Monday, 31 October 2011

Gravefingers in Estronomicon


Three blog posts in one day? I can hear you spluttering from here, but I have good reasons, honest (mainly posterous being peculiar). Anyway, I am very pleased to tell you that my story Gravefingers makes an appearance in the Halloween issue of Estronomicon, and you can go and read it for free here.

All feedback greatly appreciated, especially as this is one of my personal favourites.

Happy Short Story News: Estronomicon


I am very pleased to announce that my story Gravefingers will be appearing in the Halloween issue of Estronomicon. I'm particularly happy about this because this story is one of my personal favourites - as soon as it's up I shall provide the linkage.

(please excuse zombie photo.... any excuse)

Happy Short Story News: Estronomicon


I am very pleased to announce that my story Gravefingers will be appearing in the Halloween issue of Estronomicon. I'm particularly happy about this because this story is one of my personal favourites - as soon as it's up I shall provide the linkage.

(please excuse zombie photo.... any excuse)

Halloween Shorts: Wendigo by Jennifer Williams


And so our final Halloween Short is from... me! I hope you've enjoyed our mini-season of scary tales; I know our various authors would appreciate your feedback, so if you feel inclined please do give us a shout in the comments or on twitter or any of the other interweb taverns we tend to frequent. And Happy Halloween!

Wendigo_final.docx Download this file

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Halloween Shorts: Light You to Bed by Matthew S. Dent

Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE By day, Matthew S. Dent is a mild mannered blogger, but by night he dons a mask and writes dark fiction. No one knows what the mask is for. Or the meat cleaver. But it's probably safer not to ask. His fiction has been published in a range of anthologies and magazines, and is forthcoming in the Blood Bound Books anthology "Night Terrors II"

Light_You_to_Bed.docx Download this file

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Halloween Shorts: What You Take With You by Kev Clark


Introducing your second helping of Halloween Shorts! Please do continue to share and enjoy.

Daring adventurer! Swashbuckler! Exiled Prince of a forgotten land! Kev Clark is none of these things and more! He is in no way a professional writer, but would very much love to be one day. In the meantime, he writes for his own entertainment as much as anything else.


That said, he finds bios much harder to write than fiction.

What_you_Take_With_You_-Kev.docx Download this file

Friday, 28 October 2011

Halloween Shorts: Charlie and the Goblin King by Andrew Reid


Welcome to the first ever Halloween Shorts post! And because Andrew is a generous chap, there's even a bonus story over at his blog. Who says we don't spoil you? Please do share and enjoy.

Andrew Reid is a displaced Scotsman who loves books, movies, computer games, cake, and writing.  He can be found lurking on Twitter as @mygoditsraining and if asked very nicely can be talked into baking tasty things.


Charlie_and_the_Goblin_King.docx Download this file

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

My Brief But Obligatory Nanowrimo Post

Far too many things going on this week for me to blog sensibly or in detail about anything, so given that we’re almost at the end of October, I would just like to salute those crazy novelists about to take part in a month of literary abandon, also known as Nanowrimo.


I’ve blogged about this many times before, and I know you’ll all have heard me hark on about how great I think the scheme is, and how useful, so I’ll keep it short. Today I came across Johanna Harness’ blog on “Telling Your Own Story”, and when I read it I nodded so hard in agreement my head nearly fell off (go read it, she is very wise). The fact is, every year at this time there’s always a flurry of anti-Nano types, talking about how Nano helps push into being a thousand rubbish books, how Wrimos don’t know the difference between a rough draft and a completed manuscript, or how outrageous it is that all these non-writers are writing.


Balls to that, I say. Not only is it snobbery of the highest order, it also ignores that fact that writing is often about different things for different people – a challenge completed, a way out of a rut, or just a bit of bloody good fun. Making things is one of the joys of human existence, after all. Aside from wanting to see my books in a bookshop one day, I also find writing stories the most marvellous form of escapism, and it gives me a sense of control that I crave in all other areas of my life (OCD does tend to make you a bit fond of controlling things). It’s very nearly therapy, is what it is, and Nanowrimo brings this fabulous and often frustrating activity to thousands of people every year. Yay for that, I say.


(If you didn’t guess, I am planning on participating again this year, with the intention of completing the next two parts of The Copper Promise. See you there, Wrimos!)

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Halloween Shorts!


Exciting things! Next weekend, in celebration of the spooky season, will play host to a set of scary stories from some funky new writers (as well as one from me). Woot! So join me back here on Friday the 28th of October for the very first session of Halloween Shorts.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Samurai Jack - Probably the Greatest Cartoon Ever Made.


Cartoon Network have been repeating Samurai Jack over the last couple of weeks, so obviously this gives me a great excuse to write a blog post on how great it is, including lots of pretty pictures and general fangirling. I was a big fan of Samurai Jack when it first appeared on our tellies back in, oh jeezum cripes, 2001 (2001?! That’s ten years ago, my friends) and it coincided with my first forays on to the internet. In fact, my very first forum was a Samurai Jack fan forum, where I first learnt internet etiquette and the rules of fandom wank. It was run by a boy whom I always assumed was about 12 years old, but the forum itself was actually populated largely by older ladies, and I don’t think our administrator always appreciated our take on the cartoon. Ha. Good times.

 Anyway, here are a few reasons why Samurai Jack is Pretty Much the Greatest Cartoon Ever Made.

 It’s Beautiful: You could take any single frame of this cartoon and hang it on your wall, and people would come over to your house (probably people you’ve never met) to tell you what fantastic taste you have in modern art. Every backdrop is gorgeous, every character design clever and satisfying. Jack’s form is a brilliant collection of block colours and spare lines, every bit of it economical and right, and that’s all without even going into how everything moves – which is gracefully, and with perfect timing (both comedy and otherwise).

Samurai Jack Doesn’t Care About Your Attention Span: Everything in modern animation is fast, fast, fast. Look at this, now look at that, now over here… We’ve got to pack a billion things into this twenty minutes, so stay alert! Samurai Jack doesn’t do that. I convinced Marty to watch an episode with me the other week, and he was most amused by the drawn-out action sequences – amused and delighted, I think. In the episode we watched, a trio of arrows are approaching a target, all converging on the same tiny point. We switch views from arrow to arrow, to the faces of the archers, to Jack’s reaction, and then back again as they creep on to an inevitable doom.

            And it’s not afraid to do that in quieter scenes too. We sometimes see Jack travelling the beautiful landscape alone, his figure lost amongst the bizarre alien foliage… all so we can appreciate the weirdness of his journey, and how alone he is.




It’s Also Fucking Funny: While I waffle on about the gorgeous backdrops and the ineffable awesomeness of Jack’s quest, I should also point out that it’s very funny. Even the action episodes will have moments of humour, usually dialogue free: Jack is the perfect straight man, and it’s a shame not to use him as such, after all. There are also episodes that are just straight up funny too, and it certainly never takes itself seriously: there’s the episode where Jack is zapped by a wizard for instance, and he has to survive as a bad ass Samurai… chicken. Or the one where he loses his lovely sandals, and at one point ends up wearing a pair of stacked pimp shoes, complete with goldfish in the heels.




Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Speed vs. Quality, Or Writing Around Your Inner Editor

I’m thinking a lot about quality versus speed currently, especially as November lurks around the corner, ready to clobber us with cheap Halloween candy and miserable weather. November means NaNoWriMo, as I’m sure you know, and one of the chief lessons it has taught me over the years is to get the first draft out as quickly as possible and worry about making it pretty later. I’ve done Nano five times now, and succeeded each time (twice this year already, weirdly) so you’d think I’d have this lesson burnt into my brain tissue by now.


However, I’m working my way through the Copper Promise* at the moment, trundling along, reasonably happy, and suddenly my inner editor has started to get lairy. You want to go back, it insists, go back to the chapter before last and just fix that one bit where you forgot someone’s name. And go back to the part before that where one of the guards was a bit dopey and make him curious instead. Actually, sod it, go right back to the beginning and make it all fabulous and pretty and word-sexy, and then you can carry on to the final five chapters with peace in your heart and a smug look on your face.


I’m trying not to listen. But the Copper Promise is a novelette, about two thirds complete at this point, and it’s horribly tempting. What stops me is the certain knowledge that if I take my eyes off the ending I will lose it forever, and be lost in the world of word-sexy. I will be strong. I will finish. After all, this is only part 1 in a series…


* which may well now be The Sea-Glass Promise, or the Crosshaven Chronicles, or Tales from the Sea-Glass Road – I’m fluctuating at the moment. If you have a preference, do let me know!