Story for a Sunday: Masquerade

As part of the Near to the Knuckle Halloween extravaganza, my story ‘Masquerade’ went live last night. It’s a kind of prequel to Satan’s Sorority. 13 stories in 24 hours: text and audio! Darren Sant & Craig Douglas outdid themselves — and you’re the one who benefits. Check out all the deliciously decadent treats and be prepared for a trick here and there.

Win a copy of SATAN’S SORORITY!

Pledging Sigma Tau NuI am giving away a prize package of ONE print copy of SATAN’S SORORITY plus one “I’m pledging Sigma Tau Nu” promo badge and a couple of little surprises to some lucky winner here at the blog on Halloween (Saturday, 31 October 2015).

Enter to win by posting here (or on my Facebook page) with your name and the declaration: “I’m pledging Sigma Tau Nu!” The winner will be chosen by random. Be sure to include your email or I’ll choose the person via random lottery.

Deadline: noon (GMT) on Halloween.

Big thanks to Lys Guillorn for making the swanky badges.

Listen to a snippet of the novella read by Darren Sant of Near 2 the Knuckle. They’re going to have a big Halloween extravaganza that includes my story ‘Masquerade’ that’s a kind of prequel to Satan’s Sorority.

Spooky Women

There are so many influences on Satan’s Sorority, some of them direct, others more subtle. There’s an offhand mention of the avant-garde artist ‘Leonorini’ performing rituals in the early 20th century. I just wrote a brief prequel of sorts for the Near to the Knuckle big Halloween Extravanganza. Keep your eyeballs peeled for that — and your ears! Darren Sant is going to be recording the works for your aural pleasure. In my story I write about Leonorini’s big debut splash in NYC, where art and magic cross paths.

I swiped her name from the very real avant-garde artist Leonor Fini, who has long fascinated me. Her work taps into the mythic and magic effortlessly. The illustration at the top is her sketch of a witch. She used masks and transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary. Benjamin Britten wrote a play about her. She designed costumes and decorations for theater, ballet and opera, and later in life she wrote novels. In short, genius.

I realised when it comes to the actual magic, however, what I was seeing was the singular vocal talents of Diamanda Galás. If you ever have a chance to see her perform, take it. There’s nothing like it.

Surreal artists like Leonora Carrington, Lee Miller, Remedios Varo and more have been too often overlooked by the mainstream. The newly released Eve’s Hollywood by Eve Babitz will doubtless stir up the wilder side of the art world. There’s revolution in the air, thanks to some spooky women. And I just discovered this lovely version of the Classics IV tune yesterday: lovely, ain’t it?

Sounds for a Saturday: Grotesque read by Darren Sant

Near 2 the Knuckle & Gritfiction honcho Darren Sant reads my Fall-inspired tale of mayhem, Grotesque. Check out his new line of audio recordings.

Rogue in Print!

Rogue Bonkers in PhoenixHey kids! Near to the Knuckle’s Rogue collection is out in paperback now for those of you not into the whole digital business. Get 22 knuckle-dusting tales that will knock the stuffing out of you:

The book you’re holding in your hands, flipping across your screen or pirating, is a bold statement by a group of authors who are committed to controlling their own literary destinies. To representing themselves and their stories the way they want to. To producing quality literature without constraints, or middle-management foibles, or decisions based on what will appeal to this demographic or best reflect that group. To give you raw, uncompromising stories from the depths of their filthy imaginations. More punk than Cowell-esque candy pop, this collection captures a group of writers, writing in a spectacularly diverse myriad of styles at the very top of their game. You can feel the enthusiasm for the project and the license they’ve been given to indulge themselves laser from the page. These men and women, these Indie-writers, have jabbed a metaphorical mid-digit at an industry too enamoured with money and derivative diluted-down novels, and collected into this astounding anthology a hurricane of unique and distinct voices, deliciously, grubby, violent and uncompromising in each of their contributions. No money-men, no committees, just the desire, the skill and the talent to bring you a collection of depraved, emotionally-draining, twisted and deliciously funny tales from their black hearts.

Get it Amazon UK or US (or all the other ones, too).

Rogue: Keith Nixon

Keith Nixon knows The Fix and has been said to play Russian Roulette, so he’s a rogue for sure —

1) Who’s your rogue?

The name he goes by these days is Konstantin Boryakov, he’s ex-KGB and hides in, of all places, Margate. Konstantin had a small, but significant part in my debut novel, The Fix. Since then he’s developed into a main character and has his own series of books. A man with a dark past and a darker future he spends his days attempting to avoid trouble because he’s been in more than the average person. The trouble is Konstantin can’t help himself…

2) What crime would you really want to get away with?

Who says I haven’t already?

3) What author can’t you do without?

The trouble here is my tastes have changed over the years. Who was big for me 20, 10 or 5 years ago isn’t necessarily now. I used to read loads of sci-fi – Moorcock and Asimov in particular – but I’ve shifted to thrillers and crime in the last decade. At one time I read everything by Robert Ludlum, these days he does my head in!

4) What movie best captures the criminal life?

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

5) Are you a criminal mastermind or just a mild-mannered dreamer?

In the real world unfortunately I’m a wage slave, which just goes to prove I can’t be that much of a criminal mastermind!

Find Keith online:

Buy it at Amazon US or UK.

Rogue: Ryan Bracha

The very artsy Ryan Bracha, who came up with all the promo for this anthology and its trailer, too, shares a few facts with us today.

Who’s your rogue?

He’s an unnamed dad, estranged from the kid’s mum, taking his son out for his birthday. What starts out as a bitter reminiscence turns into something altogether more sinister.

What crime would you really want to get away with?

Big time hustler stuff, like, in a team of grifters, pulling huge cheeky scores over any one of the crooked scumbag millionaires we’re overrun with. I’d be known as The Wizard’s Sleeve.

What author can’t you do without?

Irvine Welsh. No question. His inventiveness with bringing a tale to life knows no bounds. If we’re talking crime fiction, I think Elmore Leonard takes some beating.

What movie best captures the criminal life?

Requiem for a Dream, or Trainspotting. The extreme lengths that people will go to, to feed addiction. That’s crime for me. The highs and lows of resorting to petty crime for a short term buzz.

Criminal mastermind or mild mannered dreamer?

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.


Buy it at Amazon US or UK.

Rogue: Cal Marcius

Cal comes with an eyepatch and this ominous advice: when you’re doing DIY, wear goggles! I suspect some sort of caper behind this really…

Who’s your Rogue?

Something Rotten is about Barnes, a single father who wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his son. He’s not a rogue as such, just a father who will do anything to protect the things that are close to him, at whatever cost.

What crime would you really want to get away with?

When it comes to children, wouldn’t we all like to be a little bit like Barnes?

What author can’t you do without?

Arthur Conan Doyle. Thanks to his Sherlock Holmes stories I became obsessed with reading mysteries, and later crime in all its many forms. My parents gave me a kid’s version of his collected stories when I was about nine, and my cousin and I would send each other letters as Holmes and Watson. Now, I read anything by Michael Marshall, Christopher Fowler and J.A. Kerley. The list could go on, but I can’t name everyone.

What movie best captures the criminal life?

Wild Bill, a depressingly realistic British film by Dexter Fletcher, well worth watching. On a more light hearted note, RocknRolla by Guy Ritchie. [Ed: a fave of mine too]

Are you a criminal mastermind or just a mild-mannered dreamer?

A dreamer, but there’s still time to become a criminal mastermind.

Twitter: @CalMarcius

Buy it at Amazon US or UK.

Rogue: Gary Duncan

Gary Duncan photo.jpgSpelk Captain, Gary Duncan is our Rogue of the day; check out his site for fine flash fiction you can read when you only have a little time — and enjoy when you have a little more.

  1. Who’s your Rogue?

An Imperfect Arrangement is about bad people doing bad things. Bill: the once-feared but now fearful gang boss. Don: the hired muscle who may or may not know the whereabouts of Bill’s missing £10,000. Rick: Bill’s idiot son who has never let common sense get in the way of a stupid idea. And Frank: the fixer, enforcer and confidant whose loyalty to Bill is matched only by his own instinct for self-preservation. An Imperfect Arrangement is about doing whatever you have to do to get by and survive.

  1. What crime would you really want to get away with?

Whisper it softly, but I think I already have.

  1. What author can’t you do without?

James Ellroy. If I could have more: Don Winslow, Lee Child, Dennis Lehane. Non-crime, Martin Amis.

  1. What movie best captures the criminal life?

I was going to say Carlito’s Way, but I see Aidan Thorn has already bagged that. I’ll go with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [Ed: an awesome film]

  1. Are you a criminal mastermind or just a mild-mannered dreamer?

I’d like to say the former, but I’m afraid it’s the latter.

Gary Duncan – contacts:

Buy it at Amazon US or UK.

Rogue: Paul D. Brazill

Today’s Rogue is Mr B, the godfather of Brit Grit, Paul D. Brazill: readers of this blog will already be familiar with the mastermind behind Roman Dalton, Gumshoe and of course Exiles. It won’t surprise anyone that he’s a Rogue, too…

Who’s your Rogue?

Diggsy in ‘Route 66 And All That’ is a small-town postman who occasionally dips his toes into the dirty and shallow waters of small-time crime.

What crime would you really want to get away with?

I’ve always thought that ‘crimes against humanity’ would sound impressive on a rap sheet. Better to be hung for a herd of sheep etc

What author can’t you do without?

Askey. Sorry, what was that, I’m a bit mutton …

What movie best captures the criminal life?

Wild Bill: Former tough guy Bill returns home to his dreary flat in a London tower block, after 11 years in the nick, only to find out that his wife has done a runner to Spain, leaving their two young sons to fend for themselves. Writer Danny King, director Dexter Fletcher and a collection of great performances turn what could have been merely grim social realism into a splendid, funny and moving film.

Are you a criminal mastermind or just a mild-mannered dreamer?

A criminally minded dreamer.

Find Brazill across all media:



Brit Grit Alley

Buy it at Amazon US or UK.