My good friend RLL is participating in an exciting event called READ TUESDAY, which is taking place today, December 10th. Basically, this event is a HUGE SALE on our favorite thing: BOOKS! Go ahead and click on the image above to be taken to the READ TUESDAY site. You don’t want to miss out on this HUGE EVENT!

In honor of the event, RLL has been circling blogs, answering some very personal questions in that alluring Scottish accent of his. And while I haven’t had time to reciprocate and answer these questions myself (yet…*cough* work *cough* Nano *cough* winterguard *cough* Christmas), I’m happy to host him on my blog. And let’s be honest, since Antithesis came out, I’ve kind of gone into radio silence (*cough* Nano), it’s something I plan on working on in the near future…if I have time.

So here’s RLL. Feel free to read the following in your BEST Scottish accent. And be sure to check out READ TUESDAY and RLL’s sale books (they’re FREE today!): Neon Gods Brought Down by Swords and WITCHES.


In support of READ TUESDAY, I’ve been answering twenty questions on other people’s blogs. Writers chatting to each other on writing. I’ve given different answers to my own questions here:










   The next set of answers will go up here shortly: E.B. BLACK.


READ TUESDAY is a winter book sale taking place on the 10th of December 2013 – the inaugural sale. Get out there and find some bargains on the day. Spread the joy of reading and writing.


Time for some alternative answers…where possible. It’s getting tougher to answer these same questions…


1. Fire rages in your house. Everyone is safe, but you. You decide to smash through the window, shielding your face with a book. What is the book?


Unreliable Memoirs, by Clive James. If you are going to die, die laughing.


2. Asleep in your rebuilt house, you dream of meeting a dead author. But not in a creepy stalkerish way, so you shoo Mr Poe out of the kitchen. Instead, you sit down and have cake with which dead author?


Rather unsporting of me I know, but I feel like naming a writer yet-living – just to move that writer over to the dead list for the purposes of this answer. And then I’d have words.


3. Would you name six essential items for writers? If, you know, cornered and threatened with torture.


In no particular order. A weak floor. Untied shoelace. Shark in a bathtub. A pen, filched from my breast-pocket and held in my mouth. That old stand-by, a blown fuse. A woman with acute hearing.

   As the torturer enters the room, the fuse blows. I spy my chance and expel the pen from my mouth. It clatters to the edge of the weak floor. My torturer slips on the pen and then trips on his untied shoelace. The torturer’s impact with the weak-spot sends him falling into the waiting bathtub.

   A woman with acute hearing notices the crash and that scream, and it is she who rushed to my rescue. Shark and bathtub constitute one item for the purposes of this narrative. The water is thrown in, free.


4. Who’d win in a fight between Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster? If, you know, you were writing that scene.


Fiction is the real winner here. That’s a rubbish answer. Hulk SMASH!


5. It’s the end of a long and tiring day. You are still writing a scene. Do you see it through to the end, even though matchsticks prop your eyelids open, or do you sleep on it and return, refreshed, to slay that literary dragon another day?


I press the big red button that does all my writing.


6. You must introduce a plot-twist. Evil twin or luggage mix-up?


My plot-twist is…that there is no plot-twist. People speak of it for years.


7. Let’s say you write a bunch of books featuring an amazing recurring villain. At the end of your latest story you have definitely absitively posolutely killed off the villain for all time and then some. Did you pepper your narrative with clues hinting at the chance of a villainous return in the next book?


Given that the villain succeeds in destroying existence…


8. You are at sea in a lifeboat, with the barest chance of surviving the raging storm. There’s one opportunity to save a character, drifting by this scene. Do you save the idealistic hero or the tragic villain?


In an appalling mix-up, I save the idealistic tragic.


9. It’s time to kill a much-loved character – that pesky plot intrudes. Do you just type it up, heartlessly, or are there any strange rituals to be performed before the deed is done?


Spaghetti, always the spaghetti. I feel that’s twice I’ve used this answer. Raspberry sauce, always the raspberry sauce…


10. Embarrassing typo time. I’m always typing thongs instead of things. One day, that’ll land me in trouble. Care to share any wildly embarrassing typing anecdotes? If, you know, the wrong word suddenly made something so much funnier. (My last crime against typing lay in omitting the u from Superman.)


Another bogus question – presumably, we type ALONE and somehow KILL the typo before that witty error reaches the pubic.


11. I’ve fallen out of my chair laughing at all sorts of thongs I’ve typed. Have you?


Well, it’s saner than falling out of a thong laughing at all sorts of chairs I’ve typed.


12. You take a classic literary work and update it by throwing in rocket ships. Dare you name that story? Pride and Prejudice on Mars. That kind of thing.


Double Indemnity: The Clone Wars.


13. Seen the movie. Read the book. And your preference was for?


Brunettes over redheads and redheads over blondes. That’s not a recipe for an orgy.


14. Occupational hazard of being a writer. Has a book ever fallen on your head? This may occasionally happen to non-writers, it must be said.


I once saw a book stalk and kill a tiger in the foothills of Fictionlandia.


15. Did you ever read a series of books out of sequence?


I read a book facing the wrong way. That came back to haunt me.


16. You encounter a story just as you are writing the same type of tale. Do you abandon your work, or keep going with the other one to ensure there won’t be endless similarities?


I’ve answered this question too often and need to lie down. Think I got away with that. Oh. Have I used this excuse twice? Damn.


17. Have you ever stumbled across a Much-Loved Children’s Classic™ that you’ve never heard of?


That unpronounceable story. If I could say it, I’d know how to spell it. No, I’ll give a proper answer. There’s that Harry Potter book sitting on my shelf, unread. You know the one. Hanging in Judgement: Religion and the Death Penalty in England from the Bloody Code to Abolition. By the Reverend Harry Potter.


18. You build a secret passage into your story. Where?


On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese.


19. Facing the prospect of writing erotica, you decide on a racy pen-name. And that would be…


Margarine Loube.


20. On a train a fan praises your work, mistaking you for another author. What happens next?


I spend twenty minutes discussing his favourite book – a treatise on stained-glass windows – about which I skilfully ad-lib. He leaves the train none-the-wiser. My knowledge-base is increased.




Here’s a blog post on READ TUESDAY. And here’s a funny one on CONTACTING PEOPLE FOR READ TUESDAY.


Featured in the READ TUESDAY sale on December the 10th, 2013Neon Gods Brought Down by Swords and WITCHES. Both will be free on the day. Pick up copies and READ them – please don’t just store endless free books on an electronic device. If you want to support me or any of the writers mentioned above, please leave reviews. We appreciate the effort made, whether one-star or five-star.


Note that Margo Bond Collins won’t have a sale on the day, but she will run a December sale. R.B. Austin and E.B. Black couldn’t make the sale day either – but check out their books anyway. And Papizilla hopes to publish one day. Thanks for your time.




Signpost blog, RLL AUTHOR.




Today I am presenting some works by my good friend RLL. You may remember him from such posts as: AN INTERESTING TURN OF EVENTS and MEGATRON BEARS GIFTS.

Want to stalk him? He’s Scottish, so that makes him totally STALKABLE. CLICK HERE to live out your every stalking desire.

And if you hurry, you can get one of his books FREE on Amazon today.

RLL and I struck up an unlikely friendship when he decided to bludgeon me with a baseball bat. Sounds harsh, I know, but the best of friendships come out of beatings. sometimes we all need to hear things we don’t like.

First, we have WITCHES.

WITCHES cover for plug

FICTION FACTORY. Welcome to my mini-self-publishing imprint for short stories running around 30,000 words. These stories are not collected or bundled with other tales. If you buy WITCHES, you won’t suffer disappointment in later life by finding WITCHES reheated for a collection called TALES TO IMPRESS PALAEONTOLOGISTS. Be thankful for that small mercy.


 Selena Salem spins tales o’ witchcraft, and worse. Mystified strangers are invited to her kitchen table to hear uncanny stories. Fanning the blood-spattered cards, Selena casts her storytelling spell into the rainy Scottish night.

 Tonight’s tale is one of war between greedy clans. The clan o’ the Hand hires the man in the scarlet cap to do the clan’s bidding. His task? Destroy the clan o’ the Eye and the clan o’ the Tongue. No easy feat for mortal man. A difficult job for a warlock.

 Enter Rory: bandit-killer and lover of married women. The Laird o’ Tongue sends Rory to redress the balance of power by hiring witches. Rory stands on the brink of destruction at the cottage of Selena – prentice witch. Selena’s uncle may be too tired for the fight to come. All the while, the clan o’ the Eye keeps watch. Who will triumph, in this devilish tale of magic gone awry in the service of mortal men?

35,000 words, plus notes.

RLL is such a curmudgeon nice guy that he’s also included the prologue for your perusal.

The witch Selena Salem, named for the moon-goddess and a place in New England, leaned across the kitchen table with the bloodied Tarocchi rectangles fanned. She was always in a Hallowe’en frame of mind. The apostrophe in Hallowe’en has faded in some quarters. In Scotland the apostrophe must be fixed in the word. That is a point of law.

“Ach, are ye no’ in the muid fur a wee readin’…”

Her visitor wondered whether he might be in the mood for a reading. He looked over at the sink, glanced across at the microwave, and finally took in the blood-spattered cards thrust before him. Selena Salem was in the mood to offer a reading. Or something more.

“Nae fortunes tae be dished oot here, mind. Ah’ll read ye frae the past, eh. The past is aye mair interestin’ than the future. Wan informs the ither.”

“Is it the future informs the past, Selena?”

All she could do by way of reply was cackle. When in doubt, play to the cliché. She shuffled the deck without looking. Her brand of magic was locked deep in the cards, and she knew the order in which they were fated to fall.

Her phone beeped.

“Ach, that’s my new app. Witchfinder. Locates like-minded lunatics. A moment. Oh. Her. We’ll bring back the Witchcraft Act for her. Whaur were we? Hmm. Witchfinder. Aye. Here’s a tale o’ witches, then.”

INSANITY.Next we have INSANITY. (I think he won’t kill me if I say that I LOVE THIS BLURB.) Really. Read it. It’s amazing.

“Get out of hand, and we cut the air. Try to entangle your neck in the cord, and we cut the air. Attempt to smash the glass – impossibility – and we cut the air. Try to force the hatch open – impossibility – and we cut the air. You’ll be knocked out and removed for evaluation once in a little while. Try not to lie your way out of therapy. This is for your own good and the safety of others. If you vomit, we’ll flush you out and suck the debris away. So that’s no avenue for an escape-attempt. Thumbs are twitching. Slide her in, Burt. Don’t want her beating you up. That would be an embarrassment.”

 Dark hair wafted in the underwater equivalent of a breeze. The current. Caused by? Machines keeping the water fresh, he supposed. She twirled and moved, sleeping, nearer the glass. Dark hair swept back from her face. He kept expecting her eyes to pop open, but those stayed shut.

 “They begged her to stop digging. The aliens. Her shift-mates were murdering the baby aliens, and a whole species was at risk.”

 “She ever show an interest in ecology before that?”

 “No. The workforce doesn’t have to be dolphin-friendly up here.”

 Left floating in the psych-tank, her life is over. Declared violently insane, she can do little but widen her eyes in response to her surroundings. She wants out. Escaping from the tank is the start of an impossible journey. Do it. Emerge from the tank.

 All you need do then is escape from the asylum. Reach the train. Take that to the main hub. A journey of an hour. Transfer, undetected, to the train through the accommodation blocks. Head for the space shuttle landing area. Another train journey of an hour. Hang around for the monthly shuttle. Board.

 Travel from moon to planet. Three days. Remain undetected in all that time.

 Piece of cake. Except for that tricky part about killing Doctor Bell and everyone on Doctor Bell’s side.

 46,000 words, plus notes.


Interested? Find RLL lurking in all the places listed below.

Signpost blog, RLL AUTHOR. Link –

 Blog, REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE. (THOUGHTS ON PUBLISHING BY AN AUTHOR ON THE RUN.) Link – See the HALLOWE’EN INAUGURATION page for a free story – The Chalice in the Snow.


 Author of…

 Neon Gods Brought Down by Swords.



 And in the FICTION FACTORY line…




 All for Amazon Kindle.

 Also available…

 TWICE AROUND THE LIGHTHOUSE. A complete Doctor Who novel, released as fan fiction on my blog.

All the best,