Posts Tagged ‘A Gentle Axe’

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Bear with me while I monetise my blog…

A couple of days ago I got an email from someone offering to pay me money to write blog posts for commercial products. The blog posts would appear on my blog, here, so effectively I would be being paid to endorse stuff ‘within my vertical’, as the email sender put it.

I can only guess what ‘within my vertical’ means. I wasn’t aware I had a vertical. I was curious to find out what one is. So I signed up, for no other reason than to get to the bottom of this mysterious phrase. The money doesn’t come into it.

Anyhow, the first ‘within my vertical’ products have started to come through, so here are my thoughts on them:

  1. Samsung Galaxy S4. Galaxy has always been my favourite of the confectionary chocolates, so if this product (whatever it is) is anything like that, then I’m all for it. Sweet.
  2. Lovehoney Mr Big Rabbit Vibrator. It does exactly what it says on the tin. Vibrates, I mean. (Not sure why it comes in a tin though.)
  3. Marigold Rubber Gloves. At last! Here is a product I can get really enthusiastic about. As long as they are in large. The mediums are too small for my hands. And as for the smalls, I once ripped one trying to get it on. A sweaty, rubber-enclosed thumbs up from me!
  4. Axe Deodorant. Over here we call it Lynx. But yes, Axe Deodorant – what can I say other than I once wrote a book called A Gentle Axe? I think I must have had this product in mind. In fact, I’m pretty sure I did. Though I forgot to mention it in the book. I promise to make up for that in the next book I write. If I ever write another one.
  5. Despicable Me 2. You thought the first Despicable Me film was good? This is the one after it. Done in the same style.
  6. Mont Blanc pens. I’m a crime writer. So naturally I like a good pen. For stabbing people in the eye with. This type works well and looks stylish too.
  7. Spear & Jackson Garden Shears. I don’t do a lot of gardening, but if I did, I would definitely consider using these shears. Though the old rusty pair we have in the shed seem to work fine. I suppose they might be Spear & Jackson. I can check next time I’m in there if you like?
  8. Nicki Minaj Pink Friday The New Fragrance. It certainly smells very pink and Fridayish. Though I’m told you can wear it any day of the week. That’s handy!
  9. Mark Hill Hair – Caring and Styling Range. Caring and styling hair plays a big part in our lives. These hair products are designed to help you do it right! From holiday-care to mad party hairstyles, you’ll find all you need right here! Get the glamour look and be in control! (Okay, I’ll be honest. I pasted that from the website. Could you tell?)
  10. Spear & Jackson Spirit Level. Not sure why they sent me this one. It’s not ‘within my vertical’ at all. In fact, it’s lying on top of my horizontal.

So there you have it. Now all I have to do is lie back and wait for the money to come in. Not that it’s about the money, of course.

Friday, October 26th, 2012

City Pick St Petersburg

This morning I received my complimentary copy of Oxygen Books’ City Pick St Petersburg, an anthology of writing about St Petersburg. The reason I was sent a free copy was because they have included some passages from my books (one from A Gentle Axe, three from The Cleansing Flames). Until this week I knew nothing about it, as the permissions had been granted by my publisher and no one thought to tell me!

Needless to say, I’m very honoured to be in the book, alongside such writers as Helen Dunmore, Joseph Brodsky, Malcolm Bradbury, J.M. Coetzee, Truman Capote, Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Gogol, Alexander Pushkin and – yes – Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

It’s strange reading the extracts from my books, which seem to have acquired a kind of authority by being included in this anthology. The scenes I describe are totally imaginary. I would even go so far as to say that the city I describe is imaginary too, in the sense that it is my imaginative re-processing of my research into 19th century St Petersburg. I have been to St Petersburg, yes; but I have never been to St Petersburg in 1870, except in the novels of writers like Dostoyevsky. The scenes I describe I only ever saw in my imagination.

Dostoyevsky called St Petersburg the most abstract and premeditated city in the world. The publishers of this book refer to it as a “city of dreams”. Perhaps it’s appropriate that this dream has entered my imagination and my own re-dreaming of it will now go towards forming other peoples’ idea of the city.

Friday, January 13th, 2012

New (Gentle) readers start here.

It’s possible that every now and then someone stumbles on this blog entirely by accident. Looking for something else – I can’t begin to guess what – you find this. Me. I can only apologise.

In all likelihood, you will speed-click back to google. Get the hell out of there! It’s some writer’s blog! If that’s the case,  you won’t be reading this now. So if you are reading this, the chances are you decided to spend a moment or two exploring. Trying to find out who the hell this R.N. Morris guy is.

So maybe, every now and then, I should take a little time to say a bit about myself and what I’m doing here. On the internet. With a website and blog. And everything.

So yes. I’m a writer. Of fiction. Crime. Mostly. Murder stories. Set in the past. In Russia. Sorry, I tend to come over all inarticulate when I try to talk about myself and my writing. Awkward. Especially when every writer these days has to be his or her own publicist.

I’ve written a series of four novels set in St Petersburg the the 1860s and 1870s. The central character of the series is Porfiry Petrovich, a character I took from Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment.

I’m told the books are at the literary end of the crime fiction genre. I don’t know anything about that myself. I just try to tell the stories as best I can.

If the series piques your interest, A Gentle Axe is probably the place to start. It’s the first book in the series. That’s not to say you have to read the books in order. Each one is designed to stand alone, but there is a progression in the relationships between the central characters. So. Up to you. The other books are A Vengeful Longing, A Razor Wrapped in Silk and The Cleansing Flames, the last of which was published in 2011. In April 2012, I’m publishing the first book in a new series, called Summon Up The Blood.

If you’ve got a kindle, you can download A Gentle Axe now for just £1.42. I know the prices change on amazon, so by the time you read this – if you get this far – the price may have changed.

Here are some of the things reviewers said about the book (which was called The Gentle Axe in America) when it came out:

“Lush, and exceptionally compelling, but take your time – R.N. Morris’s The Gentle Axe has a vast depth of Russian soul; mysterious, compassionate, and utterly irresistible. Alan Furst

“Morris’ recreation of the seamy side of 19th-century St Petersburg is vivid and convincing … As to who did it, Morris keeps the reader guessing until the end.” The Independent

“R. N. Morris has produced perhaps the most audacious police-inspector novel of the season with “The Gentle Axe.”….The tale hums along with controlled excitement, as if written by a Russian minimalist and rendered by a fine translator. The psychological and spiritual themes seem worthy of Dostoyevsky; there are traces of Gogol and Gorky, too. Such an accomplished book transcends pastiche.” The Wall Street Journal

It’s a satisfyingly grisly yarn… “CSI: St. Petersburg.”” The New York Times Book Review

“[A] smart, hypnotizing tale of crime and duplicity.” The New York Sun

“The story is told ably in the classic whodunit twisty-arc style, reminiscent of the sleuthing of Nick Charles, Sherlock Holmes and Columbo, the mussed-up character based partly on Dostoevsky’s trench-coat-clad Petrovich. Dirty Harry could easily be referenced, too…” The San Francisco Chronicle

“Morris has created an atmospheric St Petersburg, and a stylish set of intellectual problems, but what makes A Gentle Axe such an effective debut is its fascination with good and evil. It has earned its author the right to make use of the work of a greater writer.” Times Literary Supplement

“A Gentle Axe is tense, atmospheric and bristles with the kind of intelligence you’d read, well, Dostoevsky for… a piece of literary fun.” The Independent on Sunday


“Morris has dug deep into the Russian soul in this book, and his dark, dank, dangerous St Petersburg, with its snowbound, windswept streets and stinking slums, is brilliantly recreated. The hunt for the murderer is tense and atmospheric: the denouement brutally shocking and moving. A worthy sequel to one of the greatest novels ever written: and a cracking thriller in its own right.” The York Press


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