Author and Scriptwriter

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

Friday, 3 June 2016

Things Of The Week: 3rd June 2016

Not too many Things this week.

My main two activities have been working on Devil's Highway, and working up a list of my available stories for my agent. He has a meeting in a fortnight or thereabouts which he'd need it for, so I wanted to get it ready well in advance to make sure it had everything he needed.

So I finished it today: about a hundred stories, novelettes and novellas, including existing and forthcoming collections. (There's another hundred or so stories that are officially 'retired', i.e. "hell, no, they will never see the light of day again!" and thirty-odd others which may be usable after some rewriting (or should alternatively be slung out and started again from scratch.) Complete with word-count, publication history, story summary and content warnings for sex, violence, abuse, or, in the case of one story, for 'nun-on-dragon action'. (Not that there was anything explicit or triggering in it, but would you have been able to resist the temptation to write that?)

Devil's Highway has been a harder ride - there is a huge amount of stuff to type up. I wrote part of my crime novel via dictation, but I'd forgotten that I'd actually written somewhere between a third and a half of the thing on my laptop before spraining my wrist and being forced to record. The typing up is becoming such a slog that I've been thinking I'd be quicker writing the rest of the book from scratch using my notes! (If you remember, my outline was something like 30,000 words long.)

I made some stabs towards that today, but my main problem was fear. I was afraid to try, convinced it would all go wrong... which point, Facebook Memories actually did something useful, by throwing up this excellent post by Gareth L. Powell on the very subject of The Fear. It came in very handy in getting me back in the saddle. The work goes on.

Graham Masterton - Lowdowned here and interviewed at length here and here - has a new book out: Living Death, the latest in his excellent Katie Maguire series of crime novels...

DS Katie Maguire is at a loss. Last year, she and her team destroyed the biggest drug trafficker in Cork. So how is the city's drug trade at an all-time high? Meanwhile, a spate of violent attacks which leave victims severely disabled has brought confidence in the Garda to an all-time low.

As Katie investigates, she realises that the two cases might be connected. Someone is using brain-damaged victims to smuggle drugs into the country. And the only way to find out more is to go in undercover...

As ever with the Katie Maguire books, Living Death promises to be funny, engaging, gripping and unsparing. So well worth your time there.

With summer on the way, I found myself listening to an album that suits the hot sunny weather very well - A-Lan-Nah, the Canadian singer Alannah Myles' third album.

Myles is best known for her biggest hit, the sultry '80s rock ballad Black Velvet, and a helluva song it is too. But it was the only real standout track on her first album, Alannah Myles. Sod's law being what it is, her second albums, Rockinghorse and A-Lan-Nah, were a huge step up in quality, but far less successful. Her voice has grown in range too - bluesy, tender, and a raging rocking howl, sometimes on the same track.

Anyway - hard to pick a favourite song from this album, so here's one of them: crack open your wine/beer/tipple of choice, chill out in the garden with the one you love, and listen to this.

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