Friday, January 27, 2012

9 Days of Madness

It's that time of year again. Following on the success of Chris Allonotte's EIGHT DAYS OF MADNESS contest last year, he has graciously decided to do it again this year. The theme is "unsettled", max word count 1,500, and you can find out all the deets HERE

Charles Gramlich is over at Novel Spaces ( a great site) talking about the element of  "surprise" in writing. Charles has a great way of breaking things down so they are easily understandable. Check it out HERE

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ray Banks: California & Arlene Hunt: Black Sheep


Loved Ray's story "GOD ONLY KNOWS" that was included in the OFF THE RECORD collection, so I asked him via his BLOG which should I read first California or Dead Money. He said, California, as it is short, and if I dug it, I would most likely dig Dead Money. I did, and DM is up next after Arlene Hunt's BLACK SHEEP (more about that below) 

CALIFORNIA is up for best novella of 2011 over at Spinetingler, and you can vote for your choice HERE. I posted the below review on Amazon US & UK, and you can check out, and hopefully purchase CALIFORNIA HERE

5 star: You Think YOU Had A Bad Day?
Ray Banks has been on my list of writers that I wanted to read. After recently being very entertained by a short crime story of his that was part of a collection, I decided to read California. The other two reviews of this novella length piece, pretty much summed up my thoughts. The characters and the dialogue are what really made this work. The opening scene reeled me in and the story, pacing, and excellent banter between all the various players, kept me interested right to the end. This was a quick, very satisfying read and I will most certainly be reading more from the author.

Arlene Hunt is an Irish crime writer, who I have wanted to read for some time now, I just didn't know where to start, or what to expect. I decided that BLACK SHEEP would be it. There was no Ebook version available (big bummer) so I ordered via Amazon. I'm 3 chapters in, and it is money very well spent. What the Hell was I waiting for? Killer opening, down and dirty writing, and I am hooked, big time! This is the kind of writing and style that reminds me of when I first discovered Julie Morrigan- the kind a lot of lads could take a lesson from ;) . You can find out more about Arlene HERE

And finally, watched this movie for the umpteenth time last night. Never gets old, and a kick-ass soundtrack. Have you seen it? What did you think?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Seana, we hardly knew ya


What a good surprise I got when I read Seana Graham's blog post. She did a really excellent podcast at KUSP 88.9 in California, where she talks about her writing, GRIMM TALES, books, and Ebooks. She did a tremendous job with the questions and the quality of the audio is crystal clear. So cool to put a voice with the pic and the virtual personality. Be sure to give it a listen HERE (Seana comes on at about the 45 minute mark) and check out Seana's blog HERE. If you would like to have a look at GRIMM TALES, click on the cover on the left side of this blog.


While I'm on the podcast theme, Steve Brewer, who I became a huge fan of in 2011 was a guest on the Morning Show with Larry Aherns KIVA.AM (New Mexico).Very entertaining and well worth a listen ( Steve comes on at about 6:50 mark)  HERE.

Steve also has a new short story, PAYOFF available for free at Smashwords HERE


On a more personal note, I have 3 short stories available today for FREE on Amazon: THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE BLOOD FARM, and THE MONKEY TREE. If interested, just click on the book covers on the right side of the blog to take a look, and perhaps download.

Friday, January 20, 2012

News From John McFetridge

John is one of my favorite authors. He writes the kind of crime / suspense stories I really, really love. His novel, TUMBLIN' DICE will be on my e-reader the minute it comes out in March. He also shared an exciting, innovate, marketing strategy his publisher ECW Press has come up with. Check out John's post on the topic HERE

And.......I have made my novel MINDJACKER available for FREE download at Amazon today and tommorrow. I have also, since yesterday, made all my crime / suspense short stories free at Amazon. This will continue through end of today.

You can click on any of the covers on the sides of this blog to find them in the US, and click HERE for the Amazon UK store.

Have a Great Weekend Everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lacrosse: Crooked Arrows Trailer


This is the trailer of the first major motion picture about the sport of Lacrosse, CROOKED ARROWS. It's being pushed as a RUDY/ MIGHTY DUCKS type of movie. The genre is familiar, but the sport is becoming part of pop culture in the US and is the fasted growing youth sport in the US. It is a Native American sport with a fascinating history and just as my coaches did in (yikes) 1979, I pass this history on to the kids I coach. It is a contact sport and the skills required are very similair to Hurling.


Here's my lad in action.


And of course, and most important, after the warriors do battle, nothing but handshakes and good sportsmanship! ( thats me and my 2 great asst coaches at the end of the line)


The  2011 Irish Men's National IndoorTeam ( someday would love to have a home / away series with our kids and a team of kids from IRE)


Finally, here is how the big boys do it!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: The Cold, Cold Ground

Finished Adrian McKinty's THE COLD, COLD GROUND ( kindle version) over the weekend and posted the below review on Amazon US & UK. I'm certainly no reviewer and will only post a review of something I like, or I think others with similiar tastes might enjoy. If I don't dig a book, then it's,  "whatever you say, say nothing"  ;) You can get your copy HERE

 5 Stars: While I was chugging beers and wearing a Devo hat...
"In 1981 I was 16, without a care in the world, while across the Atlantic in Ireland...

Having read and enjoyed all of McKinty's previous crime novels, and based on the description of this one, I was pretty confident that it would be discretionary entertainment dollars well spent. However, no author I have read, no matter how much I have enjoyed their past work gets a free pass. In fact, with each novel, the stakes and expectations are raised and as soon as I feel they are relying on old tricks or mining tired, predictable and clich├ęd themes, I'll move on. This was billed as a police procedural and I'm not really a fan of that genre, so a level playing field was set.

What I experienced was a fearless, hard-hitting, and dare I say, important and perhaps groundbreaking novel. It also enlightened me as to what my aversion of the procedural genre stemmed from. The story takes place in 1981 where the cops for the most part, relied on detective work and instinct, rather than technology. This is a world before cell phones, DNA, and all the other crutches that are so commonplace in modern crime fiction. Sean Duffy is a great character and if you took the best qualities of John Thaw's Inspector Morse and The Sweeney's John Regan, added a jigger of cool, and a splash of very entertaining wit, you'll get an idea of what he is all about.

The first person narrative was done superbly and I felt like I was side-by-side with Duffy and his excellent supporting cast of characters- in the Land Rover, on the streets, at the station, and all the other locations the story took me to.

I am well-versed in the "Troubles" or at least as much as you can be from reading numerous non-fiction and historical fiction regarding the subject, but the superb writing, excellent story, and McKinty's intimate first-hand knowledge and experience, enabled The Cold, Cold Ground to take me to a time and place, like none of that reading possibly could.

A great read and I was pleasantly suprised to find the first chapter of the next "Duffy" installment was included in my kindle version. And what a opener it was!"
********************************************

This really is a great read, and if there was an extra star, I would have given TCCG one. After re-reading the review, I hope the John Thaw comparision does not make readers think Duffy is an old geezer because he's a young dude, more of a Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice with the crime solving methods / intelligence of a Morse, and the cowboy mindset of Regan and Crockett.  What really, really made this work for me, and most any story I love (good guys or bad) , was the comraderie of Duffy and his fellow RUC mates.

I think this would make a terrific movie and some of the scenes, if done right would have you on the edge of your seat. I'm thinking a Michael Mann treatment would do it justice.

Friday, January 13, 2012

OFF THE RECORD

Tough day at work yesterday ( thanks to staying up too late reading The Cold Cold Ground ) followed by a late Board of Directors meeting for the youth lacrosse league I'm invloved with, but when I arrived home, my print copy of OFF THE RECORD was waiting for me. Luca Veste did a great job with this! If you are not familiar with OTR, it is 38 crime stories based on "classic" song titles, written my 38 UK and US writers.  What really mattters though is, every single penny ( or pence ), is going to children's literacy programs in the US & UK.

If you feel so inclined to support this cause, you can take a look, and perhaps get yourself an electronic or print version:

Ebook at Amazon US HERE...Amazon UK HERE or in print at Lulu HERE

A huge thanks to Luca Veste for putting this all together. He hosts a great site HERE and you can check out his Ebook publishing venture, Guilty Conscience Publishing HERE

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Johnny Was...McKinty is...

Caught this movie over the weekend, and enjoyed it very much. It's the kind of movie I love: all about the "bad guys", lots of great lines, some huge laughs, violence, tremendous soundtrack, excellent acting, and a super cast, that includes Eriq La Salle, Vinnie Jones, Roger Daltry, Lennox Lewis, and Patrick Bergin who, until I saw the credits did not recognize. I think most will really dig it, if you like the Guy Ritchie \ Tarantino type of story, at least I did. To get more details, click HERE

I have read each of Adrian McKinty's crime novels and enjoyed all of them. If I had to pick a crime author ( that I have read) who always delivers the goods, he is the one. I have been wanting to read his latest, THE COLD COLD GROUND, since it's release, but it was only available in paperback from Amazon UK, which, If you live in the US, can be a bit costly for shipping. I bought his last one FALLING GLASS (loved it) from the UK. In a case of  good timing on my part, as I was about to bite-the-bullet and order from UK, a commentor on Adrian's blog broke the news that CCG was out on Kindle US! One minute later, I had it on my kindle for PC (no nook version yet, but Calibre can covert it to the epub format) and dug right in with a late night session. I'm about 40% done and it is excellent. I'm finding that CCG is a great mix, stylistically, of FALLING GLASS, FIFTY GRAND, and the "Dead Trilogy". The MC, Det Sean Duffy is such a good character, with a great sense of humor (some hugely funny lines already). A full review will be coming and I'm hoping to finish it tonight. (maybe a wee bit or reading is being done at work today...sssshhh)

Adrian hosts a great blog HERE.  You can check out CCG HERE and for all you music fans, he had a great post yesterday that included some fascinating info on a Sex Pistols gig HERE

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

R.S. Bohn:

I have been a fan of R.S. Bohn's  for some time now, so when she posted looking for beta readers for a 3000 word story she wrote, "Judith Of The Lions", I offered to give it a read.  I was very pleased that she took me up on the offer, and what a treat it was. I have had a tremendous week, Stuart Neville's "Collusion, Stuart Ayris' "Tollesbury Time forever" and R.S Bohn's story. The best thing about it all is it had nothing to do with my own writing. I just sat on my ass, turned pages, or clicked a mouse, and in return went on 3 fabulous rides.

Doesn't get much better than that. Now, "Judith Of The Lions" is a beautiful, heart-wrenching, and at times, unsettling story. R.S. Bohn has proved time and again, that she is a master of crafting desciptive phases, characters, and settings. This story is no different, and I dare to say, it is the best one I have read by her.  I provided my detailed feeback, and out of respect to R.S, do not want to take the liberty of sharing it, but it was all extremely positve. There is no doubt in my mind it will find publication, and when it does, you will be in for a real treat.

She might still be looking for a few more beta readers, and if you feel so inclined, you can offer to help her out HERE

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

TOLLESBURY TIME FOREVER by Stuart Ayris

I think most people who roll in the same writing circles as I do, or maybe even follow this blog, have heard of an extremely talented, and certainly on of my favorite up-and-coming crime writers, Ian Ayris.  What you might not know,  is that he has a brother Stuart, also a writer, and who has just put out a novel of his own, called TOLLESBURY TIME FOREVER

I also have to add, and this is only my virtual friendship take, these Ayris brothers seem like top gents, the kind I would love to meet up with someday and shoot the shit with..my kind of dudes from my generation!

In yet another example of Facebook proving to be a worthwhile time investment, I read the below description of Stuart's novel, and it sounded really interesting: Beatles, Cricket, alcoholism.....right up my alley!

"Tollesbury Time
Nothing is real
And there's nothing to get hung about
Tollesbury Time Forever"

sing the children...

That's all very well if you're not Simon Gregory, a Beatles-obsessed alcoholic with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and a love of cricket. For Simon, nothing is real except the knowledge that he misses the son he abandoned twenty-two years ago. Although the rope around his neck is real. And Tollesbury Time is real too - as you about to find out...


Let me just say, the description, while spot on, did not prepare me for what was to come. It was so much more. This is not a crime story, and that is the beauty, and appeal that it held for me. This story reminded me that as much as I love reading and writing crime \ heist stories, what truly impresses and moves me are unique, well written and well told stories. I just finished Stuart Neville's "Collusion". It was excellent, but when I finished, I was thinking about his next novel. After finishing Stuart's novel, I was thinking about it, as it was implanted in my mind...still is!

I put the following review on Amazon US and UK yesterday:

5.0 out of 5 stars: A Work of Art, January 9, 2012
"I have been entertained by many a good read, but what I truly enjoy, the reason why I read, is to be emotionally moved. A truly good piece of writing stays with you after the last page has been read and makes an impact on the way you view not only the world around you, but yourself. TOLLESBURY TIME FOREVER is such a story. The product description caught my attention and after reading the sample chapters, I could not buy it fast enough. There are sentences, paragraphs, and passages within, that are better than entire novels I have read. During the course of the read, I had to make the decision to keep moving on rather than re-reading the beautiful prose, because the story was so good, I wanted to finsh it. A catch-22 for sure, but I knew I would be revisting the story again.

Along with the excellent writing and story, there are plenty of twists and turns you will never figure out, and it all builds up to a tremendous ending.

From the first page to the last, I was engaged, entertained, and most of all emotionally invested. As a reader, I could not ask for any more!"
So there you have it. I very highly recommend this novel and you can check it out:
- On Amazon US HERE and Amazon UK HERE
Stuart blogs HERE
Best of luck to both Ayris brothers. I wish you the greatest of success in all your endeavors.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Crime Always Pays: News

Irish crime writer and overall patron saint of all who read and write Irish crime fiction has decided to pull back the throttle a bit on his awesome blog Crime Always Pays.  The CAP blog is such a crucial  resource for those of us who dig this genre, and I cannot say enough good about Declan the writer, or more importantly, the person. Of course, I have never met him( hopefully someday, just like all of you other web friends, I will) but via his actions and words, it is a no-brainer to make such a claim.

You can get all the details of the news, the reasons for the decision, and get a link to the Irish crime Facebook Group that Declan is passing the torch to HERE

So, here's to you Mr. Burke.  I wish you success in all your future endeavors, and pass on a heartfelt thanks for the help, knowledge, and laughs, you and CAP have provided me the last couple of years.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Joe Clifford's has a good one at TK-n-C


Read a really excellent story today over at Thriller's Killer's -n- Chillers by Joe Clifford. It's called "Another Man's Treasure".  This had all the ingredients I love: Excellent writing, tight structure, top-notch description and characters, a whopper of a twist, and most of all, not at all predictable and suspenseful as all hell.

If you feel so inclined, give it a read and drop Joe a comment.  You can find "Another Man's Treasure" HERE

This song popped into my head as soon as I finshed the story. It was also referenced in a scene in my novel, "Mindjacker". Works even better for Joe's tale! RIP Shannon Hoon ( Blind Melon Singer)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thanks to Graham Smith....

I love it when Facebook actually serves a purpose, besides letting me know what someone had for dinner or a whole bunch of other useless information.  Yesterday, TRESTLE PRESS author and CRIMESQUAD reviewer Graham Smith  had a status with a link to the OCEANVIEW PUBLISHING site, and the accompanying pic (see below) was of John F. Dobbyn's novel BLACK DIAMOND.  Of course, I had to take a look,  was not disappointed,  and thanked Graham for the info.  You can check out all Graham's offerings HERE as well as a nice interview he just did over at Paul Brazill's place HERE


Well, Graham, being the gent he seems to be, did me one better. He told me about another Oceanview author, Tom Macdonald, who,  like Mr, Dobbyn, is from Boston, and had a novel, "THE CHARLESTOWN CONNECTION" that I might enjoy. Bing, Bang, Boom..Just like that, two novels I cannot wait to read, especially after reading the samples. Nothing like an Irish crime story, set in Boston. What a day, but..... it got better....

When I find out about a new author, I like to do some recon on them and their writng, website, blog, and any local signings on their schedule.  Primarily, to get some background, before I spend the cash, but also to be able to let them know that I enjoyed their writing (if that is the case) 

Well, when I checked out Tom Macdonald's site, it mentoned that on Feb 23 he was going to be at a big local author event in Nashua, NH (15 mins from my house.) The date / location sounded familiar, and much to my suprise, it turns out I am going to be at the event as well ( as an author).  I am so excited, as there are some very impressive writers attending, and it freaks me out that I will be with them. I agreed to participate in Sept, and have been so busy, had not thought about it. You bet your ass, I am  counting the days now!

So, a heartfelt thanks and best wishes to Mr. Smith. Check out his writing, and Crimesquad, which is a tremendous site!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Stuart Neville's Collusion


Hope everyone had a terrific holiday season and I wish a happy and healthy 2012 to one and all.  I am 3/4 through reading "Collusion", Stuart Neville's follow up novel to his tremendous "The Ghosts of Belfast".  TGOB was a game-changer for me, when I read it in Jan 2010 and I am really digging the way "Collusion" is taking me back to that time.  What a wild ride it has been since I read TGOB, so many new friends, stories, novels, writers, and good times.   I am really looking forward to 2012, assuming the world doesn't end.  So, a sincere thank you to Mr. Neville, for writing such great stories. If you have not read TGOB or Collusion, you can get both of them together for kindle HERE

Next up, after a review of "Collusion", is Adrian McKinty's "Cold,Cold, Ground", and Stuart Neville's "Stolen Souls".  Can't wait!