Monday, 24 January 2011

Last Week

It must be a sign that christmas is finally over. Last week there was a flurry of new short stories put up on various sites. They're all corkers too.

Up on Pulp Metal Magazine is The Big Issue by Paul D Brazil, a fine mixture of noir grit and comedy. Thrillers Killers and Chillers has Small Green Things by Chris Allinotte. And finally, Ian Ayris's A Ladybirds Tale

I also had my first acceptance of the year this week. The Cordless Drill story, A drill too far, will be making an appearance soon. Apart from that, I also wrote another short story and submitted it and did a bit more of the new book (34,000 words now - still no title though.)

Friday, 21 January 2011

Flash Fiction Friday

It's friday, it's five to four, but it's not crackerjack. I'm building up quite a collection of short stories now, so every now and then, I'll post one here.

Highland Games

It was Fatty Alan that came up with the idea. Mind you, every idea was Fatty Alan’s. We were down the Crown, drinking ourselves into oblivion. Between jobs, see, and we were spending enough for the Landlord to finally redecorate. Not that it’d be the same if he did. He always threatened it though, said it was like a sixties fucking shrine. That’s why we liked it. That and the lack of customers. It felt like home there. Somewhere we could relax.

So Fatty Alan starts remembering something. When Al gets going it’s like watching a firework explode, he’s always been the same. The idea’ll start bubbling up from his boots, shaking, twisting him. He struggles to get the words out, gets tongue tied, his whole body shaking. Then, all on a sudden, it just explodes out his mouth. Ranting fast, he was telling us he’d seen this news clip, knew we’d be interested, knew we’d want in.

He’d sky plussed this news clip, so after the pub we goes back to his place. His house still stinks of that lonely male smell, Eau de Bachelor we call it, guess it’s infested the walls by now, nothing’ll ever shift it. Horrible it is, but you gets used to it after a while. He cracks open a bottle of scotch and washes some mold infested cups as we settle down to watch the telly.

I thought it’d be something big, but it’s just some fucking news report on a football club. After the build up he’d given, I was expecting a bullion shipment or something. But no, just some tiny Scottish football club that kept winning games in the cup.

“Don’t you see?” he says. “No we fucking don’t,” we replied. So, he plays it again, just the last twenty seconds of it, mind. Gobby Phil, who’s a clever bastard, said, “Fucking ell. You don’t mean?” Al nods at him, all smug like. But the rest of us, we still ain’t got a pissing clue what’s going on.

He plays it again, just the last ten seconds this time. The reporter on the telly’s banging on about this team and how it’s playing Rangers this Saturday and the away fans have already bought five thousand tickets. He then says, ‘for a population of only two thousand, it’s going to be like a ghost town here Saturday.’

It was then that I twigged. Thick twat Jim didn’t, had to fucking spell it out word by word till he got it, the twat. But, that was it. The entire town watching a football match. That just had come and rob us written all over it, didn’t it?

Randy Gav and his brother stole us two seven tonners from that lorry park off the motorway and we stashed them till Friday night, changed the plates then drove up there, all six of us. Took all fucking night to get there, mind, driving at sixty all the way. It took forever, we passed all these lochs and little roads, barely bigger than tracks they were. Got lost twice, too. Eventually, we parks up near the next town and gets a few hours kip. Gotta be fresh, you gotta be fresh.

Kick off was early, one o’clock, so we hit the town at twelve, reckoning they’d have all gone by then. We drives in, it was like the lone ranger arriving at some fucking Wild West town with tumbleweed. No people on the streets, hardly any cars, just nothing.

We breaks in the first house, gets a nice plasma, stereo, Playstation and computer. In and out in a few minutes, we were. By the tenth house, we’d run out of room. Chucked all the stereos back on the street and stuck to tellys after that. Fuckin hell, by the time we’d finished we could have opened our own Radio Rentals branch.

At three o’clock we left, cursing for not bringing more lorries. We swiped three motors too, twat’s had just left the keys lying round, hadn’t they? I was driving a Discovery full of flat screens, weren’t a brand new one mind, but still worth some dosh, if you know the right man.

Back over them hills and round them lochs was hard work. We was carrying loads of weight, lorries were struggling to pull. We had the two lorries sandwiched by the cars we’d nicked, thought it’d be less obvious that way. Turned out, the lorry at the back was pulling better than the front one, so we was all bunched up.

We comes over the top of this hill, real steep one it was, and there’s a tight bend just after it. Course, this being Scotland, it’d been raining, road was drenched. Randy Gav tried to brake, but the lorry skidded, twisting as it went. Broke through this barrier and come to a stop with one of its rear wheels hanging over the edge.

We skidded to a halt behind. Fatty Phil was driving the other lorry and he crashed into the back of my new Discovery. Carnage it was. But it was then that we saw them.

Loads of coaches and buses all driving up this hill, right in front of us, must have been over fifty of them. All full, rammed full of football fans. We thought about running but it was too late, three of the coaches drove by us before we’d even got out. The coaches that’d passed screeched to a halt, someone on them must have spotted the cars, knew we’d nicked em.

So that’s it, there’s hundreds of em here, surrounding us, slowly moving in and there’s six of us. I don’t like them odds. Really don’t like them odds.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Good guys don't always win

If you hadn't already guessed, I'm a bit of a crime fiction buff. I read crime books, I watch crime programmes on the tele (the Alibi channel is nearly always taping or skyplussing or whatever it's called these days) I don't actually commit any crimes myself though. Okay so maybe I sometimes creep above 30mph when it's safe to do so, but I'm not an axe murderer, my cordless drill is bloodless and I don't bury people alive.

So why am I so interested in it? Why do I try to write it myself? Is it just the formula of suspense where little clues are given that mean you yourself are detecting it while watching/reading?

One thing I have noticed whether it be book or television, is the good guys nearly always win. And that usually means the cops win.

I recently read an Ian Rankin book where Rebus didn't win. I won't say the title as I've just told you the ending, but it struck me as different and has stuck with me. Okay so as a reader you feel a tad let down. Three hundred odd pages read for the suspect, the obviously guilty suspect, to get away with it. Basically, the hero fails. The villain has a sort of role reversal to become a villainous hero.

It's probably not that uncommon. I can remember a classic episode of the Sweeney from my youth that ended with the two cops arriving at Heathrow just a plane was jetting off to some country in the days before extradition. What about The Italian Job, the villains were the heroes, but were left dangling in defeat at the end. Other, more recent programmes do it too. They usually chuck in a failed investigation mid series though, just to show that sometimes not all crimes are solved. New Tricks had a long running storyline where the bad guy kept winning. Except, they got him eventually.

For all I know Rebus might get his man in a later book, but that's just speculation.

I'm not really sure what the point is of all this (just for a change) I guess it's that the viewing or reading public want the crime to be solved and the good guys to win. In reality it just makes it crime by numbers. You know when you turn on Midsummer Murders they're going to catch the baddy in the last ten minutes. Yet, I still watch it.

It'd take a brave, inexperienced and unpublished writer to let the baddy win. They'd have to be much braver than me.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New Year and all that

Christmas is over. I guess you already knew that. That little spark of a smile and goodwill that emerged briefly in my stubborn, middle-aged and bad-tempered mind has disappeared and probably won't be seen for ten and a half months again.

Thank god.

Seriously though, I know Roy Wood's done well out of the concept but if it really was Christmas everyday how bad would that get? I'd end up overdosing on cheese and chocolate within a month, kids would emerge uneducated, obese and spoilt and Chitty Chitty Fucking Bang Bang would be on every other week. No, bad idea, Roy. Bad idea.

So to the highlights of last year.

I finished writing my first ever book, Spies Lies and Pies. Despite trying for twenty years, I finally finished it. Agents and publishers didn't like it, but what do they know? I also wrote my second book, Too big To Fail, which is now locked in limbo, waiting to be rejected for the Terry Pratchett/Transworld competition.

On a brighter note, I had a few short stories accepted Need more blood being one of them. Detective Inspector Britwell's first outing, Pleading and Bleeding will be published in Out of the Gutter magazine and just before New Years I found out one of my short stories will be in an anthology in the summer. So not all bad. In fact, quite good.

This year I'll hopefully finish the partly written un-named failed assassin book and submit both that and Too Big To Fail to some agents. I also got another idea over Christmas. A brand new story starring DI Britwell, this one has enough plot to be a full length book. I'm tempted to start writing this first, but poor old Jim, the failed assassin, has waited too long already to be written, so he definitely comes next.

Finally, 282 people from 14 countries visited this little blog over the last year (most of them undoubtedly by mistake). Thanks to all who stopped by, especially the ones from Ecuador, Croatia and the United Arab Emirates. The most searched term that led to this blog was, surprisingly, "children swimming in pits filled with brine".

So anyway, happy new year y'all.