Author and Scriptwriter

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

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.