I Did Stuff!

This is as much a status update as a blog entry but I want to share, because I’m quite pleased with the last few days. It’s also nearly four o’clock in the morning and I don’t want to go to bed because, if I do, the next time I open my eyes it will be time to go to work. The logic is counter-productive, but I am rather tired.

Any which way, onto the news. I’ve notched up my third anthology appearance. Death By Chocolate is available through the link below. It’s on my to-be-read pile, I know some of my companions and I’m looking forward to what they’ve done. I would take a break from my other reading to jump straight in but I’m wading into the Gormengast trilogy for the second time and I don’t want to break the flow. Which also means when I get round to editing what I’m writing at the moment I’ll have to extract the really blatant rip-offs that are going to seep through.

In other news on the I Did Stuff front, I’m going to have to be vague. Negotiations are under way and I’m not allowed to reveal anything but I’m rather excited about the prospect. One of the group projects I’m in has started attracting some attention – Nathan, our troop leader, has been working his socks off for a long time. I really hope it all comes together. When it does I’ll undoubtedly write something more detailed about it but for now can I get away with just revealing that, without this particular project and the encouragement of the others, I don’t think I’d have gotten as far as I have. Which isn’t all that far but I’m in print – lifetime goal achieved!

Even if you only dip in and out occasionally I’d advise joining a few writing groups. Support and geeky in-jokes are always good and, every once in a while, you’ll be treated to a juicy flamewar when egos take over. Good, clean and wholesome fun.

ps – if you do pick up a copy of Death By Chocolate, let me know what you think. Feedback nourishes my ego.


Hooray! It’s Spring!

It’s been a wee while since my last post. I’m not sure if I should apologise for being silent or for starting up again. I do want to avoid this becoming whiny, so I’ll just say that my real life is really getting in the way at the moment. I think I’m turning a corner, and life always gets a little better when I’m not moping because it’s dark and cold. Onward and, if not upwards, at least not down.

In the writing life, however, I’m feeling fairly good. I didn’t get the deal from Gollancz’s open call and also didn’t make the shortlist for The Guardian’s Stephen King competition. I’ll stick Echo – my honourably unnoticed effort – up as a page. I don’t think it’s my best outing ever but I quite like the story. There is an earlier version that has a little more bite and nastiness in the writing, but it also has an unintentional subtext I’m a little ashamed about not spotting as I was writing.

Beta readers, and family members with doctorates in philosophy, are wonderfully good at making sure I’m somewhere close to writing what I mean. If you do read it, I hope you like it.

Now, saving the real look-at-me moment for last, onto the Big Announcement.

Death By Chocolate, the new Knightwatch anthology I’m in is available from this weekend – March 6th. I haven’t received my contributor’s copy yet so I honestly don’t know who I’m being overshadowed by. I’m pretty excited to find out.

Proper links will follow when I have them. I’ll try to make sure I don’t forget.

2015 And All That…

I’m not great at blogs, probably because I’ve never bothered keeping a diary or journal – unless you count the teenage pretension that my poetry was my diary, which you really don’t want to do because then you might want to read some – but it’s been a fairly big year for me and I have more things I want to say than will fit in a Facebook post.

Should I start with the good or the bad? There’s been a fair bit of both this year, but I think I’ll start with the bad. I’ve less to say about that than I have the good. In fact, I can bulletpoint the bad:

  1. Cluster headaches and migraines are a part of my life now, which flat-out sucks.
  2.  This is 1a, really. I lost my job thanks to the time off for headaches and money is now painfully tight. So tight, I’ll be offline for at least the whole of January.
  3. The best cure/treatment for the headaches – given that the doctors are certain I haven’t got a brain tumor – is to quit smoking and reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption. This does not sit well with my long standing ambition to party until I die. Parties are no fun when you just feel tired and your head hurts.
  4. I’ve had to start giving up smoking. I’m vaping as I type and, whilst the nicotine is there, it just isn’t the same. Yes, this is part of point three but I’m really unhappy about it. I don’t care if I stink, I’ve smoked for a quarter century and I still like it.

That pretty much sums up the bad. Not too bad in the great scheme of things but the cranial pain and lack of funds are both real pissers. They really get in the way.

On to the good. I’ll bulletpoint this as well because it’s fair, and if I don’t this will turn into an essay.

  1. The cluster headaches and migraines that got me fired also got me out of a job that I loathed. I wish the timing had been better – I was planning to find something new in January – but I’m no longer tied to ‘that’ place. At some point I’m going to write Chaos Tales III and it is going to be about office work in Hell. I miss the money, I do not miss the job or the people.
  2. I appeared in my second anthology – I’m incredibly proud of both volumes of Chaos Tales but also aware of the fact that self-publishing is open to all and largely dominated by people who either just shouldn’t or need to spend a little more time on their product. Having someone I’d never met or heard of before choose one of my scribbles for a proper, official book was an immense ego-boost.
  3. The quality of the other stories in Wild Things. I don’t love all of them – no-one loves every story in an anthology – but the quality of the other writers I was chosen to be amongst is something that still makes my ego purr and always will.
    I wish I was the standout star of the collection but I’m not – and, no, I will not reveal my personal ratings of the other stories and where I fit in. That would be incredibly rude. Also, none of them are bad. There are two I wish I’d written myself, no matter how differently. The rest of us are all in equal third place.
    (I’m not just saying that to be nice or diplomatic. It’s just true.)
  4. I polished, finished and released Hell TV on Kindle – it’s had good feedback.
  5. I got both volumes of Chaos Tales out in paperback, via Createspace. The covers look so much better in hardcopy.
  6. I’ve had another two stories accepted for anthologies, one of which I was invited to contribute to. I can’t say much more about those, I’ve been asked not to until the details are confirmed. I’m excited about both, although one a little more than the other. Chuffed to bits with both stories.

Enough bulletpoints, I guess. I’ve not mentioned a few things – like how happy I am to have become an uncle for the sixth time – but lists get boring and this is already too long for a blog post. If you’ve read this far, you probably know me well enough to be aware of the fact that I could rival King for word-processor diarrhoea.

So, 2016…

If I don’t die, and World War Three doesn’t start (genuinely scared it will, but that’s another post), I plan to get Entrance finished. I’m finally working on the last part of the trilogy and I’m extremely confident, despite my decision over Christmas to scrap what I’ve written so far (eighty thousand words or so) and start again. I made some serious mistakes right at the start and not even harsh editing can save the version I have now. It’s a bummer, but that’s how I work – my record for a discarded draft is a little under two hundred and seventy thousand.

Did I mention the typed diarrhoea I suffer from?

Anyway, enough from me. Thank you all for reading – this post or any of my stories. Whatever happens to me or in my life, I wish you all the best that I can. Unhappy endings, like general nastiness, belong in stories and nowhere else.

Be good, take care and have fun – you deserve it.


Not Dead Yet

I’ve been quite quiet for a while now – boring real world stuff keeps eating up my time. It’s Christmas and, whilst I am a Grinch, I still want to wish you all fun and happiness. And maybe flog you something…

It has been hugely delayed, but Chaos Tales 1 is now in paperback! There is time before Christmas to get it. I’ve rejigged the running order (the kindle version as well) because Teen Attack! seems to be a bit full-on for most people as the second story. It’s at the back now, after Surgery so only the proper gore hounds will get that far.

More seriously though, it does look good in hardcopy…

In other news…

Not much, really. I completed Nano for the third year in a row, pretty pleased with that. Wrote a new story, which I’ll post in a little bit, that may or may not be a true account of what I’ll do to anyone who spoils Star Wars for me.

I am in the rabid, threaten to cut you contigent. Metaphorically or otherwise. (also in the really pleased the early headlines are good/head in sand and fingers in ears contingent)

Anyway, have a great Christmas everyone! I’m going to retreat into my cave and somehow find a bottle of port for Christmas day.

ps – here’s the link 🙂


Being Busy

Considering how much time I seem to spend at the job that pays me, I’ve had a pretty productive couple of weeks. Wild Things is out and getting some pretty damn good feedback. We’re all rather pleased. On the back of it, I’m also now involved with a group project. More on that in the future – it’s very early days.

On top of that I’ve finally submitted Gorgeous. I know I’ll probably have to do so several more times but it feels like a big step getting it sent out for the first time. All I’ve actually got to do now is write the final part.

Last, but not least, I’ve also got a new story for you. It’s called ‘Dog Stew’ and it’s what I came up with when my brother asked me to write a zombie story based around a dog.

ps – here’s the link for Wild Things 🙂

Wild Things – Out Now!

Okay, this is basically a look-at-me/buy-my-book post but I’m still actually really happy and a little proud. Originally, the Wild Things anthology was scheduled for release around November but Steve Shaw has managed to put it all together sooner than expected and it’s out now – in paperback and kindle versions.

There’s thirteen stories in total, all dealing with therianthropy in some form or another. I’m waiting on my own copy to arrive but I already know I’m in very good company so I’m actually quite excited to sit down and read the others. If you’re quick, you can probably get a copy before I do.

As always, I hope you enjoy what you read – let me know if you fancy it.


Under The Covers and Other Stuff

I quite like writing stories for themed anthologies, it’s a little like getting a creative writing piece for homework. The downside is that if the story then gets rejected it doesn’t really fit in anywhere else and ends up getting forgotten about. That’s often for the best, at least until there’s been a rethink, but sometimes it’s terribly unfair. It is possible that another anthology will come along that the rejected story might fit into with a little rejigging but there’s no guarantee. I hate having a story sat doing nothing. Which makes the novels lying around particularly frustrating but that’s another post.

Under The Covers was written for an anthology and didn’t make the final cut, but it did come back from the editor with some kind remarks. It’s a supernatural story and I don’t think it quite fit with the others chosen as a result. So, rather than let a story I’m rather pleased with get forgotten I thought I’d share it here. As always, I hope you like it.

In other anthology news, Wild Things is (hopefully) coming out later this month. I am in that one, which is a bonus. I’m waiting to hear the exact date but I’ll share as soon as I know. I’ve got a couple of things planned to go with the release as well.  I’ll shout about it when it’s all finalised.

Only other news is that I’m thirty-eight tomorrow. Thirty-eight is, I’ve already decided, just a rubbish age. Too old to do young stuff, too young to really enjoy moaning. I’m going to have a few drinks and maybe some ice cream – if you need an excuse tell people you’re joining me.