Sunday, March 25, 2007

Murdaland Hits Australia

It's been a while since I've attached a book to my face and affected a cheesy, noirish stare. So when my first copy of Murdaland showed up on the great shore of Terra Australis, I figured the time had come again. And it was a great excuse to improve my Photoshop skillz.

The book itself is beautifully designed, complete with a satiny matt feel that my grubby hands love running over. I'm such a sucker for a good cover. To tell you the truth, I haven't even read a word of it yet, just skimmed through to get a feel for it. I want to devote my complete attention to Murdaland's first issue (right now that's taken up by Ray Banks' SATURDAY'S CHILD), because it's the type of crime fiction that excites me. And I may be the only one in Australia with a copy, so it feels somewhat exclusive.

It amazes me that what is supposed to be a magazine is, in reality, a book. A whole goddamned book of short crime fiction. And they're going to do it twice a year. I'm really looking forward to more issues, and I may just make it my personal mission in life to get one of my stories in there.

Monday, March 19, 2007

What Do I Read?

After all that huge-in-your-face-logo-talkin-like-I'm-never-gonna-post-here-again, Marshal Zeringue over at Writers Read (of course they do!) has posted a little ditty on, well, What I Read.

Also up on the site are a few names that might be familiar to my irregular readers: Libby Fischer Hellmann, Kevin Guilfoile, and Paul Guyot.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Where Am I?

If I'm not posting a lot over here, there's a good reason for it. At least for now, and quite possibly for the next few weeks, I'm spending all my internet time over here:


Monday, March 12, 2007

Ken Bruen Appreciation Day

The word had passed around on various forums and blogs, and the word had said that Ken Bruen was the crime writer to be reading. I was but a wide-eyed cadet in the world of crime fiction, so I kept at least one of those wide eyes on the lookout for Bruen novels.

Couldn't find one.

What was up? If this guy was so crash hot, why weren't his novels in Borders or Dymocks or Kinokuniya? The conundrum stumped me for a couple of weeks, until I figured out that all these stores only kept the latest novels on their shelves, at least when it came to the good stuff, the stuff that not absolutely everyone that had read THE DA VINCI CODE knew about.

Then I stumbled upon Abbey's.

Hidden in the heart of the city of Sydney, tucked in a street behind the Queen Victoria Building, Abbey's was a bookstore that specialised in language books or history or non-fiction. But not crime. Turned out I was dead wrong. They had it all.

First thing I did was look into this Bruen bloke. Got hold of a copy of THE GUARDS. Grabbed a Willeford too, something about custard and sharks. Took the books home, had trouble tossing up between the two. Something about the idea of custard and sharks was immensely appealing. But I opened up THE GUARDS and flicked through the publishing credits and such. Then I read the first page.

I was hooked.

But that thing that he did with the one word paragraphs was gimmicky.



Still, the rhythm of the writing was pure, flowing like nectar across my eyes. I was pulled into Jack Taylor's world, and I was pulled in deep. There in the bar next to him, I smelled the decade's old stains of smoke, booze, vomit. I felt his stress, wanted a release myself. Wouldn't have minded to have a drink and then just keep going till I hit oblivion.

I had to pull out. Pull back from his world. In time, I finished the book. Just took it slower than before. Bruen's words were an aged liquor that needed to be savoured, not devoured in one sitting with a splash of Coke.

But something about the book bugged me. Maybe it reminded me too much of the times I had to drag my dad out of the pub, when I should have been at home watching The Greatest American Hero or The A-Team. Yeah, I think that was it. But it wasn't long before I felt the taste for more. Went back to Abbey's, hands shaking, eyes darting. My addiction was writ huge across my face. Grabbed a copy of THE KILLING OF THE TINKERS.

This book was different.

Same rhythms, same paragraphs, but now it felt right. Like I was meant to be doing it all along, reading books like this. Bruen had me programmed now. Brainwashed. And I loved it.

Now I've read THE MAGDALEN MARTYRS and RILKE ON BLACK. Got copies of BUST and HER LAST CALL TO LOUIS MACNEICE in waiting, and I'm itching to get my grubby hands on THE DRAMATIST. I hear it's even better than THE KILLING OF THE TINKERS. And don't get me started on THE PRIEST or AMERICAN SKIN. I have to drag this stuff out. If I don't, I'll be left with nothing.

What'll I do then?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Crimespace Goes Live

Eight days ago I read an article in the local paper that talked about 'DIY social networking', mentioning a new service called Ning. Having been both fascinated and repulsed by Myspace, I was intrigued. What unites people on the internet are their common interests, so the idea of having a social network dedicated to a single theme sounded very appealing to me.

I tapped into "that nebulous part of the universe where all the real ideas are," pulling the word 'Crimespace' out with me. Seemed like a good idea, a name that can describe the site in one word, dragging along the entire world's knowledge of Myspace to do so.

After playing around with Crimespace for a couple of days, getting familiar with the tools, and making it pretty, I thought, hey, I'll email a few friends. That turned into a few more, they invited some friends of their own, I got excited and started asking various bloggers and crime fiction news sites to spread the word and, after only six days, membership has already shot past the 60 mark.

What am I talking about, you say? Here's the blurb:

Crimespace: A place for crime fiction writers, readers and lovers to schmooze, booze and draw up plans for the heist to end all heists. Find new authors to delve into and discuss the latest in crime fiction. Join up and enter the forums. Share photos, videos and make some friends. Pull up a chair at the bar and share your poison.

I'm really excited about Crimespace. If I'd thought about it some more before I went ahead and started, I might have chickened out. Instead, I've decided not to be half-arsed about it. I'm making a concerted effort to spread the word. Both Spinetingler and Crimespree will be running news items soon, and a few blogs have joined the fray, among them, Murderati.

Feel free to spread the word yourselves. I really want to make this place into a virtual bar where readers and writers can hang out together and make crime fiction bigger, better and badder than it already is.

If anyone wants a press release and logo to promote the place, feel free to contact me. It's easy. Just move the mouse up. A little more to the right ... up ... that's it.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Blog Short Story Project III: DUMPED

power / on
menu / address book
scroll / Mike
write new / text

u up?
4 real?
how r u?
n e news?
she ok?
wot u think?

menu / address book
scroll / Jenny
write new / text

u up?
yeah cant sleep
she'll make it
cant walk tho
shit. sorry.
not ur fault

menu / address book
scroll / Leanne
write new / text

u hear?
yup. mike tol me.
well what?
when do we ... u know?
not yet
u didnt do her
i did!!!
she can dob
she can't walk
she can still blog
fuk u
no pussy 4u!

menu / address book
scroll / Jenny
scroll / Mike
scroll / Jenny

somethin 2 tell u
i know who did it
what?! who?
not sure i should tell
no way
her dad's car
call the cops!
can u? bcause...

scroll / Leanne

it's over
fuk u

power / off

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Buddha The Thug

It was many moons ago when I read the book Destructive Emotions, a series of talks between the Dalai Lama and a collection of Western philosophers, psychologists and neuro-scientists. Within its pages lay a simple paragraph that sparked off a story, BUDDHA BEHIND BARS, which is now finally seeing the light of the prison day, over at Thuglit, Issue 13. Also be sure to read the other most excellent and hard stories by Anthony Neil Smith, David C. Daniel, Alejandro Pena, and D. T. Kelly.

If you don't already know it, Thuglit's a brilliant, hard-as-diamond-tipped-nails monthly emagazine filled to the rotten core with short stories that your mother would never let you read. Definitely worth a visit.