Friday, April 27, 2007

The Hungarian Axe.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I have it on good authority, from
David Llewellyn's
Hungarian cleaner, that A BALTA means THE AXE.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bookgasm review.

The Axe has been reviewed by Mark Rose in a US blog called bookgasm.

It's an interesting review because it seems to indicate how 'hype' can affect a reader's, or blogger's, receptiveness to a book. He says: "This book has received so much mainstream hype that I began to worry about its likability. Other reviewers seemed to care a little too much about the Dostoyevsky angle, and because it featured a shining star in the modern academic literary canon, it was sure to be praised."

Well, actually, I would take issue with the last point. I think the Dostoevsky connection may well be what is getting the book noticed. But not all reviewers have looked kindly on my presumption. Any how, I'm pleased that Mark Rose follows this up with: "Thankfully, Morris does not pretend to be Dostoyevsky. Instead, he takes a character study and a locale, and crafts a very passable murder mystery out of the whole thing. If he can use Porfiry Petrovich as his foil to get attention, then more power to him."

His final line is one I'm very happy with: "It’s an excellent first novel that bodes well for the future."

I've had my first Dutch review, or the first that's been brought to my attention. It appeared in NRC HANDELSBLAD, which, according to my Dutch editor "is just about the most renowned Dutch newspaper around."

I believe they liked it. "The Gentle Axe makes you long for more work by Morris, who is intelligent enough not to place too much intellectual weight in his novel, thus ensuring that it is smart without being pompous. Serve with cabbage soup and plenty of vodka."

The full bookgasm review is here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Mystery Bookstore in LA.

I was delighted to see that The Mystery Bookstore in Los Angeles has added my virtual axe reading to their myspace profile page.

See it here.

Thank you Mystery Bookstore!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

You're all invited.

I'm back from The Rap Sheet. I thoroughly enjoyed myself over there, though I have to say it was a bit stressful, trying to post something new everyday and look after the kids on Easter holiday.

I've had some positive feedback, which makes it all worthwhile, and J. Kingston Pierce, the editor, was pleased enough with my contributions to make me one of his Usual Suspects - i.e. occasional contributors.

While I was over there, I put a virtual reading up on myspace. It's an extract from the first chapter of the Axe. Please check it out, if you have a moment.

Just go here and scroll down until you see the video screens. You can view the American version (which features The Gentle Axe) or the English version (A Gentle Axe). The reading is the same. If you're logged in to myspace, you can even leave a comment. Please do!

My thanks to Clive Parsley who directed and art directed the shoot.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

This week I will mostly be blogging at The Rap Sheet.

I'm honoured to have been invited over to The Rap Sheet, where I will be posting all week. Aside from my ramblings about Gentle Axe, I can promise you a number of great interviews with great writers. And a few other surprises, I hope.

My thanks (again!) to David Isaak for drawing my attention to this review in the Washington Post.

Some pull-out quotes:

R.N. Morris's lively, literate "The Gentle Axe"

"The Gentle Axe" is a deftly plotted, enjoyable literary thriller. It's not another "Crime and Punishment," but it's a novel that, once begun, you're likely to read all the way through.

I google trawled another review too. From a site called BookLoons. The reivewer there calls it a 'top-notch mystery'.

See you at The Rap Sheet!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Every author is a local author somewhere...

So the surreal conversation I referred to in the post below, between Mark Budman and the Barnes and Noble sales clerk, went like this:

Mark: "Will you put my book here one day?"
Clerk: "We don't put every book here."
Mark: "But I'm a local author."
Clerk: "Local authors are all print on demand. We don't carry them."
Mark: "No, my book will be out from a major publisher."
Clerk: "Even major publishers, like Random House, publish local authors only as POD."

That's so illogical it's genius. Thanks to Mark for reporting the exchange and allowing me to use it. And congratulations on not slapping the fool.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The kindness of Zoetropers. is a place I go sometimes, a place where writers post work, review other writers' work, and get together, in a virtual way, to talk about writerly stuff, and occasionally some unwriterly stuff. I've made many very good friends there, some of whom I have now met in person. None of us has yet turned out to be an axe murderer. I am possibly the closest, having written a crime novel with Axe in the title.

Many Zoetropers are American or Canadian. And some of them have been out and about, visiting bookstores, looking for copies of the Axe and reporting back to me. I got news of a sighting in Kauai, the northern most island of the Hawaii chain - described by the spotter Mary Deal as 'the most remote place ON EARTH'.

Lisa McMann spotted it in Tempe Arizona, and even took a picture:

In case there are any members of staff of Borders Tempe reading, Lisa assures me that she had nothing whatsoever to do with standing that book up. No way. Nor did she place that rogue copy you might have found on the recommendations wall.

There have been other sightings too. Mark Budman, the editor of Vestal Review, spotted it in Vestal, NY. He had a rather surreal conversation with the sales assistant about his own book, MY LIFE AT FIRST TRY, which has just been snapped up by Counterpoint.

Jason Shaffner picked up a copy in Borders Boston.

Hannah Holborn has been turning out copies in Canada.

Louis Catron was making a nuisance of himself at his local libraries and bookstores on my behalf.

My thanks to all of these generous souls and all the other zoetropers who have expressed their good wishes, and especially those who have taken a chance, either with the Axe or Taking Comfort (Don Capone, Patti Auburn to name but two).

I'd also like to give a special thanks to the techie suprema Ellen Meister who made my covers rotate on myspace.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Interview in Eclectica.

Yes, I've been interviewed. The interviewer is the great Jim Younger, author of the acclaimed High John The Conqueror. I've had the honour and pleasure of sharing the odd tipple with Jim on occasion. However, the interview was conducted in the utmost sobriety. Actually, I can't speak for Jim. But I was nowhere near a drink at the time.

My thanks to Jim. He came up with some great questions and managed to make me look considerably cleverer than I actually am.

The interview appeared in an online literary zine called Eclectica, and it was commissioned by Elizabeth Glixman, who is the interviews editor there. I hope the good folk at Eclectica won't object if I quote from their 'about Eclectica' page, just for those who may not be familiar with the site:

Eclectica was founded in October 1996 with the goal of providing a sterling quality literary magazine on the World Wide Web. We were not able to find a forum that would be the net equivalent (in terms of content) of Harper's, New Yorker, Granta, The Atlantic, and other publications providing quality material for the appetites of a wide variety of demanding readers. Although some of these magazines even had their own web-sites, they were conceived as companions to the print items rather than sites that stood completely on their own.

Thus Eclectica was born. The vision we shared was that of a magazine not bound by formula or genre, that harnessed technology to further the reading experience rather than for the sake of flashy gimmickry, and that was dynamic and interesting enough content-wise to keep readers coming back for more.

Ten years later, quality is still the sole criterion in our editorial process. If it is outstanding writing, then we want to share it with our ever growing, global readership. We provide broad categories for convenience's sake, but we love to get material that just doesn't fit into them. And while there are many, many online publications now that succeed, to greater or lesser degrees, in doing what we set out to do in 1996, we pride ourselves on being one of the longest-running and most consistent literary ezines on the web.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Reviewed by and on

Thanks to LF for letting me know about his really generous review on And thanks especially, Len, for ""The Gentle Axe" manages to be an entertaining novel on its own while doing no disservice to the memory of one of the great novels of all time."

I also spotted that amazon had added their own review, by Valerie Ryan. She says: "In a wonderfully atmospheric novel, Morris has created a world-weary protagonist in Porfiry, a man still exhausted from his last case, joined by a collection of absolutely believable characters to flesh out the novel... [Porfiry] follows clues, hunches, people, and stories to get to the bottom of the mystery--and when he does, it comes as a complete surprise, but one that makes perfect sense. This carefully written and entertaining novel will satisfy lovers of mystery, historical crime, and just plain good novels."

The last time I looked at my page I was twinned with Ruth Downie's novel MEDICUS. I met Ruth at the Heffers event I did in February. She was very nice (so nice she even bought a copy of A GENTLE AXE!) and her book seems to be doing very well.

I've also been told that the book was reviewed in the Sydney Morning Herald but as the review doesn't seem to be online, I have no idea what it said. Anybody spot it?