AKAQ’s First Anthology: Let’s discuss

First of all, this year is going to be a busy one. In this month alone I’m going through lots of personal changes and they are all very significant, life changing type changes. Writing-wise I have huge plans, both for my own endeavors and for this blog here. The most important is an anthology.

Right now? I would love to just hear input from any writer, any reader, or just anyone who frequents this blog.

When and if I get this going these conditions wont change:

1) Genre: Speculative fiction, crime, noir, horror and sci fi. Pretty much any pulp type material.

2) Cheap and nonprofitable: Depending on the amount of authors I’d like to keep the ebook under $3 and over 99 cents. All profit will go towards the AKAQ website, which includes upgrades, access to more images (Which this website lacks, except for book covers. We have tons of those thanks to Amazon.) and other website related costs.

3) Availability in Amazon. Others are up for debate.

Now, these are topics I would like to discuss:

1) Submission length. Maybe flash/poems in-between stories.

2) Help. I would like either someone who wants to help editing or perhaps some beta readers. I personally like using the writers to go through the whole book, but surprisingly I feel like I’m the only one that ever does it and I feel like I’m bothering the editor, even though I want the whole book, which has my story in it, to be as polished as possible.

3) Covers: I have some ideas already maybe using the image we currently have on our frontpage.

4) A physical book: I once sold pre-orders to my first book and found how successful it was. But after that found almost no sales through lulu.com After that I moved over to Amazon and found a way better and pleasant market. I would like to sale pre-orders through lulu.com again. It’s cheap, I can drop the price to $5 bucks and still make the donation worth it. After all the primary point is to get writer’s work out there and the website’s funds are, if anything, not important at all.

5) Do you want in? I want to include at least 20 authors, and I think I can easily get pieces from the usual bunch around here. I think I plan to send some invites first and then open it up to submissions. This way I could get some bigger names mixed with some new talent.

So discuss, I love a good online discussion. 🙂

-L. Vera


Review: The Killing of the Tinkers

The Killing of the Tinkers
Ken Bruen


When Jack Taylor blew town at the end of The Guards his alcoholism was a distant memory and sober dreams of a new life in London were shining in his eyes. In the opening pages of The Killing of the Tinkers, Jack’s back in Galway a year later with a new leather jacket on his back, a pack of smokes in his pocket, a few grams of coke in his waistband, and a pint of Guinness on his mind. So much for new beginnings. Before long he’s sunk into his old patterns, lifting his head from the bar only every few days, appraising his surroundings for mere minutes and then descending deep into the alcoholic, drug-induced fugue he prefers to the real world. But a big gypsy walks into the bar one day during a moment of Jack’s clarity and changes all that with a simple request. Jack knows the look in this man’s eyes, a look of hopelessness mixed with resolve topped off with a quietly simmering rage; he’s seen it in the mirror. Recognizing a kindred soul, Jack agrees to help him, knowing but not admitting that getting involved is going to lead to more bad than good. But in Jack Taylor’s world bad and good are part and parcel of the same lost cause, and besides, no one ever accused Jack of having good sense.


The latest Bruen I’ve read is actually the second Jack Taylor book, after The Guards. For those keeping score at home, this is when Taylor loses his teeth (mark that on your Jack Taylor Injury Scorecard, a big 50 points). I can’t really explain why I haven’t tried to read them in order; I suppose it’s because if I made a deliberate effort to put them all in order I would read them through in one great orgy of words until they were all done and then where would I be? Probably standing on the streets of the Claddagh listening to Bruen type.

And the Gardaí would come drag me away.

So, it’s better that I just read them in the order in which they cross my path, which happened with this tale of the tinkers and Taylor. He’s still raggedly recovering from his flight after the end of The Guards and the deaths left in his wake. It’s Jack, so he’s managed to screw up his life even more in London and as he returns to Galway, things look bleak. Then he’s asked to help deal with the killings of young tinkers because his former colleagues in the force have no interest in their world. The tinkers give him a home, his friends give him hope and he’s got a good idea who might be behind all the killings.

But you know it’s going to turn out badly because Jack Taylor is a magnet for nightmares. Bruen gives you a Galway that rustles with skittering shadows and malevolence. The circle of recurring characters have been sketched in by this second volume, but they grow more intricately here. Terrible things lie ahead for some and it makes the happy moments even more bittersweet. There’s philosophy, poetry and too much backsliding from Jack. Bruen tells his tales with a ragged beauty, his eloquence matched only by the bleak horror.

Sure it’s grand.

~ K. A. Laity

2013 Derringer Awards


Submissions will be accepted from Noon ET, January 1, 2013, to 11:59 PM ET January 31, 2013

Judges will score Derringer submissions February 1–28, 2013, determining the finalists

– Finalists will be announced March 1, 2013

– SMFS members as of December 31, 2012 will vote to determine Derringer winners from March 1-30, 2013

– Derringer winners will be announced March 31, 2013


Best Flash Story (Up to 1,000 Words)

Best Short Story (1,001 to 4,000 Words)

Best Long Story (4,001 to 8,000 Words)

Best Novelette (8,001 to 20,000 Words)

Review: Apostle Rising

Apostle Rising
Richard Godwin

Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle never caught the Woodlands Killer and it almost destroyed him. Now years later, mauled by the press and traumatised by nightmares, he is faced with a copycat killer with detailed inside knowledge of the original case.

He and his partner DI Jacki Stone enter a deadly labyrinth, and at its centre is the man Castle believes was responsible for the first killings. He’s running a sinister cult and playing dark mind games with the police. The investigation has a shattering effect on the lives of Castle and Stone. The killer is crucifying politicians, and he keeps raising the stakes and slipping through their hands. Dark coded ritualistic killings are being carried out on high profile figures and the body count is rising. Castle employs a brilliant psychologist to help him solve the case, and he begins to dig into the killer’s psyche. But some psychopaths are cleverer than others.

Review: Godwin offers a brutal tale of murder, trauma and heartbreaking suffering. Castle and Stone face a villain whose chutzpah is matched only by his malevolence — and his seeming inability to get caught. Castle, haunted by the elusive killer years before, has been consumed by the case, drinking his way out of his marriage and nearly his job. Stone finds herself slipping toward the same fate, and begins fighting her way back from it. The addition of a second set of serial murders seems impossibly vicious — the only thing worse is that the two killers seem to be working in concert.

Not for the faint of heart, Apostle Rising offers a bloody bouquet of excruciating murders and bizarre religious mania. Right down to the final, cruel twist of discovery, each page offers more horror. But you read on in hopes that Castle and Stone will survive ad that they will finally stop the unrepentant mastermind behind the crimes. Prepare your heart for darkness — and like most of the characters in this book, you’ll probably want a strong glass of something to help you bear it.

~ K. A. Laity

Weird Noir: Tentacles Ho!

Out soon from Fox Spirit Books!

The days get colder, the nights get longer, and things seem to move in the shadows — which means it’s almost time for Weird Noir to be born! What sort of twisted individuals come up with tales to fit this mash-up of genres? I asked my writers to tell me a bit about the process of getting all weird about noir:

Chloë Yates

I knew I had to get it written, time was running out and the Prof waits for no man. Naturally slothful, I’d been putting it off, waiting for inspiration to strike. Inspiration is an unfeeling bitch alas and so I began hammering at the keys with nothing but the production of words, any words, as my goal. Midway through the first paragraph, Maxxie Vickers came along and kicked me in the nuts. She had a story to tell and she’d chosen me to tell it. Who was I to turn a good looking, if dentally challenged, dame down?

Richard Godwin

I set the ingredients in the pan. I raise the flame. You know, the texture of the meat that night was strangely familiar, reminiscent of a taste my memory had buried. But the corner of London I ended up in gave me this story, dark and lyrical, imbued with the Noir thrill of being touched a certain way as the moonlight shines on your skin.

As I hand you the menu I would like to say there are some unusual flavours on offer here, so set your palate to receive.”The notes are plaintive, haunting, as if she is singing of a time before her life was altered in some way.” Barbara Dauphin is a night club singer who plays Joe Billy Holiday at her flat. She wants to find her missing sister. She realises there is something unusual about Joe…

Jennifer Martin

When I heard the call, the call for submission, I jumped at the chance to have another of my stories published in an awesome anthology.

‘The Darkness Cult’ is a strange and twisted tale that first wormed its way into my head several years ago. I had toyed with the idea of making a novel from it, but alas, I hadn’t finished up that project. Although a complete work in and of itself, it could be expanded on at a later date.

I sat down after reading the call and just knew that this seedy underground story was just what Weird Noir was looking for. I had to flesh it out. Make it whole and ready for the world to read. I did just that. Like a madwoman, I sat for days at my computer and worked on the story with coffee flowing through my veins. When I finally turned it over to my editor for a read through, watching his reactions was reward in itself. He has never quite looked at me the same since reading that particular story…

More to come — we’ll understand the madness soon. See the full line up here.

Submissions: Weird Noir

Having opened my big mouth, it seems I’m now editing a collection for Fox Spirit:

Weird Noir

On the gritty backstreets of a crumbling city, tough dames and dangerous men trade barbs, witticisms and a few gunshots. But there’s a new twist where urban decay meets the eldritch borders of another world: WEIRD NOIR, featuring thugs who sprout claws and fangs, gangsters with tentacles and the occasional succubus siren. The ambience is pure noir but the characters aren’t just your average molls and mugs — the vamps might just be vamps. It’s Patricia Highsmith meets Shirley Jackson or Dashiell Hammett filtered through H. P. Lovecraft. Mad, bad and truly dangerous to know, but irresistible all the same.

Writer already confirmed for the collection (i.e. I already have their stories or their souls  in my possession) include Richard Godwin, Joyce Chng, Paul D. Brazill, Jason Michel.

But there’s room for a few more.

Story  length
4-10K (negotiable)

$10 advance against future royalties, split 70-30 with the publisher.

Word .doc (not docx), Times New Roman 12pt font, 1″ margins, double spaced

If you have a previously unpublished story you’d be interested in contributing, let me know. Stories will be due September 5. I’m particularly interested in characters who show a little more of the diversity evident in the real world. And tentacles — they’re not just for weird porn! If you want some insight into the editor who will be choosing the stories, see my website. I won’t know how much space there is left until all my invitees turn in their stories (or don’t). So I won’t  get back to you before the end of September at the earliest, so don’t bug me (unless you want me to give you your story back so you can send it elsewhere).

Cheers —


(katelaity at gmail)

A Serial Killer’s Unraveling

Serial killers are a morbid curiosity for many people. The most often asked question is, “Why are they the way they are?”

Ted Bundy, one of America’s most infamous serial killers, was asked this question by Dr. Robert D. Keppel, the man who took his confession, and by Anne Rule, the true crime author who knew Bundy personally.

His answer, “It’s just the way I am. It is what I do,” only raises more questions. There are no real answers to be had.

Obsessed, by Rick R. Reed, is the story of serial killer Joe MacAree.

Like a lot of psychopaths, Joe has a successful job, is happily married, and is well-respected and liked by many. No one would suspect the twisted, dark compulsion that drives him to kill again and again. Everyone has heard the comment, “He was such a nice guy, I never would have believed it.”

He wants to stop. Each kill puts him at risk of being caught. His fear of exposure is well founded.

When Randy Mazursky discovers his pregnant wife’s mutilated body, he disconnects from reality and becomes consumed with vengeance. If he can figure out the connection between the killer and evidence that was left behind, there will be no mercy.

Bad luck or Karma comes calling on Joe. It was only a matter of time. His wife knows something is wrong and begins to question his absences.

Then there’s Pat Young. Wheelchair bound and a recluse, Pat lives across the street from Joe’s latest victim and witnesses his exit from the crime scene. She now knows who he is and puts the screws to him. Now he is no longer in control.

Joe starts to unravel. He can no longer govern his evil urges.

At risk of losing his job, his wife, his freedom and his sanity, if he ever really was sane, Joe starts to lose it. He is not in control of his sick, driven needs any more. The noose is tightening around his neck and he begins to crack under the pressure.

Obsessed is psychological horror at it’s best. Told from the killer’s point of view, I sometimes found myself feeling sorry for Joe as this pressure-cooker builds and builds and finally boils over. I felt his desperation. Several times I thought to myself, “Wait a minute, this is a sadistic serial killer we’re talking about!”  The author had me so caught up in Joe’s plight, I had to stop and remind myself of just what he was, the bad guy.

If that was the author’s intent, it was very successful.

Read Obsessed, meet Joe, and see into the dark, convoluted mind of a serial killer. Experience his hideous past and discover what drives him to kill.

An excellent, brilliantly executed thriller.

Rick R. Reed is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas and short stories ranging from suspense/mystery to thrillers, horror, paranormal, romance and gay/lesbian. He is a two-time EPIC e-book Award winner (for Orientation and Blue Moon Cafe).  Lambda Literary Review has called him, ” a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”

For more about Rick and his books:




A few of Rick’s many books, just click on the images to purchase them.

Review: Red Esperanto


The winter night had draped itself over Warsaw’s Aleja Jana Pawla like a shroud, and a sharp sliver of moon garrotted the death black sky. I was in the depths of a crawling hangover and feeling more than a little claustrophobic in Tatiana’s cramped, deodorant-soaked apartment. I poked my trembling fingers through a crack in the dusty slat blinds and gazed out at the constellation of neon signs that lined the bustling avenue. Sex shops, peep shows, 24 hour bars, booze shops and kebab shops were pretty much the only buildings that I could see, apart from The Westin Hotel, with its vertigo inducing glass elevator. Looking it always made my stomach lurch a little.


PAUL D. BRAZILL was born in England and has lived in Poland for the last ten years. His comic crime novel, Guns Of Brixton, will be published in  2012. His collections 13 Shots Of Noir and Snapshots out now as eBooks.  He is the editor the anthologies Drunk On The Moon and (with Luca Veste) True Brit Grit. Paul’s short stories have appeared in dozens of international magazines and anthologies -including The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime. Paul’s short story “The Tut” was nominated for a 2010 Spinetingler award, which recognises established and up-and-coming authors. His blog, You Would Say That, Wouldn’t You? has featured interviews with many writers including Tony Black, Matt Hilton, Simon Wood, Sheila Quigley and Anne Billson.
He contributes to Pulp Metal Magazine, Mean Streets and Sabotage Times.


The Warsaw Tourist Bureau is not going to be using Red Esperanto to flog the city to tourists. While some of the nicer bits of the city make it into the tale, Brazill sketches a city that would rival Brixton for grit. From the sordid view of a hooker’s squalid flat with its view of “sex shops, peep shows, 24 hour bars, booze shops and kebab shops” the hapless narrator, journo Luke Case, stumbles his way into incongruous Irish pubs and a casually dangerous relationship with the second-hand clothes Baron’s wife, Crazy Jola, who does what she can to live up to the name. As usual, Brazill will have you alternately wincing and laughing as you follow Case’s shambling wreck; fun stuff. You won’t be disappointed.

‘The only crime is getting caught,’ I said, shrugging.
‘Yes, but if a butterfly beats its wings in the forest a one handed man claps and a tree falls down.’ said Sean, and he stumbled off in the direction of the toilets.
I ignored him and tried to catch Jola’s eye. Rory was placing a drink in front of her. She said something to him and, for the first time since I’d known him, I actually saw him laugh. Though, when he turned back to me he had the same grimace he always wore.
Jola took out her mobile phone and began sending a text message. Fuelled by Scotch courage, I walked over.
‘Would you like another drink?’ I said, swaying a little.
Jola looked up and tried to focus on me, as if she were attempting to take in a magic eye painting. She sipped her drink and shook her head.

Review: The Secret Hour

“Un intenso e originale nuovo modo di viaggiare, e di leggere”


The Secret Hour is the time when Paris meets his lovers, and allows them to escape from their lives. He makes love to Viola in various locations in London. The wealthy, exclusive districts of Mayfair and Piccadilly form the backdrop to their erotic liaisons, as Viola becomes another woman. But she is married to gangster Max Reger, and he is watching her. As Twilight falls on Golden Square and Paris makes love to Viola, Max steals into the house where they are sharing their stolen time together. And Paris discovers something about Viola.


RICHARD GODWIN was born in London in 1963. He taught English and American Literature at the University of London before becoming one of the most successful British writers of the detective genre, noir and horror. He has published many short stories and novels, including Apostle Rising (Black Jackal Books, 2011) and Mr. Glamour (Black Jackal Books, 2012). His personal website is www.richardgodwin.net

REVIEW (er, il riesame?)

This story might surprise some Godwin fans at first. There’s a sensuality that may throw you off. The life of Paris Tongue seems an unusual subject for this writer who generally veers toward horror and bloody crime, but don’t worry — he gets there, too. The London of Paris’ “secret hour” has a likewise unexpected sexiness that the “dirty old town” wears with surprising ease. Like his Greek namesake Paris has an ethereal beauty and puts it to good use as a kind of gigolo. The life suits him well and he maintains a lucrative lifestyle spending his secret hours with clients. Until one day he beds Viola (a suggestively Shakespearean name) who decides she wants more than just the secret hour. Her gangster husband, however, wants to put an end to these shenanigans with extreme vengeance. The disparate threads weave tighter until the story reaches a wild and bloody climax. You’ll find it satisfying, I promise.

~K. A. Laity

What I Learned from #TOPcrime2012

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, the returning writers are welcomed warmly by the folks of Harrogate (Perhaps more warmly: swallows don’t carry credit cards).

 After the panels are done, the bar takes in more in an hour than they do during the entire day of a wedding (Writing is thirsty work).

 There is a big hill in Harrogate but most of the good things are at the bottom of it (Gravity is your friend).

 You can eat yourself into a food coma at many restaurants in Harrogate (Luigi treats you right).

 Zoe Sharp dresses too chic to be a writer (Odds favour ‘future Bond villain’ at present).

 Never kid Allan Guthrie about the Rangers (No #jellyandicecream)


Sarah Pinborough is up to something (No one is quite certain what, but looks on in anticipation).

The Travelodge sits over a night club (Bring earplugs).

The Crown has paper thin walls (bring earplugs or a stenographer if you’re next to a public figure).

The Hale Bar, oldest pub in Harrogate, has an old Remington typewriter (if you get really desperate when the laptop crashes).

The Wetherspoons pub has free WiFi (if you get really desperate for sober conversation).

If you wear a hat, everyone is going to want to try it on (Inevitable).

Getting through the scrum around the bar on Saturday night requires the skills of a good rugby player (Bring a couple with you next time; they can also carry your luggage after you’ve been through the book room).

People seldom look like their twitter avatars (Which does not help you find them in a dark and crowded bar).

If you do not go, you will envy those who did (Just go).

~ K. A. Laity