Recommended Read: One Day In The Life Of Jason Dean by Ian Ayris

jason deanFirst published by Byker Books and now published by Near To The Knuckle, One Day In The Life Of Jason Dean is a gem.

Jason is a debt collector and gangster’s enforcer who loves Shostakovitch, poetry and his little girl. He awakes at the break of a harsh day next to a wife who hates his guts.

Ian Ayris – whose- debut novel Abide With Me was one of my favourites of 2012- follows Jason’s Sisyphean trudge through the course of that single day and gives us a powerful novella that is tense, harrowing, violent, funny and very moving.

Exceptional.

How I Wrote … Guns Of Brixton!

GOB paperbackWell, you know what they say: ‘When a one armed man chops down a tree in the forest, a butterfly claps’. No, really. The thing is, everything is connected, it really is. And Kevin Bacon is only six friends away from you, even though he isn’t on Facebook.

Anyway, it was a while back. I’d been writing flash fiction for about a year and I had this vague notion of writing something with interconnecting stories. One city. One night. You know the score.

I really liked this idea and I thought – even though everyone told me it was dead hard to do – that I’d give it a go.

So I did. Three or four stories interlocking in London on New Year’s Day. In a 1000 word flash fiction story. Yes, I know.

A pretty daft idea but, you see, Eric Beetner had just launched a Flash Fiction Challenge and I really wanted to enter my story, which was called The Big Blow after the Manu DiBango song.

Of course it didn’t win but I let it marinate and, from time to time, I added bits to it and took bits out until, after about a year, I had the scenario of two interconnecting stories. Simpler. But longer.

For some reason I’d set part of the story in Brixton which, of course, meant I was pretty much obliged to call the story Guns Of Brixton, after the classic song by The Clash. Mark Timlin’s novel Guns Of Brixton then came out via MaxCrime and I considered changing the title but in the end I didn’t.

When I’d decided to write a faux London gangster story, it seemed the sensible thing to take a title from a song by The Clash, that most London of all London bands – even though only one of them was actually born ‘dahn The Smoke.’

And I had plenty of cracking titles to choose from and reject, too – London Calling (been done to death),London’s Burning (reminded me of the TV show about firemen), Guns On The Roof ( a silly song about when The Clash were told off for shooting pigeons with an air rifle), Somebody Got Murdered (too obscure), The Last Gang In Town(close, close …) Police & Thieves (Maybe …)

But …

I’ve been to Brixton man, times. When I lived in London, I was more than somewhat partial to visiting the Brixton’s cracking cinema, the Ritzy Picturehouse– which, on screen, was the only place I ever saw any guns. Somehow the title had to be Guns Of Brixton, written and sung by the Clash’s coolest member, bass player Paul Simenon.

Not one of my favourite Clash songs, for sure, but there was something about the scary lyrics – ‘When they kick out your front door /How you gonna come?/With your hands on your head. Or on the trigger of your gun’– and cod reggae feel that seemed to suit a faux London gangster story down to the ground.

I was pretty pleased with the yarn, too. It was, at the time, the longest story that I’d written and it felt fairly grown up. Well, for me. And so I sent it to Crime Factory because, well, who doesn’t want to have a story in Crime Factory? And they said yes, too, and scheduled it for issue five. And I was chuffed.

Cut to few months later, before Crime Factory 5 had even seen the light of day. I was working in summer school in England and sharing a computer without a load of other people. I had a short time to check my emails and saw that I’d received an email from the legendary Maxim Jakubowski (coincidentally the publisher of MaxCrime, you see how things interconnect, eh? Told you!)

He asked me if I’d like to submit a story for the next edition of The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime, which he was editing. I was chuffed again, wasn’t I?

So, I sent him a few stories but didn’t think I’d be accepted. This was, after all, a book that featured work from the top bananas of British crime writing. Colin Dexter was in the 2010 edition! However, only a few hours later, he emailed me back to say he’d take Guns Of Brixton. Yes, I know. This chuffed goes up to eleven.

And The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 8 has been out for a couple of years now. And I’m in there with Ian Rankin, Kate Atkinson, Paul Johnstone, Stuart MacBride, David Hewson,Allan Guthrie, Sheila Quigley, Nick Quantrill, Zoe Sharp, Nigel Bird and all sorts of classy types. And my name’s even on the back cover and I get mentioned in the introduction. No, really.

And guess what?

I let Guns Of Brixton marinate some more, too, and it has since developed into a novella, first published as an eBook by Byker Books, and now a longer version published as an eBook and in paperback by Caffeine Nights Publishing.

Well, you know what they say: ‘From little acorns a tree grows in Brooklyn.’ Or Brixton. Yes, I know.

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

Guns Of Brixton: Update

CN logo

As you may well  know, last year my comic crime novella GUNS OF BRIXTON was published as an eBook by the great BYKER BOOKS – as part of their Best Of British series- and did pretty well, in the UK at least.

And I am more than somewhat chuffed to announce that I have recently signed a contract with the also great CAFFEINE NIGHTS PUBLISHING who will be re-publishing a slightly longer version of  GUNS OF BRIXTON as a paperback and eBook, and possibly audio-book.

CAFFEINE NIGHTS  were recently shortlisted in the BOOKSELLER INDUSTRY AWARDS and publish some of the best of Brit Grit, including mates such as NICK QUANTRILL, IAN AYRIS, KEITH NIXON, RUTH JACOBS & CHARLIE WADE, as well as best sellers such as GARRY BUSHELL and SHAUN HUTSON.  So, I feel like I fit well in there.

Check out their books here.

The all new, rebooted GUNS OF BRIXTON will be available online and at the classier, cooler bookshops round about November/ December time.

So you know what to buy for Xmas prezzies!

Eileen Wharton Is Down Brit Grit Alley

Bio: Eileen Wharton is a mother, a writer and a teacher. She lives on a council estate and has a phobia of tinned tuna.

You can find her on Facebook at EileenWharton-writer or Twitter @Wharton Eileen.

Her first novel is called SHIT HAPPENS and is published by Byker Books and available on Amazon. It’s cheap as chips. She is not, no matter what the rumours say.

And she is my latest guest columnist down Out Of The Gutter Online’s BRIT GRIT ALLEY.

Why Guns Of Brixton?

gobWhen I decided to write a faux London gangster story, it seemed the sensible thing to take a title from a song by The Clash, that most London of all London bands – even though only one of them was actually born ‘dahn The Smoke.’

And I had plenty of cracking titles to choose from and reject, too – London Calling (been done to death), London’s Burning (reminded me of the naff TV show about firemen), Guns On The Roof ( a silly song about when The Clash were told off for shooting pigeons with an air rifle), Somebody Got Murdered (too obscure), The Last Gang In Town (close, close …) Police & Thieves (Maybe …)

But …

I’ve been to Brixton man, times. When I lived in London, I was more than somewhat partial to visiting the Brixton’s cracking cinema, the Ritzy Picturehouse- which, on screen, was the only place I ever saw any guns. Somehow the title had to be Guns Of Brixton, written and sung by the Clash’s coolest member, bass player Paul Simenon.

Not one of my favourite Clash songs, for sure, but there was something about the scary lyrics – ‘When they kick out your front door /How you gonna come?/With your hands on your head. Or on the trigger of your gun’- and cod reggae feel that seemed to suit a faux London gangster story down to the ground.

So, Guns Of Brixton is out now.

Here’s what they have to say:

“When the simple task of collecting a briefcase from a Northern courier in his London lock-up results in a dead Geordie gangster there’s only one thing that Kenny Rogan can do…dress up in drag and rob a jewellers with Big Jim and hope everything turns out okay!  From the pen of Paul D Brazill comes a whole host of larger-than-life characters, a sharp plot and the kind of humour you wouldn’t let your granny read.”

And here’s what a few of those writer types say:

“Sharp as a stiletto in a back alley, this is a muscular, outstanding London gangster novel told in a cockney accent. Brazill has caught both the feel of London’s underworld and its flavour. Like the offspring of a wild night out between The Stranglers and The Clash this pounds with music, contemporary cultural references and a real feel for the city. Funny, dark, vernacular and savage this novel leads you to a set of punches that would knock out a heavyweight and appropriately they’re not delivered according to the Queensberry rules.”  
-Richard Godwin author of One Lost Summer, Apostle Rising and Mr Glamour.

“Strap yourself in for a violent and funny ride full of thrills, spills and kills. It’s Brazill at his irrepressible best.”
-Nick Quantrill author of Broken Dreams, The Late Greats & Bang, Bang, You’re Dead!

“Charlie Williams meets Pulp Fiction.” 
-Ian Ayris, author of Abide with Me and A Day In The Life Of Jason Dean.

Julie Morrigan is the guest columnist down Brit Grit Alley

joolzThis week at Out Of The Gutter Online: Brit Grit Alley, I have a great guest column from Julie Morrigan.

Julie Morrigan is the author of five short story collections, three novels and, most recently, novella-length Brit Grit story, Cutter’s Deal, published by Byker Books.

Here you go!

AN EXCERPT FROM GUNS OF BRIXTON AT CRIME CITY CENTRAL

crime city central

If you pop over to the CRIME CITY CENTRAL  podcast, you can catch a short excerpt from my forthcoming novella GUNS OF BRIXTON.

There are plenty of tasty stories in the archives too, including my werewolf/ PI story DRUNK ON THE MOON.

And I interviewed Cher Eaves from CRIME CITY CENTRAL  here.

News, Updates etc

So, what’s going on?pulp-o-paul1.jpg

Well, both of the  noir novelettes that I wrote for the Italian publisher Atlantis are now available from Amazon. In English and Italian.

You can get Red Esperanto and Death On A Hot Afternoon here.

I’ve recently finished a third story in the series. This is set in the Spanish city of Granada and should be published sometime in April.

The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 10 is NOW available for purchase.

The latest in Maxim Jakubowski’s anthology series includes stories from Neil Gaiman, Lee Child, Tony Black, Richard Godwin, Col Bury, Paul Johnstone, Nick Quantrill, Steve Mosby, Ian Ayris and me, amongst others. My story, Who Killed Skippy? was first published in issue one of Noir Nation.

The eighth edition of The Mammoth Book Of  Best British Crime also includes a yarn from me called Guns Of Brixton– which was first published in CrimeFactory.

Guns Of  Brixton has been developed into a novella and will be published in May by Byker Books as part of their Best Of British series. ‘A sweary Ealing Comedy.’

And sometime in March or early April, Pulp Metal Fiction will be publishing another novella, called The Gumshoe. ‘Dostoevsky meets Tony Hancock.’

And I’ve a few  more irons in the fire too. It’s all happening!

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, Jack Strange, Paul Heatley, Mrtina Cole,  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)

 

Short, Sharp Interview: Allan Miles

PDB: Can you pitch 18 DAYS  in 25 words or less?

A dark journey into one man’s mind as he struggles to cope with a horrific tragedy in his personal life. Not for the faint-hearted.

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

I enjoyed the latest Irvine Welsh book, Skagboys. It’s his best since Filth in my opinion. Also Gary Neville’s autobiography is well worth a read.

The last film I saw that I really enjoyed was a John Huston one called Wise Blood. It was made in 1978 though so it isn’t really recent. I’ve been watching an Italian drama called Romanzo Criminale. The first series was on Sky Arts last year and the wife and I enjoyed it so much that I trawled the four corners of the internet looking for series 2 on DVD. I eventually bought it off Amazon Italia for an obscene amount of money and about three weeks after we finished it they put it on Sky Arts as well! It was worth it though, I think it’s the best TV show I’ve ever seen. Better than The Sopranos, miles better than The Wire (bafflingly overrated) and it just about shades Twin Peaks. If you’ve not heard of it, find it. Its brilliant.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

It is essential that a writer is an objective reader. I absolutely loathed the analysis of other people’s work when I was doing A-Levels, etc. If you immerse yourself in a story without trying to consciously work out why it’s good you will sub-consciously pick up much more than if you sit and pick it to bits. It must be a really empty experience to read like that.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

I’ve written a couple of scripts but I’ll need to improve my writing of dialogue before I really have a go. It does interest me though. 18 Days could easily be made into a film. If I had the time, resources and know-how I’d make it myself. Any budding directors who want a project, you can have the film rights if you pay my gas bill for a couple of months.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

Well this is my first book and I have to say I hardly put any research in at all. It’s all about mood and atmosphere. Some of the more disturbing bits are wildly exaggerated versions of stories I’ve heard or experiences I’ve had, and the settings are places I already know.

PDB How useful or important are social media for you as a writer? 

I’m still learning but I wouldn’t have got to correspond with a fraction of the people I have if it wasn’t for Facebook and Twitter. 

PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2012?

I’m going to become a complete publicity whore in order to sell 18 Days!

Bio: Allan  Miles is from Hull. You can find him Twittering here.

Short, Sharp Interview: Fiona Glass

PDB: Can you pitch ‘Gleams of a Remoter World’ in 25 words or less?

FG: ‘Gleams of a Remoter World’ by Fiona Glass, out now from Riptide Publishing.

Serving ghosts with the Guinness” – a haunting, bittersweet paranormal mystery set on the remote Irish coast and oozing with ghosts, intrigue and forbidden love.

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

FG: It’s got to be the recent outbreak of ‘Scandi-Noir’ – I’ve been glued to ‘The Killing’, ‘Wallander’, and ‘The Bridge’, and can’t wait for the next installment whenever it arrives. When we do stuff like that in the UK it often ends up trite, pretentious or incomprehensible, but the Scandinavians come up with sharp, realistic scripts, brilliant performances and stunning cinematography at the drop of a hat.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

FG: I think it is, yes. I’m not very objective when it comes to reading my own work, but I still read a vast quantity of fiction and like to think I can recognise good writing without my own voice intruding. The one thing that has got harder over the years is tolerating writing that isn’t quite as good, but that might have happened even if I wasn’t a writer.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

FG: I wouldn’t say no if somebody asked my permission to adapt one of my books for movie or tv, but screen-writing isn’t something I know a great deal about – I doubt a one-week course in writing plays would count for much! I still tend to think in terms of words on a page, rather than the visual effect of each scene.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

FG: Quite a bit. Although I’m something of a ‘pantser’, I am serious about checking the facts before I write, and also about immersing myself in the landscape and/or culture of a book as much as possible. In the case of ‘Gleams of a Remoter World’ I’d spent time in Ireland on holiday, but I also researched pretty much everything from the library in Galway City to the transport arrangements during the First World War. It can be tedious, but it can also be fascinating.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?

FG: I’m not sure I would manage without them, since my publisher is in America and without the internet I’d have a job even keeping in touch with them on a daily basis, let alone taking part in any marketing campaigns or contacting my readers. It makes it so much easier to do research, as well, since you have access to whole libraries of information without having to leave the house. I probably spend too much time prettying up my website and my blog, though, when I should be writing!

PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2012/13?

FG: Apart from a nervous breakdown after all the hard work preparing my novel? Well, the last eight months or so have been a constant stream of submissions, editing and marketing. It would be good to find some time to just sit down and write. And having just moved to Cumbria, I have a novel set in the Lake District stirring in the depths of my brain…

BIO:

Fiona Glass currently divides her time between a pointy Victorian house in Birmingham (the original one in the UK) and a slate cottage within stone-throwing distance of England’s largest lake. She hurtles between the two so often it makes her head spin, which might explain the breathless style of her most recent writing, but she hopes to be settled permanently in Cumbria soon.

From her attic study she writes pretty much everything from fantasy to noir, but her particular love is gritty contemporary short stories with a strand of dark humour running through them. She draws her inspiration from the people, situations and news headlines around her, as well as from the landscape, myths and legends, dreams, music and books.

Many of her stories have been published in anthologies, magazines and online, most recently with Riptide Publishing, Pill Hill Press, QueeredFiction, Mslexia, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Pygmy Giant, Byker Books, and Flash Me Magazine; but also with MLR Press, Haworth Press, Aspen Mountain Press, Velvet Mafia, Gay Flash Fiction, and several magazines that have now ceased publication.

Her first novel, Roses in December, a gay paranormal romance, was published by Torquere Press. Her second novel, a ghost story set in Ireland and called Gleams of a Remoter World, is due out from Riptide Publishing in autumn 2012.

Fiona Glass’ website is http://www.fiona-glass.com and her blog is http://fionaglass.blogspot.co.uk .

SHORT, SHARP INTERVIEW: NICK QUANTRILL

PDB: Can you pitch your latest publication, “Bang Bang You’re Dead”, in 25 words or less?

NQ: It’s about the decisions a young man makes when he’s released from prison. Some are easier made when you have a gun in your pocket…

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

NQ: I’m not a big TV watcher and never have been. That said, I’ve enjoyed Jimmy McGovern’s “The Accused” and I’m hoping the new series of “The Thick Of It” will be brilliant.

In respect of film, I went to the cinema for the first time in ages to see the new Batman film. It was ok – the plot and characterisation wasn’t all it could have been, but it looked fantastic on the big screen.

The last great book I read was “Weirdo” by Cathi Unsworth. It had the lot for me – plot, character, pace, grit – just brilliant. I’m currently reading “A Dark Place To Die” by Ed Chatterton, a fine slice of Brit Grit split between Liverpool and Australia.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

NQ: For me it is. I still get a lot of pleasure from the act of reading. As a writer, I don’t think you ever switch off completely when you’re reading – I’m always looking to work out what the writer has done that’s so appealing (or not), but sometimes I read something so good it completely takes me outside of myself and leaves me wondering how I’ll ever measure up. But that’s the challenge, surely?

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

NQ: I’ve had a little dabble with writing for the screen and it was enjoyable, even if I was very much the bumbling fool. I don’t think it’s something I would actively seek to do at the moment, but if an opportunity presented itself, I’d look at it seriously. I see myself as a novelist, and that’s the focus.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

NQ: Hopefully, just as much as it needs. With “Bang Bang You’re Dead I didn’t really need to do any. It’s set in the part of Hull where I grew up, so it was well framed in my mind. I don’t think I did much more than have a slow drive around the area, just to make sure I remembered certain things as clearly as I thought I did. I had to take some liberties with the geography to make the story work as I wanted, but it was definitely the easiest thing I’ve written in terms of research.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?

NQ: I genuinely don’t know. It’s great to be in touch with other writers for networking and keeping up to date with news. It’s also great to be able let people know what you’re doing, but I certainly don’t want to annoy. I’d be mortified if it was said I was doing too much on the self-promotion front. It’s difficult to make an impact, but it’s very easy to get it wrong.

PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012?

 NQ: It’s really just about finishing up the third Joe Geraghty novel, “The Crooked Beat”. After that, I’m not so sure. It’ll be on with a novel, and I’m pretty sure what it’s going to be and I have the synopsis partly nailed down, but it’s nice to feel there’s nothing definite at this moment in time. I could write another novella, I could change my mind on the next novel…we’ll see…

www.hullcrimefiction.co.uk

“Bang Bang You’re Dead” is available 17th September as part of Byker Books’ Kindle-exclusive novella series, “Best of British”.