Author and Scriptwriter

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

Monday 25 April 2011

Happy Easter Monday, Folks

Have chocolate, play in the sunshine, spend time with the people you care about, and be happy.

You've got to enjoy it while it's still there to be enjoyed.

Just saying.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Elisabeth Sladen RIP

Truly saddened today to learn that the actress Elisabeth Sladen, who played the character of Sarah Jane Smith in Dr Who (and the more recent spin-off, The Sarah-Jane Adventures) passed away today, at the age of 63. I never met her, but she's described by all accounts as a genuinely nice and gracious lady. Rest In Peace, Elisabeth, and condolences to your loved ones.

Saturday 16 April 2011

Arr, Jim Lad!!

Here's that extract from Dark Smile's live show, Pirate Radio, that I told you about. Mercifully out of focus, but hopefully funny nonetheless. I'm the bulbous figure with the bald patch and the kazoo, sited, aptly enough, on the far left. If you listen, you'll even hear the cameraman call someone an 'arsehole' under his breath for walking through the shot.


Friday 15 April 2011

News, Kazoos and Interviews

Hello. Back again. I'm being interviewed quite soon, I'll let you know when sand where. The main reason I mention this is because 'interview' rhymes with 'kazoo', and tonight I will be playing the kazoo before a live audience.

Basically, as some of you folks may have noticed, I work with a company called Dark Smile Productions. I'm one of the Board and as well as writing numerous scripts for it, I've also acted (or overacted) in various shows and directed a few. Tonight, I'm doing all three, and playing kazoo into the bargain.

We started out recording what were, effectively, radio plays, although usually without a radio station to broadcast them on. We've tried flogging them on CD, but with very little success- put simply, unless you've got an existing franchise like Dr Who or Blake's 7, there isn't that much of an audience, and it's very hard to find one.

So, we started to change our approach, producing animations and working on material for a live show (think the Goons with more knob jokes.) The live show is called Pirate Radio, co-written by me and Richard Delafield, and tonight we'll be performing a ten-minute extract at Studio Salford, The King's Arms, Bloom Street, Salford, as part of their Embryo showcase. It starts at 8pm, and I believe we're on around 8.30.

Probably left it too late for anyone to do anything about this, but if you are in the Manchester area and have nothing better to do, they do great real ale and some decent single malt whisky. Oh, and did I mention that I'm playing the kazoo?

The plan is to video tonight's performance, so hopefully I'll be able to post it here soon. All the best, anyway!

Here's our latest animation, by the way... and make sure you watch till the end!

Thursday 7 April 2011

Over The Wire And Into The Darkness...

Yup, the threshold has been crossed. The 100,000 word mark has been broken. And, in the Bad Place, all Hell is a-breaking loose.

In the process, the first of the story's main characters fell- dead, dying, badly wounded? Who ca n tell?- and another character leapt into the breach to protect them, ready to sacrifice themself for someone dear to them, even though it's probably hopeless. Even though I knew it was coming, and it was still a wrench, because by now it's like watching it happen to someone you know.

I tend to listen to music while I work. The writing soundtrack to The Faceless has so far included Ladytron's Witching Hour, Azam Ali's Portals Of Grace, Dark Sanctuary's Les Memoires Blessees and, most recently, Lisa Gerrard's The Silver Tree. This track was playing while I wrote the above scene. Pure coincidence, but it fitted perfectly.

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Standing At The Threshold

Bit of a portentous title, but as regards The Faceless, it's also true, in more ways than one.

The current word count on the infernal beast that is to be my second published novel (crosses fingers, knocks on wood and eyes the heavens for signs and portents) stands at 99,229. Since I aim with my 1st drafts for a rate of 2500 words a day, tomorrow- all being well- should take me over that first threshold, the 100,000 word mark. Which feels a bit momentous, but probably only because I'm here making a big thing of it on my blog.

It's rattling along at a fair old rate, although this is first draft- the months between finishing this and having to hand in the completed manuscript will be taken up with some fairly intensive research and rewriting. Hell, at times this is the easy part.

Not in the last week though. Which- bejazus- brings me to the oither threshold. Basically- without wanting to spoil anything- there is a place in this novel. A Bad Place. A very, very Bad Place. Much of the book revolves around getting a disparate bunch of characters to go there. Once they are there... stuff happens. Not particularly nice stuff. Scary stuff, even. Who'd've thought.

Now, Chapter 21 was the bit where, having wrangled various characters together, they ended up in the Bad Place. Which as well as being Bad, is also rather Big. And my notes for this chapter were, basically, 'They go there, wander around, and stuff happens.'

Result? Chapter 21 is probably the single most humongous chapter in the book to date. It felt like it went on forever; at times I wondered what the hell the point of it was, and if it would ever be over. But today, I finished it. And wrote a scene where I scared the hell out of myself in the process.

Now the fun starts, with the bad stuff happening. Hopefully, it should be fairly plain sailing from here. Hopefully. But there's no way of being sure, because from this point on, all the rules that seemed established in the preceding chapters go out of the window...

So now you know a bit more about The Faceless, because you know you wanted to. There'll be a proper press release in the not-too-distant future, and hopefully there'll be a book trailer.

Stay tuned.

Till next time!