Monday 29 March 2010

Reed Farrel Coleman -- a man of exquisite taste...

I was super-chuffed to get a blurb offer from Reed Farrel Coleman for Requiems for the Departed. Even more super-chuffed when he delivered it.

Requiems For The Departed is as Irish as a broken heart, yet universal in appeal. Stuart Neville’s “Queen of the Hill” alone is worth the price of admission, but it’s only the cream at the top of the pint. With stories from the likes of Bruen, McKinty, Moore, and Grant, you’ll want to squeeze every last drop out of this glass.

Reed Farrel Coleman three-time Shamus Award winner and author of Innocent Monster

Which proves that not only is Mister Coleman an excellent writer, he's also a man of exquisite taste. Me, Mike and the folks at Morrigan Books extend our thanks.

In the next few days I'm going to run a promotional series of interviews from the authors involved in Requiems for the Departed. I suggest you keep an eye out.

Friday 26 March 2010

An Interview - Russel D McLean

Russel D McLean is the author of the Scots noir thrillers, THE GOOD SON and THE LOST SISTER. John Connolly has called him, “stylish and atmospheric”. He has been involved with publishing and bookselling for over ten years, running ezines, working in bookstores, writing reviews and articles for generous editors. He lives every day in fear of the cursed mask that came with his house. Want to know more? Go to

Q1. What are you writing at the minute?

Aside from this answer?

... just handed in what will probably be the next novel plus a synopsis and 10k words of one after that to my agent. Completed three short story projects, one of which is giving me the squits because it’s a market I want and because its dedicated to a dear reader. And now I’m about to dive in to properly doing that fourth book. It never ruddy ends.

Q2. Can you give us an idea of Russel D McLean’s typical up-to-the-armpits-in-ideas-and-time writing day?

When I ain’t at the day job, my writing day is cloistere and sweary. As an expermiment for the Do Some Damage Blog I kept a note of everything I did during a typical day ( ). Obviously, I’m utterly insecure and very easily distr… ooooo, a shiny penny!

Q3. What do you do when you’re not writing?

I read a lot, same as I’ve always done, watch a lot of movies, shoot the shit with friends and have a day job in bookselling.

Q4. Any advice for a greenhorn trying to break into the crime fiction scene?

A series of axioms that have served me well: Take it seriously. Develop a thick skin. Don’t expect anything to happen quickly. If it seems too good to be true it probably is. And never stop being a reader. Ever.

Q5. Which crime writers have impressed you this year?

Well, the year is young, but so far Charlie Stella’s JOHNNY PORNO is the man’s best yet, and I’ve been a fan of his work for years since someone slipped me an arc of CHARLIE OPERA in ’05. And Vicki Hendrick’s FLORIDA GOTHIC STORIES blew my socks off; atmospheric, bizarre, unexpectedly touching and surprisingly sensual, she is rapidly becoming one of my favourite writers. Also, Tony Black’s LOSS made my jaw drop when I realised what he was doing in that one. Brilliant.

Q6. What are you reading right now?

Finished KILLING TIME by David R Dow this morning, so now I’m swithering between Patrick Quinlan’s THE HIT and a just-dropped-through-the-mail arc of the new Connolly, THE WHISPERERS. A tough choice; love both authors.

Q7. Plans for the future?

Keep writing. Try and earn more money. Have another pot of coffee.

Q8. With regards to your writing career to date, would you do anything differently?

You do realise you’re asking a philosophy graduate this question, yeah? No, I wouldn’t. Because if I didn’t make the mistakes I made, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Its like those Star Trek shows or Doctor Who, where they go back in time, make one fix for the better, and suddenly the whole world has changed. Nah, I’ll keep me mistakes because I’m bloody happy at the moment, or as much as anyone can hope to be.

Q9. Do you fancy sharing your worst writing experience?

It’s the rejection letter that makes people’s jaw drop. The one that came back in the SAE, and I opened it to find my manuscript shredded and covered in crayon doodles. After searching through the pages for some clue as to what happened, I found a note scribbled on what was left of my cover letter saying, “As you can see, my kids didn’t like it, either.”

As an addendum, I know what happened to the guy who wrote that letter, and it makes me laugh. Heartily.

Q10. Anything you want to say that I haven’t asked you about?

Probably. Twenty minutes after I send this I’ll think of a million things. Like how e-books are grand, but its content not delivery that will always matter. Or how we still need honest-to-God booksellers and librarians in the world before we start to lose the signal in the noise with no means of separating the two.

But instead I’ll just ask that you check out, where you can meet more talented writers with interesting stories to tell and rants to share (I’m there on Fridays, too).

Thank you, Russel D McLean!

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Feckin' Traffic! Bet it wouldn't have held Jack Reacher back, though...

As I rattle out this short post I'm missing what promised to be another great No Alibis event. I was in attendance for the Michael Connelly and James Ellroy ones in 2009 and loved them. And right at this very second Brian McGilloway is chatting to Lee Child in Belfast and I'm not there.


Because some wing nut crashed his feckin' car on the M1 which led to a queue of rubberneckers coasting along my homeward route at a snail's pace. As a result, I was late home and didn't have enough time to get a quick bite to eat, kiss the kids goodnight and hit the tarmac trail.

So, if you happen to be reading this, Motorway-Prang-Boy, thanks a lot, you tool.

I'd really like to hear how the night went from anybody who managed to make it. If you fancy it, please drop a comment here or even email me a few paragraphs and I'll give you your own post.

In the meantime, I'm going to watch a bit of telly with the missus.

There are worse ways to spend an evening.

Monday 22 March 2010

The Irish Mythology Anthology - Coming Very Soon...

Another great anthology from Morrigan Books and yet another fantastic cover from Reece Notley:

Edited by Gerard Brennan & Mike Stone

Requiems for the Departed
Irish Crime, Irish Myths.

It has been said before, that every story has already been told.

Maybe so. But if you’ve got the gift of the gab, you can tell the same tale as often as you like and still give it a life of its own every time.

Requiems for the Departed flaunts that gift seventeen times over with top shelf stories from Ken Bruen, Maxim Jakubowski, Stuart Neville, Brian McGilloway, Adrian McKinty, Sam Millar, John Grant, Garry Kilworth, and many more.

The children of Conchobar are back to their old mischievous ways. Ancient Celtic royalty, druids and banshees are set loose in the new Irish underbelly with murder and mayhem on their minds.

Requiems for the Departed contains seventeen short stories, inspired by Irish mythology, from some of the finest contemporary writers in the business.


Requiems for the Departed

Queen of the Hill - Stuart Neville
Hound of Culann - Tony Black
Hats off to Mary - Garry Kilworth
Sliabh Ban - Arlene Hunt
Red Hand of Ulster - Sam Millar
She Wails Through the Fair - Ken Bruen
A Price to Pay - Maxim Jakubowski
Red Milk - T. A. Moore
Bog Man - John McAllister
The Sea is Not Full - Una McCormack
The Druid's Dance - Tony Bailie
Children of Gear - Neville Thompson
Diarmid and Grainne - Adrian McKinty
The Fortunate Isles - Dave Hutchinson
First to Score - Garbhan Downey
Fisherman's Blues - Brian McGilloway
The Life Business - John Grant

Pre-orders can be made soon

Lee Child Competition

(Pictured above, Lee Child, writer and handsome devil.)

David Torrans of No Alibis got in touch with me this morning to offer some giveaway tickets to the Lee Child event in Belfast on Wednesday night (full venue and ticket information here). There are five of these beauties up for grabs.

Since we're strapped for time, I'm going to keep the competition simple. First five people to comment on this post get a ticket. Because you might want to bring a significant other with you, I'll allow a maximum of two entries. Simply comment twice if you want two.

Entrants will need to make their way to No Alibis to collect their tickets before the event (and do Dave a favour -- don't leave it to the last minute, please).

Also, you should know that Brian McGilloway is interviewing Child. How could you not want a ticket to that?

Get in there!

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Take a Filmtrip into the Future

Declan Burke (pictured right) raised some interesting points in a Crime Always Pays blog post last Thursday. He considered the state of the book (or fate of the writer) in ten years time. Not being in the possession of a crystal ball, his ruminations left me with a number of unanswered questions. Scary, considering that I’m as likely to be published for the first time in ten years as I am this year. It’s just the way the industry is.

In fact, I was complaining about a general lack of enthusiasm, encouragement and output to a screenwriting friend the other day and the conversation turned to a Belfast-based production company that seemed to be doing some pretty innovative stuff.

Filmtrip’s website states, “We are a boutique production company specialising in film & TV cross platform productions, mobile app development and online.”

One of their cross platform projects involves Ian McDonald (pictured above left), a highly celebrated and award-laden science fiction writer from Belfast. His recent books include River of Gods and Brasyl and they deal with growing technology in a society not ready for it. Incidentally, he’s also written one of my favourite Northern Irish crime fiction novels, Sacrifice of Fools which blends police procedural, dirty politics, the crime underworld, social commentary and aliens.

It’s fitting that a writer who spends so much time looking to the future be involved in this project. Judging by the article on the Filmtrip website, E8 will sprawl many forms by exploiting every bit of entertainment technology it can get its grubby mitts on.

I look forward to the results.

Thursday 4 March 2010

Death of the Pub Quiz

iPhones are killing the joy of the sacred pub quiz for the old school. Non-googling quiz-masters in Northern Ireland are fed up with young whippersnappers using their internet-enabled phones to find the answers to difficult questions during quizzes.


BBC NI has run an interesting article on this heinous NI crime that ends with a powerful argument for legalising mobile phone jammers to level the playing field.

One quiz-master comments that he has tried his best to find un-googleable questions for his quiz. Is there really such a thing?