Sunday, July 28, 2013

Did I mention The White Flamingo is now out?

Oh, I did. Ok.

Grinding you down.

The Flamingo peaked at number 26 in the Amazon Crime Noir chart and now is hovering in the top 100.

Some early reviews to follow....

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A drink with John Daysh.

JIM'S BEACH HUT, a rude construction nailed together from palm timber and corrugated iron. A well stocked bar and a floor covered with cushions, ashtrays, and editions of bizarre Asian jazz mags. Three hammocks, a chessboard, and a sign: No Tracy Chapman.

Jim's Hut

JN: So, John Daysh, short story prize-winner, novelist, editor, educator, and now publisher, welcome to the beach hut, baby. Two questions, off the bat, as it were. First: What can I get for you from the bar, and second what record shall we slap on the old gramophone?

JD: Johnnie Black with soda, thanks.  And how about a bit of Radiohead.  Some of the early stuff.  Pablo Honey maybe.

JN Sure. [Jim walks over to an old icebox and swings the lid open. Takes out a bottle of Johnnie and pours, adds some soda, no ice, and hands the glass to his guest. As an afterthought Jim cracks open a coconut with a rusty machete, pours out some of the milk onto the sand and fills it with vodka, sticks a straw in it and sits on the hammock.] This will do me. How did Cut out the Middleman come about, originally? What was the seed? Where were you and what were you doing when you decided to write the novel?   

JD: Don't forget the music.

JN: I’m getting to that.

JD: Let me have a bite or two of the whiskey before we start talking about my seed. I guess the seeds came early.  As they often do in your early adolescence.  All dick jokes aside, for now....

JN: [slurps from the coconut] Toilet humor is encouraged in the Rude Hut. I deplore censorship. Speak easy- imagine I’m an abusive shrink.

JD:  Well, other kids dreamed of being an All Black.  I dreamed of being a writer - mostly because my mum was afraid I'd get hurt playing rugby and made me play soccer. I found my danger through travel later in life. It wasn't until I started to travel in my late 20's that I had any stories to tell.  I always wanted to write but until then I had nothing to say.  I wrote the first half of the novel during the evenings in a secret underground bar in the basement of a cheap hotel in Muscat.  The rest of it followed the next year while living in China and holidaying frequently on Thai beaches. Some in London, too.  I finished it in a hotel in Bangkok.  I wasn't much bothered about publication; completing the writing of it was a Cathartic moment.  I've never been very good at finishing things, aside from relationships, so to whip up a complete story of 300 plus pages and hold the book in my hands was a nice moment.

JN: [slides in the CD.] This is the UK version of Pablo Honey, with the original lyrics to Creep. None of that radio friendly fodder in my Hut. What writers, if any, influence the way you write, or have any impact on your attitude to all this lit business. Can you remember the first adult book you read. By adult, I don't mean Jazz mags - Razzle, Knave or Reader's wives. I mean what author first floated your boat? 

JD: As a young teenager (and ever since) I read everything that Stephen King wrote.  And Ernest Hemingway.  King's storytelling and characterization is second-to-none.  And Papa's style is so important.  He taught me that you don't have to be a literary purist to be a writer.  Simplicity beats a Fancy Dan every time.  Verb and dialogue trumps metaphor and adjective

JN: Should an adverb ever be used?

JD: Sparingly
John's novel.

JN [recklessly pours Gin and Vodka into two glasses, adds a splash of lime and then a healthy measure of Vietnamese Snake wine.] Try this. I call it the Singapore Slag. The wine is distilled with a venomous snake inside the bottle. Going back to Hemingway, I once read in the Paris Review that Papa wrote standing up. Do you have any strange rituals or quirks when it comes to writing?   

JD: Mostly I try to be conscious.  Then I can delete what I wrote when I was unconscious. All ball-bouncingly hilarious comedy aside....I have always been a routine writer.  I need the alarm to go off at 7:30, to have breakfast by 8:30 and the wife to fuck off by 9.00.  No contact until midday at the very earliest.  That gives me the time and space to write.  Nothing quirky, I don't think.  Just peace and quiet. Jim, that snake wine isn't going to blur my slurred words is it?

Care for a bite?

JN: Snake wine takes no prisoners. [Opens a mother of pearl tobacco tin and offers John a smoke.] Something I ask a number of writers is 'can creative writing be taught?' It’s a good question. Is there such a thing as an artist, and if so can an artist be taught to have an original idea, or is it all down to genetics and bad parenting?  

JD: I took a bottle of Vietnamese snake wine through New Zealand customs once.  They confiscated it until they could determine whether the snakes curled up in the bottle were endangered species.  I didn't expect to see the wine again but it arrived by courier a few days later.  Drank it too.  Tasted like shit. Can creative writing be taught? [lights a pre-rolled cigarette]  I don't think so. Can grammar, spelling, structure, punctuation be taught?  Yes it can.  Creative writing can be practiced but can't be taught. I think most good writing is a result of a good writer sharing a good story.    Not easy to manufacture that.  Good stories come through experience and good writing comes with practice.  Good writing takes time.

JN: Well this bottle houses the Naja siamensis or Thai Spitting Cobra, while rare it is not an endangered species. Its an old Chinese practice, bottling reptiles with booze. Supposed to have a curative effect. Well here's to it (necks a shot) What are you working on now, John?
JD: Am working on another novel at the moment - Like a Moth to a Flame.  Set in Bangkok and Koh Chang.  All going well it should be out by the end of the year.

JN: And rumor has it there's an anthology in the works?

JD: There is another rumor that you and I might co-edit it.

JN: Really? 

JD: Yes. The book market is drenched in bad expat novels set in Thailand.  It is really easy to write a bad novel.  It is also tough  to write good short fiction.  In fact, many say it is harder to write a good short story than a  novel.  But there are some damn fine writers out there and a good concise and powerful short story can help identify who they are.  There are not many short story anthologies out there than look to explore escapsim in the eyes of expat writers.   That is the vision. Can I have some more of the snake piss?

JN: Trust in me [sings jungle book song, pours another glass, downs it.]

JD: I think we're a good way into things and hopefully it'll be out in a few months time.  Good fun.

JN: Sure [Jim pours two more glasses of snakes piss, necks his and hands the other to JD] this all goes back to the days when we would feature more heavily on the Thailand Stories website. So many talented writers publish their stuff there it would be a shame not to have a collection of that wave of authors, who came after the first wave of Bangkok fiction writers (Asia books, etc) and before the recent ebook tsunami. That is the idea, and to make some money for a good cause, of course. A snake farm or endangered reptile orphanage, a baboon sanctuary of some kind perhaps?

JD: We've not shied away from hedonism over the years, Jim.  Maybe we should just blow the cash on a big night out in Bangers. Or maybe we should do it for the kids....  And I'm not talking about free snake piss for orphans.  Let's find a good honest charity where the cash will help some underprivileged kids.  Perhaps you or one among your hoards of pulp groupies knows how we can do some solid good.  Screw the writers.   They'll just piss away the money anyway.

Jim drinks.
JN: Yes, I just feel lizards need love too. But seriously the money will go to one of the Klong Toey projects, direct to the needy, not swallowed up in administration. I used to work at one of the slum schools a few years back, the whole of Thai society looks down on the poor and uneducated. Its not like it is in the west where a bit of street smart and a few contacts can see you rise up. Hell, its not like what it used to be here when the Chinese were poor immigrants and made it up to the position they now find themselves in. Education is key. But sorry, reptile urine, makes me emotional. Shit.

JD:  Yeah, me too. mate.  Me too. Latest project?  We're juggling a few projects at the moment which doesn't leave many hands to do a bit of spanking. Along with a novel in progress and the anthology, my favourite Bangkok detectice, Joe Dylan, is about to make his third appearence in The White Flamingo.  And can I say cheers and congratulations, Jim.  I think your fans will love it.  Your writing keeps getting better and better. Shall we crack another bottle?

JN: When in doubt, bring the Mekong out. [Jim cracks open a bottle of the orange labelled fire water the Thais call whiskey but is actually some kind of filthy chemical rum] Ice?

JD: You have Mekong?  Vintage Mekong?  Hey, I'm not royalty.  Just a cube thanks.  And fill it up a bit more ... bit more ... bit more... just under half .. okay, just over half.  Thanks, Jim.  Chok dee.

Respect this shit.

JN: Watch yourself on that shit. I've lost a few good friends, houses, vehicles, and crazy girlfriends due to the liquid gold. Tell me John, what’s the strangest thing you've seen on you travels?

JD: The following excerpt is from another "novel in progress" buried deep in a drawer somewhere but I swear to Robbie Fowler that it is from experience and it is honest and accurate.  Saw this in a village in Jiangsu, China.

    “I saw a head once,” said Dan as they wandered along, their pace slowed by Joe’s mood.
    “A head. A human head. No arms, no legs, no body as such. Just a head sitting on a cushion at a roadside stall in some desolate town out in the middle of nowhere.”
   “Bullshit,” said Joe.
   “No shit, man. I swear. It was amazing. It was a woman. Her face was old and worn. But her eyes were perfectly clear and deep.” He shook his head and chuckled, awed again by the memory.
   “How can you be just a head?” Joe snorted.
   “I was walking along and I looked at some fruit at a stall and there she was, staring at me.”
    “There must have been some thing below the head, surely?”
    “I stopped and looked at her and I just couldn’t look away. Her eyes were sparkling and I gave her the biggest smile I could. And she smiled back at me. It was amazing. Most beautiful smile I ever saw.”
    “You can’t be just a head. It’s crazy. You’re crazy,” said Joe. Dan laughed at him.
    “Yeah, there was this tiny little bundled wrapped up below the head. Must have been the organs. But it wasn’t a body. I don’t think there could have been any bone structure. It was smaller than the head.”
    “A head. Just a fucking head,” said Joe. Dan nodded.
    “Was tempted to ask for a....” 
     They laughed hard and lifted their pace again

JN: Is that the Mekong talking? Jeeze, I can’t top that. Let’s finish this bottle before the roosters start crowing. I'm struggling for more questions. Must be the Mekong. Should we mention publishing? And be prepared I start ranting when I get on the subject of art and publishing. The whole kindle thing has blown the barn doors off the establishment, right?

JD: We're in the middle of a publishing re-vo-lu-shun.  The pulp is rising to the top.  

JN: Yeah, it all looks good, mate. Looks like another scorcher.

The sun begins to rise above the tropical sea in purples, oranges, and pinks. Jim picks up an old guitar, constructed from driftwood and strums a few chords. John lights up a pre-rolled cigarette and starts beating a battered set of bongos. It seems that any more conversation would be less enlightening as the sounds of the waves breaking over the rocks...

.....Nick Adamson only planned on being in Thailand for a week. But a week later he is running a beach bar, selling drugs to tourists, falling out with the police, falling in love with a hot blonde, and duelling with an out-of-control, drug lord. Cut Out the Middle Man follows Nick’s descent into the illicit underworld of beach life and the dysfunctional characters who operate beneath the thin veneer of paradise islands.....

John Daysh's novel Cut out the Middleman is for sale here for the super price of 3 dollars and 4 cents.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


New short story updates...Two of my stories published in print books...

The guys at freedom fiction have put out a new print anthology including one of my short stories....

Buy here...

Twisted Tales...

And the guys at BIG PULP magazine also included my short flash story 'Two lumps and a Pair of Glasses.'

Buy here...

Big Pulp Magazine...

The Beat Goes on...