Thoughts and Merry Christmas…..

*blows cobwebs away from around the blog*

Merry Christmas...

So, it’s been a while since my last blog post. Time isn’t always kind and this year has flown by. It’s not exactly been a great year for our family, after my wife lost first her step-father and then her real father within a month of each other.

My dad has recently been in hospital again after having a mild heart attack. It was found that he’d already had one and is now on more medication (which they hope will help avoid by-pass surgery). The bloke is indestructible! Thought we were going to lose him 2 years ago after a massive stroke but he’s fighter.

Friends have lost family members and loved ones, which I suppose is just part of this life we’re living. Other friends have had they’re bad luck in other ways, too.

Life is hard and trying but we’ve just got to knuckle down and get on with it. We’re only given one chance at it so we should make the most out of every situation we’re given or put in. Things happen for a reason and they make us stronger. No, I’m not going to start quoting from the bible or any other scripture, I’m just going to say…..


I’ll leave you with a 74 word story I wrote a while ago. Have a fantastic Christmas.

A Christmas Mistake.

I thought I’d broken her neck but I hadn’t.  She was a tough one.  Her skin had seen better days but she had good, firm breasts and great legs, just how I liked them.

She lay on the table, unblinking eyes staring up at me.  I raised the cleaver and brought the steel down on her throat.  Blood spurted across the surface.

It was all over.

Next Christmas I’m buying a frozen turkey.

(Don’t forget to check out the great stories over at my magazine – Thrills, Kills ‘n’ Chaos!)


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Before you spend money on publishing services, read this

David Barber:

Well worth a read.

Originally posted on Nail Your Novel:

old ropeAs indies get ever more professional, an entire service industry is springing up to offer us services for every occasion. At this year’s London Book Fair, the Authors’ Lounge was heaving with suppliers, and no shortage of willing customers. While it’s great to have access to these, authors are ripe for rip-off.

This week David Gaughran highlighted unscrupulous companies that charge exorbitant prices, or hoodwink authors into paying for services that could be obtained for very little or no cost.

So this post is a self-publishing 101; a catch-up for those who are wondering what they need to spend money on. In some cases, knowledge is the answer; all books, authors and genres are different, and one supplier does not fit all.

It’s virtually impossible to publish a book without any expenditure, but we can make sure we use our budgets wisely – and stop writers filling the pockets of…

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Photo Finish Friday…New Moon.

I’m always after the perfect moon shot but if I ever do get one I don’t think I’ll be happy with it.  I’m totally obsessed with that bright and beautiful planet, so much so that I think I may be part lycanthrope.

Here’s my latest…



This photo was taken at 21:41 on 25/04/2013.

Photo-Finish Friday is the creation of Leah J. Utas.  Check out her blog here.

Have a great weekend, folks!


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*blows cobwebs from around the place and dusts off the desk*

It’s been a while but I’m really going to try and get this thing up and running….again.  I’m going to start with some updates and then the  interview series, 5 Questions For….., will be starting again next week.

First off: A couple of weeks ago Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers closed its door after almost 5 years.  There’s a post here explaining everything.  It was a sad day but from sad news comes good news.  I’ve started a new ‘TKnC‘ magazine, THRILLS, KILLS ‘n’ CHAOS.


Check out the Submission Guidelines page for full details.  The 1st story went up last night – GREEN GREEN GRASS by Matt Hilton.

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On the subject of Matt Hilton, he’s currently giving away a short story collection.  ONE TWISTED VOICE is FREE here!

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My Manc’ mate, Col Bury, has got a new short story collection available.  THE COPS OF MANCHETSER is hard hitting and gritty and available here.

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Hull writer, Darren Sant has a new collection of gritty stories in his latest TALES FROM THE LONGCROFT series and is available here.

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Top writer and all-round-great-guy Paul D. Brazill, who relentlessly promotes others has numerous books out and they’re all available at his author page here.

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Good mate Graham Smith has been posting some great interviews and interesting articles just lately.  Check out his blog here, and while you’re there check out the links to his short story collections.  You’d be a fool not to.

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That’s it for now.  Next update will be aimed at my American and Canadian friends.

Thanks for stopping by.



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David Barber:

I will make it to one of these in the not too distant future.

Originally posted on Thomas Pluck:

After reading at Noir at the Bar NYC, Firecracker and I went out for burgers with friends Paula Pahnke (a writer whose work appears in the Lost Children anthology) and her man Dennis. Paula led us through the freezing cold to Cozy Soup ‘n Burger on Broadway, a diner institution offering much more than burgers and soup. We all had burgers. But first things first… here is the greatest shirt in creation. Photo by Glenn Gray. I reviewed Giovanni’s a while back. They make-a nice sangweech, paisans.


They make a good burger but they overcook it a bit. Not competition for Krug’s, but this is a top tier diner burger.  I had the Santorini Burger- spinach and feta on an English Muffin- with purloined avocado and onion ring added.

cozy burger

Noir at the Bar was a blast again. Thanks to Glenn Gray and “Big Daddy Thug” Todd Robinson for having me…

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Short Movie Review – Jack Reacher.


Jack-Reacher-2012-Hollywood-Movie-Watch-OnlineHaving never read a Lee Child novel I was able to walk into the cinema and watch the movie with an open mind.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d read the hype and all the stories that Child had sold out as Jack Reacher is supposed to be a 6’5” man-mountain of pure muscle.  The thing is, Tom Cruise has that screen presence and acting ability to be able to pull the character off.  And he does.

The movie starts with the killing of 5 random victims.  The crime is (a bit too easily) quickly solved and during interrogation the shooter asks for Jack Reacher.   Enter Cruise/Reacher.

Reacher quickly gets involved in a case full of twists and becomes investigator/assistant to the defence lawyer, played by the beautiful Rosamund Pike, and it soon becomes obvious that there are problems that go further than one gunman.

What follows is a great, YES GREAT, movie.  The action and fight scenes are well executed and filmed and there are a couple of exciting car chases.  The dialogue is excellent and Reacher gives the movie a bit of comedy with some witty one liners.

There are a few plot holes and a couple of incidents where you think, “What was the point of that?” but aren’t there a lot of them in most movies and most of novels carry “filler” to bulk a story out?

All in all it was a great movie.  I think fans of the novels may have a different opinion as they already know (in their own minds) what Reacher looks like and how he acts.  Brain conflict may over-ride enjoyment.  I’d say throw those thoughts out and watch it as an action thriller – if you can’t you’ll miss a great movie.

Jack Reacher Trailers.


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5 Questions For….


With a bit of background, who is Allen Miles?

I am thirty-one years old and I come from a place called Hull which died tragically in 1985. I’ve spent the last fifteen years doing menial jobs which have included barman, cook, record shop assistant and hospital orderly. I am married with a baby daughter. I spend far too much time watching football and betting on it, I am permanently skint and I exist on coffee and wine. Yes, I am a walking cliche.

What/who inspired you to pick up a pen and start writing?

I started when I was about eight or nine writing match reports for my primary school football team, then I started writing stories but I never showed them to anyone. I don’t know why but I always felt ashamed that I had aspirations of being a writer. As a child I loved Roald Dahl, and read Henry Sugar until I knew it off by heart. Once I was old enough I got into Irvine Welsh, George Orwell, Jack Kerouac, Camus, Sartre, Raymond Chandler… the songs of Nick Cave and Tom Waits…  I also read loads of biographies… My two favourite authors are Charles Bukowski and Cormac McCarthy, but the one book that made me sit down and tell my own story was Ask The Dust by John Fante, I would say that’s probably my favourite book ever. Actually a massive influence on me was my old high school teacher Mr Birkenshaw, I think he realised that I wasn’t cut out for a normal career and he encouraged my creative side.

For anyone who hasn’t read your writing before, tell them what they can expect to read.  

I’m told its very dark but I’m not trying to be dark, I’m just a bit of a miserable sod. Everything I write is narrative-based, very descriptive and emotionally heavy. The few people who have read my forthcoming novella 18 Days have told me its really upsetting and deep, and my friend who looks after my literary career, fellow writer Darren Sant, has told me to be prepared that it may be too intense for some people. I think people who stick with it will find it rewarding though.

Tell us about your writing process. Do you write an outline before every story or are you an impulsive writer and just sit down and let the story pour out?

I’ll have a spontaneous idea and write frantically until I’ve completed it. I have no formal education in writing or literature past sixth form so I don’t know how to storyboard, structure or any of that. 18 Days was originally intended to be a short story of about 2500 words. I ended up writing 30000 words in five days. Actually, it was five nights, I can’t write during the day. Sadly these freakish levels of creativity result in periods of weeks where I can’t string a sentence together.

What is next for Allen Miles?

My private detective novel, provisionally titled Dick, is about a quarter finished and hopefully it should be complete this time next year. I wouldn’t mind crack at writing for the stage or screen. I have a drafted screenplay called “Paradise” that I should really go back to and polish up. It’s about the shambolic failure of a comically awkward rock n roll band. My favourite things to write are short stories and prose pieces and I’d love to release a collection at some point. In the short term, I’m going to the kitchen to pour myself a glass of wine.

So here’s where I cheat a bit and get some more info out of you.

Bonus question:  You are stranded on a desert island.  You can have 3 ‘luxury’ items and one person with you.  What and who would they be and why?

I would take my i-Pod, because it contains a frankly ludicrous 27090 songs, although without an internet connection I’d miss my twice weekly dose of the Guardian’s Football Weekly podcast; I’d take a crate of 2006 Calloway Crossing, the finest Shiraz I’ve ever had; and I’d take my new mobile phone. Its unbelievable. Admittedly its the size of a baking tray but its got a kindle on it so I’d never be short of books, I’ve got loads of films and video games on it, and loads of episodes of Peppa Pig for my daughter Gabbers, who would be the person I would take because she makes me very happy and she is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. And I suppose with a mobile on us we’d probably get rescued after a while.

Great answers, Allen.  Thanks for taking part in 5 Questions For…..
18 Days is now on my Kindle.
Good luck for the future!

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