Thursday 27 January 2011

Zombies in New York

It's nice to see Sam Stone, who once taught at a school in Accrington before she was virtually hounded out by several local politicans, etc., who took exception to her vampire-filled website, has turned her hand to something even darker now: zombies.

Her new collection, Zombies in New York has just been published and is available via Telos publishing. It has a fabulous Vincent Chong cover - what more can I say?

Tuesday 25 January 2011

The Sixth Black Book of Horror

The good news is that Reggie Oliver's story from this collection has been chosen by Ellen Datlow to be included in The Best Horror of the Year volume 3.

The full list of contents are:

At the Riding School by Cody Goodfellow
Mr. Pigsny by Reggie Oliver
City of the Dog by John Langan
Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Walls by Brian Hodge
Lesser Demons by Norman Partridge
When the Zombies Win by Karina Sumner-Smith
-30-by Laird Barron
Fallen Boys by Mark Morris
Was She Wicked? Was She Good? by M. Rickert
The Fear by Richard Harland
Till the Morning Comes by Stephen Graham Jones
Shomer by Glen Hirshberg
Oh I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside by Christopher Fowler
The Obscure Bird by Nicholas Royle
Transfiguration by Richard Christian Matheson
The Days of Flaming Motorcycles by Catherynne M. Valente
The Folding Man Joe R. Lansdale
Just Another Desert Night With Blood by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
Black and White Sky by Tanith Lee
At Night When the Demons Come by Ray Cluley
The Revel by John Langan

Thursday 20 January 2011

My review

Okay, I'll do it. This is what I wrote about Wine and Rank Poison, before I decided not to use it.

Bull Running for Girls won accolades and a BFA. In many quarters a second collection from Allyson Bird was looked forward to with some eagerness.

Now I don’t know how long Allyson spent writing the stories in her first collection. Several years I presume. There was definitely an impression some time had been spent writing and rewriting them till they had been honed as good as the author could make them.

The stories in this slim volume, bulked up by a big extract from her soon to be published novel, Isis Unbound, have a raw, unfinished feel about them, of having been rushed. The writing is minimalist at times and awkward at others, with characters that are barely sketched in, who rarely, if ever, come alive. Which is a shame, as some of the stories, given more work, had potential. As it is, apart from the overlong, oddly-written opening story set in Russia during the early years of Communism, they barely gripped this reader’s attention and I had to struggle with most of them. Perhaps, in all fairness, she was set a tight schedule to have this collection ready, hence the use of twenty-odd pages of Isis Unbound to pad it out. I don’t know. Perhaps with no back catalogue to draw from for this second volume, and with a novel to be finished, it would have been better to have left this collection till such time as the stories in it had been made ready for publication. As it is, I don’t think this has done anything to help Allyson Bird’s reputation. If you haven’t read any of her stories yet, seek out Bull Running for Girls first. It’s a much better book.

Thursday 13 January 2011

His Pale Blue Eyes

Found out last night in a telephone call from Johnny Mains that my short story, His Pale Blue Eyes, will be included in an anthology he has put together for April this year called Bite-Sized Horror. Other writers in the book are Reggie Oliver, Conrad Williams, Paul Kane and Marie O'Regan. A small, select group I'm more than pleased to be included amongst.

I can't reveal the publisher yet unfortunately.

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Kicking the Flu Bug

Still suffering a bit, though I have continued to go to work for the past week. And went to last night's rehearsal for The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. Thankfully the room where we do that was a lot warmer than last Thursday! We did the whole of Act 1, which is more or less me done, as I am only in one scene with my main character, Fleet, who gets murdered off stage shortly afterwards. I got a small additional part last night as body guard number one for Arturo Ui, but all I had to do was stand behind him with my arms folded after introducing the Actor character with the one line: "It's an actor, boss. Unarmed."

Need to get stuck into some more writing. Haven't done anything since Christmas. Must also look into what's happening with my long delayed collection from Midnight House, which seems no nearer being published, especially since the Midnight House site has been down for months now.

Currently reading Lee Child's thriller 61 Hours. I have a soft spot for his Jack Reacher novels.

Friday 7 January 2011

Mary Danby - Party Pieces

Johnny Mains, whose imprint Noose & Gibbet Press will be publishing this collection, has just announced a change of cover. I must admit I like the new version much better than the first, although this is still only a rough draft.

New cover:

Old cover:

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui - First Rehearsal

We had our first rehearsal for The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui last night in the upstairs concert room of Lock Street Club (St Mary's Parish Centre) in Oswaldtwistle. Two hours without any heating! Needless to say I didn't remove my coat, scarf or gloves - and was still perishing by the time I got home two hours later - which was a good excuse for a hot toddy!

Still, it went well and it was interesting as this was our first full read through.

I only have a small part, Sheet, a shipyard owner whose one appearance - alive - is in scene 1, b. He has 48 lines of dialogue.

But I have also been promised a few other small parts later in the play after my character makes his off stage demise, a victim of the gangster Arturo Ui.

Our next rehearsal is on Tuesday. I intend to make sure I have learned my lines thoroughly by then. No excuse for not doing really.

Thursday 6 January 2011

First Day Back At Work

Today's my first day back at work after a bout of flu, even though my wife said I should stay off a bit longer till I'm fully okay.

Sometimes, though, I feel that you start to get better that bit quicker when you try and get back to normalacy again. I'll see if this theory holds by how I feel tonight when I get back home!

I've done no writing since the flu started, but I have done quite a bit of reading, including Simon Scarrow's The Legion and a good bit of H. P. Lovecraft's Arkham House collection from the 60s, The Dunwich Horror. It's decades since I last read most of these tales, and it was a bit of a revelation to reread them again, especially The Colour Out of Space. In fact, rereading this particular story made me wonder at times whether I had ever even read it at all! Fabulous tale, and even better than I remembered. I have just reached the final pages of the title story, which is an outstanding tale that could make you question why anyone even bothers to try and copy his mythos stories. Like most movie sequels, they're doomed to failure.

Talking of which, I watched a DVD of Iron Man 2 last night. I remember enjoying this when I saw it at the cinema last year, but how it pales on the small screen. Not a patch on the first movie. Robert Downie Jnr was still the best thing in it, but the story sags in the middle and Mickey Rourke is underused.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Robert Aickman - Sub Rosa

Ray Russell posted a comment to any earlier entry of mine about this magnificient Tartarus Press collection, including a link to a Youtube ad he created for it.

I thought I would place a copy of this a bit more prominently on my blog.

Sunday 2 January 2011

Happy New Year

A belated Happy New Year. Unfortunately I succumbed to the flu bug after Christmas and haven't been in to doing much posting since. I'm still not over it, hence the brevity of this posting. Hopefully, normality will return soon!