Thursday, 24 November 2011

World Fantasy Convention 2013

I have booked us both for the World Fantasy Convention in 2013, which will be held in Brighton. I don't think I have ever booked so far in advance for a convention before, but the list of attendees is growing steadily and I want to have a good chance of booking into the convention hotel.

Do you smile when you find someone's been having a go at you online?

It amuses me, anyway.

I was today passed on a couple of links about the Seventh Black Book of Horror, in which, in the comments section, I found myself being described as a "far right asshole". Heyho, you can't be liked by everyone, and some people's perspective of what consitutes far right can be exagerated by just how far left they might be. It's all a load of nonsense, but adds to the colour of life, I suppose.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

FantasyCon 2012

It's finally possible to book for FantasyCon 2012. Lin and I imediately booked. We both regret missing this year's, having arranged a trip to Bulgaria for the same date.

The next convention will be an important one for me as I'll have two books out. My collection, The Lurkers in the Abyss, is to be launched by its publisher, Noose & Gibbet Press at the convention.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


After writing two lengthy short stories in a row (Old Grudge Ender and Swan Song), and having gone through and revised all the stories to go in my collection next year, The Lurkers in the Abyss, I have decided to get back to finishing a novel I started some time ago, Lucilla. I've already written 30,000 words. Read through it again today and was satisfied with how it was going. Unlike the novel due out next year from Dark Continents Publishing, The Return, this isn't straight horror, though it has strong horror elements.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Halifax Ghost Story Festival, Dean Clough, Halifax 12th November 2011

Lin and I had a great time at this year's Halifax Ghost Story Festival. We decided to go to Halifax the day before and stayed overnight Friday and Saturday at the splendid White Swan Hotel, near Halifax Town Hall. What an amazingly friendly hotel this is, a large, old, brilliantly well maintained building, with some of the largest bedrooms I've ever stayed in. Recommended!

The Festival started at 1.30 p.m. on Saturday with a reading of Arthur Machen's The Ritual by Reggie Oliver (who kindly signed my copy of his recent Tartarus Press collection, Mrs Midnight).

 This was followed by a panel made up of Ray Russell, Mark Valentine, Gwilym Games and Reggie Oliver discussing Machen's stories. Thoroughly entertaining. It is always great to hear people discussiing a subject they know a great deal about and love.

Rounding off the Machen side of things, we were then shown a short film based on Machen's story The Happy Children. The director, Mark Goodall answered questions from the audience afterwards for several minutes.

The second panel of the afternoon was chaired by the ever entertaining John Probert, discussing how the boundaries of the ghost story could be expanded. Other members of the panel included Chris Maloney, Nicholas Royle and Mark Valentine. This was an excellent discussion and it was only a shame that it had to end when it did having run out of time. Although I'm not usually a great fan of panels this was exceptionally interesting.

The afternoon's events were rounded off by three films, two professional and one amateur. The professional films were an adaptation of Elizabeth Jane Howard's story Three Miles Up (directed by Lesley Manning) and Robert Aickman's The Hospice (directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard).The amateur film was a short feature called The Hairy Hand (directed by Ashley Thorpe).

There was a break of about an hour and a half after this, during which most of the afternoon's guests left. Lin and I stayed on to have a specially made Ghost Story Festival meal at the Dean Clough cafe, which included some delicious Pumpkin soup, vegetarian Indian food and parkin. We spent most of the time talking with fellow BFS members Caroline Callaghan and Di Lewis.

The final event of the evening was a showing at eight o'clock of a full length feature film, Ashley Thorpe's An Urban Ghost Story.

Altogether a very successful event, shorter than last year's, but neatly compacted with some interesting items.

There's also an excellent review of the Festival on the Tartarus Press blog, including some video footage.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Swan Song

Sent a copy of this story off to Charles Black by email today and he's accepted it for the Black Books of Horror. A "cracking story" is how he described it. Who am I to argue?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Century's Best Horror Fiction

The following notice has just been emailed by Cemetary Dance: (Good news to me necause my story, The Lurkers in the Abyss is in it)

The Century's Best Horror Fiction:
Two Huge Volumes!
More Than 1,700 Pages and 700,000 Words!
Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, Charles Beaumont, Jack Ketchum, Gary Brandner, Dennis Etchison, Michael Bishop, Ramsey Campbell, David Schow, Joe R. Lansdale, Elizabeth Massie, Thomas Ligotti, Robert Aickman, Poppy Z. Brite, Lucy Taylor, Stephen Laws, Brian Hodge, Glen Hirshberg, Richard Matheson, Shirley Jackson, W.W. Jacobs, H.G. Wells, Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, M.R. James, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, August Derleth, Manly Wade Wellman, Theodore Sturgeon, and nearly six dozen others!
Hi Folks!
Today we're pleased to announce that The Century's Best Horror Fiction edited by John Pelan has been sent to the printer!
Cemetery Dance Publications commissioned this spectacular two-volume anthology project under the editorship of noted author and historian of the horror genre, John Pelan.
Century's Best John selected one story published during each year of the 20th Century (1901-2000) as the most notable story of that year — all 100 stories were then collected in this amazing two volume set to be published as The Century's Best Horror Fiction.
The ground rules were simple: Only one selection per author. Only one selection per year.
Two huge volumes, one hundred authors, one hundred classic stories, more than 700,000 words of fiction — history in the making!
Booklist had this to say about about the spectacular set:
"...more powerful, more defining of what has gone on between the years 1901 and 2000 in horror fiction... horror readers will have to admit that this treasure trove will bring the realization of a dream to them as well, for there is sufficient material within the multitudinous but highly entertaining and dramatic pages of this grand publishing project to occupy many hours, weeks, even months of their time... The term "old-fashioned" flies out the window when even new readers to horror fiction taste the perfection achieved by these masters... Reading this entire second volume will acquaint even those new to horror fiction with the authors who have shaped the genre during the past 50 years."

Swan Song

Just finished a new 7,800 page story tonight, Swan Song. Read it to Lin to see what she thougnt of it. She liked it, though she did admit that parts of it made her feel sick. Is that a sign of success?

The Halifax Ghost Story Festival - Dean Clough, Saturday 12th November

For full up to date details of the Festival click here.

Monday, 7 November 2011

The Eighth Black Book of Horror

Another review of this anthology, this time on the British Fantasy Society website.

There have certainly been some varied reviews of this collection, with reviewer's having some widely differing likes and dislikes.

The Halifax Ghost Story Festival - Dean Clough, Saturday 12th November

It's only a few days now to the Halifax Ghost Story Festival. Lin and I are going. In fact we've booked into a town centre hotel in Halifax for both Friday and Saturday nights and are looking on this as, in part, a bit of a mini-holiday.

Last year's two day event was a great success and we enjoyed it immensely. This year's has a completely different list of activities, concentrating on two great writers in particular, Arthur Machen and Robert Aickman. The list of activities is:

Reggie Oliver reads "Ritual", a short story by Arthur Machen

2.00pm - 2.30pm:
Panel discussing Arthur Machen, chaired by his most recent biographer, Mark Valentine, and including Gwilym Games and Reggie Oliver.

2.30pm - 2.50pm:
Dr Mark Goodall introduces "The Happy Children" (exquisite black and white Machen short film)

Break for drinks and snacks

3.15pm - 4.00pm:
Panel discussion: Pushing the boundaries of the ghost story, with Nick Royle, John Llewellyn Probert and Chris Maloney.

4.00pm - 4.50pm:
Ray Russell introduces screening of "Three Miles Up" (adaptation of Elizabeth Jane Howard story) running time: 50 minutes

5.00pm - 5:50pm
Rare screening of "The Hospice" by Robert Aickman (TV adaptation starring Jack Shepherd) running time: 45 minutes

5.50pm - 6.10 pm
General discussion about the festival and the programme for next year.

Screening of a pacey short film by Ashley Thorpe

Viaduct Theatre opens for "Ghosts in 60 Seconds" (one minute playwriting festival) at 8pm. Ends 9pm
Viaduct Cafe bar open 7pm-11pm 

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Year


Screaming Dreams and Noose & Gibbet are proud to announce a joint project, simply called ‘THE YEAR’. It will be published in 2013 and edited by Johnny Mains and Steve Upham. This will be an anthology which will showcase the very best writings of Crime, Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy. 52 stories, one for each week of the year...

This project will be open to submissions from today and while we are mainly focused on new, original fiction – there will be three classic reprints from each genre from different periods in that particular field’s history.
As the budget for the publishers will be rather taxing, payment will be £10 and a copy of the finished book. Stories will have to be no more than 3k in length. If you’re a horror writer but have always wanted to write a crime tale, give it a shot – if you’re a die-hard sci-fi scribe, why not jump into the land of orcs and magic talismans. What will NOT get in the book are mash-ups, emotive vampires and sadly there will be no room at the inn for zombies. Try and stay away from the drunk, emotionally scarred detective and steampunk shenanigans. TV and film related spin off stories will also be a no-go.

The deadline will be July 1st 2012 – this will give you enough time to think of a story, write it and send it in. In the subject box put your name, title of the story and its genre. You will be informed of whether you are in the book by Sept 1st 2012. No multiple submissions allowed and the date for all authors to sign off their individual stories will be February 1st 2013 with the book being published at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton Oct 31st  – Nov 3rd  2013. Due to prohibitive postage costs in sending contributor copies, story submissions will only be accepted from authors residing in the U.K. Payment and contributor copies will be sent out the week of Monday 13th November, 2013 unless authors are in attendance at the convention.

All submissions and enquiries to

Good luck!
The Editors

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Satyr's Head: Tales of Terror

My 1975 tale, The Satyr's Head, will be published again shortly in a reprint of the original anthology edited by David A. Sutton, The Satyr's Head: Tales of Terror, from Shadow Publishing.

Original cover for the 1975 Corgi paperback:

This is from Dave Sutton's press release:

"Shadow Publishing is pleased to announce its forthcoming titles.

The Satyr's Head: Tales of Terror, edited by David A. Sutton, cover art by Steve Upham. This is the first new edition of the long out of print Transworld/Corgi Book "The Satyr's Head & Other Tales of Terror", first published in 1975. With stories by Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley, Joseph Payne Brennan, Eddy C. Bertin, David A. Riley and others, this new edition will bring back into print some ten chilling tales of the supernatural and the sub-human, of ghosts and demons, strange phenomena and the inexplicable"

The release goes on to detail other publications due to be released by Shadow Publishing:

"Writers from the Shadows Series. These very special collections revive the work of some of the genre writers whose work has been overshadowed and overlooked down the years.
The first of these will be The Female of the Species & Others by Richard Davis (1945-2005). The author worked in the 1970s as a script editor for the BBC's "Out of the Unknown" series and edited the first three volumes of "The Year's Best Horror Stories", published by Sphere Books, as well as editing a string of other horror and science fiction anthologies. He published a number of short stories, which have remained uncollected and this new book will remedy this. Also included will be an interview conducted with the author in 1969, in which he discusses his writing, his film "Viola" and working as story editor for "Late Night Horror" and "Out of the Unknown", plus a comprehensive introduction.
Temple of the Fox: Writers from the Shadows Series # 2, by James Wade (1930-1983), collects a number of the author's genre short stories from the 1960s onwards. After army service James Wade settled in Korea and he wrote widely on music for a variety of periodicals. His symphonic and chamber music has been performed in many countries, and he completed an opera based on Richard E. Kim's best-selling novel of the Korean War, "The Martyred".  James Wade's work includes Cthulhu Mythos, "The Deep Ones" and "A Darker Shadow Over Innsmouth" and others such as "Temple of the Fox", which only ever saw print in Korea. His work has been anthologised by such noted editors, August Derleth, Ramsey Campbell and Herbert Val Thal. The collection will also contain an essay, "The Mass Media Horror", a short article first published in 1971, plus some verse and a comprehensive introduction.

The Shadow Book of Horror. An anthology of new and obscure short stories. No further details yet on the content or format. Writers may wish to contact me to receive writers' guidelines when available.

For further updates on any of the above titles, join the mailing list by completing the online form at Shadow Publishing