A quick reminder of a couple of live events coming up towards the end of February.
On Saturday 21 at 3:00pm I’ll be at SOUTHCART BOOKS in Walsall alongside Wayne Simmons. We’ll be doing one of our famous ‘double-headers’ – talking, reading, signing books and taking questions about our work and the business of writing in general. More details can be found here. And as you can see from the picture to the right, creepy store mascot Claude the Clown is already getting in the mood.
A few days later on Tuesday 24 at 10:00pm (subject to confirmation), I’ll be taking part in the first ever live THIS IS HORROR podcast. You can find more information about the show here, and please send in any questions you’d like answered. We’ll do our best to get through as many of them as we can. Get yourself in the mood by listening to our free JOE AND ME audiobook, and while you’re at it, why not subscribe to the This is Horror podcast using the following links: iTunes / RSS
Joe is anything but an ordinary eight year old. His father’s a stay-at-home dad and his mom’s going to save the world.
Forced to live in cramped quarters after the military pull funding on his mother’s research, Joe is thrown into the midst of a race against the clock to save mankind. As tensions rise and the family disintegrates, they must face an uncomfortable ultimatum.
Do they save each other or humanity?
We’ll be following up this release early in 2015 with a unique LIVE This is Horror podcast. If you have any questions you’d like me to answer on air, please email them to Michael@thisishorror.co.uk.
Finally, as this will probably be my last post here for a while, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and enthusiasm over the past year, and to wish you and your families all the best for the holiday season.
I’m excited to announce the release of a free JOE & ME audiobook. A joint production between This is Horror and Infected Books, and narrated by yours truly, it’ll be free to download from 2pm GMT on Tuesday 23 December. Happy Christmas!
JOE & ME is a story I’m extremely proud of. It’s a great little tale that offers a very personal glimpse into the early hours of the world-wide chaos which unfolds throughout the AUTUMN series. I’ll tell you more about it on Tuesday…
Today’s the day! STRANGERS is now available everywhere. All pre-orders have been shipped and/ or downloaded, and thanks to everyone who has already picked up the book. You’ll find some handy links at the end of this post if you haven’t yet had chance.
It just goes to show the effect a format can have on the story you’re trying to tell.
The first incarnation of THE COST OF LIVING came back in 2010 when I was invited to put together a story for John Joseph Adams’ excellent LIVING DEAD 2 anthology. A different tale altogether ended up in the book (WHO WE USED TO BE), but I also finished PRIORITIES – the 5,000 word short story of mom, dad and disgruntled older son, trapped in their home at Dad’s insistence with no way out, surrounded by hordes of zombies.
I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the story. A while later I was invited to write a piece of flash fiction by my friends at THIS IS HORROR, and I decided to strip back THE COST OF LIVING to bare bones. Just 750 words.
But I still wasn’t happy. It seemed to me that whenever I tried to write the story, I was being curtailed by its length. I never saw THE COST OF LIVING as being long enough to make a full novel, but I knew it needed more than the short formats I’d already tried. So, at the beginning of this year, I started writing again with the sole aim of telling the story I wanted, irrespective of word count and length.
And I’m absolutely blown away by the reception you’ve given the 38,000 word novella version of THE COST OF LIVING, so much so that I’m planning to return to the format sooner rather than later. One novella a month, perhaps?
Wayne Simmons says: “THE COST OF LIVING is character-driven zombie horror at its very best. No fan of the genre should be without it.” And Chris Hall at DLSReviews.com says the book is: “A truly superb post-apocalyptic story.”
Had an absolutely cracking time in the company of Mr Simmons this weekend just gone. Sunday was devoted to World War Z, and our video review (well, the half hour we recorded of the several hours we spent talking about it) will be online shortly. But the main purpose of the weekend was our ‘head to head’ event in Coventry.
As you know, Wayne and I have done a lot of events together over the years, and we wanted to try something different this time. We drove hundreds of miles last year travelling from event to event on our ‘Never Trust a Man with Hair’ tour, and often those long car journeys were more entertaining than the signings. We’d put the world to rights talking about writing, the publishing industry, films, music, and so on and so on. So we thought, rather than sit behind a table and sign books for people one at a time, why not have one of our ‘car conversations’ in public?
So that’s what we did. In front of a decent-sized and very receptive crowd, we read excerpts from our books and talked frankly and honestly about our careers, how we met and became this bizarre double act, our past and future works, how we both write, when we write, genre labels, and our views on publishing and the industry in general. It made a refreshing change (both for us and the audience, I think) from the usual author event format.
Thanks to Rich Coad from Waterstones Coventry, Michael Wilson of This is Horror, and everyone who came along and supported the event (particularly Paul Feeney, who drove almost 200 miles from Lowestoft to be there, and who’s photographs I’ve pinched for this post). The only downside to the evening… being turned away from a pub in Coventry because the door staff ‘didn’t like the look of one of us’. The shame of it! And to make matters worse, they wouldn’t say which one of us it was they didn’t like…
The lack of post-event drinks apart, it really was an excellent evening. We’re more than happy to put on similar events if there’s sufficient interest in the future, so if you want us and you can arrange a venue and a crowd, please get in touch.
Between July 31 and August 3, I’ll be a guest at Celsius in Avilés, Spain. Details can be found here. Very much looking forward to my first event in Spain!
Scardiff is a new horror expo taking place in Cardiff on October 27. I’ll be there alongside a number of really exciting guests including Dominic Brunt and Bobby Rhodes (yes, the Bobby Rhodes of Demons fame!). Scardiff is the brainchild of Wayne Simmons, Fantasy Events, and Shock Horror Magazine. Reduced price advance tickets are now available, and all the information you need can be found right here.
HORROR IN THE EAST
And then it’s back to Lowestoft on November 8 – 9 for the second Horror in the East convention. Have a look at last year’s report to see what an excellent event it was, then make a note in your diaries to come and join us for this year’s convention. Very relaxed, hugely enjoyable, and all taking place in the town where Them or Us was set! More details can be found here.
I’m really pleased to announce what promises to be a brilliant event – WAYNE SIMMONS and I are going head-to-head at Esquires Coffee Bar in Coventry, in an evening of readings, Q&As, anecdotes and whatever else we feel like talking about, all sponsored by our great friends at This is Horror and Waterstones Coventry. Tickets are just £3 (£2 can be redeemed off book purchases on the night) and can be purchased on the door on the night. To reserve a ticket, email: Michael@ThisIsHorror.co.uk.
Huge thanks to Tim Sparvero for designing the excellent poster.
Another cracking THIS IS HORROR event! I had a great time in Edinburgh on Saturday, talking horror and reading a brand new AUTUMN short story to a very appreciative crowd.
Writing, by its nature, can be a very solitary vocation, and it’s easy to lose the connection between author and reader. Doing these events always reminds me what a great job I have. There’s nothing quite like reading a fresh, untested piece of work to a crowd of folks and getting the kind of reaction you hoped for. And that reaction doesn’t come via email, Facebook or Twitter: it’s immediate and genuine. As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve had a last flurry of AUTUMN activity and have been writing a few final short stories. After making that post and announcing the contents of the new edition of AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION a week or so back, I went on to write a couple more shorts and one of them, ANGEL, is a piece I’m very, very proud of.
Although numbers weren’t quite what we expected on Saturday, and even though Gary McMahon was unable to be there, Jasper Bark, Joseph D’Lacey and I had a brilliant time. Joseph was there to launch his excellent new fantasy tome, BLACK FEATHERS, which is out this week, and which you can find more about here and here. And Jasper was there just… well, just being Jasper, really. I think the photograph below (pinched from Jim Mcleod – hope that’s okay, Jim!) explains everything. After being asked nicely to read something that wasn’t too crude and full of obscenities (as we were in the middle of a busy bookshop on a Saturday afternoon), Jasper read from his book WAY OF THE BAREFOOT ZOMBIE. If you have it, turn to page 258 and start reading. It’ll explain mine and Joseph’s expressions…
Huge thanks to all at This is Horror and Blackwells for making the event happen and making it such a success. Particular thanks to Ellie Wixon, and to all those who came to listen to us, including David McDonald, Iain McKinnon, and The Ginger Nuts of Horror himself, Jim Mcleod.