Category Archives: Graham Smith

Recommended Read: Watching The Bodies by Graham Smith

watching the bodiesJake Boulder is a Scottish hardman transported to the USA who works as a bouncer and also as an assistant to his PI friend Alfonse. As they investigate the death of one of Jake’s old flames, they discover that there is a serial-killer on the loose.

Watching The Bodies  is the first in what promises to be a cracking new series from Graham Smith.

Hard-hitting, tightly paced and with lots of great twists and turns.

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Have A Brit Grit Christmas!

martinaI asked a bunch of Brit Grit writers about their favourite Christmas book, film and song, and this is what they said:

Martina Cole:

Well my favourite Christmas book has to be John Updike and Edward Gorey’s ‘The Twelve Terrors of Christmas.’ Film has to be Lon Chaney as The Wolfman. I love old horrors especially at Christmas! And song has to be ‘Fairytale of New York’ as I adore The Pogues and Kirsty! (I remember when they were called Pogue Mahone! Kiss my arse in Gaelic!)

Lesley Welsh:

I’m going to be really tedious and say ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.‘ Still gets to me every time. Music-wise, Jona Lewie and ‘Stop The Cavalry’. Christmas book? That’s a difficult one, I never much liked Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol.’ and don’t really recall others specifically about that time of year as I would probably have avoided them like the proverbial. So can I have a play instead? For which I nominate Steven Berkoff’s one-man short play ‘Harry’s Christmas‘. Devastating.

Douglas Skelton: 

The book has to ‘A Christmas Carol,’ obvious I know but it’s the only actual Christmas book I can remember reading! I know when I see other choices I’ll kick myself (so if you have any suggestions, let me know) For film I’d have to go with ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, although ‘The Bishop’s Wife’ comes a close second. And song – there are so many – but ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ has the right blend of sweetness and melancholy for me.

HIT THE NORTH! NICK QUANTRILL INTERVIEW!Nick Quantrill:

Book I can’t really look beyond Dickens with ‘A Christmas Carol’, though you can’t beat a winter’s evening in the warmth with a book from a favourite author. Film Being a cynical and hardboiled crime writer is fine for 364 days of the year, but the remaining day has to be reserved to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Song, all of Kate Rusby’s “While Mortals Sleep” is great and the use of a brass band gives it that distinctive Yorkshire feel that warms me.

Luca Veste:

Book – ‘The Grinch who Stole Christmas’ by Dr Seuss Film – ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’. Song – ‘White Wine in the Sun’ by Tim Minchin

Matt Hilton:

The Spy Who Came For Christmas” by David Morrell, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “Silent Night” by Bing Crosby

Mark West:

Favourite book –‘The Mystery Of The Invisible Dog’ (it takes place between Christmas and New Year. Favourite film – either ‘Scrooged’ or ‘Die Hard’. Favourite song – ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ by Slade.

Alex Shaw:

Book: ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Film: ‘Die Hard.’ Song: ‘Feed The World.’

Sheila_Quigley-320x320Sheila Quigley:

‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’  – I can’t count how many times I’ve seen it – ‘White Christmas.’

Sarah Hilary:

‘The Long Shadow’ by Celia Fremlin. ‘The Bishop’s Wife’ (Cary Grant, David Niven).’The World of Winter’ by Bing Crosby

Ian Ayris:

Here we go: Christmas Book – ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charlie Dickens, Christmas Film – ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, Christmas Song – ‘White Christmas’ – SLF.

Richard Godwin:

Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Deep Throat’, Frank Zappa’s ‘Bobby Brown.’

Martin Stanley:

Okay, right now, off the top of my head: my favourites are Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Bad Santa’, and The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’.

jason 2016.Jason Michel

Book/ story – ‘A Christmas Carol’, Film – gotta be a Bond, not traditional, of course, but the nostalgia of a Christmas evening Bond flick, Song – I would say Slade then again, I have a tradition of listening to Frank Sinatra at Christmas.

Graham Wynd:

Um…’Little Women’, ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’, and oh, everyday a different answer so….Darlene Love, ‘Christmas Baby Please Come Home’. Best Xmas LP ‘A John Waters Xmas’.

Ryan Bracha:

‘The Little Matchgirl’ by HC Anderson for book, or ‘Mog’s Christmas’. The best and most underrated Christmas film ever is ‘Scrooged’. Song has to be ‘Mary’s Boy Child by Boney M’. Tune.

Betsy Reavley:

Oh easy, Charles Dicken’s ‘Christmas Carol’, ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ – Elvis Presley and film would have to be ‘Home Alone’.

nigelbirdNigel Bird:

Run Run Rudolph’ by Chuck Berry, ‘Diner’ (Barry Levinson) and ‘The Christmas Star’ (it’s a short story, so I hope that counts) by Mina Lewiton.

Graham Smith:

Can’t think of an Xmas book but ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Fairytale of New York.’

Paul Heatley:

My favourite book is ‘Sausagey Santa’ by Carlton Mellick III, song is ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ by Slade, but film is a toss up between ‘The Santa Clause,’ ‘Elf,’ and Ron Howard’s ‘The Grinch’ – I like the garishly colourful and OTT ones!

Tess Makovesky

I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas on the planet.  I quite like some of the old traditions, but hate the modern, consumer-driven, hyped-to-hell-and-back, be-perfect-or-else-you’ve-failed version, which tends to bring me out in a severe case of Bah Humbug.  So my choices of reading, watching and listening matter over the festive period tend to reflect this.

Favourite Christmas song: there’s a special mention for Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ which brings back happy memories of school Christmas parties.  But the winner, hands down, is ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty McCall.  Any Christmas song that includes lyrics like You scumbag, you maggot, You lousy old faggot gets my vote every time, and the harmonies (even with lead singer Shane McGowan apparently on such a massive bender he could barely stand up during recording) are amazing.

Favourite Christmas movie: I can’t really handle all those mushy-gushy sanctimonious ‘isn’t family wonderful’ type movies that you’re supposed to like at Christmas.  But Home Alone won me over the first time I saw it.  It has just the right blend of mischief, quirkiness, and sheer evil joy, from parents forgetting one of their own children, to Macauley Culkin’s 8 year old dreaming up ever nastier ways to keep the burglars out of the family home.  Great fun!

Favourite Christmas book: this one really had me stumped.  I wasn’t sure if there were any specific Christmas books, and when I googled, I’d never read most of them and wasn’t keen on the rest.  However, my favourite as a kid was probably ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by C S Lewis for the sheer magic and inventiveness of the story.  Although these days, I probably have more sympathy with the Wicked Witch than I ought to.  Imagine: always winter but never Christmas.  I can think of worse things…!

HAVE A BRIT GRIT CHRISTMAS!

Guest Blog:Looking Forward with Excitement by Graham Smith

At the time of writing my annual crime writing masterclasses are just over a month away. For me it’s a time of great excitement. Not only do I get to see the friends I’ve made over the previous years’ courses, I also get to learn from some top notch authors.

This year Crime and Publishment takes place from the 26th to the 28th of February at its usual home of The Mill Forge near Gretna Green. I’m the manager here so talking murder and crime all weekend makes a wonderful change from discussing weddings.

From its inception in 2012, Crime and Publishment has grown far beyond my wildest dreams and I can now boast that previous attendees have signed five separate publishing contracts, two of these attendees have also signed with top name literary agents and even one of our speakers (RC Bridgestock) met and signed up with an agent due to being at Crime and Publishment. Never once did I dare imagine my wee pet project would become so successful in such a short space of time.

When I first set down to create Crime and Publishment, I was determined that it MUST be three things,

· Affordable as there are so many courses which sound great but are prohibitively expensive

· Educational because it has to be deemed worthwhile by the people who part with their hard-earned to come along

· Opportunistic for those who attend. Many writers never get to meet an agent or publisher and when they do, they don’t know what to do. I was (and still am) determined that anyone who attends Crime and Publishment will leave better equipped to grab any opportunity which comes their way, as well putting a gilt-edged opportunity in front of them.

Last year we saw the publication of my own debut novel and a short story collection which introduced the police team featuring in Snatched from Homeand Mike Craven’s debut Born in a Burial Gown and a short story collection which introduced his police team. (I’m not sure where he got the idea for the short story collection from)

2016 alone will see the publication of four more books plus hopefully a novella and there’s still plenty of time for other submissions to be accepted.

For the record they are

· Night is Watching by Lucy Cameron

· Raise the Blade by Tess Makovesky

· I Know your Secret by Graham Smith

· The Major Crimes Team Vol 2: Matching the Evidence (Still under final edits before submission, but both I and the publisher are confident)

· Amit Dhand’s as yet untitled debut.

As the organiser of Crime and Publishment, I cannot express how proud of the hard work and talent of the gang as a whole. Not only are they all busy individuals they each make time to support and help each other out with discussing plot threads, beta reading and most of all, by being a friend who gets how frustrating wonderful the life of a writer can be.

I’m now at the point where I’m putting together the final touches to the two sessions I’ll be taking, while also liaising with the speakers as to their requirements and taking bookings from writers who are looking to improve their skill set.

This year the programme is packed with great speakers sharing their knowledge and I’ll be pitching in to cover some different aspects of the skills writers need to succeed in what is an ever more crowded arena.

For those interested the full programme can be found on our websitewww.crimeandpublishment.co.uk but here it is in brief

· Writing your Fights Right – Taken by Matt Hilton a thriller author and 4th Dan at Kempo Ju-Jitsu

· Structuring your Story – Former Hollywood screenwriter Alexandra Sokoloffexplains the three act / eight scene structure

· Back to Basics – Renowned mentor Michael J. Malone shows how to avoid common pitfalls many aspiring authors fall into

· Networking for Authors – I show a few simple tips and techniques in a short session on networking and how to network efficiently

· Preparing your Pitch – Sara Hunt from Saraband Publishing leads a session on making the perfect pitch.

· Pitch Session – Sarah Hunt listens to attendees pitches in a series of private 1-2-1 sessions. Those who make a successful pitch may be our next success story

· 1-2-1 Surgeries – All of our speakers will make themselves available for private consultation to help with plot holes, characterisation or anything else you need help with

· Nurturing your Characters – Michael Malone and I will explain what makes some of the most iconic crime characters so loveable and how to infuse this into your writing (optional extra @ £25)

For me and a lot of the attendees who come, the weekend is about far more than just sitting listening to the speakers and making notes. It’s about reconnecting friendships and forging new ones. It’s about sharing experiences, tips, techniques and talking about ideas, books and a hundred other things with a bunch of people who share your enthusiasm.

Newcomers to the group are made welcome and I personally try to make sure everyone is included in discussions. Attendees are split into two groups with even numbers of old and new faces in each.

For the first time ever, I’ve even started planning next year’s event before this year’s has taken place. While I’m still lining my ducks up, I can’t say too much, but I can say that I’m confident that those I’m speaking with will help the continual rise and improvement of Crime and Publishment.

I don’t have a lot much more to say other than thanks to the mercurial Paul D. Brazill for inviting me along and, if you’re serious about improving your writing and would like to attend Crime and Publishment, you can contact me at Crime(@)themill.co.uk (obviously you’ll need to cut the brackets off the “@” for the email address to work, I just don’t want spammed with Viagra substitutes)

This post appeared at Out Of The Gutter Online.

Recommended Read: Snatched From Home by Graham Smith

snatched from homeIn Graham Smith‘s debut crime novel, Snatched From Home, Nicholas Foulkes’ gambling debts lead to the kidnapping of his children. Meanwhile, unorthodox DI Harry Evans is due to retire and is showing the ropes to his priggish replacement. The two strands then cleverly intertwine.

Smith smartly leads us into the book through the point of view of the victims before introducing Harry Evans, who is a great creation.  Smith balances tension and humour perfectly in this fast-paced and frequently hilarious novel.

Gripping and gritty but never grim, Graham Smith’s Snatched From Home is an immensely enjoyable crime thriller that is highly recommended.

Short, Sharp Interview: Graham Smith

snatched from homePDB: What’s going on now?

GNS: Caffeine Nights have just released my debut novel Snatched from Home plus a short story collection which allows readers to meet the police team in Snatched from Home. I’m also now able to announce that Snatched is to be made into a stage play and featured as part of the Manchester Arts Fringe.

PDB: How did you research this book?

GNS: I did my research in reverse. Once the first draft was complete, I toured the locations featured and researched other details then fed the information in. Mr Google is my research assistant.

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

GNS: It has to be Snatched from Home as I’ve got a real book for sale in my local bookshop. Having said that, its sequel I Know Your Secret will probably eclipse it if accepted for publication.

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

GNS: Die Hard / HMS Ulysses / Welcome to the Jungle / Game of Thrones

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

GNS: It’s important to me, but it’s just one of many factors. A great location can’t rescue a poor character or lazy plotting although it can destroy a novel if patently wrong. Every element of writing is crucial and all require careful consideration to make them as good as they can be, lest the story as a whole suffers.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

GNS: Sorry what was the question? I was just checking my Amazon rankings. Joking aside, I check once every day or two.

PDB: What’s next?

GNS: I’m working on my own edits of a new series I’m hoping to have published. It is about nightclub doorman who ends up chasing a seriously twisted serial killer and is set in Utah.

True Brit Grit Guest Blog: It’s a Case of Having Good Genes! By Graham SmithBio: Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. For the last fourteen years he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com for over five years.

Guns Of Brixton reviewed at Crimesquad

GOB paperbackThere’s a great FIVE STAR review of GOB by Graham Smith over at the prestigious CRIMESQUAD.

‘Guns of Brixton’ is a taut story wrapped around the possession of a briefcase with mysterious contents. Told from disparate viewpoints it follows a bunch of unwieldy yet utterly believable characters as they get dragged into an ever worsening situation.

It is with these characters, Brazill shows his greatest skill as an author. Each is portrayed with an artist’s eye for detail which in turn makes the ‘Guns of Brixton’ a compelling read.’

Read the rest here, along with some other tasty stuff.

You can GET GOB from from loads of places including Barnes & Noble, Caffeine Nights PublishingWHSMITH, Waterstones,Foyles Amazon and Amazon UK. 

Bits n Bobs: News, Updates etc

Guns_cover new preview (2)Bits n Bobs:

The Drag Noir anthology – edited by K A Laity and published by Fox Spirit – is out now and over here you can find out what inspired my yarn ‘A Bit Of A Pickle’ … My new Brit Grit Alley column is live at Out Of the Gutter Online and includes news of a HOT Crime Fiction writing course organised by Graham Smith … I’ve had a couple of yarns accepted recently. The new flash fiction site Spelk Fiction have accepted my piece The Long Haul. It should be published at the end of December. The deservedly well-respected Spinetingler Magazine have accepted my story The Postman Cometh. It should be online early next year … and my comic crime caper Guns Of Brixton (soon to be published in paperback by Caffeine Nights Publishing) appears to be available for pre-order from loads of places including Waterstones, Foyles Amazon and Amazon UK.

What The Hell Is Brit Grit ?

 

America may well be the  official home of pulp and noir but the United Kingdom, long  perceived as the land of True Brit Grit Guest Blog: It’s a Case of Having Good Genes! By Graham Smithtame Dame Agatha style cozies and stuck-up, Latin quoting police detectives, also has a grubby underbelly which has produced plenty of gritty crime writing. And there is a new wave of Brit Grit writers leaving their bloodstained footprints across this septic isle, too.
The godfathers of the new  Brit Grit could well be Ted Lewis, Derek Raymond and Mark Timlin with Jake Arnott, J J Connolly, Ian Rankin and Val McDermid as part of the next wave.
But in the last few years, more and more BRIT GRIT writers have been creeping out of the woodwork, through the cracks in the pavement, out of the dark and dingy alleyways.
Scottish crime writer Tony Black, for example, is the author of four novels featuring punch drunk, booze addled  Gus Dury, an ex  journalist turned reluctant Private Investigator whose shoulder has more chips than Harry Ramsden. The books  see Gus sniff around the back streets of Edinburgh and follow the rancid trail of crime and corruption right to to the top. They’re gruelling, intense and exciting journeys – not without moments of humour and tenderness. You may feel as if you’d like to give Gus a smack every few pages but the pit bull proves himself again and again.

Gus Dury may be in the gutter but he’s still looking at the stars, albeit through the bottom of a bottle of whisky. And it’s down to Black’s great writing that when you you finish one of his novels you feel battered and bruised  but can’t wait for the next round.

Pulp mastermind Otto Penzler  famously said that noir is about losers and not private investigators. Mr Penzler has probably never read any Tony Black – or fellow Scot Ray Banks, then. Banks’ Cal Inness quartet is the real deal. Inness is true loser. He’s a screw up. A lush. A mess. A man so far in denial he’s in the Suez. In each  brilliant tale he bangs his head against as many brick walls as he can. And he feels the pain. And so do we. The quartet is as bitter and dark as an Irish coffee and leads to a shocking yet inevitable conclusion.

And there’s more: There’s Alan Guthrie who gave us the best novel of 2009 with SLAMMER; Nick Quantrill ‘Broken Dreams’ which looks at a Northern English town that has had it’s fair shair of kickings but still isn’t out for the count; Bad Penny Blues is Cathi Unsworth’s  ambitious look at  the many facets of London in the late fifties and early sixies; Comic genius Charlie William’s and his nightclub bouncer hero Royston Blake help you see life in a way that Paulo Coelho never will!
There are BRIT GRIT publishers too:  Newcastle’s Byker Books publish Industrial Strength Fiction such as the Radgepacket – Tales from the Inner Cities anthologies; Brighton based Pulp Press publish short, punchy novellas with the slogan ‘Turn Off Your T.V. and discover fiction like it used to be.’

And there’s even more …
There’s Howard Linskey, Martin Stanley, Ben Cheetham, Christopher Black, Martyn Waites,Allen Miles, Danny Hogan, Chris Leek, Gary Dobbs,  Gareth Spark, Sheila Quigley, Ian Ayris, UV Ray, Danny King,  Col Bury, Mark Billingham,  Andrew Bell, Alan Griffiths (whose blog is aptly called BRIT GRIT), Julie Lewthwaite, Steve Mosby, Darren Sant, McDroll, Richard Godwin, Colin Graham, Neil White, Andy Rivers . . . and more! There’s even comic BRIT GRIT from Donna Moore and Christopher Brookmyre, BRIT GRIT thrillers from Matt Hilton and surrealist BRIT GRIT from Jason Michel!

And now, of course, we have True Brit Grit- A Charity Anthology edited by Luca Veste and me, with an introduction from Brit Grit mastermind Maxim Jakubowski. True Brit Grit is a hard-hitting, gritty, crime anthology  from 45 British writers. All coming together to produce an anthology, benefiting two charities.

Oh, and I even have a weekly column- Brit Grit Alley over at Out Of The Gutter Online!

“The BRIT GRIT mob is coming to kick down your door with hobnailed boots.
Kitchen-sink noir; petty-thief-louts; lives of quiet desperation; sharp,
blood-stained slices of life; booze-sodden brawls from the bottom of the barrel
and comedy that’s as black as it’s bitter–this is BRIT GRIT!”

(This is adapted from a piece that first appeared in the program for the 2010 Noircon and was later republished at Pulp Metal Magazine)

 

Off The Record 2- At The Movies is Out Now !!!

Off The Record 2- At The Movies is an anthology of 47 short stories, based on film titles, from some of the  best and most bad-bum writers around.

And all proceeds go to charity.

Find out more in my latest Brit Grit Alley column which is, as usual, over at Out Of The Gutter Online.

BRIT GRIT ALLEY

Brit Grit Alley features weekly news and updates on what’s happening down British crime fiction’s booze and blood soaked alleyways. Every Wednesday.

Pop over to Out Of The Gutter Online and have a gander at my little column.

Here.

Crime Writing Masterclass

Writer Graham Smith has put together a weekend of crime writing courses at The Mill Forge Hotel in Scotland, 8-10 March 2013 from £75 per day.

There will be four sessions and budding authors will get the chance to pitch their novel directly to an agent. Those involved include Matt Hilton, Sheila Quigley, Allan Guthrie and publishing guru Inga McVicar.

Sounds great,eh?

Find out more here.

True Brit Grit Guest Blog: It’s a Case of Having Good Genes! By Graham Smith

 
As a massive fan of crime fiction books and short stories it may be expected that I would watch loads of detective fiction on the electric fishtank. As it happens I very rarely watch crime dramas, murder mysteries or cop shows. Instead I prefer to read the stories and let my own imagination wander around playing detective.
Naturally though there are one or two exceptions to this rule. I watch Dexter (based on the Jeff Lindsay books) as I’m curiously attracted to his horse faced sister, Thorne (from the Mark Billingham books) because I’ve met the author and have loved the books from day one, and the wonderful series’ Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes featuring Phillip Glenisteras Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt.
Above all other fictional (or adapted for the screen) detectives Gene Hunt pushes all my entertainment buttons. The hard drinking, chauvinistic, and aggressive Hunt is a 1970’s copper whose new DI is Sam Tyler, a modern day DCI who wakes up in 1973 after being shot.
The interplay between the two men is fantastic as old meets new, renegade meets rule follower and political correctness is thrown out of the window to land on a discarded chopper.
Gene Hunt’s arrogance knows no bounds and as the series progresses he is seen taking bungs, drinking constantly and beating up suspects for information. At one point he offers a room full of witnesses money to grass up a murderer. Most episodes have Tylersolving the case rather than Hunt but Hunt is definitely the main attraction.
All round fantastic acting from Glenister, and Simm as Tyler coupled with some cracking writing make Gene Hunt my favourite TV detective by quite some way. After two series of Life on Mars saw Sam Tyler return to the present day, Gene Hunt was transferred to Londonfor three series of Ashes to Ashes which was set in the eighties, where he was assigned DI Alex Drake played by the gorgeous Keeley Hawes. While not as good as Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes gave us lots more of the self titled Gene Genie. (You gotta love all those Bowiereferences)
Now coupled with a woman Hunt’s sexist side was on full display as he christened the posh speaking Drake “Bolly Knickers”.
Any copper who kicks down a door and shouts “Don’t move. You’re surrounded by armed bastards” will always get my vote.
I’ve watched the show many times over and writing this article has me itching to start watching the entire series again. 
Bio: Graham Smith is the author of Eleven The Hardest Way and Harry Charters Chronicles. He is married with a young son. A time served joiner, he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. For the last eleven years he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.
 
An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer for the well respected review site Crimesquad.com for over two years.
 
As well as reviewing for Crimesquad.com, Graham has also interviewed such stellar names as David Baldacci, Jeffrey Deaver, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Matt Hilton, current CWA Chair Peter James, Mark Billingham and many others.
 
When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family.
 
His story ADULT EDUCATION is one of the many gems in TRUE BRIT GRIT – A CHARITY ANTHOLOGY