Oh, and just in case...
...I suppose it's safe to announce now, because they just sent me a bunch of free books an' that (very kind, indeed) and I kind of mentioned it in the forthcoming Crime Scene Scotland interview... but see Harcourt? That American publisher? Mostly literary stuff, Eudora Welty, C.S. Lewis, the greatest children's book ever written, Ed McBain, Flowers For Algernon... that sort of thing. Well, um, just thought I'd let you know - my American friends particularly - that they've shown a remarkable lack of taste and bought Saturday's Child and Donkey Punch for publication in Fall 2007 and 2008 respectively.
So, y'know, if you want to help a guy out and buy a copy, that'd be swell. Because I've really got to pay off the advance. Maybe La Weinman can help out. I have a sneaking suspicion that she got me into this mess in the first place...
Posted at 20:55 in Rank Self-Promotion | Permalink | Comments (20)
Auld Reekie: The Adventure Lives On
So myself and the missus journeyed north of the border on Tuesday for the Waterstones event with Mr Guthrie and Mr Bissett. Too cheap to stay in a hotel, we decided that a carrot cake was enough to sway the Guthries into providing a bed for the night - we were correct. A carrot cake and a lot of begging. And some favours of an unbloggable persuasion. I still have the bruises.
Anyway, it wasn't just the event. Nah, Al and I had an interview with Doug Johnstone for The Big Issue (whose debut novel Tombstoning should be out from Penguin this coming August). One of the first things out of his mouth was, "let's free-form it", which was good because the idea of actually answering questions was enough to make my sphincter contract. So we did the interview, a photographer turned up and made us his posing monkeys (note to self: refuse to be taken up an alley in future) and we finally got out of there just in time to get a lift to Waterstones (cheers, Kenny). After a brief, caffeine-fuelled interview with Russel (in which I probably came across like a speed-freak name-dropper without a single original thought ever to have passed through his brain), it was downstairs for the event. And yes, I was late.
First time meeting Senor Sparky, and he's a top-notch bloke. Very much the writer of Adam Spark, very passionate about what he does and bloody funny into the bargain. Al read, I read (scaring some folks with my atrocious Manc accent, no doubt), questions from Sparky (sorry, Alan, but that's your nickname from now on) and the rest of the event a singular blur. Talked about Clive Barker and James Sallis with Ian Rankin and didn't get too tongue-tied, which is unusual. Or to be expected, seeing as I'd done nothing but gabba-gabba-hey the entire day. Signed a couple books, schmoozed with the Lovely Kafka, who bought more books (WHY? She already had copies, why buy more?) and promised she'd send me a real copy of Go To Helena Handbasket. Which is a fantastic book and should be handed to people about to embark on a career as a crime writer so they know what to avoid.
That didn't come out right. See, what Donna's doing is playing with cliche. Okay? Good. Glad we got that sorted.
Off to dinner, much wine and sparkling conversation. Talked horror and sci-fi with Messers Sparky and Squeaky, as well as all manner of literary-type conversation as Jan looked on in horror and more wine was had. Then off to Casa Guthrie, for post-mortem and discussion of The Simenon Method (if you haven't already read the Paris Review interview with Big George, it's a good 'un) as well as other stuff.
All in all, a fun day and evening. To anyone who's reading this who turned up, I thank you kindly, even though I know you were only there to see Bissett and Guthrie. Helps to read swear words out in front of an audience, instead of shouting them to myself.
Posted at 17:53 in Life Of Banks | Permalink | Comments (3)
Thursday, 06 April 2013
"She was as easy as the Daily Star crossword..."
If you're like me, then you need a great deal of help when it comes to crafting exquisite prose of diamond quality. Because your sentences are rubbish, your vocabulary a joke, your syntax feeble and your analogies/metaphors/other stuff a big barrel of festering fish heads.
Well, despair no more. English essayists up and down the country have given us toasted gold to steal.
Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a tumble dryer.
The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
McMurphy fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a paper bag filled with vegetable soup.
Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.
Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the centre.
Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left York at 6:36 p.m. travelling at 55 mph, the other from Peterborough at 4:19p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the full stop after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.
John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
The thunder was ominous sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.
The red brick wall was the colour of a brick-red crayon.
Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.
Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
The plan was simple, like my mate Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for while.
"Oh, Jason, take me!" she panted, her breasts heaving like a student on 31p-a-pint night.
He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a landmine or something.
Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter."
She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a lamppost.
The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free cashpoint.
The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium.
It was a working class tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with their power tools.
He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a dustcart reversing.
She was as easy as the Daily Star crossword.
She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature British beef.
She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a first-generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.
It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.
Posted at 15:42 in General | Permalink | Comments (8)
"Valhalla, I am coming!"
Proof, if proof were needed, that certain sections of our society are scared and stupid. And have no taste in music.
LONDON: A love of punk and hard rock anthems by The Clash and Led Zeppelin led to an India-born Briton being hauled off a plane bound for London by police on terrorism fears.
More here, here and here. And yes, I'm over-linking essentially the same story, but I'm a little narked by it. If he'd been listening to Stigger, I bet he wouldn't have had a problem - "Charity begins at home, dunnit?". And this isn't the first time certain musical individuals have had trouble on planes. Is it, Mr Rollins?
Posted at 09:50 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (8)
Monday, 03 April 2013
"Martyn Waites for no man..."
See what I did there? That's some top-quality pun, eh? And it's just another way of saying I gots me anuvver review, like. This time in Shots. And this time from Martyn Waites (who I would link to if the bloke had a website - what's up with that?). Tell you, there was a part of me that didn't think LCC would amount to much. That part has been duly slapped.
Anyway, expect Mr Waites to be blurbed all over the shop. He'll rue the day he ever said a nice thing about me. Heh.
Posted at 13:21 in Bouquets & Brickbats | Permalink | Comments (4)
Saturday, 01 April 2013
"I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!"
So sayeth the Mighty Sally Field. And yes, she is mighty.
And I'm doing the usual neurotic author thing of checking Amazon rankings and all that, and I find the picture above. This makes me happy, if only for the fleeting moment it stays at that figure before plummeting to "unranked" when it actually comes out. So thanks to you: John, Russel, Sarah, Alan, Ken and, most recently Tania, whose repulsion at previous stuff didn't stop her reading the new one. Cheers, Tania. I promise, no more animals will come to harm in forthcoming books. Apart from Cal, the beast.
Posted at 19:14 in Life Of Banks | Permalink | Comments (4)
Wednesday, 29 March 2013
Don't say I didn't warn you...
But don't drink a milk-orange juice cocktail.
Also, you people who actually care, you might want to change your linkage to me to...
At the moment, I'm re-directing to this here site, but once we get the brand new home, I'll put the domain over there. What? No raybanks.com? Nah, not my style. Besides, someone's already got it. They'll probably put pink flock wallpaper all over the place and tacky nick-nacks where there should be lucious Banks news.
Posted at 18:14 in Life Of Banks | Permalink | Comments (5)
Had word that my story "The King Is Dead" (y'know, that one about the Elvis "tribute artist") will indeed be gracing the pages of the next Bullet magazine, now infamous for spawning two "Best Of" stories for Maxim Jakubowski's annual collection. So buy it, you pigs. Buy many copies.
Posted at 15:43 in Rank Self-Promotion | Permalink | Comments (0)
Sunday, 26 March 2013
"A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants..."
You know when I said sometimes I pin the book, sometimes the book pins me?
Well, consider my shoulders to the canvas, boys and girls. Three slaps and that's about it. Not that I didn't get a lot done over the past three days - 21k to be precise - but I stuttered to a stop at about 2am (coincidentally just as the clocks changed and stole an hour from me), looking at a total of forty-six thousand words of incorrigable crapola. Actually, that's not true. Some of it's quite good. It's just finding plot and character in it that's proving to be difficult. See, after Donkey Punch, I reckoned it was time to have a riot in Manchester, really stretch the canvas. And that's proving more difficult than I thought it would be.
Nehmind. A couple days off, some heavy-duty reading, and I should be able to find something to steal and pass off as my own. I don't technically have a deadline (the two-book deal with Polygon has been fulfilled), but I'd like to get this down and out before Donkey Punch comes out.
Repeat the mantra of the "writer": "We'll see."
I've also been thinking about what Jim Kelly (y'alright, Jim?) said at the Incredibly Long Titled Panel at LCC that I moderated with all my thumbs. To paraphrase, he noted that in series novels, there's a kind of clean slate thing going on at the beginning of every book. In longer series, this makes perfect sense: some crime fiction protagonists would no doubt be suffering from all manner of beating-related ailments or horrific mental problems were it not a clean slate. But that's not something I really want to do with the Innes books. I have a very definite ending in mind, and an arc that carries on over five books. So by the end of the last book, Cal's either a physical and emotional wreck, or able to deal with everything that's gone before.
No prizes for guessing which outcome's the favourite in my twisted head.
Anyway, I'm rambling. Enough of the writing talk. You don't come here for that. What else is going on? Well, I've been mostly listening to Julian Cope (thanks to Carpathian) and The Gourds (thanks to the reminder from N) and enjoying both. Watched Mayor Of The Sunset Strip and realised that there are no child mistakes, only parent mistakes (really, watch it and understand the beauty and emptiness of both fame and the music business). Actually, because myself and the missus are getting heartily miffed with the amount of snooze-inducing movies about, we're taking solace in the documentary. Also recommended is Murderball.
Ugh, I didn't stop rambling, did I? Tell you the truth, ladles and jellyspoons, my brain is tired.
And you know what's best for a tired brain? THE BOOOOOOOOOOOSH!
Posted at 19:11 in Life Of Banks | Permalink | Comments (4)
Wednesday, 22 March 2013
"Stop the press! No, wait, don't!"
As Saturday's Child goes to press, we have early reports that the book is not as bad as The Big Blind, which warms my cockles.
This from Kerri Catlin: "AHHHH i am almost done with Ray's book i am really addicted it is so good i hope Cal and donna get it on!"
Unlikely, Kerri. When Maddy and Dave got together in Moonlighting, no amount of fourth-wall-breakage could dig them out of the doldrums. Not that I'm saying Donna and Cal are anything like Maddy and Dave, unless Maddy and Dave had been serially abused and ended up drunk half the time. Anyway, if you want a bit more about how great I am, go see Russel McLean. He's just given us a raver.