Author and Scriptwriter

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

Sunday 26 June 2016

The Lowdown with... Fran Terminiello

Fran Terminiello studied Journalism at degree level then rediscovered creative writing, a passion of her childhood, after the birth of her second child. Following a year of prolific output she turned her efforts towards becoming a professional writer and wrote the short story that later grew into Book One of Where Dead Gods Lie Buried – a series she is co-authoring with David Murray. Authors she admires are J.R.R. Tolkien, Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber,  Scott Lynch, Richard Morgan, Margaret Atwood and Joe Abercrombie. Fran lives in Surrey with her husband, daughter and son. She edits web content and fiction, and in her spare time enjoys fantasy role playing games. She also practices western martial arts (16th Century Bolognese swordplay and 17th Century rapier) and is fluent in Italian.

1. Tell us three things about yourself. 
Three things about myself? Okay: I am a sword fighting instructor, I run a small empire and I write stories sometimes.

2. What was the first thing you had published? 
First story I had published was in an anthology called Tales Of The Nun and Dragon from Fox Spirit, edited by Adele wearing. It's the story of sister amagda and her travels through the countryside. I tried to do in the style of a legend, the sort of story that is told rather than written down.

3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of? 
I think I'm most proud of my tale from Piracy, another anthology by Fox Spirit .Because it's the first story I received positive criticism for, both from readers and other authors.

4. …and which makes you cringe? 
What makes me cringe? I think overly choreographed and detailed fight scenes with lots of spinning, twirling, jumping and dialogue. Or historical inaccuracies. Or just inappropriate romance for the hell of it.

5. What’s a normal writing day like? 
I've never had an actual writing desk because I started writing when my children were very small and it would be whenever they fell asleep and had a nap. I would quickly whip out my pen and paper and start scribbling. Whether it was on the back of an envelope or an actual writing pad or into my phone I would just write wherever and whenever there is no right place or time. A lot of lay bys and car parks have been useful to me. I remember once actually being in tears because I had takes my daughter out for a walk and she'd fallen asleep, and then I found my pen didn't work.

6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first? 
My latest story in the Fight Like A Girl anthology by Kristell Ink, 'The Turn Of A Wheel' is set in the world of the novel I'm currently writing. So it best represents what Im mainly working on.

7. What are you working on now? 
It's been many years but I'm still working on a co written novel with David Murray. We keep picking it up and putting it down but I think this is the last run through, we've had good feedback from professional sources and we are determined to finish it.

Saturday 25 June 2016

The Day After

Sometimes all you can really do is take one small step, make one small gesture. It's nothing, it's pathetic, nowhere near enough. But it isn't worthless. Because it is a start.

I managed to squeeze out about 500 words yesterday, in between staring in horror at social media and raging in impotent fury while my blood pressure climbed to danger levels. This morning - stepped away from it and listened to some soothing music while picturing peaceful seashore and lakes (yes, really - it actually helped) then started writing again - two scenes of a chapter, then a quick spell on Facebook, rinse and repeat as needed.

Words so far: 750 and climbing. And in a minute or so, I'll add more to the count.

Writing has always been my life-line, what has helped me make sense of and function in this world. It wasn't yesterday's awful news that stopped me writing yesterday: it was whipping my own rage and sorrow to non-stop hysterical fever-pitch on social media.

Tonight, we're seeing some friends. There will be good company. There will be time with my beautiful wife. And in between then, I will carry on writing this novel, getting it finished as soon as I can to as high a standard as I'm capable of. Apart from anything else, I have that cover to live up to.

The worst elements of the political right in Britain have won a victory. (And I know not everyone voted Leave for right-wing/racist reasons, but nonethless the result has redounded to the advantage of those people.) These snakes have fucked up many good things and will despoil far more before we're able to put an end to their evil, but we will. I hope. I'm trying to believe that we're better than I fear.

In the meantime, today, the one victory I can deny them is this: I will write. I will continue to create. It is not enough. It is very little. But it's the one thing I can stop them taking away at this moment.

The Reapers in the Black Road embody all I hate and despise: authoritarianism and selfishness, cruelty and contempt towards the powerless. They're what happens when you give people like Gove, Farage, IDS and Theresa May guns and absolute power. In the world I've created, at least, they will be fought. And with luck, they will be destroyed.

May the same befall they and all their kind in real life too.

ETA: Final word count: 3,277

The work goes on.

Friday 24 June 2016

Things of the Week: 24th June 2016

Things of the Week is usually upbeat, or at least, a mixed bag.

Not today.

I'm struggling with Devil's Highway - luckily Snowbooks are being very understanding about possible delays - and over the past few weeks I've been prone to bouts of anxiety and depression. Partly to do with that, maybe, and partly down to the fact that my savings will only last a few more months, after which we'll be supported solely by Cate's salary unless I bring some money in from writing or get a proper job again (and I don't know how well I'd cope if I tried.) I'd meant to blog about the upcoming EU referendum - or last week's horrific murder of Jo Cox MP - before, but I just couldn't summon the energy.

And now, this.

For anyone who missed it, we went to the polls last night, and had a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU, and the Leave campaign won, 52% to 48%.

Nigel Farage, a racist, fascist cunt, is baying in triumph.

David Cameron has resigned, not that I'm sorry, but now an even more vicious and right-wing government will form. The Conservative Party aren't really people anyway - more like gigantic retroviruses with a good tailor - but the Leave campaign consists of the worst of the lot. People who want to privatise the National Health Service, abandon the European Convention on Human Rights, tear up employee legislation. (And the worst part of it is there'll be a horde of brainwashed fuckwits out there who'd read that statement and saay "Yeah? So? That's a good thing!" Which, along with the fact that Katie Hopkins has a newspaper column to serve as a platform for her hate-filled far-right views, rather than being reviled and shunned every time she uses the auxiliary anus she called a mouth, tells you everything you need to know about how poisoned and toxic our media is, and how much bigotry and creeping fascism has been instilled in people.)

The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, now faces a vote of no-confidence.  If he goes, he may well be replaced by someone who'll pull Labour back towards the right, at the exact moment we need an unapologetically left-wing opposition to fight the Tories tooth and nail.

The vile Marine Le Pen - leader of the French neo-nazi party the Front National - is baying in triumph. So are far-right leaders across Europe, calling for referenda of their own.

Rupert Murdoch has got what he's been after for decades, which means the British government will be ever more pliable to his demands.

All the scum, the dogs of Europe, baying in triumph, and the worst people in British politics short of Britain First or the BNP are set to take control. Friends have reported seeing posts about Remain voters being 'traitors' whose names 'have been noted.'

Admittedly I completely forgot to shit myself in terror there, as I did at a Katie Hopkins fan telling me 'Your sort can't handle the truth but you're about to get it rammed down your throat.' (I was tempted to tell him I was flattered but married.) But after Jo Cox's murder.... it isn't quite as easy to dismiss. I have no doubt we'll see a spike in racist violence and other forms of hate crime over the coming weeks. Or months. Or years.

Meanwhile, the Scottish First Minister is calling for a new referendum on Scottish independence (Scotland being overwhelmingly pro-EU) and the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland has called for one on Irish reunification (Eire and the UK both being EU states effectively rendered the border meaningless; with that taken out of the equation, Sinn Fein are now saying the British government no longer represents them. As someone who remembers the days of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, I can assure that this is not good news.) Also, Spain is now pressing for joint sovereignty with the UK over Gibraltar. So rather than making Britain Great again, Leave have quite possibly signed its death warrant.

A lot of Wales (though not the part my family come from - yay!) and Cornwall all voted to Leave, despite benefiting from huge amounts of EU funding. I think a lot of people are about to find out exactly what EU membership did for them. (People in my home city of Manchester may not realise how much of the cash that went to repair the damage from the 1996 bombing of the city centre by the IRA came from the EU. Or maybe they do, explaining why Manchester overwhelmingly voted for Remain.)

I'm trying to think of something funny or upbeat to say, but I have nothing.

The worst part, for me, isn't the future that faces us - which is grim enough - but that I'm struggling not to despise my own country now. I've tried to tell myself for a long time that Britain isn't a land of small-minded xenophobes and greedy selfish short-termists who can be relied on to punch themselves in the groin and vote against their own best interests as long as someone yells the right buzzwords (usually something to do with immigrants) loudly enough.

But right now, I'm struggling to see it.

Part of me says stay and fight. Play a part in trying to salvage something from this, steer us to a better course. Another says fuck this country; it's a lost cause that will always be gulled by the vicious and venal.

That voice, today, sounds far clearer and more persuasive than the first. I hope that'll change. But I just don't know.

Sunday 19 June 2016

The Lowdown with... Simon Morden

Dr. Simon Morden, B.Sc. (Hons., Sheffield) Ph.D (Newcastle) is a bona fide rocket scientist, having degrees in geology and planetary geophysics. Unfortunately, that sort of thing doesn’t exactly prepare a person for the big wide world of work: he’s been a school caretaker, admin assistant, PA to a financial advisor, and a part-time teaching assistant at a Gateshead primary school. He now combines a busy writing schedule with his duties as a house-husband, attempting to keep a crumbling pile of Edwardian masonry upright, wrangling his two children and providing warm places to sleep for the family cats. As well as a writer, he’s been the editor of the British Science Fiction Association’s writers’ magazine Focus, a judge for the Arthur C Clarke awards, and is a regular speaker at the Greenbelt Arts Festival on matters of faith and fiction. In 2009, he was in the winning team for the Rolls Royce Science Prize. In 2011, the first three Petrovitch books were collectively awarded the Philip K Dick Award. 

1. Tell us three things about yourself.
I never thought I’d end up being paid to write fiction. I was all set for a career as an academic scientist, then the early nineties happened and the department just ran out of money. Being a junior researcher and on a short-term contract, that was it. So I did a few of the crap jobs that are supposed to grace every writer’s bio, before becoming a full-time house-husband and parent-in-charge.
I try to write the stories I’d enjoy reading. When I was young (turning 50 this year...) I read everything I could lay my hands on, and most of that was second-hand sf and fantasy novels from the 50s through to the 80s. I’ve read an awful lot of rubbish. I’ve read a great many wonders. The best of those gave me the feeling of being transported, physically and emotionally: that’s what I try to emulate.
I’ve designed a board game by accident. I was writing a story set in a historically accurate but slightly alternative Persia, about an inventor plotting the downfall of a prince, using nothing but a game. I thought I could wing the actual game mechanics, but rapidly realised that wasn’t going to work. So I set the story aside, worked out how it would look and how it would play, then went back to writing. When I’d done, I remembered that I had a game that actually worked, was easy to learn, and fun to play. Handmade sets are now for sale via my website! 
2. What was the first thing you had published?
I think that honour goes to a short story, “Bell, Book and Candle”, which appeared in Scaremongers 2, edited by Steve Savile. That was 1999. Due to a tortured production history, it popped out just before the much-later penned “Empty Head”, which was in Noesis #2, in March that year. “Bell, Book and Candle” was also the first story I wrote set in the Metrozone: playing the long game even then. 
3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of?
It’s normally the thing I’ve just finished. I try very hard to do the very best I can in all my writing – I’m never going to be the one who just phones it in – and I try to challenge myself to do better each time. But if pushed... my short story "Whitebone Street." I was called up by the organiser (and personal friend) of a ghost story evening at very short notice to ask me to be a replacement. I didn’t have time to write anything new, but I had this one old piece I realised would be perfect. But I couldn’t read it out loud without choking up (it’s a elegy to old age and dying, and I’d recently lost my father to cancer). And yet it was so obviously right that I persevered: I practised and practised until I could guarantee I could make it to the last line. And on the night itself, it was a triumph. Not a dry eye in the house. So yes. That. [NB both "Bell, Book and Candle" and "Whitebone Street" appear in Simon's story collection Brilliant Things.]
4. …and which makes you cringe?
The stuff that people will never, ever see. Some of my very early unpublished and unpublishable stories are, well. Terrible would be an understatement. But we all have to start somewhere, right? 
5. What’s a normal writing day like?
I stagger from my pit in time to wave the kids out the door (now that they’re old enough to get themselves up and get their own damn breakfast), throw some food at my face, and take my first mug of tea of the day to the computer. That’s where I start. There are interruptions – shopping, the washing, running various errands, cooking dinner, diy of some sort – but it always comes back to the writing. Sometimes I’m still going at one in the morning. 

6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first?
That’s a really difficult question, because I’ve written across the spectrum of genre fiction and it depends what floats their particular boat. If it’s SF, then the first Metrozone book, Equations of Life, is probably the place to start. If you like your fantasy big and fat, then Arcanum. But a lot of my work doesn’t fit neatly into one category. 
7. What are you working on now?
It feels like a bazillion things. I’m gearing up for the launch of my first book for Gollancz, the first Book of Down, Down Station, which is a post-pre-apocalyptic portal fantasy set on a sentient world. I’m about to embark on the edits for the second, The White City. I’ve got three other extant novels I’m trying to sell, and a synopsis, all at my publisher for consideration. My next new work is somewhat dependant on what they say. But there’s also a diamond-hard SF novella being considered at another place, and I’m busy pimping my board game, too. I’ve lots of ideas: it’s just that the paying projects have to come first.

Sunday 12 June 2016

The Lowdown with... Lisa Morton

Photograph (c) Ellen Datlow
Lisa Morton is a six-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, a screenwriter, a novelist, and a Halloween expert whose work was described by the American Library Association’s Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror as “consistently dark, unsettling, and frightening”. Her most recent releases are the non-fiction books Adventures in the Scream Trade and Ghosts: A Cultural History. She lives in the San Fernando Valley just north of Los Angeles.
1. Tell us three things about yourself.
I’m a lifelong Californian; I’m one of the world’s leading authorities on Halloween; and I am unabashedly proud of being called a horror writer.
2. What was the first thing you had published?
A poem about my pet turtle. I was five.

If you mean the first thing as an adult fiction writer, it was the short story “Sane Reaction” which appeared in
Dark Voices 6, edited by Stephen Jones and David Sutton.
3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of?
I think my novel Malediction. There are other works that I’m proud of for different reasons – like The Halloween Encyclopedia, because of the amount of research work that went into it, or my play adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Radio Free Albemuth, because I love Dick’s work and I thought I found a way to bring his unique worldview to life onstage – but Malediction was the work in which I managed to mesh a lot of my goals and interests in a way I found especially satisfying.
4. …and which makes you cringe?
Oh, that’s easy: the movies that bear my name. Note that I don’t say, “The movies I’ve written,” because those might have been pretty decent…but the absurdities and atrocities that I’m credited as writer on don’t look like anything I remember writing. They’re mostly dreadful and embarrassing.
5. What’s a normal writing day like?
I don’t really have normal writing days anymore. At the beginning of 2015 my life completely changed when I simultaneously became the live-in caregiver to an 83-year-old parent, became a first-time home owner, and took over as President of the Horror Writers Association when the former president Rocky Wood passed away. Being HWA’s President is actually nothing compared to the caregiver gig; ask anyone who’s ever looked after an elderly relative, and I’m betting they’ll tell you it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done. I can now write only for a short time at night, during that time between getting the mum down to bed and when I finally pass out from exhaustion. On a good night I can manage a few hundred words.
6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first?
It depends on what they like. If you enjoy short stories, my Cemetery Dance collection Cemetery Dance Select: Lisa Morton is a good introduction, and is available as an affordable e-book. For novel, I’d point to Malediction. For non-fiction, my most recent book Adventures in the Scream Trade will tell you everything you need to know about me.
7. What are you working on now?
HWA’s inaugural StokerCon, which happens in exactly one month. It’s a big show, I have a big part in it, and it eats up a lot of my life.

I don’t even want to talk about fiction because I’m so far behind on several deadlines.

Friday 10 June 2016

Things Of The Week: 10th June 2016

Bits and pieces of stuff this week. Work on Devil's Highway grinds steadily on, gathering momentum. Fingers crossed, I might just pull this one off.

In other news, the shortlist for the British Fantasy Awards was announced on Monday. Some of you may remember that I posted a few recommendations for the shortlist back in February - and a very gratifying number of them have made the shortlists! Either I'm a major trendsetter, have developed powers of mind control without realising. Or, more likely, I just felt the same way as a majority of voters. The most boring explanations are usually the likeliest.

I'm on one of the juries - for Best Collection, alongside Carole Johnstone and Emma Cosh. The nominations in that category are:

Ghost Summer: Stories, Tananarive Due (Prime Books)
Monsters, Paul Kane (The Alchemy Press)
Probably Monsters, Ray Cluley (ChiZine Publications)
Scar City, Joel Lane (Eibonvale Press)
Skein and Bone, V.H. Leslie (Undertow Publications)
The Stars Seem So Far Away, Margrét Helgadóttir (Fox Spirit Books)

We're going to have our work cut out, to say the least. I've read some of the collections, but not others - but there's no doubt it's going to be a close-run thing.

I didn't make the shortlist this year - I hadn't expected to, given the quality of work out there - unless you count The Second Spectral Book Of Horror Stories, which has nominated for Best Anthology and which includes my story 'Horn Of The Hunter.' Despite my (and others') well-documented issues with Spectral Press and issues raised in respect of its TOC, I think it's an excellent anthology and a fine achievement by Mark Morris.

However, someone else did make the shortlist, and this for me was the best news of the whole thing.

Among my recommendations back in February were a short story and a novella, 'When The Moon Man Knocks' and The Bureau Of Them, which in my admittedly biased view were two of the best things published last year. Both of them have been shortlisted, alongside (among others) Nnedi Okorafor, Mark Morris, Priya Sharma, V.H. Leslie, Adam Nevill and Usman Tanveer Malik.

Both pieces are, of course, by Cate Gardner, now also known as Mrs Bestwick. (It's still great to write that!) 'When The Moon Man Knocks,' in particular, is one of the best things Cate's ever written, a heartbreaking and unsettling meditation on grief and loss. It's also packed with oddness and invention, in a world that's half the one we know and half a surreal fairyland - somewhere between Lewis Carroll and early Tim Burton. Cate wrote it shortly after her mum passed away; today would have been Pauline's 71st birthday.

Anyway, I'm hugely proud of and happy for Cate today. Fingers crossed for the awards in September!

Sunday 5 June 2016

The Lowdown with... Terry Grimwood

Suffolk-born Terry Grimwood started his working life as an electrician and is now a college lecturer, having travelled full-circle from doing the job to teaching it (which he prefers). Along the way he has been a quality assurance manager, project manager and technical author. He is the author of numerous short stories and reviews which have appeared in Midnight Street, Bare Bone, Murky Depths, All Hallows, FutureFire and Eibonvale Press's own Blind Swimmer anthology among others. He has written and directed three plays and runs the Exaggerated Press which started when he published his first collection, The Exaggerated Man. Terry's web site can be found here.  
1. Tell us three things about yourself.
I teach electrical installation (I used to be an electrician) and GCSE English at a further education college.
I play harmonica and sing blues - usually at open mic sessions, mostly at the Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues bar in London (last Sunday of each month, between 4pm and 8pm, love to see anyone there, I’ll buy you a beer if you come), and anywhere else where they are foolish enough to let me onto a stage.
I am knee-deep in amateur dramatics - currently a member of the mighty Knebworth Amateur Theatrical Society (KATS) - as an actor (ham), Director (drama queen) and writer (hack).
2. What was the first thing you had published?

In 1987 it was, a bitter short story called A LAND FIT FOR HEROES, which is about an old man having a flashback of fighting for his country in WW1, while he is dying of hyperthermia because he lives alone and unwanted, and is so poor he cannot afford to heat his home. It was published in a local newspaper as part of a short story competition they were running. I had to go to their office to have my photo taken. I felt as if I had finally arrived, was gracious to everyone there and struck a suitably authorish pose. It was a little bit of an anti-climax. The picture was taken on a compact camera by a junior office gopher, who made me squeeze into a corner by a rubber plant, because he felt it would give the picture…something or other. But then everyone knows the picture anyway, because, of course, it has become so iconic.
My first published horror story was JOHN, which appeared in the legendary Peeping Tom magazine, back in 1998. Now that was exciting, and something I will never forget!
3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of?
Hard question! I would never launch any work into the world unless I was proud of it. My play THE BAYONET, set in the wake of the First World War (there’s a pattern here) was performed by the Masque Players in my native Suffolk back in 1994. It was not only a new play, it was also directed by a bumbling fool who had never directed before (me) and, miraculously, was a resounding success that earned a standing ovation on its last night. It stills bring a lump to my throat, and the hairs are up on the back of my neck just remembering it, so I suppose that THE BAYONET is something of which I am inordinately proud.
4. …and which makes you cringe?
Another bit of theatre. It was called MARITAL ARTS and was a comedy sketch, written for a revue performed by another Suffolk group. It was (was, all copies have been destroyed) about a married couple, caught out by their neighbours, in the middle of a sex game that involved handcuffs and a telephone. Good idea, or so I thought (the play, not the game!) and it seemed funny when I wrote it, honest guv. Then it was performed…Oh the pain, the pain. Why did you have to bring this up again? Hang on a moment, I need a drink and a good cry…There, that’s better.
5. What’s a normal writing day like?
I write most evenings, which can be a bit wearing because I’m not as young as I was. At weekends I will, at least, write for one whole day. I am a disciplined writer. I don’t wait for inspiration, that comes at other times, ideas, snatches of dialogue, even a title without a story. I write whether I feel like it or not. Even if I manage to write one paragraph, I’ve written something. I also read my last few drafts aloud. I find that really helps to catch any awkward sentences or phrases. If it tangles the tongue or sounds wrong, then it needs an edit. I have been known to read aloud in some awful faux accent, American or upper class, for example, just to hear the words in a different voice. Yes, eccentric I now but I am British after all, so eccentricity is second nature to me.
I hate writing first drafts by the way. I seldom plan a story in any detail, unless I become
completely stuck, then I’ll scribble a plan or mind map or somesuch, then go for a walk and worry at it until I untangle the knots. Otherwise, I like to start and simply see where the story takes me.
6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first?
Another tough question. I’d like everyone out there to read all my work. They haven’t? Why not? I tend to recommend my novel BLOODY WAR (Eibonvale Press) to people who are not horror readers because it is an angry political thriller, rather than a horror story and one that people seem to find compelling. Even my son liked that one! For the horror fan, AXE (Double Dragon), described by Peter Tennant in a Black Static review as “balls to the wall horror”, it is a novel set in the world of pub rock and seedy bedsitters (like my own, back in 1980-82). It contains a number of themes that I find myself revisiting often, a heroine I actually fell in love with*, and it took twenty years to write. But, as I said, I hope all my writing is accessible and compelling. I like people to be able to read my work, get what I’m trying to say and above all, find themselves enjoying a damn good story. That’s my intention anyway. Only those who read my work will be able to tell me if I’ve succeeded.
*It is widely believed that Dorothy L Sayers was in love with her creation, Lord Peter Whimsy, so why shouldn’t I fall in love with the lovely Lydia Walker?
7. What are you working on now?
Two things. The first is a novella for Pendragon Press, which is a non-genre tale, based on a true, and very sad, story about an acquaintance of mine. I’ve made a start and it is a difficult piece to write, but he deserves some sort of epitaph for what he went through. He was the subject of a Channel 4 documentary many years ago. I don’t want to say more than that, but it is a grim, heartfelt work.
The second is a short story for the Joel Lane story notes anthology. For anyone who doesn’t know about this, the late Joel’s notes and scribblings for future (and, sadly, unwritten) stories have been compiled by Peter Coleborn and are to form the basis of a new anthology. The stories are to be inspired by these notes though not necessarily written in Joel’s style. A challenge and a responsibility, I have to say, but an exciting project, nonetheless.
After that? A science fiction novella and also a novel. No space opera though. I’ll leave that to the experts. I’ve had a trio of sf short stories published in recent Allen Ashley anthologies and it has reawakened my love of the genre, which was the second genre I read ad loved when I was a youngster (the first was westerns). I am interested in what I call social sf, the work of Ballard, Dick, Silverberg, those people.
Other than that…Well, I am reminded of the immortal phrase uttered by that great thespian, Michael Caine:
“Hang on a minute, lads. I've got a great idea…”
Books by Terry Grimwood
THE PLACES BETWEEN - Pendragon Press
BLOODY WAR - Eibonvale
AXE - Double Dragon
SOUL MASQUE - Spectral Press
Plays (those that have been performed and are available for performance - contact Terry here)
THE BAYONET - Drama (full length)
TATTLETALE MARY - Horror (full length)
JAR OF FLIES - One Act Horror (based on the short story of the same name)
THE FRIENDS OF MIKE SANTINI - One Act Supernatural (based on the short story of the same name)

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.