Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The End is Nigh...

Coming this September from Newcon Press...



" I stood and stared, realising immediately what I was seeing, yet barely able to believe it. Men in business suits were falling past the window, heading for the pavement.
   As I stared, another three or four went past. This time one of them clipped against the window, splintering the glass. Another. Then another. They looked like giant bats swooping past the window, wings flapping madly as they dived to the ground."

Monday, July 7, 2014

Of Monsters and Maybes

So I managed to get a couple of thousand words done on my novella The Grieving Stones late last week. My momentum was broken because I was away over the weekend, but it feels good to be working again with some kind of drive and forward motion.

The editor I sent my short story The Yellow Film to liked it, and now the edits are done. I recently sold a story to Mark Morris for The Spectral Book of Horror, and my contributor copy of the Ellen Datlow anthology Fearful Symmetries is on its way. I'm really looking forward to reading this one. It features an incredible line-up of talent and the reviews so far have been stellar (my story Kaiju even got a mention in one of them).

After a long spell of the creative doldrums, I'm starting to feel like I'm a writer again. Maybe.




Speaking of Kaiju, I've been toying with the idea of expanding the themes of the story into a short character-driven novel. It probably isn't a very commercial idea, but my mind keeps being drawn towards the flyblown carcasses of huge monsters, the solemn aftermath of a gigantic, destructive battle, and a lot of broken people with stories to tell...

A couple of possible titles have even suggested themselves: After the Monsters Came or Maybe Monsters.

We'll see, we'll see...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Writing, But Not As I Know It

So I've been struggling, off and on, with some kind of creative block for just over a year now. It hasn't been pleasant, and those people who say that "writer's block" doesn't exist can just go and fuck off right now. It does exist. I know because I've experienced it.

But that isn't all. This is more than a simple mental blockage. What's happened is, the way I write has fundamentally changed. I used to be frighteningly prolific: I wrote as if my life depended on it. But now that doesn't happen. I think I've basically slowed down. Writing isn't as important to me as it once was; other things have moved forward in my list of priorities. And that's good. Change is good; it's positive. I suspect the blockage I've been experiencing is down to me trying to adjust to this change. I'm having to learn how to write all over again, but in a different way. The words no longer come pouring from my viens as liquid fire. They emerge slowly, at their own pace.

With this in mind, my output has slowed dramatically. I've had to adapt the way I work. I no longer sit down every night and write in a white-heat frenzy. I write when I'm moved to instead. This is giving me more time to enjoy life, to fill up the creative well. I'd reached a stage before where writing was my life, and that was bad. This new way is better. It's just going to take a lot of getting used to.

I've just finished my first new story in months. It's called The Yellow Film, and is a submission for a King In Yellow themed anthology. I was asked by the editor to write this story, but that doesn't mean it'll be accepted. The editor might not even like it. I hope he does, though, because it's been a tough one to write. A transitional story.

I'm just glad I don't rely on this writing lark to pay the bills.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

There, There...

Today I sent a story off to an editor. I hope it will be included in a tribute anthology for my late friend Joel Lane. I haven't been writing much for the past year and a bit, and this is only the fourth or fifth story I've written in 2014 (all of which were commissioned).

This one's called There, There, and it brings together an experience I had in a "haunted" house where I used to live in Bounds Green, a person I used to see a lot around London's East End, the notion of dispossessed people who through no fault of their own have been cast aside from the usual social cirlces, and my love of Joel's fiction.

I hope the editor likes it. I know I do, and in all honesty that's what matters most.

 
 
"Trevor reached out and placed the flat of his hand against the door, as if he might feel a tremor of excitement from the memory. If ghosts existed, then surely they were simply stranded recollections, echoes of things that had once happened trying not to be forgotten. He closed his eyes and remembered how Greta looked naked. She was very thin; her hip bones were sharp, like blades. When he opened his eyes again he experienced the sense that someone else was there. They were standing on the other side of the door, mirroring his posture, perhaps smiling."

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Reaping the Dark - Book Release

This week sees the release of my new novella, Reaping the Dark. Published by DarkFuse, it's a story that combines elements of crime and supernatural horror to hopefully create an exciting, fast-paced piece of fiction.

Some inspiration came from a lot of the films I grew up with: namely The Driver (1978) and all those great demonic horror movies of the 1970s, but mostly it came from a literary source. A couple of years ago I was reading a lot of James Sallis. He was the guy who wrote the novel the film Drive (2011) was based on. I'd read a lot of Dennis Wheatley when I was younger, and I wondered if I could produce something that came across like Sallis writing a Wheatley type story. Thus Reaping the Dark was born...

-----------------------------------------------------------------
 
A streetwise getaway driver…

A drug raid that ends in bloodshed…

A violent criminal hell-bent on revenge…

A secret order of occultists…

And something summoned from the darkest depths of nightmare.

Who will survive this long, dark night, and how will it change them? And what kind of horror will be born from the chaos left behind?

If the old adage is true and we reap what we sow, then only evil can be unleashed by Reaping the Dark.


Available now.

eBook: Amazon UK, Amazon US.
Limited Hardback (low stock): DarkFuse

Reviews are very positive so far:

Weirdmage Review
Strange Tales Review
Tiny Windows Review
The Eloquent Page Review



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

On Stories Being Everywhere

Stories, they're everywhere...at least the ingredients are, if you take the time to look and to listen. For example:

A few years ago, when I was in hospital for the first time with pericarditus, I overhead two old blokes talking on the cardiac ward. They were discussing old times in Leeds, things, places, people, that they remembered but were no longer around. This stuff is like gold dust to a writer. You can't buy the kind of detail people put into personal anecdotes. As the conversation developed, one of the men mentioned someone called Sister Resistor.

Apparently, Sister Resistor was some kind of back-street stage act. A very small, very thin woman of indeterminte ago who would challenge all comers to get up on the stage and try and move her. That was it. She'd stand there, presumably in her spangly stage outfit, and grown men would get up and try to push her off balance. A simple act, I suppose, but also a strange one. Imagine it: a tiny woman standing there resisting the pressure of a large man trying to push her over. According to the storyteller, it was a very popular act. People would travel for miles to come and see her.

I started to wonder about Sister Resistor. What was her real name? What kind of woman was she - a wife, a mother? How did she develop her peculiar talent? I've tried Googling her a few times but I never get any results. Sometimes I think I dreamed the entire episode; a pain-dream, a weird sick-bed hallucination.

Ever since I heard that story, sitting rapt in a high-sided hospital bed, white-faced and almost crippled from the pain in my chest, I've wanted to write a story about Sister Resistor. Maybe one day I even will.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The No Update Update

Spring has sprung and my mind leans towards various things: bicycles, walks, country pubs, training for my next karate grading, the impending office move, and weekends away over the next month or so.

I'm still not writing much, but I really need to crack on with the novella - the deadline is looming like a big fat loomy thing. I've been thinking about the story a lot and making some notes. I started an image file on Facebook and I've even cracked open a nice new notebook to scribble in. There's an isolated moorland house, a group of bereaved people, some standing stones, a local legend, and a martial arts punch dummy.

Hopefully I'll get the ball rolling this weekend and write my planned 2,000 words.

In lieu of anything more interesting, here's a photo of Godzilla's face: