Sunday, 29 April 2012

Kit Foster - Cover Designs IV

It's been a busy few months, and in that time I've had the chance to do covers for some books across a wide range of genres. Here's a selection of what I've been working on recently - I'd love to hear your thoughts! And remember - if you're looking for affordable, professional cover design for your book, head over to and get in touch.

Keep your eyes peeled for another author interview next week on KitFosterFiction!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

L.H. Thomson - Author Interview

 This week we are talking with the genre-hopping writing machine that is L.H. Thomson. From Science fiction to romantic comedy, and all the way back to mystery, L.H Thomson is one of the most versatile indie writers on the scene. Having spent the last twenty-three years as a writer and editor for newspapers across Canada, Thomson is no stranger to the written word, and has published a whopping six books already this year - with more to come! Lets hear a little more about the man behind the typewriter...

Welcome to KitFosterFiction!
Tell us a little bit about your work.

-- It shines with the crisp effervescence of dew on a summer morning. No, I kid. I write stories that are fun. I'm not trying to change the world or blow minds, and as much as I love literary stylists, the structure of the work is less important to me than its entertainment value. People need to be able to relax and have fun.

After working in the newspaper business for 23 years, what made you decide to take the leap to fiction, and indie publishing?

I spent a lot of years working on side projects, trying to find things that I was as passionate about as my job, because if all you do is work, you burn out, and because I took news reporting very seriously. 

I had a blues band for about a decade, and we actually managed to get onto the radio charts for about a week. I've also played a lot of sports and run two online web magazines. 

So I guess I like challenging myself as a past-time, and I'd spent so many years writing for a living, it seemed to make sense to try and work for myself while also entertaining people. Self-pubb'ing was more about realism than anything; the average mid-size publishing house gets 9,000 or so submissions a year and publishes eight new authors. 

And even then, many do little to support those authors until they've built their own audience. Why continue that tradition? It's elitist, pretentious and generally as much an insular community as any other, with tropes and norms that exist for no better reason than the tie of tradition. Joe Konrath is right: if you can do it yourself, do it yourself. You'll control your own work, master your own destiny, feel more secure and happier as a consequence, and probably make more money, too.

Which authors have influenced your work most?

That's a tough thing to qualify. I've never spent a great deal of time studying others' work. It was more a question of absorption. My favourite writers, by a country mile, are John Steinbeck, Hunter S. Thompson and Nick Hornby. But I've never sat down and compared their turn-of-phrase to my own. A good writer can write in whatever the style or "voice" of the characters is, anyway, so it's all a bit moot. 

You write across a wide range of genres - how do you come up with stories about such a wide range of subjects?

I have a very bizarre type of memory, from being raised as an early age to be objective nearly all the time. Consequently, I tend to remember things that have resonance with me for reasons that aren't personal or communal -- headlines and leads from stories 20 years ago, entire sections of books I read as a kid, things that seem relevant to society or to issues worthy of debate.

 It's a bit weird, to be honest, sort of like an eidetic memory for pop culture. You can ask me about a particular news story or book plot and if I've read it once, I can recall most of it 20 years later, with ease. 

It's the same with tunes and lyrics. I have the lyrics to thousands of songs in my head and can whistle tunes in perfect pitch that I haven't heard in a decade. But remember where my car keys are or the date of  a friend's birthday? Hell no. Then I'm useless.

All of this adds up to having a lot on my mind, which means I can develop ideas over long periods of time. I've already plotted out much of the next six books I'm going to write. But having that level of focus tends to make people self-absorbed and I'm no exception.

How much of yourself and your life (if any) do you put into your characters and stories?

Absolutely zero of my life goes into any of my characters, although one of the detective stories I'm writing is loosely based on a crime I investigated as a reporter. 

 My "character" goes into my protagonists, to be sure, but I'm not sure to what degree. They're mostly who I wish they would be, plus warts, because we all have them.

It's only April, and you've already published six books so far this year. Any tips for how others can effectively increase thier productivity to your level?

No. They actually took nearly a year to write, but I'm publishing them together simultaneously, as there's no season arc for ebooks; they're published constantly and all get equal shelf space -- until they sell, at which point they get front-page.

It took more than 20 years of hardcore, everyday practice and study to become a fluid, competent writer. And even then, it requires working three to four hours extra every night, after working a day job, to write a lot of books quickly. I'll probably slow down a bit next year. 

But if people want to generally speed up their first draft -- keeping in mind, it should always be written through numerous times -- I'd suggest they plot their book backwards, chapter by chapter, from the conclusion they'd like to how the story began. Then budget a certain number of pages per chapter. 

Budgeting pages gives people a sense of order and process to the construction of the overall story, lowers anxiety and keeps people working towards shorter term goals. It also guarantees they'll write something long and complex enough to be worth a whole book (preferably with some character development and subtext too, as the rest of us have to read it.)

Do you have any weird writing habits?

Whether I'm writing with a third-person narrator or first-person, my characters and scenes all play out vividly in my head as a write .... so I give all my characters the voices of famous movie actors. It's more about the "type" of character too than the look. So in my head, Max Castillo has Antonio Banderas' voice, even though he doesn't really look like him.

When I wrote Abigail Deane, it was Emma Thompson narrating the story. When I wrote The Antique Hunters, a romantic comedy, Stephen Fry was narrating. I suppose if they ever sell a ton and I have the money, I'll see if I can get them to do the audiobooks.

Which of the six titles you have published so far has been the most fun to write, and why?

Even though it's not the most popular genre, I loved writing The Process Server, my sci-fi novel, because I just love predicting the future, and being able to mould it into 

What's next for L.H. Thomson?

Good question! I'm new to the fiction business, and I've only had a handful of (fortunately very nice) reviews, so your guess is as good as mine. I tend to believe if you give people a good read at a fair price, then repeat lots of times, you can make a living at it. I'd like to get to that point in the next five or six years.

Check out L.H Thomson's blog:
or click on the covers below and get the books!





Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Robert Chazz Chute - Author Interview

Today we welcome one of the finest indie writers in the business to KitFosterFiction - Blogger, Podcaster, author and all-round genius Robert Chazz Chute.
A writer of unparalleled wit and honesty, he is best described in his own words:

"Robert Chazz Chute (born 1964 - Gee, let's not speculate!) is in suspense, figuratively and literally. He is a former newspaper journalist and magazine columnist who has worked in various worker drone capacities in book publishing's hive mind. The winner of seven writing awards and nominated for a Maggie, he writes creepy stories from his bunker office under a volcano somewhere in the Canadian Shield guarded by a clone army of ninja monkey assassins. He doesn't take himself too seriously, even when writing about himself in the third person."

So, let's hear what he has to say!

Welcome, Chazz!

You have a long history of working within the publishing business - so, what made you take the leap and go indie?

I’d been writing for years without sending much anywhere. I’d write a short story and send it off to contests or magazines here and there, but I didn’t pursue it seriously for several years. Dabbling is a bad thing. Once upon a time, I even quit. I worked in Toronto for several publishers of varying and dubious repute and one night, after an argument with a coworker, I went home and began to write out of anger and bitterness. It wasn’t any good and I think I stopped writing for about five years maybe. Quitting is worse than dabbling.

There was a long gap where I pursued other things. I worked as a massage therapist — what comedian Marc Maron refers to as the last resort of the thwarted. It wasn’t that bad, but the need to write for a living runs too deep to deny. When the economy went south in my area, I didn’t have much to lose so it was time to take the risk of really putting myself out there. Poverty is as good a time for a mid-life crisis as sudden wealth. That’s the ugly advantage of Nothing to Lose.

What are the challenges and benefits of indie publishing?

The challenge is to take it every bit as seriously as a big publishing company. Self-publishing’s young so it has room to mature. Too many people are suspicious of self-publishing, that it’s somehow not “real.” I have no idea what they’re talking about. The people you have to appease are the same: the readers. The process has been democratized so it’s up to the readers and ultimately sales numbers decide a book’s success. The idea that editors are gatekeepers? The gatekeepers are no more fools or geniuses than your average writer. They don’t have a special formula for identifying books of value. Their track records reflect that.

The benefits? I’m working harder at this business than I ever did with my old businesses, but I feeI more freedom and love it. I work with killers and weird people all day, but now just in my head. You’d never know it to meet me, but I’m an introvert struggling to talk because it’s an extrovert’s world.

I was never meant to work for anyone else. My energies and my practice are now aligned. I work for the readers, of course, but no one’s telling me what to do. Writers think they’re special. We aren’t, but we have to maintain that illusion to continue such an ego-driven endeavor as writing fiction and expecting anyone to read our stories.

You’ve got to really want to do this so it’s not a hobby. It’s at least a part-time job for most. I find the marketing takes up as much and sometimes more time than the writing, depending on the day. On the days I do my podcast, I write less in hope that my little internet radio show will draw in more readers. I also blog every day for the benefit of my fellow writers on my writing site. It takes a lot of time, but almost all of it is fun. The hardest part is waiting for reviews and getting strangled in obscurity. Despite some successes, I’d say I’m still not on the radar. That changes this year. Bet on it. I’m in the process of using my clone army of ninja monkey assassins for world domination. (Please note: They are ninja monkeys who happen to be assassins. They are not an army of assassins out for ninja monkey blood. Just had to clear that up because you know someone will ask.)

Of your novels, short stories and short story collections, which was the most fun to write, and why?

Tough question. I think the next one is always the most fun to write because it’s still coming together in my mind so I don’t have to confront my poor typing skills. End of the Line (from Sex, Death & Mind Control) is a fan favorite, I know, but it was laborious to write. Same with Sidewalkers and Cuthian’s Wake. Those are duels dancing across sensitive time bombs, but it took lots of rewrites to make the stories come together as puzzle pieces.

I think Self-help for Stoners was most fun to write because its creation skipped along. It came together easily and quickly. My favorite stories, like Another Day at the Office (from Self-help for Stoners) always have that Usual Suspects element where the twist comes but there’s an emotional impact, too. To be successful, it can’t simply be, “A-ha! Chazz fooled me again!” If it’s only twists, that gets tiring. I like to sprinkle compelling facts and laughs along the way so the reader gets a puzzle solved, but they are left wanting more.

How much of yourself and your own life (if any) do you put into your stories and characters?

All our experiences distill into our work, sometimes in ways that I only discover in the writing process. I grew up in villages in Nova Scotia and moved to cities as soon as I could. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the theme of escape and life change recurs in my short stories and novels.

A lot of little anecdotes pop up here and there. In the crime novel I’m writing now, there’s an incident where someone gets his nose broken on a military exercise. The core of the event is true. Then I embellished it so I doubt the person who told me the story would recognize it. Things get wild and the characters are often odd or special in some way, but drawing on real life is necessary to get the verisimilitude I want in my books.

Do you have any weird writing habits?

I don’t live like a normal person. I write full-time, but a lot of that involves thinking before writing. I’m not procrastinating over coffee. I’m thinking about my next move. I’m not napping. I’m dreaming up the next twist. I often don’t go to bed until 2 or 3 a.m. I draw on a huge library and research a lot, but not in an organized way. Any reading I do is research. I can spend all morning lost in Wikipedia.

I have an obsession with dictionaries of all kinds so, in This Plague of Days, I gave the kid Asperger Syndrome and an obsession with Latin dictionaries. Often I’ll take medical trivia or a factoid from mob lingo and extrapolate from that. For instance, a “throw-down” is an untraceable pistol an FBI agent might drop to justify shooting the unarmed goon he wants dead. (Yes, that has happened. In fact, it’s happened so often, there’s a term for it!)

Which authors have influenced your work most?

Always and forever, William Goldman. Lawrence Block once said that reading Goldman is like watching a master do card tricks while drunk. Goldman is better known for his screenwriting (The Princess Bride, Marathon Man, All the President’s Men and many more). However, it’s his books that get me. The Color of Light is my favorite novel. Others? Chuck Palahniuk’s got an artistic sensibility and sense of humour I share. I love Vonnegut. I write dark stuff, but I’m a disappointed humanist like Vonnegut was. I want to see the good but you have to look past an awful lot of bad to stay positive.

You've won multiple writing awards, and been nominated for a Maggie - any tips for other aspiring writers wishing to achieve such successes and recognition?

You have to write a lot and write well, of course, but I’m the wrong one to ask because more often than not when I read a first place award winner, I wonder what the judges saw that I don’t. I think there’s still a legacy in these contests that eschews plot for character so a lot of the stories that win don’t actually have an end per se. It’s the pseudo-intellectual, MFA effect. That’s not a story as far as I’m concerned. I don’t want a too-subtle character sketch. I want stuff to happen. Events must occur! Move me with sharp and precise turns of phrase. Make me laugh. Surprise me. As a reader, I want to be satisfied with the story and take away something memorable. For instance, people are still quoting Fight Club years later. That’s a story well told with style and substance and a subtext that’s deep.

I have a friend who writes. He’s still waiting for trad publishing to discover him. I tell him to self-publish and show them you can do it without them. Then when agents call, you can politely ask: What do I need you for? Also, I don’t think most literary magazines are worth your time as an avenue into the industry. Not anymore. Not for years past. You can easily have a blog and publish your work to a much larger audience. Literary mags are on life support. Stand up and be your own publisher. The wait is shorter and the way is surer because it’s your way.

What's in the pipeline for Robert Chazz Chute? Have you any cheeky wee tasters of forthcoming releases to whet our appetites?

I’ll be announcing the crime novel soon. It’s very action-packed with some sweet and heartbreaking moments. That’s going to make a big splash and will definitely be a series. This Plague of Days will be coming soon. It’s quite a saga about a family fleeing a plague. Then there’s the beginning of the Poeticule Bay Series. It’s suspense in the town in Maine I keep going back to in several of my short stories. Poeticule Bay is an amalgam of the little places I grew up in and exploits small-town claustrophobia and people with secret, dark pasts. I also have to get to revisions on Sex, Death & Romeo, a novel about a young actor wannabe who gets targeted after a classmate dies of an overdose and he gets blamed. It has a surprising injection of Shakespeare in it. My books are in some ways all over the map, but it always comes back to complex characters in suspenseful situations. Surprising the reader is paramount, but the story must always be contextualized so when you read it, you’ll think: That was a wild ride, but maybe that could happen, too.

And finally, Chazz - where can I get my own clone army of ninja monkey assassins?

Do you have Costco in Scotland? They’re cheaper if you buy in bulk. They’re louder and throw more poop than my first clone army. Those were Stormtroopers. The white armour was spiffy, but they were too easily fooled. My ninja monkey assassins attacked the Jedi who dared to tell them, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” (Fun fact: Though lightsabers are deadlier than katanas, you can overwhelm a Jedi if you have enough ninja monkey assassins who also happen to be Siths. Siths cost more, but they’re worth it and my fortressed realm is secure.)

Follow Chazz and his work at: and

Friday, 23 March 2012

Griffin Hayes - Author Interview

Howdy all! Over the course of the next few months (or years, if it goes well!) I will be doing a series of interviews with up-and-coming authors - a chance to hear their stories in their own words.

This week I have been speaking with Griffin Hayes - author of horror thriller novels 'Malice' and 'Dark Passage'. Since the publication of his first novel, 'Malice', in September 2011, Griffin Hayes has exploded on to the indie publishing scene, offering us a wealth of gripping and terrifying tales. In six months, his work has taken us from lonely, uninhabited planets, to the battered landscape of a post-apocalyptic world, and beyond.

Welcome to KitFosterFiction, Griffin!
Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?

Most of my inspiration comes from crazy dreams I've had. Malice is one example. I also tend to ask a lot of 'what if' questions. My latest novel Dark Passage was born when I asked a simple question: What if your nightmares followed you back from the dreamworld? 

What made you decide to become a writer?

I spend so much time imagining crazy situations and people watching that the whole writing thing just seemed like a natural choice. I'm also insanely passionate about writing and I love every step in the process.

What are the benefits of self-publishing?

Overall there are a number of benefits. Freedom and complete control are two major ones. Ultimately, I'm responsible for how successful I am. I have the final say with edits, book cover, blurb, formatting. If the book bombs, it's on my shoulders. A rather scary situation in a way. The real problem comes when, for example, a book isn't selling.You might not know why. People buying books on Amazon don't exactly fill out questionnaires on why they decided to skip your book. But so far, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

Which authors influence your work most?

Arthur C. Clark, Stephen King, Raymond Chandler, Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury. Those are the big boys I admire the most and I've learned something from each one of them.

In the last six months you've published six works - an incredible amount by anybody's standards. Which of these do you hold most dear, and why?

That's a touch like asking which of your children do you like the most. Each of them is unique. Hive was loads of fun to write. It had action and zombies and I pretty much could do whatever I wanted. I'm about to start writing Hive II and can't wait to get started. But truth be told, after going over a story dozens of times, scrutinizing every detail, I'm usually a little sick of them and eager to start something new.

Any tips for aspiring self-publishing authors?

People who are thinking of going the self-publishing route often have visions of overnight success. That does happen, but I think people's expectations have to be in line with reality. It's a ton of work and it never stops. Between writing, promoting and everything in the middle, there just aren't enough hours in the day. That's the reality check. As far as tips, I guess I'd recommend that self-published authors not try and rush their work to market. Put it out when it's ready and please have it edited by a professional. You can get this done for 2-3 hundred dollars and it makes all the difference. Sure, even legacy books have typos, but we need to change the public perception that we're a bunch of lazy hacks. Having a great story you intend to fix on the fly isn't good enough. If you think of it as a business that requires a certain level of initial investment then good things should follow. 

So, what's next for Griffin Hayes? 

Lots. I have writing projects lined up well into 2013. Most of it is top secret though. What I can tell you is that Hive II is next on my plate and after that a horror novel involving Nazis. But I may have already said too much…

Just wanted to give a big thank you to Kit Foster for having me and doing such amazing work on all my book covers. You're the best!

So head along to Amazon, and grab your copy of Griffin's latest novel 'Dark Passage' now! His earlier works, Hive and Malice are also available from Amazon. Remember to let everyone know what you thought by leaving a review, and if you're feeling really adventurous, let us know what you thought in the comments here!

Click on the covers below to visit the Amazon page, and get your copies today - don't delay, you won't regret it. Griffin Hayes is going places!

Keep up-to-date with new releases - follow Griffin Hayes' blog now at: 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Palpable Obscure - Chapter 1

Hi All, since it's been a while since I posted any fiction, I thought I'd share this. It's the first chapter of my new novel 'The Palpable Obscure' - a story that follows Edinburgh ex-detective Max Milligan on his journey to find a reason to live. Enjoy!

Who shall tempt with wandering feet
The dark unbottomed infinite abyss
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way

- John Milton        


1. Able to be touched or felt.
2. (esp. of a feeling or atmosphere) So intense as to be almost touched or felt.

ob·scure   Adjective
adj. ob·scur·er, ob·scur·est
1. Deficient in light; dark.


Duddingston Loch, Edinburgh
- February 15th 1987 -

Faster than he could realise it, the world began to hurtle up towards the sky, and the boy was pulled into the green and blue demon’s lair that lay beneath the ice. As he plunged into the murky water, time began to slow down and he felt the icy lake’s long watery fingers gripping him, slowly working their way up his body. The water felt like blades, tiny shards of glass working their way under the boy’s skin. They slowly worked their way up his legs and pulled his body under, the searing cold hitting the boy’s chest and knocking the breath out of him. He reached his hands high into the sky in one last scramble towards his world, when he felt an icy finger take hold of his face and pull him under, choking for breath. He held on tightly to what little air was in his lungs as he sank deeper. The pain paralysing – his brain was telling his arms to swim, but his arms wouldn’t oblige. They lay limp at his side, paralysed by the cold. He would die here. The boy looked up towards the light at the surface, and as his body forced him to exhale, he watched the bubbles float gently up towards it. He could feel his vision fading now.

It was time to let go.


Marchmont, Edinburgh
- Twenty four years later -

‘Just do it, man! Stop wasting time.’

Max could only hear Virgil’s husky voice very faintly, gurgling through the thick blanket of water that covered his face. The lukewarm bathwater had stung his eyes for only a few seconds as he looked up, soaking in the last earthly sights he ever hoped to see. He could vaguely make out the mottled outlines of his bathroom ceiling swimming above his head. He fought the urge to cry – he didn’t want to go that way, weeping like a baby.

Death was the only thing he had thought about for a long while, and now, at last, he would be able to welcome it. His work was done; he had nothing left to care about – only death. He would embrace it at last, and let every last part of his miserable life slip away to nothing. He probably wouldn’t have chosen drowning - that was Virgil’s idea - but it seemed like an easy enough way to do it, and in the end, he thought, it didn’t really matter how he did it. In a few seconds he would be gone, and drowning would be as good a death as any. He had always imagined that the last few seconds would be filled with thoughts of his life – of the little beauty he had seen in his youth, but all he could think about as he lay there, holding his breath, was how his body would look when they found it. He imagined some detective, someone he had known, no doubt, strolling into his bathroom, notepad in hand, and finding Max’s body, all blue and ivory, bobbing in the bathtub.

Poor Mr. Milligan, they’ll say, he thought. What a tragedy, they’ll say. No one had any clue he felt this way! He imagined everyone’s pity. He despised their pity.

‘You’re stalling. Just let go, Max. Exhale and let your lungs fill with water. Let the pain all slip away.’ Virgil’s voice bubbled out from the distance, and Max could just see his head rippling above the surface in the corner of his eye.

Max held on tight to the air in his lungs. He was stalling. Just a few more seconds. Suddenly he began to doubt himself. He began to feel afraid. Was this the only way? He tried to find some thing to cling to, a reason to stay; some beauty so perfect that it could save his life. There was none, of course. There had been so many long ago, he thought. So many questions, so much beauty – so much life and experience ahead of him. Stop it. Virgil’s right – just let go. He had nothing to be afraid of - life was the terrifying place. Life was where the demons dwelt. But death would be different. Empty. He longed for the emptiness. He longed for the nothingness. He longed for nothing.

Max snapped his eyes tightly shut, and as the darkness enveloped him, he slowly let out the air from his lungs, and it poured out into a torrent of bubbles which disappeared above his head, popping away to nothing on the surface. He was ready now. He began to feel his body sinking ever so slightly deeper into the bathtub.

Just as he began to open his mouth, and prepared to let the lukewarm water course into his lungs, he began to hear something. A loud beeping noise was bubbling through the water, and he instantly recognised it as his smoke alarm. Without really thinking about what he was doing, Max instantly sat up in the bath and the piercing sound became instantly louder as the water drained from his ears.

‘What?’ Virgil looked down at him from his perch at the side of the bath, seeming undisturbed by the whole situation.

‘That noise,’ said Max, trembling. ‘There’s someone in my house.’

‘There’s no one in your house, Max, it’s just in your imagination, just get on with it, before you lose your balls.’

But Max knew what he was hearing – this wasn’t his imagination. He climbed to his feet and negotiated his shaking legs out of the bathtub and onto the bathroom floor. For a second he stood motionless, just listening to the piercing beeping which stung his ears, and the drip-drip-drip of his saturated suit depositing his bathwater onto the tiled floor.

‘For Christ’s sake, Max, it’s nothing,’ snapped Virgil. ‘Just finish it – now.’

But Max had already begun to make his way towards the hall, apparently with little care for Virgil’s pushing, leaving tiny pools of glistening water in his path.

There was someone there alright, Max could tell. After a thirty year career as a detective, Max had learned to trust his intincts. His flat didn’t feel right, it felt disturbed. There was definitely someone there. When he reached the hall, he began to slow his pace down, and he crept, almost tiptoeing towards the kitchen. As he reached the illuminated archway that led into the kitchen, he felt many emotions welling inside of him, but mostly he felt anger. I can’t even kill myself without someone breaking in and interrupting me. He looked around for a weapon, and after seeing nothing more suitable, he picked up a cane from the hat stand in his hallway. The cane had a real ivory handle and had belonged to Max’s grandfather – it had been his pride and joy and Max was certain that he would disapprove of him using it as a weapon.

Slowly he tiptoed into his kitchen to see his toaster spewing smoke, and a tall, dark haired man in dirty, ripped clothes standing in front of it, waving a towel to try to dissipate the smoke.

‘Who are you?’ snapped Max from the archway that led into the hall, his cane held defensively in front of him. ‘What do you want from me?’

The stranger instantly swung around, and stood, frozen on the spot looking at Max, before bolting for the door. Max could hear the squelch-squelch-squelch coming from underneath his feet as he ran after the intruder. A much younger man than Max, he quickly bolted out of the house, and left without explanation.

Max stood at his front door, which was still swinging open, and listened to the man’s footsteps echo down the stairwell. He knew there wasn’t a chance in hell of catching him, so he stood there and listened until the footsteps died away and once again all he could hear was the drip-drip-drip of his soaking clothes.

‘No one here then?’ Virgil’s voice coming from the hallway startled Max. ‘I told you it was nothing.’

‘There was a man,’ snapped Max. ‘He was in here just now. His clothes were all ripped and he looked like shit. And he was making…’ Max walked over to the toaster on his marble worktop, which had now stopped spewing smoke, and pulled from it a charred slice of Hovis. ‘…Toast.’

‘Oh, come on Max,’ sighed Virgil, ‘you have to be kidding.’ He began to walk slowly towards Max, rolling his eyes. ‘You mean to tell me that at the exact minute you’re finally ready to do it – that precise second we’re gonna do what we talked about all these years, a man walks into your house and ruins it? Bullshit, Max – you’re full of shit. That’s just a little too convenient, mate.’

‘He was here, in my house,’ pressed Max. ‘I saw him; I’m not making it up.’
‘If you keep doing this you’ll never escape, Max,’ said Virgil, turning his back in disgust and walking back towards the bathroom, raising his voice more and more the further away he got. ‘There’ll always be an excuse; you’ll always find a reason to pussy out. This isn’t a game, Max. This is atonement.

Max dropped the charred toast onto the worktop, and turned to follow Virgil. Maybe he was right. Maybe he did make this guy up. It was very convenient timing after all. As he turned, he noticed something lying there next to the toaster. It was a scrap of paper. He picked it up and read the handwriting that was scrawled across it.

          ‘Dear Max, d’

Dear Max? He was here. Max hadn’t imagined him. But who the hell is he? And how does he know my name?


Kathy Heath clambered up the stairs, struggling to keep the recently cracked plant pot in her hands held together, and to keep the banana plant which it housed from falling to the ground. She now cursed herself for lugging it all the way up to Marchmont; but when she had seen it at the office, she thought of her recently departed new boss and decided to return it. The detective under whom she had worked, Max Milligan, had left recently (she wasn’t quite sure if had left of his own accord or not - it was all a bit strange and sudden), and he had forgotten to take his plant, (which he adored), with him. He had always seemed such a sad and lonely creature, and Kathy thought it would be a good deed to return it, and also she wanted to wish detective Milligan all the best in the future.

Soil was beginning to leak from the cracks now; as Kathy began the last flight of stairs. Some idiot had come tearing down the stairs and through the close, knocking Kathy, and the plant pot, over in the process. He had stopped to apologise, but not long enough to help Kathy up, or to help retrieve the cracked plant pot. Bloody idiot, thought Kathy. Why can’t people look where they’re going?

Kathy scaled the last few steps and came to the third floor, panting for breath, and immediately spotted the door labelled ‘Milligan 3F/2’. As she walked over to it, she noticed that it was sitting slightly ajar.

Max sat in his armchair, still dripping wet, holding his ivory handled cane across his lap. The world in front of him was a blurred sea of colours, rippling in drunken waves. Suddenly, through the silence, Max began to hear creaking coming from the hallway. Yes… footsteps – he’s back, he thought. He took a tighter grip of his cane and stumbled to his feet, and before long, a figure appeared in the doorway.

‘What do you want from me?’ roared Max at the top of his lungs. ‘Why are you in my house?’ Then, as he looked closer, he saw that this was no man. As his eyes began to focus, he realised that it was a woman, standing timidly in the doorway holding a banana plant.

‘Sorry, Detective Milligan… I… I didn’t mean to disturb you… I was just bringing your… and … and your door was open…’

Max looked closer and recognised the girl. ‘Kathy?’

‘Yes, Detective Milligan. Sorry, I just wanted to bring you your plant… it’s just you always seemed to love it so much, I thought you should have it with you…’ Kathy eyed Max’s soaking clothes and the cane which he held defensively in front of him. ‘Are you… okay, Detective Milligan?

Max sighed and slunk back into his seat. ‘I’m fine,’ he growled.

‘I’m… I’m sorry about your plant… it got a bit cracked. Some guy knocked me over as I was coming up the stairs, and-’

‘A guy? What guy?’ interrupted Max.

‘I don’t know,’ said Kathy, still visibly quite afraid. ‘Just some guy… he came tearing down the stairs like the devil was chasing him.

Maybe he was, thought Max. ‘Was this guy wearing a green jacket and a baseball cap?’

‘Yeah,’ replied Kathy. ‘Do you know him?’

Max coughed and lit a cigarette, which obscured his face in a cloud of smoke. ‘No,’ he said, almost laughing, ‘but he seems to know me. He broke in here just now, to my flat.’

‘My god,’ replied Kathy, feeling the fear that had been welling in her slip away, ‘are you okay? Did he hurt you…what did he take?’

‘Nothing,’ growled Max, feverishly puffing at his smoke. ‘In fact it looked like he was leaving something…’

Kathy took a couple of steps towards her old boss, which clearly made Max uncomfortable.

‘Thanks for bringing me up my plant, Kathy...’ he said, ‘…but I think you’d better go now. I… I need to be alone just now.’

Still Kathy advanced ever closer. ‘Are you hurt? Was there a struggle? Is that why you’re all wet?’

She was getting far too close, and now, more than ever, Max needed privacy. ‘Please Kathy,’ he shouted, startling the girl. ‘I – need – to – be – alone!’

Kathy, ever the Good Samaritan, put aside her own fears of the ever more irritated, clearly drunk man in front of her, to ensure that he was okay. ‘But… detective Milligan… you’re soaked to the skin and out of breath…You’ve just had a break in! I need to make sure you’re okay before I-’

‘Leave me alone!’ roared Max, trying to get to his feet. ‘Don’t people knock anymore, anyway?’ He had to get rid of her. He couldn’t bear human company just now. He needed to be alone.

‘…the door was open…’

‘That doesn’t mean you can come waltzing in here, sticking your nose into my affairs!’ Max got up and began to stumble towards the hall, reaching for his overcoat, snapping again. ‘If you won’t bloody well leave, then I will. Show yourself out, Kathy.’ And with that, he left Kathy alone in his flat, slamming the door behind him.

Kathy stood, dumbstruck, still holding the cracked banana plant in Max Milligan’s hallway, desperately trying to make sense of what had just happened. How ungrateful, she thought.

Sunday, 23 October 2011 is online!

Announcing the birth of! After many weeks of blood, sweat and messing around on the Piano whilst my friend Andy did all of the work, is now finally online. I'd like to say a really big thank you to all of the authors who gave me the opportunity to work with them to create this portfolio. A huge thanks to Andy Squires, too - without him I my website would no doubt have been shocking.
So please stop by and check out my shiny new site!

- Kit

Friday, 21 October 2011


The Second Coming by Griffin Hayes

Bird of Prey by Griffin Hayes

The Next Stop is Croy and Other Stories by Andrew McCallum Crawford

Sex, Death and Mind Control by Robert Chazz Chute

Saving The World by R. Eric Swanepoel  

Night Sighs by Emma Meade

Don Coyote de la Merika by Kathryn Anthony

Persephone's Library by Kathryn Anthony

The Grip by Griffin Hayes

The Owl's Mirror by Wilfried Wlochal

Apocalyps by Mark Ronald Robinson 

New Raine by Sass Cadeaux

Sex, Drugs and Romeo by Robert Chazz Chute