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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Rather unexpectedly, Nowhere To Go has been nominated for the Best Short Story Collection in the 2012 awards run by Spinetingler magazine. This alone is great, but to see the company that I'm in is even better. It's an honour to be alongside the other authors shortlisted.

Voting's now opened here.

Lovely to see Luca, Chris and Nigel all in the running for best anthology (and best short story on the web and best cover for Nigel), and Blasted Heath for crime fiction publisher.

Print edition of Nowhere To Go will be out soon, with the gorgeous new cover designed by Keith at infinityplus.


Sunday, 25 March 2012

One Of Us

It's been a long, strange trip.

One Of Us started as a short story, that came out of nowhere. There was just the voice, Anna's voice, and then the story of her and Corgan fell out of that. It got published in Hitchcock's, was destined for an anthology called Best New Noir until the publisher pulled the plug on that one, and then grew into a novel, which much to my surprise got shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger award.

It didn't win, but I got to go to a nice awards dinner at the Hilton, and meet some incredibly nice people, and listen to the world's most meandering speech from James Naughtie. I also ended up signing with an agent with an incredible reputation, although after nearly a year and some unexpected heartbreak, I ended up unsigning. Long story, with a pointed moral about not counting chickens, but also about writing what you want to write.

But now, One Of Us is published, in paperback (US, UK to follow in a couple of weeks) and ebook (US | UK), by infinityplus, and I'm happy, because I like it a lot, and hope that you do too. If you do, be a star and spread the word, please.




Saturday, 24 March 2012

Guest blog - Convictions, Heartbreaker and the power of ‘free’


Time for a guest post here at More News From Nowhere. Long-time readers will know Julie Morrigan well, not least from her interview here a little while back. She's been having great success with both short stories and novels, and hit an amazing run when she made her first novel, Convictions, free for a little while on Amazon. Not only did it do incredibly well while the offer was on, that continued when it went back to its usual price, and it's still doing very well now. 

As of today, Julie's making her second novel, Heartbreaker, free for just this weekend. But I'll let her tell you about that.

Over to you, Julie.

You’d think the last way an author would go about boosting sales would be to give their books away. And yet, that’s exactly what I did with my debut novel Convictions three weeks ago.

The book went from barely noticed to bestseller within days. (And when I say ‘bestseller’, that’s after it stopped being free.)

If I’d known all I had to do to get a book into the top 100 on Amazon UK and to keep it there for a couple of weeks was give away several thousand copies, I’d have done it months ago!

Still, I catch on quickly, and so I’m trying it again. This weekend it’s novel number two, Heartbreaker, that is free.

Unlike Convictions, it’s not a straight crime novel. This one’s about music. Loud, blues-based rock, to be precise, and it tells the tale of fictional band Heartbreaker all the way from the 60s to the present day. The deaths are tragic, the riffs are magic, and the party rolls on despite the drama, secrets and lies.

As much as I’m fond of Convictions and its characters (and I really am), it’s probably fair to say that the Heartbreaker crew are closer to my heart. Even the band name (and book title) is driven by two of my favourite bands: both Led Zeppelin and Free have songs titled Heartbreaker. And the story gives me the chance to drop various little references and snippets in there for other people to spot and hopefully enjoy.

Don’t think that if you aren’t a devoted music fan that you won’t ‘get’ it, though. At its heart, the book is about people: who they are, what makes them tick, and how they react when the chips are down.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what some other people have to say.

‘Julie Morrigan’s book explores probably the deepest desire of all music fans: spending time with your idol and getting to be their friends. It also explores the price to pay for fame and how prejudices and a touch of jealousy can twist even those you love the most. Morrigan’s writing is fluent, filled with twists and humanity.’ — Alessia Matteoli, AAA Music

'With Heartbreaker, Morrigan has taken a completely fictional band and brought them to life more realistically than many actual rock biographies I've read managed to do. Her obvious knowledge and love of rock and blues is infused throughout the book, adding little details, references and layers of realism that makes Heartbreaker a pleasure to read on several levels. You not only get a great story, you get a mini history of classic rock along the way. Heartbreaker is the best new band I've discovered in a while ... and a hell of a book.' Book reviewer Elizabeth A. White

'Morrigan has taken a myth, a myth that applies to many rock bands, and made it her own. In her tight structured prose, her razor dialogue, her observed humour and her strong evocation of what the price of fame is, she has written a story full of human drama. The title fits the novel perfectly. I cannot recommend this highly enough.' Richard Godwin, author of Apostle Rising and Mr Glamour

Heartbreaker is free on Amazon (UK | US) all weekend. If you grab a copy, thanks, and I hope you enjoy it. Let’s see if we can make this one a bestseller, too!

Round-up

If you like short fiction, and you like music (and if you don't, don't click on the 52 Songs, 52 Stories link above or to the right, you'll hate it), then check out Neil Schiller's excellent 7" fiction project. Original post here, first B-side here, an update here, and a new A-side here.

Speaking of 52 Songs, the next story is going to be up tomorrow. This one's inspired by an old Tricky song.

Issue 21 of David Longhorn's excellent Supernatural Tales is out now. One of the stories in it is a sad little thing from me called The Edge Of The Map. I'm honoured to be in there alongside some very good stories from some very talented authors. Full line-up:

Stephen J. Clark - 'The Vigil'
Sam Dawson - 'The Last Fight'
Steve Duffy - 'The Purple Tinted Window'
Adam Golaski - 'Translation'
S.P. Miskowski - 'A.G.A.'
Bill Read - 'Virpus'
Iain Rowan - 'The Edge of the Map'
Steve Rasnic Tem - 'These Days When All is Silver and Bright'

I'm generally deeply cynical about much of what you see labelled as advice on 'how to be a writer', but I like what Gary McMahon has to say on it all, although it's not going to go down too well if you're a goat. If you are a goat that writes, I'd suggest you don't need any advice, just go straight for getting the best agent you can, and avoid bridges.

Sure I've mentioned it here before, but Fragments of Noir is a great blog that would always merit a second mention.

And I dunno who to give credit to for this, but it just about sums up this week in politics in the UK:


My dull week

....and I'm back. Been quite here for a little while, because I've been caught up in the throes of what was a speculative job application, which much to my surprise turned into an interview, which even more to my surprise turned into an invitation to a final round of interviews...which was far more in line with my natural state of cynical pessimism. Wasn't far off, but it's not the Olympics and there's no medals for being placed. In one way I'm really pleased I got that far, as the job is quite a change from what I'm doing now, and I was very much an outside and outsider candidate, but the further I got, the more I wanted it. Really interesting job working for an educational charity, and a lovely, lovely bunch of people. Ah well.

Would have meant a move down to Yorkshire for all the family, which in is no bad thing, as we're shuttling backwards and forwards between here and Leeds 3-4 times a week anyway, but that did up the stakes a bit.

Anyway, I spent most of my free time over the last month writing presentations and reports and mugging up for interviews, so at least now it's over things can get back to normal.

Or at least as normal as things get in a week which has seen: two days of interviews and not getting the job, having to have the police out over some idiot being an idiot, son in casualty start of week to get staple in his head after another kid tossed a bottle at him, son back in casualty again at end of week because he's gone over on his ankle and ended up on crutches and strapped up, no dancing for six weeks, but fortunately ankle not broken.

So, not much going on, really.

Oh, and next week, my novel's going to be published.


Monday, 12 March 2012

Mug shots

As mentioned, my novel is going to be published soon and we're going to change the cover design of Nowhere To Go, my short story collection, to match it. Top work by Keith Brooke on this one, I love it.

This is the wraparound cover for the print version (yes, for the first time Nowhere To Go is going to be available in print too).


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Tumbleweeds

Been a little quiet on here, due to Real Life Things, which might turn out to be very good things indeed, but probably won't.

Anyway, will be back to normal in just over a week. Meanwhile, you can read my latest story in the 52 Songs, 52 Stories project. This week's story is a dark little creation, inspired by the song 'Come Inside' from the Tindersticks (excellent) new album.