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Category Archives: Guest spots.

Interview: Deano’s Grill…

Today I’m pleased to share with you an interview I did for James D Mortain a few weeks ago. 
The format of the interview itself was very novel, (no pun intended) given that it was carried out by a fictional detective called Andrew ‘Deano’ Deans and he gave me a gentle but thorough grilling about The Wrong Stuff and writing in general.

Please hop over via the link below, check out our chat and have a look round at his site.

***GUY THAIR AT DEANO’S GRILL : WRITING THE WRONG STUFF***

***BUY YOUR COPY OF THE WRONG STUFF HERE***

 

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Q+A…

I was recognised in the Post Office yesterday. 

And I don’t just mean that someone who knows me, saw me and succeeded in matching my likeness to the library of faces in their memory; no, I was recognised.

I was in there to mail a copy of my debut novel, The Wrong Stuff, to a friend I met at the Weird Weekend, way back in 2012, before the world went mad. 

He had made me the generous offer of buying my book and, as a bonus, having it delivered to my address, along with another book of my choice, so that I could sign mine and mail it back to him. So when it arrived (with a JK Rowling reissue of a Harry Potter spinoff of some kind, for Audrey) I inscribed it with a suitably personalised message and took it to the local Post Office. 

The woman behind the counter took one look at me with my book-shaped padded envelope and said; 

“Is that a copy of your book you’re posting there, then? It was you I saw in the Gazette, wasn’t it?”

Which goes to show that people do read local papers, or at least read the headlines and look at the pictures…

Elsewhere, ATLA Publishing described me as “our star author, Guy Thair” on their Twitter feed and Chrissie Parker at Fossend Publishing did a very nice interview with me for their blog;

***WHICH YOU CAN FIND HERE***

I would be very pleased and terribly honoured if you would click the links below and get your very own copy (if you pay the postage, I might even sign it for you) and maybe one for a friend.

Thank you.

********

For those of you who don’t already know, here comes the blurb:

The Wrong Stuff, a totally improvised novel, uniquely created from writing prompts with no edits.
“Hannah Meredith has always had a good eye and she’s a veteran bargain hunter, but she isn’t prepared, when she buys the box marked “Stuff” at a mysterious auction, for her world to suddenly unravel into a series of increasingly bizarre and terrifying events.

Soon on the run from a sinister cabal of vengeful corporate villains and their homicidal henchmen, Hannah must foil an evil plan to bring the world to the brink of global economic collapse, all the while keeping one step ahead of her pursuers.

A fast-moving thriller with a sci-fi twist, the plot stretches from chases through grimy backstreets of Victorian London back to the present day, where sudden violence shatters the tranquility of the English countryside. 
Following Hannah and her unlikely allies in their frantic attempt to stay alive and save the world from disaster, The Wrong Stuff is exciting and original, with more than a touch of black humour.”
This is the UK Amazon link…

AMAZON UK

…and for those of you further afield, there’s this one:

THE REST OF THE WORLD

The reviews:
***** – “The Wrong Stuff is a fast paced, rollicking adventure.”
***** – “Easy to read, difficult to put down.”
**** – “Fast moving…cleverly crafted.”
***** – “From start to finish it had me. It had drama and suspense, all tinged with a slice of black humour.”

 

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One liner Wednesday: Alternative dictionary…

There’s big money to be made from celebrity memorabilia these days, hence today’s alternative definition:

“Fanfare” – The price of an autograph.

#1linerWeds
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One liner Wednesday: Alternative dictionary…

The brilliant Douglas Adams used the names of places to give new words to everyday meanings in The Meaning of Liff and this alternate definition follows that tradition;

“Baltimore” – Extra curry.

#1linerWeds

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Stream of consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part fourteen…

Time once again for Linda G Hill to provide us with inspiration for SoCS, enabling me to continue with this slowly evolving story, by using the prompt;

” “bear/bare.” Use one, use both, use ’em any way you please. “

Come on then, let’s see what happens…

The Accumulator, part fourteen.

Scene: A busy café, Concarneau, northern France. Tables with parasols are arranged outside in the street, most of them occupied by families of camera-toting tourists. It is two years ago.

The camera angle changes to face the opposite direction, giving a view of the medieval walled town in the harbour. Holidaymakers stroll back and forth across the drawbridge, the only access to the fortified island, wearing their bare, sunburned skin like a badge of honour.

We are observing this pleasant seaside scene from the POV of a café patron at one of the pavement tables, a fact which becomes obvious when a hand reaches into shot for the cigarette that smoulders in a glass ashtray.

As the hand picks up the cigarette and brings it toward the camera, the angle changes once more we see that the hand holding it belongs to Patrick; relaxed and tanned, dressed in a white cotton shirt, navy blue shorts and white espadrilles, he looks every inch the local resident, an impression that is reinforced when he beckons to a passing waiter and places his order in impeccable French.

The waiter vanishes into the café and Patrick takes a final drag on his cigarette and stubs it out, just as his mobile phone rings, vibrating against the tabletop. 

“Hello. Yes, I’m here, but there’s no rush…….Yeah, that’s fine, I’ll be there,” he looks at his watch, “give me half an hour, I’m just having lunch. Ok, bye.”

Patrick goes back to watching the passing crowds of tourists, eyes hidden behind sunglasses, as his voiceover returns.

“This is probably a bit of a shock, the change of surroundings and all, but there’s a pretty simple explanation for it, really. At least, my version of it is pretty simple, because the narrative style of these things doesn’t allow for much in the way of elaboration. 

So, some bullet points:

– Turned out the Mercedes we pinched from the two goons in the petrol station had all their fancy Department ID badges in the glove box and some security pass on the windscreen which nobody ever seemed to question.

– The story about me being a fugitive from justice had been planted in the paper by Endicott and his smarmy army, something we found out when we ran into two coppers at a motorway services and they didn’t look at us once, let alone twice. This was subsequently confirmed when we discovered a radio in the car and were able to eavesdrop on their transmissions for a short time, until they discovered their fallen comrades, then all radio traffic went silent.

–  We made it all the way to the south coast without incident and tried our luck with the Department pass at the docks in Dover, (by then, we’d smartened ourselves up a bit, I’m not proud of how we acquired the means to do that, but I’ve been trying to atone for my past sins ever since) driving straight onto the first cross-channel ferry with no questions asked. It appeared that Endicott’s Department men didn’t even require passports to travel around Europe, the strange, photoless ID cards and our car pass seemed to open any door.

– We set up in a small cottage in the Brittany countryside after a month of roughing it in the Merc, using money from a smash and grab we did on a drug dealer we’d been keeping an eye on. Cathy played her part perfectly (a strung out junkie, looking for a fix) and we got away with a lot more than we had anticipated, selling drugs is obviously a better business than I thought.

– Cathy got a job as a nurse after a few weeks, working in a local nursing home and I started a small photography studio, here in Concarneau, catering mainly to tourists and doing occasional shoots for travel brochures.

– I found it easy to pick up the language (maybe it was a skill I had before, who knows?) and after a few months of patient trying, Cathy became fluent enough that she no longer has to bear the raised eyebrows of the locals when she shops in the market.

– Nobody from The Department has contacted us in the nine years we’ve been here and as far as I knew, they had no idea where we are.

– I’m at that café because I was supposed to be meeting with a man who wanted me to do a shoot for his hotel, but he rang and told me he’d be late, so I’m meeting him in the Old Town later.

Or so I thought, because the next thing that happened was, well, just watch…”

The camera shows us the waiter, coming out of the café carrying a tray and approaching Patrick’s table. Patrick moves the ashtray and his phone to one side, clearing a space for his plate of mussels, knocking his cigarette packet off the table in the process.

As he bends to retrieve the packet from the floor, the waiter makes a strange coughing noise and Patrick looks up just in time to see the man fall to his knees, a shocked look on his face and a rapidly spreading red stain in the middle of his chest. The bowl of mussels on the table suddenly shatters and Patrick feels a sharp pain, looking down to see a deep graze in his upper arm, then someone starts screaming and Patrick is moving, ducking into an alley and running to where his old Renault is parked behind the café.

He slams the door while punching numbers on his phone, jamming the key into the ignition and slamming the car into gear.

“Come on, come on!” Patrick yells, wheels spinning on the cobbles as he speeds down the narrow street “Pick up the damn phone!”

Finally, someone answers.

“Hello, I thought you’d…”

“It’s happened, they’ve found us!”

**********

To be continued (using next week’s prompt {which can now be found HERE})…

#SoCS

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Stream of consciousness (not)Sunday (2): The Accumulator, part twelve…

So here we are again; another long weekend off work, another late edition of SoC-not-S and this week we are continuing Patrick’s story with a little help from Linda G Hill and her prompt; 

” “pretty.” Use it any way you please. “

No problem…

The Accumulator, part twelve.

Scene: A wide angle shot of open countryside at night; darkened fields are separated by low stone walls and strips of dense woodland and the full moon casts impenetrable shadows against the stark contours of the landscape. Two figures can just be seen in the middle distance, moving slowly towards the camera, their progress evidently hampered by the smaller of the pair, who seems to be having considerable difficulty negotiating the uneven terrain. It is eleven years ago.

The occasional sound of a female voice, swearing furiously, drifts up the slope on the gentle breeze and, as our heroes get closer, Patrick’s sardonic narration resumes:

“We left the quarry and headed east, for no other reason than it was away from both there and The Department’s facility. We didn’t know where we were going, but we knew we didn’t want to go anywhere near either of those, so we kept off the roads and went cross-country, an exercise that was easier said than done in Cathy’s case.”

We briefly see Cathy, silhouetted against the moonlit landscape as she clambers over the final wall, until she suddenly vanishes with a further burst of expletives. 

“It took us twice as long as it should have, what with her falling over every ten minutes in those pretty little shoes of hers and me having to carry her for the last two hundred yards, when the bloody heels gave up and snapped off altogether. But when we finally got to the other side of the valley we had our next stroke of luck.”

The camera follows Patrick as he staggers the last few steps to the top of the scrub-covered slope, Cathy riding piggyback with her arms wrapped tightly round his neck, one hand still clinging grimly to her ruined shoes. Patrick lowers his passenger none too gently to the ground before collapsing to his knees on the rough grass, breathing heavily and coughing.

“You really shouldn’t smoke,” says Cathy, inspecting one unheeled stiletto with displeasure, “it’s very bad for your health, you know.”

He turns and gives her his most scathing look. 

“True, but it is very good for calming the nerves, and I haven’t had a smoke for a while now, so I wouldn’t push my luck, if I were you.”

Cathy shrugs and points to something behind him.

“Maybe you can find some in there, if you’re that desperate.”

Patrick turns in the direction she’s looking and about fifty yards away sees a single storey building with a tall sign outside, next to a road that wasn’t visible on their trek up the hill. A petrol station, deserted at this hour and isolated enough to warrant further investigation, thinks Patrick, studying the garage carefully for signs of habitation. 

When he is satisfied the building is unoccupied, he hoists Cathy onto his back for the short journey across the road and the cracked tarmac of the car park, depositing her on the doormat of the small concession store which overlooks the silent forecourt.

“Wait here,” he says, “keep an eye out, look lost and innocent and whistle if you see anyone coming.”

Cathy gives him a look of her own, but peers into the darkness as he disappears round the corner of the building. She is still watching the empty road thirty seconds later, when the sound of breaking glass makes her jump. A few seconds after that and she sees movement in the shadows of the store and a dark shape resolves itself into Patrick’s grotesquely distorted grinning face, pressed up against the inside of the glass door.

Cathy rolls her eyes and waits for him to locate the lock and let her in, which he eventually does, opening the door and ushering her in with a deep bow. She smiles despite herself and steps inside, moving cautiously down the narrow aisle between two display racks, feeling her way in the gloom until she reaches the counter. 

He joins her after relocking the door and grimaces as she points out the shuttered and padlocked cigarette cabinet.

“Yeah, well I’m trying to give up, apparently it’s bad for me.” He takes a small flashlight from a box on the counter and gestures to the rear of the shop with it, where it illuminates shelves of holiday accessories; beach toys, baseball caps, sunglasses and cheap deck shoes.

“Oh, thank god for that.” Cathy checks the sizes of a few pairs, then slips on a pair of blue canvas pumps with exaggerated relief, “Aaahhh, that’s so much better, thank you.”

“Take a spare pair, just in case, they don’t look the sturdiest things for hiking in and you never know when you might get another chance.”

“More hiking? You have to be kidding, I thought…well, I just thought we’d be able to take something from out the front…”

“Out the front? What d’you mean, what’s out there?”

“There’s a line of second hand cars for sale out there, didn’t you notice?”

“Show me.”

Cathy leads him to the window and points across the forecourt to where a Land Rover and a few other vehicles are just visible in the moonlight, prices scrawled on the windscreens in whitewash.

“Perfect. We just have to hope there’s petrol, too.” 

Patrick steps behind the counter and searches underneath until he comes up with a small lockbox. The lock gives way after a minute of levering with a screwdriver, revealing a selection of car keys, all helpfully labelled with registration numbers. 

“I can’t see the number plates from here, but I reckon this is the Land Rover key.” He holds up a flat metal key, with no locking fob or logo, “I recognize it from Endicott’s place, they had an old one there, he took me on a tour of the grounds in it once.”

“Right, let’s get going then.” 

He turns to see Cathy, arms full of snacks and drinks, trying unsuccessfully to open a bag of crisps and shakes his head.

“What, you want me to starve? I’d leave the money if I had it; shall I write them an IOU?”

“You just wait there while I go and check the car out, ok?”

“Yessir! Certainly sir!” She threw a salute and stamped to attention, spoiling the effect somewhat by sticking her tongue out at him and crossing her eyes.

Still shaking his head and smiling to himself, Patrick heads for the door to check they remain unobserved, then unlocks it and walks quickly across the dark forecourt to the line of vehicles. 

He has just reached the door of the Land Rover when Cathy sees the sudden glow of headlights, followed by the car they are attached to, swing round an unseen bend in the road and, sickeningly, head straight for the petrol station entrance.

The lights sweep across the window and Cathy ducks down behind the counter as the car pulls up and stops outside. There is a brief silence, then she hears doors open and close and the sound of approaching footsteps. Someone outside rattles the door and she hears muffled voices.

There’s another moment of silence and she begins to think they are going to leave, then a noise from the rear of the shop makes her jump and she hears a voice, shockingly clear and seemingly only a few feet away;

“Hey, there’s a broken window back here, I’m going to take a look.”

Cathy desperately looks around her, searching for a place to hide, but she’s trapped behind the counter and there’s nowhere to go. She senses a presence on the other side of the thin wooden partition and suddenly a shape looms above her as someone leans over the counter.

“Well, what do we have here then? What’s a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this..?”

**********

To be continued (using next week’s prompt {which can now be found HERE})…

#SoCS

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K’lee and Dale’s Cosmic Photo Challenge…

It’s time once again to fire up your imaginations and get creative for K’lee and Dale’s Cosmic Photo Challenge, which today revolves around a theme of my choice.

I specifically asked you to use some form of post-production effects for this week’s challenge, because that is what we like here and I’ve noticed that some of you shy away from using all but the most basic adjustments to your original photos.

Plus, I have a guest contributor this week, so I also wanted to be able to crowbar his pictures in.

I’ve gone for some more abstract images, produced using photos of industrial components as the source material.

The next selection are from my old friend and esteemed blog artist-in-residence, Ho, who sent me these colourful and artistic contributions last week.

So, there you have it.

KG left us this.

Lady Lee Manila offers these for your perusal.

And K’lee’s photo is HERE, for your viewing pleasure.
Now, show us the fruits of your creative labours…
*****
To get involved with the challenge, post a photo to your blog on Monday, add a pingback to this post (or to K’lee’s) and don’t forget to tag your post #CosPhoChal.

Alternatively, add a link to your blog in the comments of either mine or K’lee’s post and we’ll come and check out your entry.
Any and all effects, editing, Photoshop, Instagram, morphing, collages or whatever other post production techniques you fancy are permitted, (in fact, they’re actively encouraged!) so get creative and turn your photos into artworks for the Cosmic Photo Challenge.
#CosPhoChal

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2016 in Arts, Blogging, Guest spots., Ho., Photography

 

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