Sunday, 31 January 2010

Der Knochen Sammler is a Knockin'

Ok, so forgive me for the yak title for this post. It's just a reminder that for any of my German readers DER KNOCHEN SAMMLER will be released in the German language tomorrow, published by Heyne. I just love the macabre cover.

A little help in the right direction

For those of you thinking of trying your hand at a Joe Hunteresque type short story for the competition, you might want to take a look over here for one such short I did a while back. Maybe some of you haven't read it yet, so have at it and enjoy.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Win a Signed 'First Edition' Hardback copy of SLASH AND BURN ***Short Story Competition

OK, so here's how you can be the lucky winner of a signed 'First Edition' hardback copy of Joe Hunter 3 - SLASH AND BURN - while exercising your imagination and writing skills.

SLASH AND BURN will be published in the UK on 1st April 2010 by Hodder and Stoughton with a cover price of £12.99. However, for your chance to get a signed and dated edition (which will make it worth more to collectors) all I want you to do is write a story in the style of a Joe Hunter thriller, with a maximum count of 2,000 words (but will consider any that are just a tad over). The reason I've set a word max is because I'm going to have to fit reading them in around my own writing, so go along with me here, please.

If you are new to Joe Hunter, go buy, borrow, or beg a copy of either Dead Men's Dust or Judgement and Wrath, but please NO shoplifting. (No purchase is necessary, but I sure would appreciate your support). Have a read and take note of the style and scenarios to get an idea of what I'm looking for, and then come up with something original but along those same lines - i.e. all-action, crime thrillers.

Please, no pastiches/fan-fiction of Joe himself, or of any other literary creation, unless of course you own the copyright.

I will read each entry and make a final judgement on MY favourite 3 stories. I will be fair and judge each story on its merits, not on the name of the submitting author. TRUST ME. I will then post all three stories here on my blog (anonymously) and at my sister blog at Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers and invite a straw poll of my readers to decide on the best of the bunch.

In the unlikely event that I recieve less than 3 entries (i.e. 2) then I'll only post 2 or...uh...1. But then that would be the winner. Come on, don't let that happen.

Closing date for entries is Friday 12th March 2010 Midnight GMT, so you'd better get a move on.

I will then post the 3 shortlisted stories and invite votes, and the closing date for votes will be on Wednesday 31st March 2010 Midnight GMT.

The winning entry will win the prize as described above.

The winner will be announced on publication day, Thursday 1st April 2010.


Your story should be embedded in the body of your mail and type the words JOE HUNTER SHORT STORY COMP in the subject line.

The author of the winning entry will be contacted to arrange delivery of the prize.

No substitute prizes or cash value will be offered.

Copyright remains the property of the author.

Open worldwide, but stories should be written in ENGLISH.

The winning judgement is final.

This is for fun, so enjoy yourselves. If you don't win, at least you'd have had a little buzz.

So, go on. Give it a blast. Literally.


* NOTE* Please do link to this blog to send your readers to the selected stories or to enter the competition.
*ANOTHER NOTE* I have made a small adjustement to the word count limit - please see above in main text.
*YET ANOTHER NOTE* The question was asked, what's the difference between a pastiche and a 'in-the-style-of' story. Well, in this case, what I meant was I don't want a load of 'Joe Hunter, 'Jack Reacher', 'Joe Pike' fan-fiction submissions. Original creations only, thanks.

Dead Men's Dust reviewed at Eurocrime

Read a review of the paperback edition of Dead men's Dust over at Eurocrime here:

My thanks to Michelle Peckham and Karen Meek

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Six Questions for...

For all the aspiring authors who visit this blog, who are currently engaged in submitting their work to publishers, magazines and webzines etc, there is a great resource over at Jim Harrington's Six Questions For...

Jim has been approaching all and sundry in the industry and has compiled a series of Q&As with those in the know. Coming up for February is this extensive list:

2/1—Six Questions for J.W. Wang, Editor, Juked

2/3—Six Questions for Wendy S. Delmater, Editor, Abyss & Apex Magazine of Speculative Fiction

2/5—Six Questions for Six Questions for Rick Rofihe, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Anderbo

2/8—Six Questions for Kaolin Fire, Founding Editor, GUD

2/10—Six Questions for Katherine A. Patterson, Senior Editor, AlienSkin Magazine

2/12—Six Questions for Six Questions for M. Bartley Seigel, editor & founder, PANK Magazine

2/15—Six Questions for , Robert Neilson, Editor, Albedo One

2/17—Six Questions for Jay Faulkner, Editor, With Painted Words

2/19—Six Questions for Camille Gooderham Campbell, Managing Editor, Every Day Fiction

2/22—Six Questions for Kimberlee Williams, Managing Editor, Vanilla Heart Publishing

2/24—Six Questions for E.S. Wynn, Editor, Weirdyear

2/26—Six Questions for Stefanie Freele, Fiction Editor, The Los Angeles Review

Also, very shortly you will find me over there too. In my guise as Co-editor of Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers I took the six questions and offered my advice. I'll post seperately when the article is up. In the meantime, you will find much of interest and use over at:

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

CRIMEFACTORY is open for business

New magazine CRIMEFACTORY is open for business...

This should be a regular haunt of anyone who loves crime fiction.

Go there and roll up your sleeves for action:

We all owe Mr Parker

I was saddened to hear of the death of SPENSER: FOR HIRE creator and author Robert B. Parker, 77, last week. As expected the crimefiction scene has been awash with tributes for the great man, one of which I - along with dozens of parker's professional colleagues, friends and critics - was asked to contribute to by Rap Sheet Contributor, Cameron Hughes.

Part one of this tribute can be found here, while part two including my own tiny tribute to the great writer can be found here.

Monday, 25 January 2010

JAW at Col Bury's New Crime Fiction

Click the title above to read an honest and heartfelt review of Judgement and Wrath over at Col Bury's New Crime Ficton.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Alternative covers for your delectation

These are just some alternative covers of my books coming out in the next few months:

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


When writing the adventures of Joe Hunter I often stop and ask myself an important question: Is this believable?

Then I ask myself a second question: Does it really matter?

In truth I don't know the answer to either question and ordinarily I push them to the back of my mind and forge on.

A crime thriller needs to be larger than life for it to succeed. Therefore; is it not important that the heroics supercede that possible by 'ordinary' human beings?

I don't ever intend to step into 007 country, but I do want the Joe Hunter thrillers to be full of blistering action sequences, but with enough realism that the action is seen for what it really is i.e. down and dirty, gritty and violent, just like the real thing. However, I don't want the books to fall into the realms of fantasy either, so I always try to temper the heroics with a little pathos and a 'what if' mentaility. In real life 'Murphy's Law' can affect even the most capable of heroes (whatever that may be) and I like to throw a little of this into my Joe Hunter books.

Some critics have described Joe Hunter's adventures as being 'comic book' or 'cinematic' and I'll grab either description with both hands and hold on tight. It's no secret that what I intend to write is supposed to be taken with a grain of salt, and that I expect some level of suspension of disbelief from my readers, otherwise where would the thrills come from?

Real life can be thrilling at times - ask any cop, firefighter, soldier etc - but that's only for about 1 per cent of the time. A thriller book with only 1 per cent thrills would be boooorrrrriiiiinnnnggggg.....
So, when I write a Joe Hunter book, I'm always asking myself, what happens next? How can I make it even faster? How can I make it more exciting? If this means amping things up beyond the norm, then that's what I'll do. OK, so in the real world, a guy with a handgun going into a factory full of bad guys with  machineguns would be a real error of judgement, but, hey, who wants to read about some sensible dude waiting outside for the all clear before sneaking inside?

Suspension of disbelief isn't a phrase particular to the crime thriller genre. Horror, fantasy, Sci-Fi and all the other speculative fiction styles are a given where we have to turn off our believability chip, but take any work of fiction and the same could be said of them too. Romance novels are full of 'true love winning through', in straight crime fiction the detective or P.I. always gets their man, in Westerns the good guy always wears a white hat and is the quickest draw this side of the Rio Grande (I know I'm talking cliches and pigeon-holing genres, but just to get a point across). People accept these exaggerations of reality without question, but when it comes to thrillers there's always the tendency to go 'Oh, it was kind of over the top, though, wasn't it?'

The way I see it, the crime thriller is the equivalent of the Summer Blockbuster Movie, and has to be slightly over the top to make an impact. So, if you think that Joe Hunter's adventures are mildly implausible, well, OK, cause they have to be to stand out.

This is just me maundering on...but I'd like to hear my readers' take on the subject. What do you think? Are you prepared to suspend your disbelief for the sake of a good ol' entertaining story?

Answers on a fifty pound note, a blank cheque....or if you really must in the comments section below.

Monday, 18 January 2010

One Year Old Today - Happy Birthday TKnC!

Unbelievable as it might seem my sister blog THRILLERS, KILLERS ‘N’ CHILLERS is one year old today.

What started off as a simple plan has turned into something far more successful than ever I intended or expected. When I set up the site, my intention was to allow like-minded writers to share their short stories and flash fiction in the different genres of crime, horror, noir and thrillers, and to solicit feedback and support from their peers. This was achieved very early on, and from there the site grew to be a regular haunt for readers and writers from all corners of the globe. What became apparent to me was the wealth of talent out there, writers who should have their own publishing deals, and in some ways I want to think that I’ve helped them build their ‘platforms’ and to attract new readers they otherwise wouldn’t have connected with.

In truth, I thought the site would be the domain of only a handful of writers, as it was in its first month or two, and it has surprised me how many – and how talented – authors have flocked to support the site. In the past year we’ve featured more than two hundred original stories that have given many hours of entertainment to not only me but the readers at the site. It quickly became apparent to me that I couldn’t handle the site alone. I’m a full time writer with deadlines to hit and a book every six months to produce. I’m not saying that to sound like I’m whingeing, only to show my appreciation to Col Bury, who came on-board early on as co-editor. Without Col, this site wouldn’t be anywhere near as successful as it has turned out. Thank you Col.

But Col and I can’t take all the accolades. The success of the site is down to our contributors, our readers, our supporters. The high consistency of quality is down to the strength of the writing – OK, there has been the occasional story that maybe hasn’t been as good as it should be for publication, but they’ve been very few and far between – and that’s down to the contributors; Col and I just post them. So, to everyone who has had their work featured there, thank you.

TKnC has been nominated for awards, some of our contributors have also had their work mentioned at other blogs and webzines, an agent has been scouring the site and offering to read work by certain individuals, a teacher out in Australia advocated the site’s merits to his creative writing students and most recently TKnC has been nominated for an award in a readers poll (more on this at a later date). There have been times when I’ve wondered about the kind of beast I’d unleashed on the world, and how much time it takes me and Col away from our own writing. The ups have far outweighed the downs, though, and I foresee many more ups in the future.

There are many great sites out there and you know who you are. But there’s something that’s pretty unique about TKnC. It mixes genres. It has horror writers rubbing shoulders with crime authors. Thriller writers stand alongside noir writers. The walls that were once set between genres have crumbled, and we’ve all seen that really, all the work fits into quite a neat little bundle. It’s not the story but the voice that defines the genre. Maybe publishers will begin to recognise this in future, and the doors will be open to all genres without any of the associated hang-ups.

Let’s hope so.

Thrills, kills, and chills, that’s what we want to get from our writing, regardless of what school of writing any of us come from. TKnC has shown the way. Not bad for a one year old, I reckon.

This blog (with slight changes) originally appeared over on TKnC, but I thought it something that should be shared with my readers here, too.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

What's in a name?

Yesterday, I returned home to find a package containing some advance copies of my first book from Heyne (Verlagsgruppe Random House Germany) titled Der Knochen Sammler - The Bone Collector -which has been translated from the original DMD by Imke Walsh-Araya (I think) and have to admit to sitting down and having a flick through, even though I speak as much German as I do Klingon, which isn't a lot believe me. I was interested to see how Rink's colourful language translated and just what 'frog-giggin' mutha******s' would look like in the German language.

The book is due on the shelves mid-February.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Joe Hunter's punch 'em up

OK, all of you that have spent many hours playing on Joe Hunter's Shoot 'Em Up game will be please to hear that the second installment of the game has been added to the website at Joe Hunter Vigilante dot com.

Like Rock'Em Sock 'Em Robots, this Punch 'Em Up is even more addictive than the first game.

It's simple, ctrl and arrows work everything (have a look at the instructions before starting), then enjoy here:

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Call for your support

As most regulars here know, I was writing in solitude for a number of years and being a bit of a Luddite (and Skint to boot) I didn't have access to the web and all its wonderful tools. Thus said, I was a late comer to the world of blogging and E-zines. When I got my publishing deal, many aspiring authors got in touch to give me their best wishes and also to ask me for advice and my opinion on their writing. Wanting to pay forward some of my good fortune, I decided to set up a blog-site where writers of horror, crime, noir, mysteries and thrillers could share their work with like-minded readers/writers to get feedback and support. From that idea, grew THRILLERS, KILLERS 'N' CHILLERS, which has become a very popular venue for said people. Such that it's now more popular than my own blog!

Col Bury, an aspiring author from the UK has helped me with the site almost from its inception, and we now up-keep the site between us.

Saying all that, it's time for voting for the Editors and Predators E-zine Awards. If you think that Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers is worthy of a vote then you can do so here:

Please follow the instructions to log your vote on-line. The voting runs until 14th January so not much time left. Although you are asked to leave your email address, there will be no SPAM. This is for the purpose of ensuring that votes (multiple votes) aren't weighted in anyones favour, and all email addresses will be deleted once the voting is done (the instructions state this).

By the way, if you haven't visited TKnC take a look here:


Thursday, 7 January 2010

CRIMEFEST 2010 is coming.

We're already into the new year and hotting up for another year of writing, writing and more writing, as well as setting off on the publicity trail. One of the events I'm looking forward to is the next CRIMEFEST which is taking place in Bristol Thursday 20th until Sunday 23rd May. I've just added a link to Crimefest 2010 in the sidebar to make it easy for anyone considering attending.

For all you aspiring crime novelists out there who are at that point where they are thinking of approaching an agent, then take a look at the PITCH AN AGENT session on Thursday 20th May. It's like a 10 minute speed-dating session with a top agent where you get the opportunity to 'display your wares' and hopefully interest them enough to pick you up. It's maybe an opportunity you would otherwise miss if sending out the standard enquiry letter.

Joe Hunter hits Malaysia (but thankfully there's no damage)

I was exstatic to read this review of Judgement and Wrath from Sharon Wong, a reporter at THE SUN DAILY a newspaper out in Malaysia.

Sharon - amongst other things says: "Judgement & Wrath is absolutely gripping stuff and what I would call a true thriller."

The Mistress of Murder

Since I got 'the deal' I've had the great fortune of meeting many writers who I have admired for years and who have been very kind and forthcoming in 'showing me the ropes'. It has come to my notice that the crime writers of the world are a solid bunch who are easy going, open and willing to help each other out. One such writer is Sheila Quigley, author of the Seahills series of gritty northern crime books, the most recent of which is THE ROAD TO HELL. Sheila is not only a great writer, she's also a lovely woman with the most infectious laughter you could ever hear. Any way, paying forward the help and advice that Sheila has given me, I'd like to share Sheila's story with my readers. I think - especially if you are an aspiring writer - you can see that adversity isn't something that should hold you back. I think you'll find Sheila's tale inspirational. Follow the link above to read a piece about her in the Sunderland Echo.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Mysteries Vs Thrillers

While I was in New York last July for Thrillerfest, I joined a host of other top authors including Andrew Gross and Peter DeJong to debate the differences between mystery and thriller books. Here is a compendium of some of the authors (including me) giving our take on that age old debate.  Just click here