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


Blog on the Bus / Train pt 42 (break the shy habit)

Good morning to those regular bus riders and welcome to those who are embarking on their first journey. Today is a somewhat different ride to the usual ‘X4’ as today we find ourselves aboard a train heading for the bright and dizzying lights of ‘Lundun-tan’ (see I can even speak like a local). Why, I hear you clamour, well I’m on my way to meet some very important people to discuss a new project.

As I look around this carriage at the various suited travellers I’m struck by how similar they all look to the usual troop I see on the bus each morning. Each suit has his head down studying either a mobile (as indeed I am), a newspaper, a Kindle or a book. The important point to notice is that nobody is interacting with anybody else. Could it be that they are all suffering with laryngitis? I doubt it very much. So why do they sit there ignoring one another? It’s incredibly bad mannered when you think about it. Imagine if all life was like that? The trees not talking to the birds, the bees ignoring the plants, the dogs not sniffing each other’s bottoms…you get the picture. What a sad and lonely world that would be.

Before you accuse me of waffling again, I should point out that my allegory is about to reach its peak:

Seven months ago I had an idea to force my followers to become acquainted with some great independent authors (not against their will you understand). I contacted a couple of writing pals that I’ve made along this crazy and diverse path to writer-dom and proposed that we form an anthology of our work and publish it. The notion behind the project was that I would bring my audience to the table (metaphorically speaking) and they would bring their audiences too. In that capacity each of us would have the capacity to share our work with fresh eyes and hopefully make some new friends and loyal readers.

Seven months on and said project Death Toll is live and available on Kindle and in paperback for you to read.

What I should mention now is that our usual audiences (like the passengers on this train) have been a bit shy about coming forward. So, in the interests of brokering an alliance, we (the brilliantly creative authors) have decided to give away copies of Death Toll all weekend on Kindle. So now there is no excuse for you not to download this epic anthology.

Death Toll features contributions from Alex Shaw, Liam Saville, Jose Bográn, Stephen Leather and of course yours truly. It is packed full of great work and offers an aperitif of what we are all about as authors.

So, to recap, Death Toll is £free from Friday 31 May to Sunday 02 June. If you don’t already have your copy, please download it this weekend and tell your friends, family and foes (why not eh? Even assholes read!) to get their copy too.


Until the next time, happy reading.


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