Monday, September 10, 2018


I'd planned to write a short story during our family holiday in Dalyan, but somehow managed to write two. I wrote them longhand, in a narrow-ruled pad; that pad is sitting next to my laptop waiting for me to transcribe the stories into Word documents.

In the meantime, I've started editing work on a few stories and urgently need to write a couple more to complete a mini collection I'm submitting to a publisher.

I've also just written the first draft of a story that was commissioned late last night - luckily an idea popped straight into my head, and I've had some time today to work on it. Unless a better title presents itself, I'm calling this one Somewhere in Here. It's about spousal abuse and social isolation.

It's taken me a long time to get back into writing in any kind of serious way, and still I'm not entirely satisfied with my work. I've become super critical of my own writing, and I'm too quick to think something is ordinary or sub-par. I need to relearn the trick of having faith in what I do. Part of this is a reaction to the absurd posturing I see from a lot of writers on social media, a bunch of mediocre scribblers who tend to think their stories are examples of literary genius. Part of it is a result of my low self-esteem.

I'm not looking for sympathy when I write about this stuff; I'm merely prone to self-examination. I think it's good for the soul.

So I carry on. I write when I can. Hopefully I'll regain at least some of the confidence I once had.

Monday, July 30, 2018

In two weeks time I head off to Dalyan, in Turkey, for our annual family holiday. A fortnight in the sun, in a beautiful village on the banks of the Dalyan Çayı River, overlooked by the Lycian tombs.

I've already sorted out which books I'm taking to read, but I've also set myself a little writing challenge: over the two weeks I'm there, I plan to write a ghost story set in Dalyan, utilising that river as a major part of the tale. All I have is the bare bones of a plot; hopefully the meat will form over them during the holiday.

The working title is And You Shall Drown in My Tears.

Image result for Dalyan Çayı River

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Tuesday 24th July

I spent most of the weekend in Nottingham on a JKS karate course: 4 hours of training on Saturday; 4 hours of training on Sunday. By Sunday evening, my feet were aching and I was exhausted. It was a fantastic weekend but I didn't get any writing done.

Last night my son and I watched The Red Turtle on Blu-ray. We were both profoundly moved.

It's a sublime parable and a gorgeous metaphor for the journey of life, the importance of family, and the guardianship of nature.

The simple story of a man deserted on an uninhabited island is open to multiple readings, and is at once life-affirming, beautiful, and achingly sad. 

I'd call it a masterpiece. Please see it if you can.

This week I'm planning to get more edits done on some stories and get cracking on The Cabinet - the final story in a sequence of tales I started over a decade ago. 

I seem to have gone from having no projects on the go to having too many: a small short story collection, a potential reprint in a limited hardback edition of my Concrete Grove trilogy, and the novel I've been working on for a while. It's good but it's scary; it feels like I've forgotten how to juggle multiple creative projects and balance it all with the rest of my life.

But I continue. I endure. A life without creativity, for me, would be an empty life. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday 7th July

Not much to report on the writing front. Still working sporadically on the novel, feeling it out and trying to get a feel of what shape it might take once it settles.

Last Friday, I had a decent idea for a short story, and managed to write nearly 3,000 words over the weekend. It's inspired by my mother's recent move to sheltered housing. If it turns out well, I'll probably put it in the ToC for the next collection, which I'm trying to put together before approaching a few indie presses.

Next on my list is pulling together the short collection I'm putting out through a UK small press possibly late this year, or early next year.

At Home in the Dark will feature the following stories:

  • The Chair
  • The Table
  • The Cabinet
  • The Viewings

The stories are loosely connected and form what I've always thought of as "the domestic sequence." The last two stories in that list are brand new, previously unpublished pieces.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Monday 9th July

I'm trying to get back into the habit of using this blog. I plan to write something here every Monday, even if it's just a short entry to keep the pot boiling.

Over the last couple of days I've been picking away at my work-in-progress, Little Red House. This story has been on my mind for a couple of years. I've prodded and poked and written a few hundred words, but not really gone at it with any real conviction. But yesterday a couple of revelations struck me and I've started working on it with a new sense of purpose.

I have some stories to edit and a new one to write for a short collection provisionally titled At Home in the Dark, hopefully due out early next year. A publisher has approached me about the possibility of publishing a limited hardback omnibus edition of all three Concrete Grove novels.

So things are happening. Slowly, but they're happening.

In other non-writing-related news, England have reached the semi-finals of the World Cup. I love football, so am enjoying the hell out of this.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Darker Companions

This came out a little while ago from PS Publishing but I've only just received my author copy. It's a fine-looking book, and published to celebrate 50 years of Ramsey Campbell's fiction being published. And here's to another few decades of the same!

Ramsey's work has always been a huge inspiration to me, and everything I write carries his influence. he's my favourite writer. His work has always shaded how I see the world.

My story "There, There" combines my personal experiences of house-sharing in London with the influence of Ramsey's short tales upon my own work. I didn't try to ape his prose or literary ticks - I'm not capable of doing so without the result being weak and hollow. Instead, I just sat down and thought about the man's work, how it influences my own writing, and tried to tell my own story but with Ramsey Campbell in mind.

I hope you enjoy the result.

Here's the table of contents:

  • Introduction: Hymns from the Church in High Street by Scott David Aniolowski 
  • Holoow by Michael Wehunt 
  • The Long Fade into Evening by Steve Rasnic Tem 
  • Asking Price by S.P. Miskowski 
  • Author! Author?  by John Llewellyn Probert 
  • Meriwether by Michael Griffin 
  • The Entertainment Arrives by Alison Littlewood 
  • Premeditation by Marc Laidlaw 
  • A Perfect Replica by Damien Angelica Walters 
  • There, There by Gary McMahon 
  • We Pass from View by Matthew M. Bartlett 
  • Meeting the Master by Gary Fry 
  • Saints in Gold by Kristi DeMeester 
  • This Last Night in Sodom by Cody Goodfellow 
  • The Whither by Kaaron Warren 
  • Uncanny Valley by Jeffrey Thomas 
  • The Dublin Horror by Lynda E. Rucker 
  • The Sixth Floor by Thana Niveau 
  • The Carcass of the Lion by Christopher Slatsky 
  • The Granfalloon by Orrin Grey 
  • Little Black Lamb by Adam L G Nevill 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April 2018

Wow. How is it April already?

I've spent the past three months suffering from health problems - severe colds, followed by a full-blown case of the flu that put me out of action for about five weeks. So naturally my writing and fitness goals have suffered.

I've had three stories accepted for publication in forthcoming anthologies:

  • Guising - The Alchemy Book of Horrors
  • The Hanging Boy - The Black Room Manuscripts
  • Outside - as-yet-untitled anthology project

More on these projects as and when information becomes available.

I'm slowly limbering up to restarting work on a novel called Little Red House. I have a lot of ideas and some good notes. I just need to get my aim right and find an interesting way of telling the story.

It isn't strictly horror, but it isn't not horror either (if that makes any sense). It's a dark-edged tale of absent fathers, human trauma, and the stories we tell ourselves to get through the night. Hopefully I can do it justice and finally get some words down on the project.