Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Back to It...

The anthology BACK TO THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE from Pill Hill Press was published a while back now, so I'm a little tardy in mentioning it. It's graced by a story from my good self - The Appalachian Collection - so they obviously weren't too bothered by a Limey having the effrontery to write something set in the Appalachian Mountains (in my defense, I have visited the area - or a part of it, anyway; the Appalachians does cover quite some square mileage under a variety of names, depending on the State). And I managed to avoid the inbred, banjo-playing hillbilly schtick. Just went with a vaguely Gothic, haunted hotel tale instead.

Also - forthcoming from the Library of Science Fiction and Fantasy - the anthology DOOMOLOGY: THE DAWNING OF DISASTERS has another of my stories, Hell Freezes Over. The cover has been released, so I guess it's just a matter of time. And from the same bunch - or at least the Library of Horror - the forthcoming MADE YOU FLINCH Vol.2 - has Cheechee's Out, a slightly tongue in cheek piece of bloody horror (my attempt to recreate those cheap'n'cheerful straight to video horror movies of the 1980s). So a good laugh all round.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Literary Bloat

There are times I could quite cheeerfully strangle my muse - or whatever it is keeps the words flowing from my fingers to the keys to the laptop screen. I've just finished the penultimate story in a new Damian Paladin collection. A tale of family curses and vampires - but not the moody, angst-ridden, cheekbones you could hang a coat off wasters that clog page and screen today. No - this is a smelly, digusting revenant that would never get some pre-teen girl going all fluttery (at least I hope not; but there are some odd kids out there...).

Thing is, I planned for a story less than ten thousand words - but the more I wrote, the further away the ending got. The damned story just wouldn't stop. By the time I nailed the sucker there were over 12,500 words, goddammit! Far too many for the plot.

But rest assured, come editing time, there's going to be blood on the carpet. There are at least two thousand words coming out - so help me!

Plan Now? To take a break from Paladin for a couple of weeks: try my hand at a superhero short. A proper short.

If that tricksy muse lets me...

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Where do they go?

I'm convinced there's some sort of cutlery-specific Black Hole - or other kind of gulping void - located in my house. Things vanish. For no obvious reason.
Not so long ago we had three corkscrews: two in the kitchen, one in my suitcase (for emergencies - how may times have you gone on holiday, bought a bottle of wine and found you have no way of opening it?). One of the kitchen ones broke - fair enough - then the other one disappeared. Along with the one in my suitcase. How? I hadn't taken it out - neither had Caroline - and it was there the last time I'd unpacked.
And don't start me on teaspoons! They are definitely going, one by one. We used to have a full set of six squared-off spoons that are useful for eating yoghurt and the like. Now there are two. Sometimes. Occasionally one will take a holiday for a week. To where? Neither of us has taken it.
Then last night the potato peeler took a hike. It was there last week - I remember using it. To peel spuds.

Monday, 1 March 2010


You wait ages for an anthology to come along - then two come together. Both published on the cusp of 2009/10, THE BITTER END: TALES OF NAUTICAL TERROR (Pill Hill Press) and RAW TERROR (Read Raw Press), printed fiction of mine of very different styles.

Welcome to the Hotel Marianas in BITTER END was - initially - meant to be an homage to the Irwin Allen TV series VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (this was reflected not only in the characters' names, but with a submarine having a see-through nose. And its name was an anagram of Seaview ... how sad...). But nothing ever turns out how you expect, and the finished tale owed more to Lovecraftian Mythos than cheesy 1960s television shows.

Kittens in RAW TERROR is quite different - an unpleasant horror tale set in Birmingham, UK (including a namecheck of a character from a story by Joel Lane).

I expect there'll be another long wait for the next anthology - so form an orderly queue, there...

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Another pet gone

My wife and I have been keeping guinea pigs for years now - since before we married. We recently worked out that we've had 19 over the years. So you think it would get easier when they die; but of course it doesn't.
Around 2:20am Sunday morning one died. Named Pansy. We'd been given her in June 2008 because her original owner had a dog which had already attacked Pansy's sister, Petal (she was fine, luckily). Both were around nine months old then.
No idea what was wrong - she just went downhill rapidly, and was just too stressed to stay in her cage with her sister. So I took her out - at which point it was obvious she was fading - and knew I'd have to stay up until she died. Who knows which of us most needed the comfort.
She wasn't even the oldest animal. Another, Kitty - also given to us - is almost 7 years old and shows no sign of giving up. So now we're down to four guniea pigs - which means at least they have each other, once they've gotten over their own form of grieving.


"Anyone who wants to spend time with the uncanny and horrific will find this volume contains gems" Pauline Morgan has review...