Out Now + Coming Soon

I know I appear to be idling most of the time — and that is probably an entirely justified observation — but occasionally, having done things at some moment of ill-judged industriousness, these scribblings find their way to the light. Out now from Breakdown Breakdown Press: (picture grabbed from the publisher over on Instagram)

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This also offers a hint of a forthcoming project of mine, but anon —

There’s the Inanna book too!

Out in October but up for pre-order now is Volume 4 of the Black Room Manuscripts:

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FFB: A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark

69516I don’t know why I put this off so long: maybe it was knowing it was set in the publishing world. That sort of roman à clef doesn’t usually appeal to me much — possibly because there is nothing much that will surprise me about the publishing world anymore.

But dashing off on the train to meet the fab QoE (still need to write that up) and needing something to read, I wanted more #MurielSpark100 so I grabbed this from the shelf. An unfortunate cover: I see what they were trying to do but it doesn’t really work. So many other lovely versions like this.

But of course this is SPARK so I was riveted from the start. The opening sentence is now among my faves ever:

‘So great was the noise during the day that I used to lie awake at night listening to the silence.’

How great is that? Then she goes on to explore her late night thought process and it’s just wonderful, of course. Written as a memoir by the main character, Mrs Hawkins (surely a nod to Waugh’s Nanny Hawkins), life is a far cry from the rooming house in Kensington that she lived in during the post-war period. Everyone confides in the ‘comfortable’ woman who describes herself as ‘massive’ and ‘hefty’ until ‘I decided to be thin’ (a whole other post on Spark’s obsession about weight will have to be written by someone else). Though not old, everyone treats her as if she were.

Both the house in Kensington and the odd publishing house Hawkins works for are superbly and exquisitely unique as Spark lays them out for us. Modern publishers would have a fit: the opening is all description of people and places, yet it sparkles. Ullswater and York sound like so many real publishers, and yet completely mad, too. The dissection of class is barbed and hilarious. The back and forth in time allow us to know about York’s imprisonment even while we see how he gets away with his crimes because he’s charming and has the right accent.

So many things are going on–little dramas and tiny crimes–that it’s difficult to know what will carry on through the novel and what is merely an episode, which is how Spark surprises you all the time. But she creates one of the all time worst authors in soooo many ways: ‘At this point the man whom I came to call the pisseur de copie enters my story.’ Hector Bartlett is a terrible writer and a horrible man. She makes him absolutely unforgettable and worse than we even imagine. Anyone who has dealt with a horrible author will know him.

Like Highsmith, Spark finds a lot of life’s bizarre coincidences stand out. For Highsmith they’re the heavy hand of fate; for Spark, I rather think they are the reward of faith. Plus she’s so funny and charming between the slicing witty observations:

‘It is a good thing to go to Paris for a few days if you have had a lot of trouble, and that is my advice to everyone except Parisians.’

Go read more Spark! I have her play up next, Doctors of Philosophy.

Check out all the overlooked books at Patti’s blog.

Black Room Manuscripts 4 Cover Reveal

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Whilst I was traipsing around the South in that wretched heat, news broke of this fabulous collection I’ll be part of (thanks to Tracy):

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There’s even a trailer:

Out this October! Spooky nights ahead…

Edge-Lit

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Fox Spirit skulk assemble! It’s Edge-Lit and there is fun to be had for all.

Out Now: Hard-Boiled Witch 5 – Impractical Magic


Out at last, the latest Hecate Sidlaw adventure. Click the image or here to pick up your copy (adjust to your region). As always if you want to order direct, buy me a cuppa (button to the right) and get a PDF as a gift.

Hecate Sidlaw would rather wrestle with her mugwort and nettle tea recipe than battle with a faceless corporation, but somehow she and her familiar Henry always get drawn into magical shenanigans around town. This time there’s something strange going on in the local farming community — do the crop failures have anything to do with the ritual revival of the old Dundee city arch?

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

This 33-page ebook single is the fifth 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

Hard-Boiled Witch 4: FREE!

tirgearr smashwords sale
Don’t forget all my Tirgearr titles are half off all month!

And today only — to get ready for Friday’s release of Hard-Boiled Witch 5 — pick up HBW4 ABRA CADAVRA for free! Click the picture or just here (change to your country’s platform – it defaults to US). You can see where this is going, right? The new episode IMPRACTICAL MAGIC will be out on Friday. Nab ’em while you can — and please, leave a review if you like the stories. It makes a huge difference. Don’t like AMZ? Buy me a cuppa (button on the right) any price and I’ll send you a PDF.

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

“Laity knocks your socks off with the language and also with the dialog.”
~ Les Edgerton

“Laity is probably a figment of her own imagination, and what an imagination that is! A witty and inventive wordsmith. A natural storyteller. A one off!”
~ Paul D. Brazill

“Laity mixes genres in ways that are always rewarding… a compelling writer who is utterly readable.”
~ Richard Godwin

Hard-Boiled Witch 3: FREE!

tirgearr smashwords sale
Don’t forget all my Tirgearr titles are half off all month!

And today only — to get ready for Friday’s release of Hard-Boiled Witch 5 — pick up HBW3 CHARMS O’ERTHROWN for free! Click the picture or just here (change to your country’s platform – it defaults to US). You can see where this is going, right? Tomorrow HBW4  free and then the new one IMPRACTICAL MAGIC out on Friday. Nab ’em while you can — and please, leave a review if you like the stories. It makes a huge difference. Don’t like AMZ? Buy me a cuppa (button on the right) any price and I’ll send you a PDF.

Hecate Sidlaw finds herself in a wild storm of shady folks all looking for a priceless artifact that’s gone missing. With all the double dealing and surprising murders, it’s a wonder she and Henry can find out what’s really going on — and what this precious treasure could be. An ancient alchemical text may hold the answers if only Hecate and Henry can live long enough to get to the library!

This 23-page ebook single is the third in a new series from the author of WHITE RABBIT, 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

“Laity knocks your socks off with the language and also with the dialog.”
~ Les Edgerton

“Laity is probably a figment of her own imagination, and what an imagination that is! A witty and inventive wordsmith. A natural storyteller. A one off!”
~ Paul D. Brazill

“Laity mixes genres in ways that are always rewarding… a compelling writer who is utterly readable.”
~ Richard Godwin