Friday, April 22, 2011

Royston Blake on tour - an aside

No installment today, in case you were wondering. For some reason I find it hard to write at weekends and bank holidays, so Blakey remains stuck on the Wall Road with a vampire in the back of his pranged hearse. Come back after the Easter break to find out what happens next. I'm quite curious myself.

Talking of which, yes, I am writing this freestyle (ie no outline), which is how I nearly always do it. Mind you, I usually have the luxury of a few read-throughs of the finished piece before showing it to the world, which I don't get here. Luxuries go out the window in these straightened times.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

GUEST BLOGGER: Royston Blake - "Blakey on tour Part One"

Like I says, I ain't been in jail. Mangel jail is a place for proper scum, not community pillars like me who sometimes fall a bit foul when they cut a corner in the name of doing the right thing. No, what I thought I'd do, following the success of my campaign wossname and in celebration of my forthcoming memoir, is go on a nice holiday. And by that I don't mean camping in Hurk Wood - I mean a proper, fucking expensive holiday.

In a caravan.

I had it all sorted as well, had me eye on a decent caravan and everything. Nice white one it were, only one previous owner so far as I knew and he were still owning it at the time. What's more, he were always out all day during the week and I knew how to pick the type of padlock he had on the gate, meaning I didn't even have to pay for it. All I needed were summat to pull it with, and we all know the best type of caravan pulling motor, don't we? That's right - your 1983 Ford Granada MkIII hearse. And it just so happened I knowed where they had one.

(Update: this post spun off into a novel, most of which I wrote here on my blog. But I took it down when I had to start going back and making little changes. Hope you get to read it when it comes out. But it probably won't be called "Blakey on Tour")

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A local event for local people

Did a signing for Graven Image yesterday at Waterstones in Worcester, my local bookshop. Having done a couple of these before, I can say that hand selling does not come naturally to me. Unless you are already v.popular and have means of publicising the event beforehand, you're basically a cold caller. You have to approach people (or snag them with eye contact as they go past) and convince them that your book is something they want, even though they came in for something completely different, like the latest cook book. I can't really do that. I don't respond to people when they try that on me, so why should I expect others to?

Because they want the book but don't rsealise it, perhaps?

Well, do they? However compelling Graven Image may or may not be, it is a short, hardboiled book about a brothel bouncer. There is some fruity language in there, and while I think the cover is just great, some would find it forbidding. I'm sure there are people out there who would love all that stuff, but am I going to find enough amongst the general population of Worcester (not the most culturally happening town) to warrant me trying to cold sell to them?



That doesn't mean there won't be a whole bunch of local people who would want to read my book, just that not many of them are going to frequent a high street bookshop on a Saturday lunch time, which is when my slot was. They also might be turned off by some big lunk of a stranger invading their space, trying to flog a book they never heard of.

OK, so you're having a good old whinge here, Charlie. Here's a thought: no one is putting a gun to your head. If you don't like the signings, don't do 'em. Make like Zammo and just say no

Not that I do many, but I wouldn't want to stop them entirely. When a bookshop offers me their support, I'm going to grab it. But I think things could be done in a different way that is geared towards finding those readers who might be into noir/hardboiled/whacked-out-cross-genre/whatever. Obviously we already have this nationally with genre festivals and conventions, but I'd like to get something going on a smaller scale, and that still involves the bookshop. There are a few of these kind of things going on here and there in other places, and I'm going to be taking part in a very cool one myself soon (TBA), so hopefully I'll be able to get more of an idea of what I'm driving at, rather than waffling aimlesly on a Sunday afternoon, with the sun shining outside, two dogs pining for a walk and a couple of kids who want to chuck a ball around.

That said, I sold ten yesterday. To those ten, my thanks and applause. Whether you like the book or not, at least you gave it a shot, rather than brushing me off like a High Street charity hustler (which is what I would have done).

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Graven Image signing and TOP freebies

Anyone in or near Worcester should come down to Waterstones in the Shambles this Saturday (April 9th). I will be there from 11am-2pm signing copies of GRAVEN IMAGE. Also I've got 10 totally free ARCs of the new edition of DEADFOLK for the first 10 who buy Graven. Already read Deadfolk? Not a problem for this guy. Simply come down on the day, buy Graven, give me the answer to the magic question and hey presto, I'll present you with an ARC of Royston Blake's comeback special: ONE DEAD HEN.

How flipping generous am I?

But that is not the magic question. The magic question is:

What does Royston Blake spend most of Deadfolk trying to find?

Details here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

California Graven'

V.nice review of my GRAVEN IMAGE and Raymond "gaming chair" Banks' CALIFORNIA in Big Issue Scotland, courtesy of Doug "Smokeheads" Johnstone. Check it out here. Many thanks to Doug.