Wednesday, 31 March 2010


Voting for the 2010 Spinetingler awards is now open – double digit HERE folks to view all the categories and cast your votes.

The polls are open until April 30th and the winners will be announced on May 1st.

Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees.

Monday, 29 March 2010


I came across this Meme at Patti Abbott’s excellent blog – a double digit here will take you to Patti’s choices.

The idea was not to think about this too much and this is what I came up with.

1) Comics. My earliest reading memories are of Marvel comics and characters such as Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Daredevil and Captain America etc. I also read DC Comics (mainly Batman and Superman). I think it was the fantastic artwork that initially attracted me but it was also the thrilling storylines that kept me going back for more and more.

2) The Three Investigators; Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Series featuring Jupiter Jones, Bob Andrews and Pete Crenshaw. I can’t nail down a particular favourite but I remember loving these tales as a kid, most of them were loaned from the public library and had fantastic titles such as The Secret of Terror Castle. Super, super stuff!

3) Hell Is Always Today by Harry Patterson (aka Jack Higgins). I think I must have read this when I was about fifteen. I remember that it was my sister’s paperback book and it was my first introduction to the prolific thriller writer Jack Higgins.

4) 1984 by George Orwell. Not Crime or Thriller fiction but I was knocked out by Orwell’s prose and this book is a classic on so many levels. It has a superb and memorable opening line ‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’

5) The Guards by Ken Bruen. Many years ago I purchased some of Ken’s early work at a local independent bookshop (sadly long since closed). First, The White Arrest books featuring Sergeant Brant and Chief Inspector Roberts. I was bowled over by the stark style of Bruen’s prose and the viciously dark humour that runs through it. When The Guards, the first Jack Taylor story, was published I was bowled over again as Bruen took the PI genre (that I have long been a fan of) and stood it on its head. I think Ken verges on genius.

6) A Good Year for the Roses by Mark Timlin. I used to work close to Maxim Jakubowski’s Murder One bookshop (sadly missed). Visits to this bookshop introduced me to Mark Timlin’s hardboiled South London PI creation, Nick Sharman.

7) Layer Cake by J. J. Connolly. This was another purchase from the local indie bookshop. Years later I saw a trailer for an upcoming movie; Layer Cake. The penny dropped and I realised this was the big screen version of a favourite book. The film was a fine one and, I think, ranks up there with Get Carter, The Long Good Friday and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

8) Easy Meat by John Harvey. My Murder One visits also introduced me to Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick and Harvey’s Nottingham based Police procedurals. Harvey is a stylish writer, very easy on the eye and a joy to read. This was the first one that I read.

9) Alive & Kicking by John Milne. Yep, Murder One again - Milne created a marvellous character in Jimmy Jenner; a one legged and partially deaf London based Private Investigator. There are four books and, I think, this one, the last in the series, is the standout.

10) The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. I could not end my list without including Chandler’s great creation; Los Angeles based PI Philip Marlowe. Chandler’s prose is superb and the opening lines took my breath away, this bit still does: ‘I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.’

... As Patti said, which I whole heartedly agree with, it might be a different list next week. That’s the joy of reading.

And I didn’t get a chance to squeeze in Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard or The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy…

Oh, maybe next time!

Sunday, 28 March 2010


I’m delighted that Byker Books – Radgepacket Online has accepted and published my story Whiskey in the Jar.

There are some great stories on the Online section, including one from the very talented Col Bury.

Double digit here to visit the Byker Books home page, it’s a terrific website.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


Well, I’ve had worse days I can tell you…..

Lunchtime at the day job, I decided to have a quick look at my web-mail in-box and there was an email from my old mucker Paul Brazill. I was pleased as punch to read that one of Paul’s fine stories, The Tut, had been nominated for the 2010 Spinetingler Short Story on the Web award and….

… so had one of MY tales - My Father’s Son.

My Father’s Son was published last year at the superb A Twist of Noir, run by the brilliant Christopher Grant – a big thank you to Chris.

You could have knocked me down with a feather!

My thanks go to all the people at Spinetingler Magazine for the nomination. It is an honour to be listed amongst all the other nominees.

Congrats to Paul, his nomination is richly deserved and to all the other nominees; we are in great company – for a full list of the nominees double digit HERE.

Monday, 22 March 2010


First off, a big fucking cheers to Alan for letting me have a go on here. Far as I'm concerned, there ain't enough blogs about grit. Especially Brit grit, which is a fucking menace. I got some in my eye once and it took about a day to get the fucker out, and I had a big red scratch on my eyeball the rest of the week. Mind you, it did make me look even harder than I already am. But I'm all for alerting folks to the dangers of grit, so this place is alright by me. I ain't here to talk about grit, though. I'm here to talk about justice, mate.

Rough justice.

You might be wondering who the fuck I am. Well, the short one is that I am Royston Blake, former head doorman of Hoppers Wine Bar & Bistro (and only former because the fucking place got leveled and a shopping centre built atop it). You already know that, like as not, cos I am a bit famous in the Mangel area. And I bet you're already aware of my three volumes of memoirs, them being DEADFOLK, FAGS AND LAGER and KING OF THE ROAD. I wrote them with the help of someone called Charlie Williams, I might as well mention, but all he really done was the typing, which is woman's work anyhow and I don't do that. He did also come up with the titles, though, I suppose. But they're pretty shite if you ask me, all except the last one. I mean, Fags and fucking Lager? You can't call a book that, can you? I personally wanted to call it THE JOEY HAS LANDED, but he went behind my back and changed it at the last fucking minute, before sending it off to the publishers. He got a slap for that, I fucking tell yer. But not half so hard as when I wrote memoir number four (entitled WRONGUN) and he came back to me, tail between pins, saying they weren't gonna print it.

The fucking wankers had rejected it.

Saying that, the publishers ain't really fucking wankers (I wish I could recall their names... "Snake's Arse", or summat). They put out my first three volumes so fair fucking play. But they'd got it well wrong here. Based on the fact that one or two cunts out there amongst the general public had failed to shell out for the last couple, they'd decided WRONGUN weren't worth a punt. Which is pure fucking bollocks. And I'll tell you for why it is that:

WRONGUN is the best fucking thing I ever dictated. On top of that, it's all true (like all the others are).

So what we're doing now, right, is that we've started this Facebook campaign to make Snake's Arse see where they fucked up. Don't ask me what the fuck Facebook is, but we've set up a sort of gang wossname there and you are hereby invited by yours truly, Royston fucking Blake, to join. It is called FREE THE MANGEL ONE (that is me) and the link is below. (What the fuck is a link, though?) If we can get enough of you decent folks joining, Snake's Arse will see the light. They will see that I got a right to get my stories out there, and that folks have got a right to read the fuckers. But I need loads of people joining, so you might wanna put up a thing to it on your page or blog or whatever the fuck as well.

Been quite nice talking to you, I gotta say. Cheers again to Mr Alan, and I want all you out there to watch out for that grit, and make sure none of the fucking stuff gets in your peepers.

Sunday, 14 March 2010


Voting has now started in the Matt Hilton - Slash and Burn Short Story competition.

There are ten cracking stories to read and then vote on. Go on, double digit here and ENJOY.