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Q: So. Graeme Smith. Oh - right! You're the guy who...                    


A: Nope.


 Q: No? Oh. Er... hey, I get it! You're...                      


A: Nope.


 Q: Oh. So you're...             


A: Nope - not him either. Hmmm - let me see if I can help :-). I never worked for the Canadian Globe and Mail as a war correspondent. And I most definitely can't play cricket - (people throwing rocks at me aren't my thing (blush)). And, unfortunately, the history of Scottish Theatres is a total mystery to me. No. I'm the other Graeme Smith - Fantasy author, published by Canadian publisher Books We Love. Comic fantasy if you laugh when you read it (I don't think you can write comedy - only read it. More on that later :-) ).


Q: OK. So why 'Graeme Smith? If there's, like, so many of them? Er, of you? You could be... well, no. Or... or maybe...              


A: See? Coming up with an amazing, unique pen-name? Not so easy, right? Chris Fox? John Gwynne? Great names - but can buy their books on Amazon right now. And even if there's only one Stephen King on Amazon, take a look at how many there are on Facebook. Yes, I thought about trying to come up with something cool. But I decided to take the easy way out - Graeme Smith. It's my real name. Or maybe it isn't - maybe it's my keyboard's name, and I'm just an artificial intelligence, buzzing round a massive (or in my case, very tiny (blush)) computer's microchips :-). And, believe it or not - there aren't many of us - er me - on Amazon. So there it is, and here I am. Me - Graeme Smith - Fantasy author. Time was, I worked on a psychiatric ward. Now I write about people who believe in magic and dragons, and who live where the folk who don't are the ones who need help :-).


 Q: So you write Fantasies...             


A: Yup. (Yes, Jones Minor. I can see you sniggering at the back. See  me after class.).


 Q: Comic Fantasy.             


A: Er - no. Or yes. One of those - sometimes both. That's for...


 Q: What? But you said you did! It's right there! Up in the third question!             


A: I said I'd get back to it :-). And I guess we should. First, the whole 'Comic Fantasy' thing can be confusing. Because I don't write, for or in, comics. Len Wein? Bill Finger? They're not me. For one thing, they wrote incredible work. For another - well, let's stick with the first one (blush). For another thing - I don't think you can. Write comedy, I mean. Because I believe that, for a reader, something only becomes funny when they read it. When they read it, and it triggers something in them, when it reminds them of that thing Billy Stevens did in class that day - and they laugh. Not when it's written. So you can read humour - but only hope to write it. At least, that's what I think. Of course - I'm an Idiot. Or maybe an idiot - the jury's still out on that one (blush).


Q: OK. So you're Graeme Smith. You write Fantasy...             


A: Yup. Dragons and Baen-Sidhe and Weres, oh my :-). Well, and a temporally flexible assassin. And a truck driver...


Q: Truck driver? Truck drivers aren't fantasy!             


A: Charlie doesn't think he is either. But then, fantasy or reality - it's all Greek to him. And maybe saxophones...


Q: Saxophones?             


A: Possibly. Or probably. Or not - one of those. And back-street angels and sea dragons who can't swim, but are great on the uilleann. But maybe not - I don't know. I haven't finished writing those yet. Or even started writing them - maybe. One of those :-).


Q: ... and you definitely don't write comedy, but you hope people laugh when they read what you do write. Er... right?             


A: Well, yes. And no. I mean, I hope they laugh sometimes. All the time, like, every word? That might be a bit disturbing. To their neighbours, at least. Or their family. Or their cat. Or... well. Or.


Q: I see. Or maybe I don't - one of those. To be honest...           


A: Oh, please don't. Be honest, I mean. Well, I suppose you can be. Not me. I mean, the whole 'honesty' thing. To quote Segorian, it's a bad habit I'm trying to break.


Q: What? I mean - WHAT? But honesty's the best poli... I mean WHAT?          


A: Well, you have to understand. I'm a liar.


Q: WHAT?                                 


A: Yes. You already said that. Or asked it, I guess. But I am! A liar, that is. I tell people - readers, I mean - that things that never really happened actually did happen, and that they happened to people who don't really exist. And, if I do it right, for a while, even if just for a moment (or a page, a chapter, a book) - they believe me. Readers, I mean. They believe. Heck, if I'm lucky, if they bought one of my books, I get paid to lie to them! Samuel Taylor Coleridge (who got to be famous, at least in part, by not even finishing a lie) called it the 'suspension of disbelief'. He thought it was a Good Thing(tm). Tolkien - dragons and hobbits and elves, oh my - thought it wasn't. He believed in 'secondary belief' and thought suspension of belief was for wusses. But really, that's what authors - fiction authors - are. Professional liars. Well, the ones who manage the 'getting paid' thing :-). 




So there we are. Or, possibly, here we are. This is me - Graeme Smith, Fantasy author. Welcome to my worlds! Sit down, pull up a chair - and I'll lie to you some :-).



Villages have idiots. Peladon? Peladon is a country, so it has an Idiot. The day job? Getting blamed for things other people did. The other job? When the world’s about to end (or the washing up won’t get donewhichever comes first), who you gonna call? When nothing else has worked, you call the Idiot. Because some things? Some things, only an Idiot would try. This is his story. 


Segorian Anderson used to be an Idiot. Now he’s a King – though his wife tells him there’s not much difference. And there isn’t. Because somebody always has to get the blame. Like now. Not just because of the naked girl floating on the Royal bedroom balcony, screaming. And not because everything’s going to hell. But this time? This time, it might really be his fault.







Segorian Anderson’s an Idiot. But that’s fine with him. It’s a well paying job with no heavy lifting.
Nobody ever remembers Segorian. It isn’t magic
he just has the sort of face his own mother could forget, and she’s been trying to for years. But being forgettable is a job requirement for an Idiot.
No, he's not the Court Jester. He doesn’t wear motley (whatever motley may be). That's a different union. He’s the Idiot. In a Queen’s castle, wine spilt down the wrong dress can lead to war, so someone unimportant has to be blamed for it. That’s the Idiot’s job. He’s the Idiot that did it, for any value of ‘it’. Of course, as soon as he’s exiled-for-life out of the castle gate, he uses his back-door key and sneaks back in. But that's not all. Someday, something really bad will happen. Really, really bad. Badder than a bad thing on a very bad day with extra badness. When the world’s about to end (or the washing up won’t get done
whichever comes first), who you gonna call? No, not them. They haven’t been invented yet. You call the Idiot, someone nobody will miss if things don’t work out. And now Peladon has a case of dragon.
But the dragon may be the easy part. Segorian has woman trouble, and he’s the only person in the castle who doesn’t know it. Because to Segorian, women are an open book. The problem is, he never learned to read…


 18 Wheels and No Roses

 "Hey, Charlie. You like the truck better? Than the boat, I mean?"

That’s what she said as she walked away from the last ride she should ever have taken. And this one was smart. Kharon, even if he went by the name of Charlie these days, knew she’d be okay.
But this one wasn’t just smart. She was different. Because this one came back.
Charlie's a trucker, an Independent. Meaner 'n snakes, he’s been there, done that and kicked its butt—twice. What Charlie picks up, he delivers. Now Charlie’s biggest customers want him to take on an extra little job—an investigation into missing deliveries. Charlie turns them down flat. Because when god an’ the devil (not God and the Devil—it’s a union thing) are both sounding scared, a smart trucker drives away.

Then Rosie comes back, scarred from a whipping she swears Charlie gave her. It’s not like she’s the first to try to kill him. But she damn near succeeds, and not even the idiot in the lion skin did that. And it’s soon clear that whoever’s stealing souls wants Charlie in the frame—so they can take what’s in his truck.
Now Rosie's pissed. And Charlie’s pissed-er. And someone’s going to pay. Because nobody— not god, not demon, not poly-dimensional trans-optical hyper-sentient autonomous non-organic entity—nobody touches his truck.



Jack Shadow. He’s heard them – every one of them. The jokes. They all start out the same. "See, this guy walks into a bar..." Well, that's not him. That guy who walked into a bar.

He’s the guy who walked out.

It's not amnesia. Near as anyone knows, he just doesn’t have a past. Near as anyone knows - or admits to. He doesn’t walk round a corner, and some guy from a car shoots at him because of something he did long ago. Sure. Guys shoot at him. Hell, women too. But not for long ago. Mostly for last week. Where 'last week' is any week you choose. No, he just walked out of a bar.

Were there piles of dead bodies behind him? A stacked deck he was dealing, or one he was dealt? He doesn’t know. Or care. But they were waiting, and they took him. The Dragon. Took him to make a difference. To wait for the time a beat of a gnat's wing could change tomorrow. And Jack’s the gnat.

Jack walked out of a bar. The rest - the rest will be history. Some day. Not that he’ll be in it. Nobody remembers the gnats. Not if they did their job right. And Jack’s the best there is.

Jack Shadow. Because some days – the last thing you need is a good guy.





Sixteen – with a bullet. That’s what Maya’s Mom calls her. It’s the sort of name you get when your Mom works for an Agency so secret it doesn’t actually exist. Not that Maya minds. As far as she’s concerned a pink Glock and a short skirt solve pretty much any problem, especially male ones. So new town, a new school? No big deal. She’s been there, done that and mostly blown someone’s head off in the process. There’s nothing Maya doesn’t know about the family business.

Thing is, the Cute Guy in the front row won’t stay dead, yesterday’s getting a bad habit of turning into tomorrow and Maya’s starting to think she doesn’t know jack. She doesn’t - but she’s going to find out real soon. Because Jack’s back.

Jack and Maya. Maya and Jack. Someone’s gonna die. Someone has to live. So sit down, put your head between your knees and kiss your pasts goodbye.


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