It's been a strange week.
I'm currently still off work, and haven't been venturing out much, so the unfolding coronavirus epidemic's had a slightly unreal quality. We had been thinking of going to Manchester this weekend, to meet Catana Chetwynd - we love her comics - but she's cancelled her tour due to the outbreak. There've been so many pandemic scares over the last decade or two that they've taken on a 'cry wolf' quality (although one of the reasons many of these outbreaks haven't been worse will have been prompt action and treating them as an urgent crisis) but it looks as though this one will be the real thing. I hope it's under some sort of control sooner rather than later (although with the kind of brain-donors we have in charge here and in the US, I'm not getting my hopes up too high), and to see old friends and Facebook friends, and maybe make some new ones too, at StokerCon in Scarborough.
On a happier note, this week I received some fantastic news when Ellen Datlow selected my story 'Below' (originally published in the mighty Paul Finch's Terror Tales Of Northwest England) for inclusion in The Best Horror Of the Year #12.
You can read the full TOC here. I'm in some stellar company, including Gemma Files, Robert Shearman, Joe R. Lansdale and Catriona Ward, not to mention friends such as Ray Cluley and Ren Warom. Great to see S. Qiouyu Lu's excellent 'As Dark As Hunger', which I finally read in Black Static the other week (I'm very behind with my reading), included, and special congratulations to Laura 'Bricklauncher' Mauro, for finally ticking one off her bucket list and making a Datlow anthology! (The first of many, I have no doubt.)
I'm absolutely over the moon about this.
I'm also delighted to report that the first review of Cate's new collection, These Foolish And Harmful Delights, is now up at The Eloquent Page. Of it, Paul Holmes says: "There is an introspective, almost intimate quality to each entry in the collection. Gardner’s powerful writing brings together tales of love and loss, rebellion and empowerment. These Foolish & Harmful Delights encompasses the full gamut of emotions. The stories delicately dance that fine line between dark fantasy and psychological horror. If you enjoy your fiction in the short form and are looking for something memorable, I can confirm that Cate Gardner is the author for you."
Couldn't have put it better myself.
e-ARCs of the new edition of And Cannot Come Again are now available from Horrific Tales, including the previously unpublished stories 'In The Shelter' and 'Black Is The Mourning, White Is The Wand' and an updated introduction from Ramsey Campbell. Still can't get over how amazing Ben Baldwin's cover art is...
My very cool friend Joely Black is leading a workshop: Making Magical Objects: Experimental Archaeology Meets Creative Writing later this month in Manchester. Joely's a fine writer, whose academic background focuses on religious and magical practices in the ancient world, so she knows what she's talking about. I promised to help spread the word about this event, but sadly it's actually sold out already! Nonetheless, any Mancs who like the sound of it should keep an eye out for future ones.
And that's the lot for now. Have a good weekend, all.