Friday, 18 April 2014

Paperback version of The Heaven Maker and other Gruesome Tales

I sent off the proposed copy of Craig Herbertson's collection The Heaven Maker and other Gruesome Tales to him this weekend for him to check, including his updated version of one of the tales. Things are on track for a paperback version to be out from Parallel Universe Publications by September/October this year.

A second project is also planned. More details later.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A great review of The Return on the Vault of Evil

A great review of my horror novel The Return on the Vault of Evil by site administrator Demonik (Kevin Demont):

"Reminds me of photos I saw in a book. Jack the Ripper's last victim. Mary Kelly... At least they were only black and white." Inspector Ray Parks meets what is left of the luckless author of Hell's Cesspit: The Story Of Grudge End.

Meanwhile, back with those fun loving, demon raising Grudge Enders, the return of a prodigal son sparks a new wave of ultra violence.

Correctly nailed for the murder of a South London gangster, Gary Morgan, hit man, high tails it up the motorway, back to his despised childhood neighbourhood Grudge End with the fearsome Broadman mob on his trail. Morgan arrives just in time to witness the demolition of the family home during the slum clearance of Randall Street. He's not sad to see it go. The place holds hideous memories of a dreadful childhood. His father, a brutal drunk, was murdered in 1968 by persons unknown. Who or whatever was responsible broke every bone in his hateful body. His old school-friend Kevin Cross never escaped Grudge End. He's spent the past few decades researching the violent and diabolical history of the area and his findings have left him a paranoid wreck - with good reason. There is evil abroad, always has been, and it can be traced back to the bowels of a disused factory owned by the obscenely wealthy and depraved Malleson family, once the main job providers for the local population.

Pitched somewhere between Get Carter and The Call Of Cthulhu - although, mercifully, the author never allows the story to get bogged down in mythos gibberish - The Return is a fast paced horror thriller with several nasty moments, including some seriously brutal scythe action involving the cover star. Long time Riley readers will appreciate the references to his back catalogue (toward the close, there is even a walk on for Dag and the teen cultists from The Lurkers In The Abyss[/i After what amounts to a post-Beyond decade in the wilderness, what with His His Own Mad Demons, the aforementioned Lurkers ,,,,, and now this debut novel, Mr. R. is on a roll.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters at Oswaldtwistle Civic Theatre April 30 - 3rd May

All the details needed are on the poster. This should be a great production. (I've yet to see anything the Players have put on that isn't!)


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Shadow Publishing at Birmingham's Independent Book Fair


Great to see this photo of my publisher's, Dave and Sandra Sutton of Shadow Publishing, at Birmingham's Independent Book Fair this last weekend.

To see and order any of their books follow this link.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Game of Thrones Pop-Up Book

If I owned only one pop-up book this is the one I would want. Love it. (I suspect I know a few other people who would love it too). 

This is an amazing video of the book:



This is a link to more information about this book.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

John Connor - Wimp or Hero

I love the first two Terminator movies - I love the TV series too, starring Lena Headey. The only problem I have is with John Connor, heralded as the future saviour of the human race against the machines.

This works fine and dandy in the first movie as he has yet to be born. It's not till Terminator 2 that we meet him in boyhood, played by Edward Furlong, who is mouthy, streetwise and a bit of a computer whizkid. He's also not short of a few guts. What happened to him after this? By Terminator 3 his mother is dead and he's turned into a whining looser. Even in the TV series he's constantly bemoaning what fate has in store for him and doesn't show much of the grit he'll need to become the leader mankind needs to destroy the machines.

In fact, if anything, the only person with real guts at all, time and again, is his mother, Sarah, who is the real hero of the franchise. It's a shame the filmmakers decided to kill her off with leukemia by the third installment. Indeed, one of the strengths of the TV series was that her death was sideslipped and she lived on.

So, what happened with John Connor? Did the filmmakers find it too difficult to turn him into the hero he was supposedly destined to be? Something definitely went wrong, because what we eventually got wasn't worth all the death and destruction of the first movie. They might as well have said to Sarah: train up and get ready. You're it.




Dredd

Just got round to watching the 2012 Dredd on DVD and really enjoyed it. Much better than the Stallone version years ago. Of course it does have the advantage of having Lena Headey as the main villain, who isn't only my favourite Sarah Connor (from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) but also Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones. Karl Urban as Dredd does an excellent job and, unlike Stallone, keeps his helmet on throughout the film - and looks suitably ruthless and hard. 

Unlike Stallone's version, too, there is a down at heel grittiness about Mega City which makes the scale of crime much more credible. The Judges are only just managing to keep the lid on things - and their grasp is slipping. And the story is a good one, very much reminiscent of The Raid in an oblique way - with more lethal gunfire than even most of today's action films. Olivia Thirlby as rookie Judge Anderson, who has psychic talents, is excellent too, giving her role a toughness yet possible vulnerability. 

The good news is that it looks likely, despite a lacklustre performance in the States, there will be a Dredd 2. I hope so.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Fear Magazine to be Relaunched


Latest news from John Gilbert, editor of newsstand horror magazine Fear, which ran from 1988 to 1993, is that the magazine is to be relaunched with a new publisher. The only definite news yet about this project is that prices will be:

Single copy (print) £4.99
6 months subscription £28.00
12 months subscription £54
E-book all formats £2.99

This is welcome news. Covering films and horror literature with news, reviews, articles, interviews and original fiction, Fear was an integral part of late 80s, early 90s horror. I even managed to get a story in it myself with a mix of horror and sci-fi. Winter on Aubarch 6 (since reprinted in my collection The Lurkers in the Abyss and Other Tales of Terror) appeared in the 11th issue in 1989.


I'll add more news about the relaunch as and when it's available.

Monday, 7 April 2014

The James Herbert Award for Horror Writing

This is great news and certain to help raise the profile of the horror genre in general, especially novels.

 Pan Mac heading

For immediate release, Monday 7 April 2014

Horror Writing Prize in memory of James Herbert is launched    
 ‘I didn’t plan to write horror; it just poured out of me’ James Herbert
To celebrate the life and career of one of the world’s best and most loved horror writers, Pan Macmillan and the estate of James Herbert have announced the launch of The James Herbert Award for Horror Writing.  
The announcement coincides with the fortieth anniversary of the first publication of The Rats for which Pan Macmillan will be releasing special anniversary paperback and collectors’ hardback editions in May and September respectively and which will contain an exclusive new introduction by Neil Gaiman.
The prize, which will be awarded annually, aims to discover and publicise a new generation of horror authors working today and celebrate the boldest and most exciting talent in the genre.  The winning author will receive a cheque for £2,000 and a specially-designed commemorative statuette.

The inaugural award will be open to horror novels written in English and published in the UK and Ireland between 1st January 2014 and 31st December 2014. Entries should be submitted to Pan Macmillan via their online submission form available at www.jamesherbertaward.com by 1st October 2014.
James Herbert’s daughter, Kerry, will head up the panel of five judges whose names will be announced in the summer.
A shortlist of five novels will be announced in January 2015 with the winner announced at an awards ceremony in March 2015.
Eileen Herbert, James Herbert’s wife, says, “I was thrilled when Jeremy talked to me about this Award. Throughout his years as a storyteller Jim encouraged new and upcoming writers and I know he would be delighted and honoured that his name will continue this tradition.
“Thank you Pan Macmillan.”

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

A New Nick Drake Song

It wasn't till a few years ago that I "discovered" Nick Drake - through reading about him online. The source was Chris Barker. Since then I have bought any disks I have been able to find of his. Now, unexpectedly, we have a new song, left unfinished at the time of the singer's death.

This is a link to the article in The Independent all about it.


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Walking Dead April Fool's Spoof

I did a Facebook entry about The Walking Dead this morning. It's already had 45 shares. No idea how many shares the shares have had!

So the season finale for The Walking Dead shows that Rick's been in a coma all this time and it was all just a dream... What a cop out!

(Update: now 150 205 265 293 381 479  515 shares)

The Widower

Watched the final episode of The Widower starring Reece Shearsmith and John Hannah last night. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Very subtle and convincing. I particularly liked the final conversation between his last intended victim and her best friend on board her yacht and her realisation that his concern for her had all been a sham. An excellent piece of drama and a credit to all concerned with it. Would love to see John Hannah on TV more. His performance as the Scottish police detective was first rate.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Peaky Blinders

Just started to watch Peaky Blinders on DVD. What an amazing series. Somehow I missed this when it was shown on TV. I never thought a gangster series set in 1919 Birmingham would be not only interesting but atmospheric, violent and gritty.

The first episode sets the tone, with the main power struggles in a Satanic-looking Birmingham being between the well established gangster family, the Peaky Blinders (with their distinctive habit of hiding razor blades inside the peaks of their flat caps), the IRA, and the police. Other criminal outfits besides the Peaky Blinders are the Chinese and the Italians, though how big they are has yet to be shown. The new head of police has made his name in Belfast, where he wiped out the IRA presence there with ruthless means and is bringing men from over there into Birmingham to help him stamp out the Peaky Blinders and any other threat to law and order. Against him we have the Shelby family who run the Peaky Blinders, who are hard, equally ruthless and cunning. 


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Nightmare on Mad Gull Island by Adrian Cole


Copied from Pete Coleborn's excellent Piper at the Gates of Dawn website:

Coming at Easter 2014, and brand new from Spectre Press: Cthulhu 4: Nightmare on Mad Gull Island is a Nick Nightmare novella by Adrian Cole. The wraparound cover is by Jim Pitts, also making a welcome return to the genre.

Publisher Jon Harvey says: “Since restarting Spectre Press in 2012, after a 30-year hiatus, I have begun publishing again. The first was a portfolio of artwork by the likes of Stephen Fabian, David Lloyd, SMS and Dave Stewart – eleven plates in all, plus a wraparound cover and a booklet that introduced each plate. Then in 2013, I decided to resurrect an old favourite publication of mine, Cthulhu: Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. Issue 4 is the aforementioned Nightmare on Mad Gull Island. Cthulhu 5 is a new novella by Andrew Darlington. More titles to follow.”

Nightmare on Mad Gull Island is available in two formats: booklet (£5.00) and hardcover, which includes an article by Jon Harvey, “Pulp Fiction”, and an afterword by Adrian Cole in which he discusses Nick Nightmare. The signed, numbered hardcover edition costs £20.00.

Contact Jon Harvey at spectrepress01 [at] gmail.com for ordering details.