Author and Scriptwriter

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

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Thank You Daily Telegraph (and I don't say that often)

I know, I still haven't posted about the Fantasycon. Keep meaning to each year, and then keep forgetting. Sorry, must try harder. In my defence, my home internet's been erratic lately.

Anyway, yesterday morning I wake up from a dream where someone's been frantically ringing my doorbell and banging on the front door. No-one there, but there is a message on my phone, left around the same time. One of my friends has been browsing through the book reviews in the Daily Telegraph.

Tide Of Souls is there.

And it's got four stars.

I damn near fell off my perch.

As a stauch socialist, it's rare to see me reading the Telegraph, let alone buying it, but I steeled myself and bought a copy from the local newsagents.

From the review:

This sounds like a plot for the computer game Resident Evil, and with lashings of violence and gore, it could easily be dismissed as lurid pulp fiction, but it is saved by the quality of the writing. Simon Bestwick writes with great imaginative flair and an excellent grasp of colour and narrative pace.

So... (gulp) thank you Daily Telegraph, and reviewer Peter Ingham.

Chris W. and others will be glad to note I managed to get through this whole post without squeeing once...

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

And Yet More Squee...

Sorry, but I've just fallen in love with that word. Even though I'm not sure if men are supposed to squee.

For the benefit of those wondering what the hell I'm on about:

verb: To squeal with glee; from a combination of the two words; the sound of an excited fangirl

noun: A feeling of excitement and happiness, such that one feels like squeeing

"Squee!!! Have you seen the trailer for the new movie?!"

You wouldn't believe how full of squee I am right now.
-From the Urban Dictionary.

Although it also gives the alternative definition:

1. a random ecstatic exclamation
2. a furry rodent from MYST III: Exile

SQUEE!! this is so great!!! EHEHEHEEHAHA
I want a pet squee.

I have no idea what the blazes MYST III (or indeed, MYST I, MYST II or any subsequent MYSTS) is/are. But if it's just a 'random ecstatic exclamation', maybe it's OK...

There was a point to all this.

Oh yes.

I am currently full of squee and squeeing all over the place.

The reason?

Deathray magazine has given Tide Of Souls a four star review. *

One, two, three...


Hm. Still not sure I should be squeeing in public. But it's too much fun. It's all Cate Gardner's fault.

I think I'd better go and have a lie down.

* Thanks to the very cool Jonathan Green, fellow Abaddon Books scribe, without whose blog I wouldn't have known about it. Any lovers of Victoriana and steampunk, should check out his Pax Britannia series of novels- hugely bonkers, imaginative fun.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Back To Pimping Myself Shamelessly

OK, I'll post something funny or about someone else again soon. Promise. In the meantime, though...

A few more nice things have happened lately. The news in brief:

A new review of Tide Of Souls has been posted by Matthew F. Riley here. Thanks Matthew!

A gentleman by the name of Jim Dodge Jr gives the novel a short and sweet review here. I don't remember setting the novel in Ireland, mind you, but it seems churlish to complain when being complimented- ta muchly, Mr Dodge!

Another Matthew, the very cool Matthew Fryer to be precise, gives Pictures Of The Dark a glowing review at his site. Matthew's an excellent reviewer and a connoisseur of the best the genre has to offer. Although obviously of course I'm going to say that... but if you appreciate the best of the weird fiction genre then do yourselves a favour and go check out the Hellforge.

Tide also got a good write-up in Black Static magazine by the estimable Peter Tennant.

There are interviews as well! I've posted a link to Peter's interview with me previously, but what the hey, here it is again. And there's a new one from Steve Jensen at The Black Glove.

I'm off to Fantasycon in a couple of weeks, which I'm looking forward to tremendously, as it's a great chance to meet up with fellow writers and talk about the things that interest us without getting (too many) funny looks. Also to polish off large amounts of beer and curry. The convention is also the occasion where the winners of the annual British Fantasy Awards are announced. And I'm very proud to announce I'm on the shortlist in the Best Novella category.

That shortlist in full:

  • Cold Stone Calling (Simon Clark) Tasmaniac Publications
  • Gunpowder (Joe Hill) PS Publishing
  • Heads (Gary McMahon) We Fade To Grey, Ed. Gary McMahon - Pendragon Press
  • N (Stephen King) Just After Sunset - Hodder & Stoughton
  • The Narrows (Simon Bestwick) We Fade To Grey, Ed. Gary McMahon - Pendragon Press
  • The Reach of Children (Tim Lebbon) Humdrumming
All really good writers. And yes, the fourth one down is STEPHEN KING. As my wonderful fellow writer Cate Gardner (wholly gratuitous link to her blog because she's just so damn cool) would say:


To be honest, I'm trying to make myself not care about the award. The work's the important part, not the tick you get for doing it... but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't be pleased (try ecstatic) if I won. That said, just getting to the shortlist is something to be proud of.

Right, I'm all pimped out. Abnormal service will be restored as soon as possible.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Everybody Ought To See This- It's Incredible

Recently I decided to start using this blog to draw folks' attention to things I liked or thought deserved to have the word spread about them. Well, there's only so much mileage in telling people how much I rule :)

Now, I hate reality TV and freakshows like Britain's Got Talent, X-Factor et al. But take a look at this. This is from the Ukrainian version of the show, and I defy anyone not to be moved and amazed by what this woman does. It's... well, it's sand animation. That's what they call it. No, I'd never heard of it either. But click the link and... just watch.

Thursday, 20 August 2009


Apparitions is an anthology of ghost stories from the excellent Canadian writer and editor Michael Kelly. There are a hell of a lot of good writers in there, including Joel Lane, Gary McMahon, Barbara Roden, Paul Finch, Gemma Files and Gary A. Braunbeck. It also includes a story of mine called The Suicide Chairs.

The anthology is published by Michael's new Undertow Books imprint. It's out in October, and if you reserve a copy you get free shipping. To reserve a copy, just send an email to
undertowbooks (at) gmail (dot) com with RESERVE in the subject field.

Thank y'all.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Swine Flu, Reviews and Interviews

So here I am, confined to barracks for the next week or so. Here's how it went...

'Woke up this morning feeling fine', Herman's Hermits once sang. 'Woke up yesterday morning feeling poo', sing I, on the other hand. Sore throat, cough, and- more worryingly- general weakness plus achiness in the muscles and, it felt, the bones.

So I rang the National Pandemic Flu Helpline, fully expecting to be told I'm a whinging hypochondriac and to get my arse into work. As you've probably guessed from the above, that ain't what happened. 'No, it's not man-flu this time,' the nice woman at the other end said, and gave me an authorisation number for antiviral drugs.

Just taken my third of ten doses of Tamiflu and am very glad a friend has just lent me the final season of Battlestar Galactica on DVD. To be on the safe side, I've also just ordered a Blake's Seven box-set off Amazon... although by the time they deliver it I'll probably be a) dead or b) back to work. Most likely b). Of course there are these other, older artefacts called books, apparently used in the days before DVD and the Internet as a means of boredom control, and still apparently popular with the strange barbarian tribes north of Watford.

Another friend tells me that the Flu Helpline's telephone diagnoses aren't always accurate. So it's possible I don't have Swine Flu, but some other kind of minor viral bug. One way or the other, though, I'm laid up with the dreaded lurgey. And I'm not venturing out till it's cleared up- partly for my own health, and partly as if it is Swine Flu, I don't particularly want to give this to anyone else.

A couple of nice things have happened, though, since I last posted. There's my Book Launch, and I'll try to pop some photos up from that to give everyone a laugh. Also, a few reviews of Tide Of Souls are up- one from Graeme Flory and two more on Goodreads from Mark West and Richard Wright- all very complimentary. The really nice Des Lewis carried out a 'real-time' review of Pictures Of The Dark which you can check out here.

Also, my career as a media whore continues. Peter Tennant interviewed me as part of a series of interviews with this year's British Fantasy Award finalists. You can read it here. Go on, make a sick man happy...

Hope the rest of you are staying healthy and germ-free,

Simon x.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Book(s) Launch!

Been meaning to post about this for ages- now it's the day before so I've only myself to blame if interested parties read this too late to be able to go...

Tomorrow night- Wednesday 22nd July!- sees the launch for both Tide Of Souls and Pictures Of The Dark. I'll be reading extracts from both books. 'Twill be held downstairs at the Bluu Bar on Thomas Street, in the Northern Quarter, Manchester, from 8.30pm. Admission is free. As is wine. If I don't drink it all myself out of mounting terror at making an arse of myself in front of... um... however many people turn up.

For the tiny number of you readers living anywhere near- hope to see you there!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Shout outs: Cate Gardner, Chris Wood

Hi everyone. It's been a while.

Well, there's been a lot going on since last we spoke. First off, a shout out to the lovely Cate Gardner for a very pleasant surprise, when the first of her 'someone else Saturday' entries on her blog proved to be about none other than yours truly!

I often think the real acid test of writers is perseverance. It's one of those callings where you're a) going to get a lot of knockbacks and b) where it takes a lot of time, hard work and trial and error (mostly error) to find your voice and hone your craft. It's not something that provides instant gratification (I sometimes wish I'd learned to play guitar and gone the singer-songwriter route- you know immediately if you've bombed or succeeded. Plus there's always the chance of groupies. Ahem.) I've seen a lot of good writing over the years, in small press magazines and elsewhere, and the number of writers who just dropped off the radar, never to be seen again, is unbelievable. Good writers, too. And why? Because: It. Takes. Work. Lots and lots of work.

Which brings me back to Catherine Gardner.

I first encountered Cate's fiction in the late 90s, when I co-edited a small press magazine called Unreal Dreams, and later a small anthology called Oktobyr. Back then you could see the writers who were influencing her, but there was always something individual about her writing that I liked. The second story I took from her for Oktobyr, 'As Though Strangers Passed', really showed that potential coming into action, and it stays with me even today.

Catherine's fiction is short and focused. Sometimes quirky and funny, sometimes very dark, it's never less than interesting. Do yourselves a favour and go check out her story Trench Foot for a glimpse of her in lighter mode. It's a beguiling little tale- funny and quirky, as mentioned before- but with a dark little heart to it. It's strong, assured work, the work of a writer with her own voice and focus. And how did she get there? Hard work. Well over a decade of it.

There's no quick fix, no short cut. You do the damned work.

Now for my mate Chris Wood. Many of you will already know his blog. If not, go check it out. Chris is one of the funniest guys I know- both in print and in real life. For evidence, look no further than Sherlock Holmes And The Underpants Of Death (and then buy the book off Amazon) or the wonderfully demented (or dementedly wonderful) Hunter S Thompson And The Temple Of Doom.

Here you see a writer working away, honing his style. Mark my words- one day soon, Chris is going to find his own voice and will become one of the best comic novelists out there. That's a prediction. (Mind you, I also thought the Sinclair C5 was gonna be big. But I was only about 9 at the time, so cut me some slack, huh?) So remember, you heard it here first.

Right, now go and check out the work of two damn good writers. That's all for now.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Pictures of the Dark

Yes, at last, a post that isn't about The Narrows. I imagine you're all probably getting bored of hearing about that by now...

My story collection, Pictures Of The Dark, is now in stock at the rather wonderful Gray Friar Press and will be shipping in about a week or so. Hugely delighted, and kudos to the great Gary Fry for putting this together.

Here's the cover blurb, to wet your whistles (or whet your appetites, if you prefer):

There are dark places everywhere.
The world outside your front door, and the one inside your head. Dreads and longings. Pasts and futures.
Loneliness and relationships. Love and hate. Life and death . . . and what might lie beyond.

And then there’s the place the stories come from.
The council estate where the dead walk . . . The farmhouse attic filled with mummified corpses . . .
The old tramp’s blanket, and what slept in it at night . . .

Here, collected for the first time, are Simon Bestwick’s pictures of the dark -
23 despatches from a world very like ours, but where those dark places take on a life of their own.
The damaged and forlorn men and women in these stories pit themselves against their own demons or worlds gone mad,
uncover the rot at society’s core or in their own souls - but they’re all caught by the dark. And nobody gets away clean.

Will you?

Open the book and find out.

Here's a sneak preview of the front cover:

The back cover's too scary to show here. It has an author photo on the back, for Chrissakes...

It also has an introduction by my friend, comrade and 'brother by another mother', the truly brilliant Gary McMahon. He says incredibly nice things about the book and its author (all without having to be bribed or blackmailed, too!)

To preorder, go here.

Thanks to you all for reading this!

Sunday, 7 June 2009

British Fantasy Awards- The Shortlist!

I'm delighted to report that The Narrows has made the shortlist for British Fantasy Awards for Best Novella. Listed alongside Joe Hill, Simon Clark, Gary McMahon and Tim Lebbon- fine writers all!

The anthology it was taken from, We Fade To Grey, has also been shortlisted for the Best Anthology Award. Great news!

You can visit the BFS website and read the full shortlist here. If you attended the 2008 Fantasycon or have signed up for the 2009 one, you can vote- also, of course, if you're a member of the BFS itself. If you like your horror, science fiction and fantasy, joining is always a good thing!

You don't have to vote for me, of course... but if you want to, feel free.

Thanks to everyone who voted for the story and got it this far!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Best Horror Of The Year #1

Just received an email today from the editor Ellen Datlow in New York. I can proudly announce that The Narrows has been selected for the first volume of her new Best Horror Of The Year anthology.

I'm absolutely delighted with this. Ellen is the premier editor in the USA for horror fiction and it's a great thrill to be accepted, especially given the length of the story.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Pissed Off

Not by anything in my own little world. At the moment- knock on wood (not you, Chris)- things are pretty good in Simonland.

On the other hand, the world outside...

Remember the guy who died of a heart attack at the G20 demo last week? Well, it would appear that he died after being hit and shoved over by a police officer. No provocation, far as anyone can tell. Just in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

I dare say some would say tough shit on him for getting involved with the demo. Funny, really, as the right to protest is supposedly one of the things that makes Britain so great. (Or so the drooling, brainwashed fuckwits still mindlessly braying that the Iraq war was a good idea keep telling us. It's just, like, totally unpatriotic to make use of it unless it's to agree with the government.)

But that misses the point anyway, because Ian Tomlinson wasn't even part of the demo. He was a newspaper seller. Just doing his job.

And what's the betting that the officers responsible get clean away with it?

Quite frankly, I wouldn't bet a used bottle top against that outcome. After all, the police in London can blow an innocent man's head off his shoulders, and the coroner will tell the jury that they cannot return a verdict of unlawful killing. Just ask Jean Charles de Menezes. Oh, no, you can't. He's dead. He'd done nothing wrong. But a group of armed cops acting more like an El Salvadorean death squad than Dixon of Dock Green pinned him down and put seven rounds in his head. And it's apparently nobody's fault.

Still, why should that surprise? Our ex-Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is a war criminal. No ifs, buts or maybes apply. He lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, lied about Iraqi links to 9/11- lied and lied some more so that he'd get his dirty little war. Funnily enough, before his resignation, the Sainted Tony was claiming that the Nuremberg Trials were no longer relevant. Well, after all, they not only set precedents about the rights of refugees (and where would the Right be if they couldn't blame the immigrants and asylum seekers for everything wrong with the country?) They set another precedent Blair has much more cause to worry about.

The Nazi leaders weren't just indicted and convicted for crimes against humanity. They were indicted and convicted for crimes against peace as well. That is, for planning and waging an aggressive war.

That is, when you attack another country without provocation. Like, say, when they have oil supplies you want to get your hands on. You dress it up with fancy justifications, claim it's really about self-defence, but anyone with more brain cells than a newt with a hangover knowns the truth.

Tony Blair planned and waged an aggressive war. Loathsome though Saddam Hussein and his regime were, they weren't the aggressors in that scenario. And you'd have to be pretty deluded to claim that the majority of Iraqis are better off now.

Let's not mince words (I haven't so far.) Tony Blair, and every MP who voted for this illegal and disgusting war, is a war criminal, and every goddamn one of the lying, murdering bastards deserves an appointment with a lamp-post and twenty feet of rope PDQ.

Will they get what they deserve?

Sure they will.

Oink, flap, oink, flap. (So says the pig who just flew past my window.)

Was there a point to this?

Yeah. There was.

You can know something intellectually. But knowing it emotionally is a different matter. And sometimes you have to learn it all over again. And again.

What did I learn today?

That there's one rule for the rich and powerful, and another rule for the rest of us. Total bastards control our countries and commit atrocious crimes, and they get clean away with it. And then they have the sheer fucking nerve to say that people don't respect the law.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Awards, Awards, Awards...

Sorry, chaps and chapesses- more shameless self-promotion awaits!

Two of my pieces- The Narrows and The School House- have been nominated for the British Fantasy Awards for Best Novella.

Very, very happy about this of course.

For anyone wanting to save money, We Fade To Grey is available as a free PDF download here until such time as voting closes. So if you want to read The Narrows, you know where to click. I'll see if I can sort out something similar for The School House.

Next post needs to be a) sooner, and b) about something other than giving my ego an outing. Hm. Better get my thinking cap on.

Friday, 13 March 2009

More Nice Things, And Some Shameless Self-Promotion

Just as I start getting interested in the world outside my front door again, there's more work- a back-jacket blurb for my story collection, plus pitches for radio plays to be produced at Dark Smile Productions' board meeting on Sunday (go check them out, you blog readers!) And soon I'll be having to put the finishing touches on the collection itself. And I was hoping to dash off a few short stories before getting down to the business of starting a second novel. There are times when I wish the day was 36 hours long instead of 24. But then again, as my ex-housemate used to say, it's better to be busy, so I've really no complaints.

Especially not since reading this review at, by Richard Wright, of the anthology We Fade To Grey. Of course, if you don't want to check out the whole thing (modern life is so hectic, after all), here's the bit that's really brightened my day:

'Rounding it off, and worth buying the whole book for, is Simon Bestwick's The Narrows, a claustrophobic, unrelenting nightmare, bleak but compelling, that raises questions, and leaves you to answer them. Brilliant stuff, by any objective measure...'

For some reason, that story really seems to have struck home for a lot of readers. If you're wondering why- well, of course, you'll just have to buy the book, won't you?

Cough. Please excuse the shameless self-promotion above. But buy the book anyway.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

...And The Tide Goes Out

It was a beautiful sunny day in early September when I got the call saying Abaddon Books were commissioning a novel from me. It's now a beautiful sunny day in early March, and it's now in their hands.

Yup, that's it. I did a final spellcheck this morning and emailed the final draft of my novel Tide of
to Jon Oliver at Abaddon. 'Tis all in the lap of the Gods now... well, actually, it's in Jon's lap, but you know what I mean.

I caught the train to work that day- normally I get the bus, but the phone call had delayed me. For some reason I kept listening to Enola Gay by OMD over and over again on the journey. With a Tony-Blair-esque grin pasted to my face that probably traumatised small children for weeks afterwards. I remember the buzz of it- knowing I was going to get a novel published, but not yet embroiled in all the bloody hard work of making it happen. A couple of days later, of course, I had to buckle down and get on with it.

So, five months later, how do I feel? Odd, so far. It hasn't quite sunk in that it's over. Not completely over, of course- Jon will almost certainly what this or that tweaked or changed, there'll be proofs to read and lord knows what else- but virtually every spare hour of the past few weeks has been devoted to rewriting and redrafting.

Sometimes the writing process was the biggest buzz ever- at a couple of points I got bogged down and it was a long, arduous slog to get through it. So, not an unadulterated joy, but it was worth it.

The first draft, just so you know, was just shy of 117,000 words. The final version that went out today was 93,221. There was a lot of deadweight in that middle section.

Of course, at some point, I need to start thinking about a second novel. That'll come soon... and all the work will start again... but not today. Today I'm going to sniff the flowers, feel the sun on my face, see if my friends still remember who I am... and also, yes, I'll probably listen to Enola Gay. Over and over again.

Thanks for listening to me babble. Have a fun day!


Thursday, 12 February 2009

That Tide Just Keeps On Rising...

...but in a good way.

You may remember, a few posts back, me saying that my first novel, Tide Of Souls, is coming out in November.

Well- um- it's not.

It's actually coming out in July instead!

A surprise to discover, but a very nice one. The deadline for the MS is the beginning of March, so it doesn't affect me in terms of workload (phew!) Rewrites are going swimmingly and I think I'll have a novel I'll be very pleased with come the end of the month. As long as the edtor likes it. And the general public, of course...

I've no idea how I managed to get the wrong end of that particular stick, but like I said, I'm not complaining.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Loathsome Scumbag Gets Dismantled...

...although sadly not literally.

The scumbag in question is my local MP, Hazel Blears. This dishonest, swivel-eyed, platitude-mouthing little apparatchik basically embodies the vileness that is 'NuLabour'- the pathetic travesty of the Labour Party that Tony Blair created.

Thatcherites dressed in left-liberal costumes, they've made out like bandits for the last 12 years, and Hazel's been right in the front of them. God knows how she keeps getting back in. Probably because, in Central Salford, you could put a fucking turnip up on the Labour ticket and it would get in. Understandably. Voting Conservative is right up there with unanaesthetised tooth extraction on the list of 'things I would willingly undergo.' Central Salford is one of the most impoverished areas in the country. A lot of questions have been raised about its so-called 'redevelopment', and just what benefits the local population are supposed to derive from it, but from Hazel, we hear not a peep. Not even when the Salford Star, a local mag with integrity and balls, is being deliberately run down and nobbled to silence it.

Anyway, George Monbiot of the Guardian has taken her to task here. Read and rejoice. It ain't stringing these crooked, warmongering, freedom-eroding bastards up from the lampposts they all belong on- together with Cameron and his fucking Tories, who are just the same old wolves in different sheep's clothing. But it'll do for a start.

Monday, 9 February 2009

The Tide Is High, But I'm Holding On...

My wonderful publisher, Abaddon Books, has now listed my novel Tide Of Souls on Amazon so you can pre-order it- pre-order it, kids, as it doesn't actually come out on the bookshelves until November. I know, I know- I'm a bloody tease.

Still, at least you can sneak a preview of the cover. To do so, or to actually pre-order my tale of Biblical-scale flooding, flesh-eating zombies and big fucking guns, just click here.

I'm currently hard at work (following my birthday celebrations) to finalise the manuscript, paring down the word count, honing the language, and fact-checking to make sure I haven't fucked up too cataclysmically and made myself look like the biggest arse alive.

Meanwhile, I also have work to do on my short story collection, Pictures Of The Dark. The Table of Contents has been decided, so all I have to do is work out the running order while waiting for Gary Fry at Gray Friar Press to send over a list of edits, alterations and editorial suggestions (as long as none of them involving giving all the stories happy endings and a Cliff Richard soundtrack, we should be OK.) Meanwhile, a cover design bounces back and forth between us, developing slowly but surely.

Two covers and two different approaches. Abaddon's artist, Mark Harrison, had a brief conflab with myself and their Editor, Jon Oliver, then cried 'Eureka! I've got just the idea!' And a month or so later the cover arrives.

Gary Fry first asks 'what would you like to see?' God! Like picking the title for the collection- by far the biggest arseache- this sounds incredibly easy until you actually have to decide. A tentative design appears in the inbox. And the fun begins.

Particularly enjoyable when I went out with a digital camera to get some images for the cover. Most of images needed for the cover are of bleak, urban settings, decaying and rundown. Living around Salford, they were just waiting for me to snap them.

All great, until those occasions when you find yourself thinking 'So here I am, on a deserted industrial estate/the outskirts of a fairly rough council estate, all on my own and brandishing a hundred quid's worth of brand-new digital camera... hm.'

Still, maybe there is a higher, benevolent power that watches over writers as it does the drunken and insane. Or it could be I was just wildly overestimating the dangers. Probably the latter. Although some of my friends based locally don't seem to think so.

Ah well. Point is, those shots are in the bag and there should be more news on that front before much longer. In the meantime, have fun previewing the zombies. And I'll get back to the work I should be doing this after, which the blog has been helping me avoid....

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

More on the collection

More news on the forthcoming short story collection from Gray Friar Press:

The collection is due out in May, and has been provisionally titled Pictures Of The Dark. It'll be collecting stories from the first ten years of my writing life. The extremely cool Conrad Williams has agreed to do an introduction.

There will be more news soon(ish). Keep watching the skies...

Out with the old...

So today, at last, America got a new president.

After eight years of being run by an insane chimpanzee and a pack of raving crooked fundie lunatics, the Bush Gang are OUT!

Oh yes. Thank you God.

I'm not going Obama crazy, like some. I remember all the fanfare and optimism with which Tony Blair was elected here in Britain back in '97. And how a lot of people's hopes were cruelly betrayed. 'Guarded optimism' just about covers it. There's a big opportunity to make some real changes. Let's face it, nearly anything's got to be an improvement on Bush and co.

The 'New Right' brigade have really set the political agenda since the late '70s- Reagen in the US, Thatcher over here. Before that, the consensus had more to do with the legacy that Roosevelt and Attlee left. So, that lasted about 30 years. Guess how long it's been since 1979..?

And maybe I'm just talking bollocks. But nonetheless- this goes out to all the Americans I know. Congratulations and here's a better tomorrow. God knows we need all the luck that's going...

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Holy shit!

It's all happening here. You wait for years to see a book with your name on the cover, and then two come along at once. Possibly three, in fact...

News has just arrived from Gary Fry of the wonderful Gray Friar Press that he's going to publish a collection of my short stories later this year. I'd submitted a proposal ages ago and damn near forgotten about it, so this is the nicest kind of surprise. Gray Friar do a fantastic job publishing some of the best writers in British horror- Gary McMahon, (Lord) John Llewellyn Probert, Paul Finch, Conrad Williams and Nick Royle to name but a few- so it's a huge buzz to get published by them.

Title and table of contents are to be confirmed, and a release date of April/May has been suggested. Jesus. Between that and rewrites on my novel, I don't think my feet are gonna be touching the ground in the first half of 2009. And then there's getting a second novel sorted out to consider!

Still pinching myself and feeling dizzy here. Watch this space for more details.

Tide of Souls is due out from Abaddon Books in November, and there's a novella being published in Pendragon Press's Triquorum series due out- also possibly in '09.

Apologies if I've gone a bit hyperlink-crazy in this post... couldn't resist it!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Happy bloody New Year

Well, I've recovered now from both my hangovers. Yes, that's right, I had two. Some friends I didn't get to see on New Year's Eve invited me over New Year's Day and I ended up crashing. Two mornings running where I tottered around moaning quietly and demanding a) coffee, b) toast and c) a quick and painless death.

OK, it wasn't THAT bad.

I'm kind of hoping things will get better in '09, but I ain't holding my breath. 2008 was a funny year. It was shitty for the world on multiple counts- the economy, Bush not being dead yet, the Iraq slaughter dragging on... not to mention a seriously high mortality rate among good and talented people.

Just a few of the lights that went out last year were:

Paul Newman (actor)
Forrest J Ackerman (former editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland- one of the all round greats of sf/horror fandom)
Bettie Page (ex-glamour model)
Harold Pinter (playwright, poet, Nobel Prize winner and anti-war activist)
Paul Newman (actor)
Adrian Mitchell (poet and anti-war activist)
Studs Terkel (historian- author of Hard Times and The Good War, oral histories of the Great Depression and the Second World War by the people who'd lived through them- activist, talk show host, and defier of bullies and thugs right up to the end. One hell of a guy, who I really wish I'd had the pleasure of meeting.)

There are a lot more, but you get the idea. There was a serious fucking cull this year of people this last year. And just when I was hoping it was over, the crime novelist Donald Westlake (who also wrote, as Richard Stark, the 'Parker' novels, including the classic Point Blank), died on New Year's Eve.

And a guy called Tommy Tee died as well, on the 23rd. He'd managed my favourite band, New Model Army, for 20-odd years.

And an old friend of mine passed away with cancer.

So on the one hand, it was an arsehole of a year.

But the weird thing is that for me, personally, it wasn't so bad.

I know I'm tempting fate in a serious way saying that, but I don't mean to. In a way I guess I'm giving thanks, because it could have been a hell of a lot worse. Two of my friends have lost their jobs- hell, one of them's staying with me now. I still have a job, despite working in the financial services industry by day. I'm bloody lucky.

Also, 2008 was the year I got a book deal. My first novel will be out in November 2009 (assuming the publisher's still there. And the bookshops.) It's called Tide of Souls, and it's a horror novel featuring loads of zombies.

All of which puts things into a little perspective, next time I have a hangover.