Showing posts from 2017

Free Book and New Release

Hi all- my new book A KILL FOR THE POET is out now and my first book A CHASER ON THE ROCKS is free until Sunday.

If you want to check them out- have a look HERE


My Top 2017

Was having a wee think about my favourites from 2017- here they are!-

Music- The Afghan Whigs- In Spades

Books- Stuart Neville/ Haylen Beck- Here and Gone

T.V- Mindhunter

Film- Manchester by the Sea

 -Loads of great stuff this year :) 

Bongo Fury Chapter Samples

Below are samples from each of my Bongo Fury books.  Currently book 1 is 99p and Book 2 is £1.99.
Bongo Fury Chapter 1
So, first thing’s first; I didn’t expect things to get as fucked up as they did. But it happens, so that’s life I suppose. I just don’t want people getting the wrong impression about me. I’m not just some hard-nut wanker who came out of the estates. Yeah, I’m a Prod, from an estate in Northern Ireland- but that doesn’t define me. I’ve got a fucking literature degree- I’ve read Mansfield Park- okay? I actually quite liked it too. Anyway, I suppose I’d better go back to the start.
Two years ago, life was pretty normal. If you’re reading this, then I suppose you already know I’m Jimmy Black, I’m forty two and I come from Ards in Northern Ireland. You’re bound to have read about me in the tabloids. I’m the one covered in tats, pretty well built, short black hair, and I admit not the prettiest you’ll see in the papers. If you’ve never heard of Ards before then that’s becau…

'The Snowman' Movie Review

The Snowman... or Snoreman?
Snoreman- as you may well fall asleep in this confusing and drab adaption, but more to the point- were the makers asleep?
It seemed so promising that Jo Nesbo's bestseller was being made into a film with a great cast, led by Michael Fassbender, and directed by the director of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
What went wrong? The film sadly makes little sense and characters turn up at seemingly random places throughout, for no obvious reasons. Some characters start to be developed and then just disappear altogether. It's as if someone has dropped a few canisters of film somewhere. It's also such a shame that no motivation is shown much for the main characters and there is little or no suspense at all, when it is meant to be a 'thriller' movie.
What is a mystery is why much of the drama is left out that was so rich in the novel. Often movies can be accused of dialing up the action too much, but instead those 'thrilling' elements were r…

Free ebook and sequel launch

My Bestseller Bongo Fury is free on Amazon until Sunday! Book 2 is launched today and is only £1.99! (Both also available in paperback)   Get Here

New interview

Here's a new wee interview for anyone interested :)


Bongo Fury Novella 99p until Sunday!

Special offer until Sunday!
Also FREE with Kindle Unlimited
Buy Here

Am I a Latte Pappa?

And are there more Latte Pappas in Northern Ireland than you might think?

I only came across the term quite recently myself. It originated in Sweden and primarily referred to fathers who were able to spend more time with their kids, due to the forward thinking parental leave laws.  Dads could be spotted out in the cafe's with their kids, while the mums were back at work. It was part of a wider strategy to promote both parents taking a more active role in parenting. Now, I don't really care for latte, but I love a flat white!

When I was still at work, I found taking parental leave a battle, despite some recent improvements in our own legislation. There seemed to be no importance placed on family life. When I booked a third week of unpaid leave for each of my children's births, I was practically vilified- despite the option being protected in law. The first time my manager said I had to approach all my co-workers and ask their 'permission' to take the leave that should…

Bestseller novel free today only!!

My first novel and bestseller-A CHASER ON THE ROCKS is FREE TODAY ONLY
Get your FREE copy

Why not pick up my new novella out this week while you're at it? If you want to buy it or read the recent reviews, please click

BONGO FURY Book Out Now/ Reviews

Bongo Fury is out now and if you'd like to read the first few reviews, just click the links at the bottom. If you would like a paperback or e book copy visit Amazon here:Amazon

Blog Review 1
Blog Review 2

Thank you!

Top 5 Crime Fiction Related Songs

-There are so many to choose from- you could do a top 100 with Nick Cave alone!
-Here are my faves- what are yours?

5. Mack the Knife Bobby Darin

"Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth dear." 

You can trace versions of the song back to 1928, but the most well known versions would be from Bobby Darin or Frank Sinatra. It's a dark tale and it is really an unusual song to have been such a hit over the years. Check out the gravelly and stripped down Mark Lanegan cut from his Imitations album.

4. San Quentin Johnny Cash

"I think I understand a little bit how you feel about some things,
It's none of my business how you feel about some other things,
And I don't give a damn about how you feel about some other things."

So said Cash when introducing his new song to the world and to the inmates within San Quentin. This is my pick over the likes of Folsom Prison Blues, mostly because of this recording. You can hear the tension and the electricity when he sings, "San Que…

BONGO FURY New Novella Excerpt and Trailer

Hi, my new novella is out on paperback now and pre-order for e-book. You can order a copy
It’s a gritty black comedy set in Northern Ireland and you can view the trailer
If you would like to read a sample, please keep on reading- thank you!

(Warning- contains bad language!)

To my surprise, I actually had a few customers early on. They all spent less than a tenner, but cash is cash. The morning was uneventful and I closed up for an hour at lunch and went round to ‘The Diner’ cafĂ©’. They did an amazing Ulster fry and chips. Two fucking plates full! Anyway, when I got back to the shop, I found the door ajar and the shitty lock had been broken off. I couldn’t see anyone inside, as I eased in around the door, my fists ready. Two men then casually sauntered out from my back room.
“Hello Jimmy,” leered the first one. He was around my age, thinning on top, a thin face and a thin smile. The second was about twenty, still a little puffy faced and puffed up with youth. He had an earring, but …

New song You Tube stream

If you fancy a wee listen just click  here

In Spades by The Afghan Whigs Album Review

Wanna go for a ride? You sure will. New Album sees Dulli in fine form
Gentlemen, Black Love, 1965. Any fan knows that these are indeed the holy trinity. The comeback album- Do to the Beast splits opinion a little more. Personally, I think it's just alright. I'd take most of Dulli's non-Afghan albums over it.

But, the new album, In Spades is a very satisfying listen. From the opening track's largely string arrangement, it is clear that Dulli is not just making a 'Twilights plus John Curley' album. Other examples of really great song writing include Demon in Profile and Toy Automatic. The final track- Into the Floor is a great one- almost Pink Floydy- with a very addictive melody hook.

Dulli can be guilty of using the same patterns and progressions a bit too much, but even though there's some repetition here, it's still a really good collection of songs. He's mixed things up well- some classic Afghan scratchy guitar, a bit of clavinet, interesting stri…

Free Short Story- Blood and Botany

Below is a free story, taken from my Bestselling collection-'More Faces'
It is a flash fiction and the shortest in the collection. For a copy of the full book from Amazon and more info, click,
Blood and Botany

“Pass us the rake Brian, would ya?” “Two seconds mate… there you go.” “Cheers,” said Tim, tidying up of the lawn, “if you wanna load up the van that’ll do us.” “No probs,” Brian said, lifting the trimmer with one hand and dragging the fresh bag of cut grass with the other. He was lean and young, but on a hot day like this, his body ached to be sitting in the van again drinking tea. “Aww man, not the McClaine’s, I’m wrecked,” said Brian when they were back in the van, “let’s do a few wee lawns first.” “Don’t be a lapper,” said the elder of the two; fit enough for his late twenties, with a good jet of hair too, “we’ll have lunch when we get there sure and then get crackin’ after, all right?” “You’re the boss,” sighed Brian, checking his reflection and fixing his trendy fringe b…

Is the change announced today of ebook vs. physical sales bad for authors?

- What will this mean for Indie authors?

Personally I favour 'real' books over e books. I've never actually bought an e book, I don't think, but I own hundreds of books. I spend a lot of time encouraging others to buy my e books though! Today it was announced that sales of physical books have increased by 8% and e book sales have gone down by 3%. This is similar to the reversal we have also seen in vinyl vs. mp3. Yeah- I collect vinyl too!
I think this is great in a way. We all know the aspects to love about a physical book, but what does it mean for authors, and in particular indie authors? For huge bestselling authors with major publishers, it will probably mean very little. However, most indie authors rely on e book sales and if habits change, this could have serious consequences. Many smaller publishers concentrate on e book sales and that is true certainly of my publisher. I sell very few physical books. The majority of small publishers use the Amazon company- Creat…

Where did the Ulster Noir explosion come from?

Why does N.I have so many great crime fiction writers right now?  (I’m not including myself as part of this group by the way!)

Colin Bateman, Stuart Neville, Brian McGilloway, Gerard Brennan, Adrian McKinty, Steve Cavanagh… the list goes on and on.
We’ve now got New York Times bestsellers, multiple award winners, and bona fide crime fiction heavyweights. But why all of a sudden?
Firstly, I think it is simply that there are a lot of good writers here. We didn’t ever have only C.S Lewis anyway, and the whole island of Ireland has always had a rich wealth of literary talent. We have also had crime fiction written here before too, Maurice Leitch, for example in, decades past. Like the tourist post-Troubles boom, perhaps it is in part that writers are just having the opportunity to be ‘discovered’ much more easily. The massive increase in book publishing and e books of course is relevant too. But Northern Ireland has always had many highs for a small country- look at shipbuilding, sports, musi…

A Survival Guide to Norn Iron! (Northern Ireland)

A Survival Guide to Norn Iron!  (Northern Ireland) Part 1

It is a beautiful place to visit, but here are some pointers. For any potential holiday makers, here are a few tips for getting on well if visiting, for enjoying the craic, and getting home in one piece!

1 ‘Norn Iron’- This is what we say, or rather how we say we are from ‘Northern Ireland.’ First tip is to expect people to speak in a broad accent, very, very fast and using many odd sounding words. Northern Ireland also punches above its weight and people from Norn Iron are fiercely proud of its heritage and culture. Van Morrison, C.S Lewis, Liam Neeson, George Best and Titanic (‘she was okay when she left here’) all hail from here.
2 Prepare your body!- It is a clichĂ© that the Irish like to drink, but also quite true. You will be offered ‘a wee dram’ (1 drink), ‘a braice’ (2 drinks) and maybe even ‘a chaser on the rocks’ (a whiskey to follow and also the title of my first novel!) If you do become intoxicated you might say “I wa…

FREE TODAY ONLY- bestselling novel

Free Today Only!
Link to Amazon below.
My publisher has made my bestseller free today only- grab your copy now- thanks!


Free Fire: Movie Review

Free Fire: Movie Review A shootout, a shootout and er a shootout

Free Fire is a tricky one. It is not a bad movie. Part of the problem is though, that perhaps it doesn’t know quite what to be. It’s very, very funny in places; but it’s not a comedy. It’s got all the elements of a thriller; but not particularly thrilling. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good enough movie, but it could have been better, perhaps if the tone had been altered. It doesn’t manage to be a belting black comedy as successfully as Very Bad Things for instance, or more recently, The Nice Guys.
The set up is that we have various parties coming together, to carry out an arms deal. Chaos ensues, along with many double crosses and many, many Mexican standoffs. To be fair; the majority of the movie is one protracted shoot out. In saying that- it is handled well and it is hilarious in places. Some of the best lines were given to Sharlto Copley and Michael Smiley. The cast in general are good, and it is an ensemble piece movie.…

Solo Parenting at the Park: A Noir

Solo Parenting at the Park: A Noir(Based on a True Story) I swung the old Ford in beside a tree, as it wheezed its gratitude. It seemed pleased to have a rest out in the sun. My journey was only just beginning. I reluctantly switched off the engine and prepared myself.
"Can I bring my bike?" asked the four year old from the backseat.
"Gah," said the baby beside her, a warning-shot; I'd better get moving. What was I thinking? Taking both to a park... Alone! This, just after a trip to the doctor's, where the four year old had cunningly hidden polystyrene up her nose. Even the cops wouldn't have found it there.
"Okay," I agreed, not thinking it through, not realising the torture that would soon follow. We made it to the park, the four year old running a few lights on her wheels, but nothing too serious. There were a couple of disagreements between my two associates on the way in as well- but only a slap or two exchanged. All was going well eno…

1000 hits in the 1st week- Thanks!

Thanks all for stopping by!!
I'll be continuing to post the same kinds of things about writing, politics, Northern Ireland and dropping in a few music and film reviews.
To check out my books on Amazon just click Here

Blog Tour Highlights- MORE FACES

Thanks to everyone who hosted the Blog-Tour for my new book, which has become a Bestseller!
Here are a few of the highlights! (just click the links)
Thanks :)
Col's Criminal Library Murder, Mayhem and More Chat About Books Crime Scene NI The High Window Arc of a Writer

10 things I didn't know before Fatherhood!

10 things I didn't know before Fatherhood!...and nobody told me :)Being a Father is the best thing in the world and I'm lucky to be largely a stay home Dad at the moment. is a lighthearted look at some of the things you don't know beforehand! 
1. Priorities
Most people expect their priorities to change, but maybe don't expect how much their perspective will shift on things. I was watching The Vikings last night and I turned and said to my wife, "He's got a great plait."
Everything looks different after kids.

2. Needing new skills
There are many new skills you must develop. For example, poo in the bath is trickier to clean up than you might think. Where do you pour the water? Should you try to 'fish' first? Never mind what to do with the now wet and poo-stained baby in the first place!
3. 8.15am is a lie in
This is self explanatory and my wife and I let each other have this haven once a week. And yes you really look forward to it! Caveat- you ma…

Blog Share- A New Interview on Writing

Thanks to Elena and ITW.

I Called Him Morgan: Movie Review

Love, Drugs, Death and... Jazz

I'm just back from seeing this as part of the Belfast Film Festival. It's a very good documentary and it isn't necessary for you to be a 'jazz head' to enjoy it.

It's a biography of Lee Morgan, a jazz legend indeed, though not a household name perhaps; like a Miles Davis or a Louis Armstrong. He was probably best known for being part of the classic Jazz Messengers line up of the 50's and 60's and for playing on the likes of Blue Train for John Coltrane. He's one of my favourite trumpeters and one of the key players in the Hard Bop movement.  

The movie also follows the life of his common law wife and a chance encounter where in the 1990's, she told her story, shortly before her death.

The pivot of the film is the well known tragic tale of how in 1972, Morgan was performing in Slugger's club in New York. The night ended with his wife entering the club and shooting him during his set. There was a heavy snow in t…

Procrastination Demon or a Creative Break?

Procrastination Demon or a Creative Break? 

When is it a good thing to be stepping back and having a change of scene and when is it just procrastinating?

This isn't a self-help blog- I  don't know! 

At the moment I'm doing anything to avoid a second round of drafting of a novel. I've been doing promo instead, working on new ideas, starting this blog etc. Maybe it's a good thing- a chance to give perspective. I often switch to music for a while too if I've been doing a large amount of daily writing. Sometimes that's definitely a help and when you write again- the fun is back. Because that's why we do it -right?

But when does it become procrastination?

What do you think?

I'm off to weed the garden...

Brexit means Breakfast

The Northern Ireland Assembly broke down today again, this time over a controversy regarding breakfast. ;)
Following the triggering of Article 50, another letter was delivered to the EU. DUP leader, Arlene Foster snuck off to Brussels, to deliver a letter that stated that Northern Ireland will not give up its autonomy over breakfast- The Ulster Fry. This was the apparent reason for the DUP initially wanting to support the Leave Campaign.

"We will not sacrifice our culture. We have fried sausage and bacon since the first bonfires in 1690. Ulster says no to frankfurters, no to croissants, no to free-range eggs."

A deal on breakfast between the DUP and Sinn Fein seems unlikely after Gerry Adams posted on Facebook that, "I want to see an all-Ireland Freestate Fry. Soda bread and tatey bread are nice enough, but really just for the Ulster-Scots. I want an Irish Breakfast Act. I will listen to all communities however, and I want a border poll on breakfast where all ingredients a…