Joseph D’Lacey is a pal who writes great books that have never really had the success they deserved. I’ve told you about a couple of them before. Joseph is now releasing some of his earlier titles through his own imprint – Phasmid. He recently asked me to write an introduction for the re-release of GARBAGE MAN – a book I enjoyed first time around, and which I loved when I re-read it recently. The new edition has been launched this week, and for the next 24 hours it’s free to download from Amazon. Please do that straight away!
All my recent talk of book launches and anniversaries has left me thinking about what I’ve achieved as a writer and what I still want to achieve. If I think of my career in terms of how a farmer manages their fields, then I’d say I’m currently in a fallow period after a couple of pretty decent harvests. I caught the crest of two waves originally when I a) started publishing independently before most others, and b) wrote about zombies just as the living dead became massively popular. And then, a few years later, I enjoyed another prolonged purple patch when Guillermo del Toro somehow stumbled on a copy of HATER and, for a time, everyone wanted a bit of me.
But writing is a fickle, unpredictable business. Just ask my friend Joseph D’Lacey who recently posted this brutally honest piece about his career.
For those of us who just happen to love writing and who hate self-publicising with a passion, being an author is not the easiest of career choices. You keep doing it because you can’t stop, and with every page you write you convince yourself that this could be the next big thing, even though you know that competition to actually be the next big thing is impossibly fierce. And then when you’ve finished writing and you hand your work to someone else to read, all the confidence you’ve built up evaporates and turns to crippling self-doubt. Well it does for me, anyway.
A frustrating amount of this is completely out of the writer’s control. You don’t control the market, you have no influence on current trends, you can do little to make sure yours is the right book seen in the right place at the right time… and yet, we keep at it. Sometimes even the very thing you’re trying to write can conspire against you.
I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in a couple of excellent events over the last few weeks (and my final appearance of the year is coming up this Saturday…). First was TALES AND TASTES 2 at the Delish Deli and Kitchen in Rugby on Halloween. It was a brilliant night, where I found myself sandwiched between SARAH PINBOROUGH and JOSEPH D’LACEY. A genuinely warm and appreciative crowd, generous and accommodating hosts, great food and drink… what more could we ask for? Click the link below for a few pictures.
Last Saturday saw the third annual HORROR IN THE EAST convention in Lowestoft, the UK’s most easterly town, and the setting for the final book in the HATER series, THEM OR US. It’s always a great event, but it’s a real shame it never seems to draw the crowds it should. Honestly, folks don’t know what they’re missing. I can show you, actually – visit the Videos page on this site to watch me, Adam Millard, Iain McKinnon and others on the panels from both this year’s event and the 2013 con.
Thanks as always to the organisers (Gary and Claire at Delish, Emma and Jo in Lowestoft), and to all those folks who came out to support the events. Hopefully I’ll see some of you this weekend at Zombie Ed’s annual celebration of all things zombie – the DAY OF THE UNDEAD in Leicester.
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be appearing alongside Joseph D’Lacey and Sarah Pinborough this Halloween at the second TASTES AND TALES event at Delish Deli and Kitchen, Rugby. Tickets (which are selling fast) are £22.50 and include canapes, fine wines and local craft beers. See the poster below for more details.
Tickets can be booked directly from Delish or via credit card by calling 01788 578060. Hope to see some of you there. It’s going to be a cracking event, and I’m hard pushed to think of a better way of spending Halloween!
In early 2009, around about the time HATER was released, I spent a lot of time mooching around various dark corners of the Internet wondering what people were saying about my book. On many genre sites I visited I remember seeing the distinctive covers for Joseph D’Lacey’s books, MEAT and GARBAGE MAN. Who is this D’Lacey character, I wondered, and how come he’s got a quote from Stephen King on his books (D’Lacey Rocks!)? I thought we were destined to become adversaries, competing against each other to try and conquer the UK horror market.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Over the years I’ve got to know Joseph and we’ve appeared at several events together. He’s a lovely guy; very knowledgeable (check out his recent Guardian top ten horror novels piece), and a damn fine writer. He’s even a TV presenter now (more about that later…).
But it’s not all been plain sailing. Publishing is a fickle and sometimes cruel business, and through no fault of his own, MEAT and GARBAGE MAN failed to have the impact they should have. He told me “Going out of print is something I think a writer can quietly live with, difficult though it is to accept that a book’s life is over. However, having your books withdrawn from sale because your publisher goes bust is a situation most writers probably never even anticipate. It certainly came as a shock to me! I’d always believed that of my two Beautiful Books titles, MEAT was the one with the potential to grow a long tail. When the administrators stepped in at the end of 2011, though, I had to face the fact that any tail it was growing had been severed.”
Fast forward to today, and with a new agent, a new publisher and an expanding back catalogue behind him, both MEAT and GARBAGE MAN have been reborn. Not just reborn – revitalized. “The reissue was a perfect opportunity to improve the novels, so we edited them again and had them re-proofed. Garbage Man was originally published with all sorts of typos and problems with scene breaks. All that has been fixed. I’ve rewritten the acknowledgments section in each book, to make sure everyone who’s helped since their first publication gets a mention, and there’s a section of extra content in both novels. MEAT gets a new preface and Garbage Man a new afterword. The covers have been redesigned too, of course, and the eBooks are enhanced with extra content. I couldn’t be happier with the result.”
Click the link to find out more about the books.
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.
Here are the full details of the Edinburgh event I mentioned recently. Organised by This is Horror, it takes place at Blackwell’s bookstore on 30th March from 3pm – 5pm. It’s a free but ticketed event. To reserve tickets, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘This Is Horror Event’ or call 0131 622 8218.
I’ll be there alongside Joseph D’Lacey and Gary McMahon, and the event will be hosted by Jasper Bark. It promises to be an excellent afternoon and I hope to see you there.
Check out this wonderful promotional poster created by the very talented Daniele Serra.
Bloody hell, I enjoyed that! This weekend saw the inaugural Horror in the East convention in Lowestoft, a place which, as you know, is very close to my heart (not least because I pretty much destroyed it in THEM OR US!).
I go to a lot of events, and I decide not to go to many more. I’m a fussy sod – much as I genuinely love talking to other authors and publishers etc., I have to say I prefer meeting readers. Many conventions seem to be one thing or the other, but Horror in the East was a straight down the middle collision of both. Relaxed, informal and well supported by both the local and the horror community, it was an absolute pleasure to be there. Congratulations to Emma Bunn and Jo Wilde for putting together such a superb event. I’ll be back for more Horror in the East on 1st – 2nd November 2013, and I hope to see many of you there.
Pictured: the excellent Horror in the East line-up. From left to right: (front) Richard Cosgrove, Andrew Hook, Joseph Freeman, Michael Wilson, Conrad Williams, (back) Sean Page, me, Adam Baker, Adam Millard, Joseph D’Lacey, Simon Coleby, Ivan Bunn, Iain McKinnon, Henry Baker, Paul Huggins. (Photo pinched from Adam Millard on Facebook – hope you don’t mind, Adam!).
Early TRUST reviewer Chris Bowsman said of the book “The payoff is immense, and once it gets going it’s like dozens of pages of falling down the stairs. Very highly recommended.” We’ve now reached the top of the staircase. From now until the end of the year/world, TRUST will be an intense read. Chapter 27 is available now, and if you haven’t been following the story from the beginning, read it all at www.trustdavidmoody.com.
More to come on Monday. Also coming up next week, more from my AUTUMN retrospective ahead of the imminent release of AFTERMATH in the UK, and I’ll be out and about as the “Never Trust a Man With Hair” tour continues. It’s Cheltenham Waterstones on Wednesday with Wayne Simmons, Adam Nevill and Joseph D’Lacey, then Horror in the East next Saturday (which, as I hope you already know, features a host of authors and is completely FREE!).
And finally, for a chance of winning copies of the AUTUMN books, check out the giveaways accompanying my recent guest posts at www.crazy-bookworm.com and www.bookchickcity.com.
Really pleased to announce that I’ll be at Terror4Fun’s UK Festival of Zombie Culture at Phoenix Square, Leicester, on 17th November. It promises to be a brilliant event, with six zombie movies being screened (including the newly restored version of Zombie Flesh Eaters, and Before Dawn), several accompanied by Q&A sessions with the directors. There will also be a number of authors in attendance including myself, Wayne Simmons, Sean T Page, Adam Millard and the brilliant Charlie Higson. Can’t wait!
Before then, of course, I have a couple of other events. Wayne, Adam Nevil, Joseph D’Lacey and I will be celebrating Halloween at Waterstones Cheltenham. Unfortunately Adam Baker is no longer able to appear.
But Adam will be joining us in Lowestoft in November for Horror in the East – a brand new and completely free event. Click on the poster below or visit www.horrorintheeast.com for more information.