Tuesday 31 December 2013

Audio version - Fish Eye

One of the great things about having a story published in the Lovecraft eZine is that they also do an audio version. I had a story, Fish Eye, published in the 16th issue. This is a link to download the audio version of this story, superbly well read by Vincent LaRosa: http://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/lajcaf

Monday 30 December 2013

Lurkers - The Vault of Evil Advent Calendar 2013

One of the final offerings on this year's Vault of Evil Advent Calendar is a downloadable copy of my story Lurkers, a sequel of sorts forty years on of my first professionally published story, The Lurkers in the Abyss, which originally appeared in The Eleventh Pan Book of Horror in 1970.


Sunday 29 December 2013

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

I have never been a fan of Steve Coogan's Alan Partridge persona, and despite what I'd heard about this film I watched it with no great expectations of liking it. How wrong I was.

Short enough not to be burdened with any self indulgent boring bits (I wish Simon Pegg would learn from this!) or outlasting its welcome, this 90 minute movie is one of the funniest films I have seen in ages. Steve Coogan puts in a superb performance as the shallow, self-seeking Alan Partridge, while Colm Meaney is perfect as the sacked DJ who turns hostage taker in revenge against the new bosses of the radio station they both work for. The comedy is genuinely funny, sometimes outrageously so. Not only is Steve Coogan on top form, so are the rest of the cast, including Sean Pertwee, Anna Maxwell Martin, Nigel Lindsay, Felicity Montagu, Simon Greenall, Paul Blackwell, Robert Whitelock and Simon Delaney.

One of the best British comedy films for years.

Friday 27 December 2013

The Manchurian Candidate

I haven't watched John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate, starring Laurence Harvey and Frank Sinatra for years. What a brilliant movie which to me hadn't dated since 1961. Still as powerful as ever. It makes me want to watch one of my other favourite Frankenheimer films, Seconds, which I haven't seen since it was last aired on TV far too long ago. I was impressed by how good both the male leads were. Sinatra was a surprisingly good actor.

An Old Rejection Letter

I don't suppose there are many rejection letters that most writers would want to hang on to, but this from June 2 1971 (which I only found again a few days ago) meant a lot to me at the time - and still does. It was from August Derleth, written less than a month before his death on the 4th July 1971. I wonder how many editors of his standing would have spared the time to write a detailed rejection letter like this? At the time, unsure how reliable airmail letters were and whether a submission to the great Arkham House would even get read and, more importantly, at a time before word processors had been invented and every typescript had to be individually typed , I was wary of sending my very best stories off into what might have been a void. I was ready to send off something better next time after receiving this letter, but it was too late.

Mind you, I did learn an important lesson from this letter and I never again used Lovecraftian names with such careless ease! And not at all for many years.

Tuesday 24 December 2013


I don't take much notice of awards these days. Although I'm a member of the HWA I don't even bother to list any of my stories, etc on the dedicated area of the HWA's members' forum where members can make available pdfs etc and where they're literally asking for people to take a look at and maybe recommend their stuff for a Stoker.

So it irks me when someone who has already won an award elsewhere should ask me to recommend their stuff for a Stoker because they feel they "need to raise" their profile, at the same time letting slip they have already asked someone else to do likewise for them.

Perhaps because I rarely say anything about awards or make a big fuss about them I have rarely been approached by people like this, though I have heard that others have been pestered quite a bit. All it results in, to be honest, is to make me feel even more cynical about them. It certainly doesn't make me feel more inclined to recommend a certain person's books.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Before Dawn

Started to watch Before Dawn on the Horror channel last night after we got in from the night's entertainment at the Oswaldtwistle Civic Theatre. Here was a British zombie movie starring Paddy out of Emmerdale (which I've not watched in years, by the way!). Had to give up on it, it was just soooo boring. And it was too late at night to stay up watching something as boring as this. Maybe someone will say I should have stuck with it, that it got better later on. If so, I'll give another stab at watching it again some time, but really - a boring zombie movie!!!!

Wednesday 18 December 2013

McFall by Scott Nicholson

My review of this book on Hellnotes.

by Scott Nicholson
Published by 47North
ISBN: 978-1477849231

This is a sequel to Drummer Boy and The Red Church, though if like me you have not read either you can still enjoy this book.

A member of the villainous family that plagued the previous novels, the McFall of the title has come to claim the land that belongs to him. But Larkin McFall is different to his predecessors, subtle, suave, a property developer who draws people to him through the promise of work and big profits. The infamous Red Church, in which his predecessor worked so much evil, he has destroyed by fire to make way for a high class development - though what is found within its burned out embers gives a dark glimpse that all is not as he makes it out to be.

Behind all the bon homie and the modern aspects of his wealth and power, lurks an ancient evil, well hidden by his designer clothes and his apparent desire to help people out. The local sheriff, nearing retirement and still raw from what happened years ago when a different McFall lived locally, is certain about this, even though he can't prove it. But bodies turn up and ghosts from the past are never very far away.

The main protagonists, looking forward to college, are Ronnie Day and Bobby Eldreth, best friends through thick and thin. Ronnie has a reputation for finding dead bodies - a reputation he would rather do without - while Bobby shines as the star baseball player for their high school team with hopes of turning professional if he is lucky enough to be spotted by a scout from a major team. Little by little, Larkin McFall comes into their lives, manipulating them both in what he likes to call a game within a game. Ronnie tries to resist, but he is outclassed. Bobbie, dogged by an over-ambitious father who sees him as a meal ticket to a better life, is easier prey.

This is an engrossing novel, with a fine cast of well developed characters, set within a realistic milleau. The sinister developments are skilfully introduced with cumulative ease as McFall spins his spider's web around  the township.

This is a first class thriller, whose supernatural elements are never crudely overdone. Deaths, intrigues, and betrayals, all play their part in a story that quickly sucks you in with consummate ease. A thoroughly modern, thoroughly intriguing horror novel.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Uncle Doug's Bunker of Vintage Horror Paperbacks

I just came across another great website, whose title tells it all: Uncle Doug's Bunker of Vintage Horror Paperbacks, run by Douglas Draa.

Take a look at this site, which is fairly new but already has some fascinating articles on it, including Richard Matheson, Alfred Hitchcock, The Lurking Fear by H. P. Lovecraft, and Leo Margulie's Weird Tales anthologies.

The Vault of Evil Advent Calendar 2013

Today's story in the Vault of Evil Advent Calendar is Soft Little Fingers, which was originally published in Shades of Darkness (Ash-Tree Press, 2008) and is included in my short story collection The Lurkers in the Abyss & Other Tales of Terror.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Ripper Street might have been saved

Further to what I wrote several days ago, it now looks as if Ripper Street may stay with us for at least two more series thanks to a co-production deal with Lovefilm/Amazon.

Check this link with an article in the Guardian newspaper.

If this is correct that's great news for those of us who have grown to love this quirky Victorian crime series.


My story Scrap in Dark Visions 1 seems to have got more positive reviews than any story I've written for a while. What pleases me more than anything is that I put a lot of heart and soul into this story, which I think is one of the best I have ever done.

A brief description of it on the Grey Matter Press website:

Scrap by David A. Riley
Childhood should be a time for leisurely days spent playing in the sun. But for two abused brothers coming to grips with life on their new English estate, a day of adventure opens the door into a world of evil and sets in motion a chain of events from which there seems little hope of escape.

From one reviewer on Amazon:

"could easily have been a kitchen sink drama, depicting the lives of two brothers growing up in a poverty-stricken council estate in England", adding "Riley chooses to inject a healthy dose of horror, elevating his story to a different, altogether more gruesome level."

From Horror Honeys:

"David A. Riley's "Scrap" had a gritty cinematic feel - the story of two down-and-out brothers looking for scrap metal to steal and sell, until they venture into a part of town best left untouched."

From Hellnotes:

"David A. Riley’s “Scrap,” concerns two brothers living in England who have been abused at the hands of those who should be caring for them. What they see as a new opportunity to turn their lives around turns out to be anything but. David lures readers into the plot and shocks with the greatest of ease."

From The Horror News Network:

"SCRAP by David A. Riley is in my top two for this collection. It's just so, so good. It's sad and terrifying and just very well written. I would like to read more of Riley's work as well. It seems the words and the stories come easy to him."

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Dark Visions 1

Further to my last post about the anthology, there's been another great review for Dark Visions 1, this time on The Horror News Network.

Of my story, Scrap, the reviewer, Alicia Banks, had this to say: "SCRAP by David A. Riley is in my top two for this collection. It's just so, so good. It's sad and terrifying and just very well written. I would like to read more of Riley's work as well. It seems the words and the stories come easy to him."

I wish the last sentence was true!

Monday 9 December 2013

Christmas Movies

What are your favourite movies to get you in the Christmas mood?

I know that my daughter, Cassie, normally likes to re-watch Home Alone, The Muppet Christmas Carol and The Santa Clause (and perhaps Santa Clause 2 as well). Gremlins is another and, of course, Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. Perhaps more traditionally, there's always a bit of space for White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life. As an extra, I very much like an overlooked Hammer film starring Peter Cushing and Andre Morell, Cash on Demand, a brilliant seasonal story.

Friday 6 December 2013

RIP Colin Wilson (26 June 1931-5 December 2013)

Colin Wilson died today. He was 82 and had been seriously ill ever since he suffered a stroke last year.

I first came across his books in the 60s when I borrowed The Outsider and The Strength to Dream from the library. In The Strength to Dream he wrote a scathing article on H. P. Lovecraft, only for August Derleth to contact him and for him to re-evaluate his assessment - and later to write some Lovecraftian fiction of his own, some of which was published by Arkham House! These included the novels The Philosopher's Stone and The Mind Parasites. He also wrote books on true crime, history, the occult, UFOs, literature and philosophy, as well as crime novels and even SF.

Along with the likes of Kingsley Amis, John Wain, Bill Hopkins, Harold Pinter and John Osborne, he was one of a group known as the Angry Young Men back in the 1950s.

For more details about Colin Wilson.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Another great review for Dark Visions 1

Hellnotes have just published another great review for Dark Visions 1 from Grey Matter Press, edited by Anthony Rivera and Sharon Lawson. My own story Scrap came in for some pleasing praise: "David A. Riley’s “Scrap,” concerns two brothers living in England who have been abused at the hands of those who should be caring for them. What they see as a new opportunity to turn their lives around turns out to be anything but. David lures readers into the plot and shocks with the greatest of ease."


My earliest copies of Famous Monsters of Filmland and Spacemen

The Aurora Monster Kits

When I was a kid and first came across the American magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland, one of the most fascinating things in it were the adverts. Amongst these would be full page spreads for the Aurora monster kits, which included detailed models of Lugosi's Dracula, Karloff's Frankenstein's creature, the Wolf Man, the Phantom of the Opera (Chaney's, of course), the Mummy. As soon as these became available in the UK I managed to get one as a Christmas present - the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Over the course of the next few years I got most of the others, though they have all long gone; I can't remember where.

This picture, picked off facebook, reminded me of them:

The Lovecraft eZine - Seasonal Banner

I love the Lovecraft eZine's "seasonal" banner. It says so much!

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Knifes Edge Indie Horror Blog

A new blog has been opened, Knifes Edge Indie Horror, by Craig Lockley who already coordinates the indie press and RPG reviews for the BFS. It's a great looking site. If you have any news for him just drop him an email.

Ripper Street to be Axed

I know I have occasionally made fun of the fact that to me DI Reid looks spookily like Sergeant Bung (Harry H. Corbett in Carry on Screaming), but it's been a series that has progressively improved over time and is one of the most original and interesting dramas on the BBC. Its historical accuracy might be more than a bit wayward and the prostitutes in it are far better looking and much more glamorous than their true life counterparts would have been back in the day, but it has a vitality about it which is enjoyable to watch - and you never really know where each story is going to go.

There is a petition up to try and persuade the beeb to change its mind, which is at least worth a try.


Tuesday 3 December 2013

Great Review for Dark Visions 1

There's a great review for Dark Visions 1 on the Horror Honeys site. Pleased with the comments about my story: "David A. Riley's "Scrap" had a gritty cinematic feel - the story of two down-and-out brothers looking for scrap metal to steal and sell, until they venture into a part of town best left untouched."


Just finished a 24,000 word novella called Lucilla. It's a different kind of story for me and it remains to be seen how successful I have been with it. It starts off in a Women's Refuge where our protagonist, Miranda, is second in command. A newcomer is brought in by Social Services, the mysterious Lucy, a small, frail, helpless looking girl who has been attacked but can't or won't give her last name or properly explain what happened to her. She has, though, a way of subtly getting her way and of influencing people - and of killing them too.

Monday 2 December 2013

Conan's Brethren by Robert E. Howard

A new Waterstone's Outlet shop has just opened in Blackburn. Took a look in it today and found one remaining copy of this little beauty for the grand sum of £5. Brilliantly illustrated by Les Edwards, it has been edited by Stephen Jones, who has also written an Afterword. Contains stories involving Howard's other fantasy heroes, including Solomon Kane, King Kull, Bran Mak Morn, and others.

While I have most, if not all of these stories already in paperback, they're books I've owned for many years, some of them Lancer originals from the 1960s, and they're all getting a bit too fragile nowadays to read.

721 pages, with some fascinating magazine covers in the Afterword.

Sunday 1 December 2013

From Beyond the Dark Gateway No 1

My first story published in the States was A Sense of Movement in 1972 in the fanzine From Beyond the Dark Gateway, edited by Edward P. Berglund. My story was illustrated by Harry O. Morris. The magazine was A4 in size with mimeographed text pages and semi-glossy lithographed pictures. It was published by Silver Scarab Press in Albuquerque, New Mexico, by the same people who already published Nyctalops.

I rewrote my story some years later, expanding it from 3,400 words to 5,700, with a totally new protagonist. The new version was published in The Third Black Book of Horror in 2008.

Other contributors to the magazine included John Jacob, J. J. Koblas, Walter C. DeBill, Jr., Gordon Matthews. Graham Pryor, and R. E. Weinberg, with artwork from Steve Riley, Andrew Smith, Gordon Matthews, Mike Scott, Tim Kirk, Randall Spurgin, Denis Tiani, Mark Gelotte and Harry Morris.

Alien Worlds

I came across my copy of what may be the only science fiction magazine published in Manchester, Alien Worlds, which came out in 1966 edited by Charles Partington and Harry Nadler. Unfortunately this was to be the only issue.

At 64 pages with stories by some well known, well-established names it was a quality production and has the distinction of having stories in it by two writers who were to become the first two presidents of the British Fantasy Society: Kenneth Bulmer and J. Ramsey Campbell, as he was then known.

Ramsey Campbell's story impressed me at the time - and still does - with its ghoul haunted cinema in The Childish Fear.

It had some superb artwork in it by Eddie Jones (then one of the biggest names in SF art whose book covers became prolific over the next few years), Terry Jeeves, Jack Partington and Jack Wilson. It also had a piece on the forthcoming major SF movie 2001 - A Space Odyssey, as well as a feature, plus pictures from One Million Years B.C.

Weird Window 2

My cover artwork for issue 2
Back in the very early 70s before he became a professional editor with Sphere Books' New Writings in Horror and the Supernarural volumes 1 and 2, Dave Sutton published Weird Window, which showcased new stories by a variety of writers like Robert J. Curran, Keith A. Walker, Alan Moore, Edward P. Bergland, Eddy C. Bertin, Gregory Francis, Alan Jones, and Colin Lee, as well as a couple of stories of mine, one of which ended up in The Year's Best Horror Stories 1 edited by Richard Davis (Sphere Books, UK and DAW Books USA).

Weird Window only ran for two issues. I provided the artwork for the cover of the second issue, plus a story, Corpse-Maker. Other stories in this issue were The Dog by Robert J. Curran, The Haunting of Edward Latimer by Keith A. Walker, Shrine of the Lizard by Alan Moore, and Homecoming by Edward P. Berglund.

Alan Moore's artwork for his story Shrine of the Lizard