Free – Hard-Boiled Witch: Abra Cadavra!

Free now through Saturday on your local Amazon while I’m working on episode 5:

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When a new burlesque club opens in Dundee, the owner calls on Hecate Sidlaw to deal with some strange attacks — by a skeleton! She and her familiar Henry need to get to the bottom of the magical threats, if she can get him away from the performers long enough to investigate. Looks like they need someone with expertise in calaveras…

Enter the dark streets and weird magic of HARD-BOILED WITCH and your life will never be quite the same.

This 28-page ebook single is the fourth in the series from the author of WHITE RABBIT, UNQUIET DREAMS, DREAM BOOK, OWL STRETCHING, and the CHASTITY FLAME thriller series.

“Laity has been proving for quite some time now that her noir prose ranks right up there with the likes of Meg Abbott, Dorothy B. Hughes, and Sara Paretsky.”
~ Vincent Zandri

Many thanks to Bertie for mailing me my series notebook >_< which I forgot!

Slovenia: Another Green World

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Here’s Janez Grm, me, Funda Cinoglu, Vassilis Danellis, Avgust Demšar AKA Tomaš and Alibi mastermind Renato Bratkovič at the legendary Bar Grega. In Casablanca, everybody goes to Rick’s; in Slovenia, everybody goes to Bar Grega.

I was unprepared for just how amazing Slovenia would be. I thought it would be fun of course, as it usually is hanging out with other writers — but I had no idea how crazy beautiful this country is. Seriously, book your holiday today before everyone discovers it.

See the whole photo album here. There’s just too many wonderful pictures. Renato was a brilliant host: he took me to Lake Bled where we had their famous cream cake, then I got to nap a little at Hotel Jakec to get over my jet lag, then my first visit to Bar Grega to be greeted by the genial host Borut, who had the welcoming mat out:

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The next day the other writers arrived (not having to come quite as far) and I met Janez, Vassilis and his lovely wife Funda — they live in Instanbul so it was fascinating to hear their perspective on current events, plus they’re both delightful. Avgust AKA Tomaš is quite a legend, like the Val McDermid of Slovenia. He has a wicked dry wit. We were lavished with attention at Bar Grega, then taken to dinner at the amazing Gora pod lipo, a stunning alpine restaurant set in a restored country house with all modern meeting rooms and the food — did I mention the food yet? Surrounded by vineyards and served the most tasty array of foods. When was I ever so spoiled?

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As Renato said, nothing’s really free. He had us draw from potential titles because Saturday we would be back at Gora pod lipo to write the stories. Yes, we had most of the day to write, pampered with tea and wine and snacks like roasted pumpkin seeds covered in dark chocolate (oh, and I thought I hated pumpkin!). So of course I wrote about 6K — haahahaa! Imagine how much I’d write if I always lived like this.

Then we were whisked off to the cinema to see Psi brezčasja / Case: Osterberg, a noir film presented by writer Zoran Benčič and producer Tomi Matič. Zoran is also lead singer of Res Nullius, Slovenia’s premiere rock band (check them out). The film is based on his novel. Though we didn’t have a subtitles, it was pretty easy to follow the story (I’ll write a proper review over on Graham Wynd, maybe tomorrow). I was surprised to learn it was a no-budget film as it looked really good. The film premiered at the Festival of Slovenian Film in September 2015 and received unanimous critical acclaim while also winning the FIPRESCI Film Critics award for best film.

Then we all repaired to Bar Grega to chat and drink more Laško Noir — the official beer of Alibi — until everybody was too tired. So Renato drove us back up the winding mountain roads to Hotel Jakec (I think Janez probably still dreams of those drives and wakes up ill).

Sunday it was back to Gora pod lipo. I put the finishing touches on my story (would Borut live or die? 😉 following in Eddie Vega’s footsteps I put our Bar Grega host into my tale) then just enjoyed the beauty of the mountain and the bounty of our hosts. They took great care of us. Then it was time for the reading in the wine cellar. You can’t beat that for cool.

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Then we had a wonderful dinner with Renato’s family to wind up the day and it was just the thing we needed. His daughter is a budding Evelyn Glennie and his wife Alenka made sure we were all eating enough. It’s a wonder I did not burst at some point during the weekend.

It was hard to say good-bye! Good thing I had Venice to entertain me — but more of that later.

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Alibi Bound

alibiI head out today to fly to Venice, where Renato Bratkovič will meet me to drive me to Slovenia for the Alibi Crime Conference where I will be one of the featured writers. I’m really looking forward to it: I’ve never been to Venice or to Slovenia so that’s exciting. Everyone seemed to have a grand time at the first conference last year. I’m sure I will post pictures or commentary as I go along though perhaps not as much as usual. Check my Twitter feed (which appears in the right hand column of this blog) or Facebook if you’re there. Of course I’ll write up my adventures when I return. Maybe I’ll run into a certain Venetian Lion…

I’m very happy to see HOW TO BE DULL getting out there in the world. It’s the antidote to our too ‘interesting’ times. Thanks Beverly Bambury for sharing the photo (and check out her publicity business!

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#FolkloreThursday Freebie: Hard-Boiled Witch 2


Click the picture: today only, get Hard-Boiled Witch 2: Toil and Trouble for free — then pick up the others for just 99¢/99p each. Celebrate #FolkloreThursday by following the hashtag on Twitter or dropping by their Facebook page.

Hecate Sidlaw finds herself caught between a wannabe witch and one of the oldest hereditary powers in the land. When she and her familiar Henry end up as seconds in a magical duel, will anyone be left standing at the end of the shootout? Enter the dark streets and weird magic of HARD-BOILED WITCH and your life will never be quite the same. This is the second episode in the short story series.

Jane Bond? Chastity Flame!

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I was amused by this tweet from Radio 4 wondering — at this late date  — whether it was time for Jane Bond. I think Peter O’Donnell and I both would have the same eye-rolling reaction to that, not to mention a host of historical women! But wait, there’s more:

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CHASTITY FLAME is back! Well, not so much back as still here but with a new twist. Thanks to Smashwords, Wattpad and Tirgearr Publishing, we’re serialising the first book of the trilogy. That’s right, you can read the book for FREE that’s been called ’50 Shades of James Bond’ and ‘a highly addictive, fast-moving, clever, sexy and funny globe-trotting, spy romp.

Head over to Wattpad to start reading one chapter a day! Be advised, it’s smoking hot so not for the prudish (who might prefer Kit Marlowe’s The Height of Absurdity).

Can’t wait that long? Jump over to Smashwords (the alternative to Amazon) and pick up the book or all three in the trilogy.

Need other purchasing options? Hop on over to Tirgearr Publishing and check out all the books they’ve got, mine and others. They’ve got something to suit every taste.

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Recorded Live: Fur Baby

I will be busy grading today — probably all day — so if you need entertainment, here’s a live recording from yesterday’s 2nd Sunday Open Mic at the Arts Center in Troy, NY. Yes, I really read this story on Mother’s Day. A bit on the dark and creepy side, so if you don’t like that —

Thanks as always to Nancy Klepsch and Dan Wilcox, our fab hosts and the folks new and regular who show up to share their work. I highly recommend it.

If you want to read the original story, drop by Spelk Magazine, thanks Gary Duncan. Sign up to get a little flash fiction in your inbox every day.

Find Out What Happened Next!

2015-06-28 14.09.24Okay, there’s my attempt at a crazy click bait headline. Will it work? I don’t know. I can’t say I care these days. I am too busy to bother trying and none of it seems to work, so I will labour away in obscurity and do what makes me happy, or as Dorothy says,

But I shall stay the way I am
Because I do not give a damn.

If you are among the select group who find some interest in my shenanigans here’s what’s up:

SPELK: My story ‘Fur Baby’ is up at Spelk Fiction today. Thanks, Gary, for giving a place to this disturbing little tale of folklore horror and crime. Sign up to get a little tale every day from this great site.

HÁVAMÁL: The latest translations of verses from the Eddic poem are up on my History Witch page at Witches & Pagans. It’s chock full of medieval advice from the viking perspective. I’m slowly making my way through the poem, offering commentary as I go along to put the words into context. When I get to the end, I will doubtless gather them up in a book.

RED TENT: I will be speaking and/or reading at the Red Tent event tomorrow at 2 in Schenectady. Join us and share your favourite books. I will bring a couple of my own along with me.

WRITE 4 A DAY: The next one is on Sunday. I am really looking forward to it — well, I always do, but this month I have so much to write and it has been far too busy around here.

FOX SPIRIT announces their new young readers line: FENNEC. Give them a look!

TEETH: I had a wisdom tooth pulled this week, which I don’t recommend unless it’s unavoidable. Also, despite insurance that and the crowns to come are making me glad that I am getting a refund for taxes. With the elimination of professional development funds at our institution it’s made it even more of a challenge to keep up my professional life. With Leeds this summer and a bunch of very useful exhibits on for my research I will be doing some travel beyond Scotland which will eat away even more funds. There’s also —

SLOVENIA: I’ve been invited to the Alibi Crime Writing conference in Slovenia this autumn and I am delighted. They take care of everything once I get there, but I need to get there. Would it be cheeky to do a fundraiser for my flight? Give me ten bucks and I’ll send you a postcard from Slovenia? Take a picture you get the only copy of? Tchotchkes? I don’t know. Pondering.

Making my escape in about a month: can’t wait and yet there’s so much to do before I jet away again…