Sunday, March 29, 2015

Is This Thing Still On?

*Taps microphone* Okay good, so let’s get on with this, I’ve got to be back in Marrakesh by midnight. Actually I don’t, but having to go wash the car and do all those other Sunday chores doesn’t sound nearly as exciting so I’m going to stick with the Marrakesh thing.  
The first three months of this year have seen me—or rather they haven’t seen me—taking a step back from the virtual world of blogs and social media. Delmore Schwartz once said, “Time is a fire in which we burn”, and that’s certainly part of it. But maybe Charles Bukowski put it more succinctly when he said, “I don’t hate people, I just feel better when they aren’t around.” Either way, I have been using the extra 10 or 12 hours a week I gained when I stopped scrolling through the cat pictures on Facebook to write a novel, and in between the usual moments of anxiety and crippling self doubt it’s been going pretty good. I have also managed to pen a short story for the next Zemler Pulp issue, but more on that nearer the time.
In other news I have got the rights back to my long awaited (at least by me) crime novella, Nevada Thunder. In the end things just didn’t work out with the publisher. No harm, no foul, just one of those things. I am currently talking with a new publisher and I’m pretty excited about what might result from this.

I don’t plan on putting out many short stories this year and I have turned down a fair number of offers to contribute to anthologies etc. so that I might concentrate on the work in progress, having said that I do have a few pieces out right now. As I previously mentioned I’m in DINER STORIES: OFF THE MENU recently released by Mountain State Press, with a new piece entitled Mary’s Place. This story is one of my personal favorites and is my own little love letter to all those great mom & pop diners that are sadly no more.   

Next up is ‘Last Exit’, which has just gone live at David Cranmer’s excellent BEAT TO A PULP webzine. This is my take on old school Noir, a story of rain swept streets and lost love out for revenge. Last Exit first appeared in Zelmer Pulp's, MAYBE I SHOULD JUST SHOOT YOU IN THE FACE, which has been our most popular issue to date and is still available for the princely sum of 99c (hint, hint).
Finally, I’m delighted to have ‘Long Time Gone’, a brand new crime story about a father trying to do right by his daughter in the latest edition of DARK CORNERS. Editor-in-chief, Craig McNeely has once again proved beyond any doubt that we are living in a new golden era of pulp fiction. He has put together another fantastic issue with a wide variety of stories in different genres. The one common theme being they are all from outstanding writers, including one by my brother-from-another-mother, Ryan Sayles.
So there you have it. That’s my 2015 so far in a nutshell; well the writerly part of it anyway. I’d love to stick around and shoot the shit some more, but you know how it is, Marrakesh awaits. Stay classy people, I’ll see you further on up the road.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Diner Stories: Off the Menu

A good old American diner may just be my favorite place in this world. It’s certainly right up there, along with dark and cozy British pub and my end of the couch. There really is nothing quite like it. The smell of fresh brewed coffee mixed with the sizzle of beef searing on the grill and the low murmur of half-heard conversations punctuated by the chink of cutlery on china.
Daniel McTaggart is the author of a collection called Diner Poems. It’s an evocative work that really struck a chord with me. It’s also the only book of poetry I have ever owned (I don’t consider that to be a failing, so bite me) and when I heard that Dan was putting together a collection of short fiction based in and around diners I knew I wanted in.
More than a year in the making, Diner Stories: Off The Menu is out now in paperback from Mountain State Press. I’m damn proud to be the only Englishmen to have a story included and to be alongside some very fine writers, such as Jason Jack Miller and Frank Larnerd.
You can check it out here: AMAZOD


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Show Me The Love

I’m delighted to say that Gospel of the Bullet has snagged the Dark Corners Magazine Golden Goodis award for best western novella of 2014.
Editor, Craig McNeely had this to say of my western magnum opus: “Leek has written a thought-provoking action-packed western novella that will remind you why you like these sort of tales. Someone needs to grab the movie rights to this one ASAP.”
Gospel also made the ‘Notable Reads of 2014’ list over at the prestigious review site Dead End Follies.
A novella that dares to stand above the confines of very niche and impenetrable genre, therefore shining positive light on a century old writing tradition.”
I’d like to say a big thank you to both of these fine pulp institutions. If you want to see what all of the fuss is about, you can just click the linkey thing on the right. 

Okay, I know, I said I was done looking back at 2014, but I'm kind of proud of this stuff, so you'll have to let me have this one.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Let It Go

I seem to have spent a lot of time looking back recently, maybe that’s just a natural thing to do at this time of year or perhaps it’s my age. Life has a nasty way of creeping up on you when you’re too busy with it to notice. You’re thinking about the report you have due on Friday and the leaky tap in the downstairs bath that needs fixing and that expensive sounding noise coming from the oily bits of your Explorer, and all the while the clock is running. I have undoubtedly passed the point where I have more behind me than I have out in front. Either way, 2014 is just about done and I can’t help thinking that’s a good thing.

There will be no ‘best of’ lists or ‘shelfies’ on the blog this time around. I have read very little this year and written even less. While there have been one or two high points, like ONE EYE PRESS publishing my western novella GOSPEL OF THE BULLET and our Katie turning 21, 2014 has for the most part been an exercise in frustration and futility that I would rather just forget. But so what? This year will soon be last year and I for one am done bitching about it. As of right now I’m also done looking back. Onwards to 2015!
Whatever your wish for yourself during the coming year I hope it comes true. Stay hungry, stay free, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Five is Alive

‘Tis the season to be jolly, so why not give the gift of fear this Christmas? You could dress up in a red suit and set out on a spree of eggnog fueled home invasions or alternatively you could just stay home and pick up a copy of Demonic Visions Book #5.   
This latest installment in this series contains another fifty tales of the macabre that will have you checking the closet for monsters and sleeping with the light on. I’m back for my fifth go-around too with a dark story of guilt and regret found within the eye of a perfect storm.
There is no need to wait for Halloween to roll around again; you can snag a copy of DEMONIC VISIONS #5 right now for your kindle or nook.
Happy Horror-days!

Monday, December 8, 2014

OEP Sale

Those good people over at One Eye Press want to help you fill your virtual stockings. In the spirit of the season all their Kindle editions are on sale for just 99¢ each throughout the month of December, including my western magnum opus, Gospel Of the Bullet. If you prefer your holiday reading old school then purchase the paperback and OEP will throw in the e-book for free. You can't say fairer than that. 
Click HERE to be magically transported to an Amazon winter wonderland.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Last Rites

Duck you suckers!

Hey, wait a minute, isn’t that one-eyed Frigga again?

Ain’t that always the way? You wait ages for one Shotgun Honey story and then two come along at the same time.

Well, this isn’t your usual ride and this time it’s only partly my fault.
I’m delighted to say that my brother, life coach and partner in crime, RYAN SAYLES and I are equally to blame for the very first collaborative story ever to be published at Shotgun Honey. I know, cool right? Right.

The idea of writing colab stories is something we’ve kicked around the Zelmer Pulp locker room a few times, but for one reason or another we never really got around to doing it. So back in the summer Ryan and I decided to give it a shot. LAST RITES is the result. It's kind of a love story or maybe a love gone bad story would be a better description. We actually wrote the second half of it first. That was on me. I took the girl’s part, because Ryan told me I was in touch with my feminine side (yeah, whatever, bro). When I had the ending down, I sent it over to Ryan who set the whole thing up beautifully from the guy’s point of view and seamlessly linked the two halves together. I kind of hate that he did it better than I could have, but I’ll get over myself. Telling a whole story in just 700 words can be tough, as I’ve said on here before. Telling half of one in 350 was an absolute blast.

I’m kind of proud of the fact that we have broken some new ground with this one. Maybe one day we’ll try a longer piece, but for now why not hop on over to SHOTGUN HONEY and give us a little sugar, sugar.