Author and Scriptwriter

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

Monday 10 December 2012

Let's Drink To The Dead- An Early Christmas Present To You All

Those lovely people at Solaris Books have brought out a little something of mine.  And it's absolutely free of charge.

Let's Drink To The Dead is an ebook-only mini-collection- two longish stories, plus a novelette, set in the Lancashire town of Kempforth during the 1980s.

Kempforth is the setting of my second novel, The Faceless, and the three tales- The Sight, Gideon and How Briefly Dead Children Dream feature a number of characters from the book.

A dour, isolated community, high on the Lancashire hills, where cruelty and abuse have always found dark corners to flourish in.  Kempforth is a town full of secrets; in these three tales, you’ll uncover some of them.

A brother and sister discover that escape from their sadistic abusers may come at a terrible price…

A teenage runaway confronts the ghosts of a long-abandoned hospital’s macabre past…

An old woman fights to save two children from a demonic predator…


If you've read The Faceless, these stories will hopefully add a little extra texture and background to the novel; if not, this collection will give you something of a taster.

You can download the collection free of charge from Solaris' website, here.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Twisted Tales: Dark Conspiracies, Tuesday 23rd October 2012

Those fine folk at Twisted Tales- the good people behind the events at Waterstone's Liverpool One that brought me and the ever-reigning Miss Gardner together- are doing it again, this time in Halton Lea, Runcorn...

'An evening of insidious intrigues and malevolent secrets

Featuring readings by
RAMSEY CAMPBELL: 'He must be given serious consideration as the greatest horror writer of our time, and perhaps of all time' (S.T. Joshi)

Plus panel discussion, Q&A and signing session

7-9.30pm Tuesday 23rd October 2012 at Halton Lea Library, Runcorn
Tickets are FREE, but must be booked in advance at'

Yup, I shall be reading and chatting horror alongside the great Mr Campbell once again.  It's looking to be a cracking evening- why not come and see us?  

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Thin Men With Yellow Faces- Book Launch!

We are incredibly pleased to announce that on Saturday September 22 we will celebrate the launch of our second chapbook Thin Men with Yellow Faces by Gary McMahon and Simon Bestwick with a very special event.

The launch event will be taking place at MadLab in Manchester from 6:30pm and will run through to approximately 8:15pm. Of course, no This Is Horror event is complete without a host and it brings me great pleasure to inform you that our very own award-winning author, Jasper Bark will be curating proceedings.

If you’d like to join us for what promises to be a very special evening of horror literature in Manchester then you can buy tickets for just £3 here.

Gary and I will be in the company of Conrad Williams and Ramsey Campbell, which as you can imagine is a rather proud moment...

Full details at This Is Horror.

Monday 13 August 2012


I've kept putting off updating this blog, but I think this is a damn good reason.  I could just say that the ever-reigning Cate has said this better than I ever could, but that'd be cheating.  So here goes.

I am no longer single.  Over a decade of flying solo has come to an end.  Symptoms include memory loss, inability to perform simple tasks, staring off into the distance as if on drugs, grinning like an idiot and a constant urge to catch a train to Liverpool.

It's like the benign cousin of grief; grief has a way of hitting you all over again, as you realise who or what you've lost.  This is different, happy instead of sad; it's like every few minutes I realise who I've gained.  I keep expecting it to turn out to be a dream or a misunderstanding, or wondering what I did right and how I could have lucked into this.

The bottom line?  Yesterday I changed my Facebook relationship status to read ' a relationship with Cate Gardner.'

I can't remember the last time I felt this happy, and I don't think I could feel happier if I tried.

I may not be flying solo anymore, but I still feel like I'm flying.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Ray Bradbury 1920-2012

Two things happened on Wednesday, 6th June 2012.  Over in Los Angeles, a 91 year old man who I never met and who I’m sure never heard of me passed away.  And I shed tears.

The two events are linked.

The man’s name was Ray Bradbury.

I can’t quite remember where I first read his work; most likely in one of Richard Davis’ Space anthologies.  Or maybe one by Peter Haining; two great editors of my youth, also long gone to the great bookshop in the sky.  The first story of his I read might have been ‘A Sound Of Thunder’, ‘The Veldt’, ‘All Summer In A Day’ or ‘And There Will Come Soft Rains.’  And then of course there were the tales of his that popped up in horror anthologies, like the Fontana Horror books or those lovely, alliterative volumes edited by Helen Hoke: tales like ‘The Emissary,’ ‘The Homecoming’, ‘The April Witch.’

To me, Bradbury was always at his greatest as a writer of short stories- even though I loved Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes.  And there are volumes upon volumes of his short fiction out there: The Illustrated Man, The Machineries of Joy, The Golden Apples of the Sun- and, probably my favourite, The October Country.  Certainly that collection contains my favourite Bradbury story, ‘The Scythe.’  An impoverished family- relatives, maybe, of Steinbeck’s Joads- their car running out of fuel in the middle of Depression-era America, find a farmhouse.  In it lies a dead man, a stalk of wheat from the field outside clasped in his hands, and a note leaving the farm to whoever finds his body.  And Drew, the father, finds something else, propped in a corner: a scythe.

If you haven’t read the story, god forbid I spoil it for you.  Bradbury would rise from his grave and get me.

No-one wrote quite like him, before or since.  There was a combination of childlike innocence, of energy and passion, of imagination, and most of all, of language.  Not playing arid, clever-clever games with words, but using them, loving them, delighting in them.  And never at the expense of narrative or ideas.  I learned from Bradbury that in a good story, language, ideas and narrative should be inseparable, impossible to separate one from another.

Bradbury could conjure up a scene, a spaceship, a setting, an idea, a character, a ravenous dinosaur, a mood or a monster in an instant, with splendidly evocative prose.  Not in a subtle way.  He was a very American writer in the best sense of the word- exuberant, big-hearted, open, laying what he thought or felt out in front of you to take or leave as you liked. 

I could go on, but I think I’m starting to fall into the trap of so many writers who fall under Bradbury’s spell; trying, almost without meaning to, to imitate his tumbling, lyrical style.  And of course, you can’t do that.  Only one man ever really could.  And now he’s gone.

Even though it had to come- Bradbury had, by any definition, lived to a ripe old age- it still doesn't seem possible. Ray Bradbury has always been there; I grew up with his stories. He was one of the finest, most original and distinctive voices in fantastic fiction; if I ever write anything as lyrical, as thought-provoking, as inspiring and as impossible to mistake for any other writer’s work, I will have achieved more than most writers ever can.

His work was warm and always human; his words flowed with a musical beauty that no-one could ever imitate.  And his ideas dazzled.

The man is gone, but the stories remain.  This is something I always try to tell those who will listen when they’re busy having slanging matches on message boards or dicking about on Facebook (I keep trying to tell myself when it comes to that last, but hey, it’s a work in progress.)  When all the bullshitting and the message-board squabbling, all the self-promotion and the jockeying for awards, the bitching about who won and who didn’t win an award, about who was or wasn’t on the fucking shortlist- when all of these are gone and forgotten, ghosts in the electronic ether or footnotes in some obscure journal, what remains, what matters, what it’s all about, is one very simple thing.

It’s about the work.  The work, the work, the work.

Harlan Ellison- a writer who, like Bradbury, still refuses to write on anything but a typewriter- tells us in his postscript to ‘The Museum on Cyclops Avenue’ about how it was written on a typewriter left to him by his good friend Robert Bloch, who had died earlier that year.  (‘The Museum on Cyclops Avenue’ is, incidentally, a work of warm and lyrical fantasy that could almost have been written by Bradbury himself- almost, because no-one, not even Harlan Ellison, was Ray Bradbury.)

Ellison concludes his postscript with just four words that pay all the tribute, for those with eyes to see, that needed paying to Bloch’s memory.  Or that Bradbury himself.  Or that of any of those writers who, like him, plow their own furrow and sing their own song, whether anyone listens or not: The work goes on.  It goes on in writers of that same persuasion; the ones who’ll never give up.  The ones who were inspired by them to do the same; the ones who carry on the flame.

RIP Ray. I'm a better writer and human being for your work; so are many others.  The work goes on.

(This is a slightly rewritten version of a tribute that appeared on the This Is Horror website on Wednesday.  Thanks to Michael Wilson for inviting me to contribute.)


Sunday 27 May 2012

Apocalypses, Monsters and Airships, Oh My!

The weather is fantastic here right now, and I'm doing my best to make sure I get out in at least some of it.  At the moment, though, Hell's Ditch is taking up big chunks of my time.

To get the book ready for its early June deadline (at which point it goes out to the beta readers for a last going-over before being sent on to the redoubtable Agent Ring) I'm needing to revise about 20 pages a day, which is double what I'd normally set out to do.  The revisions here are basically to do with reducing wordcount, trimming about 10% in an effort to boil the writing down what what really matters.  As I'm going I'm compiling a list of things, big and small, that will need fixing or changing- anything from the layout of a room to a minor character's development over the course of the whole book to a series of short additional scenes that will need slipping in to build atmosphere.

Hell's Ditch is quite different from my first two novels.  Set in a dystopian and devastated Britain twenty years after a nuclear attack, it has more elements of science fiction in it for a start, and it's the first in a planned quartet of novels.  But it's got plenty of darkness and Lovecraftian horror in it, too.  I wrote the first half of the novel in 2010, but stopped work on it towards the end of that year when my grandmother died.  Funnily enough, as I keep working on the novel I see how it needs, very much, to be about grief and loss and the different ways in which people cope with and survive them.  Or, as the case may be, don't.  (However, it's also about scary monsters, shootouts and explosions, and has a main character called Helen Damnation.  Nobel Prize for Literature, here I come...)

Once that's finished with, I have a collection, The Condemned, which I will need to proofread and- in the case of a couple of stories- make some extensive revisions to.  The Condemned, which will be published later this year by Gray Friar Press, is a collection of six novellas and novelettes, plus a bonus story for buyers of the hardback edition.  After that- I hope to have time to write a couple of new short stories and novels, before moving on to a novel I've been wanting to write for some time.  This one will be another departure for me and the start of another planned series, born out of my fascination with the largest British aircraft ever built- the R101 airship. 

Before anyone asks- no, I'm not abandoning horror in search of success.  There is no point in being a writer if you don't tell the stories you want to tell.  These tales have been in my blood for a while now, waiting to get out.  And believe me, there will be horror.  Even on the airship.

That's pretty much the rest of 2012 mapped out for me, then.  The end of the year should see me returning to The Song Of The Sibyl, for hopefully the final and decisive engagement with a novel that's refused to let go of me, even though the writing (never mind the rewriting) of it has probably been the most fraught and complicated project I've had yet!

So- apocalypses, monsters and airships, oh my!  It's going to be a fun year.

Enjoy the lovely weather!

Thursday 10 May 2012

What Scares Me

Over on the Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog, they've got me talking about what scares me.  Never heard of the island of North Rona?  No idea what it's got in common with the old Radio Times cover on the left?  Unable to believe there's actually something scarier than a traffic warden with a gun?  Then click the link, and read on...

Tuesday 8 May 2012

British Fantasy Awards Shortlist

Well, the BFS has published its Shortlist for the 2012 British Fantasy Awards, and I'm delighted to say that my short story, 'Dermot', originally published in Black Static #24 (and now reprinted in Ellen Datlow's The Best Horror of the Year #4,) has been shortlisted in the Best Short Fiction category, alongside work by some very fine fellow writers.

In addition, Conrad Williams' excellent Weird Western antho Gutshot (which features my tale 'Kiss The Wolf') has been shortlisted in Best Anthology.

The short fiction shortlist in full:

Dermot; Simon Bestwick (Black Static)
Sad, Dark Thing; Michael Marshall Smith (A Book of Horrors, Jo Fletcher Books)
Florrie; Adam Nevill (House of Fear, Solaris Books)
The Coffin-Maker’s Daughter; Angela Slatter (A Book of Horrors, Jo Fletcher Books)
King Death; Paul Finch (Spectral Press)

In other news: I've finished the first draft of Hell's Ditch.

And now I'm off to bed.  See you in the morning.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

This Is Horror; These Are Thin Men With Yellow Faces

Developing from its original incarnation, Read Horror, Michael Wilson's site This Is Horror offers, in the form of reviews, interviews or flash fiction,an excellent web resource for conoisseurs of the macabre. Now, Michael's adding a new string to his bow: This Is Horror's Premium Chapbook Series.

Following in the footsteps of Nightjar and Spectral Press, the series will showcase short fiction from some of the finest contemporary writers of horror fiction (and me and Gary McMahon.)  It will kick off with David Moody's Joe and Me, followed by gems from the likes of Conrad Williams and Joseph D'Lacey (and me and Gary McMahon.)

Did I mention me and Gary McMahon are in it too?

Those of you who were paying attention may remember Gary and I working on a collaboration last year; I'm delighted to announce that our tale, Thin Men With Yellow Faces, will be the second in the Premium Chapbook Series, published this Autumn.

It's the tale of a social worker on the trail of a missing child, who finds herself uncovering grim secrets from Britain's past... and present.  It also features a character by the name of Mr Quill, who you definitely wouldn't want to run into down a dark alley. It's also got a belting cover by the ever-excellent Neil Williams, as you can see.

Very, very happy with this, and very proud to be a part of this new venture.  Thanks Michael!

Monday 30 April 2012

New Lurve for The Faceless

There have been some new reviews of The Faceless, all good.

Stanley Riiks in the supplement to Morpheus Tales #16 says: ‘The Faceless propels Bestwick deservedly into the top flight of unflinching horrific genius.’  He says other things too, but you can find them out for yourself... I'n too bashful. :)

Paul Simpson in Sci-Fi Bulletin: 'On some levels, this is a well-written horror novel that mines a number of familiar ideas and takes them to some occasionally surprising, yet logical, outcomes. But imagine a story told with the descriptive powers of both crime writer Val McDermid and horror writer John Connolly, and then you’ve got The Faceless... Creepy, unsettling and unnerving, The Faceless will grip you.

And Hannah Priest- organiser of the Manchester Monster Convention, at which I disported myself alongside Wayne Simmons and Scott Stanford- says on her She-Wolf blog: 'The Faceless is well-written, compelling and utterly creepy... one of the best UK horror novels I have read recently.'

I shall now step away from the keyboard, in case of random squeeage.

Friday 6 April 2012

Hic Dragones

A title that always makes me think of drunken dragons. So here's a picture of one.

Hic Dragones, however, is a) Latin for 'here be dragons,' and b) the name of a Manchester-based creative writing, literature and film organisation whose ethos is described as 'intelligent, but a bit weird.'

I like them already.

This is a good thing.

It's a good thing because they are hosting MancMonCon- Manchester Monsters Convention- next weekend, the 14th and 15th April, at Sacha's Hotel in Manchester. Debates, exhibition stalls, displays, talks from writers, artists and designers. Oh, and me.

I'll be on a panel with fellow authors Wayne Simmons and Scott Stanford on Sunday at 3.30pm, and signing books after. So now you know.

Tickets for the weekend are a mere £10. There are also talks on cryptozoology, abnormal psychology and vampires, plus there are movies too, including a Saturday night triple bill of Island of Lost Souls, The Whisperer In Darkness and Reel Zombies. I'm so there...

More info here.

Have a cracking Easter, everybody, with lots of chocolate eggs.

Saturday 31 March 2012

News Update #4: Guest Blog for Pornokitsch

The good people of Pornokitsch held a Gothic evening at Blackwell's Books in Charing Cross, London, last month, where they celebrated the tradition of the Gothic on and its influence on modern literature. Sadly I was unable to make it, but I contributed a wee guest blog for the bookshop's blog about the Gothicity (is this a word?) of The Faceless. Particularly with regard to that all-important factor of location, location, location...

You can, if you wish, read it here.

Wednesday 28 March 2012

News Roundup #3: Darker Minds

Delighted to announce that my short story 'Laws of Acquisition' will appear in Darker Minds, the Linkforthcoming anthology from Dark Minds Press, edited by Ross Warren and Anthony Watson. It'll be due out in April- good lord, that's anytime!

Sunday 25 March 2012

News Roundup #2: BIG Love for The Faceless

One book I've loved since I first read it in the early 1990s (Christ, has it really been nearly twenty years?) is Antony Sher's Year Of The King, his memoir of the twelvemonth leading up to his performance as Richard III for the RSC in 1985. Drawn from his diary and sketchbooks (he's a gifted writer and artist as well as actor) it's often funny, sometimes touching, and fascinating if you want to an insight into how a great actor works. One thing he'd done at the time was to give up reading reviews of his performances.

Anyway, towards the end of the book, the show has opened and Sher has various Big Names coming backstage to congratulate him. Among them is Michael Caine, who asks: 'Well, what about the reviews?'

'I don't read them,' explains Sher.

'Don't read them? You wrote them didn't you?'

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that I hate blowing my own trumpet. I honestly do. I was brought up not to brag. But there've been quite a few reviews of The Faceless, and they've all been a bit good. So much so that I'm almost too embarrassed to quote them here.

Almost. :)

So- deep breath- here goes:

One print review so far, from Gareth Hughes in SciFiNow magazine, who gives it four stars out of five:

'It's refreshing to read something as original as The Faceless... Despite some heavy themes it never seems exploitative, tapping into a very modern, almost post 9/11 fear... Bestwick has produced a piece of work streets ahead of his peers.'

Online, Theresa Derwin at Terror Tree says:

'...proof positive that Bestwick is a strong new voice in British horror... The Faceless is a genuinely creepy, classic book.'

Over at This Is Horror, Ross Anthony Warren has this to say:

'The Faceless contains a level of craft and execution that, alongside the work of Ramsey Campbell, Conrad Williams and Gary McMahon, goes a long way in restoring the reputation of the horror novel... a name to watch out for in the future.'

From Anthony Watson at Dark Musings:

'Simon is one of the best writers of horror fiction currently plying their trade. In fact scrap that... Simon is one of the best writers - of any genre - currently plying their trade. This is a great book, one that I thoroughly enjoyed (if that's the right word) reading. It has everything...

The book is beautifully written, yes. It has a great plot, yes. Most importantly though, it's scary as hell...'

And from Jim McLeod over at The Ginger Nuts Of Horror:

'In this day and age it takes a lot of skill, and perhaps a truly deranged mind to come up with a monster that will terrify a reader, as much as The Spindly Men. The Faceless is a modern masterpiece of British horror... the must read horror novel of the year so far.'

From Spooky Reads:

'The Faceless is an edge-of-your seat read, and definitely needs to be read by any fan of the supernatural horror fiction genre. If you like Ramsey Campbell, Gary McMahon, and Adam Nevill’s work, then you’ll likely enjoy what Simon Bestwick has created here. It’s a compelling read; decently paced, its greater underlying themes, and messages, linger on after the tale itself has been told.'

All of which actually isn't so much receiving love as being gang-banged. In a good way. As it were.

Off for a lie down now.

Thursday 22 March 2012

News Roundup #1: Tumblers

Hello all!

(Totally random pic, I know. But hey, I liked it.)

Yes, it's been ages since I last bloggaged here. Sorry about that! Hope you weren't worried. (I expect I'm flattering myself there.) :)

Just been quite busy of late. Also, planned to blog re the SFX Weekender (and hopefully will, albeit much belatedly) but kept putting it off. In the meantime, much else hath occurred, so the total amount of stuff that needed putting in a new blog post piled up and up. Making the job bigger and bigger. And so I kept putting it off.

Soooo... over the next few days/weeks I'll be posting a series of News Roundups like this, just to bring all the news that's fit to print to your attention.

So first off- and yes, this is a bit belated and all- I have a story up on This Is Horror's Flash Fear section. 'Tumblers' is a bit less than 800 words long, which was quite a fun length to write at. It was also nice to write something 'blind' for once: I started with the title, went with the first opening line it suggested... and lo and behold, it took shape.

I like it, anyway, and it has a very cool illustration by Mr Dan Henk. Thanks to Michael Wilson for inviting me to contribute!

Thursday 2 February 2012

The Faceless- Unleashed!

Yup! Today is the official UK release date of The Faceless. It went on US release on January 31st, and those who preordered on Amazon have been getting their copies over the last couple of days. But now it's out there.

Very, very happy about this.

Off tomorrow to the SFX Weekender. Brian Blessed is one of the guests. He's just started following me on Twitter. This is somewhat awesome. Sophie Aldred (ex-Doctor Who companion) will also be there. I had a truly industrial-strength crush on her when I was a lad. I may struggle to string a coherent sentence together. No change there then.

Have a great weekend, everybody. :)

Friday 27 January 2012

Cate Gardner's Guest Blog: Costume Department

The ever-reigning Cate Gardner gets bloody everywhere, or so it seems. Most recently, onto my blog, with this latest guest post. Without further ado, I'll get out of her way, before she sets one of the Horsewomen of the Apocalypse on me...
Thank you to Simon for allowing me to invade his blog so that I can celebrate the release of my book, Theatre of Curious Acts. I shall have to buy him a drink next time we meet.

The following is a true account of Alfred Gillespie's brief time as the sole employee of the Costume Department at the Theatre of Curious Acts. Although, as the supporting artiste ate Mr. Gillespie, we only have theatre manager Mr. Folk's word that this is a true and honest account. We must also trust that Mr. Folk didn't instruct the dragon to consume the man.

Stitching the seven-thousandth dragon scale onto the back of the puppet, Alfred wished he hadn't claimed he had a gammy leg to the fellow from the War Office. He also wished he'd heeded the man's warning, 'Liars never prosper or walk in straight lines again.' Alfred may not have had a gammy leg in 1916 but he did now.

Threading another scale, Alfred commenced sewing scale number seven-thousand and one. The dragon puppet twitched. Scales shimmered. Sometimes, Alfred thought the dragon was alive. Desperate for a pee, he put down the needle. He hadn't left backstage in… well, he couldn't recall. A knock at the door startled him and left a wet patch on his inner leg.

(Mr. Folk claims it wasn't him at the door but as he was the only one in the building at the time even he doesn't believe it wasn't him)

The dragon sniffed Alfred's leg. Alfred considered that an odd thing for a puppet to do. As the door flew open, the dragon bit Alfred Gillespie in half leaving his left arm and left leg dangling from a ragged torso. He never saw who opened the door or if in fact, anyone was there at all.

Mr. Folk and his wife are said to have identified the mostly-eaten man from the remaining portion of his nametag. That is, 'pie'.

Apart from the left arm, from the elbow to the wrist, Mr. Folk fed the rest of the man to the dragon. As they were living through times of austerity, Mr. Folk and his wife Sybil enjoyed the arm roasted with lashings of gravy.

Waste not, want not and all that rot.


More of the Folk's dastardly doings are hidden in the shadow as the page turns of Theatre of Curious Acts, available at all good online bookstores. More information is available at

SFX Weekender!


I'll be at the SFX Weekender in Pontins Prestatyn Sands Holiday Park next week, courtesy of those lovely people at Solaris Books.

Next weekend, of course, is also the official launch date of The Faceless, so if you're dying to get hold of a signed copy then you know where to come.

And if you have an urge to hear me talking (more) shit (than usual), I'm on a panel on Saturday 3rd February at 3pm: "We're all doomed! Is the path to humanity's salvation revealed in science fiction?" I don't know that much about science fiction, although I have a couple of WIPs that creep over its borders (probably into its toxic wastelands, knowing me) but I have done the odd apocalypse in my time. Will I find anything remotely useful. relevant or interesting to say? You'll have to come to the panel to find out...

After that, from 4pm onwards, I'll be signing copies, alongside my Solaris stablemate Gareth L. Powell, from 4pm on the Saturday.

The rest of the time, I'll be in the bar, or pottering around. Come say hello.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

At Midnight, All The Agents...

..well, actually it's more like 9.00pm here in Lancashire, and there's only one agent.

Yup. I'm extremely pleased to announce that I'm now represented by the one, the only, and the deeply funky Sharon Ring.

Very, very happy about this.

The official press release is here.

Thank y'all for your attention.

Friday 13 January 2012

First Review of The Faceless

Back from Leeds and a great time at Alison Littlewood's book launch. Her first novel, A Cold Season, marks the beginning of a three-bo0k deal from Jo Fletcher Books. It was great fun, celebrating a well-deserved success for Ali, and a chance to meet up again with some good friends. And to sample Ferg- Ali's partner's- very fine collection of single malt whiskies (hic.)

Anyway, I came back home to another nice thing: the first review of The Faceless.

Graeme's Fantasy Book Review brought out the first review of Tide Of Souls (not counting Amazon); seems only fitting he should do the same for The Faceless! Anyway, he rather likes it:

'A good horror novel will leave you shocked or scared at what you find on each page and secretly glad that you can put the book down, at its end, and return to your normal everyday life. An excellent horror novel though, well... An excellent horror novel will leave you feeling strangely hollow to begin with as what you read demands all your mental space and will swiftly vacate any pretence you had of getting back to normality. That done, the excellent horror novel will move in; making you feel horribly uncomfortable while it settles in. It might be days, or even weeks, before it moves on and you won’t be able to get those deeply unsettling images out of your mind in the meantime. ‘The Faceless’ is an excellent horror novel and this is exactly what it has been doing to me since I read it. It will happen to you as well and that’s why you should give it a go.'

So a big thanks to Graeme Flory. Off now to do various necessary bits and bobs around the house and neighbourhood. There may be occasional squeeage.

Have a most excellent weekend, dudes and dudettes.

The full review is here.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

A Hazy Shade Of Winter... out on ebook from those lovely people at Ash-Tree.

There has been squeeage. There may be even more.

You can buy it direct from the Ash-Tree website here, and it will, in due course, be available from Amazon as well.

I am very pleased about this.

Tomorrow I am off to Leeds, where Alison Littlewood is launching her new novel, A Cold Season: (here's the book trailer, directed by Mark West)

I'll see my old buddy Gary McMahon, Simon Marshall-Jones, Emma Audsley and Shaun Hamilton of The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog, and many, many more. Oh, and I will be signing contracts with my new agent. Of whom more shortly.

Here's another song to end the bloggage on. Trust me, it's very appropriate. But you'll have to read the collection to the end to learn why.

Saturday 7 January 2012

Look Around, Leaves Are Brown, And The Sky...

A couple of days ago, I posted about what a dizzyingly great start to the year I'd had. But nagging away at the back of my head was the strange conviction that I'd missed something out. It didn't seem likely- I mean check out the bloggage in question. If that's not enough to make anyone very happy, then I don't know what is.

But yup, there was something. This:

A Hazy Shade Of Winter was my first book; my first collection of short stories, published by Chris and Barbara Roden's excellent Ash-Tree Press imprint over in Canada, all the way back in August 2004, with this bloody gorgeous cover by Paul Lowe.

Jesus. Nearly eight years now. Like all Ash-Tree books, it's a beauty to hold and to behold. It garnered some good reviews, and the title story, best of all, was picked by Ellen Datlow for The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror #18.

At £28.00, though, the collection might well have been outside the pain threshold of some readers. So I'm delighted to announce that A Hazy Shade Of Winter is now being released by Ash-Tree as an ebook. A lot of their back catalogue is be reissued in this way- I've already been filling up my Christmas Kindle with collections by Steve Duffy, Reggie Oliver and A.M. Burrage- and as of yesterday they also reissued Joel Lane's brilliant first collection, The Earth Wire (take note: no lover of weird fiction should be without it.)

It should be out shortly- believe me, I'll be telling the world and his dog when it is- but anyroad, that's the other piece of good news I had to share, and I wanted to give a shout-out to Chris and Barbara for giving the book what'll hopefully be a new lease of life.

Now, of course, there's only one song to end on. But which version? Well, heretical though it may be, I always liked this one best...

Thursday 5 January 2012

And A Dizzy New Year

Happy New Year, everybody, and welcome to 2012.

The year has got off to a fairly exciting start. The last few days have brought a blizzard of good things- so many it's actually almost scary.

In a week or so, I should be signing contracts with my new agent (full details after the event.)

I've also been invited to contribute to a couple of new anthologies, including a big one in the US.

Matthew Fryer at Welcome to the Hellforge listed Angels Of The Silences as one of his top 10 genre reads of 2011. Alongside Where The Heart Is and End Of The Line, both of which I appeared in. Which is lovely as I'm very fond of them all, but Angels in particular.

My story 'The Churn' will still be appearing in a forthcoming issue of Black Static magazine.

My author copies of The Faceless still look gorgeous.

But over and above all that...

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from the wonderful Ellen Datlow in New York, informing me that she was taking 'The Moraine' (from Terror Tales of the Lake District) for Best Horror of the Year 4. Alongside stories by Peter Straub and Stephen King.

This was rather good news (Stephen King! STEPHEN FRAKKING KING!!)

Fast forward to earlier this week, when a further email arrived, this time imparting the information that 'Dermot' (from Black Static #24) had also been selected. So I will have two stories in Best Horror of the Year. Alongside Peter Straub. And Stephen frakking King. And many more besides (see the full TOC here.)

In addition, a new novel is underway, and next Monday, all being well, I start the first stage of my training as a counsellor.

In other news, I now have a Kindle. And I rather like it. Much is happening in these early days of 2012, and it's good. I'm hoping this will set the tone for the year. 2011 was a bittersweet affair, a very tough year in places, but out of it, good things have come. Thanks to everyone who's stuck with me- online or otherwise- for the journey, and onwards and upwards. Sod the Mayan prophecy; here's hoping 2012 is a great year for all of us.