In which our Bearded Protagonist reveals he's not ready for his close-up.

Yes, it's a rat, and it's dead...People have been complaining that there just haven't been enough photos of dead things on this blog recently. Apparently I've been slacking off on the mouse-related-torture-porn front, and that will not do. So, in the interests of remaining 'hardcore' and 'noir' here's Grendel T Kittenfish's most recent entry into Rodent Valhalla. A dirty big rat. Big. HUGE. It's difficult to get a real feeling of the scale from the photo, but let me tell you: this sodding rat is the size of a small Labrador.

It can't have been very tasty either, because she didn't eat it. Not so much as a nibble on it's scaly rope-like tail. I'd like to think that's because she wanted us to be impressed by the sheer scale of it's King-Kong-like proportions, but I'm betting it's more down to the taste. That or some inbuilt cat gastronomic radar that says, "If you eat this, you're going to end up barfing all over the rug. And not the fun kind of barfing either, not the hairball-squishy barfing that gets between people's toes, but full-on serious vomming. And possibly squirty poos as well. Which are never a good idea when you have to clean yourself with your own tongue."

Damn thing weighted a ton too.

In other news, I have to go get my photo taken again on Friday when I'm in London. It's not really something I'm looking forward to, but needs must. Well, HarperCollins tell me that musts are needy, and who am I to argue? Apparently the photo we're using on the books at the moment isn't scary enough - some people are barely traumatised at all!

So, inspired by The Nameless Horror, I went off and had a bash at taking my own photo:
No, it's not a rat, and it's still alive too...
Is it just me, or does it look as if I'm about to launch into a camper-than-biscuits rendition of Go West? Which is probably why HarperCollins want a professional to take the pic instead.

Now apart from the whole freakiness of having a complete stranger telling me, "That's it! Sexy! Give me more sexy! Make love to the camera*!" there's also the problem that I look pretty much like a sack of festering jobbies at the moment. It doesn't help that I've been sleeping pretty badly for about the last ... oh ... twelve years or so, but recently worrying about Book Number The Fifth has taken the whole unsleepifying thing to new levels of eye-bagging delight. Not to mention increased levels of grump and a strange craving for red meat. I mean, I wouldn't go so far as to try Kentucky-Frying Grendel's Rat... Well, maybe. You know, with a good dollop of Frank's Hot Sauce?

But then Grendel would look at me funny.

And why am I in London for this photographic thingie? It's because I'm going to be on the telly. Well, I say, "on the telly", what I really mean is that I'll be at something that's going to be televised. Which isn't quite the same thing. The only way I'll actually be seen in living rooms the length and longth of Britain is if they do a panning shot of the crowd. Or worse, one of those horrible shots where they show all the shortlisted people in close-up, as they find out that they've not won. Cue fixed rictus-grin** and "It's an honour just being nominated." type phrases.

Ah yes, for on Friday it's the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards and I'm up for "Breakthrough Author of the Year". Mind you, according to teh interweb, the smart money's on Michael Robotham for SHATTER, which won the Ned Kelley Award for best Australian crime novel. Which is why I've been practising my death's head grimace. Again. Ah, poor old Stuart, always the bitter bridesmaid, never the knocked-up bride.

ITV3 say the breakthrough award "...celebrates a newer author whose work most deserves a wider audience."

Now, given that the book of mine up for this is BROKEN SKIN, with scenes of full-frontal nudity, masturbation, bondage, severe rectal trauma***, and John Rickards****, I get the feeling the judges will think that far from deserving a wider audience, my books probably need burned and the ashes piddled on. By angry donkeys. But it's an opportunity to grab conveyor-belt sushi with Agent Phil, then totter off to the awards full of Japanese beer and saki, for lots of wine and nibbles, safe in the knowledge that I won't have to make a speech.

Which sounds like a pretty good day to me.

They're also going to have a writers award for classic TV drama - AKA: people who have had their books turned into television series. If you want to get in on the act, you can stuff the ballot box to your hearts delight by clicking here*****. You can even vote up to 5 times! Bwahahahaha! The POWER!

* Which is a very silly instruction. And even if it were physically possible, I don't think the photographer would really want it back afterwards.
** You know the kind - where it looks as if you've just accidentally sat on a cactus, but don't want anyone to find out?
*** Actually, it does sound quite depraved when you put it like that, doesn't it?
**** Scenes featuring John Rickards, not scenes featuring John Rickards being rectally traumatised. That would be the stuff of nightmares and I've already done enough damage to his reputation as it is.
***** And yes, I am being partisan with my linkage. So?

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