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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5 Questions For…..

 

 

With a bit of background, who is James Oswald?

Start with the easy one, why don’t you? I was born and grew up, I went to school and then university. I have worked and travelled. Somewhere along the line I started writing things down…

More seriously, I had a slightly peripatetic upbringing, being sent off to boarding school in England when I was seven. I went to Aberdeen University where I read Psychology, ended up staying there for a few years after graduation, working part time as a Wine Merchant whilst I tried to forge a career in comics. I moved down to Edinburgh for five years, ending up working in a mortgage call centre, then spent ten years in Wales as an agricultural researcher and consultant – one of my more memorable jobs involved collecting samples of sheep faeces for analysis to determine parasite resistance to various treatments. I moved back up to Fife in 2010 to take over the running of the family farm, following my father’s death in 2008. Through all of this to-ing and fro-ing, writing has been the only constant – I am currently working on my thirteenth full-length manuscript and have written innumerable short stories and comic scripts. The less-awful of these languish at the website of my publishing company –www.devildog.co.uk.

 

 

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

I started off trying to write comics. I even had a Tharg’s Future Shock published by 2000AD back in the early 90s. As a young boy my parents used to buy me Look & Learn magazine, but the only bit I ever read was The Trigan Empire. When 2000AD came out, I was hooked, and have been reading it ever since. I still love comics, but I find it increasingly difficult (and expensive) to keep up with the multiple-crossover titles the Americans love putting out.

I lived in Aberdeen for a while, and whilst there contributed to a SF, Fantasy and RPG fanzine called From The Sublime… (those three dots are very important). I collaborated with a young, unknown artist by the name of Stuart MacBride on a comic strip calles As if by Magic, which wasn’t a piss-take of Mr Benn at all, really. Stuart and I became good friends and exchanged short stories and manuscripts for many a year, giving each other ego massages and editorial input. When he hit the big time with Cold Granite, Stuart suggested I stop wasting my time with comics and fantasy and try writing some crime instead. The DI McLean books are the result of that suggestion, so it’s all his fault really.

 

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

That depends. If you pick up one of my fantasy series, you can expect epic world-building, dragons and magic, with a smattering of sheep references and perhaps too much Welsh. If instead you opt for my DI McLean books, then you can expect police procedurals mixed with a hint of the supernatural. Either way I hope you’ll be entertained.

 

You have had huge success with self publishing.  Downloads for both your novels have been excellent, as you explained to me at Bloody Scotland.  Do you have any advice for other writers, especially in the self publishing area?

Write the best book you possibly can. Find the best cover designer you can sensibly afford. Employ the services of a professional editor if you can possibly afford to, but be aware that very few self-published authors will make that money back. Make every effort to ensure your ebook is free from formatting and typographical errors. Write the best book you possibly can. And if it doesn’t set the world alight, then roll up your sleeves and write another one.

And if you’re going to use social media, use it to sell yourself, not your book.

 

What is next for James Oswald?

I’m currently about 1/5th of the way into the third DI McLean book, with a hope it might be out in the early new year. After that I need to wrap up the fantasy series and a couple of other projects I’m working on. I’m hoping to sign up with an agent soon, and who knows, some publishers might start to take notice too. Oh, and I have a 350 acre livestock farm to run.

 

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?

Three luxury items would have to be something to write with, something to write on and something to make music with. So a magic self-sharpening pencil, a huge stock of paper and a penny whistle (because if I had a guitar its strings would break).

If I had to share my desert island with just one person, I’d end up killing them. Best if I just took an imaginary friend.

 

Ha!  I can understand that sometimes, James.  It was a pleasure to meet you at Bloody Scotland and thank you for taking part in 5 Questions For…..

Best of luck with the third DI McLean book.

James Oswald Books

DevilDog Publishing

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Micro Fiction…

Here’s another 100(ish) word story I wrote for Lily Childsand her Friday Prediction some time ago.  Again, the 3 words escape me for this particular challenge but they mustered up the following story.

I hope you enjoy…

WRATH.

“Ready?” Tommo asked.

“Yes,” Mikey said.

“Okay, masks on – let’s go.”

The aroma of incense filled the shop.

“Cash – now!”

“No, no, no,” the owner shouted.

Leaning over the counter, Tommo grabbed the old man by the hair.  “MONEY!  NOW!”

As he waited he glanced at the burning incense stick, the smoke rising to the ceiling in a perfect spiral.

The old man handed over the cash, mumbling something.

“What?”

“I said, may the wrath of a thousand killer bees descend upon you both.”

“Yeah, whatever, old man.”

Tommo counted the cash as they ran down the street.  Not bad!

“Tommo.”

“What?”

“What’s that humming noise?”

~END~

 

Thanks for stopping by…

 

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5 Questions For…..

With a bit of background, who is Michael J Malone?

He’s a young-ish (aye, right) fella from a modest background. Father of one. Reader of thousands of books. Published poet, writer of fiction and non-fiction.

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

I was an avid reader from a very young age – certainly before I was eight – and can remember feeling even at that age, when I was holding a book that I wanted to produce one of my own. Of course, life kinda distracted me – for a long time – and I found myself doing that thing where you say, “when I retire …” Until one day at work I had a conversation with a colleague during a boring meeting – up the back of the conference room. We regularly swapped book recommendations but on this occasion we both admitted that one day we would love to write a book. So he suggested that we write one together. He wrote the first chapter, passed it to me and I wrote the next chapter. We did this four times and then he decided he would rather work on a book on his own. That was fine by me, so I took back my chapters  and from there wrote my first novel. As far as I’m aware, he didn’t write another word, but I’m grateful to him for inadvertently giving me the push I had forgotten I needed.

What was the hardest part of writing your first book?

The end. Writing the end was REALLY difficult. I remember thinking, how on earth am I going to pull this together and how on earth will I know that it’s finished?

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

BLOOD TEARS starts off as a police procedural and then shoots off in its own direction. It has a lot of “salty” language, gritty/ disturbing content – and a few laughs.

What is next for Michael J Malone?

Carnegie’s Call is a non-fiction book being published in October by Argyll Publishing. This is a work that celebrates the success of a few high-achieving Scots and as intended as a wee nudge in the ribs to my countrymen and women – as in, if they can do it, why can’t we? I am tired of the miserabilism that surrounds us and wanted to remind people that there is good news out there. I am also tired of the cult of celebrity and wanted to point readers in the direction of people who had actually achieved something other than having a facility for getting noticed by TV cameras. My writing of the book pre-dated the Olympics which has, one could argue, kicked off what I hope to achieve, so I’m hoping this mindset persists well beyond the games – and Carnegie’s Call can tap into this.
The book has chapters dedicated to the narrative of the successes of my interviewees – followed by some suggestions as how us mere mortals can emulate their success.

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? 

Luxury items – 
1. My bookcase. It has loads of books on it. No further explanation needed.
2. My ipod. It has loads of tunes on it. No further explanation needed.
3. My fridge … you can fill in the rest.

My one person would be my son. Cos he’s a wee star.

Great answers, Michael.  It was a pleasure having you stop by for a chat.  Thank you.

Michael’s Blog

Blood Tears (Amazon UK)          

Blood Tears (Amazon US)

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Micro Fiction…

The following story was written for my friend, Lily Childs, Friday Prediction.  I’m not too sure what the 3 words were for this particular challenge but they mustered up this story.

Hope you enjoy…

THE WRONG OPTION.

“Mr Jones, you need a holiday,” they’d told him. “Your phlebitis has gone but if you keep pushing yourself so hard you’re going to get yourself stressed again. With your immune system at a low, the symptoms could return.”

Throwing caution to the wind, Robert headed over to New Orleans for their annual Mardi Gras.

It was spectacular: almost as spectacular as the fountain of blood erupting from his slashed throat.

Left for dead behind a dumpster in a deserted alley, for a measly hundred dollars, stress looked the better option.

~END~

Thanks for stopping by.

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5 Questions For…..

With a bit of background, who is Howard Linskey?

I am a Country Durham lad from Ferryhill, who has been a bit of a nomad, having lived and worked all over the country. I’m settled in Herts these days though. I live in Welwyn with my lovely wife Alison and beautiful daughter Erin but the north east will always feel like home too. I go back there whenever I can, to see family or friends and to launch and talk about my books, which are set in Newcastle. I am a lifelong Toon fan and have started to indoctrinate my six year old into a life of misery and disappointment following Newcastle United. Please don’t call Social Services.

 

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

It was a combination of really wanting to give it a go, along with a feeling at the time that I wasn’t much cop at anything else. I think I was looking for something I was good at, during a time in my life when my confidence was very low. I was quite young when I started and I wrote for the Newcastle United football fanzine ‘The Mag’ at first. Eventually I became a journalist, wrote for newspapers, magazines and web sites then turned to writing books, as I had always wanted to write fiction. On some level I must need the outlet writing gives me. If I am not writing, I feel more stressed and my wife says she can spot a difference in me. Clearly what I really need is therapy, electric shock treatment or strong medication but I didn’t realise that at the time, so I went for writing instead.

 

 

What was the hardest part of writing your first book and how did David Blake come about – is he based on anyone you know?

There are lots of hard parts of writing a book, as I am sure you will agree. Finding the so-called ‘spare time’, whatever that is, to write a 90,000 word novel then edit it over and over again until you are happy with it, is the first one that springs to mind. I then had months of waiting while my literary agent sent it round publishers, all of whom said they really liked it but didn’t want to publish it because it was too gritty for them. It was incredibly frustrating, as I was so close to getting there but not close enough. Then Ion Mills from No Exit made an offer for ‘The Drop’, which was a very big day indeed for me. Hopefully his faith in me has been vindicated.

David Blake is not based on anyone I know, thankfully. I’d love to spin you a yarn that I am a retired gangster but I’m only five foot eight, which is a bit small for an enforcer. Blake is just a figment of my twisted imagination. My starting point was the idea that if you are a ‘white collar’ gangster can you really enjoy an easy life in that world without the constant threat of violence, death or imprisonment. In Blake’s case, the answer is an emphatic ‘no’.

 

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

I’ve been told they are page turners that are hard to put down, which is lovely. I think they are gritty stories but not   gratuitous and I spend a lot of time trying to create interesting characters and giving them some snappy dialogue.    David Blake is a reluctant, criminal who is forced to become a hard core gangster when his luck runs out. He is not a typical hard man and has to rely on his brains and wits to get him out of trouble rather than his fists, which I think makes him atypical in the crime genre. He’s a bit of a bad lad but he has his good points and female readers do seem to love him but then gals do like a bad boy don’t they? The books have both had great reviews thankfully and The Drop was shortlisted by ‘The Times’ as one of their Top Five thrillers of the year so that’s better than any endorsement I could give it.

 

What is next for Howard Linskey?

I am currently working flat out on the third David Blake book, ‘The Dead’, so the social life is on hold until I crash through to the end of that one. I also spend time marketing the previous books and my agent has just sold the second book to Germany, as the first has been on the Krimizeit Bestenliste Top Ten Crime books for the past couple months, which is a big deal out there, so we are all really happy about that.

 

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?

A lap top so I could write my next book but this isolated desert island has got Wi-Fi hasn’t it? I can’t write without all of the associated guilt feelings that come from internet procrastination and Facebook fixes between chapters.

A kindle so I could keep reading in between bursts of writing. Generally I prefer a physical book in my hand or on my shelves but even a Luddite like me can appreciate the value of a kindle on a desert island. A hand held library that can be topped up, as and when.

I bought a wine fridge a couple of years back as a Christmas present to myself so, assuming that my desert island has an electricity supply, I’d like it filled with beer and wine and placed on the sand dunes next to me please. If the Red Cross could parachute replenishment stocks to me at regular intervals that would be good too.

The person would have to be my daughter Erin, as I would her miss her far too much if she wasn’t on the island with me. She is six years old and loads of fun, bless her. Can her mum come too? If so, I think we wouldn’t mind being shipwrecked on this desert island of yours David, away from the hassles of day to day life. How do I sign up for that?

I’m working on it, Howard.  It was a pleasure having you over.  Thank you and best wishes with everything.

Howard’s Books

Howard’s Web Site

Publisher Web Site With Some Interview Links

 

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