Monday, 4 November 2019

Shadows & Tall Trees 8 Pre-Order

My story 'The Sound Of The Sea, Too Close' will be appearing in Shadows & Tall Trees 8 from Undertow Publications, something I'm absolutely thrilled about, as to my mind previous volumes represent a high-water mark of contemporary weird fiction.

Shadows & Tall Trees 8 is available to pre-order now and there is a discount if you do so early. You can buy it in both hardback and paperback.

The full lineup is as follows....

Alison Littlewood - Hungry Ghosts
Brian Evenson - The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell
Carly Holmes - Tattletale
Charles Wilkinson - A Coastal Quest
C.M. Muller - Camera Obscura
James Everington - The Sound of the Sea, Too Close
Kay Chronister - Too Lonely, Too Wild
KL Pereira - You, Girls Without Hands
Kristi DeMeester - The Quiet Forms of Belonging
Kurt Fawver - Workday
M. Rickert - The Fascist Has a Party
Neil Williamson - Down to the Roots
Rebecca Campbell - Child of Shower and Gleam
Seán Padraic Birnie - Dollface
Simon Strantzas - The Somnambulists
Steve Rasnic Tem - Sleepwalking With Angels
Steve Toase - Green Grows the Grief
V.H. Leslie - Lacuna

Sunday, 6 October 2019

UK Ghost Story Festival

I love ghost stories, and so I jumped at the chance to be involved in the UK Ghost Story Festival, which takes place 29th November to 01 December in Derby. I'll be taking part in two events, both on the Saturday:

Supernatural Shorts: Why Do Short Ghost Stories Work So Well?
With James Everington, Alison Littlewood, Rhiannon Ward (Chair) and Mark Latham
So many of the most renowned authors of ghost stories made their name in short fiction, with the works of MR James, Arthur Machen, Charles Dickens and many others gaining iconic status. But why is the supernatural so effective in its shorter form? This panel discussion will explore this tradition and explore the reasons for its success, with time for audience Q+A at the end of the session.

Spirit Masters - Who Are The Best Ghost Story Writers Ever?
With Alex Davis (Chair), James Everington, Alison Littlewood and Marie O'Regan
Get ready to rumble as our expert panel dissects the merits and quality of some of the best-loved ghost story writers out there, as well as those lesser-known purveyors of the form who might deserve that bit more credit. How do the traditional masters of the field compare to its modern authors? Who are the greatest names largely forgotten today? Expect to be taking away a mighty reading list from this lively discussion on who are the best of the best! We’ll also have time for audience Q+A at the end of the session.

As well as my two bits, there's so much else going on that looks worthwhile and I'll definitely be checking out plenty of other events myself as a punter. You can either buy tickets for individual events or weekend/Saturday passes. Check out all the info. here...

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Incoming: Two New Tales

I've had two stories accepted for publication in the last couple of weeks. They're two recent-ish stories that I think are among my best work, while being at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of style. And I'm really proud and flabbergasted to say that they are both appearing in the latest volumes of two publications that I regard as absolutely essential for anyone with an interest in weird horror fiction:

'Defensive Wounds' will appear in Tales From The Shadow Booth #4 (ed. Dan Coxon)

'The Sound Of The Sea, Too Close' will appear in Shadows & Tall Trees #8 from the mighty Undertow Publications (ed. Michael Kelly)

I know, right?

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Recommendation: The Finite by Kit Power

Well, fuck.

I recommend books for all kinds of reasons on here: the plot, the characterisation, the quality of the prose, the intellectual and thematic ideas underpinning the whole. (Normally, of course, if it's worth recommending it's for more than one element.) Fancy ideas which really all come down to one thing: did the book make an emotion impression on me? Will I remember scenes or dialogue or just the general feel of it? Has it, in however small a way, changed me?

I'll be remembering scenes from Kit Power's novella The Finite for a long time, I think. This one is going to linger. It's going to be hard to forget the ashy taste of it under my tongue, the gritty feel of it on my skin. It combines a real & genuine evocation of parental love with a gut-wrenching sense of absolute fucking fatalism and despair.

So look, you can read the blurb yourself, but basically The Finite is about a nuclear bomb going off and a father and daughter who survive the initial blast but have absorbed a fatal dose of radiation poison anyway. It's about their last, finite span of time together with that knowledge, and it's absolutely as devastating and soul-destroying as that sounds. (And, to repeat: it's also a book about love.)

It hardly needs to be said, this could all have gone horribly wrong. One false note, one poorly written scene or cliched character decision, and the whole thing would have become ridiculous and bathetic and easily ignored. But Power doesn't put a foot wrong, and so he succeeds in writing one of the most bleak and terrible things I've read since The Road. He succeeds in changing me in those small and awful and glorious ways that good fiction can. He succeeds into making horror into art.

And because it needs to be said a third time: this is also a story about love. And you should read it.

The Finite: Black Shuck Books

Thursday, 8 August 2019

RIP David Berman

David Berman. He was this good:

"Out the window, in the harbor he saw a little ship
The moon was worn just slightly on the right
And they slow danced so the needle wouldn’t skip
Until the room was filled with light" I Remember Me

"Boy wants a car from his Dad
Dad says, first you gotta cut that hair
Boy says, hey Dad Jesus had long hair
and Dad says that’s right son but Jesus walked everywhere" The Frontier Index

"I asked a painter why the roads are coloured black.
He said, “Steve, it’s because people leave
and no highway will bring them back.

So if you don't want me I promise not to linger,
But before I go I gotta ask you dear about the tan line on your ring finger." 
Random Rules

"Repair is the dream of the broken thing." We Are Real


Sunday, 7 July 2019

Edge-Lit 8

I'll be at the Edge-Lit convention again this year—always a fantastic day. I'll be around for most of the day mingling, eating, drinking, not-winning the raffle, and no doubt buying books. Plus! I'm also part of these programmed events:

3pm – Black Shuck Books – Book Launch
The official launch for Pareidolia, edited by myself and Dan Howarth, alongside The Finite by Kit Power.

4pm – Multi-Publisher Horror Book Launch
Launches for titles from Dark Minds Press, The Sinister Horror Company, and Hersham Horror who are releasing The Woods with a story from me, and others by Cate Gardner, Mark West, Penny Jones and Phil Sloman.

Hope to see a bunch of you there. Say hi!

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Announcing... Pareidolia!

So, I'm really pleased to be able to announce this: coming this summer is Pareidolia, a new anthology I've edited (alongside co-editor Dan Howarth).

Pareidolia contains stories on that very theme, a phenomena which has long fascinated me and which has formed the basis of many a horror and weird fiction tale. And when you see the contributors you'll appreciate what a huge thrill it's been to be able to read stories this good before the rest of the world! 

Big thanks to Steve Shaw at Black Shuck Books for publishing this. It will be formally launched at EdgeLit 8 on the 13th July—you can preorder it before then from Black Shuck Books..

The blurb, wonderful cover art, and TOC is below:

Have you ever seen figures in the clouds, heard voices in the sound of a detuned TV, recognised faces made by the shadows in the corner of a room?

Pareidolia is the phenomenon where the mind perceives shapes, or hears voices, where none apparently exist. But what if what you were seeing was really there? What if the voice you heard really was speaking to you, calling you?

Pareidolia contains new dark and surreal stories by Tim Major, G.V. Anderson, Sarah Read and many more.

Step inside, and see if you see what they do.

Featuring: Into the Wood ~ Sarah Read | Joss Papers for Porcelain Ghosts ~ Eliza Chan | What Can You Do About a Man Like That? ~ Tim Major | The Lonely ~ Rich Hawkins | A Shadow Flits ~ Carly Holmes | The Butchery Tree ~ G.V. Anderson | The Lens of Dying ~ Charlotte Bond | How to Stay Afloat When Drowning ~ Daniel Braum | Geode ~ Rosanne Rabinowitz | House of Faces ~ Andrew David Barker