FFF#10 – Right In the Kisser

Okay, he’s my entry into Cormac Brown’s Friday Flash Fiction challenge. The starter sentence is in blue.

Click on the post header for a link to the site.

Right In The Kisser by Paul D. Brazill

The old camera had been in a box for decades, the pictures never developed, and now with the prints in his hand his blood ran cold from looking at the images that came from it.

The photo – showing it’s all too familiar cast of characters – was a blast from Nick’s past that was positively seismic.

Looking at the photo, it was like being in Dallas again.The motorcade was an uncoiled python creeping down the boulevard. The rich kid with the 5000 watt smile was waiving to the great unwashed like a Roman Emperor or a Messiah. His wife stood beside him him and there was Nick – crouched over on a grassy knoll, a high powered rifle in his hands.

Nick’s arthritic hand shook as he stuffed the photo in a file with the others; the hypocritical hippy rock star outside the hotel in New York; the spoilt blond princess being hounded by a pack of baying paparazzi in France. They were all his work.

He’d hoped to retire and leave it all to the bad dreams but today he needed to do one last job.

This time it was personal.

Nick slowly walked into the bedroom, the rifle behind his back.

‘Darling. It’s time for your shot,’ he said.

The end.

Guest Blogger: Eric Beetner – Keep it simple, stupid!

Keep it simple, stupid!
by Eric Beetner

When Paul asked me to guest blog at under 100 words I asked, “How the hell am I going to do that?” Then I asked, “How the hell does he do it again and again?”

If you’re on this blog you know Paul’s work in the flash and micro fiction worlds and know the power economy and brevity can create. In my recent novel One Too Many Blows To The Head (there’s 7 words right there!) the word count was slightly over 80,000. Keeping it brief is a skill. Right when you have it figured out you run out of –

Guest Blogger: Albert Tucher – EARLY NOIR

EARLY NOIR by Albert Tucher
Is the year 936 A.D. early enough for you?

I’m working on a stand-alone story set in the city of Rome in the early tenth century. A later historian referred to that period as the Pornocracy (Rule by Whores). Whore-in-Chief was a woman named Marozia.

She was born around 890, which would make her a small girl in 897, when the political enemies of Pope Formosus propped him up on his throne and put him on trial, never mind that he had been dead for a year and a half. Since Marozia’s father was a corrupt local politico, she may have witnessed the proceedings. I like to think of that trial as one of her formative influences.

At the age of about fifteen she may have become the mistress of Pope Sergius III, but historians dispute the issue. She outlived two husbands, and after number two, she decided to rule Rome on her own. One order of business was assassinating Pope John X, who had been a friend of her mother Theodora.

Serious Mommy issues there.

Marozia appointed a few nonentities to the papacy, but her goal was to install her eldest son once he was old enough. John XI may been the son of Sergius III. See above. She succeeded in 931, and she seemed invincible.

Enter King Hugh of Arles in 932. He was a descendant of Charlemagne with a claim to the title Holy Roman Emperor. Marozia offered to have her son the Pope crown Hugh, if Hugh would make her his empress. Hugh agreed, provided that she allow him to eliminate a complication, her second son Alberic. Marozia considered this a fair trade.

Alberic did not. At the wedding feast Hugh treated the young man with contempt. Alberic ran out into the street and riled up the Roman mob with a xenophobic harangue. The Romans chased Hugh from the city and proclaimed Alberic their ruler.

He may have been as young as sixteen, but he ruled the city for more than twenty years, and there was no kidding around. His first act was to imprison his mother for the rest of her life. No information survives about her death, but Hugh’s remarriage in 936 gives a hint about the date.
Still later Alberic made peace with Hugh and married his daughter.

Marozia’s grandson through Alberic became Pope John XII, one of the worst popes in history. Several later descendants also became pope. Some historians believe that the Pope Joan legend is a folk memory of Marozia.

They call them the Dark Ages for a reason. Sources about Marozia are sparse, and they leave room to wonder how evil she really was. In fact, the only contemporary chronicler who tells a coherent narrative about her is one Liutprand, Bishop of Cremona, who on the one hand rescued her from oblivion, while on the other assassinating her reputation for all time. He obviously had a problem with her refusal to keep to a woman’s proper sphere.

All of which means I can write what I want.

The Marozia story has everything that spells noir: sex, greed, ambition, betrayal, self-deception. I have been trying to use this material for years, and the current story is the first that seems to work.

I’ll let you know.

BIO: Albert Tucher is the author of the Diana Andrews suburban prostitute stories, almost thirty of which have appeared in ThugLit, A Twist of Noir , Out of the Gutter, and other hardboiled/noir publications. He has several novels about the character that are looking for a home.

Guest Bloggers: Tony Black, Al Tucher and more

Gents. One year ago yesterday I did my first blog post. It was about a collective noun for crime writers. (If you CLICK on the post header you’ll go to the post itself, if you can be bothered!) Well, to celebrate my year of blogdom I’ve asked a few people to do guest blogs and- lo and behold- most of them have said yes! We kicked off yesterday with Mr. Tony BLACK who gave us a top post on Mr Ken BRUEN. Over the next few weeks there will be Guest Blogs from Al Tucher, Michale J Solender and…? Well just wait and see! So: take a gander at Mr Black’s post and please leave a comment. And your fasten seat belts, it’s going to be a BUMPY ride!

Guest Blogger: Tony Black – STORM A ‘BRUEN

Guest Blogger: Tony Black

I don’t have a blog. I don’t do Twitter. Or Face-ache. Truth is, I’m far to busy making a living, writing, and updating – occasionally – Pulp Pusher. But, I’m all for penning the odd post for the likes of Paul …

Come down to my blog, Tone,” he goes … ”write a few words on owt you like, can even be blatant self-promo!”

Well, tempting as that sounds, I figure discerning blog readers would see through it … So, in a more subtle attempt at bumming myself up – and basking in the reflected glory of a more popular, far more prolific, and bollix it, much nicer author, I’m gonna write about one of my influences.

I can honestly say if it wasn’t for the Guvnor, Ken Bruen, I wouldn’t be writing crime fiction today. Which means I’d still be writing the kind of wanky crap that makes most self-respecting crime readers cringe. Yeah, stuff without a story. Stuff without direction. Stuff without pace. Or heart. Or soul. What Bruen showed me very early on (I read Rilke on Black as far back as the 90s) was that genre fiction can be every bit as cutting edge, intelligent, wise, learned, erudite and polished as any of the so-called literary gems on award lists. Way he does it, it’s even better. No question.

Bruen, I clocked very quickly, was a genius. His prose sparkled, jumped off the page. His characters burned into the imagination and their woes wretched the heart out of you. Here was a writer that had an uncanny ability to get under his readers’ skin … and stay there. It wasn’t, for me, the story – not the story alone, anyway – but the sheer power of the writing. It was like being engulfed by a tsunami of talent – a writer with so many skills that the pages, every one of them, contained moments of breathtaking beauty, flights of linguistic gymnastics and … real heart.

Bruen is a writer of enormous heart. The players that populate his fiction may be on the edge, but he never forgets to show us how they got there. Often, it’s their journey – on paths taken long before the narrative begins – which illuminate so much of the human qualities the writer clearly understands so very well. When I wrote my first novel, Paying for It, Bruen was among the earliest readers – whilst most commented on the drama and the grit, it’s hardly surprising that Bruen spoke of its ”moving and compassionate” qualities. Traits not normally associated with crime fiction, but something this Saint of Galway knows all about.

When Bruen writes of Jack Taylor’s trials and tribulations he never forgets to fill us in on how he reached such a low. The loss of a much-loved father, the battle-axe mother and the career sacrificed to a fiery temperament and the demon drink play their role in fleshing out a truly human character – one we know and understand as fully, if not more so – than any other in modern literature. What Bruen teaches us about characterisation is that what he, as a writer, doesn’t know, isn’t worth knowing.

Through two crime series, a stack of standalones, numerous awards and – as of next year – a bundle of new movie and TV adaptations Ken Bruen has soared to the point where his name is synonymous with artistry and achievement. 2010 deserves to be the year the wider world – beyond the crime genre – wakes up to the man himself’s work. They say a prophet is never recognised in his own time, but I’ve got my ticket booked for the unveiling of the statue to Bruen in Galway, Ireland … the flight is taxiing, we’re ready for take off.

Bio: Tony Black is the author of the classic crime novels PAYING FOR IT & GUTTED as well as being the editor of the cushty PULP PUSHER MAGAZINE.

The Journal- Frank Duffy & Steve Jensen

The Journal is the website of British writers Frank Duffy– who now lives in Warsaw – and Steve Jensen.Frank Duffy’s short fiction piece, False Pilgrim, is now featured in the Screaming Dream Press magazine Estronomicon and Steve Jensen’s short story The Treachery of Images is now available to read at the Gloom Cupboard: The website contains examples of their dark fiction as well as links to publications and bio’s etc.

Check it out a leave a comment. This is dark BRIT GRIT!CLICK on the post header for the link.

New Story in Less Than Three ebook Anthology.

M in Less Than Three ebook.
Those clever people at FULL OF CROW have been producing smashing ebooks recently. One of them is the LESS THAN THREE ANTHOLOGY which features pieces of absurdest fiction under three paragraphs in length. It’s edited by Jeffrey S. Callico and Lynn Alexander and cover art is by Justynne Tyme. Contributors include: Michael J. Solender, Doug Mathewson and ME. I have a little story called simply M.CLICK on the post header to download the ebook for FREE!

New Kid On the Blog ! Anne Billson’s MULTIGLOM

ANNE BILLSON is a novelist, film critic and photographer who has lived in London, Tokyo and Croydon, and now lives in Paris. Her books include SUCKERS (an upwardly mobile vampire novel), STIFF LIPS (a Notting Hill ghost story) and THE EX (a supernatural detective story), as well as several works of non-fiction, including SPOILERS, a selection from her 25 years of film criticism. She reviews films for the TV pages of the Sunday Telegraph and writes a film column for the Guardian.

I’ve been a fan of Anne Billson‘s writing for years since I discovered her film reviews in the defunct SUNDAY CORRESPONDENT. I did a Friday’s Forgotten Books about Suckers a while back. And now she’s got a blog! Click on the post header for a link to MULTIGLOM. Lots of good stuff there including her Twitter novel THE PSYCHO MURDERS, a teaser chapter from The Ex and a great piece about John Carpenter’s THE THING. And, of course, if you like what you see…follow follow!

Friday’s Forgotten Books: Confessions Of A Black Dog by Jason Michel

Confessions of a Black Dog

By Jason Michel

Close your eyes … Welcome to Sam’s world. A world where dreams melt into reality from the rain soaked streets of London to the ex-pat community of Bangkok. A world where ghosts from the past, evangelical cults, dog-headed psychopomps and drunken artists meet in a surreal noir story of escapism, lost souls and revenge. When is the end of the world? Where do Australians go when they die? And what is the Black Dog?

This blurb gives a fair indication of what you will encounter if you listen to the CONFESSIONS OF A BLACK DOG by JASON MICHEL which was published in 2008.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once described London as being a ‘great cesspool into which the flotsam and jetsam of life are inevitably drawn’ and the same might reasonably be said of the world of TEFL teaching. A Teacher Of English as a Foreign Language can usually be described as either flotsam – perhaps a fresh faced young thing taking a break from University – or jetsam – the middle aged man with the inevitable drinking problem and enough skeletons in his closet to keep a paleontologist happy for months.

Many TEFL teachers have become writers –and vice versa- JK Rowling, James Joyce and Jason Michel. Jason – a self-confessed purveyor of pulp fictions and penny dreadfulls -is now resident in France but has tripped, tumbled and stumbled around the world getting into scrapes and encountering the weird and the frightening. This has clearly been the grist of Confessions Of A Black Dog.

Take a gander at this example:

‘Sitting down on a bench next to Sam, he surveyed his gathered
comrades. There was also a smattering of old friends, acquaintances and
hangers on scattered in and around the outside of the pub.
A skinny man with glasses leant forward and offered his hand as a
greeting. He had a big grin on his face and Chelsea tattoos on his arm.
His name was Freddie. B grinned back and pulled Freddie in for a hug. It
had been a while. B had worked together with Freddie and Wolfgang at
Rough Trade in the warehouse. He hadn’t seen Freddie for a long time as
he was now a resident of Portugal. Sam and Freddie had lived together in
the Spanish enclave of Melilla off the north coast of Morocco a couple of
years earlier. It was through Freddie that B had met Sam.
Samuel, the rolling stone.’

And on rolls that stone …
COABD is freewheeling and sprawling. Sometimes, the words tumbled out like a gang of drunks staggering out of a pub at closing time. Like a good drinking session it loses it way at limes but it always gets back on track and takes you to some smokey, pokey dives. How good does THAT sound?. And, of course, it’s very funny.

CLICK on the post header for a link to LULU where you can buy Confessions Of A Black Dog and Jason Michel’s short story collection THE WRONG MIND.

One Too Many Blows To The Head by JB Kohl & Eric Beetner.


One Too Many Blows To The Head marks the debut collaboration of authors JB Kohl and
Eric Beetner.
This taut and gritty Noir takes place amid the seedy world of fixed fights and mob
influence. Uniquely, it features two first-person narratives as we follow the intertwining story of
the hunter and the hunted.
From the jacket:
Kansas City, 1939.
In a world of fixed fights and mob influence Ray Ward and his brother Rex are two of the only
clean fighters in town. With Ray in the corner and Rex in the ring they are headed for the big
time. Until that fateful night. Now Ray has a score to settle using a lifetime of lessons in how to
fight back.
Dean Fokoli is a detective with a new partner, an alcoholic wife and a guilty conscience. At least
the boxer on the radio who just got beat to a pulp won’t end up in his homicide file. But when
the dregs of the crooked fight world start turning up dead, Fokoli is on the hunt for the killer.
The chase will take him to the underbelly of the Kansas City night and hopefully keep him one
step ahead of his past.
One Too Many Blows To The Head is a razor-edged story of revenge, redemption and
what happens when you confront the ghosts of the past.

It has garnered praise from Edgar Award winning author Megan Abbott:
“One Too Many Blows to the Head feels like a long-lost pulp you find in a favorite bookstore”

If you CLICK on the post header you’ll get a link to Eric Beetner‘s blog with information of where to buy the book. Watch The trailer below.