Guest Blog: Valentine’s Day Massacre at the Narwhal by Joshua Swainston

“The Cadillac toured west across Interstate 90 cutting through Montana.  It was night and the wet snow exploded in tail-light red against my windshield like tiny fireworks. She stood at mile maker 316. She wore a yellow rain slicker and held out her thumb. I might not have seen her if I were more focused on the road. The car slowed and pulled off to the shoulder.” 


valentines dayValentine’s Day Massacre at the Narwhal is a collection of short crime noir theatric readings along with hopping music collected in a homage to the radio programs of the 1930’s. The album came out on, you guessed it, Valentine’s Day 2015 and is available now for digital download at:

Why do an audio production of crime noir stories? I’m glad you asked. The answer it two fold. 1) The source of our respective genre stems from the radio broadcast and dime store pulp of prohibition America so it felt like a great way to honor those get history crime fiction. (I cannot speak for my European peers in this way)  and 2)The idea of producing crime audio production has lingered in the back of mind since I was a young boy.

radio daysWhen I was a kid I remember seeing Woody Allen’s Radio Days. For week I felt sad that I missed out on an entire era where communities collectively listened to voice actors, folio artists, and musicians working in unison to create a seamless entertaining narratives. The mystic of the radio. Unlike the black and white 12” tube television my family had at the time, radio left much of the story to the imagination. The artistry involved was to hint enough to allow the listener to be carried away. Television is a passive method of entertainment, but radio required engagement. I remember asking by Father about radio shows soon after seeing the movie and he introduced me to Jack Benny, Spike Jones, and The Shadow.

Unfortunately I was born in a time when the radio drama has found its way into niche obscurity. Furthermore showing interest in an antiquated medium didn’t win many friends in the teenage years. So unfortunately my love of the format spent many years dormant.

the shadowIn private, I tried my hand at script writing. This is well before I found the rhythm of my words and the results were clunky at best. One of the works was attempted as a recorded basic horror production titled Experiment #9 about a medical experiment gone wrong.

In more recent years I’ve written a number of crime related stories that have found homes in Revolt Daily, Out of the Gutter, Shotgun Honey, etc. As well as written my first novel, The Tacoma Pill Junkies. And for the last year I have been serving at the Editor-at-large for an online literary magazine, Creative Colloquy. Though writing is, and will always be, my main distraction the kid in me still wanted to produce the radio show.

In January of 2015 the opportunity arose to accomplish one of my childhood goals. I was asked by a local book store, The Nearsighted Narwhal, to put together a promotional reading of my book. The Narwhal also provides services in graphic design, button making, and audio recording. Quickly the idea formed that instead of a reading we could produce something more tangible, a joint recording between Creative Colloquy (providing the stories and readers) and the Narwhal (providing the recording, sound effects and mastering).

THE TACOMA PILL JUNKIES_CIn a matter of weeks we received over 40 submission form interested writers. We selected the seven most conducive to the audio format that stayed true to the genre. We have a few hardboiled stories, a tale of revenge, thieves, murders, revenge and justice all under all packed into 55 minutes.

The entire project took less than two months from posting a call for submissions to finished album in the hands of noir lovers.

Creative Colloquy and the Nearsighted Narwhal is excited to be presenting the writers: L. Lisa Lawrence (South Sound Magazine), Jack Cameron (Tacoma Stories), Christian Carvajal (The Weekly Volcano), Jenni Prange Boran (Blue Bunny), Gregory Knight Miskin, William Turbyfill (Literally Tacoma), and Michelle Biddix-Simmons.

On the music side we have some great tracks from: The Happy Sinners, Dennis Ellis and The Bad Things.

creative cCreative Colloquy is a submission based literary site. Our aim is to share the South Sound’s rich literary talents and foster relationships built upon our mutual admiration of the written word. Contact them on Facebook, Twitter (@Cre8iveColloquy) or

narwhalThe Nearsighted Narwhal is a store whose sole focus is the myriad forms of the DIY culture.

Valentine’s Day Massacre at the Narwhal sells for 5$ USD and can be downloaded here: If you like it tell your friends.

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