Hey dudes, if you:
- are in the UK
- are yet to taste the delights of Mangel book #5
- own a Kindle
- have a spare 99p rattling around in your pocket
Hey dudes, if you:
Hey, I was on BBC Hereford & Worcester today, talking about Made of Stone and various other stuff with Mike Wyer, who was standing in for Tammy Gooding. Many thanks to Mike for asking the questions, and to listeners for listening to the answers (plus all the ums and ers).
If you fancy a hark yourself, the show is up online for the next 6 days. My bit starts at 36:30, after "The Going Gets Tough" by the great Billy Ocean. Listen out for an exciting trailer for The Voice UK.
Hey man, you can get my short story Kindle collection for free this week. It is called YOUR PLACE IS IN THE SHADOWS and features six short stories from the past 13-odd years. Some noir, some weird... ALL worth more than the asking price of £$D1ddly Squ4t. And what do I ask in return, pray tell? Nothing. Only your happiness. And maybe a review. And hey, the other books are for sale (cough).
Yanks get it here, limeys here, canucks here and other nationalities wherever your local Amazon website is.
I have put together six of my finest short stories in a little collection for Kindle. It's called Your Place is in the Shadows and is retailing at minimum price.
At first the idea was to get some of my short stuff out there in the hope that it leads people to the longer stuff. But then I read these things again, and I'm not sure how similar they are. Some are crime, some more horror, others kind of sf or slipstream. Some are clearly set in a world similar to Mangel (or Warchester), others clearly elsewhere. The earliest was written way before I even thought about Deadfolk, others way later.
But I'm proud of them all. I have have written plenty of shorts, and I'm only picking what I consider to be the good 'uns for this (and one or two subsequent volumes later this year). Most have been published in mags, anthologies and more recently webzines, others not. And sometimes it's your favourites that don't find a home. In this case (and published here for the first time) it's "Shithead" (based on a card game I came across years ago in France).
If you are a fan of Royston Blake, maybe the story "Punchbag" will reveal a bit of where the old bruiser came from. The main character doesn't have the same dubious charm of Blakey, but he clearly shares some of his appetites. This was first published in the British Fantasy Society's magazine Dark Horizons in 2001.
One particular story I like in this batch is "Some Help From Stanley", featuring a spurned husband who yearns for the family from which he has been usurped. Help comes in the unlikely guise of a phonecall from the late Stanley Kubrick. I consider this my first major sale, hitting the pages of The Third Alternative magazine in 2002, which specialised in horror and weird. But I reckon this story could have just as easily been labelled crime.
See what you think.
Your Place is in the Shadows is on sale in the UK, USA, Canada and everywhere else in Amazon-land.
CW: So, Royston Blake, we have a new book out called Made of Stone. Tell us a bit about it.
Terrible news about Iain Banks. His Wasp Factory certainly opened a door for me in terms of what you can do with books. I rather petulantly went off him a few years ago after reading RAW SPIRIT (no link provided - for your own good), but I went back on him a couple of years later, in search of the mastery of old and finding it.
But this guy is still alive - why am I talking about him like he is dead?? Let's all go on a Banks-fest (I recommend the slightly unsung Espedair Street) while we wait for his next book, wondering if it will have an "M." in it. (No. Strangely this seems significant.)
Funny, he is someone I feel like I have met, although I definitely haven't. And during this imaginary meeting he thought I was a twat. To be fair, I was probably drunk. On whisky.
Eh up. Royston Blake makes a guest appearance at Brit Grit Alley, delicately tackling the sensitive issue of "special needs". Check it here.
Also check this footage of some 18 year old kid electrifying the world in 1998. One moment of magic like that (against Argentina of all teams) makes up for all the years of injury. Enjoy your retirement, Michael Owen. Try not to buy a pub.
And in case you haven't heard, MADE OF STONE is out.
You thought I could get through a whole post without mentioning that?
Today sees the publication of MADE OF STONE - Mangel book #5. And this blog is the best place to mark the occasion. Because right here is where I started writing it.
Regular readers of this blog (both of you) will recall how I did a guest blog by Royston Blake a couple of years ago called Blakey on Tour (which seems to have spawned 310 spam comments about drugs - WTF?). For some reason I couldn't find a way to sign off from it, so I continued it. Then I continued the continuation... and so on until I had about thirty of the things and no sign of an end in sight. At that point I took it offline.
Made of Stone is the end result, after a few weeks of writing, rejigging and then several months of the usual publication process. I don't know of any other writer who has done this, although I'm sure I'm not the only one. (If Norris McQuirter is reading, can you check that? If it is, I want in the Guinness Book of Records. Or just a crate of Guinness would be fine, thanks.) I don't mean taking your bloggings and putting them into a book, but writing a blog post which ends up turning into a novel. Not only a novel but the fifth novel in a series, and one which the author loved writing and reckons is OK, if he may say so himself. (He may.)
But do you know what? I'd like to do it again.
There was something about the thought that people are waiting for the next instalment - even if it's just one person - that spurs you on. I felt like Dickens when I was writing that thing. Except Dickens got a shilling for each copy of each instalment he sold, whereas I got a comment if I was lucky (or 310 about black market drugs if I was really unlucky). But do you know what? Those comments were worth more than a shilling. They were worth at least 1.5 shillings.
Anyway, Made of Stone. Please buy it (UK, US, Can), steal it, borrow it... read it. Tell your friends. If you know someone who read Deadfolk or one of the other early ones, tell them. Royston Blake is still around.
And he is on tour.
Pssst, do you like films? You do, right? And you like them dark and noirish, right? Films that have a clear, strong storyline but that don't force-feed it to you - you like that, don't you? You like it because it acklowledges that you are an intelligent, sophisticated consumer of the cinematic medium and you can do some of the work yourself, so long as that brain of yours is engaged. This is you, right? I'm describing you.
But there is a problem.
You don't have much time.
No time to watch films because you've books to read... such as this one. Or this one which will be published next week (ahem). Plus you have to eat food, sleep, go to the gym. Get turned away from the gym because you are not a member. Pick up the kids. Get turned away from the school because you have no kids. Remember that you do have kids but you are at the wrong school. Turn up at the correct school five hours late, only to find your kids have been taken into care. Get a visit from the police, etc. That sort of stuff, right? Busy stuff. The kind of stuff that stops you watching films.
Your prayers are answered.
Allow me to present ARK, a short film written by me, directed by Mal Woolford and starring Simone Lahbib in femme fatale mode and Raffaello Degruttola as her high-handed paramour.
Ladies and gents, this film is only 3:49.
Even the crazy-busiest person in Crazy-Busy Land can shoe-horn that little babe into their schedule.
Watch the film, see what you think, maybe share it on Facebook or something if you dig it. Then give social services a call about getting those kids back.