Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Getting Out of Dodge Before It's Too Late! #ASMSG

My second Ger Mayes crime novel, Getting Out of Dodge, is featuring over at the Authors Electric Christmas Sale from 25 - 28 December. Hop on over and grab some truly great books for 99c / 99p. They also have a review site.

Here's the first chapter of Getting Out of Dodge to whet your appetite:

Chapter 1 - A walk in the park

The sky is heavy. Dark purple clouds reflect on the lake’s rippling surface. Here and there an aquamarine gap opens in the sky – maybe a portal to the troposphere? I could do with someone beaming me up there, right now.
‘Look, Ma, look!’ A small boy at the far edge of the water points at a drake terrorising all the other ducks, wings beating as it chases.
The mother pulls her son back by the hand, trying to keep him away from the edge as he hurls chunks of bread at the uninterested, overfed recipients. Two swans glide through the ducks and seagulls swoop in for the spoils.
Plastic wheels on tarmac and a rush of air. A youth on rollerblades flies past the bench where I’m sitting. He moves like a speed-skater but looks like a thief, woolly hat down tight under a hoodie.
‘Fecker!’ shouts another mother as the youth swerves deftly around her pushchair.
Ah, the serene beauty of suburban Dublin.
‘You okay, mister?’ she asks.
I look up. She can’t be long out of school. She’s talking to me but I have no words to share.
‘Jesus! What’s happened to yer face?’
My hand goes to my cheek. My face, my whole body, is sore to the touch. I must look a sight, it was quite a beating.
She shakes her head and walks on.
‘Feckers, the lot of them. Feckers,’ she mutters to the world.
Sean Walsh Park contains everything I hate about this country. I should have left two weeks ago, with the first taste of freedom. Now look.
Across the lake a youngish man in a tracksuit walks cockily, phone to his ear and a beer bottle in one hand. He downs the last of the beer and hurls the bottle into the bushes. Then he switches off the phone and slips it into his jacket pocket.
The little boy feeding the birds turns and runs into the man’s arms. I’m too far away to hear what the mother says but, from the body language, it’s where have you been or who were you talking to. The man ignores her and runs to the water’s edge with the boy. They look across the lake and see me watching, so I turn my head.
I don’t know how I got here, but here I am. It has something to do with this thing between my legs. Everything to do with it.
A breeze picks up and rustles the plastic bag at my feet. I look into the wind and see lads loitering at the far entrance to the park. Even at this distance they look foreign. Something about their trousers. They’re the Romanians. Friends or enemies, I’m not sure. Is this their doing? It could be, doesn’t matter now.
The bag rustles again. I have no idea how I came to be here, can’t remember. I don’t deserve it. This time I tried to do the right thing. My intentions were good.
A shout makes it upwind from the mother with the pushchair. Two uniformed guards struggle past her at the other entrance. A man in a dark jacket follows and then the wiry, brown-suited figure of Detective Inspector Andy McAuliffe. I can smell his cigarettes in my memory.
Andy, I should have taken your advice and got the hell out of Dodge.
Before they reach me I have to know what’s between my legs. But I think I already know and so does Andy, somehow.
The bag is oozing something onto the tarmac. Clear fluid with traces of pink. I open the top of the bag with both hands and my favourite fragrance wafts out. When a woman wears that, it means she’s mine. The scorching sun, sea and sand of the Mediterranean, as the ad says, with a hint of butcher’s shop.
I put my hand inside and let my fingertips touch, then stroke. Her hair is soft and fair. I always loved her hair.

Want to win a new Kindle? Marble City Publishing is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite plus leather cover in a free draw, visit their site to enter:

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Miss This at Your Peril #ASMSG

My first crime fiction novel, Peril, is on 99c / 77p sale today and featured at Kindle Books and Tips.

39 reviews on, here are a few samples of what readers say:

"My goodness, I enjoyed this. It had it all, drama, mystery, love gone bad."

"Love the twists and turns"

"A darned good read."

"Serious crime thriller yes, but only on one level; Peril by Ruby Barnes is so much more."

"It kept me turning the pages right up to the satisfying and appropriate conclusion."

"A train wreck you can't help watching through the cracks in your fingers."

"Shifty and shady ... one thing leads to another until it comes tumbling down around him."

"A walking invitation to vice and good-natured corruption."

"Tense, suspenseful read - the fast-paced story of a philandering jerk."

"The importance of being honest."

"It's a story of a drunk, nothing more. There are better stories about drunks." (well, not everybody likes everything!)

Peril by R.A. Barnes

Want to win a new Kindle? Marble City Publishing is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite plus leather cover in a free draw, visit their site to enter:

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Watch Out For The Skin Deep #ASMSG

My stablemate Jim Williams has a very eloquent turn of phrase that earned him a Booker Prize nomination for his historical novel Scherzo a few seasons back. Scherzo is a great book but I think my favourite of Jim's is The Argentinian Virgin. Marble City Publishing is running a pre-Christmas sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for The Argentinian Virgin and I've re-posted my review of the book here in case it catches your interest. At 99c / 77p it's a snip!

Ruby reviews The Argentinian Virgin

Judging a Book by its Cover

I was captivated by the beautiful woman on the cover of this book the moment I saw her. It’s happened to me before and I dare say it’s happened to you. We assign attributes of character without any basis in fact, but because of the way an individual appears. Through a happy accident of birth, the lucky mix of genes, what the red Hot Chili Peppers call “a perfect piece of DNA”, an individual is blessed with beauty. Facial symmetry, poise, a breadth of shoulders, slimness of waist, coupled with graceful strength or endearing fragility.

Nature’s deception, I call it. The effect may be momentary; if they open their mouth and sound like their antithesis then the bubble is burst; if their charm works when statuesque but fails in movement then they ought best to stand still. Without any contrary evidence, such beauty can be an enduring lure. I’ve been caught out more than once by appearances, giving trust and even affection to the owner, only to find that it was an accident of nature and under the alluring surface they’re just as ordinary as you or I. But sometimes, occasionally, the character matches the appearance and something wonderful is ignited for anyone who comes within range. Such a person is Tom Rensselaer in The Argentinian Virgin by Jim Williams.

Lucky Tom Rensselaer warms the sight and hearts of all who have the good fortune to meet him. He’s a product of good breeding, old money (although now lost) and perfect nature. Strong in principle, generous and loving, he cannot fail in life. But what happens when Adonis meets Aphrodite? Katerina Malipiero captivates Tom from their first encounter. She’s without guile, innocence personified, and all the more irresistible for that. The air crackles with charge whenever they are in each other’s company. He can’t withstand her attraction, any more than the powers at war can halt their own inevitable march towards doom.

Set on the French Riviera early in the Second World War, monumental events occur around the cast of Tom and the other Americans, the Malipieros and the Irish narrator, Pat. A chance encounter, infatuation, love and lust lead Tom and his Argentinian Virgin through the backwoods of occupied France, leading to a tragedy that no one can avoid.

Passionate, evocative, enthralling and emotive, The Argentinian Virgin is a warning to watch out for the skin deep.

Marble City Publishing is running a pre-Christmas sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for The Argentinian Virgin.

Want to win a new Kindle? Marble City Publishing is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite plus leather cover in a free draw, visit their site to enter:

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Email to: #AllUsers - How I Wrote My First Novella #ASMSG

A few weeks ago I was giving a two hour talk in a local library on the wonders of e-publishing.

'So, there's no quality control?' one of the still-conscious attendees asked.

'That's right. Some restrictions on cover and content, but even those might not prevent initial publishing,' I said.

Another person woke, caught the thread of conversation and asked, 'How about title and author name? Any copyright or that sort of thing?'

'No. You can't copyright a title and you can call yourself whatever you want, within reason. If you use J.K. Rowling you might get into trouble. Let's take a look.'

I opened the Kindle Direct Publishing web page and proceeded to create a new kindle book with the title Nonsense Novel. Then I entered an author name - Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel. (For those whose TV memories are more recent or less obscure than mine, Tarquin was a character in a brief Monty Python sketch, lampooning the Monster Raving Loony Party.) Then I uploaded a Word document containing last year's letter to Santa. To complete the ensemble I browsed for a picture of me half-naked with a Hitler moustache and saved it as the e-book cover.

'If I press Publish, this e-book will be live on Amazon within forty-eight hours.'

The insomniac attendee gasped and the others snored more loudly. But the experience gave me an idea.

A couple of days later, in a facebook group, someone (who shall remain unnamed unless it's that Tim Stevens who hangs the toilet roll incorrectly) mentioned that independent author icon J.A. Konrath had said anyone could write an e-book in an hour. The nameless Tim (he won't mind me keeping him nameless) said he had written and published something - a skit on how to market an e-book. It was tongue in cheek but one or two people had taken it seriously and written a dodgy review. The whole thing sounded like a really bad idea. So I decided to do it. Surely I could afford an hour of my life to come up with a rant and immortalise it for Kindle?

So I spent about a week thinking it over. I decided to follow a methodical structure for the few pages (which turned into a structure for each chapter), to break a few literary rules e.g. use a dream sequence (which became a dream sequence at the start of each chapter) and to use real life events for inspiration.

The setting - a Victorian asylum.

The narrator - a health service employee with two jobs, one as solemniser of marriages and the other as dispenser of healthcare aids and appliances.

The humour - a variety of tasteless healthcare appliance puns and mispronunciation of Solemniser.

The odd bits - compulsive behavioural habits, dreams of death and destruction and strange tastes in out-of-date food. And re-use of some very strange emails that are circulated from the former lunatic asylum on the campus where I spend my daylight hours.

The plot - large scale fraud. I would write it in diary form with dialogue where helpful.

Six weeks later, 23,000 words, 88 pages of beta-read, line-edited nonsense. But Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel didn't sound Irish enough for the author of this tome. So I added Murphy to the end. The book title came from the prefix of those #AllUsers emails. Uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing, cover created with an image I purchased a couple of years ago. I clicked the Publish button and finally exorcised the demon.

The moral of the story? If your personality is in any way compulsive then be careful about rising to a challenge. It can take over your life.

The result? I'll let you be the judge of #AllUsers, but here's the opinion of someone who knows:

"#AllUsers is a satirical novella of earth-shattering literary inconsequence." Mrs Murphy

Cover of #AllUsers by Tarquin Murphy

#AllUsers is now available on Amazon
 but you can get it free by joining Ruby's News

Want to win a new Kindle? Marble City Publishing is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite plus leather cover in a free draw, visit their site to enter:

This post originally guested on Electric

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Are We Human, Or Are We Dancer? Ruby Reviews Lifeform Three by Roz Morris #ASMSG #Bookreview

It’s been a long, long time since I read a science fiction novel. Maybe thirty years. The closest I’ve come to doing so was the futuristic part of My Memories of a Future Life by the same author. I knew from MMOAFL that Roz Morris was a lyrical writer and I trusted her when I requested and received an advance review copy of Lifeform Three. My consternation in realising I had picked up a dystopian novel, and that the MC Paftoo was a synthetic lifeform, only stayed with me until the end of the first page, and then I realised the magic had begun.

Lifeform Three is a totally believable, some might say inevitable, scenario. Global warming, lands lost to rising sea levels, increased urbanisation and total reliance upon interactive technology. Synthetic bods manage theme parks based upon historical artefacts. When the sun goes down, the power goes off. Except something is different about Paftoo. To paraphrase the blonde who asked “Do dogs have brains?” the reader is soon thinking “Do synthetic lifeforms have souls?”

Then things start to get creepy. Paftoo has been here before, we’ve all been here before. Groundhog Day. But there’s learning to be had, precious learning that can be tragically erased by a group “Sharing”. After a few chapters you’ll be begging the story not to put Paftoo through a Sharing.

Morris does a fantastic job attributing characters to these near identical androids. Although Paftoo is the one who breaks the rules, my favourite character is the enigmatic Tickets. Part ballerina, part nightclub bouncer, he holds the key to the story. He knows where that missing door on the cover of this book is.

Lifeform Three doesn’t give us all the answers. It leaves plenty of room for the imagination. I really didn’t want this book to end, it’s that good. The emotional involvement reminded me of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, but Lifeform Three is much more joyous and less tragic.

It wasn’t until the end of the book that I realised there’s no sex in it. None at all. If you’re looking for rampant robot sex then you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re looking for a gripping read, at times tender, uplifting and hopeful, then Lifeform Three is the one.

Want to win a new Kindle? Marble City Publishing is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite plus leather cover in a free draw, visit their site to enter:

Saturday, 14 December 2013

A Seven Book Deal With Pan Macmillan - OMG! #ASMSG

 Not for me, unfortunately, but great news for historical saga author Mary Wood. Making the move from indie author to mainstream, Mary tells her story here on
Mary Wood has been writing novels for nearly twenty-five years and this breakthrough couldn't have happened to a more deserving person (me, me, me! I hear you say). She's kind, engaging and gracious. Go on over to Multi-story to read what Mary has to say about it all.

Also, Mary will be making the Christmas draw for a free Kindle Paperwhite plus leather cover, sponsored by Marble City Publishing, so get your entry in for the best e-reader on the market. Lightweight, glare free, read in bright sunshine unlike a tablet or iPhone (remember that bright sunshine?), read in the dark with the front-lit screen, and save yourself from the internet distractions of a tablet. Entry is free and the draw will take place early January 2014. Good luck!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Psycho Killer, Qu'est Que C'est? The Baptist on sale today!

My psychological thriller The Baptist is getting an outing on KINDLE BOOKS AND TIPS today. Sale price 99c / 77p for a couple of days only.

 If you're having problems with the link then copy and paste this into your browser:

KB&T is a great platform for readers and authors alike. It gives authors a cost-effective way to reach readers and it gives readers free and discount books that have been quality assured with Amazon Verified Purchase reviews, professional content and great covers. Run by Michael Gallagher, great guy!

Want to win a new Kindle? Marble City Publishing is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite plus leather cover in a free draw, visit their site to enter:

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

WTF? The Baptist Profane Twelve Days of Christmas!

It's time to wheel out John Baptist's favourite turns of phrase again. (Seriously, if you are offended by profanity then stop here.)

A couple of winters ago I emailed a copy of The Baptist to a friend's work as a pdf attachment. That email was intercepted and she received an automatically generated message from her employer's Mail Sweeper programme.

This e-mail has been stopped in Profane Messages. 

A report was attached to the message with the MIMEsweeper Analysis results. The report was studied by all and sundry tea-break and the content engendered a lot of discussion. Irish tea-breaks are an occasion for great craic. The consensus was The Baptist contained a lot of action but not enough components to perform it. They discussed the parts of speech.

The report results are below and I have to say that, while I didn't intend to write a profane novel, I can remember exactly each and every page where the offending words occur.

The phrase 'arse' was found at location 70126
and so on. I'll just share the count.
arse x 1
balls x 2
bang x 3
bastard x 12 (a dozen, one of them capitalised therefore a pronoun?)
bitch x 6 (half dozen, imperial measure)
bloody x 8 (quaint that bloody should be a profanity in this day and age, and might actually have described murder weapon)
blow job x 1 (shouldn't I have hyphenated the blow-job? That's what I've been doing wrong)
bollocks x 1 (shouldn't there be at least two of those fellas?)
crap x 2 (okay, in UK and Ireland it's an expletive)
cunt x 3 (I do apologise, it's a very vulgar word but, in my defence, it was, or rather they were, components of dialogue. Vulgar dialogue. Not uncommon in Ireland.)
fag x 5 (means cigarette in UK and Ireland and that was the intention)
fuck x 10 (no argument there and good to see it's gone decimal)
fucker x 4 (nice alliteration and I'm getting an idea for a Christmas song now)
fucking x 21 (more than a score - in fairness, there is a lot of that going on)
penis x 1 (poor little lad, all on his own, but just goes to show it takes only one)
prick x 3 (oh, right ... well)
queer x 1 (surely acceptable as an adjective?)
sex x 7 (the vanilla variety is profane?)
sexy x 2 (sexy too)
shirt-lifter x 1 (at least it's hyphenated, if homophobic, but anyhow it's dialogue)
shit x 11 (one short of the dozen)
shite x 1 (the Irish for above)
slut x 1 (so few?)
wanker x 1 (there's always one)
white trash x 2 (confused, is that profane?).

Right, Christmas is on the horizon. So, in the spirit of the season, I offer:

The Baptist Profane Twelve Days of Christmas

(I'll just go to straight to the last verse)

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Twelve bastards bragging
Eleven shits a fan-hitting
Ten fucks a flying
Nine fucking expletives (cheated, there wasn't nine of anything)
Eight bloody bus stops
Seven sex in the opens
Six bitches barking
Five ... fags ... a ... puffing!
Four fighting fuckers
Three quiet cunts
Two dangly balls
And a slut arse-wanker penis blow-job bollocks.

(That leaves a spare queer sexy shirt-lifter shite white trash, sounds like one of my characters.)

I'm sure we'll be hearing that little ditty on the radio.

All in the name of literary art, my dears.


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Plus my publisher is running a free Christmas draw for a Kindle Paperwhite plus leather cover here - go enter!