Author and Scriptwriter

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

Monday, 27 May 2019

Nearing The Halfway Point

Current mood.
We're almost at the end of May (both the month and the Prime Minister.) Not halfway through the
year yet, but getting there. So, not a bad time to take stock of where things are.

Healthwise, it's not been the best year. I spent the first couple of months of it virtually bedbound with agonising knee pain (and with codeine medication for it leaving me wiped out half the time and with my sleeping patterns completely banjaxed), and been off work with anxiety for the last week. As a result, I've piled on a lot of the weight I lost last year. Next month, I'm heading back to Slimming World, where I'll start to put the damage right.

Not been a great year story submissions wise either - in fact, I haven't had a single acceptance all year, with stories I was very pleased with repeatedly knocked back. But that has had the effect of making me reflect on what I write and why, and made me determined to strive for excellence in my work. The last couple of years have also reminded me, very strongly, that I do what I do because I love it. And if I don't love what I'm doing, I shouldn't be doing it.

I hit a crisis point last year, where I realised I'd lost all sense of direction in terms of novel writing - the old, perennial trouble of trying to write what I thought was popular instead of what I needed to write. Two things helped me resolve it. One was realising that the projects of mine my agent was the most excited about were the ones I'd written out of sheer love and passion - the ones I'd thought no-one would be interested in. The second was asking myself one very simple question:

"If you could only write one more novel, what would it be?"

As it turned out, the answer was the novel that I'd been writing - but very differently from how I planned it. What was to have been a bog-standard psychological thriller became something else - a ghost story, a love story, a horror story... it's very rough at the moment (and not even fully typed up from Dictaphone notes) but it's something different.

I've written two novellas this year, as well, while also working on The Song Of The Sibyl, the huge
quarter-million word epic. There has been a shedload of work to do on that (two novels' worth, effectively!) but it's close to being finished and sent off to The Agent.

In addition, my Patreon is running and bringing in a stream (well, trickle) of income, featuring the ongoing serial The Harrowing.

One thing I was determined to do in 2019 was to write a screenplay; I've been working on something, a little bit of a time, in between work on the novel; slow going, but it's taking shape.

So, a lot of work, that will hopefully pay off in the future.

But there are also good things happening this year.

The big one, of course, is And Cannot Come Again, due out from ChiZine Press soon, complete with an Introduction by Ramsey
Campbell and blurbs from Angela Slatter, Reggie Oliver, Gemma Files and many, many more. The paperback will be released on the 11th July; if you can't wait that long, the ebook version will be available from the 18th June.

July will also see the release of A Love Like Blood, consisting of my novelettes Fitton's Ghost and Burns The Witchfire, Upon The Hill. It'll be launched at Edge-Lit in July - and who knows, there may be some copies of And Cannot Come Again available too.

Another good thing happened a couple of weeks ago, when Ellen Datlow's anthology The Devil And The Deep, featuring my story 'Deadwater', won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in an Anthology. Congratulations to Ellen and the other contributors!

Well, that's all the news that's fit to print so far. Now on with the rest of the year.

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