Making a splash

bettyfedora1The other day I promised a snippet from my latest short story, ‘Going Off the Deep End’, and here it is:

My old friend Joanne’s really getting up my nose. All this poncing about with new clothes and new shoes, not to mention the new fast car. New house, too, in a posh road where all the houses have these bloody electric gates so you can’t even see over the hedge let alone get in.

Some people get in. The cleaner and the pool man and the gardener and all the deliveries for all that glitzy tat she buys online. Her friends get in too. Her new friends, that is. All long blonde hair and tight little tushes in skirts up to here and boots. ‘Course, none of it’s real. They’ve all had tucks and tweaks and injections and Christ knows what. New boobs and new noses to match the bicycle-pump lips and pared-down thighs. Amazing how much bloody work’s involved in looking good these days. Amazing too what ten grand a week will buy.

I barely make that a year. Struggle on twelve grand with two kids to feed and a partner who scarpered for the hills the minute I was pregnant with the second one. Scarpered for Lindsey Bains, more like. Little cow he met at work, wears skinny-rib jumpers too tight over her boobs. He told me she understood him, as though I didn’t. Fact is I understand him better than he likes to think. I understood he wanted a younger, more attractive model. Wasn’t hard to work that one out when he told me I’d ‘let myself go’.

Don’t forget – you can find the rest of the story in Issue 1 of the new Betty Fedora magazine which is available in Kindle or print right now!

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Get out of jail free

This story on the BBC website reads like a cross between a game of Monopoly and the film ‘I Love You Philip Morris’ (in which Jim Carrey’s con-man character manages to talk his way out of prison several times).

In this particular case, a fraudster got hold of a mobile phone, created a fake email account, and then used that to email the prison his “release papers”.  Rather amazingly, they fell for it, and let him out on bail.  His deception wasn’t discovered until three days later, when his solicitor turned up to speak to him and found he was no longer there.

Cue some very red faces at Wandsworth Prison where this happened, but at least the guy handed himself in to police a few days later so no real harm done.  I’d give him ten out of ten for initiative, if somewhat less for honesty…

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Betty Fedora available

bettyfedora1Talk about buses – nothing for ages then three come along at once.  Next month I should have two short stories coming out (in the ‘Rogue’ and ‘Locked & Loaded’ anthologies) and yesterday, rather unexpectedly, the first issue of Betty Fedora hit the streets.

This is a brand new magazine focusing on ‘kickass women’s crime’ which sounds like an absolute blast.  My own story, called ‘Going Off the Deep End’, features a woman who’s been dissed by her ex-best friend and decides to make something of a splash by way of revenge.

The magazine is available in both kindle and paperback versions from Amazon US, and in Kindle from Amazon UK.

I’ll try to remember to post a brief excerpt from my story in the next day or two but in the meantime I’m already having evil thoughts about a story to submit to their second issue…

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Come and get some

roguecoverWow, those guys at Near to the Knuckle really know a thing or two about promotion.  The ‘Rogue’ anthology hasn’t even hit the streets yet, but we have our very own video on YouTube!

Go here to have a look for yourselves.  It’s pretty amazing and I’m delighted to be #2 on such a fantastic list of authors.

Come and get some indeed.

A word of warning: you might need sunglasses for the first few seconds…!

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Snatched in Carlisle…

snatchedNo, this isn’t some nasty news item from the north-west of England, or even the title of a kidnapping drama on tv (although… watch this space on that one!)  Thursday evening saw me pottering over to Carlisle on the train, first to meet writing friend Lucy Cameron for a meal and mooch round, and then to attend Graham Smith’s book launch/party/general knees-up for his debut novel, ‘Snatched From Home’.  Hence the title of this post!

The launch was amazingly well-attended, with upwards of 50 guests crammed into the upstairs of Waterstones book shop in Carlisle city centre.  I’ve been to some launches where it’s not much more than the author, his mother, a couple of friends and the publisher who turn up so this was a refreshing change – and no more than Graham deserves, both for the quality of his writing and for his ceaseless hard work in promoting crime fiction in general.

The session took the form of a mini-interview between Graham and Cumbrian crime writer Matt Hilton (which was a fun idea and less prone to lengthy silences than when the audience are asked for questions…), followed by Graham himself reading the first few pages of his book.  I haven’t read it myself, but it involves a gang kidnapping a couple’s children because the father owes them money, and sounds thoroughly tense and gripping.

Here’s to the success of both the book and Graham’s future writing career, and here’s hoping for a few more equally enjoyable launch parties in Carlisle in the years to come.  Mind you, the less said about my train journey home again, the better…

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Rogue with Aidan Thorn

roguecoverI was all set to do a reminder post about the rapidly approaching release of the Rogue anthology… and then I found Aidan Thorn had beaten me to it.  Since both he and I are going to be included, and since he’s put it all ever so much better than I ever could, I’ll simply pass on the link to his blog along with a couple of brief mutters.

One, I’m bowled over by his amazingly kind comments about my writing.  And two, the book’s out on 2nd April.  Not that I’m hinting or anything.

Oh yes.  The link.  Try clicking this and see what happens. I promise it won’t actually blow up in your face.

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Still alive!

Sorry I’ve been so quiet on here the last week or so – there are two main reasons for this.  One, as I mentioned I went off to Scotland for my second annual Crime & Publishment weekend writing course, which actually spilled over into four days by the time I’d travelled there and back.

As with last year, it was a blast.  Same great people, same friendly atmosphere, same really informative speakers (particular thanks this year to retired Detective Superintendent Bob Bridgestock, who has made me rewrite half my current work – but for all the right reasons!), same enthusiasm and sheer inspiration.  I’m already counting the pennies ready to go again next year.

The other reason I’ve been so quiet is that I’ve been writing.  The first draft of my current project, a novella called ‘Raise the Blade’, was nearing completion before I went away, and once I’d got my feet back under the desk I wanted to get it finished.  And… the good news is that I have – all 28,000 words of it.  It’s now sitting in a file on a corner of my desk, vegetating, while I get my brain back in gear before starting the long hard editing process.  As usual it’ll need a lot of polishing, but it’s still a nice warm fuzzy feeling to have finished such a (for me) large scale project.

More news on stories in various anthologies coming soon – do watch this space!

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Quick round-up

I should be busy packing since I’m heading off tomorrow to this year’s Crime & Publishment weekend at The Mill Forge in Gretna Green, Scotland.  I went last year, had an absolute blast, met some wonderful people, and picked up all sorts of weird and wonderful facts about crime writing, so I’m really looking forward to repeating the experience.

However, there is just time to round up a few bits and pieces of news before I bury myself in a heap of suitcases.

First, a couple more reviews of anthologies I have stories in.  This one, very thoughtful, about Exiles: An Outsider Anthology; and this one about Drag Noir.  I’m especially pleased with the latter because the reviewer has been so kind about my story, ‘Wheel Man’.

Second, it’s now less than a month until the Rogue anthology hits the streets.  This collection of stories featuring a flawed central character includes work from some of the (literary!) heavyweights of the genre, including Paul D Brazill, Ryan Bracha, Aidan Thorn and Gareth Spark.  And, er, me.  My story ‘Singing From the Same Sheet’ explores the differences between good and evil, and how they may be closer than we think.  The book’s due out on April 2nd so keep watching this space.

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Another great review

I haven’t been posting as much on here lately because I’ve had my head down, writing furiously, trying to finish my latest novella by Easter if at all possible.

I’m still scribbling today, but thought I would just dash in to share this super review of Drag Noir which featured in Starburst Magazine the other day.  As well as the overall write-up there are well-deserved mentions for several of the authors and their stories.

Right, back to that novella.  Well, it won’t write itself…

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Rabbitting good news

rabbitstewI’m dashing in with some good news about the fate of my short story ‘Rabbit Stew’, which has just been accepted to appear in Cannibal Cookbook, edited by Dana Kabel and published by Gutter Books.

The story was inspired by the old wartime joke ‘fifty fifty, guv, one horse, one rabbit’ but the reality is much, much worse!

No firm details yet on when the book’s due but as usual I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops as soon as I know.

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What price the library

Forgive me if I’m being thick, but what exactly is the point of spending £189 million on a brand new library in Birmingham, if less than two years after it opens you’re going to halve the hours it’s available to the public from over 70 a week to 40?  I haven’t seen any details of the revised opening hours, but that’s basically eight hours a day for five days a week, so presumably it’s going to be shut in the evenings and at weekends – which is when most working folk have the time to visit it.

This BBC article points up some of the risks, including damage to Birmingham’s international reputation.  And then of course there’s the thought that the city is throwing good money after bad in demolishing the old library to make way for yet another massive re-development… which may very well go the same way as the new library in terms of costs.

I can’t help thinking somebody didn’t get their sums right…

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Rogue cover

That isn’t “a” rogue cover, by the way, it’s “the” Rogue cover.  As in, the brand new cover artwork for the Rogue anthology, which is due pretty soon from Gritfiction Press.  I’m delighted to say I have a story in the collection, ‘Singing From the Same Sheet’, and I’m even more delighted that the cover artwork is so darned good.  See for yourself:


You can find out more about the anthology over at the Gritfiction Press webpage.  No firm release date yet* but I’ll post updates as soon as I hear anything definite.

*Edited to add: I’m reliably informed (by one of the editors, no less, and he should know!) that the book is due out on 2nd April.  So that’s even better news!

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