A short story that’s going to be big for Hospice UK

My crime fiction short story A Cup of Cold Coffee and a Slice of Life has been chosen for an international anthology, Dark Minds, edited by top crime fiction author Betsy Freeman Reaveley and published by Bloodhound Books.
There are 39 stories from 39 different authors based all over the world, so I am naturally surprised and honoured. I am sharing a publication with some of the most respected authors in the world: in fact, not ‘some’, almost every one is an award-winner or best seller.
All the money, not just bits of it, goes to Hospice UK, an amazing charity and I am ecstatic that my work is going to support it. The book is available for pre-order from December 6, and is printed on December 13 in print, kindle and as an audio book.
My short story was conceived during a walk round Wolverhampton with Dave Kemp – if you ever see a documentary of Top of the Pops, Dave is featured as a guru of those heady times – and Sue Wilson, a relative youngster who simply loves the music of the 70s and 80s. We had time to kill; we walked into a coffee shop. It was a national chain, but I’m not going to say which one. What struck me as we sat down was that almost every customer, even those with obvious loved ones, was glued to a small screen in front of them as they frantically sent messages or reacted to photos. It was a tiny little private world in a very public place.
I got to thinking: back in the day, we’d pass pieces of paper around or swap 4” x 6” colour photos and the chat would blossom. And then my deep, dark mind began to crank into gear. A Cup of Cold Coffee and a Slice of Life is, to borrow a French word that’s emerged with prominence in the worldwide literary language, ‘noir’. It’s oddly disturbing what a crime writer’s mind turns to.
Does Dark Minds fit with Hospice UK? Yes. Absolutely. Crime fiction is the most popular literary genre in the world; it involves violence, death, criminality and mayhem; it is often the embodiment of escapism – and the villains almost always meet retribution. In a hospice there are people who are gravely ill, but that doesn’t mean their mental faculties are in any way diminished. Anyone who has been to a hospice, and that includes some patients, knows that they are havens of happiness and love: laughter has habit of resounding round the wards and rooms, bouncing off the walls. In that sort of atmosphere, crime fiction offers a taste of unreality that could just be real.
I add. Not one of the esteemed and lauded authors whose work is in Dark Minds will get a penny, neither will the publisher make a penny profit. Everything goes to charity. Do it. Now. Put December 6 in your diary to pre-order and get those sales booming.

2 thoughts on “A short story that’s going to be big for Hospice UK”

  1. Hello Richard,
    It’s good to read your memories of the Derby music scene and especially those about Clouds/Cleo’s club, which also was a regular haunt for us all those years ago.

    Learning of the sad death today of the great Leon Russell, I too remember that phenomenal concert by Leon Russell & his Shelter People, all crammed onto the tiny stage of the London Road club and literally lifting the roof off – an all time great gig.

    What chance of putting together the story of Clouds/Cleo’s – are there people out there who have stories, photos, memorabilia? I do have some!

    It could be an interesting local “music heritage” project.


    1. Sorry it’s taken to so long to reply David. I’ve been finalising Book 3 in the Simon Jardine series as well as writing short stories for anthologies.
      I’m up in Derby occasionally – the lure of BPM Records and decent pubs is a string one – so perhaps we could have a chat over a beer?
      I’m on Facebook and you can also get me on Richard@tonyrcox.co.uk


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