Category Archives: All Due Respect

Short, Sharp Interview: Nigel Bird

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PDB: What’s going on?

In terms of the business of writing, I feel very busy.

I’ve just released the latest Southsiders novel, By The Time I Get To Phoenix. I was really sad to see publisher Blasted Heath come to an end. They did a fine job of editing and putting covers to the Southsiders books, but only managed to put out the first two. They generously handed the covers over to me, leaving me the relatively easy job of putting them out. I’m holding back on book four, the final one in the series, after this latest one has bedded in.

I’ve also just finished a novel that I’m rather proud of. I’ll say more about it when the time is right. I worked hard on the edits and feel it’s in tip top condition at this point.

In case I didn’t have enough on my plate, I’m also involved in a new role as Editorial Consultant for the massively impressive All Due Respect. It’s a grand title for what I do – reading submitted manuscripts, making notes and comments and suggestions and passing them on – but I’ll take it. The role may adapt over time and I’ll be happy to take on the changes if and when they arise. When Chris Rhatigan asked me to do this I didn’t have to give it a second thought. Life may be busy enough, but if you’re going to be overwhelmed, it might as well be while doing the things you love. I was proud to be asked and delighted to accept. Chris and I worked together on the Pulp Ink books and he took on a short story of mine for the ADR anthology a while back. We also put a story together that was published in Needle Magazine. I met him in the summer when he came to Edinburgh and it was great to get to know him better. He’s a star in so many ways and as a writer he excels (check out his books when you can, they’re terrific).

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

If it’s there. I don’t make an effort to play anything particular and would most likely have the wonderful Radio 6 on as much as anything else. I’m also partial to a musician going by the name Long Hat Pins and I do play his tracks to get me into the groove by distracting me from anything else.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

I’ve been recording episodes of Fraser daily for a month or so now. There are so many of them that my memory is almost used up. I see it as filling up a bank with happiness for days when I feel a bit low.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

I’ve not had one of those since I last had a drink just over twelve years ago. From memory, the best cure is another drink with a couple of Gregg’s cheese and onion pasties.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Rather than pick a spot, I think I’d change world geography. Mostly I like it where I am on the Scottish coast. The attraction is the beauty of the area and the low density of humanity. I guess I’d really like to live by the sea in an area of outstanding beauty where the weather is warm and dry much of the time, there aren‘t many people around and there’s easy access to a wonderful city (I can tick most of those boxes here in Dunbar what with Newcastle and Edinburgh within range, but the weather one definitely contains a cross).

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

I get confused by this concept. To me a bucket list sounds like the place you put all the things you really don’t want in your life. That’s probably just showing my age.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

More reading for All Due Respect.

I’m also letting my mind marinade an idea for a prequel for the novel I’ve just finished.

nigelbirdPDB: Anything else?

If this gets out in time, the three Southsiders books will be free over the weekend of the 23rd and 24th September. If not, I think I’ve said enough.

Bio: Nigel is the author of a number of acclaimed novels, novellas and short story collections including The Shallows, the Southsiders series, Mr Suit, Smoke and Dirty Old Town. He is currently an editorial consultant for the publisher All Due Respect books.  As well as writing, he is a Support for Learning teacher in a number of schools in East Lothian.

Submissions

Book submissions are currently open at ALL DUE RESPECT, the splendid publishers who’ve put out books by the likes of Rob Pierce, Paul Heatley, Eric Beetner, Marietta Miles, Alec Cizak, and even me.

They say:

Submissions are open. What we want: low-life literature. Criminals, thugs, douchebags, cheaters, gamblers, pickpockets, ne’er-do-wells, guns, cigarettes, bath salts, booze, beer, strippers, whores, wheelers, dealers, schemers, robbers, adulterers, embezzlers, loan sharks, losers, and lottery winners (who are, of course, losers).

All at 100 mph with the brake lines cut and a shitload of speed running through its veins.’

There’s more information HERE.

THE FLASH FICTION OFFENSIVE are looking for stories under 1000 words to publish at OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINE.

‘We are looking for, as the old Gutter guidelines put it, “well-written, fucked up stuff.” This means nicely constructed stories in which things–that is, bad things–happen; stories that test boundaries and give readers something to think about while taking readers from A to B without getting lost.’

There’s more information HERE.

SHOTGUN HONEY are open for flash fiction and books submissions.

They say:

‘Since 2011, Shotgun Honey has been a steady outlet for crime, noir, and hard-boiled flash fiction. Our prominent website has featured over 400 writers and has published nearly a thousand stories all told within a mere 700 words. If you feel you have what it takes to beat our gauntlet of editors, submit your story today. We’re look something new and fresh, and we hope that it’ll come from you.

If you want to be part of our growing imprint and have a novella or short novel between 25,000 and 50,000 words, or a collection of short stories with a crime fiction slant, we want to read from you.’

There’s more information HERE. 

And you can find loads more submission calls at Sandra Seamans’ MY LITTLE CORNER.     

Guest Blog: Conflict by Chris Rhatigan

Rhatigan-photo-200x300One Thing Every Reader Wants to See

A manuscript arrives in the All Due Respect inbox. It sits there for some time.

Might be a day, might be a week, might be an hour.

At some point, usually in the morning with a thermos of coffee, I open the manuscript.

There’s one thing I’m looking for from the first sentence.

I’m looking for conflict.

You may have heard this a hundred times, but there’s a reason for that: It’s easy to forget about conflict. You might focus on any number of other things—the details of setting or how to make your protagonist more likable.

But I can tell you that editors are always looking for conflict. So are literary agents, publishers, and just average readers.

You may have a 300-page manuscript with a dynamite ending, but if you don’t establish conflict in the first 20 pages, your manuscript is unlikely to make the cut.

Open any book on the shelves of your local bookstore and you’re likely to see conflict in the first paragraph, if not the first sentence. Take this opening sentence from Lee Child’s The Hard Way:

“Jack Reacher ordered espresso, double, no peel, no cube, no china, and before it arrived at his table he saw a man’s life change forever.”

The reader knows from the first moment what this book will be about. The implied question—who is this man whose life has changed forever and how will Reacher become involved?—pushes the reader forward.

adrThe conflict in the first few pages need not be the core of your novel’s plot. For example, one of the first novels our press published was Uncle Dust by Rob Pierce. The novel begins with Dust, a bank robber, discovering he is missing two hundred dollars. Dust goes on a mission to find the money, roughly interrogating his girlfriend and her kid.

The protagonist wants something and other characters are in his way. It doesn’t matter that it’s a small amount; he will not stand losing the money. This is a small conflict setting up a larger conflict that also tells the reader a bit about Dust’s character.

It’s possible an editor or agent will continue reading past page 20 if you have an engaging voice or a fascinating character.

It’s much more likely they will continue reading because you’ve established conflict.

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance editor and co-publisher of All Due Respect Books.

Recommended Read: Fatboy by Paul Heatley

Fat BoyJoey has had enough. His girlfriend has left him, taking their young son with her. He comes close to losing a bar job that he hates, and he is regularly verbally abused by one of his customers, a  local big shot.

So he hits on a plan that will sort everything out. Of course, in true noir fashion, it’s not as easy as he thinks.

Paul Heatley’s Fatboy is brilliant. A perfect example of smalltown noir worthy of Jim Thompson or Dave Zeltserman. Highly recommended.

Short, Sharp Interview: Paul Heatley

Author photo 3PDB: Can you pitch FATBOY in 25 words or less?

Latino barkeep Joey attempts to regain his family and exact brutal revenge upon the racist businessman that hassles him, all at the same time.

PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

Music-wise, anything by Mark Lanegan or Nick Cave. In terms of wordplay and mastery of language, Saul Williams. Books – The Clown by Heinrich Boll, The Lost Weekend by Charles Jackson, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. For songs, see anything by the above. And the Beach Boys! Love the Beach Boys… Films – The Wrestler, Taxi Driver, Rocky, Sicario, The Nice Guys. Television – The Leftovers, The Wire, Fargo, the first four seasons of Dexter…

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

MW Front CoverI think The Motel Whore could make a decent indie feature. TV-wise, there’s potential in a crime series set in Newcastle featuring characters from An Eye For An Eye, which is a world I’m hoping to expand upon at some point in the future.

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

James Ellroy, Jim Thompson, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Zadie Smith, Harry Crews.

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

I’m bad with jokes, I don’t store them. There’s a chef at work always tells the same cheese joke and I can never remember the punch line. Right now I’m struggling to remember the build-up, too… I watch comedians, though – Eddie Izzard, Bill Hicks. The latter’s bit on Jack Palance in Shane has always been a favourite and is worth looking up on YouTube. Pick up the gun…

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

‘The Sound of Silence’ by Simon and Garfunkel.

An Eye For An Eye CoverPDB: What’s on the cards?

Well, I’m keeping busy! I finished a novel at the start of this year which I’ll soon start the edits on, along with two more novellas I wrote shortly after that, and I’m working on a third that I’m hoping to have finished by the end of this month (March). After that there’s a whole slew of new projects I’m looking to plan, write, and edit, and hopefully they’ll see the light of day at some point.

PDB: Anything else?

Fatboy will be available May 1st, published by All Due Respect. In the meantime (or afterward, depending on when you’re reading this), An Eye For An Eye is available for Kindle, published by Near To The Knuckle, and I recently made The Motel Whore & Other Stories, and Guns, Drugs, And Dogs available as paperbacks.

Bio: Paul Heatley’s stories have appeared online and in print for a variety of publications including Thuglit, Crime Syndicate, Spelk, Horror Sleaze Trash, and Shotgun Honey, among others. He is the author of The Motel Whore & Other Stories, An Eye For An Eye, Guns, Drugs, and Dogs, and the forthcoming Fatboy. He lives in the north east of England.

#FRIDAY FLASH: DEAD PIMP IN A TRUNK

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The Last Laugh

I WAS GOING to tell you about why I killed Lewis Quad and how he’d had it coming to him. How he’d asked for it and deserved everything he got. Tell you what an evil bastard he was and how many lives he’d destroyed over the years. All the shitty little things he’d done just because he could. Justify my actions, and the like. But then I realised that, well, if you knew Lewis Quad you’d know all of that anyway and if you didn’t know Lewis there was no way in heaven, hell or purgatory that I was ever  going to be able to explain the whole thing to you. So I thought I’d just tell you what happened next.

***

I wasn’t even close to Cyrus White’s farm when I realised I was running low on fuel. The last few hours had been a blur. I’d been so wrapped up in replaying the events of the last few days I’d been smothered by them, truth be told.

As I drove through the night, the streetlamps were yellow streaks across the pallet of darkness. I’d been listening to a phone-in talk show about ghosts, hauntings and such, and though I’d never been superstitious, I sure was glad when the dawn eventually broke on through.

I saw a sign for a gas station off of a side road and turned off the radio so that I could concentrate. I followed the directions until I reached a small disused general store with a dusty, rusted gas pump in front and a battered old station wagon parked beside it. I parked my Dodge, lay my head on the steering wheel and groaned.

After a moment or so, I switched on the radio to wake myself up but it was as dead as the corpse in my trunk. I lay back in the seat and pulled out a quarter bottle of Wild Turkey. Sipped. As I watched the sun rise like a gold doubloon, I started to relax.

Then I heard the bang.

***

She was old, in her eighties or something like that, carrying a sawn-off shotgun and wearing a ragged green-velvet ball gown. She staggered out of the store, tripping over her high heeled shoes and pulling a red beehive wig from her head as she raced toward the station wagon. I guessed she didn’t notice me at first because she threw the gun into the car and crawled in after it. She started up the station wagon with a struggle and reversed. Right into my car.

***

The sunny morning had hardened into a granite gray day and the non-stop drizzle failed to wash away the pain in my head. It wasn’t the impact of the cars so much or even the hangover that was kicking in. It was Mathilda and the way she talked. And how much she talked.

I pulled up outside White’s farmhouse just as Mathilda was telling some long and winding anecdote about unpaid alimony, jailbait whores and a pawn shop.

‘And, you know, what would you do, if you were unlucky enough to have found yourself in my situation?’ she said. She scratched her bald head. Glared at me.

‘I know what you mean,’ I said. ‘I know exactly what you mean.’

Although I most certainly did not.

Cyrus came out of the door cradling a crossbow that I knew he had made himself. He was tall and gaunt, with a long white beard and a bald head. He was wearing a frayed black suit. He swayed a little as he walked toward the car.

‘You took your time,’ he said. ‘My babies are getting hungry.’

I heard the pigs scream and a chill skewered my soul.

‘Don’t worry,’ I said, as I got out of the Dodge. ‘I have a little extra snack for them.’

‘Then come on in, ladies,’ said Cyrus. He opened up the passenger door and winked at Mathilda. ‘You’re just in time for tiffin.’

I picked up my purse and slammed the car door. Straightened my skirt.

Mathilda was already hobbling alongside Cyrus, arm in arm with him.

It was going to be a long day.

fin

Dedicated to The Soska Sisters.

Dead Pimp In A Trunk first appeared online at Shotgun Honey and is included in my short story collection The Last Laugh, which is published by All Due Respect and currently on sale for 99p.

The Last Laugh is currently only 99p!

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The Last Laugh

My short story collection, THE LAST LAUGH, is currently a KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL, which means it’s only 99p for the next few days.

From France, to Spain, to the north east of England, hit men, gangsters, corrupt cops, drunks, punks, and petty thieves all tumble toward the abyss. The stories in The Last Laugh are vivid and violent slices of Brit Grit and international noir, full of gaudy characters and dialogue sharp enough to cut your throat. The Last Laugh is a violent and blackly comic look at life through a shot glass darkly.

“If you took Ken Bruen’s candor, the best of Elmore Leonard’s dialogues, sprinkled in some Irvine Welsh, and dragged it all through the dirtiest ditch in South London, the result will be something akin to Brazill’s writing.” – Gabino Iglesias (author of Zero Saints and Gutmouth)

“A broad range of cultural strands come together in the melting pot and form a delicious stew of criminal adventure… The observations are sharp and the characters create small nuclear explosions as they collide with each other.” – Nigel Bird (author of Southsiders)

‘Brazill isn’t just a writer; he’s a poet and you can take any of his stories and write a master’s thesis on just the language employed.’- Les Edgerton (Bomb!, The Bitch)’

Grab THE LAST LAUGH here.

Pat McDonald Reviews The Last Laugh.

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The Last Laugh

Over at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk , Pat McDonald says:

5.0 out of 5 stars More characters to make your smile muscles ache!

‘Another extraordinary fun filled book of short stories from Paul D Brazill you just have to read. A veritable cornucopia of exquisitely described characters that any one of them could make a novel feature in their own right – assuming they were alive at the end of each piece.

Picking up a few tips on how to ‘off’ someone, or not to by accident! My disposal of bodies list is growing with every book.

The hint of a secret – is Brazill really a nut or is he hiding behind the persona? I’ve been having the last laugh, two chapters every night; it beats a cup of cocoa any time. More characters to make your smile muscles ache. It’s wonderful! Can’t help but thinking that there is a serious crime thriller writer lurking in there waiting for a name change? Pat McDonald British Crime Author.’

Colman Keane Reviews The Last Laugh

The Last Laugh paperbackOver at Col’s Criminal Library, Col says:

’20 short stories here from the master.

Humour, violence, action, horror, scams, capers and more.

Cross paths with …….posties, barmen, club owners, Petula Clark, pig farmers, Frank Sinatra, Pink Floyd, Heaven 17, Ronnie and Reggie, Polish molls, Ukrainian whores, nagging wives and hen-pecked husbands, dead pimps, hitch-hikers and taxi drivers, literary agents and exploding seagulls.

Visit…… run down pubs and Knightsbridge,  Covent Garden and Warsaw and Cambridge bookshops, casinos and betting shops, dirty record shops and Brazill’s Northern creation – Seatown,

Cultural references abound, razor sharp observations, pithy put downs and sharp one liners.’

‘The likes of Paul D. Brazill makes reading an absolute joy.’

Read the rest HERE. 

Warren Stalley Reviews The Last Laugh

The Last Laugh paperbackOver at Amazon.co.uk, Warren Stalley gives my short story collection The Last Laugh  FIVE stars and says:

‘The Last Laugh by author Paul D Brazill brings together a variety of old and new stories in one darkly, gritty collection. Peppered with classic one liners and black gallows humour these are tales of international noir, Brit grit and bad luck blues. Existing fans will enjoy renewing the acquaintance of classic characters, scenes and stories. While new readers are in for a treat with marvellous stories such as “Route 66 & All That”, “Red Esperanto”, “The Weather Prophet” and the classic Seatown capers. Mr Brazill cleverly finds poetry, comedy and beauty in the grime, grit, filth and fury of the underworld. His literary tales stride across the continents in Doc Marten boots with a whiplash smile. Highly recommended to any crime fan looking for something special. Enjoy.’

Recommended Read: The Deepening Shade by Jake Hinkson.

the-deepening-shadeAn alcoholic cop, a Jesus freak, a pregnant homeless teenager, a stripper, a cop in debt to a gangster, and the manager of a fast food joint who is in the wrong place at the wrong time are all  part of the rich and varied cast of characters in The Deepening Shade, Jake Hinkson’s superlative short story collection.

The writing is vivid, lyric and brutal. The stories are powerful and involving. The characters are human, all too human.

Every story in this collection is a gem but standouts for me were Makers And Coke, Night Terrors, The Serpent Box and Our Violence.

Very highly recommended.

Recommended Read: Route 12 by Marietta Miles

route-12-finalRoute 12 by Marietta Miles contains two unflinchingly  dark novellas that savagely slice up America’s  dark underbelly.

In Route 12 itself, which  takes place in the 1970s,  the lives of three troubled young people intersect brutally.

The second novella, the 1960s set Blood and Sin, focuses on  the tragic woman that circle Pastor Friend.  Both novellas are intense, chilling and completely gripping.

Dave Wilde Reviews The Last Laugh

The Last Laugh paperbackOver at Amazon.com, Dave Wilde says:

‘Reading Brazill’s Last Laugh is a bit like finding yourself in an episode of the British version of Shameless after a night of pub crawling and wondering how the hell you found yourself there. Pubs, drinking, blokes, tough guys, drunks, cheats, comedians, East European whores, and some rather off-color jokes fill out this volume. To me, this book is as much about the atmosphere and the mood and the poetry of the pub as it is about the plot in these stories. Some of the stories easily morph into each other and the mood of being slightly off-kilter is always there. There are passages in here you might want to read more than once. The characters and the material are so rich.’