Amazon (Amazon US here). Eleven quality crime stories for free.
Not only does that save you money that you could then put on a lottery ticket which wins you millions making me directly responsible for changing your life, but if you are in the UK as it's free you will pay no VAT and so you will make George Osborne sad, and that will make lots of other people happy.
So, get rich, make people happy, pick up a copy today.
It's currently standing at #2 in the Amazon UK short story charts, and it would be very nice for it to get to #1.
Now, where was I. Santy hats, santy hats, pahnd for yer santy hats.
Tuesday, 3 April 2012
I went off to one of my favourite buildings last night, to see Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells play the small Sage hall. Same venue I saw King Creosote and Jon Hopkins in back in January, and I really like the place. Is small, and intimate, perfect for this kind of gig.
The support act was RM Hubbert, who was new to me. It's one of the things I like about some gigs; finding someone I hadn't heard before, and I liked his percussive, sometimes flamenco, sometimes Celtic acoustic guitar mixed with diffident, amusing confessional interludes and an extended coughing solo. Most of the set was instrumental, but he ought to sing more, as when he did it was excellent. As a closer, Moffat came on to do the vocals on the terrific Car Song, from Hubbert's last album Thirteen Lost and Found (produced by Alex Kapranos, who also contributes to Car Song).
Everything's Getting Older was one of my three favourite albums in 2011. There simply isn't a better lyricist writing today than Aidan Moffat, and given the age I'm at, a lot of his preoccupations have real resonance. As well as insight though, he's scabrously funny.
They played as a four piece, Moffat singing and playing a couple of toms, a couple of cymbals, a harmonium and a transistor radio. Not all at once. Bill Wells stayed at the piano, Stevie James played double bass, and just about every track was lit up by Robert Henderson's muted trumpet. He added an additional hand to the piano on The Copper Top and held his trumpet in the other for a solo at the same time. Now that's multitasking.
Terrific stuff, and I hope the two of them are working on a second album.
Sunday, 1 April 2012
The next time was easy. Easy for me, not so easy for the big man with a dislocated arm.
"Fell off a horse," he said, and grinned. Then he tried to look down my t-shirt as I bent over.
"I am going to put your arm back into place," I told him.
"You can do what you like with me, love, I'm all yours. Does it hurt much then? Don't mind a bit of pain, know what I mean. What about you, love?" He laughed like a pig snorts, and sat with his fat legs wide open so I had to lean against them with mine to get close to him.
"No, it does not hurt," I said to him, and to his friends who were watching. "I did this once for a little girl. She had fallen off her bicycle. She was very brave, and I did it and she did not make a single sound. After I was finished, I gave her a lollipop for being so good. Do you think you can be as tough as a little girl?"
I put his shoulder back where it should be.
"No lollipop for you," I said.
The next time they sent me to see a girl who thought she had a venereal disease. She was small and blonde, and she did not stop drumming her fingers for a moment, even when I was examining her. Her cheek bore the mark of a fading bruise, but there was not anything that I could do for that. She told me that her name was Maja, and that she was from Slovenia.
"How did you end up here?" I asked.
The man sitting reading a newspaper and pretending not to watch my examination coughed. Maja glanced at him, and did not say anything more, she just drummed away on the bed frame, like she was tapping out a distress signal in morse code.
When I was finished I told her that she did not have a venereal disease that I could see, she had a very bad case of thrush, and what she should do about it. But I also told her that this did not mean that she did not have any diseases that I could not see.
"Have you been to a clinic?" I asked her.
She shook her head. "Not allowed. This is why I see you."
I shook my head. This was madness. "Tell Corgan," I told the man. "Tell him she needs to see a proper doctor. She can go to a clinic, it will be anonymous, she won't get reported to anyone if you need to keep this all so secret. Tell him."
He laughed. "I'm not going to tell Corgan anything. I'd wash your hands now love, if I were you."
"Why?" I said to him. "I haven't touched you."