Monday, 2 May 2016

Double Ginger Nuts

Big thanks to the Ginger Nuts Of Horror site for not just one but two fantastic reviews recently. Firstly, head honcho Jim Mcleod reviewed my forthcoming novella Trying To Be So Quiet. Jim's a massively respected reviewer in the UK horror scene, so I was naturally relieved that he liked it so much:
"Everington has always been one of those writers to watch out for, a gifted writer with a keen eye for refined horror, Trying To Be So Quiet doesn't so much as cement his place as a great writer, as but catapults him into the ranks of exceptional writers." (Review here.)

Then author Kit Power reviewed my collection Falling Over, which he claimed was his short story read of 2016 so far... He also said:
"...this is a masterful collection from a writer with an incredible deftness of touch. Note perfect grasp of character, the ability to render the mundane strange with a turn of phrase, deeply literate yet not an ounce of pretension, Everington is a quiet but potent voice in horror fiction." (Review here.)

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Some Recent Horror Recommendations

A few hasty words on the cream of the crop of horror books I've read over the past few months:

The End by Gary McMahon (UK | US)
Stories about the end of everything are rarely light reading, but trust Gary McMahon to come up with an apocalypse that's even bleaker than anyone else's (with the honourable exception of Cormac McCarthy). The End begins with an epidemic of suicides and things only get grimmer and more violent from there on in. The scenes of society collapsing are some of the best I've read, chilling, plausible, gut-wrenching. Often these kind of stories limp to a conclusion as the author writes themselves into a corner: the world's ended, now what? But McMahon caps The End with an effective denouement, that manages to turn the screw one more time.

Born With Teeth by Conrad Williams
I loved this collection of short fiction by Conrad Williams (one of the highlights from the many books I picked up at last year's Fantasycon). Williams's fiction is intricate, atmospheric, and at times inordinately creepy. His prose is constantly a delight even as it leads us through the dark events of the stories here. Nearly every story is worthy of your time, but my own favourite pieces were Recycled, Haifisch and The Pike. 

The Lost Film by Stephen Bacon & Mark West (UK | US)
The Lost Film is a collection of two novellas, one by Stephen Bacon and one by Mark West, both dealing the same theme: that of lost films. Bacon's story, Lantern Rock, references both Hammer and Amicus early on, and his tale is very much in the spirit of those films. His two protagonists are seeking out the director Lionel Rutherford who lives as a recluse after his son died years before. Gradually revealing its secrets, this is a fun, atmospheric story. Mark West gets to follow that, and he does so by doing something very different. The Lost Film has a noir feel to it, as a PI is hired to track down the director of a film which sends people mad... There's some truly chilling imagery and ideas at play in this one, especially concerning the few snippets of the film itself that are uncovered. A very different story to Bacon's but one that contrasts it nicely.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

First review for Trying To Be So Quiet & Interview

The first review for Trying To Be So Quiet has landed and –phew!– it's a good one. Carrie Buchanan had kind things to say about it over at the Horror Blog UK, including this:

"This hugely chilling and evocative story, mixing lyrical language and lost love, is told with great psychological acuity."
I'm one of those weird people who never knows how to respond to praise, so I'll just thank Carrie and remind you that the hardback of Trying To Be So Quiet is available to preorder from Boo Books now.

Also on the Boo Books site is a transcript of an audio interview I did with them a few weeks back. You can read what I said here.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

A fantastic review of The Hyde Hotel over at Matthew Fryer's Hellforge site:
"This book succeeds on both premise and delivery. It plays on the fact that inner-city hotels are a functional if soulless segment of many people’s lives, and uses this familiarity as a canvas for horror. Anything could be hiding in all those empty rooms..."

It then goes on to praise all of the authors' contributions. It's a really well-written and perceptive review, too – even I learnt something new about The Hyde...

You can read the full review here.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Trying To Be So Quiet - Release Date & Preorders

My novella Trying To Be So Quiet* will be released 16th May 2016 from Boo Books. It will be available both as an ebook and a limited edition hardback, which you can preorder now (hint, hint). I'm sure I'll be talking about this story more before the release date (and expect some news on launch events, too) so for now I'll just post the cover and blurb taken from the Boo Books site:

Trying To Be So Quiet by James Everington, with introduction from Simon Bestwick**

The day they buried her was the first day Lizzie’s death seemed real…

With death comes a journey: a journey of silence, of ghosts and not-ghosts. Life begins to break, the cracks appearing, the meaning lost in the static of existence. And you find out whether you can come to a resolution with the absolute…
Trying to be So Quiet is an incredibly powerful story of bereavement, of mourning, of finding something amidst nothingness.

Pre-order now to secure your copy of this stunning novella from one of the UK’s most exciting new voices in supernatural fiction.

Preorders here.

* Yes, I'm a big Bob Dylan fan...
** Thanks Simon!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Exciting Stuff X 2

First off, I'm really pleased to say that I've new piece of non-fiction in Writers On Writing #3 from Crystal Lake Press. I'm alongside such authors as Kealan Patrick Burke, Ben Eads, Jonathan Janz & Nerine Dorman; my piece is called Fictional Emotions; Emotional Fictions. It's about different techniques writers use to generate emotional responses in their writing.

Writers On Writing #3  is available for pre-order now (UK | US). And be sure to check out the other volumes (I'm also in #2).

And if that wasn't enough, this week I've also been interviewed by the wonderful Priya Sharma about The Hyde Hotel and related gubbins. It's the first of seven pieces Priya will be posting this week featuring different authors with stories in the book. Be sure to check them all out, as well as Priya's own work, which is highly recommended. Because it's ace.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Recommendation: Cold Turkey by Carole Johnstone

I very much enjoyed Carole Johnstone's novella from TTA Press, Cold Turkey–no real surprise, given how much I liked her short stories. Cold Turkey is a tar-black comedy of horrors about Raym, who is trying to give up smoking. Again. Raym lives in his home town, works as a teacher at the school he went to as a child, and is still with his girlfriend Wendy despite the lukewarm nature of their relationship. It's safe to say Raym is bad at giving up anything, never mind something as addictive as cigarettes...

As he goes cold turkey, Raym starts to see a nightmarish figure in his dreams: Top Hat the tally man. As befitting someone who can't move on from his past, Top Hat represents all sorts of horrors from Raym's childhood (not least the deaths of both his parents from smoking related diseases) but he is also a compellingly monstrous and physical being in his own right, with his booming, jocular threats and hideously long fingers that sometimes look like cigarettes–and burn like cigarettes too, when they grasp Raym's arms. Top Hat reminded me of The Library Policeman in Stephen King's novella of the same name: a childhood monster come back to terrorise someone in adult-life.

Raym isn't sure if Top Hat is real or just a delusion caused by nicotine withdrawal, and neither is the reader. But real or not, Raym's life starts to fall apart anyway, because as Johnstone's astute characterisation makes clear, cigarettes for Raym are just one aspect of his addictive, regressive personality. The plot builds to bravura series of climatic set pieces, which manage to be funny, painful and scary all at once.

Cold Turkey (UK | US)