99c/77p Sale!

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For one week only, starting NOW, all my novels and novellas on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk will be for 99c – yes, that’s 99c. If you’d like to get a bargain, you can buy them here at Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/James-Dargan/e/B001KE95SI and at Amazon.co.uk here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/James-Dargan/e/B001KE95SI. Remember, my books at the Apple iBookstore, Kobo and Barnes and Noble remain the same price.

Here’s a list of the change in price for my ebooks:

Mister Blue Sky (novel) usual price $4.99, sale price 99c.

Master Sisyphus and the Saveloy Men (novel) usual price $4.99, sale price 99c.

Transatlantic, The Ballad of Thomas Fox (novel) usual price $3.99, sale price 99c.

Spaghetti Junction, A Napoleon Clancy Book, Volume 1 (novella) price is usually 99c usually, remains the same.

Cuyahoga Blues, A Napoleon Clancy Book, Volume 2 (novella) usual price $2.99, sale price 99c.

Out of the Cage (short novella) usual price $1.99, sale price 99c.

All my short stories stay at 99c.

If you purchase any of my ebooks, please write an honest review if you have the time and will – i’ll greatly appreciate it.

 

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Zombie Book

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I’ve just published my first Zombie book, Zombiana Europa, Part One, the first in a series of either three or four others. The story is set in Poland on and after the 21st December – Doomsday!

The novelette – it’s just under 13,000 words – itself has a lot of black comedy in it, though that’s not to say it lacks any of the gore that Zombie films and books are so famous for.

I wanted to capture the B-movie, cheap look of the George A. Romero films, and that is why I feel the cover is suitable – it looks very DIYish… Because it is. I did it myself in about five minutes. I’m quite proud of the fact it looks very bad!

If you’re interested in purchasing it, you can buy it for 99c here at Amazon.com, for 77p here at Amazon.co.uk, here for 99c at Barnes & Noble, and very soon for FREE on both Kobo and the Apple iBookstore.

Don’t forget – if you do buy or download it for free, please write an honest and objective review on whichever platform you purchased it.

Transatlantic, The Ballad of Thomas Fox

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My new novel, Transatlantic, The Ballad of Thomas Fox, is available now to buy for $3.99 here at Amazon.com and here at Amazon.co.uk for £2.47 and here for $3.99 at the Barnes & Noble Nook store. Very soon, it will also be available at the Apple store as well as in Kobo.

Transatlantic, The Ballad of Thomas Fox, tells the story of Mayo man Thomas Fox and his adventures – or should that be misadventures – working in NYC in 1984 as an illegal Irish migrant worker.

The inspiration for the story was my own experience working in NYC in the mid-1990s and the time I spent mixing with the Irish community there – the only difference is my stay in the Big Apple was minus the Irish gangsters and pretty girls!

If you do decide to purchase the book, please don’t forget to leave an honest review on whichever platform you bought the book.

New Book Release!

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The second volume of my crime fiction/black comedy from a planned six Napoleon Clancy books, Cuyahoga Blues, is now available for $2.99 here or for £1.85 here and at all other Amazon stores worldwide, as well as soon in the B&N Nook store here also for $2.99 To celebrate the new release, I am giving the first volume, Spaghetti Junction, away for FREE in Apple here and Kobo here though in all Amazon and B&N Nook stores the price will remain at 99c/77p until they price match it. However, the FREE ‘price’ may still take a few days to show up in the Kobo store, unfortunately.

All reviews, however good or bad, will be greatly appreciated.

Happy reading!

The Inspirational Bill Hicks

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I first saw the late, great Bill Hicks – once dubbed “the most dangerous comedian in the world” – on The Tube, a late night British programme on Channel 4, in 1992, and I was immediately hooked. His humour was altogether something else: It was clever, made you think, and above all was funnier than anything I’d ever seen in my life. Before Hicks, my favourite comedian had been Dubliner Dave Allen, whom my father and both grandfathers loved; but though Allen was funny, his humour was a bit old-fashioned for me and lacked any of the funky, youthful rebel-rousing nature content that Bill Hicks was famous for. The Arkansas native followed in the footsteps of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin: both these comedians spoke of taboos that very few other comedians would talk about, yet Hicks did. Like Bruce and Carlin before him, Hicks was a comedian’s comedian, a man bent on comedic self-destruction for the sake of his art. The supreme iconoclast of American culture in his day, he died too young at the age of 32 in 1994.

One of the funniest sketches I ever saw him perform was about UFOs. This was off the back of a reported UFO sighting in Fyffe, Alabama in 1989. You can watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1MuT_KSOo4. The piece was off his Relentless album and basically makes fun of Southerners and Alabama. I used this as one of the plot themes in the second volume of my Napoleon Clancy PI books, called Cuyahoga Blues. In the book, Napoleon ‘Nappy’ Clancy and his sidekick Barry Fanning make their way down to Alabama in an attempt to rescue Clancy’s kids from some rough and mean bikers.

On the way to Alabama, Clancy and Fanning have a conversation about comedians:

“What are you laughing at?” I say to Barry as he’s cracking up at something on the internet.

“Jaysus, kiddo, I’m just readin’ on Wiko about this Bill Hicks… Never heard of the fella before.”

“You’ve never heard of Bill Hicks?” I say with amazement.

“No, honestly.”

“He was some comedian.”

“It’s very subjective, though, comedy, yer know wha’ I’m sayin’?”

“How do you mean?”

“It’s just very subjective… Take Monty Python, for example… D’yer like Monty Python, Nappy?”

“They’re all right, yeah.”

“Well I have to say I don’t understand it at all… Now I’m not tryin’ to tell yer I’m a thick shite an’ the jokes just fly passed me, because they don’t – I understand them, it’s just I don’t appreciate them.”

“Why’s that then?”

“I don’t know. It’s unexplainable.”

“So who do you like?”

“Dave Allen. Tommy Tiernan. Jarlath Regan. Dermot Morgan was gas too before the fella went an’ died on us, God rest the poor man’s soul.”

“But they’re all Irish, Baz.”

What of it?

“Well, I don’t know – what about the Americans and the British comedians?

“Like who?”

“Adam Sandler. Chubby Brown-”

“Chubby fuckin’ Brown’s the biggest perverted shitehawk tha’ ever walked the earth,” Barry gasps, “an’ as for Adam Sandler, no comment.”

“What about Denis Leary – Irish-American, can’t be bad?”

“Too crass.”

“Okay, but if you were going to rate your top five, who would they be?”

“Allen, Tiernan, Regan, Morgan an’ err, Podge an’ Rodge.”

“But you’re missing my point, Baz… Of all time… And anyway, you chose six.”

“I chose five.”

“Podge and Rodge make it six.”

“Ah, they’re only muppets anny way, so they shouldn’t at all count.”

“Nah, but serious – who’s in the top five. You’ve got to count stand-up, film comedians and all that.”

“Hard question tha’.”

“Well just have a go.”

“I wouldn’t know where to start – an’ yerself?”

“Charlie Chaplin’s got to be on the list somewhere.”

“I don’t think Charlie’d count, kiddo.”

“Why not?”

“He wasn’t a comedian.”

“Yeah he was.”

“He was a silent film actor.”

“Still a funny bloke.”

“I’ll tell yer wha’ I’ll do, I’ll put it in Wiko to see wha’ comes up… Grea-test… com-ed-ians… of… all… time,” Barry says as he’s hitting the keyboard. “Ah, here we are. We’ve got: One-hundred greatest stand-ups of all time… The ten best comedians of all time… Ah, I’ll go with tha’ one… Jaysus, I don’t believe it,” Barry then says.

“What is it?”

“Bill Hicks number one. Louis C.K number two. Richard Pryor number three. George Carlin number four. Bill Burr number five… an’ a black fella’s number six called Patrice O’Neill, a Paddy no doubt.”

“But is that for stand-up?”

“No. For sit down.”

“You’re boring, Baz.”

“Well, none of these fellas would be on me list… Well, maybe George Carlin an’ yer man Ricardo Pryor.”

“Pryor was a really funny bloke.”

“Yea’, especially in that film Bulger’s Millions.

Brewster’s Million, Baz.”

“Well, whatever the title, gas film all the same.”

“Carlin was a bit hard to understand.”

“Clever fella – made yer think at the same time yer were crackin’ up.”

“Check to see if you can find anything on Bill Hicks and UFOs in Fyffe?”

“All righ’, kiddo… Ah, here’s somethin’ on YouTube… Here… Bill Hicks UFO’s… Listen to this:”

And then I have the funniest three and a half minutes I’ve had in all my time since I’ve been here, listening to Bill Hicks take the piss out of poor Fyffe, Alabama… And I know, I know, I shouldn’t be cracking up and laughing and having a good time at the expense of Fyffe, Alabama, because my kids are in the hands of some loony who wants to sell them off to some paedophiles.

“Fuck me, Baz, that was funny,” I say with tears in my eyes.

“Jaysus, wasn’t it – maybe I’ll have to put Mr Hicks in front of Mr Allen on me list?”

“Yeah, I think you’ll have to, mate…”

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Now, if you want to know what happens, you’ll be able to read Cuyahoga Blues very soon, as it will be available at Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and the Apple iStore, though I’d recommend you first grab a copy of Spaghetti Junction here at Amazon.com, here at Amazon.uk, here at the Apple iStore, here at the Barnes & Noble Nook store, and here at Kobo for 99c/77p before you do that, the first volume in a six book series on the pair of private detectives.

 

The Pick of the Bunch

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A few days ago I was driving to work in Warsaw, the Polish capital, when I ran into a traffic jam. Now, Warsaw and its three-million-odd inhabitants, if we count it as an agglomeration, is well-known in central Europe for its traffic jams. Maybe they’re not so infamous as those in Moscow, but mark my words, ‘they aiyn’t nice’. Anyway, I’m stuck in one of these traffic jams, which is a surprise because it’s a Saturday, and on a Saturday the city’s roads are supposed to be empty. So, for twenty minutes I hadn’t moved an inch, a millimetre maybe, but no more. In such cases – and enclosed in the privacy of my car – I scream and I rant and I basically let my anger out on my steering wheel and any other inanimate object I have within reach. Such traffic jams are usually caused by a car accident, but on this occasion (as I found out later) an articualted lorry had lost part of its load on the road. Bored, I messed with the radio. Then I opened the window for a quick blast of fresh, winter air. After that I checked Twitter on my smartphone: two follows, one unfollow. And then I looked into the rear-view mirror. It was a quick glance, the kind you make when you’re driving. But I wasn’t driving. I was stationary. Well, what did I see? I noticed that the man in a lime-coloured Volkswagen Scirocco behind me had his finger up his nose.  No big deal. I looked away. Something else held my attention for a second, though it couldn’t have been that important, because within seconds I’m starring into the rear-view mirror once more. The man – in his twenties and wearing a bright purple baseball cap with a white retro Adidas logo on it – still had his finger up his nose. It was getting interesting now, and as I’d already had breakfast and knew I wouldn’t be eating lunch for many hours (and have the thought of the nose-picking in my mind), I counted it as a free form of entertainment to while away the minutes in this traffic jam.

As I stared, I could see that this man was really going for it: not only was he using two or three different fingers to explore the inner sanctity of his nares, but his thumb, too. What did he have up there? I mused to myself. Was it something made of cement, so hard it was melded to his nostrils’ interior and wouldn’t budge? A bogie/booger Excalibur of sorts? Maybe he was looking for someone or something? Lord Lucan, perhaps? Even Jim Morrison?. One of those cruise ships or planes that disappeared without trace in the Bermuda Triangle? No, there had to be something up there. Anyway, for five minutes  (I was keeping count) he was doing it, and for five minutes I observed. Carefully. Stealthfully. Laughing. A bit disgusted, too. Okay, okay, so I admit I’ve done the same myself from time to time, but not to such an extent and for so long and with a great deal less artistry with the fingers. Well, the cycle was broken when the car in front of me started moving slowly forward, so I put the car into gear and did the same, one eye on the road and the other in the rear-view mirror to the man behind me, who was still picking his nose, but this time with the fingers from his other hand. Yes,  whatever he had up there was certainly something special.

The traffic started to move then and it was back to normal. I thought that was the end of the story, but it wasn’t.

I got to the city centre and found a parking space. I then went to a cafe for a coffee. As I’m in the queue, I ‘m looking out of the window and I saw a lime-coloured Volkswagen Scirocco pull up, and from the car a man wearing a bright purple baseball cap with a white retro Adidas logo on it. It was him, the nose picker, the guy who had been searching for something that he probably didn’t find. I smirked to myself and turned away as the barista wanted to take my order.

After ordering my drink, I moved to the collection point, which was next to the front door. Sitting in the corner was an attractive blonde woman. She had a laptop on the table and was obviously a professional in some field. There was a gust of wind as the door opened. I turned around. It was the man who had been driving the lime-coloured Volkswagen Sirocco with the bright purple baseball cap with the white retro Adidas logo on it. The attractive blonde stood up when he walked into the cafe.

“Mariusz!” she called out to him with a smile. The man wouldn’t have looked out of place in a boy band.

“Ania,” he said to her.

They shook hands.

I’ll say that again: They shook hands. The woman, the attractive woman with soft, delicate hands, probably manicured and oiled, shook his hand. The hand that had been infected by God knows what. I chuckled when that happened, so hard in fact, that the blonde woman and the nose picker looked at me like I was a character from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

“Why did you just shake his hand?” I said to the blonde woman in Polish. “He’s been picking his nose.”

The nose picker in the baseball cap just stared at me, and I could tell he was thinking how on earth I knew about his deadly secret, his affliction, his torment. Yes, this guy – impeccably dressed and smelling to high heaven of aftershave – was a dirty c***!

But then I snapped out of the other-world reverie. That was only what I wanted to say, what I imagined, but I didn’t. The nose picker and the attractive blonde woman joined the queue for coffees.

“Small Cappuccino!” a voice called out.

It was my order. I took my drink, popped a few sugars in the cup and left the cafe with a smile.

Transatlantic, The Ballad of Thomas Fox

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I’m in preparation for the publication of my NYC crime thriller, Transatlantic, The Ballad of Thomas Fox. Set in NYC in 1984. It tells the story of Mayo man, Thomas Fox, and his life in the Woodlawn Heights area of the Bronx. He becomes involved with the local Irish-American hoods, Eddie McGoldrick and his nephew Sean McGoldrick. Fox is a simple guy – he likes a drink and the craic with his pals. His Irish-American girlfriend, however, has other ideas about their future together. The book follows him at work and at play in Manhattan and the Bronx. The story is inspired from the time I was working in NYC as a bartender in an Irish bar in the mid-1990s. It was there I got to observe some of the characters who are semi-portrayed in the book.

The book is going through final edits, and I hope to have it published by March, maybe April. One problem which has recently popped up is the title: Transatlantic, The Ballad of Thomas Fox. Since I started the piece in 2011, this has been the working title and the title which – in my opinion – best describes the story and mood of the novel; however, last June the Irish writer Colum McCann published his own novel, TransAtlantic. Now, though the subject matter of McCann’s book differs from mine, I have had a few semi-sleepless nights thinking if I should change the title or not. I finally came to the decision not to. ‘Transatlantic’ as a word is now too much ingrained in my mind in relationship to the story, and another title just wouldn’t be the same.

I’ll keep you posted to its progress in time.