Serial Dancer

Recently, I challenged myself to write a story built around cars and car chases, and I’m really happy with the way Pulp Driver turned out. The next challenge is dancing – the ballet kind. Of course, I couldn’t leave it at that, so there is a serious jag of vengeance/vigilantism/murder involved. Here’s the opening, while the ebook and paperback are available on Amazon.

 

DANISH DESIGN

PART 1

“Moth, be a butterfly,” the dance instructor said, “spread your wings.”

Milla Moth stretched, fingers poised, her arm moving as she lifted her chin, dipped her wrist, extended her slender fingers as the instructor pinched Milla’s elbow, pressed her hip, slapped at her bottom, studied her knee.

“Almost,” the instructor said. “Practice.” And then she was gone, walking her stiff walk to the stereo, pressing the skip button, backwards. The music started again, and the young apprentices of the Royal Danish Ballet School sighed as they slipped their bodies into the start position to stretch, poise and dip once again, and again, until it was dark outside, and they could just see the reflection of the lamps in the street sparkling the window in the corridor, outside studio four.

It was still raining when Milla lowered her arms for the last time, plucking at her leotard, the material damp and grainy between her fingertips as she lifted it from her abdomen. She glanced at her roommate, Scarlett, then crossed the short distance of the dance floor to embrace her. They pressed their foreheads together, breathed on sweat-streaked cheeks, and Milla said, “Done for today, baby.”

“Yes,” Scarlett said. She broke off and tapped Milla on the hip. “You’re cooking.”

“Again?”

“It’s Wednesday, again.”

“Fine.” Milla padded over to her cloth bags and her exercise tube. She sat down, leaned her back against the mirror, and unlaced her ballet shoes. She took a moment to study the black nail on her left foot, wondering when it might fall off, if she should pull it. The other girls said not to. Milla left it alone. She slipped her down-filled booties over her feet, stood up, and gathered her outfits, carrying them by the clothes hangers as she lifted her bags and followed the wake of weary dancers out of the studio and into the corridor. She recognised Scarlett’s cry as the door swung shut behind her.

[…]

Available from Amazon

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Withdrawal Symptoms!

I confess, this song was my ringtone for about 4 years! The song is called Seqinitta Qinngorpaatit and the band is Nanook. At one point I taught the new drummer when I was teaching at the A level college in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital.

I don’t know if this is throwback Thursday, but it is a great song.

Find out more about Nanook here.

The Blood is Floeing

Here’s a teaser, the opening paragraph from Blood Floe.

Even in the unfathomable dark of the polar winter there is always light. The moon reflecting on the surface of the sea ice, the green and white curtains of the Northern Lights twisting across the black night sky, the stars, pinpricks of light scrutinising the tiny villages and settlements dotted along the west coast of Greenland, the houses casting warm yellow squares onto the snow through thick-paned windows, the tiny red lights of the radio mast glowing above the graveyard on the mountain’s knee above the settlement of Inussuk, and a cigarette burning a bright orange, a smouldering flame just a few centimetres from the lips of the man wearing a headlamp, that he shined with slow drifts of his head to the left and right, as he searched for that damned dog that shunned the harness and refused to be trained.

Available for pre-order at just 0.99 from Amazon

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Christoffer Petersen Interview: “I think the setting for my books helps to define their style”

The Dorset Book Detective

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs the Beast from the East continues to keep the UK cold and damp, I talk to someone who knows the true meaning of tough weather; Denmark based Arctic explorer Christoffer Petersen, whose novels are set against a backdrop of the harsh Greenlandic landscape. He talks to me about his books and how they are enhanced by their unique setting.

Tell me about how you came to define your writing style. What drew you towards crime fiction?

I think the setting for my books helps to define their style, especially the crime books. Before I lived in the Arctic, I read a lot of Jack London stories and became fascinated with how the environment was just as much a character as the characters themselves. It’s like the ring in The Lord of the Rings; it has a voice, and I’d like to think I capture that in my style…

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Author Excuses – sorry, Australia!

from Pulp Driver

This was so much fun to write. However, here are my excuses – I used Aussie slang as explained by Margot Robbie, and I probably used it poorly. I invented some road systems around Sydney, and happily forgot others. I got wrapped up in Evie, and I dare you not to. I wrote the whole thing in British English, remembered to drive on the left hand side of the road, and I flagrantly sensationalised thievery. Along the way, I watched Death Proof, Baby Driver, John Wick – Chapters 1 and 2 – several times. I endured Vanishing Point – sorry, not a fan, and I read Andrew Vachss’ “The Getaway Man”, and I urge you to do the same. I read Tarantino’s script for “Death Proof”, and tried really, really hard not to fall in love with Jungle Julia – see the film, you’ll understand. Just see it! I let Mad Max inspire me, and I listened to Kasabian so loud it hurt. I accelerated far too quickly onto the motorway, watched too many YouTube car videos (who knew that Jay Leno had a garage?), and, ultimately, I discovered a whole new world that I knew of, but had never explored.

This is what I did while I wrote Pulp Driver.

What you do, is up to you.

Arctic Noir: The Icelanders

I love the cover for Yrsa Sigurðardóttir’s book DNA. There are variations with all but the titles blacked-out somehow, but the gaffa tape is inspired. Truly.

I met Yrsa at the Horsens Crime Festival, gave her a copy of Seven Graves One Winter – see earlier post for the #shortageofbooks – and told her that I just had to say “hi” as her books, and the other Icelandic crime authors’ books, help sell my own. I find that I am regularly placed on Amazon beside the Icelanders, and I can’t think of better company.

I flew over Iceland a lot when I lived in Greenland, sometimes flying high to beat the ash from the volcanoes, but I never set foot on Iceland, something I really need to do something about.

It was great to talk to Yrsa. She is a talented and passionate author determined to find interesting ways to bump people off. I mean, what’s not to like? I look forward to reading more of her books, and wish her well with both old and new books, not least because they are good for business.

You can find out more about Yrsa Sigurðardóttir on her Facebook page.

Arctic Noir: The Danes

I’m still processing what I learned, who I met, and what I experienced at the Horsens Crime Festival. However, of the many authors I met, there are two in particular that I must mention, as we write within the same genre that could be described as Arctic Noir.

I listened to Nina von Staffeldt talk on the stage on Sunday. It was clear that she has a lot of experience of and a lot of love for Greenland, the country, and, not least, its people. I can relate. Nina talked about the ordinary Greenlander, not the stereotype one hears about in the media. She has made a point of writing about strong Greenlandic characters, and I fully applaud her doing so, and look forward to reading her books Frozen Evidence and The Black Angel featuring the character of Sika Haslund. The books are currently only available in Danish – as is her website. But do have a look, and watch out for the English translation – I am sure it will be in the works.

After Nina’s talk, I had the chance to meet her, and took the opportunity to give her a copy of Seven Graves, One Winter. Now I am waiting on her books from the library. I’ll be sure to write more when I read them.

I’ll be back with another short post about Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, who I was also fortunate to chat to at the festival. When Yrsa sells books, I sell books, and I had the chance to thank her for that… and give her a copy of my book.

You see the pattern here, don’t you? Talk to someone, give them a book.

Gonna need some more books!

Fun and no pixels

I played the original Tomb Raider game a lot back in the late 90s, and when I couldn’t finish a level, my wife Jane would finish it for me. I think I have known Lara Croft as long as I have known Jane. I haven’t played the reboot of the game yet, but Jane and I did just see the new movie with Alicia Vikander. Gone are the pixelated pointy bosoms, replaced, instead, with a solid gut and gutting it out with the bad guys.

Yeah, it works, we enjoyed it.

The ice axe helps.

So, if we play the “if ever” game, and if The Ice Star was ever made into a film, Alicia Vikander would have to play Fenna. I’m just saying. That whole vulnerability, taking on the men in what they perceive as their world, and kicking ass, well, hell yeah! I definitely buy into that, mostly because I wrote that – well, not Tomb Raider, The Ice Star. I’m getting all confused here.

Anyway, there’s an ice axe. Now, I must admit, I don’t remember ever seeing anything remotely frosty to warrant having an ice axe in the film, not even a cold breath, but hey, it was very cool. And I guess that was all the justification the filmmakers needed, that and continuity with the video game reboot.

Will you enjoy the film? Sure you will, if you’re looking to be entertained for a few hours.

Is it Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark-good? Hell no. It’s Tomb Raider.

See it.

But be sure to buy an ice cream for the movie – you know, to justify the axe. 😉

What’s in the box?

Se7en… it’s a classic. It always rains, and then that one day of sunshine. Well. There was this box, see. It wasn’t good. But it was good, the film, if you know what I mean? Anyway, see the film. Don’t look in the box.

Today I looked in the box.

It came exactly as planned according to the tracking number – and if that isn’t enough to make you suspicious … well.

I don’t know.

It was reasonably big, pretty heavy, taped so well I needed a knife, and loaded with cold cases – Arctic Noir!

Yep, it’s the Horsens Crime Festival #krimimessen this weekend, and I need something to decorate my tiny stand with, so I got hold of some books, and they just happen to be mine. Of course, with the table, the roll-up poster, flyers, business cards, and now a box load of books. Yeah, I’m gonna need a bigger boat stand. (I have to toss that line in as often as possible – sorry.)

And now?

Well, now I have an empty box…

…more later.

Going “all in”

So last week I created a Twitter account, and this week it’s Facebook. You might be wondering if I really am new to this Social Media lark, well not exactly, but after a visit to the Stasi Museum in Berlin, I came home and dumped all my social media accounts.

Why?

It was when one of the guides said that few of the employees working at the museum were on Facebook, or social media of any kind. If we’re willing to give up our privacy, what’s next?

But what’s an author to do?

I’ll figure it out*.

*March 24th – I figured it out. Keeping Twitter.