Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Nice Things of the Week! 17th June 2017 (Part Three)

Me, for the last week.








Did I mention I sold something to


I did?

Okay, then.

As you were.


Nice Things of the Week Saturday 17th June Part Two: First Anniversary, Death By Water and

And on a more personal note...

Last month, the ever-reignng Cate and I celebrated our first year of marriage. My anniversary present to her was a weekend away in Barmouth, in a lovely 17th century cottage. The other night my parents came over and Dad got talking about his childhood in Barmouth. We showed him a picture of the place where we stayed... and it only turned out to be my great-grandparents' old home.

Also, a couple of sales.

My short story 'The Tarn' will be published in The Beauty of Death 2: Death By Water, due out from Independent Legions Publishing this autumn. The TOC is still being finalised, but thus far includes Ramsey Campbell, Peter Straub, Adam Nevill, Lucy Snyder and many more.

Last and MOST DEFINITELY NOT least... (can we have a drum roll and maybe a fanfare please, maestro...)

My novelette Breakwater has been acquired by the mighty Ellen Datlow for and will be published in 2018!


There are really no words to describe how delighted I am about this.

Many thanks (again!) to Ellen, and to all at Tor.

Nice Things of the Week! 17th June 2017 (Part One): Jeremy Corbyn

The election in a nutshell.
Welp, the blog's been a tad quiet for a while, I know. I've struggled a bit with workload over the past couple of months, what with the new job and all, which slowed down the rewrites on Wolf's Hill markedly, to say nothing of trying to lay the groundwork for The Next Novel. Which part of this caused my old friend the Black Dog to resurface, I don't know, but it did. The past few weeks have been particularly tough, but (touch wood) I think I've turned a corner now. I hope so.

Good things have been in evidence over recent weeks. We had a snap general election here in the UK, in which it was widely predicted that the ruling Evil Bastard Conservative Party would wipe the floor with the left-wing Labour Party - even by Labour Party supporters. I have to admit I was afraid they were right: in terms of policies and vision I'd always felt Jeremy Corbyn was the best thing Labour had had for ages, but it was looking increasingly as though he was incapable of actually leading the party. When the election cycle started, the Spawn of Satan Conservatives were 22 points ahead of Labour. Not just defeat, but annihilation was prophesied.

And yet... over the six weeks leading up to the election, Corbyn showed what he was made of, supported by thousands of dedicated party activists like Matt Dent (to name but one.) The poll gap closed over the weeks, leading to a final result of a hung parliament. It isn't a Labour victory, but considering where things were, it's extraordinary. With Brexit, Trump and so much else it was easy to give in and decide everything was fucked. The French election, when the far-right Marine Le Pen was soundly defeated, was the first indication things weren't necessarily in an irreversible slide. This was the second. It really feels as though not only the Loathsome Shower of  C Tories' Government, but the hateful and divisive politics that's been the dominant discourse in Britain for so long, is crumbling. Well, a boy can dream.

Not that there hasn't been horrific shit as well, such as the terrorist attacks in my home city, Manchester, and in London, plus the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower. But even there, we saw what people can be like at their best - stepping up to the plate to help those caught up in the destruction. We were reminded that there is still good.

Maybe even some cause for hope.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Lowdown with... Emily Cataneo

Emily B. Cataneo is a writer and journalist currently living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from magazines such as Nightmare, Interzone, Lackington's, Interfictions: A Journal of Interstitial Arts, and The Dark. She was long-listed for John Joseph Adams’ Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, and her debut fiction collection, Speaking to Skull Kings, is forthcoming on May 19 from JournalStone. She is a graduate of both the Clarion Writers Workshop in San Diego and the Odyssey Writing Workshop in New Hampshire. She likes hats, dogs, crafts, and historical research.

1. Tell us three things about yourself. 

--I didn't study creative writing in school, instead opting for a journalism degree. I've spent the bulk of my professional life working in that field, writing for papers like the Boston Globe and Financial Times. Working as a reporter actually changed my personality. I was a very shy person for the first twenty years of my life, terrified to make phone calls or approach people, but journalism jolted me out of that. Once you've stormed into a city police station with a stack of court documents demanding confirmation that one of the officers there committed a crime, it becomes much easier to telephone a pizza place and order takeout.
--For several years in my early twenties, I dreamed of moving to Berlin, Germany, although the logistics of moving to Europe seemed like an impenetrable mystery. Finally, when I was 25, I decided to just go there and see if I could make it work. And so I flew across the ocean with no job, no visa, no German skills, and few friends in the city. Looking back this was a rather large gamble, but I managed to find a writing job, get a visa, learn German, and write my first novel while there. I ended up living in Berlin for two years, and I actually met my now-husband there too.
--Last fall, I moved into a new apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and didn't realize for several weeks that I had subconsciously organized my bookshelf into "Favorite Novels," "Favorite Short Story Collections," and "Victorian Gothic Literature." If a book has a haunting on the moors or a creepily overbearing housekeeper in a spooky manor, then I will probably (re: definitely) read it.

2. What was the first thing you had published? 
My first published story was "The Desert Cold Oasis and Spa," which appeared in the online journal "The Colored Lens" in 2013. The story was inspired by a road trip my best friend and I took through Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington in 2012. One evening during that trip, we wandered into Zzyzx, an abandoned mineral springs and health spa in the Mojave Desert that was started by a radio evangelist in the mid-twentieth century and eventually shut down due to tax evasion. I'm always on the lookout for atmospheric locales that might inspire my writing, and this place had more than enough atmosphere: abandoned rowboats listing in the sands, peeling decayed signs from the failed spa, fan palms and Joshua trees and other vegetation that appeared alien to a New England girl who'd never set foot in the desert before. I knew I had to set a story there.

3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of? 
Of my published writing, I'm proudest of "Evangeline and the Forbidden Lighthouse," which appears in Interzone this month. This story takes place on the New England coast--a place where I've spent much of my life--and tells the story of an intense friendship between two girls, one of them a vacationer to a seaside community, the other one a year-round resident. It's about the ocean and fate and class and female friendship, and I put a lot of myself into writing and crafting it. I hope everyone likes it as much as I do!

4. …and which makes you cringe? 

Luckily none of my published work makes me cringe, but there are definitely some documents on my hard-drive that I'm quite grateful never saw the light of day.

5. What’s a normal writing day like? 
My writing schedule recently changed a lot. From 2014 through 2016, I was working as a freelance nonfiction writer and journalist. This allowed me to structure my days as I saw fit, although there always seemed to be myriad distractions and temptations taking me away from my desk ("I MUST have Halloween spider lights for my porch! Now!" was a typical thought). Now, though, I'm working fulltime at a wonderful online feminist historical archive, so I've had to become a lot more strategic about structuring my writing time. I typically wake up early so that I can write for two hours before work (no mean feat for a sleep addict such as myself!) and try to spend at least one weekend day writing with two friends of mine in a cafe somewhere in Cambridge. Having accountability partners really helps.

6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first? 
I would suggest "The Lily Rose," which appeared in The Dark in February 2017. It features spooky New England, a group of girls, ghostly events, characters grappling with loss, and Russian royalty--all common motifs in my stories.

7. What are you working on now? 

Right now, my big project is working on the fourth draft of my aforementioned first novel, The Elephant Girl Gang, which takes place in Germany during World War 1 and follows the story of four teenage girls who accidentally unleash a death omen curse and must destroy it before it destroys them. It has castles and female friendship and the Great War and socialism and smoky dance halls and messy magic and visits to the land of the dead and spiritualism and-- and you can see, I'm very excited about it, and can't wait to share it with the world. I'm also working on various short stories; collaborating on a novelette with the author Gwendolyn Kiste; and gearing up for the release of my collection, Speaking to Skull Kings, which I am also quite excited to share with the world!

Friday, 7 April 2017

The Lowdown with... Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy is a writer and musician. He also runs a halfway home for injured or ill feral cats and dogs as well as abandoned domestic pets. He lives in Bangalore, India. His chapbook, A VOLUME OF SLEEP, will be release by Dunhams Manor Press later this year.

1. Tell us three things about yourself. 
I’m a left-hander. When I first learned to play guitar I used to play a right-handed guitar upside down, without the strings changed.
My paternal grandfather and my father were both voracious readers. Although we never talked about him, interestingly each of us read Algernon Blackwood at some point, so I have editions of some of Blackwood’s works from the 1940s, the 1970s and more recently. Is this the curse of the Satyamurthys?
My father ran a bookshop in the ‘80s. This helped me read a lot of great stuff, including issues of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run and that remarkable all-text issue of Howard The Duck.

2. What was the first thing you had published? 
Fiction? A very, very short piece called ‘stone rider’ for an issue of ‘Bust Down The Door And Eat All The Chickens’, a bizzaro magazine, even though my story wasn’t bizzaro.

3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of? 
There is a story in my second chapbook for Dunhams Manor Press, out later this year, called ‘a place in the sun’ that I think is my best thing yet.

4. …and which makes you cringe? 
Nothing, yet. Ask me again when I’m really old.

5. What’s a normal writing day like? 
I usually get most of my writing done in half hour bursts between the hours of 7 AM and 4 PM.
That’s when I am writing at all. I don’t write everyday, only when I have a story idea that seems worth pursuing. If a story isn’t shaping up after three days of work I usually put it aside. At my best, I’ve written a 6000-word story in a single day in two or three sittings. I love it when that happens. I find that the less I have to struggle the better the story comes out. If I’m still rolling a rock uphill after 2000 words, it’s not going to work out. At least not in this particular form.

6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first? 
I think the easiest way to check my way out is online - look for the story The Ouroboros Apocrypha on the Lovecraft eZine website. But ideally, try and get a copy of my first chapbook, Weird Tales Of A Bangalorean, because that will give you a deeper dive into my fiction.

7. What are you working on now?
Trying to get my mojo working again. It’s been 4 months since I last completed a story and longer since I wrote something I really liked.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Things of the Week 5th April 2017: Interview by Louisa Rhodes, New The Feast Of All Souls review, The Adventure of the Orkney Shark

Photo by Vicky Morris.
A few things to announce this week...

First up, there's this really cool interview done last month, after my half of the Hive Writer's Day Workshop with the brilliant K.T. Davies. Louisa Rhodes, one of Hive's young writers, fed me questions about horror, writing and spaghetti, typed up my rambling responses and made them look reasonably intelligent. So here's the result. Louisa did a fantastic job, and was a pleasure to talk to.

The Feast Of All Souls has a new review, over at RisingShadow, in which Seregil of Rhiminee describes it as "one of the best horror novels I've read in recent years... entertaining, thrilling... ambitious and well-written. Excellent British horror fiction!"

Many thanks to RisingShadow, and to Seregil!

And finally... Simon Clark's anthology Sherlock Holmes's School For Detection is out now.

It's 1890. Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson return to Baker Street after a night pursuing a vicious criminal. Inspector Lestrade is waiting for Holmes with a proposition of national importance.
Lestrade tells Holmes that a school of detection has been formed to train a new breed of modern investigators that will serve in Great Britain and the Empire. Most students will become police officers. Some, however, will become bodyguards and spies. Holmes begins instructing his decidedly curious assortment of students from home and abroad. He does so with his customary gusto and inventiveness.
Scotland Yard, in the main, allocates crimes to solve and Holmes mentors his students. Occasionally, he shadows them in disguise in order to assess or even directly test their abilities with creative scenarios he devises. Certain crimes investigated by the students might appear trivial, such as the re-positioning of an ornament atop a garden wall, yet it will transpire an assassin has moved the ornament to create good sightlines in order to commit murder with a sniper's rifle.
Other mysteries are considered outside the domain of the police. For example, the inexplicable disappearance of a stone gargoyle, which is linked to an ancient family curse. Or a man suffering from amnesia who discovers that not only has he acquired a secret life but also gained an implacable enemy, too. Holmes, with the ever- trustworthy Doctor Watson in his wake, is kept busy with his students' cases, ranging from minor to serious, sometimes rectifying their mistakes and saving them from a variety of disasters.
These eleven wonderful new adventures and intrigues include tales such as 'The Gargoyles of Killfellen House', 'Sherlock Holmes and the Four Kings of Sweden' and 'The Case of the Cannibal Club'.

The anthology also features my story The Adventure Of The Orkney Shark. Other contributors include Cate Garder, Paul Finch, Alison Littlewood, Carole Johnstone... and many, many more.

The Adventure of the Orkney Shark is set in 1927. Lieutenant-Commander Noel Atherstone, recalled from retirement in Australia for the Imperial Airship Scheme, is given a top-secret mission: to assist Sherlock Holmes in investigating the mysterious disappearance of ships in the North Sea. Fishermen blame the gigantic and voracious Orkney Shark - but as Atherstone, Holmes and Holmes' reluctantly-acquired pupil Mr Blacksmith search the seas in airship R.36, they discover a threat far deadlier than any sea monster...

There,” said Blacksmith, pointing from an open starboard window.
Where?” Holmes and I ran to his side, peering out – but we had already passed over the spot.
Reduce speed,” I told Church. “Mr Potter, bring us around. Mr Hunt, maintain altitude.”
Slowly the airship turned. It wasn’t a quick process; R.36 was six hundred and seventy-five feet long from nose to tail, and almost eighty wide. But in the end, she cruised back the way she had come, at a more sedate pace.
What did you see, and where?” demanded Holmes. Blacksmith pointed to an area of swirling water between two flat, tabular skerries.
There,” he said. “It does not move.”
I see nothing,” said Holmes.
Nor I,” I said. “Just rock, weed, barnacles…”
Barnacles, yes. There are none elsewhere on these shoals.”
He was right, now I considered: for whatever reason, the tiny shellfish didn’t appear on any visible part of the rocks and skerries. They lay only in this one area, in a long wide cluster. As we drew closer, I saw its outline was distorted by the water’s churning, but there was something about the shape – a regularity, a symmetry.
The barnacles had not grown here; they had grown somewhere – or on something – else. Something that had spent a great deal of time in other parts of the sea, more conducive to their survival.
Blacksmith was right: I saw it now. A great mass, encrusted in barnacles and weed, in the shape of a huge fish – a long teardrop body, but with fins, almost like wings, jutting out from its sides, and another, a thin sharp triangle, rising from its back. But it was larger than any fish – four hundred feet, if it was an inch...

You can buy the anthology here.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Lowdown with... James A. Moore

JAMES A. MOORE is the author of over forty novels, including the critically acclaimed Fireworks, Under The Overtree, Blood Red, Blood Harvest, the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley) Cherry Hill, Alien: Sea of Sorrows and the Seven Forges series of novels. He has twice been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and spent three years as an officer in the Horror Writers Association, first as Secretary and later as Vice President. Never one to stay in one genre for too long, James has recently written epic fantasy novels in the series SEVEN FORGES (Seven Forges, The Blasted Lands, City of Wonders and The Silent Army). He is working on a new series called The Tides Of War. The first book in the series, The Last Sacrifice, is due out in January. Pending novels also include A Hell Within (a Griffin & Price Novel) co-written with Charles R. Rutledge and an apocalyptic Sci-Fi novel tentatively called Spores. Why be normal?

1. Tell us three things about yourself. 
I’m a prolific writer. On a good day I break 4,000-5,000 words. My best single day was 11,700 words, edited twice, in 8 hours.
I’m a widower.
I am an exceedingly violent pacifist, which is probably at least half of the reason I write.

2. What was the first thing you had published? 
The first professional sale was a comic book script for Clive Barker’s Hellraiser issue number 15, a story called “of Love, Cats & Curiosity. The first thing ever published was a review of White Wolf Games’ entire World of Darkness (at that point about seven books in the Vampire: The Masquerade game) for Game Shop News.

3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of? 

Dude, that like asking which of your children you love best. I did a story called “Spirits,” for a book called Four Ghosts, that came out from Cemetery Dance Publications. It’s a ghost story with no ghosts, I wrote it very, very quickly and it actually worked out the way I wanted it to, which makes me very happy. My other answer is, whatever I just finished, but that part tends to fade.

 4. …and which makes you cringe? 
Of my writing? The very first novel printed was called Vampire: The Eternal Struggle: House of Secrets. I haven’t even read it since I wrote it. I’ve heard it’s actually okay, but I just can’t do it. I have no idea why, seriously. Also, when I was fourteen I wrote 472 pages of a fantasy novel with absolutely no plot and the most pretentious writing ever. The evidence has long since been destroyed.

5. What’s a normal writing day like? 

I work a full time (sometimes part time)job as a barista, so first there’s the day job and heavy levels of caffeine, then I take a break for about an hour. Then 3-4 hours of writing, a break for dinner and TV, then back to writing for a few hours That also includes handling correspondence, phone calls, and social media.

6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first? 
 I’m going to go with SEVEN FORGES, which I’ve had several people tell me is some of my best work.

7. What are you working on now? 
I just had THE LAST SACRIFICE come out in January and that’s the first in a new series called TIDES OF WAR. I’m about two thirds of the way through the first draft of the sequel, called FALLEN GODS. I’m just reaching the cackle stage, which is when I’ve set everything up and I can get to some serious reactions and carnage.