Posts

Getting into character

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The majority, if not all, of my writing seems to centre around characters. The interplay between them, their insecurities, their personal journeys. It's what people seem to note most when commenting on my stories. So I thought I'd put down some words as to what I think helps to craft good characterisation. It would be great to hear some of your thoughts too.
Firstly, observe. Before putting pen to paper I think there is a lot of value in simply watching people and observing how they interact with others and the world. Study how people act in the everyday, the beat and rhythm of conversations, nervous tics, how people behave when they are uncomfortable, when they are happy, and so on and so forth. See what stands out to you. I remember being at Stansted airport waiting for a flight to Glasgow for FantasyCon 2019 when we could all travel that more freely. Now airports are great places to watch people. There's this vast array of life going on around you. No different this time…

Les Vacances

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Many years ago, when I was first starting out in this writing game, I was at one of the British Fantasy Society open nights. These nights have always been fun events with books, banter and booze and varying degrees of measure. They are also a good place to 'talk shop' as my friend CC Adams would say. I was talking with one of the leading editors in the horror scene and amongst the advice he gave me, he said "get yourself published by the reputable presses, presses like Alchemy."

Those were words which stuck with me and I was delighted to have my short story The Girl with Three Eyes published by The Alchemy Press back in 2018 in The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors. Move on to 2020 and I am even more delighted to announce that my novella Les Vacances has been picked up as a reprint by Peter and Jan at Alchemy. I am always nothing short of impressed with the books they put out there and so it a huge privilege to have a standalone story from me bearing the Alchemy name.



Ori…

The Prediction - one time only

Many moons ago I had the honour of hosting The Prediction, a weekly flash fiction challenge which was the brainchild of horror author extraordinaire Lily Childs who hosted it for years before I became involved. Lily would post up three words and ask guests to write a 100 word story with those three words somewhere within the prose. After I hosted it, Colleen Johnson picked up the mantle alongside Rebecca Kovar and, in turn, it passed to Sandra Davies who runs it to this day.

I enjoyed running The Prediction but I found I didn't have the time to commit to it in the long run. What I saw in my time of hosting was some fabulous talent. I also saw authors using it to get out of a rut in their own writing. The slumps we all go through from time to time. This evening, a good friend of mine posted about being in one of those slumps. Therefore, for one time only, I am running a Prediction round on this site.

The rules are simple: I give you three words. Take those three words and include t…

Good Fortune

Rowan Fortune provides a round up of books which stood out for him in 2019 and I was delighted to see my collection Broken on the Inside appear. As Rowan puts it, "I will also always associate 2019 with a set of indie horror fictions that I read throughout the year; these are books that left deep impressions on me. Such fiction engages with a horror that is deeply concerned with personal and social realities, and it does so with creativity and flair."

I would highly recommend the works Rowan has picked out and the full list can be found here.

The Woods makes Ginger Nuts of Horror's Books of the Year part 1

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Absolutely delighted that The Woods has made Ginger Nuts of Horror's Books of the Year Part 1. I've been fortunate enough to makes Jim McLeod's list of best books in previous years but this is the first time as editor of an anthology.

The Woods contains superb stories from Cate Gardner, James Everington, Mark West and Penny Jones alongside an offering from me. I loved each and every story sent to me and it was wonderful to work with such talented writers.

Plus a huge thanks to Peter Mark May for asking me to helm this for his Hersham Horror Books imprint and his coming up with the theme.

Here is a link to Jim's Books of the Year Part 1. There's some fabulous works on there showing just how strong horror is currently as a genre. Very much looking forward to seeing what else Jim has picked out for his next selections.

https://gingernutsofhorror.com/fiction-reviews/ginger-nuts-of-horrors-books-of-the-year-jim-mcleods-picks-part-1

The Woods

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Firstly, for anyone who passes by this blog from time to time, apologies as I have been neglectful in my duties and have left the weeds to grow. This has mainly been due to life with a major family illness and a lot of change in my day job. However, I have been busy writing in the background when the time allows and also a bit of editing.

Peter Mark May of Hersham Horror Books was kind enough to ask me to be editor for the latest in his fantastic PentAnth series. The connecting theme is five writers coming together on a single themed anthology (hence the Pent and Anth). Peter asked me to wrangle writers together on the subject of The Woods. Fantastic! I love the woods in general, spending lots of my free time either with family or on my own walking in the woods and exploring nature, so this was a perfect theme for me.

I am delighted to say that I was able to find some fine, fine writers to be part of this anthology alongside my good self (the editor always puts in a story in the PentA…

The reviews are coming in.....and they're great!

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It's been about a month since Broken on the Inside, my micro-collection from Black Shuck Books, was released. There's always a nervous feeling when you launch a new book, your baby out there in the world. Will people like it? Will they hate it? Will they even read it?

With Broken on the Inside I lined up a number of reviews with different sites in the genre and I've opened each review as they've been published with excitement and trepidation. I needn't have been apprehensive. Suffice to say I have been blown away with the love being shown. And thank you to all the reviewers for taking the time to read Broken on the Inside and give their thoughts. Here's a few links to show what people have been saying:

Jim McLeod, Ginger Nuts of Horror: "Broken on the Inside, is a magnificent collection of stories. Writing about mental health issues is never easy, it can result in some clumsy, heavy-handed writing that does nothing to address the issues that the writer i…