No Good Deed

By Ewan Lawrie

Moffat the Magniloquent along the Mississippi

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102% funded
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Writing in progress

Publication date: TBC

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What happened to Moffat? Did he reach the Americas? Indeed he did.

It is some years later and Moffat is broke. Having spent any ill-gotten gains soon after his arrival, he has been scraping a larcenous living, much as he did when resident in London before the events described in Gibbous House. Having tired of the East, Moffat heads south.

Moffat catches a stagecoach for St Louis where he meets and murders a riverboat gambler, assuming yet another false identity. He takes a riverboat downriver to New Orleans, gets involved in poker games, meets famous Missouri figures and some old “friends”.  Moffat observes the contradictions and injustices of the (barely) Antebellum South and becomes involved in a plot to free some slaves and acquire some silver for the Underground Railroad. This being Moffat’s adventure nothing and no-one is what they seem. His new identity is as much a burden as an escape, since everyone expects something of “Anson Northrup”. Along the way Moffat meets the famous Marie Laveau and some of her acolytes. Despite himself he learns more about the Jedermanns and his own strange resistance to the passage of time, notwithstanding his sybaritic lifestyle.

Can Moffat move the silver from the New Orleans Mint with the help of freed slaves? Who is Compair Lapin? Can Moffat trust him? An already complex plan meets obstacles at every turn as Moffat, Miss Pardoner and others attempt to get both as far north as they can.

Moffat remains magniloquent, murderous and quite possibly more impulsive than ever.

No Good Deed is for people who loved Gibbous House, who love an adventure story with a difference and for the people who asked me whether there was a sequel. Moffat is a less cowardly Flashman stumbling upon history, whilst failing to notice it happening, being too busy gratifying his latest desire.

I confess that I wrote No Good Deed because I wanted to know what happened next too.

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  • Ewan Lawrie avatar

    Ewan Lawrie

    Ewan Lawrie is the author of Gibbous House, also published by Unbound. He is an one of a small team of editors for the writers’ web-site, ABCTales.com.


    Whilst serving 23 years in the Royal Air Force, including 10 in Cold War Berlin and 12 more flying over the rather warmer conflicts that followed, Ewan began writing. In the main this was to pass the time during long, boring flights over desert countries. After a while, this way of killing time developed into a passion.


    Until recently Ewan lived in the south of Spain, inland from the Costa Del Sol, where he used to enjoy an occasional beer in bars where no-one spoke English, at least not to him, in case they ended up in his notebook or somewhere worse. When not doing that he used to write, but occasionally he taught English to Andalucians and other hispanophones.


    Having spent 9 months renting in Manchester’s hipster equivalent of Shoreditch, West Didsbury, , Ewan  is now living in Elland in the Calder Valley, where the scenery is as inspiring in its way as that of Spain and the beer is cheaper than in Manchester.

    Please Allow Me Inc. represents Ewan Lawrie for marketing purposes. However, since it is an entirely fictitious business, good luck with contacting them. (They often post on Facebook, all material should be consumed with generous portions of Saxa - other condiments are available).


    He has had stories and poetry published in several anthologies. His first poetry collection was published by Cerasus Poetry in October 2018. No Good Deed is his second novel.

  • Naturally this left me in the company of the fellow in the extravagant waistcoat. I suggested a brandy, and he informed me that nothing we might buy in the establishment would truly deserve the name. He winked and said that he had something special in his room upstairs. I demurred, saying that I hardly knew him. He looked a fine figure, perhaps ten years younger than I. At least, if I had not but recently travelled by stage coach. It was important that I consider what this man saw in his regard of me. A man of around forty five - though I looked nearer my true age that day – vigorous, if a little tired. Clean-shaven , still yet blessed with a head of hair. I wondered if I had judged his interest correctly.

                He did not seem unduly discommoded by the rebuff.

                'Better stick to the whiskey, sir... or we could try a beer?' he enquired.

                'A capital suggestion, my throat is still  as dry as dust.'

                He ordered the beers with a click of his fingers. We were standing alongside a long counter that served as the bar. There were tables in rough deal aplenty, but few were occupied. The majority of trade was carried out at the bar. Of the occupied tables, one had a game of cards in progress and at the other two military fellows in a grey uniform were sprawled insensible across it. My companion eyed me over his glass,

                'Long way from home.'

     It did not sound like a question. I answered, after a fashion,  nonetheless.

                'Somewhat.'

                The beer was light and tasted nothing like the porters and ales of home. I made pretence of clicking my fingers, ensuring that this gesture was not seen by the man behind the bar. The man in the waistcoat clicked his own and we were provided with two more glasses of the gold-coloured liquid.

    'I am indebted to you, sir. I did not catch your name, earlier.' I said.

                'Didn't give it, is why.'

                I held out my hand and gave the name, 'Moffat.'

                He looked at the hand for a moment, then shook it.

                'Anson Northrup.'

                He was of a size with me, perhaps larger, due to the fact that I cut a more slender figure since arriving in the Americas.  He asked me what had brought me to the New World.

                'Necessity,' I said.

                'The mother of invention, it's a fact.'

                Evidently he was a man of few words. We took several more of the beers. They had no more effect on myself than a cordial. As for the other he became a little more animated, but not a great deal more talkative. Even so, I was able to convince him that he had inveigled me into his room and not vice-versa.

                We passed an enjoyable hour and it was with some regret that I used a yellow scarf to choke the life out of him. I assumed his clothes and saw with regret what little money he had in his purse. His body I folded into a chest and covered it with my dusty attire. I took the only other item in a room, it was a bag, about the size of a sailor's bag although it had handles for transportation. It had been fashioned from a violently patterned oriental carpet. It was a hideous thing, but what was a man without baggage?  Looking around the room, I thought again that it was a pity our acquaintance had been so short.

    Still, as he himself had said, ‘Necessity is the Mother of Invention’ and besides, such a personage must surely be wedded to the Father of Lies.

    Read more...
  • Ewan Lawrie has written 3 private updates. You can pledge to get access to them all.

    18th November 2019 Spreadsheet Blues

    Hello, today I sent off something called a Style Guide, to include Character Lists and a timeline. I had to fill in a spreadsheet! Those of you who know me well will know that I am a pants-er as in I make it up as I go along and sort it all out later. Never have I been more envious of planners; those writers who spreadsheet the novel to within an inch of its life before 'Once aponner time' has been…

    13th November 2019 Progress!

    As you read this No Good Deed has cleared the first hurdle on the road to publication. My editor Rachael Kerr and I have produced a final draft manuscript we are both happy with. It has been sent to Unbound for allocation to a copy editor. If there are any queries from them the MS will travel back and forth until it is suitable for proof. Meanwhile, some artwork may be commissioned. As far as I know…

    1st November 2019 No News is Good News. (And some free fiction...)

     

    Would you like the good news or the bad news?

    Really?

    The good news is I have a scheduled date for No Good Deed's publication.

    The bad news is that it is September 2020.

    The mitigating news is, honestly, that Unbound are very much a victim of their own success. They have LOTS of books at the same stage as mine is, finishing structural edit, pending copy edit. In traditional publishing…

    31st October 2019 News and a Little Something to Read.

    Received the first pass notes from my wonderful editor, Rachael Kerr, earlier in the week. There was SO much less to do than I expected that I've done it and sent the MS back. Now it's just a matter of waiting. For you and for me. Anyway, here, as promised is some more writing from my time in Spain. It's not travel-writing as such, but as I read it again I can smell the manteca and anis, and remember…

    25th October 2019 A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever

    Hallooo, all Moffatarians, followers of the Malignant and Magniliquent Moffat. There is news! (Or, if you prefer, there are news, I know people is strange).

    Around a month ago I despatched the manuscript of No Good Deed to Unbound. I was ecstatic to find that the editor assigned was Rachael Kerr, who managed to knock Gibbous House into better shape than I had any right to expect. So No Good…

    18th September 2019 News!

    I am very pleased to say that the editor allocated to No Good Deed is Rachael Kerr, who did such a brilliant job on Gibbous House that I didn't dare hope she would be available for No Good Deed. I should get some things to work on by mid-October.  All being well final proofs could be ready as soon as January. As you've all been so patient here is some fiction to be going on with...

     

    Sand…

    12th September 2019 The Time It Takes...

     

    I've been looking through the updates on Gibbous House's project page. It took so long from the campaign's beginning, in July 2014, to actual publication in January 2017, that I made quite a few updates. Most of them were little bits of fiction, to keep people entertained and their mind off just how long it was taking. We may save around 6 months this time round if an editor doesn't leave with…

    11th September 2019 Limbo

    No news on the No Good Deed front. Just thought I'd get that out of the way. This (probably) means that an editor hasn't yet been assigned or that they are struggling to wade through my manuscript. Naturally, I hope it is the former. Unbound haven't contacted me, so I assume there is nothing to tell me, therefore I have nothing to tell you. Once the wading is done, I should receive an annotated copy…

    26th August 2019 April is the Coolest Month...

    Well next April is, as that is the provisional publication date (subject to rewrite requests and other unforeseen delays) for your next encounter with Moffat. 



    In the meantime here is a short story written in 2011. Spanish-based with a link to a great song at the end.

    The Golden Days Return

    Guy blew out air between his lips. Who had done that at school? Glasses with thick black…

    19th August 2019 Update... No Update

    Here is the news, there is no news.

    In the meantime, here is a shortish story,  I'll put a few from Spain here from time to time.

    Anyway:

     

     

     

    One For the Road

    It was only about a month ago; a Friday evening, about 6.30. As I looked through the Venta’s double doors and across the terrace, the setting sun was turning the light from crepuscular to corpuscular. I wished…

    10th August 2019 Dreizehn

    Here is a free short story.

    As you may know I recently made a trip to Berlin. We had a great time reliving our youth, met up with some old friends, encountered new and interesting people and I stored up  source material for writing. That's what travel is for, isn't it? Anyway, in case any of you haven't seen this elsewhere on-line, I wrote this yesterday and as I said on the site where I posted…

    8th August 2019 Beer-lin? No, Bear-lin

    In celebration of a couple of things, including No Good Deed reaching its funding target, my wife and I made another trip to Berlin, where we met and subsequently married 35 years ago.

    So much has changed, yet so much is the same. Most of the Kneipen and Stuben (pubs and bars) we used to frequent are gone, in much the same way as the traditional boozers have disappeared from your town. We still…

    1st August 2019 100% - Fully Funded, What Next?

    • i) I submit a draft manuscript to Unbound. (It's ready, by the way)
    • ii) Editor looks at it, spots where I have one person in two places at the same time, any possible law-suits (got bitten like that last time), checks that none of the book is egregiously offensive to public taste (public taste changes rapidly nowadays), points out bits that don't necessarily move the story along, but that…

    17th July 2019 Another Guest Contribution from Please Allow Me Inc.

    As some of you may know, Please Allow Me Inc. are the entirely fictitious and fictive company charged with the marketing of Gibbous House and all things Moffat-y. Although their talents will not be brought fully to bear on the sequel until the crowd-funding target has been achieved (3% to go as I write this), we can look forward to still more nonsense from PAM Inc.

    Headquartered in the cultural…

    8th July 2019 Reclusive Author Ventures Out

    No, not Pynchon: me.

                        Rare limited edition poster

    Next Sunday, 14th July, armed with a card-reader and more copies of Gibbous House than I can ever hope to sell in a month of them, I will be setting up a/setting out my stall at the event of the year,  The Albert Club Summer Fete. Quite why this event does not constitute part of "The Season", I shall never understand. Anyway…

    1st July 2019 132 + (x × y) = 100%

     

    where x = pledge level

    and  y = pledgers

    Recognise this not so handsome fellow? Okay, so it's not rocket science, or even relatively speaking any kind of science at all. Crowd-funding, that is. No-one was more surprised than I was when in the last fortnight No Good Deed's campaign leapt from 83% to 93%. Another fortnight approaching that one and, well, we'll be past the winning post…

    25th June 2019 No Good Deed Reaches 88%

    88 is a fine number. The first rock and roll record was called Rocket 88. One tale has it that Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats were really Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm. It might be true. What is no great surprise is that the song is about a car. An Oldsmobile in this case. The only other thing I know about Oldsmobiles is that Ilya Kuryakin and Napoleon Solo drove around in one in The Man from…

    17th June 2019 State of Play

     

    Well "Latest Update" is a damned boring title for an update isn't it? Were you aware that there is no copyright on titles? I wasn't until I started writing seriously... Not that anything I write is entirely serious, you understand. Anyway, State of Play was a good TV series and an OK film and neither has anything to do with this post.

    No Good Deed's campaign is at 85%. My experience with…

    6th June 2019 Win a prize...

    When (we all love an optimist, right?) No Good Deed reaches 100% I will hold a draw into which  all contributors, backers and pledgers will be entered. The winner will receive a splendid custom made CD containing Music from the Unoriginal Soundtrack for No Good Deed, Music as good as might be expected. Indeed, some may be peculiar in the extreme. At least two pieces of music do feature in the…

    21st May 2019 119 (Who Will Buy?)

    "Who will buy my fine new sequel? Two books for the many"

    Who is going to be patron #120? They will almost certainly move No Good Deed's campaign on to 85%. The campaign, though on the home stretch might need help from # 1 to 119. Perhaps you could  bung a few more quid in the way of a donation, or MUCH better still you might persuade someone else to contribute.

    I confess I really AM pleased…

    2nd May 2019 82%

     

    No Good Deed's campaign has reached 82%. Hoorah! Now, how to get it to the magic 100%?

    If it were possible I'd send out this update to all 116 backers. However, you know and I know that, well, after a while there are only so many e-mails from Unbound anyone can stand, so this may go straight to the bin/garbage/trash or whatever folder you have for such things in your e-mail client. Anyway…

    12th February 2019 The Tub is Overdue a Thumping.

     

    A first update (I definitely DID prefer it when I could call these Shed Posts) for almost two months: in that time 6 pledges were achieved. Just under one a week. At this rate it could take another two years for the crowd-funding target to be achieved. Of course, the turn of the year is always a slow time for any Unbound campaign... so there's that. Medical issues get in the way of making…

    19th December 2018 No Tub-thumping Here, I Do Not Want Your Money Today



    Four years ago today, the following piece was published as part of A Christmas Tetralogy of writing by Unbound-ers. I was very proud to have been asked. Bearing in mind I wrote this 4 years ago, I hope you realise how shocking it is that when people ask me what's the biggest change in the UK after a 16-year sojourn in Spain, I say the number of people sleeping in the streets.

     

    So no, I…

    27th November 2018 Zero Hour

        Hello, all supporters still following these updates, leave a message below if you drop by. Otherwise it feels like I'm singing in the shower, it sounds good but nobody's listening. This week the No Good Deed campaign registered zero pledges, patrons and pounds for the second week in a row. That's the trouble with this way of publishing a book, at this time of year. You could pledge on someone…

    23rd October 2018 The Long and Winding Road...

     

     

    Almost six months in and we are two-thirds of the way there. I wish I'd known how difficult this would be second time around. Gibbous House smashed the funding thing in just over three months, but the book needed more work than No Good Deed will (promise).

    Do inflict... I mean consider giving a pledge as a present this year, they might not get No Good Deed by Christmas (definitely…

    19th September 2018 Bio Update

    Now living in West Didsbury, Manchester, for the foreseeable future. The Spanish Adventure is over after 15 years and the German Chapter could not begin after all. Still, as my dear old Dad used to say, "Whit's nae for ye, wull go by ye", which, I suppose, is Jockinese for Que Sera, Sera.



    Anyway, this does mean I can do more things to promote, sell, and otherwise market books published…

    22nd August 2018 First Among Sequels: Guest Post from Please Allow Me Inc.

                           

    Greetings! The Gibbous House Man - as the author of its sequel, No Good Deed - is known here at Please Allow Me Inc. (Home of Fakevertising® - Never Knowingly Oversold), has kindly allowed me to craft this update concerning his latest meisterwerk. This is no chore - as, of course, No Good Deed is first among sequels as far as our marketing efforts here at PAM Inc. are concerned…

    17th July 2018 Found Among the Moffat Papers Assembled by Prof. J. Maccabi

    From the Catalogue of Rheims et Sauvage de Paris

    Auction date 6th June, 1951



    Lot 666: Hand written letter on vellum, addressed to Ellen Pardoner, C/o John Brown, Notary Public, Seahouses, Northumberland, England. signed “Moffat”, dated 4th July, 1852. Franked at London Postal Office, 1st September. Marked “Postage Due 2s 11d”



    Throws light on the the infamous Jedermann Family”. Professor…

    27th June 2018 While You're Waiting

    During the long gestation period of Gibbous House, I used to publish a short story or two in what was then known as the shed, to keep people interested. Whether it did or not, I'm not entirely sure. In any event, for those who continue to actually read the updates, here is an old short story that once won a prize. It's not about Moffat, or the 19th Century United States, but you might enjoy it anyway…

    26th June 2018 Competition Winners Get Their Prizes.

     

      I was relieved to be informed by the competition winner and the 3 runners-up that they had received their highly desirable prizes over the weekend. Here is Frank who was first out of the Beer Stein.

       Frank has assured me that all three items will be well-used,  especially the mug by him. Shopping and dog-walking necessities are the tote-bag's fate and Frank has grandchildren who he…

    16th June 2018 At Last, Karma Twin Competition News! (A Winner)

    Congratulations to the winner, Frank Morley, whose name was drawn from a beer stein in a kneipe in Zell-Mosel last week. Frank wins a bundle of No Good Deed collectables to be delivered shortly. The other three COMPLETELY correct answers will receive a No Good Deed Mug. Thanks to all who entered.



    The next event will be a milestone give-away: once No Good Deed reaches the 50% mark there will…

    10th June 2018 No Good Deed Karma Twin* Competition update

     

    Don't panic. Competition is closed. Winner to be announced when I have something resembling internet connectivity. The geekery used to achieve even this update is giving much less than satisfactory results



    Ewan

    1st June 2018 Karma Twin* Anagram Competition (Patrons/Pledgers Only)

     

    It's here, it's competition time. Here are 8 anagrams of some of Karma Twin*'s novels or short stories' titles. The author of these makes several appearances under his given name in No Good Deed. 



    Solve the puzzle and post your answers to gibboushouse@gmail.com. The winner will receive a No Good Deed Mug, tote bag and notebook. Competition is open to patrons/pledgers only. In the event…

    23rd May 2018 Get Your Anagrammar On! (No Good Deed Pledgers Competition 28th May - 4th June)

     

     

    Hope you're excited, those of you who have already pledged. One winner will receive at least 3 No Good Deed limited edition items if they win the competition to be held between 28th May and 4th June 2018. The competition itself will only be available to patrons of No Good Deed. In the event of a tie there will be a draw down my local pub to decide the worthy winner.



    Here are two pictures…

    17th May 2018 No Mug

     

     

     

    Well, at least pledger 50 isn't... But there is a mug. A limited edition No Good Deed Mug was ordered yesterday for despatch to the 50th pledger. Do not worry, there will be a chance to WIN more Limited Edition No Good Deed ephemera later in the month, when there will be a competition open to all those who have pledged. In the meantime the images here show what the mug will…

    15th May 2018 Doll Drums: Safely Negotiated for Now

    Doll Drums

    Last week's update made mention of the doldrums I was sure that the campaign to unleash Moffat II on the world would enter. Enter them it did, but we achieved a 1% increase in the total. At 1% a week this means the book would be fully funded by October 2019. A smooth flow through the Edit, Typeset, Proofs, Print stages would mean the book would be in backers hands by March…

    8th May 2018 A Round Tuit

      

     

     

    This week, judging by its predecessor's campaign, No Good Deed is due for a dwell in the doldrums. It's just over 3 weeks in, very nearly four. As usual, people with busy lives just haven't got around to it. I know they will, but - after all - if the target remains 75% away from completion with ten of the twelve weeks gone in six weeks time, No Good Deed will never see the light of…

    6th May 2018 Who's On First?

    Perhaps some of you are too young to remember the insanity of Abbott and Costello's vaudeville-rooted baseball routine "Who's on First." I pondered whether to put a question mark there, but in the end decided not to, as maybe that would give a clue to how this comedy schtick involves misunderstanding. If you don't know the routine, I mean. All grammar pedants (like me) should love this sketch.…

    4th May 2018 43-23-21

    Not some unusual vital statistics, but the vital numbers for the Gibbous House Sequel campaign.

    43 generous people, the majority of whom waited through the long gestation of Gibbous House. As far as I can I assure you that the wait will not be so long after funding.



    23 per cent funded: almost a quarter of the way to our goal



    21 days of 90 days avaliable to contribute and ensure your name…

    27th April 2018 14 Days, 2 Weeks, A Fortnight

    Whichever way you look at it, you 34 have taken No Good Deed a fifth of the way to it's target, that is 20% of the way to publication. Thank you! And double gratitude is due to those of you who, having seen Gibbous House to paper and ink status, have generously got on board the Unbound bus again.



    Can I ask you the favour of spreading the word? Tell your friends, or share a Facebook post or retweet…

    14th April 2018 Friday the 13th

    What a day to start a project that needs a bit of luck! Today is the morning of the 14th and 10% of the novel's target has been reached. Of course, this morning's news is that Trump and pals have sent aircraft into Syria with the aim of "dismantling" the regime's chemical weapon capability. So far Russia (Russia? Haven't they been too unimportant to spy upon since 1994, when the Air Force sent…

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