Brit Grit Alley

I had a guest column published today at Brit Grit Alley, over at Out Of The Gutter Online, link’s below if you wanna check it out:

It was something I was very excited to do when Paul Brazill contacted asking if I wanted to. I’ve always read the Brit Grit Alley. Back when I was first getting started, looking to make some kind of impact in writing, I’d wonder if the day would come I’d ever get the opportunity of my own to do a guest column, and here it is. I’m pleased to say that this is another goal accomplished.

The article is basically a brief history of my writing career to date, as well as what inspires me and what motivates me to keep going. Check it out, and I hope you enjoy it!



Reading List 2016

2016 was the first time I kept track of what I read throughout the year. I’m a fairly slow reader, but I think I got through a respectable amount. I intend to actually read less in 2017, for the simple reason that I intent to WRITE more. Already on my breaks at work, which was when I used to do most of my reading, I’ve taken to jotting in my notebook – a combination of ideas and short stories. My goal, and it’s the most important goal, is always writing. There’s a lot of great books I own and want to read, I’m desperate to read them, but I’ll just have to try and squeeze them in when and if I can. As an alternative, I plan to read a lot more short stories this year – Raymond Carver, Amy Hempel, John Cheever, Chekhov – so I’m quite excited about that.

Anyway, without any further ado, here’s the list of books, kid’s books, biographies and comics I read in 2016, in chronological order:

  1. The Demon – Hubert Selby Jr
  2. Wrestling’s 101 Strangest Matches – Oliver Hurley
  3. A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
  4. Red Riding: 1974 – David Peace
  5. Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said – Philip K Dick
  6. The Digger’s Game – George V Higgins
  7. The Knockout Artist – Harry Crews
  8. Sarah – JT Leroy
  9. Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl
  10. Two For Texas – James Lee Burke
  11. The Gunslinger – Stephen King
  12. The Walking Dead vol 15 – Robert Kirkman
  13. As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
  14. The Hilliker Curse – James Ellroy
  15. Music For Chameleons – Truman Capote
  16. James And The Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
  17. The Devil All The Time – Donald Ray Pollock
  18. Ridgerunner – Rusty Barnes
  19. Y: The Last Man Compendium Book One – Brian K Vaughan
  20. Y: The Last Man Compendium Book Two – Brian K Vaughan
  21. Almost Transparent Blue – Ryu Murakami
  22. The Cartel – Don Winslow
  23. Savage Season – Joe R Lansdale
  24. Child Of God – Cormac McCarthy
  25. Saga Book 6 – Brian K Vaughan
  26. Miracleman: The Golden Age – Neil Gaiman
  27. The Autobiography Of Malcolm X – Malcolm X
  28. Hell’s Angels – Hunter S Thompson
  29. Bright Lights, Big City – Jay McInerney
  30. Philosophy In The Boudoir – Marquis De Sade
  31. Ghost Story – Peter Straub
  32. The Bandido Massacre – Peter Edwards
  33. A Spy In The House Of Love – Anais Nin

Currently in progress and making the transition into 2017 are Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens, and The Secret History Of Twin Peaks – Mark Frost.

Like I said, I’m a slow reader, but it’s certainly been a case of quality over quantity. The list doesn’t include any of my own stuff that I’ve read/proof-read, nor the numerous short stories I’ve read in a variety of websites and magazines.

To appease any further curiosity anyone may have, the standouts of the year were The Devil All The Time by Donald Ray Pollock, The Knockout Artist by Harry Crews, As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, and A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James. By virtue of comics being a quicker and easier read, it looks like Brian K Vaughan has been my most read writer, with both Y: The Last Man and Saga (I fucking love Saga, and if you haven’t checked it out you really should).

As for the best?


The Cartel, by Don Winslow. I read it in early summer, I’m still thinking about it now. It kept me up loooong into the night. I was reading it when I should have been writing. Perhaps it’s just because I read it more recently, but I think it was even better than its predecessor, The Power Of The Dog.

Anyway, that was my reading year. Now, back to the writing.



Year In Review 2016

It feels strange to write a year in review for 2016. I haven’t written many blogs this year, I think one of the few I did do was the year in review for 2015. I won’t claim I’ll try and blog more in 2015 because I know I won’t. I kept busy over the last twelve months, and I intend to keep as busy, or hopefully busier, in the twelve to come.

So. What have I been up to?

Well, writing-wise, and I’m only ever here to talk about writing, I’d say it’s been my best year yet. I had more short stories published in 2016 than ever before in some great publications, some new and some established – Crime Syndicate, Spelk, Near to the Knuckle etc.

Speaking of Near to the Knuckle, here’s the biggest news. My novella An Eye For An Eye, the first novella I haven’t published myself, was released by Near To The Knuckle as part of their Knuckle Cracking Novellas range.

For 2017, I intend to stay as busy. Hopefully I’ll find success with it, I’ve been pretty fortunate so far! My novel Fatboy will be released by renowned American publisher All Due Respect round May time so that’s something to look forward to, but there’s plenty to be getting on with in the meantime.

Back to work I get, these stories aren’t gonna write themselves, and I’ve got a lot planned. As Bob Dylan said, ‘I got a head full of ideas that are driving me insane’.



An Eye For An Eye Theme

Since the publication of An Eye For An Eye, every time I’ve thought of the title there’s been this guttural, growling voice at the back of my head shouting it back at me. Then I remembered – the song!

In my metalhead youth, I used to listen to Soulfly a HELL of a lot. Max Cavalera’s project after departing the seminal Sepultura, they were one of my favourite bands. Obviously, with ‘Eye For An Eye’ the song stuck in my head, I’ve been listening to it a lot again recently. It’s a part of me now, it’s stuck in there for the foreseeable. There are worse songs out there, so I don’t mind.

I hear this now, and it’s the soundtrack to the movie playing in my head, Graeme Taylor and ‘Tracksuit’ Tony Gordon tearing up the streets of Newcastle in their car, on the hunt for the hapless Daniel Moore. Yup, it’s a loud, aggressive, frenetic visual, much like the story itself!

If you haven’t already, please click the link below and, if it’s within your price range and you’re in possession of a Kindle or, like myself, a Kindle app, check it out. I won’t guarantee you’ll like it because chances are I don’t know you and I don’t know your tastes, but if you like tales that are fast-paced, violent, and full of swears (because swearing is cool, amiright??), then chances are pretty good you’ll find something to enjoy! And if my hard sell here has persuaded you, please spare me a little extra of your time and be sure to leave a review!





An Eye For An Eye

Once again, it’s been a while since I last updated, but I’ve been super-duper busy. Been working hard towards the goals I set for myself, and here’s some of the evidence of that:

My novella, ‘An Eye For An Eye’, is available now on Amazon for Kindle as part of Near To The Knuckle’s Knuckle Cracking Novellas line!

Coming in at just under 28,000 words, it’s a fast, bloody, and frequently violent read with lots of big boy language and the kind of characters you’d really like to spend a quiet Sunday afternoon with. Or not.

Speaking of the characters, most of them have appeared once before in my short story ‘The Straightener’, which was published at the Near To The Knuckle website back in November. So if you haven’t read that before, or if you have and you’re looking to reacquaint yourself with the characters, here’s the link:

It’s not vital to have read before ‘An Eye For An Eye’, but it is referenced and does give some background. Anyway, here’s the blurb!

‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

When it comes to Neil Doyle’s daughter, Gandhi had no idea.

An accident leaves Jasmine Doyle permanently disfigured, and the patriarch of one of Newcastle’s crime families goes on the warpath to find the perpetrator. He doesn’t care who gets in his way, or what he has to do to them, to get his hands on the man responsible.

Graeme Taylor and ‘Tracksuit’ Tony Gordon find themselves dragged into this brutal quest for vengeance, pushed physically and mentally to the breaking point by all that they see, and all that they are forced to do.

By the end, the streets will run with blood, and no one walks away unscarred.’

Hopefully that’s tickled your collective fancies, and if so the links for purchasing are provided below!

In the US:…/…/B01IUDJBQ2/ref=sr_1_1…

And in the UK:


February Update

Tomorrow is the twenty-ninth, the leap year is almost upon us, and I realised I hadn’t updated here in a very, VERY long time. New Year’s Eve, I think.

I remember where I was four years ago on the last leap year. I went to see Rammstein play at the Metro arena in Newcastle. It was a fantastic gig, probably one of, if not THE best I’ve ever been to. Their stage show was amazing, everything about them was electric from their entrance to their exit.

Anyway. What’s new? What have I been up to?

Well, writing still, as always. I’m reviewing CD’s on a regular basis for R2 magazine now, and the perk of this is that I get to go to a gig for free sometimes, like a couple of weeks ago when I saw the fucking awesomely talented John Grant at the Sage in Gateshead. The month before that, in January, on the day of David Bowie’s death, coincidentally, I was lucky enough to catch Henry Rollins on his latest spoken word tour, though I wasn’t reviewing this and I didn’t get in for free haha. He was at the Tyneside Theatre and Opera House in Newcastle, he spoke at length for three hours. Rollins is an incredibly interesting man, and very funny, and I enjoyed seeing him a great deal, it was totally worth the numb backside I had by the end of it from sitting through a very small and uncomfortable chair. Seeing him was a big deal for me though, as, and I know this will sound pretentious, Henry Rollins is a man I identify with a great deal. Every time I watch his videos on YouTube, hear him talk, my head is just nodding along in agreement with practically every sentence.

Okay, so, writing! This year I hit a benchmark with my thirtieth short story seeing print, online at a sweet site called Fried Chicken and Coffee, the tale was called ‘The Gun At The End Of The Night’, and was my attempt at writing a Harry Crews story. I might not have succeeded in that goal, but shit if I wrote a Paul Heatley story then I’m pretty happy with that, too.

Other stories that have seen publication thus far this year, both online and in print, included ‘God May Forgive You’ in issue one of Crime Syndicate, ‘Big Ben’ in issue one of Dead Guns Magazine, and ‘Lady’s Choice’ over at Spelk. There are more in the pipeline, and hopefully more beyond that, and I’m working hard on some other stuff so fingers crossed I’ll have bigger news. Gotta keep striving for bigger and better, gotta keep moving on! I work hard, I enjoy working hard, and I enjoy seeing the fruits of these labours just as much, if not more so.

There are two quotes I keep coming back to lately, one I read just yesterday and has been running through my head ever since. It comes from Malcolm X, he said ‘The future belong to those that plan for it today.’ The other is from body builder Mike Mentzer, and I’m going to paraphrase it as it was quite a long passage in his book on high-intensity training. It went ‘If you look at those at the top of any profession, you will invariably find they got there through wanting it the most.’ I guess they’re sticking with me because they’re both about hard work, and when I feel like slacking off I give myself a slap and repeat them to myself and get back to work. All this work I’ve set for myself, ain’t no one else gonna do it for me.

So one more, that’s been particularly relevant to me lately, in what has, personally, been a pretty shitty 2016 so far, and I believe it was said by Winston Churchill, but I know it best from Sage Francis’ ‘Vonnegut Busy’: ‘When it feels like you’re going through Hell, keep going.’

I’m gonna close with some shameless self promotion; below are the links to my six novellas, The Motel Whore, The Vampire, The Boy, The Mess, The Pitbull, and Three. In case you’re curious, those first three make up a very loose trilogy. All are available for the Kindle from Amazon, and that’s what I’ll be linking to below.