I’m Interviewed by Jason Beech at The Flash Fiction Offensive

BRIT GRIT, Close To the Bone, Gumshoe Blues, Interviews, Jason Beech, Jesse Rawlins, Jim Shaffer, Last Year's Man, Mick Rose, Out Of The Gutter, Paul D Brazill, Punk Noir Mgazine, The Flash Fiction Offensive

The Brit Grit Addiction.JPEG

Born in legendary England, but having sojourned in Poland for some time, Brit-Grit author Paul D. Brazill typically pens what he calls “screwball noir.” His writing has been translated into Italian, Finnish, Polish, German and Slovene. His work has also been published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Books of Best British Crime.

Back in the day, Mr. Brazill graciously provided content for Out of the Gutter Online’s Brit Grit Alley—bringing diehard readers news about British crime fiction’s notorious booze and blood-soaked alleyways.
Mr. Messy Business Jason Beech—himself both born and forged in Sheffield, England (before audaciously making the move to Yank-filled-New Jersey-USA to teach a game that he calls “football—but which parts of the world call SOCCER) decided to corral Mr. Brazill for a little tête-à-tête.
We hoped to bring you video footage … but the content proved way too graphic. So we’re sharing this heavily-edited transcript instead. Of course we had to kill the stenographer afterwards …. But that’s Life in The Gutter, eh.
Hi Paul. I’ve just finished Close to the Bone’s excellent short story anthology, A Time for Violenceedited by edgy U.S. crime writers Andy Rausch and Chris Roy. What attracted you to the anthology?
 
PDB: Really, just because the editors kindly asked me. I also wanted to write another story featuring Tommy Bennett from my book Last Year’s Man and thought it might work to put him in a story with very little violence. The story title—”Baby’s Got A Gun”—is from an old Only Ones LP.

Carcass at The Flash Fiction Offensive

flash fiction, Halloween, Hector Duarte Jr, Out Of The Gutter, Paul D Brazill, Punk, punk fiction, Rob Pierce, The Flash Fiction Offensive

FFO BADGE 2017OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINE’S FLASH FICTION OFFENSIVE have kicked off their GUTTERAL SCREAMS series of  Halloween yarns with a slice of Punk Fiction from me called CARCASS.

Ava drove her battered, old Ford Escort to the edge of the forest and parked beneath a pine tree. As she sat and watched the autumn rain batter the windscreen, she listened to the Siouxsie and The Banshees CD that Martin had given her for her birthday’

You can read the rest HERE.

Submissions

All Due Respect, Out Of The Gutter, Paul D Brazill, Sandra Seamans, Shotgun Honey, Submissions, The Flash Fiction Offensive

Book submissions are currently open at ALL DUE RESPECT, the splendid publishers who’ve put out books by the likes of Rob Pierce, Paul Heatley, Eric Beetner, Marietta Miles, Alec Cizak, and even me.

They say:

Submissions are open. What we want: low-life literature. Criminals, thugs, douchebags, cheaters, gamblers, pickpockets, ne’er-do-wells, guns, cigarettes, bath salts, booze, beer, strippers, whores, wheelers, dealers, schemers, robbers, adulterers, embezzlers, loan sharks, losers, and lottery winners (who are, of course, losers).

All at 100 mph with the brake lines cut and a shitload of speed running through its veins.’

There’s more information HERE.

THE FLASH FICTION OFFENSIVE are looking for stories under 1000 words to publish at OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINE.

‘We are looking for, as the old Gutter guidelines put it, “well-written, fucked up stuff.” This means nicely constructed stories in which things–that is, bad things–happen; stories that test boundaries and give readers something to think about while taking readers from A to B without getting lost.’

There’s more information HERE.

SHOTGUN HONEY are open for flash fiction and books submissions.

They say:

‘Since 2011, Shotgun Honey has been a steady outlet for crime, noir, and hard-boiled flash fiction. Our prominent website has featured over 400 writers and has published nearly a thousand stories all told within a mere 700 words. If you feel you have what it takes to beat our gauntlet of editors, submit your story today. We’re look something new and fresh, and we hope that it’ll come from you.

If you want to be part of our growing imprint and have a novella or short novel between 25,000 and 50,000 words, or a collection of short stories with a crime fiction slant, we want to read from you.’

There’s more information HERE. 

And you can find loads more submission calls at Sandra Seamans’ MY LITTLE CORNER.     

#FRIDAY FLASH: HE’LL HAVE TO GO.

BRIT GRIT, flash fiction, Out Of The Gutter, Paul D Brazill, The Flash Fiction Offensive

Frankie fidgets on the wobbly bar-stool.  Takes a swig of Guinness, then a sip of Jack Daniels. Grimaces. Shuffles his shoulders. Feels a joint crack. Sighs.

‘Me and my big mouth, eh? Another case of foot in mouth disease,’ he says.

He chuckles to himself.  Takes a pork scratching from a half empty bag. Stuffs it in his mouth and crunches.

‘Well, we’ve all been there, Frankie,’ says Big Pat, the barman.

Sweat soaks his white nylon shirt. ‘We’ve let our tempers get the better of us, and that.’

Pat picks up a remote control and switches on a plasma screen television that is hung askew on the back wall. He flicks channels until he finds an old James Bond film. A Duran Duran song suddenly blasts out. Pat grimaces.

‘Bugger that for a game of soldiers,’ he says.

He quickly turns off the sound and puts in a Jim Reeves CD.

Frankie catches a glimpse of himself in the dusty Johnny Walker mirror that hangs behind the bar. He brushes dandruff from a shoulder. Messes with his dyed black hair.

It’s late evening and The Blue Anchor’s only other customer is an saggy old man that is sat at a table in the corner nursing a half of bitter. He’s playing Sudoku and squinting in the wan light.

‘Look at that old fucker?’ says Pat, pointing at the television screen. ‘He’s still getting away with it. Jammy twat. ’

Frankie looks up and sees Roger Moore in a romantic clinch with a much younger woman.

‘Still, I don’t mind getting old so much,’ says Pat. ‘Beats the alternative, eh?’

He chuckles.

Frankie goes grim.

Pat leans over the bar and looks Frankie in the eyes.

‘So, have you told Wolf yet?’ he says.

Frankie avoids Pat’s glare. He looks up at the television.

‘Well, not as such …’ says Frankie.

‘Yeah?’

‘Well, not at all.’

‘Best get it out of the way, if I was you. You know what he’s like … remember Harjit?’

Frankie knocks back his whisky.

‘I most certainly do remember Harjit Singh. The grass. If I remember correctly, Wolf nailed Harjit’s turban to his head, inspired by a documentary he’d seen about Vlad The Impaler. To make his point even clearer, Wolf decapitated Harjit and put his head on one of the spikes outside Singh’s Essex home for his missus to see when she got up,’ says Frankie.

He forces a grin.

‘He never does things by halves, does Wolf,’ he says.

‘Well, then,’ says Pat. ‘So …’

Pat’s mobile buzzes. He glances at it and heads outside the pub to answer it.

He listens, nods and sighs. Sighs and nods. He goes back behind the bar,

‘Yeah but, you know, me and Wolf, go way back. We’ve got history,’ says Frankie.

‘Yeah, but history repeats,’ says Pat. ‘Like a Poundshop pork pie.’

He smacks Frankie on the back of the head with a baseball bat. Frankie collapses to the floor.

Pat leans under the bar and pulls out a machete. Hopes that Wolf remembers to bring the bleach with him this time.

(c) Paul D. Brazill

(This yarn first appeared at The Flash Fiction Offensive.)

Richard Godwin is down Brit Grit Alley

brit grit alley, Out Of The Gutter, Paul D Brazill, Richard Godwin

buffalo-and-sour-mashOver at OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINE, there’s a great guest BRIT GRIT ALLEY column from crime writer RICHARD GODWIN where he talks about publishing:

‘Publishing really is in a state of flux, with the rise and rise of Amazon and it still seems many publishers do not know what they are doing and behave with a lack of the kind of professionalism and regard for Artists that you would expect given the fact that without the author without the novelist there would be no publisher, a fact that seems all to easily to have been forgotten.

Read the rest HERE.

Friday Flashes

Crime Fiction, flash fiction, Humour, Out Of The Gutter, Paul D Brazill

Cold Blooded Moon

Jason poured himself another glass of Burgundy and tried to flush Jenna from his thoughts. The bloated, red moon glared at him from the claret coloured sky as he headed towards oblivion like dirty dishwater down a plughole.

And then, the sea of sleep enfolded him.

Dark dreams and worse memories lapped at the shore of his slumber until he awoke, drowning in crimson. Slices of sunlight cut through the blinds and slashed across his eyes, stinging like a knife blade.

Outside, seagulls screeched and cackled through the roaring wind as Jason closed his eyes and dissolved back into the night, resolving to never again drink red wine in bed.

The end.

The Man From Esperanto

So, you’re in Warsaw’s Esperanto district hiding from an obscenely large, bullet-headed man wielding a baseball bat. In a pizza oven. 

And, to paraphrase the singer David Byrne, you might ask yourself –how the fuck did I get here?

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 palaeontologist happy for months.

And, I’ll make no bones about it, I fit rather snugly into the latter category.

Hence, me, three months earlier, hungover, in the back of a deodorant soaked taxi as it hurtled – like the Starship Enterprise on Warp Factor nine- down Warsaw’s John Paul 2nd Avenue, through the constellation of neon signs that marked out the sex shops, 24 hour pubs and kebab shops.

‘When the Pope died the whole street was lined with candles in tribute ,’ said the taxi driver, looking almost tearful.

‘Uh huh,’ I replied, as I fought back the acrid bile that burned my throat.

Before I’d come to Warsaw, I’d heard stories about ‘The Night Drivers’-amphetamine pumped young men who, each midnight, tied fishing wire around their necks, and the cars brakes, and then raced from one end of the city to the next. When I saw the cut marks on the taxi driver’s neck and his red, red eyes. I didn’t exactly have the Colgate ring of confidence.

I was relieved, then, when, minutes later, we pulled up outside The Palace of Culture and Science, Joe Stalin’s unwanted Neoclassical gift to the people of Warsaw.

I fished a handful of notes from my pocket and stuffed them into the driver’s hand before running to the toilets to puke.

‘Out with the old, in with the new,’ said a well-spoken, sandblasted voice from the next cubicle. ‘We are all in the gutter but some of us a looking at it through the bottom of a rather nice glass of gin and tonic, eh?’

‘The thing is, some people absolutely loath the place,’ said Sean Bradley, gesturing around The Palace’s Kafe Kulturalna. ‘The locals call it the Russian Wedding Cake. And, indeed, that’s what it looks like; a wedding cake plonked in the middle of the road.’ Sean was a drunk, dapper, nicotine stained example of jetsam who supplemented his teaching by chess hustling. He was one of the few expats who actually liked his chosen country of exile since most just complained about everything being so – foreign. Me? It was as good a place as any.

‘It’s an old song isn’t it?’ said Konrad AKA flotsam, a shiny, happy Canadian of Polish extraction, in Warsaw to find his roots. Aided and abetted by his family’s money, of course.

‘Maybe…’

‘I’m sure it is. Someone left a cake out in the road,’ he sang.

I really wasn’t too sure if he was joking or not. Konrad was either as bright as a two watt bulb or a major piss taker. I just ignored him and took in the Kafe’s interior before we invariably passed the pint of no return.

I met her on a Monday and although my heart didn’t exactly stand still it certainly skipped a beat or two. Tall and with long black hair she flew into the bar like a murder of crows, swathed in scarves and wearing a long black raincoat which flapped in the breeze behind her.

‘Ding dong,’ I said a la Leslie Phillips.

‘Oh. That’s Daria. Better watch out for her,’ said Sean. ‘She’s married to Bronek Malinowski. You know him?’

I shook my head.

‘The second-hand clothes Baron,’ said Konrad.

‘Who and what?’ I said.

‘He’s a low level gangster who has Poles collect donated clothes left outside charity shops overnight in, say, London or Dublin and ship them back to Poland to sell. You can get some damn good schmutter, actually,’ said Sean, pointing to the Hugo Boss label in his jacket.

‘The only crime is getting caught,’ I said, shrugging.

‘Yes, but if a butterfly beats its wings in the forest a one handed man claps and a tree falls down.’ said Konrad.

I ignored him and tried to catch Daria’s eye. ‘No, really, she’s trouble,’ said Sean.

I walked over. ‘Would you like a drink?’ I said.

She turned and tried to focus on me, as if she were looking at a magic eye painting. She shook her head. ‘Best not,’ she said, with a fake sounding transatlantic accent. ‘I should hit the sack. I’ve hit the bottle enough for one night.’ Standing close, she looked me up and down, like was deciding on whether or not to buy a second-hand car.

‘You’ll do,’ she said dragging me out of the bar by my tie.

Someone or other once remarked that the reason that something became a cliché was because it was true. Certainly, getting caught in bed with a married woman by her musclebound husband was a cliché straight out of ‘Confessions Of A Plummer’s Mate.’ Unfortunately for me, however, it was also true.

The brainwave of escaping into to the kitchens of a nearby pizza restaurant and hiding in one of the ovens was, I would imagine, a one off. But in retrospect, originality, it probably wasn’t one of my better ideas.

So, the oven door slams and you’re sure you can smell gas and now you might reasonably ask yourself – how the fuck do I get out of here? And the probable answer is – you don’t.

The end.

Right In The Kisser

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 Quentin’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 and there was Quentin – crouched over on a grassy knoll, a high powered rifle in his hands.

Quentin’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.

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

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

The end.

Life’s A Gas

Nicky Marshall was a mousy man with mousy hair –so mousy, in fact, he was repeatedly banned from the local pet shop for fear of perturbing the cats. He had barely been scuffed by the wear and tear of life – living each soporific day shielded from the world, not unlike John Travolta in the ‘Boy In the Plastic Bubble’ – until, one chilly Autumn, as the cloak of night draped itself over the city, and the moon bit into the sky like a fang, Nicky had one of those moments that are usually described as pivotal

He’d been driving back from a stamp collectors convention, feeling very pleased with himself about the talk that he’d given, entitled ‘Philately Will Get You Somewhere,’ when he saw a woman hitchhiking beneath a blinking street lamp. Her silhouette appeared and disappeared like warm breath on a cold window pane. To Nicky- who was so unlucky in love that he was thinking of becoming a professional card sharp – she was like a long limbed drink of water calling out to a thirsty man.

He opened the door; she seemed to ooze into the car like mercury. She was the whitest thing he’s ever seen.

’My name’s Nicky,’ he said. ‘I’m a palaeontologist. I’ll make no bones about it! What’s your name?’

’Nikki,’ she said.

’And what do you do?’ he said.

’I eat people,’

Nicky was coming into the city centre and as he hurtled through the constellation of neon signs and streetlamps, he started to feel weak and cold.

‘I eat souls,’ said the woman. ‘Those that have wasted their life. Failed to live and taste its fruit.’

Nicky was feeling weaker and colder. And he heard a sound, a shrill high pitched thing that chilled him more and more. She was singing

He felt his life draining away and there was nothing he could do unless…

Struggling, he accelerated the car, driving at full until he crashed into shop window.

The adrenalin rush was greater than anything he’s ever felt before and the woman’s singing seemed to fade, the car getting warmer until everything faded to black.

There was the sound of a woman’s voice. Nicky opened his eyes and his heart did a Buddy Rich drum roll when he saw a woman in white next to his bed.

‘So, you’re awake, Mr Marshall,’ said the nurse. ‘You’ve had a nasty accident and a bit of a shock so take it easy for …’

Nicky almost leapt from the bed and dressed in seconds.

’I’ve had enough of taking it easy,’ he said. ‘I’m off to the pub for a triple brandy and then … I’m going to Morocco. It’s good to be alive!’

As Nicky rushed into the street, still high on life, he didn’t notice the double decker bus that ended his last rapturous moments on earth.

The end.

All yarns © Paul D. Brazill.

Guest Blog: Number Thirteen Press – The End? by Christopher Black

Christopher Black, GUEST BLOGS, Kill Me Quick!, number 13 press, Number Thirteen Press, Out Of The Gutter, Paul D Brazill

number 13 pressSo that’s it, then. Thirteen crime novellas from thirteen authors in thirteen months. Richard Godwin’s Ersatz World was the last, and Number Thirteen Press is finished.

Only, not quite. Of course there’s still the admin and the accounting and the marketing. The boring bits I’m not very good at anyway. But the publishing part is finished and it’s been one hell of a ride. Didn’t quite manage thirteen consecutive months, which I knew was an ambitious target, but had a damn good go and it’s been seat-of-the-pants stuff all along – a seemingly endless chain of literary panic. And it was fun. Lots of fun, and I got to work with thirteen fantastic authors (who were dragged deep into the panic and all responded brilliantly) and publish thirteen books that I genuinely believe in. At the start I had to choose the limits I would set in the submissions guide, and I decided to leave it as open as possible. The result was books of real variety, showcasing genuine talent across a spectrum of crime fiction that is broader than I could have imagined.

Would I do anything different, starting again? Of course I would. I went in with some design experience and some editing experience and made everything else up on the spot, so of course I made mistakes and had to work even harder as a result. Some things could have been better. But I don’t regret any of it, either. If I was starting now it would be easier for the experience, but if I waited for experience I would never have started. I jumped in to see if I could swim. Well, I ain’t drowned yet.

And that’s bring us to the real poser, the question that seemingly everyone wants the answer to: what next for Number Thirteen? Is there more? kill me quick cover

If I knew, I’d tell you. First things first, and first I’m taking a break. My own writing has taken a back seat for too long. But in the future? The publishing took up far more of my time than I could have guessed, so it’s hard to promise that sort of commitment. It certainly doesn’t pay well. A friend in the business once told me that small press publishing is about the 1 in 10: the one success that allows you to publish the other nine, and so far he’s been proved just about right (although we are batting above average). And anyway, there are more publishers filling that hole. I really believe in novellas and short novels (under 60k words) as the perfect crime/hardboiled/noir length: think They Shoot Horses Don’t They? and James M Cain. In fact, The Postman Always Rings Twice probably wouldn’t be published today, too short. When I first had the idea, there were crime short stories and flash fiction online, and crime novels that I often found 10 or 20,000 words too long, but only a couple of small presses who would consider that in between length – the novella to short novel, perfect for the contemporary ebook equivalent of the old paperback originals and an era when publishing had more ideals than business sense. Enough space to really develop the story, but shorter than demanded by the economics of legacy publishing. Short, sharp and tight, with depth but no wasted words and no padding. A lot of people really bought into the project: initial readers, reviewers, the thirteen authors, of course; but also others who weren’t connected, simply because they loved the books, the format, and the idea. But now more and more small presses are stepping in to the gap. Does the world need another Thirteen?

Then again, it really has been fun. So maybe…

But at the moment I just don’t know. A break, finish a novel or two, catch up on my own reading and viewing. And in the future, another set of 13? Or a different publishing model? Or with a partner? Or…?

I guess in six months or so we’ll see how much I miss the buzz of putting out some of the most original, intriguing, exciting and just damn brilliant crime fiction around. For the moment, excuse me while I sit back, look over those covers, re-read a few favourite chapters and enjoy what is, before I decide on what might be.

And when I’ve rested up, I might just do it all over again. Put me down for definitely, maybe.

NUMBER THIRTEEN PRESS IS HERE.

This post first appeared at Out Of The Gutter Online.

A Story For Sunday: Never One To Do Things By Half by Beau Johnson

A Story For Saturday, flash fiction, Out Of The Gutter, Paul D Brazill, The Flash Fiction Offensive

 

SNAPSHOTS AT THE FLASH FICTION OFFENSIVE‘He knows he’s fucked the moment I ask if it should be Agent Brand I call him now, or would it be better if we still went with Hank.  I tell him I can’t do Ryan though, a name I just couldn’t comprehend when I looked at his face.’

Read the rest here at The Flash Fiction Offensive.

 

Chris Black is down Brit Grit Alley

brit grit alley, number 13 press, Number Thirteen Press, Out Of The Gutter, Paul D Brazill

number 13 pressNumber Thirteen Press publisher Chris Black is down Brit Grit Alley:

Number Thirteen Press – The End? 

So that’s it, then. Thirteen crime novellas from thirteen authors in thirteen months. Richard Godwin’s Ersatz World was the last, and Number Thirteen Press is finished.

Only, not quite.’

Read the rest here.

I’m Flashing Down Brit Grit Alley

BRIT GRIT, brit grit alley, flash fiction, Needle, Out Of The Gutter, Paul D Brazill

1 1 1 1  a a a a a brit grit sidebar

In my latest Brit Grit Alley column, I’ve posted one of my earliest flash fiction yarns:

The Sharpest Tools In The Box by Paul D. Brazill

“It’s friggin obvious, Browny”, said Kenny.

Kenny Cokehead was waving his arms around like a windmill. In his hands he had
a couple of CDs that he’d found in the glove compartment of Mikey The Mechanic’s
BMW: Hot Stuff by Donna Summer and the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever.

“It stands to reason, don’t it? Look at this stuff. Clear as day. He’s an arse bandit, dinner masher …”

I zoned out. Kenny Cokehead was was really living up to his nickname; he was snotty nosed and talking ten to the dozen. Me, I was trying my hardest to concentrate on manipulating the BMW round Seatown’s darkened side streets.

This was proving to be a bit of a problem. For one thing, the car was a left hand drive – which looked very cool this side of the pond but made it pretty difficult to maneuver
– and another factor was that we didn’t want anyone to see us, so we were driving
without using the headlights.

Since most of the streetlights had been smashed out around here-and most of the terraced houses have been boarded up- I was doing about as well as Stevie Wonder.

The situation wasn’t exactly helped by the fact that my full bladder felt ready to burst. And then there was Kenny who, like most cokeheads, had got a degree in stating the friggin obvious. And repeating it ad infinitum.’

Read the rest at OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINE.

Recommended Read: Bomb! by Les Edgerton

Crime Fiction, Les Edgerton, Out Of The Gutter, Paul D Brazill, recommended reads

Bomb!2Super-smart sociopath Reader Kincaid thinks he’s worked out how to commit the perfect crime but during the set-up he kills a retired cop’s brother.

Les Edgerton’s Bomb! twists and turns as tight as a corkscrew.

With the flavor of Elmore Leonard at his peak, Bomb! is a sumptuous crime fiction feast. Rich in characterization, plot, dialogue and with a great sense of place.

Les Edgerton’s Bomb! is a crime fiction classic and well  done to Gutter Books for publishing it.

And anyone interested in the writing/ publishing game would be well advised NOT to skip the introduction.