Tuesday, 31 October 2017

A spooky short story recommended for Halloween.

Ideal reading for Halloween...

Northwest Passage by Barbara Roden
An old woman named Peggy lives alone in a remote cabin surrounded by wilderness.  One day she encounters two young men, Jack and Robert, who are living and getting up to who-knows-what in an abandoned prospector's cabin some miles away.  As she begins a friendship with Jack, a sinister force emerges from the wilds.

This is a subtle and chilling story that works through small touches rather than big scares, such as some affecting use of wind-chimes, and by building atmosphere.  After reading it, you'll be wondering quite how Roden managed to terrify you so much whilst appearing to reveal so little.

Find it in Roden's collection North West Passages.


Thursday, 26 October 2017

On Fire

The On Fire anthology from Transmundane Press is ready to drop on 1st December.  Included in the lineup is my own 'Combustible', a story about Gene, a man with an unusual gift/curse.  To complicate matters Gene also has a stormy relationship with his rock star brother, an encounter with a groupie, an infant child and a wife who considers him a danger to her life.

"BURN, BABY, BURN

Capable of creation and destruction, fire burns within us.
Behind the thick, black smoke of our lives, we blaze with our own unique flame.
While love compels some, others feed greed and lust into their hearths.
A tool for the deft hand, used with magic or as a weapon, but irresponsibility leaves deep burns and promises dreadful consequences.

ON FIRE brings to light twenty-six tales that explore this unpredictable yet beautiful element.

Handle with care."

Thursday, 28 September 2017

New novella: A Chance of Snow

Summer's over, the nights are drawing in, leaves are falling, there's a slight chill in the air, winter's around the corner, Christmas is only three months away (where did the year go, right?), so what better time to officially launch my new novella A Chance of Snow?*

Here's the blurb:

"Struggling for survival in an abandoned city after a deadly outbreak, Jay one day chances upon something that will allow him access to the one remaining refuge, Station Island. To get there, though, he must cross the city of Horburg. No easy task, since Horburg’s streets are ruled by ruthless gangs. And there are worst dangers lurking in the alleyways and railway tunnels. Accompanied by his friend, Diamond, Jay will set out to face the city’s many pitfalls; a quest that will test their courage and allegiance to breaking point."

If this sounds like something you might enjoy reading one of these cold, dark nights you can pick it up here:  Amazon UK.  Amazon US.


*There will be absolutely no chance of snow in the South West of England where I live, but every year I keep on hoping.


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

IT

I love this poster for the film IT.

I'd been eagerly awaiting the release of this film even since it was announced some years ago. I enjoyed the book, which I read when I was about 20 or so, early in my Stephen King obsession which turned me on to horror.  Even then, I was infuriated by the ending (and one particular scene in particular which the two film versions have wisely discarded).

I enjoyed the film, but would have preferred a less is more approach with the horror as I didn't find it particularly scary.

Great poster though.

Monday, 21 August 2017

August Update

Astonishingly, it's August already and the weather here in the UK is not too dissimilar to India during monsoon season.  So far, so reassuringly familiar.  It's been a busy year for me on the writing and publishing front.

July saw the publication of the fifth Dark Lane Anthology, which I edited, put together, and contributed a story to - in this case my tale of an English town afflicted by a mysterious whiff called 'The Stench'.  One of the joys of putting these books together is approaching writers I admire and asking them to 'headline' (as I've said before, in my head I'm staging Glastonbury), and occasionally having them agree!  Past 'headliners' have included James Everington, Rebecca Lloyd, K.J. Bishop, and Charles Wilkinson.  For Volume Five, I approached L.S. Johnson, a wonderful writer who I believe deserves more attention.  L.S. kicks things off in this volume with her story 'Ada, Awake' which in the paperback version is accompanied by a fantastic illustration from Sally Barnett.

Aswell as keeping busy writing more stories, including trying my hand at historical supernatural fiction, I've managed to place some stories with publishers.  My story about a washed-up rock star visited by a mysterious muse, 'Unwritten Songs', was accepted by Not One Of Us.  Another story, 'Raking Light' - which has been described as a cross between The Picture of Dorian Gray and Stephen King's Pet Semetary will be published in the Midnight Morsels horror anthology from Rice Paper Press.  'Combusible', a story about brotherly relationships and unnatural gifts, one of my favourite stories I've written, has been accepted for the On Fire anthology from Transmundane Press.  I was also lucky enough to have had my story 'Besta Branco' accepted for the Strange Beasties anthology from Third Flatiron Publishing, the second story this publisher has accepted from me this year - something for which I'm very grateful.
More stories are out there under consideration, so maybe there'll be a few more added to the acceptance list before the year is out.

Lastly, here's a quick plug for some short story collections I've been enjoying recently.  Malcolm Devlin's 'You Will Grow Into Them' is an excellent collection of strange tales.  I first discovered this writer through a story published in Undertow Books' 'Shadows and Tall Trees Vol.7'.  Undertow also recently published Mike O'Driscoll's 'The Dream Operator' which I've been enjoying dipping into just lately.

On the music front, a recent BBC Prom reminded me of my love for Scott Walker's music.  So, to give this blog post a nicely circular feel, I'll end with 'It's Raining Today'.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Man on the Moon

The latest story of mine to be published is The Man on the Moon - a short tale about the lies people tell to protect their children and the potential consequences of those lies - which appears online in Summer 2017 edition of The Menacing Hedge.  Anyone who's interested can read it here.

Like alot of people, I've had a long time fascination with the moon - it being the most observable rock out in space beyond our own, and I'm sure this won't be the last time it appears in my fiction.

My thanks to the team at Menacing Hedge for accepting this story.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Hear published in Cat's Breakfast anthology

My sci-fi short story, Hear, has been published in the Third Flatiron anthology 'Cat's Breakfast'.  The story concerns a pop song that causes people to feel inexplicably sad and restless, and a teenage girl who attempts to understand why.

The lineup for the anthology also features, among others, Edward Ahern, an excellent writer who I've previously published in the Dark Lane Anthologies.

Thanks to editor Juliana Rew for purchasing my story for the anthology.