#BRYANTandMAY #LONDONSGLORY the tour, with Christopher Fowler

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IMG_2282The latest instalment in Christopher Fowlers brilliant Bryant & May series is out now.  London’s Glory is a collection of eleven Bryant and May short stories, filling in gaps and covering cases mentioned in passing over the years.

In the spirit and brevity of a short story, when I got the chance to ask a few questions of Chris, I asked simply, about the genesis of Bryant & May, where in London fans could visit for a feel of the books, and what Bryant and May would think of book tours and blogging.  Here’s what he had to say.
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Many years ago I fell in love with the Golden Age classic mysteries I found in the library, with their academic eccentricities and timeless view of an England that never really existed. There was just one problem; they badly needed an update because of outmoded attitudes to sex and race. I thought; wouldn’t it be interesting if you took the structure of the Golden Age mysteries and put them into our recognisable modern world?

If you’re going to describe the investigation of a crime, you might as well have fun with it. How does a writer create a detective? I started with a matchbox label that read “Bryant & May – England’s Glory”. That gave me their names, their nationality, and something vague and appealing, the sense of an institution with roots in London’s sooty past. London would be the third character; not the tourist city of guidebooks but the city of invisible societies, hidden parks and drunken theatricals, the increasingly endangered species I eagerly show to friends when they visit.

Every night, my detectives walk across Waterloo Bridge and share ideas, because a city’s skyline is best sensed along the edges of its river, and London’s has changed dramatically in less than a decade, with the broken spire of the Shard and the great ferris wheel of the London Eye lending it a raffish fairground feel.

By making Bryant & May old I could have them simultaneously behave like experienced adults and immature children. Bryant, I knew, came from Whitechapel and was academic, esoteric, eccentric, bad-tempered and myopic. He would wear a hearing aid and false teeth, and use a walking stick. A proud Luddite, he was antisocial, rude, miserable, erudite, bookish, while his John May was born in Vauxhall, taller, fitter, more charming, friendlier, a little more modern, techno-literate, and a bit of a ladies’ man. Their inevitable clash of working methods often causes cases to take wrong turns.

Then I threw every modern subject I could think of at them, from refugees to banking scandals, and let them sort out the dramas using old-fashioned (and vaguely illegal) methods. The result is, well, unusual!

The easiest locations to visit in the books are Waterloo Bridge, where the detectives walk most nights, and King’s Cross, where their unit is based, but in ‘The Victoria Vanishes’ there’s a list of all the pubs they visit in the books at the back. And all of the locations I use are real, so everything can be looked up and explored on Google maps!

I think John May would like blogging but Arthur Bryant would probably crash entire systems because he has a warped understanding of the internet!

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Reader’s Digest 100 Word Story Competition 2016 – Enter now

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600x633x600x633_100-word-story-v2.jpg.pagespeed.ic.jCx00AB7f5Fancy having a go at some Flash Fiction?  Reader’s Digest has, this month launched it’s annual 100 word short story competition.

There are three categories—one for adults and two categories for schools: one for children aged 12–18 and one for children under 12.

Your stories should be original, unpublished and exactly 100 words long—not even a single word shorter or longer!

Entries must be in by February 20.

The editorial team will then pick a shortlist of three in each category and post them online on March 6.

You can vote for your favourite, and the one with the most votes will scoop the top prize.Voting will close on March 27 and winning entries will be published in our June issue.

 

What you can win…

 

Adults: The winner will receive £2,000, and two runners-up will each receive £200.

12-18’s: The winner will receive a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (8.0, WiFi) and a Samsung Gear S watch (choice of colour), plus £150 for their school. Two runners-up will each receive £100.

Under-12’s: The winner will receive a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (8.0, WiFi), plus £100 for their school. Two runners-up will each receive £75.

 

More information and details on how to enter can be found on the Reader’s Digest website here.

Bloody Scotland Short Story Competition – Closing 27th July

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This is what the festival have to say about the competition…..

The Great Agatha Christie Inspires our Short Story Competition

This year marks 125 years since Agatha Christie was born, known world-wide as one of the most well-loved crime writers of all time, one who had a penchant for poison and created unforgettably charismatic sleuths.

We wanted to celebrate her legacy with our short story competition this year- we’re inviting stories inspired by Christie and her writing.

First prize is £1000 and a festival pass to Bloody Scotland 2015.

 

Submissions of up to 3,000 words of unpublished work are invited from new and unpublished writers from all over the world, but entries must be written in English. Writers are welcome to submit as many stories as they wish, but there is an entry fee of £10 for each story submitted. The deadline for submissions is midnight on Monday 27th July 2015.

A shortlist of five to six stories will be selected by a judging panel comprising of University of Stirling postgraduate students, authors, booksellers and publishers, which will then be made available for an online public vote on Saturday 1st August 2015. This public vote will end on Friday 21st August. Winners will be announced during the Bloody Scotland Festival 2015, 11th – 13th September in Stirling, Scotland

Terms and Conditions & Details of how to enter can be found here

Sweet Nothing – Richard Lange

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imageEvery life is uncertain. Every choice is a danger.

Set on the dark side of Los Angeles, this is a masterful collection of edge-of-your-seat tales: a prison guard must protect an inmate being tried for heinous crimes. A father and son set out to rescue a young couple trapped during a wildfire after they cross the border. An ex-con trying to make good as a security guard stumbles onto a burglary plot. A young father must submit to blackmail to protect the fragile life he’s built. Sweet Nothing is an intense and gripping journey through real lives with big problems, from one of America’s great short story writers.

There’s nothing  sweet about it……

I’ve read nothing of Richard Lange before, and suffering from a bad case of book hangover, I picked up Sweet Nothing, with a view to easing myself back into the saddle, taking the short stories as ‘bite sized chunks’ I could easily pick up and put down.

After reading the first story, I wasn’t quite sure what to think, so I have to admit to putting the book aside to try again at a better time. When I finally picked it back up again, I was surprised how quickly each story passed before me.  It’s an interesting mix of tales that took me through a range of emotions as I read, which is something I’d more often associate with a full length novel, rather than from a collection of short stories.

With an eclectic mix of heroes and anti-heroes along with the dilemmas, decisions and tragedies of everyday life both, modern and in the past, forming the heart of each read, it’s a dark read, where the book title truly fits because there’s definitely nothing sweet about it.

Britain’s Next Best Seller & Scriggler.com Short Story Competition

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Scriggler.com and Britains Next Best Seller launched their latest short story competition this week, looking for the best 10 crime/thriller short stories to feature in a compilation book.

The 10 shortlisted authors will get a crowdfunding campaign that may see their story published and sold around the world. All author royalties earned from the book sales will be donated to “The Hope Academy for Girls” — a self-sustaining, multi-purpose school for at-risk girls in the rural area of Sierra Leone. So not only could you get to see your work in print, but you could help to fund the education of young girls in West Africa, without a doubt a very worthy cause.

The competition runs from 1st December 2014 until 31st January 2015 and is open to ALL authors from ANY country. Remember, the theme is crime/thriller and ideally word count should not exceed 7,500 words. 

The overall winner will also see their story’s title chosen as the compilation’s title.

Rules of Entry

  • Participants need to register and publish their entries on Scriggler.com
  • All entries must be previously unpublished.
  • Entry is not limited to UK residents. Authors can be based in any country for the purposes of this competition.
  • Only entire stories would be considered, no extracts.
  • Word count should not exceed 7,500 words.
  • While authors keep their rights when publishing on Scriggler, the purpose of the contest is to compile and publish a book of short stories and winning authors would be expected to enter into an agreement with BNBS. Please consider this when entering.

Further information including introductions to BNBS, Scriggler.com, and what will happen to all entries once submitted can be found on the Scriggler.com website here.

Flash Bang

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Not quite up to the debut dagger but still enjoy writing and fancy trying out a competition? then look no further than the Flash Bang competition set by CrimeFest Bristol.

Can you commit a crime story in just 150 words?

‘A shot rang out’ is four words, but it packs a hell of a punch. Flash fiction is the art of surprise, illumination, punch.

Think short fuse, short-arm, Get Shorty. Did you know ‘flash in the pan’ originated with the priming of guns? And flashnotes are counterfeit notes… We could go on, but we won’t, because we’re big on brevity. Surprise us. Burn us. Write us. Whatever you do, do it in a flash.

Bang bang, you’re read.

 

It costs just £2 per entry and the first prize is a PAIR (yes a pair) of weekend passes to CrimeFest 2016 (access to all interviews, panels and receptions, exc. accommodation, dinner, travel)  with runner up prizes of a single weekend pass to CrimeFest 2016, followed by a CrimeFest goodie bag.  On top of all that, those on the shortlist will be invited to attend the Crime Writing Day on Friday 15 May 2015, when the winners will be announced.

Think you’re up for it?  Why not give it a go, after all 150 words…… how hard can it be? 😉

 

Full details of prizes and how to enter can be found here

 

Have fun and Good Luck!