Author and Scriptwriter

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

Friday, 14 November 2014

Black Mountain, Darkly Mused Upon

Well, the saga that is Black Mountain is done at last - all eleven instalments, complete with Neil Williams' fantastic artwork, are now up on Amazon (UK, US and elsewhere) to buy.

Anthony Watson over at Dark Musings reviewed the serial as a work in progress back in May; having read it to the end, he now returns to give his final verdict.

 'I had to put the kindle down at one point, so effective - and downright scary - was the imagery being presented. That hasn't happened since I read Adam Nevill's Last Days - so kudos to Mr Bestwick for that.'

As you can imagine, I'm very happy with that.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween! Black Mountain 11: The Dancers In The Pines

Yes, it's here at last. The Dancers In The Pines, the eleventh and final instalment of Black Mountain, is now available on Amazon. Here for the UK, here for the US.

Hope you enjoy. Special thanks to Simon Marshall-Jones, Neil Williams and Graeme Reynolds for helping make this happened - and most of all to Cate, who was each instalment's first audience.

Happy Halloween, folks.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Writing News:The Last Black Mountain and Stuff I Can't Talk About Yet.

Well, the day had at last to come, and now it has. Last weekend, I finished TheDancers In The Pines, the eleventh and final episode of Black Mountain, and sent it over to Simon Marshall-Jones at Spectral Press on the Monday. Mr M-J has professed himself very happy with the conclusion to the series.

So, that's it; at last, the saga of Mynydd Du and the Bala Triangle is at an end. Or is it? You'll have to wait until Halloween to find out, because the final episode won't be available for download till the 31st October. In the meantime, though, there's a sneak preview of Neil Williams' artwork.

In other news... well, I have some very exciting news indeed to share with you - soon. A very nice new writing development, but I can't talk about it yet. Keep watching this space and I'll tell you more soon.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Black Mountain #10: The Watcher

It hardly seems any time at all since I first pitched the idea of a serial novel to Simon Marshall-Jones at Spectral Press, but it's been nearly a year. And that brings us to the tenth - and penultimate - episode of Black Mountain.

I can't thank Simon enough for giving me the chance to do this project, or Graeme Reynolds for the formatting. And I can't heap enough praise on Neil Williams for his series of amazing and eerie covers for the episodes, many of them produced in less than a day. I think that with his work for The Watcher Neil has outdone himself yet again; I have to admit that when the print edition of Black Mountain appears, one of the best things about it will be seeing his work given a more tangible home on paper.

Black Mountain has been a fascinating project to work on, albeit sometimes frustrating - I tend to work quickly on projects because my mind is quick to wander to the next, so getting started on the last couple of episodes was like pulling teeth! Once the writing was underway, though, it was as fun as ever.

So now we're into the final stretch, which means I'd better finish here and get back to work on the final episode, The Dancers In The Pines. But first, a quick taster for episode #10:

For centuries the Bala Triangle has kept its secrets. But now Rob Markland, having investigated it from afar for so long, was determined to make it give them up at last.

Into the woods of Coed Capel and Coed Dinas, the ruins of Maes Carnedd and Blas Gwynedd, four people ventured. Only one would return, driven mad by what he’d witnessed.

By the presence that still haunted the empty farmhouse at Ty Mynwent.

That waited by the lake of Llyn Daioni, in the long-abandoned pod houses of Hafan Deg.

By the Watcher.

The UK edition is here and the US one here.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Horror Uncut, and Paul Hearn

The penultimate episode of Black Mountain, The Watcher, is out now, and I'll blog about that soon. First, though, a word about this anthology I'm in called Horror Uncut.

This project's close to my heart for several reasons. One is its theme and purpose - the austerity that's been inflicted on us here in Britain and the suffering caused by it, as this rancid and corrupt government of liars and thugs destroys or sells off our public services and victimises the poor and defenceless - and the other is that it was co-edited by my late friend Joel Lane. Joel died before seeing the project come to fruition, but his co-editor, Tom Johnstone, has done an admirable job of steering the project to completion.

Here's the TOC:

A Cry for Help by Joel Lane
The Battering Stone by Simon Bestwick
The Ballad of Boomtown by Priya Sharma
The Lucky Ones by John Llewellyn Probert
The Sun Trap by Stephen Hampton
Only Bleeding by Gary McMahon
The Lemmy / Trump Test by Anna Taborska
Falling into Stone by John Howard
Ptichka by Laura Mauro
The Devil’s Only Friend by Stephen Bacon
The Procedure by David Williams
Pieces of Ourselves by Rosanne Rabinowitz
A Simple Matter of Space by John Forth
The Privilege Card by David Turnbell
The Ghost at the Feast by Alison Littlewood
The Opaque District by Andrew Hook
No History of Violence by Thana Niveau

A word about my own tale. 'The Battering Stone' is a tale featuring Paul Hearn, a sort of reluctant psychic detective doing battle with the weird wherever it raises its head in Salford. In this story he investigates a string of mysterious suicides in the run-up to Christmas, and a monolith that seems to vanish and reappear at will.

I wrote about seven stories featuring Paul between 2004 and 2007. Two others have been published thus far: 'Hushabye' in Ellen Datlow's Inferno in 2005, and 'Winter's End' in Gary Fry's Where The Heart Is in 2010. He was a sort of down-at-heel, politically active descendant of Blackwood's John Silence, Hodgson's Carnacki and Lumley's Titus Crow, but another influence was the cycle of 'weird police' stories Joel had been writing since the late '90s, which were finally collected in Where Furnaces Burn. That makes The Battering Stone a damned good fit for Horror Uncut.

The last Paul Hearn story I wrote was called 'Effigies of Glass', which I dedicated to Joel. Hopefully it will be seeing print soon, in a forthcoming tribute anthology. Maybe it's time I wrote a few more.

You can buy Horror Uncut here.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Black Mountain #9: Ancient Voices (and a word about Black Mountain #10)

Wotcher folks. I just realised I hadn't blogged about the latest episode of Black Mountain, so here I go...

The ninth instalment, Ancient Voices, came out at the beginning of September, and delves further back into Mynydd Du's history than ever before... all the way back to Roman times.

North of Mynydd Du lie the pine trees of Coed Dinas: 'the wood of the fort.' But which fort? Rob Markland, digging ever deeper into the secrets of the mysterious Bala Triangle, was determined to find out.

The answer finally surfaced in an obscure history book: the story of how the Romans tried to claim the land around Mynydd Du for their Empire, and the terror and bloodshed that resulted.

The Black Mountain cast its deadly shadow across the centuries, bringing insanity and death in its wake. Markland had been driven hopelessly insane in his quest to discover its true nature; now, at last, I might learn why...

'His hands were webbed paws, from which sprouted claws as long and sharp as daggers. Bristles of coarse black hair had sprouted in clumps across his face, his mouth was lumpily misshapen from the long curved fangs it proved to contain, and his eyes glowed red. Even as they watched, his jaws were lengthening...'

The artwork is by the ever-reliable Neil Williams, and you can buy Ancient Voices here (UK) and here (US.) 

Meanwhile, I've just finished Part 10, The Watcher, which ought to be out in the next week or so, and am about to get started into the final instalment, due for release on Halloween.  

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Darkulture Alternative Festival: Saturday 27th September

Darkulture is a festival that brings to Manchester the best in Gothic and alternative culture. It will do so on Saturday 27th September, from 3pm onwards, at The Zoo on 126 Grosvenor Street.

There will be bands. Attrition, Cortex Defect, SYD.31, The Frozen Autumn and Terminal Gods will all perform.

There will be DJs. Aidan, Baersj, Evenstar and Le Freak will be providing some sounds when the bands aren't.

And there will be comperes. Entertainers, it says on the website. One is the amazing Rosie Garland (aka Rosie Lugosi) - poet, comic, one-time vocalist for the March Violets, and author. If you haven't read her debut novel, The Palace Of Curiosities, then you really need to do so: it's a lush, beautiful novel set in Victorian London, focusing on the love affair between a lion-faced woman and a man who can't die - or remember his past. It's a delight. I haven't read her new novel, Vixen, yet, but I soon will.

Rosie will be compering the second half. I'll be compering the first.

So if you want to see me melt down into a gibbering wreck ride herd on a carnival of the weird and wonderful, then get thee down to Grosvenor Street next Saturday.

Huge thanks to John Prince for organising the forthcoming insanity.

If you want to learn more, here's the festival's website and Facebook page.