Archive for November, 2012

TM PublishingI must have a thing about magpies, those beady-eyed monochrome birds who helped provide the title of my first novel – The Magpie Trap – and also some of its key imagery (the book is about thievery and a large scale heist at a money manufacturing plant). For today, I’ve just sold a new short story which again harks back to those tweeting wing-flappers. Mister Magpie, my 8000 word short story has been picked up by TM Publishing, and I’ve just signed a contract for it, which is winging its way back to the editors as we speak.

MagpieMister Magpie takes a wholly different angle from the novel, however. The title refers to a ‘code-name’ used by announcers at train stations and aiports to draw attention to something suspicious, or perhaps a threat, which has been identified on site. The purpose of using the name is so as not to panic the general public. So when they next call for a ‘Mister Magpie’, and repeat: ‘can a Mister Magpie please come to the customer service desk now’, then think-on. There are things afoot which maybe they don’t want you to know about…

Anyway, watch this space for full details of when the story will be published and how you can get your talons on a copy.

My short story, ‘The Side Effect of Yeah-Yeah Pills’, has been picked up for publication by the excellent Perihelion Magazine, and is scheduled to appear in the January issue. The story, which concerns green apprentices working an engineering base on a small moon while scientists search for a ‘miracle mineral’, is probably the hardest sci-fi I’ve written, and I’ll be bringing news of how you can read the story, shortly.


A bit of background information – The definition of Perihelion is as follows: “The point in the orbit of a planet, asteroid, or comet at which it is closest to the sun.”

KindleThe website, Indie Book Bargains, is asking for nominations of readers’ favourite books of 2012, to be considered for the Indie Books Bargains 2012 Best Kindle Books Awards. So, if you’ve a mind to do it, please take a moment to nominate Paint this town Red.  Every vote counts, so if you can nominate the book, I’ll be really pleased.

You can nominate the book by following this link.

To vote, all you’ll need are the e-book’s ASIN number and its publication date, as well as a link to its Amazon page, all of which are below:

PTTR Cover smallAmazon Link:

And here’s all the other required information

  • Publisher: Wild Wolf Publishing (27 Feb 2012)
  • ASIN: B007ET9UC4


Grant Mortar is back! The investigative reporter side of my horrendously split personality has reared his ugly head and sneaked up, back from the dead, to glance in a winner in the final minute of stoppage time. This month, he’s writing for Home Defence UK, providing a useful minute-by-minute commentary of the big match, Chelsea vs Manchester City. You can read the whole thing, kit, caboodle and Sky Sports blimp, by clicking here.

But here, for your reading pleasure, is a quick preview:

Sly Sports Leech“We’re here at Stamford Bridge for the Super Smashing Apocalypse Sunday match on the day football as we know it might, just might die, or else disappear up its own arsehole. And in this season to end all seasons, in which the Four Horsemen of Greed, Sloth, Envy and Racism have clattered into town and are now drinking up a storm in the local tavern, the Last Chance Saloon, we’ll have all the action LIVE AND IN 3D.

You won’t miss a minute of it here on Death Star… I mean Sky Sports. But first, a commercial break…”

Course, Mortar isn’t the only star of this month’s HDUK… So here, for your further reading pleasure, is the rest of November’s super-smashing issue:

“After a while, throwing money around is not sensible, even if the midget is willing.” –         Dizzee Rascal

For the year’s final instalment, we’ve really pulled out the stops, starting with a Special Report on the latest trauma to afflict the BBC:


While Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, talks to us about his year in an exclusive lifestyle interview:


The HDUK News Round Up for the Autumn features Nick Clegg, the food crisis, Ann Widdecombe, and many, many poor people:


The Reverend Harry Figgis presents his Chart of 2012 in How I Spend My Days:


The Classic Album features a woozy opus from Dean Wareham’s Luna:

And, finally, in National News, the Coalition comes up with a novel idea for recompensing victims of abuse:

Call it a house swap. While the Estonian ghost story writer Edith O’ Deer made herself comfortable on the PaintthistownRed blog here last week, I’ve repaid her by putting my feet up on her blogging desk today, where I talk about all things book-signing.

You can read the blog here.

Screenprint Edith O Deer Website

AJK at BD1Thanks to the people of Bradford, and Bradford Wool Exchange Waterstones in particular, for making me so welcome yesterday at the book gig. I met some brilliant people and had some very interesting chats, and also managed to sell all the stock. Here’s a pic (left) of me early in the day… It got busier, and I looked happier!

The Bradford gig marked – finally – the end of a four month tour schedule for Paint this town Red which has seen me appearing at a wide variety of stores and festivals, from Camarthenshire to Huddersfield and from Doncaster to London. It’s been, as they say, a rollercoaster ride.

I’m not going to say any more about the Bradford gig for now, though, as I am going to be guest-blogging about it on fellow TWB Press author Edith O’ Deer’s site in the near future. So for now, watch this space.

ajkBy A.J. Kirby

I’ve been tagged by Marilyn Baron who writes humorous women’s fiction, romantic thrillers and paranormal romance to talk about my next big thing in this chain-blog. Read on through these Q’s and A’s and you’ll get to see who I pass on the baton to…

What is the working title of your next book?  

Aha. Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert! It’s Dead Man’s Folly. Or at least I think it is. I’m five chapters in and this is the working title, though I’ve also been known to call it ‘that ornery bastard.’

Where did the idea for the book come from?  

The more novels I write, the more I have come to understand that they stem from the happy confluence of two, or maybe more ‘good ideas’. One, or other of these ideas might have been flowing along quite happily for quite a while, minding its own business, not really pestering to be written. But then something will happen, some flash flood of ideas, and suddenly I’ll see how they can all flow together as one… And then, they won’t shut up. I’ll hear from these ideas, these characters, these plots all day long. All night long too, until I’m punching the pillow with frustration. This new novel throws together an artist, a gambling addict, a serial killer and makes them meet in my current city of residence, Leeds. I’ve been wanting to ‘write Leeds’ again since the publication of my first novel, The Magpie Trap, only, I’ve been somewhat sidetracked in my fictional settings of Limm (Paint this town Red),  Newton Mills (Bully, The Haunting of Annie Nicol), and ‘Elegant’/ PerWorld (Perfect World). In a way, its a restriction to write a real place, but in a way, I’m enjoying this…

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s dark fiction, obviously, as I’m AJ Kirby. That’s what I do. Unlike Bully and Paint this town Red, however, this dark moral fable has a crime thriller thrust. Think The Magpie Trap, and When Elephants Walk Through the Gorbals

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

In this book? Well, call it a cliche, but I’d have Kierston Wareing – – as my female detective. Her partner would be played by Gerard Butler, but fat-stage Gerard Butler, you know, like in the film, Law Abiding Citizen. I don’t want to give too much away about my serial killer, so I won’t give you an actor for him.. or her.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?   

Prodigal son returns to Leeds to wreak havoc.

Will your book be self-published or represented by a traditional publisher?

I want to finish it first. But if anyone wants to make me an offer…? One thing I do know is it won’t be self-published.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Erm… Still cracking on with the bugger. It has a pretty hefty word count though. I’ve been working on it 5 months off and on, and hope to finish by… Do I give myself a deadline? Do I give myself a deadline?  Do I give myself a deadline?  Ah, go on then… Let’s say end of Jan 2013.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Take a look at John Connolly’s dark crime stuff for a few hints.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The impossible dream.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?             

It was all written in my own blood.

If you want to learn more about me and my books and stories, please visit:

And I tag:

In turn, I’d like to invite readers to visit the blogs of the following authors in the next few weeks to find out about their Next Best Thing.

Estonian spooky-story-smith and fellow TWB Press author Edith O’ Deer, who blogs here: