Author and Scriptwriter

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

Friday, 2 September 2016

Things of the Week: 2nd September 2016

Been a bit of a sad week, this one, in some respects, as two much-loved and iconic actors passed. I'm not even going to try and summarise Gene Wilder's career - he was the definitive Willy Wonka, and brilliant in a host of other films. He died, aged 83, after a battle with Alzheimer's Disease. I came across this story shortly afterward - which, if anything, makes me like him even more for the way he determinedly educated himself about, and raised awareness of, the ovarian cancer that killed his third wife, Gilda Radner.

Another actor, not as instantly recognisable by name but a presence in a huge number of great movies, was Jon Polito, who died today at 65. Heavy-set, bald and gravel-voiced, Polito played a host of roles on stage and screen; he was often cast as cops or gangsters, but could imbue even the nastiest character with sympathetic traits - perhaps most of all that of Johnny Caspar, the Italian-American ganglord in the Coen Brothers' classic Miller's Crossing. A.V. Club attempts to overview Polito's 35 year career here.

On a happier note, last month Cate and I both subbed stories to the US magazine The Dark, a notoriously tough market to crack (only something like 0.05% of submissions are accepted.) The great thing about The Dark, though, is the speed with which the rejections come back - usually within 24 hours. So when days passed without either of us receiving a reply, we knew our stories had either been lost, or...

Well, I didn't get in - but I'm encouraged by the fact that the story was with them for as long as it was, suggesting I might have come close this time. However, out of the 244 stories submitted to The Dark in August, one was accepted....

And it was Cate's.

Cate's story 'As Cymbals Clash' will appear in the December issue of The Dark. I couldn't be happier for her, or more proud.

Another coup for Cate, this week, was the release of two of her stories as an e-chapbook, Shadow Moths, from Caroline Callaghan's Frightful Horrors Publishing. As you can see, it has some weird and gorgeous artwork by Joshua Rainbird. The stories, 'We Make Our Own Monsters Here' and 'Blood Moth Kiss', are both brilliant, and have an introduction from yours truly. Can't think how that happened. D.F. Lewis gives the collection one of his real-time reviews here.

Meanwhile, the proofs for Devil's Highway will soon be with me - in just over a month, the second Black Road novel will be released in hardback and ebook formats. I've now started work on the third book in the series, Wolf's Hill: the first 2000 words have been written. Only another 115,000 or thereabouts to go....

Meanwhile, advance reviews for Ellen Datlow's anthology Nightmares: A New Decade Of Modern Horror, which includes my story 'Hushabye', continue to come. Michael Collings says in his review:

Each story in Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror does indeed represent a “nightmare,” although the definition of that word shifts within each. Some deal with worlds like ours, twisted in one detail to force characters to face impossiblities. Others take place in fantastic worlds, where the impossible is an everyday event and horror, therefore, must must reach beyond to terrify. Readers will find sufficient entertainment, frequent enough moments of frisson, ample enough opportunities to challenge preconceptions, to make the book worth reading.

While Michelle Garza, reviewing for This Is Horror, says:

An excellent collection overall, featuring some of the best voices in horror. It has something to suit a wide variety of tastes, blending stories about real life trauma and bloodshed, to stories that pass into the realms of cosmic terror, horror in the old west and even those with a grim fairytale-like feel. In these pages you will find a nightmare for every horror fan.

Finally, I stumbled across this piece: Sci Fi And Scary's Top Ten Most Anticipated Horror Novel Releases. (Well, releases and re-releases.) Alongside titles from the likes of Ronald Malfi, Tom Fletcher, Jonathan Aycliffe and Robert Aickman, there's my upcoming release from Solaris, The Feast Of All Souls.

Why am I interested? Because it looks like a twisted haunted house tale and I love a good haunted house tale.

It is, kind of.... and more. Hope the reviewer enjoys it - and you, when it hits the shelves in December.

So that's all for this week. Now, to play us out, here's the one true Willy Wonka.

No comments: