Tag Archives: writer

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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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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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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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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