Cover(s!) Reveal

So close! Double release of LOVE IS A GRIFT the book and the song. Here’s the drop-dead gorgeous cover art by S. L. Johnson Images. The book from Fox Spirit and the song will be available at CD Baby (and other places). Dead swanky!

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FFB: Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction by Patricia Highsmith

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I was sure I had written this up before but I searched for it and didn’t find it. This Sphere edition is so much nicer than the bland corporate packaging of the St Martin’s Griffin edition I did end up buying. When you’re on a Highsmith kick and buying everything, the covers are less important (though still proud to own the kickass edition of This Sweet Sickness).

There are two kinds of writers: those who are articulate about the process and those who are not (ditto most arts and artists). Highsmith is not one. If you want a handbook on the topic, this is not the one to teach you. Of course if your publisher offers to pay you to write one, most writers will accept the challenge. But this is not the Highsmith School of Suspense Fiction School, which she recognises. So she turns to the tortured history of her novel The Glass Cell (a good Film for a Friday) in hopes that it will clarify how she does what she does. The case study is so singular that it could hardly be useful in inspiring a budding writer.

Highsmith outlines the evolution of the novel, which ‘was not inspired by any specific story idea but evolved simply out of the desire to write such a book–which is perhaps no bad reason for writing a book’ (chapter 10). She traces the idea from a prisoner’s fan letter (‘I don’t think my books should be in prison libraries’), to reading a book about convicts, to developing intellectual rather than emotional’ threads ‘none of them spectacular’. After that she tries to add some motivation for the characters. A key turns into a dog. What ifs multiply. A wife becomes unfaithful. The first two versions were rejected by her publisher.

‘I thought my story was not bad, but perhaps it could be better. When one thinks this, even faintly, it is best to write it over.’

The interesting part of this book is of course her voice, the anecdotes and the little insights that she may not even realise she’s offering. Speaking of her admiration for Graham Greene Highsmith makes plain her pleasure in reading him. ‘There is no doubt that a study of the whole field of “the best” in suspense writing, whatever that is, can be of benefit professionally to a suspense writer, but I would just as soon not pursue this study.’

Highsmith, in all her ambivalence there — and it’s entertaining.

See all the overlooked gems at Patti Abbott’s blog.

Another Great Review!

My #Fahrenbruary is kicking off well. A terrific review by Aidan Thorn and this one by Jason Beech (yeah, the old cover still turns up). Thanks, mates!

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It’s #Fahrenbruary!

Thanks to all the book bloggers and Fahrenistas who have taken the Great Grey Beast and transformed into ‘Fahrenbruary’ fun. Check out Fahrenheit chief Chris’ post that will gather all the links as they happen. Reviews, interviews and more coming your way.

Cheers to the folks who made this work! Kudos to all the Fahrenhistas!

Song for a Saturday: Why Do You Hang Around Me – The Liverbirds

The clip actually starts with the stomping ‘Peanut Butter’ and it ends with ‘Diddley Daddy’ but smack in the middle is the song that ought to have been a hit. Also bonus German hipsters dancing.

Film for a Friday – Buzzcocks: In Their Own Words

Courtesy of the British Library from their Punk 1976-8 Exhibit ‘celebrating the 40th anniversary of this exciting musical phenomenon’: http://www.bl.uk/punk-exhibition.

Featured image from the Museum of Sex Punk Lust exhibit.

Rebellious Jukebox @ Punk Noir Mag #Noirvember

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#Noirvember just got a little bit better: PUNK NOIR MAGAZINE is go!

The notorious Mr B has splashed out to produce an heir to the much-lamented Pulp Metal Magazine, bringing together a whirl of stories, reviews, non-fic pieces and more. Check out the cornucopia of offerings already up from a rota of DIY pals, including a BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW STORY from yours truly!

‘Rebellious Jukebox’ takes place in a slightly futuristic London where noise assaults the public into complacency. When sound is a weapon, silence is a revolution.

A preview from my forthcoming Fox Spirit collection LOVE IS A GRIFT!

#FallFriday? Nah, #FallEveryDay!

#Noirvember Song for a Saturday: Ida Lupino – One for My Baby

Yeah, it’s all Ida this week. Impressing on my students the genius that she was. They watched this clip as an introduction. We discussed what they assumed to be going on in the scene based on their knowledge of noir now. They did pretty well. If you haven’t seen the film, it can be found in its entirety on the ‘tube.

‘She does more without a voice than anybody I’ve ever heard!’

How’s your #Noirvember going? Got a favourite noir tune?

#Noirvember: Supernatural Noir

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Paul D. Brazill
Near to the Knuckle/Close to the Bone

Werewolves, vampires and other creatures of the night prowl the neon and blood soaked streets in this sharp short story collection that places the supernatural in a hardboiled noir world.

Honestly, I probably have read most of the stories in here before — hell, I probably own them in other collections, but I always grab the latest from Mr B just in case there’s anything I missed. I didn’t even know how much I missed Roman Dalton, his werewolf detective, until I started reading through the stories again. Netflix ought to swoop in and bag those stories for a new series.

There’s a mix of other protagonists here, too — a variety of one-offs like ‘The Liberator’ that nonetheless fit in the same dark demonised streets that Roman roams. Like Lenny said, you want it darker? Then this is your world. Howl at the moon and watch your back.

He’s even got a playlist for the book!