A Story For Sunday: Last Exit by Chris Leek

A Story For Sunday, Beat To A Pulp, Chris Leek, Crime Fiction, Exiles

btapChris Leek’s Last Exit is classic hardboiled stuff over at BEAT TO A PULP.

People say life begins at forty. It doesn’t. The fact is it’s been going on all the while, only you’ve been too busy to notice; forty is just the age when you start to worry about how much of it you have left. I looked up at the Williamsburgh Tower just as the hands on the clock there crawled past midnight and Monday turned to into Tuesday. Like death and taxes, time is relentless.

Read the rest HERE.

Exiles: An Outsider Anthology reviewed at Crimepieces

Blackwitch Press, Crimepieces, Exiles, noir, Sarah Ward

cropped-exiles-artizan.jpgOver at Crimepieces, Sarah Ward says:

‘Collecting the stories around an overarching theme was an excellent idea for this book. It gave the collection a homogenous feel but allowed the writers to express their individual styles within the narratives. The stories are fairly short but many are powerful. And it’s allowed me to discover new writers I can’t wait to read more of.’

Read the rest here. 

Recommended Read: Criminal Thoughts by Aidan Thorn

Aidan Thorn, BRIT GRIT, Crime Fiction, Exiles, recommended reads

CriminalThoughtsCoverAidan Thorn’s Criminal Thoughts contains eleven short, sharp slices of Brit Grit crime fiction.

There is plenty of humour as well as hard boiled realism in these cleverly interconnecting stories.

The best are the trio that kick off with the cracking  After Hours, which I can really see being developed into a belter of a novel.

Thorn is one to watch, for sure.

Out Now !

A Case Of Noir, Blackwitch Press, Caffeine Nights, Exiles, Guns Of Brixton, Lite Editions

Some stuff to spend your Xmas dosh on.

My comic crime caper Guns Of Brixton (published by Caffeine Nights Publishing) is out NOW as a paperback and as an eBook.  You can get it from from loads of places including Barnes & Noble, CaGOB paperbackffeine Nights PublishingWHSMITH, Waterstones, Foyles Amazon and Amazon UK. 

The Blurb:

A foul-mouthed, violently comic crime caper, full of gaudy characters and dialogue sharp enough to shave with

When London gangster Mad Tony Cook gives aging thugs Big Jim and Kenny Rogan the simple task of collecting a briefcase from northern courier Half-Pint Harry he doesn’t suspect that the courier will end up dead in his lock-up, or that Kenny and Big Jim will then dress up in drag to rob a jeweler’s shop and lose the coveted briefcase. A fast-moving, wild, and hilarious search for the missing briefcase quickly ensues, with fatal consequences.

A Case Of Noir by Paul D. Brazill.

a case of blackPublished by Lite Editions. In snow smothered Warsaw, Luke Case, a boozy English hack with a dark secret, starts a dangerous affair with a gangster’s wife. Case escapes to the sweltering Spanish heat where he meets a colourful cast of characters, including a mysterious torch singer and a former East End villain with a criminal business proposition. In stormy Toulouse, he encounters a blast from the past that is positively seismic which forces him to return to England and confront his past. A Case Of Noir is a strong shot of international noir from Paul D. Brazill.

Exiles: An Outsider Anthology. Ed. Paul D. Brazill.

exiles pbkExiles is a collection of 26 short stories, all featuring the common theme of ‘outsiders’. Dedicated to Jeff Luke and Colin Graham. All proceeds go to the Marfan Foundation, in aid of people suffering from Marfan syndrome. Contributors: Heath Lowrance, Colin Graham, K. A. Laity, Chris Rhatigan,Steven Porter, Patti Abbott, Ryan Sayles, Gareth Spark, Pamila Payne, Paul D. Brazill, Jason Michel,Carrie Clevenger, David Malcolm, Nick Sweeney, Sonia Kilvington, Rob Brunet,James A. Newman,Tess Makovesky, Chris Leek,McDroll,Renato Bratkovič,Walter Conley, Marietta Miles, Aidan Thorn, Benjamin Sobieck, Graham Wynd, Richard Godwin. Published by Blackwitch Press.

Short, Sharp Interview: Graham Wynd

BRIT GRIT, Drag Noir, Exiles, Fox Spirit, Graham Wynd, K A Laity, noir, short sharp interviews

missing-monarchs3-72PDB: What’s going on now?

I have a story ‘Headless in Bury’ in the new Fox Spirit anthology Missing Monarchs. It sets a PI named Wolf on the trail of the head of a long-dead King, St Edmund. There’s a bunch of great folks in this collection including Jo Thomas, Geraldine Clark Hellary and the always hilarious and blisteringly profane Chloë Yates. I also have a fun little tale about obsession over at Pulp Metal Magazine “30 Versions of Warm Leatherette” which is based on a true story. Well, only so far as my pal Marko gave me 30 versions of “Warm Leatherette” though on CD because he’s old school.

PDB: How did you research this book?

For once, I did: I used some of my medieval background because the story of St Edmund (as in the town of Bury St Edmunds) has him getting captured and killed by Vikings, who knock his head off. A wolf guards it until the monks can find him when the  head calls them over saying “Here, here, here!” Or in the Latin, hic hic hic which sounds much better of course.

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

Right now I’d say the Fox Spirit novella collection Extricate & Throw the Bones which also includes a bunch of shorts. I think it’s where I first really found my noir stride and I’m really pleased with both those novellas and most of the stories, one of which Otto Penzler picked our of the blue to be in Kwik Krimes. It was my nod to Tony Hancock and Sid James so I’m chuffed (“Losing My Religion”).

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

Oh, I can never choose. I’m having the worst time choosing things for the crime course I’m teaching in the spring. It’s impossible making up my mind, so I finally told myself I just have to be a gateway drug: Chandler, Hammett, Sanxay Holding, Hughes, Cain, Highsmith, Millar, Himes, Thompson. Films I’m using—I had to cut down to three!—Third Man, Out of the Past, Night of the Hunter unless I change my mind and do one of the books after all (probably Maltese Falcon or Strangers on a Train). Television I’m behind on everything. Caught up on the first four seasons of Justified earlier this year and loved it. Oh and so excited about a third series of The Bridge because Saga is my hero.

extricate ebook 72ppiPDB: Is location important to your writing?

Yeah, but it’s also a drawback because most of my stories are set in the UK but I’m not actually British so I’m not a British writer and US readers aren’t interested in British settings unless they’re cosies and I don’t do cosy.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

Never—what’s the point? If it’s ever good news it’ll show up in my bank account. Otherwise it’s just depressing. There’s always somebody doing better than you.

PDB: What’s next?

I’m working on a new novel that’s noir in the vein of James M. Cain, rather than detective sort of stuff. People who get obsessed and then go too far because they can’t just walk away from a bad situation. And a dog. I said I wasn’t going to do any more stories with dogs in them, but maybe I lied. Or maybe I just don’t learn.

Bio: A writer of bleakly noirish tales with a bit of grim humour, Graham Wynd can be found in Dundee but would prefer you didn’t come looking. An English professor by day, Wynd grinds out darkly noir prose between trips to the local pub. The novella of murder and obsessive love, EXTRICATE is out now from Fox Spirit Books; the print edition also includes the novella THROW THE BONES and a collection of short stories. ‘Headless in Bury’ appears in the MISSING MONARCHS Fox Pockets anthology, ‘The Tender Trap’ appears in EXILES: AN OUTSIDER ANTHOLOGY from Blackwitch Press, and the short story ‘Kiss Like a Fist’ appears in NOIR NATION 3.

Short, Sharp Interview: Chris Leek

BRIT GRIT, Exiles, short sharp interviews

gospelPDB: Can you pitch Gospel of the Bullet in 25 words or less?

CL: Sure. It’s the heart warming story of a young boy’s forbidden love for his pet walrus. No wait, that’s not right. Gospel of the Bullet is a revenge-fuelled western that puts the blood back into ‘Bloody Kansas’. It’s a story about hope and perhaps also redemption.

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

CL: Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer are always on my playlist (those of you born after 1990 may need to ask your parents.) Although more recently alternative country band The Delines and post-punk New Jersey rockers The Gaslight Anthem have found there way on to it as well.

I couldn’t get into TRUE DETECTIVE, but Nic Pizzolatto really blew me away with his novel GALVESTON. Chris Rhatigan’s new short story collection WAKE UP TIME TO DIE is a darn good read too.

The film adaptation of Joe Lansdale’s COLD IN JULY was surprisingly good. Don Johnson is perfect for the role of Jim Bob and he really stole the show, much in the same way as his character did in the book.

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

CL: Yes, although it’s not always easy for me. I like nothing better than kicking back with a good book, but that’s the key, it has to be good. There are some authors who can consistently take me away and make me forget I’m a writer. Daniel Woodrell is one, Brian Panowich another.

The problems really start when I’m not enjoying the book. That’s when the writer in me acts up and I find myself picking the thing to pieces. At that point I usually give up on it. I used to read every book right through to the end, but not anymore. Life is just too short to waste time on stuff you don’t dig.

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

CL: It hadn’t really crossed my mind until recently, but several people have told me that Gospel of the Bullet has a cinematic quality to it that would play on the big screen. I’ll admit that has kind of got me thinking.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

CL: If I’m writing crime fiction then not too much, I tend to wing a lot of it, apart from the police procedural stuff. My crime fighting buddy Ryan Sayles stops me from sounding like a complete idiot on that count.

But for the westerns research is actually quite important. It’s a different ball game when you are setting stories around real life historical events. I think I owe it to myself and my readers to at least try for a reasonable degree of accuracy. With Gospel I spent a lot of time researching the mundane things like how much a loaf of bread cost in 1870. Yeah, I know, I need to get out more.

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

CL: In short, I wouldn’t be here without it. Social media has its uses as a promotional tool, and it also provides the world with an endless supply of of cat pictures. But for me it’s about the friendship and support of like minded people. There are guys who I met on social media that I now consider to be family.

PDB: What’s on the cards for 2014?

CL: It’s going to be a busy end to the year. My fast-paced crime novella NEVADA THUNDER will be out next month from Leek_C (2)Snubnose Press. Hot on the heels of that is the next Zelmer Pulp issue, MAYBE I SHOULD JUST SHOOT YOU IN THE FACE, and then December 1st sees the much anticipated release of TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND. This Bruce Springsteen inspired collection of crime /noir is a project very close to my heart and with stories from the likes of Dennis Lehane and James Grady it rocks just as hard as the Boss himself.

Thanks for having me over Paul, and by the way, that vase on the bathroom window ledge was like that when I got here.

Bio: Chris Leek is the author of Gospel of the Bullet, Nevada Thunder and the short story collection, Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em. He is part of the team behind genre fiction imprint Zelmer Pulp and an editor at western fiction magazine, The Big Adios. He can be contacted via: www.zelmerpulp.com or at his blog: www.nevadaroadkill.blogspot.co.uk

Crime Fiction – Here and There and Again

Agnieszka Sienkiewicz-Charlish, Blackwitch Press, Crime Fiction, Crime Fiction – Here and There, Crime Fiction – Here and There and Again, Exiles, Gdansk, K A Laity, M.A., Now and Then, Prof. David Malcolm, Rachel Franks, Urszula Elias

crime gdansk2Back In 2012 I had the real pleasure of being at special guest at Crime Fiction – Here and There, Now and Then, an academic conference at the University Of Gdansk which was organised by Agnieszka Sienkiewicz-Charlish, M.A. and Urszula Elias, M.A. The Academic Advisor was Prof. David Malcolm, who has a story in Exiles: An Outsider Anthology.

Being an academic conference, a lot of it was way over my head but it was a very interesting and fun experience to be sure.

And they’ve done it again. I’ll be a guest along with K A Laity, Dr Rachel Franks and others:

Crime Fiction – Here and There and Again

11-13 September 2014

2nd International Postgraduate Conference

Department of English Language Cultures and Literatures, English Institute, Faculty of Languages of the University of Gdańsk
and the State School of Higher Professional Education in Elbląg

Accommodation

Advisory Board and Executive Committee

Call for Papers    [DOC] [PDF] – CLOSED

Conference Fee

Conference Venue

Honorary Patrons

Keynotes

Programme

Registration – CLOSED

Travel

2012 Conference

GdanskFind out more about the conferences and the people involved here.

And check out the Facebook page.

 

Exiles Guest Blog:How I Wrote ‘Eating the Dream’ by K. A. Laity

Artizan, Blackwitch Press, Exiles, GUEST BLOGS, K A Laity

exiles artizanI’m trying to remember where this story came from. I know the title came first, but not really because before that came William Blake and the Red Dragon, but before that came Springsteen and songs of escape, but even before that came cars.

I grew up in a factory town where automobiles were the trade. Most of my extended family worked for the auto industry in one way or another. The reality of the auto industry hasn’t matched the promise of its sleek machines for some time; the ruins of it still smoulder in the hometown I left long ago. But romance of the open road has fueled the dream of freedom for as long as I can remember.

I still feel it when I hit the highway. I spent so long afraid I would never escape that the sight of a road stretched out before me buoys my spirit in an instant. I’ll probably never completely get over the whisper that cajoles, ‘You could go anywhere, disappear, start again.’

My old red Honda makes an appearance in this story. Sixteen years I had that car, hundreds of thousands of miles I put on it. Living in the UK,  I’m reminded again and again how people here have no concept of the size of the US: How the whole of this country could fit into just one of the medium-sized states. How you can still drive for hours without seeing another human being in some places, though it’s getting more difficult all the time. How states are as different as the countries of the EU, different worlds.

There’s an anonymity that all exiles know you can find in the darkened places where people drink and eat. Diners and pubs allow a certain camaraderie between strangers: brief, congenial, but definitely limited. But it’s good. Sometimes you have to be where nobody knows your name.

When you’re there in the dark corner, sipping your drink, look around. Under the brim of that hat may hide the eye of something extraordinary. Monster, magic, murder—maybe it depends on what you’re looking for. William Blake saw angels in his back garden as a child. Some people think that’s strange. Others long to find that magic. We read books for the same reason we take journeys: to see something new, to shake off the dust of the known and maybe, just maybe—to find the home that waits for us out there like a dream we can almost remember.

Bio: K. A. Laity is the award-winning author of White RabbitA Cut-Throat BusinessLush SituationOwl Stretching, Unquiet DreamsÀ la Mort SubiteThe Claddagh IconChastity FlamePelzmantel and Other Medieval Tales of Magic and Unikirja, as well as editor of Weird NoirNoir Carnival and the forthcoming Drag Noir. With cartoonist Elena Steier she created the occult detective comic Jane Quiet. Her bibliography is chock full of short stories, humor pieces, plays and essays, both scholarly and popular. She spent the 2011-2012 academic year in Galway, Ireland where she was a Fulbright Fellow in digital humanities at NUIG. Dr. Laity has written on popular culture and social media for Ms., The Spectator and BitchBuzz, and teaches medieval literature, film, gender studies, New Media and popular culture at the College of Saint Rose. She divides her time between upstate New York and Dundee.

Exiles Guest Blog: How I Wrote ‘The Tender Trap’ by Graham Wynd

Exiles, Graham Wynd, GUEST BLOGS

exiles artizan

Exiles

The greatest exile is to be banished from the heart of one you yearn for; so much of art has been created with the fire of longing. To be on the cusp of winning—its greatest appeal—but to risk losing it—well, there’s no suffering quite like it. Or so we tell ourselves in the heat of the moment.

I love characters who think they’re so much smarter than they are. I suppose as someone who’s always suspecting there’s a lot I don’t know, it’s great fun to see the world from the point of view of someone who never doubts that they’re on top of things when they so clearly aren’t. It makes great comedy—Pete & Dud are a terrific example.

But it’s also perfect for the slow-motion smash-up that is noir. Even in a short piece like this you can see the spiral going down. Like his misunderstanding of Romeo & Juliet. Obviously he never finished reading it. But he takes on the Bard like a fashionable coat, thinks he looks good in it—and never looks below the surface.

Like most noir protagonists, he never takes that step back to see reality. You have to actively ignore the truth of things. And you’ll always pay the price of that blindness. Always.

Bio: A writer of bleakly noirish tales with a bit of grim humour, Graham Wynd can be found in Dundee but would prefer you didn’t come looking. An English professor by day, Wynd grinds out darkly noir prose between trips to the local pub. His novella Extricate is out now from Fox Spirit BooksDrop by his Facebook page and give it a like.

 Exiles: An Outsider Anthology is OUT NOW.

Exiles: An Outsider Anthology Is Included In The Crime StoryBundle

Blackwitch Press, Exiles, Paul O Brien, StoyBundle

 storybundle

Exiles: An Outsider Anthology is included in the crime StoryBundle. 

The latest StoryBundle is curated by Paul O’Brien.

The blurb:

The International Crime Bundle features 9 crime titles for a price you set.

We’ve got novels from some of the best crime writers today, having picked up such awards as the Goldsboro ‘Last Laugh’ Award, Anthony, Macavity and Agatha Award, Spinetingler Book of Year, Pulp Pusher Book of the Year and a small matter of a Pulitzer-prize!

The full cast list is Vincent Zandri, Paul O’Brien, Arlene Hunt, Declan Burke, Jake Needham, Robert B. Lowe and, of course, me and the cast of Exiles: An Outsider Anthology.

CHECK IT OUT!

 

Exiles Guest Blog: WHY I WROTE THE TRIBE BY Renato Bratkovič

ANTHOLOGY, Artizan, Exiles, noir nation, Renato Bratkovic
exiles artizan

Exiles

 

In autumn 2012, the first seeds of the Slovenian protest movement were planted in my beloved hometown, Maribor. The goal was to kick the corrupt and arrogant mayor’s ass – whose attitude had pissed my people off – but the riots soon spread all over Slovenia, aimed at the mayors of other larger towns and also at the Slovenian government and the arrogant prime minister, who had the balls to call us zombies: “This is no protest movement, it’s the rise of the zombies!”. And he hadn’t even  been elected, but had maneuvered himself into the government and managed to form a coalition of dividers.

He later added that we were a bunch of left fascists (what ever the fuck that means!), but “the zombies” beat him – he finally had to go (just like the mayor of Maribor before him), and is now on his way to the prison for two years. Well, we’ll need to see more of this happening to a bunch of his cronies too, of course!

Nothing has changed unfortunately – the protests never developed into a revolution, the corrupt politicians and greedy bankers weren’t  flushed away, we never saw new faces, just the same stinking asses changing seats to keep them warm for the next four years (which they are now going to change, as the “new” government has also fallen apart after only a year, go figure).

We-ea-aa-aa-aaah, the sheep, are filling holes the “successful” businessmen drilled in our banks, so the sons of the bitches managing them can enjoy their ice cold champagne, oysters and fresh piece of ass on a yacht and laugh their asses off at how stupid we are – instead of providing us loans to move the economy forward. And we allow our incompetent higher-authority-obeying “rulers” to sink our grand-grand-grandchildren into the endless pit of debt, while my people are getting poorer and poorer, and those who help the poor get punished by the state, which created the perfect conditions for becoming poor.

“We can and we will!” Hell, yes – enjoy the party!

I’m angry! I’m mad! But at least in my story, The Tribe, things are going a different way – the revolution breaks out in the City, there IS a new face to disrupt the routine there, no matter what they do to him or where they put him in. The story is told by a cop, who had to fight the protesters and who’s supposed to nail Vladimir, the revolter professor, but …

… but I have a reason to be both proud and happy to have my work featured again in the line with such excellent writers (thank you, Paul), and my writing HAS a purpose, at last: the anthology’s mission is to raise awareness of (and some money for) the Marfan Foundation.

Bio: Renato Bratkovič is an advertising creative, fiction writer and blogger from Slovenia. He writes in Slovene and in English. He’s published a short story collection Ne poskušajte tega doma (Don’t Try This At Home) in 2012, his story High Midnight has appeared in Noir Nation 3 (VegaWire Media) and The Tribe is one of the Exiles: An outsider Anthology (Blackwitch Press) stories. He runs Artizan, his advertising agency and publishing house, with his partners.

Exiles: An Outsider Anthology is out now .

Exiles Guest Blog: How I got to The Place of the Dead by Nick Sweeney

Alibi, Artizan, Blackwitch Press, Exiles, GUEST BLOGS, Nick Sweeney, Renato Bratkovic, Renato Bratkovic.

cropped-exiles-artizan.jpgThe Djma el Fnaa is Marakech’s central square. By a linguistic quirk, its name can be translated as either ‘the Mosque of Nowhere / Nothing’ or ‘the Place / Assembly of the Dead’. It was too good a title not to use for a story, and several people have indeed beaten me to it in the 25 years since I thought of it, and done that. It’s a market place by day, but at night turns into a circus of a place, full of performers, storytellers, hustlers, vendors, snake bullies – they don’t charm them at all – musicians, dancers, pickpockets, some plying their trade only because of the tourists, and some just because they always have. As noted in my story, our guide book described it as ‘the most exciting place in all of Africa’, a ridiculous claim that I make a character address briefly, and somewhat flippantly.

My first wife and I spent five weeks in Morocco in July and August 1989. I’d been there about two weeks before I got to Marakech. I was used to the hustlers by then, which didn’t make them any less wearying. They didn’t want all your cash, just some. They weren’t bad people, just hungry, jobless – just bored, maybe. They weren’t begging; you couldn’t cut to the chase by paying them to go away. None of this stopped it being tedious, though, especially when you knew that you would extricate yourself from it only for it to start up again a few minutes later, a different bloke, same spiel.

A friend of mine had travelled in Morocco the previous year. He’d lost his rag with a hustler in some small town, told him to fuck off. After that, the man and his pals followed him around for the rest of his stay, saying, “You don’t say ‘fuck off’ in this town,” and making slit-your-throat gestures at him. They camped in his hotel lobby, occupied tables in every restaurant he went to. They said, “See you later, alligator,” each time he managed to get away, or when they had to go home for their tea. They were probably just having a laugh, labouring a point, or really had nothing else to do. When my friend gave up on that town, this entourage escorted him to the bus station. It was their last chance to slit his throat. Though he’d got used to it as a charade of sorts by then, a performance, he was glad to get on the bus. An old man boarded, shuffled and wheezed up the aisle and sat down, turned to my friend and grinned and said, “See you later, alligator,” not knowing it was  a goodbye and not a greeting; it was just some stray English, offered in friendship. It only freaked my friend out a little, I think.

So I knew not to tell the hustlers to fuck off, even though I wanted to sometimes. I said I was not interested in making a financial contribution to their ventures, at that moment – maybe I’d bore them into going away. But Moroccans are polite and patient, mostly. (One man was the exception, aggressively accused my wife of acting like ‘a Jew’. “There’s a very good reason for that,” she informed him, somewhat dangerously, but her actual Jewishness was beside the point he was trying to make. He was a carpet seller, though, a breed apart.)

It sounds like I had a bad time in Morocco, but in fact I enjoyed most of my time there – you can’t spend five weeks anywhere and have every single moment be a joy. I’m reminded of a scene in Nicolas Roeg’s 1980 film Bad Timing: a couple in a fractious relationship are in the Djma el Fnaa, and the woman chides the man for his petty obsession over some aspect of their life together. “Look at where we are,” she reminds him. I’ll probably never go back to Morocco, so I’m glad I didn’t let anybody, even an anti-Jewish carpet seller, spoil it for me. Why am I talking about all this, then?

The answer is that a story isn’t made up of the nice things in life. I’m also not a travel writer, and any guide book can describe the brilliance of Morocco better than I can – just as a postcard seller can supply a better photo of its monuments than I’ll ever take. I’ve tried to reflect Marakech’s atmosphere in The Place of the Dead, but it’s not a story about Moroccans. Think of the crowded streets I show in my tale; most of the people in them were unaware of us, and if they were aware, they were leaving us alone. As per the brief of this anthology, the story is about foreigners, outsiders, and how they might behave out of their comfort zones.

The couple in my story is not based on me and my first wife, nor on any of the many people we met. A few of the incidents described happened, such as the frustrating, lengthy journey at the opening of the story, the conversations with hustlers, the sunglasses that attracted a pint-sized opportunist, the constant assumption that we’d want an English newspaper, and watching that exciting ending to the 1989 Tour de France, a race that is often done and dusted in its last few days, and like watching paint dry. They are all only background, though. None of them make a story. The heart of the story is the people in it, and how they conduct themselves when faced with certain choices, and how their lives will be affected by those choices, and by their actions and reactions.

You can see more of my short stories on my website, The Last Thing the Author Said. Laikonik Express is my first novel, published by Unthank Books, and is a comic look at friendship and a quest, a road novel on rails, a sober look at the world of post-1989 Europe through a shot glass full of vodka.

(You can grab Exiles: An Outsider Anthology here)

Exiles Guest Blog: Alienation by Richard Godwin

Albert Camus, Artizan, Blackwitch Press, Exiles, GUEST BLOGS, Renato Bratkovic, Richard Godwin

exiles artizanThe road is a pretty malleable image. My story is about exile that is both imposed and the result of trying not to be a prisoner of alienation. Don is a criminal with a poetic vision. He belongs in a Jean Genet novel, a man with a massive rose beating in his troubled heart. The narrator, Mike, is hitchhiking, riding the road, being picked up by strangers. Watching the shadows on the walls of the homes and being outside, being alien, being something else. We categorise, we belong to groups, to clubs, we are inside, and outside are all the exiles. To blur the lines, to define yourself.

My story is about a drifter who encounters a criminalised visionary who makes him see something about himself, something that was missing. It’s about a guy who hitches a ride from a stranger who is more familiar to him than anyone and who leaves him tasting stale beer. Falling through the hourglass.

Alienation pervades modern existence. We live in an age of massive information that disseminates just about everything and because of its overload creates complex patterns of data that overwhelm the senses. On the road searching, hunting for a path that has meaning. Through the dissemination of facts the black out.

And inasmuch as Falling Through The Hourglass is about two men searching for a way out or a way through, it is about society today. It is about lies and the need for what Ibsen called the life lie to sustain us. It is about certainty and how you survive its absence. It is about Art and identity. And it is about all the roads that remove you from yourself. And the ones that lead you back there.

 Bio: Richard Godwin is the author of critically acclaimed novels Apostle Rising, Mr. Glamour,  One Lost Summer, Noir City and Confessions Of A Hit Man. He is also a published poet and a produced playwright. His stories have been published in over 34 anthologies, among them his anthology of stories, Piquant: Tales Of The Mustard Man. Godwin was born in London and obtained a BA and MA in English and American Literature from King’s College London, where he also lectured. You can find out more about him at his website www.richardgodwin.net , where you can also read his Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse, his highly popular and unusual interviews with other authors.

Exiles: An Outsider Anthology is OUT NOW.