Blog on the Bus pt 61 (in the shadows, does that make me the new Hank Marvin?)

Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once…

You find me dear reader, on this chilly Tuesday, hiding in a dark cupboard under a staircase. I’m not pretending to be Harry Potter, I’m keeping what we in the criminal-underworld refer to as “a low profile”. For those of you who caught my last blog some 14 long days ago (read it here if you missed it), you will know that there is a lot of political pressure on my shoulders. The local council are labelling me as public enemy number one or “PEN-1” (a rather ironic nickname for a writer I’m sure you’ll agree) as they hold me personally responsible for a dip in the year’s tourism. They seem oblivious to the financial slump the country is in!

Anyway, since we last spoke I’ve been ducking down in dark ditches, hiding in hollow holes and cowering in cold corners, doing anything I can to keep out of sight. I’ve even gone so far as to temporarily move in with my in-laws (safest place to hide, I mean, who in their right mind would voluntarily move in with their in-laws; they’ll never find me!) they are after me, I tell you, after me! The reason: my novels paint a vivid image of Southampton as a violent and unsavoury city.

They’re right of course: I’m guilty of the crimes I’m charged with. That doesn’t mean I want to be publicly flogged in the streets like a nineteenth century urchin. Imagine the humiliation!

So worried am I about the long arm of the law that I’ve bought a new house! Well, let me rephrase, I’ve bought a shell building that I’ve spent the last two weeks painting, priming, plastering and picking carpets. It’s been hard work! Hopefully it might even resemble an adequate living space by the weekend.

I was building a flat pack table on Sunday night and it struck me how so many small and insignificant parts, when carefully constructed, can form such a practical and solid solution.

“If only writing were so easy,” I said to myself and then realised I must be mad for talking to myself!

And then I realised: writing can be that easy!

Imagine taking 8 or 9 well-written short stories by vibrant, yet different, authors. On their own these stories are small and insignificant, yet when they are brought together, and glued in place by the wonder of digital means, they form a masterpiece.

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Introducing ‘Death Toll 2’ (from the authors who brought you ‘Death Toll’).

The new anthology will be out on Kindle on Friday 01 November featuring stories from Stephen Leather, Alex Shaw, Liam Saville, Matt Hilton, Harlan Wolff, José Bogran, Milton Gray, Scott Lewis and some author formerly known as Stephen Edger (he’s quite good, according to the council in Southampton).

All those stories from that fabulous fiction fraternity make this an anthology not to miss. We’ve even sent the links to Saint Nick so you can add it to your Christmas list without fear of the Elves misunderstanding what you have requested.

Do you hear that knocking? I think I might have been rumbled. I need to go. If you don’t hear from me again, order ‘Death Toll 2’ as it might be my last work…

Happy reading, Stephen.

(Stephen is the author of Integration, Remorse, Redemption, Snatched and Shadow Line. Find his work here, here or via stephenedger.com)

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Blog on the Bus pt 60 (infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me!)

Dear Bus Blogger, I am in a state of panic as my trembling fingers tap the screen of my iPhone. I received a letter today and the news…well, let’s just say…it’s not good!

I’m not dying, before you ask (I hope at least one of you asked!).

It’s worse…

It appears I (well, more accurately, my books) am being held accountable for the dip in tourism in Southampton!

I know, right? Unbelievable!

“Your stories, whilst thrilling and a bargain of a price (their words, not mine you understand) are painting Southampton as a city wracked with guns, crime and murder. So vivid and realistic are your stories (again, I’m quoting from the letter) that those reading them are being put off visiting the city. We politely request you start writing about somewhere where the crimes you describe actually exist. We suggest Portsmouth.”

You can understand my concern, dear reader. It is true that the stories I write are full of crime and thrills; for that I am guilty. But driving away would-be tourists, surely they realise I’m writing fiction!

To be honest, I’m an incy bit proud to be held in such high regard but I don’t want to end up in court for being born with an overactive imagination! I don’t think I’d last in prison…not with my boyish good looks (hey, stop laughing!)

So, dear reader, to keep the wolves from my back I’ve decided to do some positive publicity on behalf of the city where I live:

Southampton is a lovely place to visit. There is absolutely NO crime at all!

There. I’ve done it! In all honesty, Southampton (which has been my adopted home since 2000) is a lovely city and, if you’ve never been, I strongly recommend you come and visit it some day soon.

If, however, you’re looking for a city with a hidden criminal underbelly, where menaces lurk around every corner, then may I recommend you take a look at my novels (links are below as usual).

I better go. The bus is about to reach its destination and I can see blue flashing lights ahead of me. If you don’t hear from me again, it means I didn’t make it (probably my own fault for using a milk float as a getaway vehicle).

Until the next time, happy reading!

From the author formally known as Stephen.

(Stephen is the author of Integration, Remorse, Redemption, Snatched and Shadow Line. Find his work here, here or via stephenedger.com)

Blog on the Bus pt 59 (are the best things in life worth waiting for?)

Good day to you dear bus blog follower. Thank you for stopping by on this eerily misty October morning. The bus is decidedly full this morning but that’s always the way when it’s late. Sometimes I wonder why I wait…

Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to wait for things?

Imagine a world where all buses ran on time…all trains had a spare seat just for you…where you walk up to a bar and the drinks are already poured for you…just imagine (not you, Mr Bus Driver, just concentrate on the road! Phew, that was a close one!)

Believe it or not (those that know me will), I’m not a very patient man; it’s not one of my virtues. So when I’m forced to wait for something, I become…what’s the best word…angry (=impatient with attitude). I can’t help it: I’m programmed to behave this way.

I was the same as a child: I hated waiting for Christmas and birthdays (many a time I was disciplined for pre-present hunts!)

So when I’m forced to wait for things, I become stressed, tetchy, aggravated and unreasonable.

You can imagine, therefore, how I’m feeling at the moment: waiting for the purchase of a new house to complete. It’s strength-sapping and, I’m sure anyone who’s been in this boat before will know, there are no quick answers. We placed an offer on said property in July and here we are, 3-months later, no closer to moving in. Everything is signed at our end and monies have been transferred to our solicitors so why pray tell are we still sat around twiddling our thumbs? Your guess is as good as mine…

What’s worse is I cannot concentrate on writing, so if you’d like to read something new of mine in future, I implore you to pray to whatever force you follow that my waiting will soon be over…

Until the next time, happy reading,

Stephen

(Stephen is the author of Integration, Remorse, Redemption, Snatched and Shadow Line. Find his work here, here or via stephenedger.com)

Blog on theBus pt 58 (what makes a good book?)

Good day bus bloggers and train tattlers (you may define your own category), I hope your journey to work is passing slowly enough that you’ll have time to finish this post before you reach the gates of purgatory (or work, whichever comes first).

What makes a good book?

Not such an easy question when you really think about it; and I really want you to think about it. Ultimately, we’re all different (even twins like different stories) and all enjoy different stories. So how can one define what a good story is?

Impossible, right?

Well, if that’s true, how come your Rowlings, Browns and Pattersons make so much money from their manipulation of words? If we really are all different and like different stories, what makes one more popular than another?

Let’s take a step back: it’s far too early in the day to start consulting psychology reference books.

Let’s look at you.

You’re sat / stood / lying down (delete as appropriate) reading this post. You’re an individual: You work (or not), you earn money (or not), you read books (or not) and you read this blog (though I’ve no idea why!!!). You’re an individual, right?

And presumably you read (that or you really have stumbled to the wrong site!). So what do you think makes a good book?

I really want to know.

For me, a good book is one that I don’t want to stop reading. I enjoy a book that compels me to keep turning the pages even when I know it’s late and I should go to sleep. I enjoy reading crime thrillers (hence why I write in this genre).

I don’t like too many characters. I absolutely loved Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code but was less keen on his Inferno. Though both were great books, there was something about the first that I enjoyed more than the second.

But what was it?

I’m not smart enough to figure it out.

But youYou… You seem to like my stories. But why?

What is it that you have enjoyed?

I need to know. If I know what my audience enjoy I’ll be able to write it.

So, this message goes out to you. You. You!

What makes a good book to you?

Answers on a postcard to the usual address (or via email if you prefer) please.

Until the next time, happy reading,

Stephen

(Stephen is the author of Integration, Remorse, Redemption, Snatched and Shadow Line. Find his work here, here or via stephenedger.com)