Wish You Weren’t Here…

wish_hereNo, this isn’t me talking to the relatives at Christmas, it’s the title of the second anthology of crime stories from attendees of the annual Crime & Publishment writing course, which launched a few weeks ago but which I’ve been too busy to mention.

Bad me, because it’s a great little collection with a crime/holiday theme (hence that title, obviously), and it’s stuffed with stories by a wide range of authors, some published (Graham Smith, Les Morris, Angela King) and some getting their first taste of publication.

My own contribution to the collection is a dark little tale called ‘Last Chance Saloon’, involving a dirty weekend, a dodgy car and a remote country road. What could possibly go wrong?! The story was first published in Betty Fedora, which specialises in kick-ass women’s fiction, so you can tell it’s going to be a wild ride for the men.

Better still, a percentage of the price of each book will be donated to the excellent charity Break the Silence, which works with victims of rape and sexual abuse. So if the rellies really are getting you down at Christmas, then don’t pick up the knife you carved the turkey with – just grab a copy of the book and escape into the pages instead.

Dark Minds success

darkmindsIt’s official – the Dark Minds charity anthology from Bloodhound Books has been a roaring success.

Word is that so many copies have sold, the company have been able to donate almost £5,000 to the two charities the book is supporting – Sophie’s Appeal, and Hospice UK.

This is amazing news, and I’m delighted that my own contribution (in the shape of short story ‘My Own Eggsecutioner’), has helped in however small a way.

The anthology is still very much available to buy, so if you’d like to see what all the fuss is about (as well as reading over 40 great stories in the crime, noir and horror genres) then head to Amazon to order a copy now.  You never know, you might be helping Bloodhound donate another few thousand in due course.

Charity donation? No thanks…

darkmindsThe Dark Minds charity anthology I mentioned a few days ago has run into a spot of bother.  Not through the contributing authors or the editor, I hasten to add.  Stories are still pouring in and Betsy Reavley is working incredibly hard to make a success of the project.  The problem is finding a charity to accept the proceeds.

This sounds really odd.  Charities work by accepting donations from the public.  To find any charity refusing to take donations seems to go against all logic.  Yet this isn’t the first time it’s happened and the phenomenon seems to be spreading.

Recently, the Crime & Publishment anthology ‘Happily Never After’ ran into similar problems.  In the case of Dark Minds, two charities have already turned it down.  UNICEF wanted a minimum donation of £100,000, which with the best will in the world, no book publisher could ever commit to.  And now Great Ormond Street Hospital have pulled out, citing the content of the anthology.  Content that they were apparently told at the outset involved crime and horror stories.

It all seems very strange.  I understand that charities have an image to keep up, but this is fiction, written and donated, for free, by authors, for nothing other than people’s entertainment.  It’s not as though we’re going out bashing old ladies over the head and then donating the contents of their purses.

So why are charities seemingly so twitchy about what they’re associated with these days?  Are they afraid of litigation?  Or of winding up on the wrong side of an increasingly unforgiving press?  I’m not sure, but if anyone has any ideas please pass them on, because the people at Dark Minds are starting to tear their hair out.

Eggsceedingly good news

darkmindsThere’s been so much going on the last few days I haven’t had a chance to mention my latest good news, which is that I’ve had a short story accepted for a charity anthology.

The book, Dark Minds, is edited by Betsy Reavley of Bloodhound Books (although being published independently) and all proceeds will benefit the world-renowned Great Ormond Street children’s hospital.  It’s a terrific cause and one I’m delighted to be associated with.*

The book is due out on 13th December (barring accidents and emergencies) and there’s a launch party in London a few days later to celebrate.  Sadly, I probably won’t be able to get there – train tickets plus overnight accommodation plus tickets make it a wee bit too expensive for me.  But loads of the other authors involved in the project should be going along so I’m sure it will be a blast.

And the story?  Well, it has the rather awful title of ‘My Own Eggsecutioner’ and features a man, a missing Faberge egg, an antiques shop and a pair of scissors.  I’ll leave you to imagine the rest… but pretty it ain’t!

I’ll post a reminder or two once the anthology is available so do keep watching this space.  (And I apologise here and now for the horrible pun in the post title.  I couldn’t resist.)

*edited to add: GOSH have since declined to be associated with this project.  More details on the charity to benefit coming soon.

Exiles is back

exiles-new-coverOne of the first stories I had accepted in print was ‘Dead Man Walking’, in Paul D Brazill’s excellent collection of ‘outsider’ themed stories, Exiles: An Outsider Anthology.

I’ve always been fond of the story, and of the anthology overall, which is stuffed with really good, well written, thought-provoking stories about how it feels to be an outsider in today’s society.  With a bit of sleaze, action and fun thrown in.

So it’s great to see that the book, which had been temporarily unavailable, is now back with a new, eye-catching cover but the same contents (and the same charity beneficiary, the Marfan Foundation) as before.

Currently, it’s available in digital format from Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I5O70LY), and there are also plans afoot to resurrect the print version as well.

‘Dead Man Walking’ focuses on Johnny, an overly optimistic armed robber with a plan for the perfect alibi – until it all goes horribly wrong.  After all, you can’t be done for murder if you’re dead…

Having the last word

lastwordcoverHave you heard the one about the two burglars in the snowstorm?  It’s snow joke.

Ahem.  Sorry.  Just popping in to say my hysterical snowy romp ‘Snow Joke’ is now available in charity anthology Last Word from Joyride Press, which hit the streets (with or without the snow) yesterday.

The book features “hard-hitting stories from eleven of the best writers in the crime, pulp and noir genres” and is available on Kindle from either Amazon UK or Amazon US.  Every last shred of profits is going to charity (for prison reform) so when you rush off to get your sticky mitts on a copy, you’ll be supporting a good cause as well.

And watch this space for a snippet from my story in day or two.