Category Archives: Craig Douglas

Guest Blog: What Goes On by Richard Godwin

18193320_10213098319995219_4819326852453550096_oWell well here we are again, at Paul’s gaff, I have been a busy boy, and that’s an understatement. WHAT’S NEW:

I have my Noir sampler, Noir Candy out NOW with Down and Out Books, and for your personal delectation, here’s the pitch:

Noir Candy is a genre shifting candy shop of noir, the hybrid form.

Buy here

I also have my killer novel expose as it is, Portrait Of An Assassin out with Near To The Knuckle run by the peerless Craig Douglas:

An original novel about a hit man I met in the heart, or interior as they call it, of Sicily when I rented a villa from a Mafia lawyer.

Buy here

And last but not least my anthology of short stories, Crystal On Eclectic Acetate, how’s that for a title, also out with Down and Out Books run by the peerless Eric Campbell

What is it about? Are you kidding?

NOIR NOIR.

Links

AND COMING my sci fi porn novel Android Love, Human Skin is to follow.

Watch this fucking space.

Sneak preview

A dystopian science fiction novel that explores the nature of gender and sexual conflict and the addiction to pleasure in a virtual word.

Welcome to the four genders in a future with no planned conflict, a utopia of pleasure engineered by the union.

Society has been revolutionised by gender control and the technologization of man and woman. In a future where a biochemical weapon has removed the skins of the population, the rulers hunt for the beautiful ones, those men and women who still have skins. The union is the new government, a faceless body of politicians who were behind the order to use the weapon that backfired on them, leaving them skinless.

In the glass citadel, the new utopia, where the only surviving humans with skin are placed, they recreate the world of gender by offering humans four types of robot with which to have relationships. All the humans are placed in relationships with machines, apart from Gerald, who appears to be a spy for the union and is filming the humans, and Elliott, a robot programmer. The union watches it all, political voyeurs in a totalitarian state of enforced sexual ecstasies. Food has been replaced by nutrient skins, and flavours can be chosen.

Bio: Richard Godwin is the critically acclaimed author of novels Apostle Rising, Mr.Glamour, One Lost Summer, Noir City, Meaningful Conversations and Confessions Of A Hit Man. He is a crime and horror writer as well as a produced playwright. He was born in London and obtained a BA and MA in English and American Literature from King’s College London. His stories have been published in many magazines and anthologies. He has 29 distinct works in print. You can find out more about him at his website http://www.richardgodwin.net/.

Big City Blues is out NOW!

Big City BluesBritish coppers, an American private eye, London gangsters, international spies, and a serial killer known as The Black Crow all collide violently and hilariously in Big City Blues, another fast-moving and funny slice of Brit Grit from Paul D. Brazill.

Published by NEAR TO THE KNUCKLE. 

Available from Amazon.co.uk as an eBook for 99p or a paperback for less than a fiver.

You can also grab it from Amazon.com and any other Amazon you mind fancy.

Out NOW! Close To The Boneyard

close-to-the-boneyard-2012Includes my yarn Killing Mr Cornflakes and MORE!

Close To The Boneyard: A Near To The Knuckle Anthology. 

From the archives of the online fiction site, Near To The Knuckle. We have picked thirty tales that featured on the site. We have writers from across the globe. You won’t be disappointed with award winning authors spinning yarns coated in cordite and specks of blood.’

Get it HERE!

Short, Sharp Interview: Aidan Thorn

urban decayPDB:  What’s the SP on Urban Decay?

Urban Decay is a book I’m very proud of. It’s a bunch of short stories, that are about more than just crime, it’s about people. It is largely a crime collection, but I hope people take more from it than that, at the heart of every story are characters that I want people to see and understand, even if they don’t agree with what they do. It’s been out a few months now and I’ve been thrilled with the reaction I’ve been getting to it, particularly from other writers, it’s been picking up some great reviews already.

PDB:  You’ve just joined the Thirteeners. What’s the story there?

Seeing the cover for When the Music’s Over was a surreal moment for me. This is a book that I started writing around five years ago. It started life as a 75K word novel but I didn’t think it was working. I loved the story but it felt bloated and overwritten. Last year I started following Number 13 Press on Twitter and I picked up a few of their books. I was so impressed with what I was reading I had to try and write something for them. I remembered When the Music’s Over and thought maybe it was something I could turn into a novella. I spent a month or two re-reading it all and sharpening it up and then sent it off to Number 13… And today it’s available to buy.

As far as the story, it’s old fashion noir set in the modern day. I’ve taken a character who’s best days were years ago and forced him back into the criminal world he once stepped through with ease to investigate the murder of his former employer’s son.

PDB:  How much research was involved in the books?

When the Music’s Over took a fair amount of research, just to get the setting right, in terms of location and time. There’s a section of the book that goes back to the early 90’s and I really enjoyed retreading that time, particularly the music. I was a huge fan of the grunge scene as a kid and as I wrote that part of the book I spent a lot of time listening to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains etc…

PDB: Which crime writers do you enjoy?

I enjoy many more than I have time to read these days. George Pelecanos will always top my list and I’m a huge fan of Block, Lehane, Leonard, Connelly, Billingham. I’ve also discovered a number of talented indie writers since I started writing myself, Darren Sant, Chris Leek, Gareth Spark, Tom Pitts, B.R. Stateham, Grant Nichol and many more have all impressed me massively with their work… And, you’re not so bad yourself Paul!

PDB: Do you read outside the genre?

Yes, I read all sorts of books. I read a lot of biographies, mostly about musicians. I really don’t care what the genre of book is, I just want to read a really good book. I do tend to read mostly crime, but I’ve read everything from Harry Potter to Harry Bosch, from Charles Dickens to Danny King.

when the music's over

PDB: What else is on the cards?

I’ve got another novella I’m writing at the moment, it’s sort of finished but I’m just going over it and making sure it’s in good shape before I decide what to do with it. I also have a few short stories written since Urban Decay so I reckon there will be a third short story collection at some point. I’ve written a 10K short that I’m not sure how to publish, what I’d really like to do is find a publisher that would take it on with a bunch of my friends also writing 10K shorts, a sort of ‘Aidan Thorn introduces…’ collection to showcase some of the great writers that I’ve got to know. Finally, I’ve started a novel, and when I say I’ve started I mean it’s about 1,000 words at the moment so it’ll be a while before that one rears its head

Route 66 And All That is Reviewed at Dark Musings

rogueThe ROGUE anthology is reviewed by Anthony Watson at DARK MUSINGS.

Here’s what he has to say about my yarn:

‘There’s politics too – though in a subtle, tangential way and even some humour – though of the darkest variety. The latter is most evident in Paul D Brazill’s Route 66 and All That which introduces an entertaining set of hapless criminals and contains some zinging one-liners.’

Check out the rest of the review here.

Out Now! Near To The Knuckle presents Rogue: The second anthology

rogueIncludes my yarn ‘Route 66 And All That.’ The blurb: ‘You find yourself on the wrong side of town. It’s late and your only option is to walk down a narrow pitch-black alley. Your heart is pounding. You’re sure that you can hear footsteps, but there’s no one in sight. The sound of soft feet approaching, is getting ever closer. You start to break into a jog. There’s a light at the end of the alley but suddenly a figure steps from the shadows. He is smartly dressed and smiling and yet you have a bad feeling about this. He reaches into his pocket… Rogue the second anthology from the Near to the Knuckle website brings you a whole host of talent all bringing you their best stories featuring Rogue’s. This anthology was brought to you by this list of Rogues: Gareth Spark, Tess Makovesky, Gabriel Valjan, Craig Furchtenicht, Paul D Brazill, Richard Godwin, Aidan Thorn, Gary Duncan, Dave Jaggers, Walter Conley, Cal Marcius, T Maxim Simmler, Mark Cooper, Bill Baber, Robert Cowan, Ryan Bracha, Matt Mattila, Graham Wynd, Benedict J Jones, Liam Sweeny, Alan Griffiths and Keith Nixon’

The eBook is out now!

Coming Soon: Rogue – The Second Near to the Knuckle Anthology

rogueIncludes my yarn ROUTE 66 AND ALL THAT.

From GRITFICTION.

GLOVES OFF, the first NEAR 2 THE KNUCKLE anthology, is available here and pretty tasty it is, too.

It includes my yarn THE HIT MAN AND HER and more besides.

Route 66 And All That

Short, Sharp Interview: T. Maxim Simmler

gritfictionPDB: What’s going on now?

TMS: I’m giving a story for Near To The Knuckle’s ROGUE anthology a polish, and then I have three weeks to finish “Noon at Midnight”, a short crime novella supposed to be out in February.

PDB: How did you research this book?

TMS: “Noon at Midnight” is loosely based on Thomas Middleton’s “Revenger’s Tragedy”. So I reread the play twice, watched the adaptation with Christopher Eccleston and some articles on the piece. Then I binned all notes and started writing.

PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

TMS: Noon will be the first longer piece. If I had to select one of my short stories, it’s a tie between “Suicide Chump” in Thuglit #12 and “Darker with the Day” in James Ward Kirk’s “Bones III”.

PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?

TMS: Film is easy. My Top Ten may be in constant change, but at the top of it has always been The Wild Bunch. Book? That’s a mean question. I’ll go with the novel I’ve read every year since I discovered it at fourteen – Elias Canetti’s “Auto da Fe”. I’ll choose “Der Leiermann”, the last song from Schubert’s Winterreise, as song. A nice, utterly depressing song about the futility of art at the end of a song cycle about a guy who sets out to wander through the country in winter till he dies. TV’s easy, too. I’m a hardcore Doctor Who addict since childhood. Stuck with it through the worst times (Colin fucking Baker), while I quit other shows after two bad episodes.

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

TMS: Nope. It’s all a rather heightened affair – the dialogue, the emotions, the violence. I’m trying to take the grand, operatic themes, like loyalty and betrayal, love and revenge, and let them play out between third rate criminals, or happen to your next door losers. Realism is not what I’m after, and I might just as well cast fairies and werewolves. So everything takes place in unnamed northern towns in an alternate reality. Also: I pretty much suck at location writing, and if I cannot avoid it, I labour for hours over a couple of sentences.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

TMS: Right now everything’s in anthologies, magazines and e-zines. I hope I can avoid checking the rankings by telling me I’d rather have 100 readers who are really into the noirish crime stuff, than 10000 readers and 70% of them complaining about the number of “fucks”. Being pretty good at lying to myself, this might work out.

roguePDB: What’s next?

TMS: A horror novella, The Shakes, hopefully out in spring, and then a spaghetti western. The project I’m most excited about, however, is called WARD 12, an on-going anthology I’ll be co-editing. It’s Masters Of Horror for crime, noir and crime-noir-horror-tinted novelettes, with a fresh story by some of the best folks writing in the field, out every month as an e-book, and collected in a big, shiny tome after a year. If it’s a bit of a success, I’ll hand the keys to the building over after that, and it’ll move to the female ward. Or maybe an aeroplane toilet drops on my head.

Bio: T. Maxim Simmler writes crime, horror and assorted weird stuff. Say hello on the most swear word riddled page in the history of social media: https://www.facebook.com/TMaximSimmler

Short, Sharp Interview: Aidan Thorn

gritfictionPDB: What’s going on now?

Now? Now I’ve just signed a contract with GritFiction Ltd (Better known to most of you as Darren Sant and Craig Douglas the brains behind Near to the Knuckle) to publish my second short story collection, Urban Decay. And, I could not be happier about it! We’ve been discussing it for about a week and it’s been really hard keeping it under wraps but now the news is out I want to shout it from the rooftops. I’ll be the first author, other than the men themselves, have anything published by this new venture and so it’s a great honour (and a little bit daunting) that they picked me. And, when I say they picked me they really did… I always send my work to Darren when, he’s a safe pair of eyes and a writer I have so much time for so it’s good to get his opinion on what I’m doing. I sent him Urban Decay for the once over, it went quiet for a while and then out of the blue he emailed me asking if I’d be interested in being their first author – an absolute honour for me. Near to the Knuckle is an important mag for me, it’s been so supportive so being part of this now means the world to me – I don’t want to go on here about it, but I’ll certainly be saying more about it on my site over the coming days.

PDB: How did you research this book?

This book is a collection of short stories, I’ve written a number this year, but I wanted to theme his so have only included stories that I think talk to the title, Urban Decay. I’m not sure researching is the right word for what I do when I write a short, it tends to be that I’m inspired by something or hit by an idea and I have to start writing. That said, I rarely know everything about the subjects I’m writing and so my internet search history over the past year includes, luxury watchmakers (I’m sure Daz and Craig will be buying me one as part of my signing on fee!), boxing glove weights, work related stress symptoms etc…

roguePDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

I’ll be most proud of this one when it’s out!

But before that it has to be my story in Gloves Off the first Near to the Knuckle Anthology. I was the first person to have a story confirmed for that particular collection and it’s a great collection of truly talented people, having my name on that list of talent really made me feel like I’d achieved something when I saw the line up.

PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?

Film – Tough one and it changes regularly with my mood. I love a super-hero movie, Superman is a favourite, I love a good crime story, obviously, and so I’m a big fan of the likes of Goodfellas, Casino, Carlito’s Way,  Get Carter etc… But if I really think about it I think I’d have to say Rocky. I know that the sequels have sort of blackened the name (although I actually really enjoy them) but it’s a great film, well written, there’s grit there’s love and it’s not afraid to give you an ending you weren’t expecting (Spoiler alert for anyone who’s been under a stone for 40 years) because Rocky loses.

Book – The Big Blowdown by George Pelecanos. The greatest writer living today, Pelecanos writes big stories about little lives and this book is a bit of an epic by his standards, just brilliant

Song – Again, difficult to pick just one but let’s go with People Get Ready by Curtis Mayfield… Just too cool.

TV – Dexter, The Sopranos, Ray Donovan, Entourage, Californication are all up there but at the moment I can’t look further than Peaky Blinders, now that’s Brit Grit

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

As a rule, no. I write short stories I don’t have the words to tell you about the locations. I have a little rule (that I occasionally break) unless someone’s head is about to get smashed into a wall or a table I don’t need a description of the wall or the table. That said, I do occasionally use location as a character in a book. I’m writing something at the moment that’s set in Las Vegas and part of setting it in Vegas is because the character of Las Vegas is important to the story.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

Daily, on the hour, every hour for the rest of my life…

PDB: What’s next?

I’ve got to finish off Urban Decay, or I’ll have Darren and Craig on my back and you don’t want to tussle with them, I’ve read their stuff they scare me! I also have a story I’m working on for another project that I’m really excited to be have been asked to be a part of. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say too much about it, but all I will say is that I’m excited by the names being linked with it and hope I can write something that is up to muster

Bio: Aidan Thorn is from Southampton, England, home of the Spitfire and Matthew Le Tissier but sadly more famous for Craig David and being the place the Titanic left from before sinking. Aidan would like to put Southampton on the map for something more than bad R ‘n’ B and sinking ships. His short fiction has appeared in the Byker Books Radgepacket series, the Near to the Knuckle Anthology: Gloves Off,  Exiles: An Outsider Anthology, The Big Adios Western Digest and Shadows & Light as well as online at Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers, Thrills, Kills and Chaos, Near to the Knuckle, Pulp Metal Magazine, Shotgun Honey and Spelk Fiction. His first short story collection, Criminal Thoughts is available on Amazon now and his second collection will be published by GritFiction in 2015

http://aidanthornwriter.weebly.com

Top Tips: Recommended Reads

THE STREET MARTYR COVER webThe Street Martyr by T. Fox Durnham

Over the years, America has given us an abundance of great urban poets, such as Johnny Thunders, Chester Himes, Tom Waits, George V. Higgins, Bruce Springsteen, Nelson Algren, Martin Scorsese and John Cassavetes. Poets that simultaneously eulogise, celebrate and chastise the neon soaked and blood stained streets of America’s cities. Poets that embrace the highways and the alleyways. The bodies and the bullets. The sirens and the screams. The saints and the sinners. The lost and the lonely. The dispossessed. People like The Street Martyr’s Vincent – a battered and bruised small time criminal with a tarnished heart of gold.

With The Street Martyr, T. Fox Durnham has created visceral, vivid, lyrical, and heart wrenching tale of lost souls living life on a razor’s edge. A powerful and gripping tale which will haunt your dreams.

The Blood Whisperer by Zoe Sharp.

I’m a big fan of the ‘man on the run’ thriller – The 39 Steps, Rogue Male, North By Northwest even The Da Vinci Code. Zoe Sharp now gives the sub-genre a couple of well-aimed kicks in the cobblers with this fantastic, breathless and gritty thriller

The Blood Whisperer tells the story of Kelly Jacks, a former CSI and ex-con who is now working as a crime-scene cleaner. When she investigates an apparent suicide, Kelly is quickly forced to go on the run from the police, local gangsters and Russian killers. Non-stop action, great characters and twists-and-turns abound.Loved it.

Fire Mission by Craig Douglas

Authentic, well-written and full of great characters, Fire Mission by Craig Douglas is a hard-hitting, unflinching and uncensored soldier’s diary full of humour, anger and heart-in-mouth moments of tension. A gripping, gritty read.

Diary Of An Expectant Father by Pete Sortwell

Pete Sortwell’s Diary Of An Expectant Father is the story of Graham – a hapless and hopeless man at odds with his own life – as he attempts to come to terms with the reality of his girlfriend’s pregnancy. Down-to earth, touching, realistic, insightful and very, very funny.

Short, Sharp Interview: Darren Sant of Near To The Knuckle

Gloves Off FINAL4.0

PDB: What the hell is Gloves Off?

Gloves Off is the first anthology of the Near To The Knuckle website.

As you can see by the URL we like to confuse and challenge our readers…

http://www.close2thebone.co.uk/

For those that don’t know the site it is the darker of crime fiction with occasionally others genres thrown in. We keep the theme fairly open so long as it is Near To The Knuckle.  The story we accept often have challenging, dark subject matter but they always keep you reading until the end.  The anthology contains those kinds of stories. However, don’t we do have a sense of humour too, you’ll see a couple stories in there that’ll have you chuckling.

PDB: Which writers are involved in the project?

Well by the use of charm, threats, Chinese burns and being really… quite nice.  We managed to secure the fantastic talents of:

Gareth Spark, Richard Godwin,

Paul D. Brazill, Aidan Thorn,

Pete Sortwell, B.R. Stateham

Brian Panowich, Ryan Sayles,

Chris Leek, David Barber,

Vic Errington, Graham Smith,

Walter Conley, Tom Pitts,

Allen Miles, Jim Spry,

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw, Mike Monson,

Alan Griffiths.

PDB: How did you come up with the title?

After hours of swearing at each other and issuing death threats Craig and myself decided to hold a competition.  The winning entry came from the dark and talented mind of the gentleman known as Richard Godwin.

PDB: Who did the striking- see what I did then?- cover?

Like in there the Highlander movies there could be only one….

Steven Miscandlon.

PDB: Will there be a second volume?

We plan to do one a year. However, we both have our own writing commitments. That said if people nag me enough I usually cave in to pressure.

PDB: What else have you both got on the go?

Well I’ve just released Tales From The Longcroft volume 2.  Available from Amazon.  I’m working on a supernatural and mysterious story featuring a bank manager and a hobo, bum, tramp. Call him what you will. I also have two Longcroft stories on the go. One is a modern Longcroft style take on Romeo and Juliet.  The other is the conclusion to the Andy Rowan trilogy of stories.

Craig is very much tied up with his kindle formatting and editing business at the moment. So if you need the magic touch for your manuscript he is the go to guy.  (Did I really say that?  At least I didn’t say “Let’s touch base or pimms?”).

Out Now ! ! ! Gloves Off ! ! !

Gloves Off FINAL4.0Near To The Knuckle presents “Gloves Off”.

“Gloves Off” is a collection of dark stories from the cream of the literary crop. These stories have one thing in common: they will come at you, all guns blazing. There’s a story lurking down every dark alley. Just when your back is turned a plot-twist is ready to attack.

The stories in this anthology are mainly crime, but there is also grim humour and the supernatural; dark tales for an adult audience featuring hit men, mobsters, bikers and stalkers. Are you prepared for the bloody scenes within?

This anthology was spawned from the dark, talented minds of:

Gareth Spark, Richard Godwin, Aidan Thorn, Pete Sortwell, B.R. Stateham  Brian Panowich, Ryan Sayles, Chris Leek, David Barber, Vic Errington, Graham Smith, Walter Conley, Tom Pitts, Allen Miles, Jim Spry,Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw, Mike Monson, Alan Griffiths and my story THE HIT MAN AND HER.

Coming Soon: GLOVES OFF!

So, this is Steven Miscandlon‘s well tasty cover for GLOVES OFF, the forthcoming anthology from Darren Sant and Craig Douglas, the people behind the NEAR TO THE KNUCKLE ezine

Gloves Off .

There’s more information about the anthology over at my latest Brit Grit Alley column at Out Of The Gutter online, where you’ll also find a guest post from Royston Blake, star of Charlie Williams‘ Mangel books.