Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009/2010: Looking Back, Looking Forward

All in all 2009 was a strange year - quiet in many respects but eventful, too. In the past twelve months I've had only a handful of short stories published (my quietest year yet) but I also had my first book published (The Hotel Galileo) at the start of the summer which was a wonderful experience. In September I visited Nottingham once again for my second FantasyCon and, despite feeling like "warmed-up death", I enjoyed it much more this year. It was a particular highlight to see Allyson Bird winning the award for Best Collection.

>Didn't get to the cinema very much in 2009. I just about managed to catch Star Trek back at the start of the summer and A Christmas Carol in November, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Over the Christmas break I've managed to squeeze in Avatar (awesome) and Sherlock Holmes (enjoyable romp).

> I joined LoveFilm this year so I've had a steady stream of DVDs to watch, but nothing that's really blown me away. In fact the films I've probably enjoyed seeing most were low-key affairs: The Whole Wide World about Conan creator, Robert E Howard, and Moon starring Sam Rockwell which was pleasantly different from the usual fare. Oh, yeah, and I suppose the Watchmen film was all right.

> Another bad year for reading, sadly. The thing is, the Open University studies take up all my reading time so to be able to squeeze in a book for my own enjoyment means giving up study time and that's never good. (The only book I completed this year was Gary McMahon's Different Skins which was great, although I started reading about half a dozen others). I'm now in the middle of my final year with the OU and come May I will complete my Literature degree and finally be a BA. Hurray! Then I can start on the towering pile of books to read which is growing bigger by the week and has expanded even more over Christmas with new additions such as Stephen King's Under the Dome, Hungry Hearts by Gary McMahon and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, amongst others.

The Future

In 2010 I have only a few simple resolutions:

> Finish my degree.
> Finish The Vanished Race (the follow-up to Hotel Galileo).
> Finish my novel The Silver Sea.
> After they are all done I can then look at the slate of new short stories and novelettes which I have had to leave on the shelf for a very long time.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year. I have a feeling it's going to be a good one.

Christmas Estronomicon


The latest issue of Estronomicon went online on Christmas Eve over at Screaming Dreams. This is a bumper issue featuring lots of festive-themed fiction from such notable pens as Rhys Hughes, Bob Lock, Gary Fry, Shaun Hamilton, Hugh MacDonald and many many more. My own contribution is a story called Crack'd featuring two very special young women, Epiphany and Jade - the Crowe sisters. As I was writing this story I really came to like them and the more I filled in their back story the more I wanted to explore their world. Initially Crack'd was only intended as a one-off story but I'm thinking about revisiting the Crowe sisters at some point in the future. In the meantime, if you have time to peruse the issue I hope you enjoy the stories on offer.


Best of luck in 2010 everyone!

Friday, November 27, 2009

And the title of the next Barclay Heath mystery is...

So that's it. The Vanished Race. For a very long time the working title was 'The Everlasting Universe of Things' but when this title came along it just fit so perfectly, not only for this particular story but for the series as a whole. Work is almost complete on the manuscript and I'm hoping to be able to give a little more info about the story in the near future. As always, any thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Writing and Music

I used to write with headphones on and loud music playing. That was in my youth (what seems like a very long time ago) and was in part due to my living circumstances. I grew up in a happy, busy household and it was a necessary thing to cut off the hustle and fuss around me in order to find that special focus. Now, though, things are very different. The most productive writing sessions I have these days are just me in a quiet room (thankfully I have a place at a friend's house to go to sometimes) with no music or any other distractions. This is especially helpful during editing when acute concentration is required. During composition, however, I do still like to have some kind of background music. The best music is unobtrusive and, at best, inspirational in a filmic sense. I like to have a movie soundtrack playing - some of favourites are the soundtracks to movies like Batman Begins, Rocketeer, or Star Trek 2 or 3 (yes, there's a James Horner theme going on here). As J.K. Rowling said in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, "Ah music. A magic beyond all we do here."

What music do you listen to?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Swamped!

The recent lack of blog posts on the Steam-Powered Typewriter are not due to chronic lazyboy-itis (honest!) but the same old demands of day-to-day life: I began my final Open University course, Children's Literature, last month and the sheer mountain of reading involved (thirteen novels from Swallows and Amazons to Treasure Island to Harry Potter) is taking up the majority of my spare time - as well as the various assignments, of course.

Right now I'm in the final editing stages of the second Barclay Heath mystery (the follow-up to The Hotel Galileo) but finding the amount of time needed to make any kind of progress with it is proving increasingly difficult. I am however very excited about the second book. I've had some amazingly positive feedback from Galileo and also some healthy, constructive criticism, too, especially in the area of maintaining a returning character within a series of books. I'm happy to say that all of these comments and suggestions have been addressed in the follow-up and I feel the story is even stronger and it's been great to flesh out the character of my detective, Barclay Heath, a little more and the ending is . . . well, very emotional. At least it was when I wrote it. Really hoping to get the manuscript finished by Christmas.

I will announce the title of the second Barclay Heath mystery here on this blog in the very near future. I really like it and I hope you'll like it, too. Watch this space...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

FantasyCon 2009

Last year I attended my very first FantasyCon as a non-member, and it was a very pleasant and inspiring experience. In the twelve months since then much has happened: I am now a fully paid-up member of the British Fantasy Society, I've had my first book published (a novella called The Hotel Galileo, which I may have mentioned once or twice here on this blog!) as well as an ebook of Medea's Children through Screaming Dreams and a few other short story publications, most notably in the final print issue of Whispers of Wickedness, which has in the past year ceased publication, taking its thriving and friendly forum community with it into the smoke-obscured afterlife...


This year, the FantasyCon experience was even more inspiring and enjoyable. To begin with I was able to chat with some of the people I had missed last time around, most notably with Gary McMahon, Paul Meloy and Gary Greenwood, as well as spending time with the always delightful Allyson Bird. I was very pleased to come away from the convention with my very own copy of Ally's limited-run 'For You Faustine'; Gary's new book, Different Skins, a beautifully-produced double-novella published by Screaming Dreams featuring another stunning cover by Vincent Chong; and a copy of Paul's Islington Crocodiles which I was determined to get hold of this time around. I also picked up the latest issue of Murky Depths which is just awesome and still pushing boundaries in terms of its production design and its eclectic mix of graphics and prose.

As always, the weekend flew by in a blur and before I could draw breath it was Saturday evening and the awards were upon us. There were so many people trying to squeeze into the main hall that we were spilling out into the adjacent room. I can tell you - the awards sounded great! (I've since had to watch video footage of the event to find out exactly who said what, who won which award and why everyone was laughing at certain points!!!) It didn't dampen the experience though because after the awards everyone was on such a high and the alcohol and the chat flowed freely. I was very pleased for Ally when her book Bull Running for Girls won the award for Best Collection beating off some pretty stiff competition. What an achievement! I had some great conversations well into the early hours with Gary Greenwood, Stu Young and Gavin Williams and others - talking about everything from The Mist to Watchmen and everything in between - and then just before the night was over meeting Carole Johnstone and her sister at the bar to talk about stories published and hopes for the future. By that time it was three o'clock in the morning and time for this lad to go to bed before he really did end up turning into a pumpkin.

Roll on 2010...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Steampunk Tales


May I direct your attention to a stupendous new publication currently storming its way onto the interweb, a wonderful periodical which deals exclusively with the fantabulous steampunk genre? It's called Steampunk Tales and it's a thing of wonderment and beauty. Issue 2 has just been released for download at the meagre price of $1.99, whilst issue 1 is still available for free. The latest issue contains fiction from such talented individuals as Lawrence Dagstine, Phillip Challis, Brenda Cooper and many more.
Take a peek, you'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Stephen King Answers My Question

Well, in response to my open query at the end of the last post about the long and the short form, I came across this from Mister King. I could listen to SK all day long.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Long and the Short

A little while ago I undertook an inventory of my written work and discovered that in the four years from 2004-2008 I had written forty short stories. That's an avaerage of ten a year. How many did I write in the past twelve months? Three. (That's not including the short pieces I wrote on my Open University course last year.) The simple fact is that things in the short story department have slowed almost to a standstill. At my most productive I was working on one story with about two or three in my head bursting to be written. That's not the case anymore. My mind is consumed almost completely by longer works. I have just completed the first draft of the next Barclay Heath book, a follow-up to The Hotel Galileo, which is in the same novella-length range of over 30,000 words. I'm also on the final draft of my novel The Silver Sea which is the first volume in a series and I am bursting to write the next episodes for that. As for new short stories, there's really nothing on the horizon.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Thank You!

Despite the treacherous British summer weather (it rained ALL DAY) the book launch party for The Hotel Galileo was a great success. I am so grateful and indebted to the people who braved the summer rain and visited the Torbay Bookshop on Tuesday to buy a copy. It was a very special moment for me, a celebration of what Matthew, the bookshop owner, likened to 'a birth'. I couldn't help thinking how strange it was to have spent so long working away at this project (and many others) without anyone knowing about it; and then, down the line, here I am - standing in a bookshop signing copies of the book.

I received many messages of support also from people who were unable to make it to the launch. I'm pleased to be able to tell you that The Torbay Bookshop in Paignton are currently stocking signed copies of the book. So, if you are still interested in picking up a copy, please pop in when you have a chance and grab one. They can be found in either the SF & Fantasy section or the Local Author section.

I will also be bringing copies to FantasyCon next month for those who don't live down thie end of the world. I'm very grateful to Steve Upham for allowing me to squeeze my little book onto the Screaming Dreams table. Hope to see you in Nottingham!

Thanks again to everyone for your amazing support!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Book Launch Party!

Hi folks, I'm pleased to announce that my novella 'The Hotel Galileo', published by Wolfsinger Publications, will have its very own book launch party in a couple of weeks time.

The details:

Venue: The Torbay Bookshop, 7 Torquay Road, Paignton, Devon
Time: 6pm
Date: Tuesday August 4th 2009

If you are in the area on that date please feel free to come along and bring a friend or partner with you. I will be selling signed copies of the book and there will be wine and nibbles available. Everyone is most welcome!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Barclay Heath has arrived!


After a long wait, copies of my novella, The Hotel Galileo, have arrived and they are all shiny and lovely. I've been waiting for this moment for a very long time and now that it's finally here, it's ... better than I ever imagined. Flicking through a copy, it's hard to remember the hard work that went into the writing of it (three drafts and countless revisions/polishes). I just feel good about it. And I haven't felt good about things for a long while.


The character of Barclay Heath, the detective in the story, has been with me for years, about fifteen years in fact, as long as I've been married. (In fact, my wife is fond of saying that there have always been three people in our marriage - me, her and Barclay Heath!) This latest incarnation just feels right now, and everything else before it was just figuring him out and finding the right story and the right universe to really bring him to life. Work continues on the next Barclay Heath mystery and I'm having a great time writing it. Having seen the first one published I'm fired up to make the next one even better.
Now all that's left is to arrange the book launch party. Date to be announced soon!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Hotel Galileo - Updated Ordering Details


Hi folks,

Just to let you know as concisely as possible the easiest ways to order The Hotel Galileo:

UK ORDERS:
The cheapest and most efficient way is through Lulu printers via this link:http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/the-hotel-galileo/7206856
Lulu sell the book for £7.08 + £4.75 flat rate shipping to the UK.
Dispatch time is about 6-8 days.

You can also order it from Amazon's printers CreateSpace but I've just seen the shipping costs and they are very high to the UK and dispatch time is very slow, too. I'd advise Lulu, but here are the CreateSpace details anyway:

You can order from CreateSpace via this link: https://www.createspace.com/3385957
PLEASE NOTE: When ordering from outside the US please use this discount code: FAFPNMQH
which gives a 25% discount to help offset the cost of international shipping.

EBOOK VERSIONS:
To avoid all that shipping-cost malarkey you can also order it from Mobipocket as an ebook at this link:
http://www.mobipocket.com/en/eBooks/eBookDetails.asp?BookID=185259
Price of download: $2.49

US ORDERS:
You can order from Lulu and CreateSpace (see above links) but your best bet is probably direct from Amazon.com at this link:
http://www.amazon.com/Hotel-Galileo-Lee-Moan/dp/0981623344/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244663910&sr=8-1.
Paperback is $9.95
(Kindle ebook version coming soon!)

Phew! I think that's about all.
Best wishes,Lee

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Hotel Galileo is available to buy NOW

I'm very excited to be able to say that my novella, The Hotel Galileo, is now available for purchase.

If you are ordering in the UK:

You can order it direct from the printers CreateSpace via this link: https://www.createspace.com/3385957

VERY IMPORTANT: When ordering from outside the US please use this discount code:

FAFPNMQH

which gives a 25% discount to help offset the cost of international shipping. Thanks!


If you are ordering from the US:

The page is up on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Hotel-Galileo-Lee-Moan/dp/0981623344/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244663910&sr=8-1. You can, of course, also buy it from CreateSpace (see link above).

The paperback retails at $9.95.

Kindle version will be available on Amazon soon.

I hope that all makes sense. If there are any problems please don't hesitate to contact me and I will do my very best to address them.

Thanks for your time, and if you intend to buy a copy - THANK YOU! I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Medea's Children

My science fiction story 'Medea's Children' has just been released as a free PDF ebook over at the Screaming Dreams website. The fantastic cover art is by British Fantasy Award-nominee Steve Upham.

It's about a young mother searching for her baby son on an alien planet and the lengths she goes to in order to find him.


I hope you enjoy reading it!
You can also download the latest issue of Estronomicon at the website, featuring fantastic fiction from Paul Kane, Bob Lock, Paul Edwards and many more.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hotel Galileo Publication Date

I'm very pleased to announce that my novella 'The Hotel Galileo' will be published in about a week's time. All being well, the book will be available by June 5th. For people in North America, it will be available for purchase from Amazon.com. (I will post details and links asap.) Because of the large shipping costs, UK/European residents will have an alternative option to purchase the book - I will provide more info on that nearer publication date.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Battlestar Galactica - How did I miss this?

I've recently been watching the TV series Battlestar Galactica on DVD as I completely missed it when it was on the telly. I believe the final season aired earlier this year. Hearing good things about it, I went back and started with the initial mini-series, then watched season one and two back to back. And so far, I'm impressed. Very impressed.

When I tell people about it, their intial reaction is always the same: "Battlestar Galactica? That was for kids, wasn't it?" No, no, no, I say. This is the new version, the 're-imagining' as it's known. And that's exactly what it is. Taking the central idea of the original 1978 series, the producers have refashioned it, exploiting its full potential and bringing it bang up to date. It makes you realise how good that idea was in the first place, it was just a shame it came so soon after the massive impact of Star Wars and ended up suffering from that, I think. Anyway, this new incarnation is a million light years away from the original, although some things have been retained (specifically the ships and a lot of the main characters). This version is well-scripted, well-acted, thought-provoking, challenging and intelligent, with high production values and an unflinching ability to peer into the abyss now and again. This is not a show peopled with cosy hero characters. These are real, flawed human beings, fighting for the right to stay alive. So, yes, there are some dark moments, and that's what makes the show so watchable. You don't know what's going to happen next, who will live, who will die.

So, how did I miss this first time round? Not sure, really. I can't say for certain what made me NOT watch it. I vaguely remember when the mini-series aired that there was some furore over Starbuck being a woman. (Oooooh!) And I caught the odd episode here and there on Sky but didn't really know what was going on and I hate coming into a show halfway through. So I kind of just waited, really. Now that it's finished and I've heard reliable reports that the show's ending lives up to all expectations (please, if you know the ending...don't tell me!), I am enjoying it all the more, safe in the knowledge that it won't disappoint as so many TV shows in the past have done. I'm just about to get my hands on Season 3 and I can't wait to find out what happens next. Ah, if only all TV shows were as good as this.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Time and Space to Write

In her brilliant book, Becoming a Writer (published some seventy-five years ago but still relevant today), Dorothea Brande spoke about two of the most important things a writer needs: the time and the space to write. Well, for me, time has always been a precious commodity, but as a father of four studying for a degree and working full-time there really isn't a lot I can do about that; I grab time when I can and make the most of it. When it comes to space, I've always struggled, too. I have no study, not even a shed or a roomy closet. At the moment, all I have is a tiny desk in the corner of the bedroom where I rest my laptop of an evening and try to produce good words. But it's not really conducive to the production of inspired work.

Now, things have changed.

Thanks to a family friend I now have a study in her house, and it's a beautiful house. Surrounded by gorgeous flower-filled gardens and a view of the bay that is quite stunning, Peace Cottage is the ideal idyll for the writer. The study is spacious and airy with plenty of light, and I am surrounded by library shelves filled with the most amazing old books. Inspiration is all around me.


Today I spent my first afternoon there and produced over two thousand words, a chapter and a half of my new book (the follow-up to The Hotel Galileo). I'm going back tomorrow for the whole day and I can't wait. At last, a place to go, a peaceful refuge for a cluttered mind. Peace Cottage. I think it's going to be a wonderful summer...

Friday, April 24, 2009

British Fantasy Awards 2009 - The Long-list

I recently joined the British Fantasy Society and as a fully paid-up member I am now eligible to vote in the society's distinguished awards. The long-list is extremely long this year, so long in fact, that the BFS have produced a downloadable PDF of all the nominees which can be found at the BFS website by going here: http://www.britishfantasysociety.org/

I am very pleased to see Allyson Bird's first collection Bull Running for Girls (which I raved about a few blog entries ago) receive not only a recommendation for Best Collection, but her story 'The Caul Bearer' has also been recommended in the Best Short Fiction category. I sincerely hope she does well in both categories and goes on to make it onto the shortlists. This won't be possible, of course, without lots of votes. Well, I know where I will be casting mine, but if you are a member and haven't yet made up your mind, then I would recommend taking a peek at Ally's work. You won't be disappointed. You can purchase the papaerback edition of Bull Running for Girls at the all-new Screaming Dreams website (http://www.screamingdreams.com/) at the special reduced rate of £6.99 plus free P&P. You will also find 'The Caul Bearer' available for free download there. Good luck, Ally, and happy reading everybody.

Great also to see that Screaming Dreams has been nominated in the PS Best Small Publishing Award and Steve Upham's excellent ezine Estronomicon is nominated in the Best Magazine category. As expected there is strong competition in all categories and it will be fascinating to see who makes it to the final shortlsists. Exciting, too, to be able to play a small part in choosing them.

Now, where are those voting forms...?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Hotel Galileo

The Hotel Galileo, my first published book, is scheduled to be released next month, and here is a preview of the fantastic cover art by artist Marge Simon.

You can view more of Marge's wonderful artwork here: www.margesimon.com

The Hotel Galileo will be available from May 2009. Check out the publicity page at the Wolfsinger Publications website: http://www.wolfsingerpubs.com/TheHotelGalileo.html

"Sherlock Holmes meets Star Trek meets 28 Days Later" - Rhonda Parrish, editor of Niteblade Magazine

"The Hotel Galileo is well-plotted, fast-paced. A Roaring Twenties-style mystery set aboard a space liner, which will leave you wondering 'Whodunit' the moment you crack open the pages." - Lawrence Dagstine, author of Fresh Blood (Sam's Dot Publishing)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Hotel Galileo Publication Update

Things are moving forward apace regarding publication of my novella, The Hotel Galileo. I was fully expecting it to appear towards the end of the year but publisher Carol Hightshoe contacted me the other day to inform she was hoping to release the book in May. I'm currently working on the advance reading copy and after that it'll be all systems go. I'm so excited. It will be so great to finally have a book 'out there'. I'm already far along with the next book (almost done) and planning a further dark fantasy novel as the next project. I've been dreaming of this moment since I was eleven years old. Twenty-five years of waiting has not lessened the feeling of excitement I'm feeling right now, I assure you.

More news to follow...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Star Trek: Reboot...are we excited about this?

When it was announced in late 2007 that Paramount Pictures were planning to reboot the Star Trek movie franchise, the initial reaction from fans and non-fans alike was underwhelming to say the least. The last Trek movie, Nemesis (2002), performed poorly at the box office and fans felt it was little more than a pale imitation of the franchise’s arguably finest moment, The Wrath of Khan, but it was just too ‘lite’ to light up the screen and people stayed away in droves. After that, general feeling was somewhere in the region of ‘let sleeping dogs lie’. Then, out of left-field, JJ Abrams (Alias, Lost, MI:3) was attached to the project, and a Spock-like eyebrow was raised all round. Fascinating. Surely, if anyone could inject new life into Gene Roddenberry’s space baby it was Abrams?
And so the questions began: which Trek crew would it be? Not The Next Generation, that’s for sure. Not Deep Space 9. (That one was going nowhere, literally!) Not Voyager, either. (They wrapped that up pretty smartly on TV). So, surely it had to be Enterprise, the much-maligned last ditch effort of the franchise’s television arm? The show was axed once, brought back for one more season only to be axed again. (Sometimes it’s more merciful to set your phasers to ‘kill’ and not ‘stun’, if you catch my drift!)
Well, Mr Abrams, was it to be the Enterprise crew?
No, said Mr Abrams.
“Then what on Genesis could it be?” the world screamed (well, on the internet, no one can hear you scream.)
I don’t think anyone was really expecting the announcement that the franchise was going back to the Kirk/Spock era. I certainly didn’t. My initial feelings were a mixture of excitement and trepidation. I loved the Classic Crew. Star Trek 2, 3 and 4 are still among my favourite movies of all time. Those three movies form a neat trilogy and I believe it was there that Star Trek reached its zenith, exploring and expanding on the underlying ideals that were at the heart of the original TV series, and giving them an almost epic treatment. And with Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home (a.k.a. the One with the Whales), the franchise even managed to bring in people who weren’t Star Trek fans; justifiably, the movie went on to be the most successful Trek movie of all. After that everything diminished to a greater or lesser degree.
If there was a downside to the Classic Crew movies (for the uninitiated that’s Star Trek 1-6, with a slight overlap on 7) it was the spectre of age upon the cast. The sterling work done on those first six movies was undermined by endless jokes about Zimmer frames and phasers set to ‘afternoon nap’. While Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley examined the grand themes of friendship and sacrifice and loss, all people wanted to do was poke fun at Shatner’s (alleged) wig and ever-expanding paunch, which really wasn’t the point. Shame.
What people really wanted to see was the original cast (and they were a great cast) running around like they did in the original TV series, if not with those primary-coloured shirts then at least with the same energy. And that, in a nutshell, is what JJ Abrams is about to attempt. Except, of course, with a brand new cast...and the shirts. Chris Pine (Smokin' Aces) will be sitting in Captain Kirk’s chair; Zachary Quinto (Sylar in Heroes) will be donning Spock’s pointy ears; and Karl Urban (Eomer in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy) will be filling McCoy’s size 12s. Whether these fresh-faced young whipper-snappers will be able to fill the shoes left behind by Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley remains to be seen, and will no doubt be debated on countless internet forums for a long time to come.
I, for one, feel as excited about the whole enterprise (sorry) as I did back in 1979 when, aged eight, I breathlessly awaited the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the first attempt to bring Star Trek to a new audience and a new generation. Although, in retrospect, the movie was a bit of a disappointment for an eight year old. I had more fun making cardboard Star Trek figures and ships out of the movie tie-in Weetabix boxes than I did sitting in the cinema watching that overlong, poe-faced spectacle which almost killed the movie franchise before it got going, but that’s a discussion for another time.
What I’m most excited about is the prospect of taking my seven year old son to see the new movie. Star Trek was always about hope (hope for the future specifically) and I hope this latest reboot is a massive success and leads to more (good) Trek movies in years to come. Die-hard fans may already be appalled at the audacity of what they see as ‘treading on hallowed ground’, whilst the majority of fans will have impossibly-high expectations which the movie could never hope to meet. But we can always hope. Hope is good. Hope is human. It is also, as Spock would say, “not logical”.
Star Trek is scheduled for release May 8 2009.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Small Steps...

The writing has continued these past few months but at a slower pace than ever before. I’m surprised, though, how I have trained myself to be more productive despite having less and less time. When I get the odd hour to work on a story, I do it. If I can snatch a couple of hours to do edits on my next book, I do the edits. Time is precious to me now, more so than ever, so I don’t have the luxury of goofing off and faffing about with stuff which is really just procrastination dressed up as something far more important and appealing. You know the stuff of which I speak…
Anyway, I recently received an advance from Wolfsinger Publications for my novella ‘The Hotel Galileo’. Such an amazing feeling, hard to describe, and I couldn’t help but feel a certain sense of…I don’t know, that maybe this is a bit more ‘serious’ now. A great but weird feeling. I am looking forward to the book release with barely contained excitement and anticipation. I’m already getting requests from work colleagues and fellow writers to keep a copy for them. Cannot wait to see the cover art…
My story ‘The Transmuted Engine’ is still under submission at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, a pro-paying ezine. I am holding my breath on that one. As it happens, I am currently in the process of expanding the universe from that story into a full-length dark fantasy novel. I love fantasy, I really do. I enjoyed Terry Brooks’ Shannara books as a teenager, I love China Mieville’s Bas-Lag trilogy of books now, and The Lord of the Rings is my favourite movie trilogy of all time; but I’ve resisted writing a fantasy novel until now because I didn’t feel I had anything new or exciting to bring to the fantasy genre. However, it was a fellow writer who, whilst critiquing ‘Engine’, suggested I consider writing a novel set in the Tasia universe. I’m going to give it a go, and so far, early sketches are proving to be quite interesting and exciting.
I’m ready to start work on the third draft of ‘The Silver Sea’. This will be the hardest draft, I think, because it’s about the nitty-gritty. But the end is in sight for this one, and that is an encouraging thought.
That’s me for now. I hope all of you are getting the breaks you deserve.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Dead of Night Awards

Yes, folks, it's that time of year again. Screaming Dreams are holding their annual Dead of Night Awards for Best Author and Best Artist. This is a list of authors/artists who have contributed to the Screaming Dreams ezine Estronomicon or to the eBook section in 2008. Voting closes on March 7th 2009. To cast your vote you can email the editor Steve Upham directly at: steveATscreamingdreams.com, replacing AT with @, and in the message include the name of the author and/or artist you wish to vote for. To see the full list of eligible author and artist names visit the Screaming Dreams website here:

If you vote for me I will love you forever.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The new issue of ArkhamTales is online and available for free download. My story 'Inheritance' is scheduled to appear in a future issue. If you like Lovecraftian fiction, this magazine is for you.

Download it here: http://www.arkhamtales.com/

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Dark Love Story for Valentine's Day...

Madrigal

They met by moonlight in the shadows of the bone garden — a place of relative sanctuary in the old ruined city — and there lay down together, servant and princess, in the dust and the scattered remnants of ended lives. The boy, Stille, held his young lover close, drowning her in passionate kisses and limitless promises, for such was the capacity of his young heart that his love knew no bounds: he pledged to Almira his love for all eternity.
But Almira's father, King of the ruined city, discovered their affair from a servant's loose lips, and on the night of their next scheduled rendezvous, sent his men to the bone garden.
When the princess arrived she found only a small cloth sack with her name written upon the fabric. Inside was Stille's tongue, still bloody, still warm.
She wanted to cry out with sorrow and rage, but did not. Like Stille, she remained silent.
Almira knew that her father had ordered this. The king told her she was forbidden to ever see the boy again. And even if she did, he could no longer whisper his words of love to her. Their love affair was over.
Yet several nights later, the grieving princess found a familiar figure on her balcony. Her heart leapt for joy on seeing his beautiful face. She rushed forward to kiss him, but Stille held her back with a raised hand.
In her passion, she had almost forgotten how her lover had been mutilated.
The princess hung her head. Her father was right. She would never again hear Stille's whispered words of love...
But Stille had found a way.
The boy removed his cloak and lifted Almira's chin. By candle-light she saw twisted calligraphy sprawling across his entire body — a madrigal written on the fabric of his skin, a declaration of love that could never be silenced.

(This story first appeared in Antipodean SF in 2005.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bull Running for Girls by Allyson Bird

Just finished reading:

Believe everything you may have heard about Allyson Bird’s debut collection Bull Running for Girls (Screaming Dreams Press, 2008), folks: this collection of adventure-horror tales is a stunning, absorbing read. The stories blend together seamlessly to create a unique travelogue style, mixing in supernatural horror and suspense, terror and tragedy. The twenty-one stories take in such locations as Pamplona (for the title story), Madison County, U.S., Hong Kong, the Silk Road in China, Bordeaux, Pompeii and more. So hard to pick a favourite story (they are all equally enchanting), but the highlights for me were ‘The Conical Witch’, ‘The Sly Boy Bar and Eatery’, ‘In a Pig’s Ear’, ‘Blood in Madness Ran’ and the longest story, ‘Silence is Golden’, all of which left me with the most amazing images in my mind long after having finished reading them.

The book is dedicated to Ally’s mother and her sister who both passed away recently, and it’s a wonderful tribute to them and to Ally as a writer that the book is filled with true heart and emotion. The book has been so popular they sold out of all copies at FantasyCon last year and had to order a second print run. I am very excited to hear that Ally is working on a novel. Judging by this glowing debut, it will be one to look out for.
To pick up your copy, contact Ally at: http://www.birdsnest.me.uk/
Cover art by Vincent Chong.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Jupiter SF #23 Out Now!

From the website: "Issue 23 of Jupiter: Kalyke is out now! This issue features 5 stories. The Weight of Shadows by Lee Moan, The Darken Loop by Huw Langridge (this is a follow on from Huws story The Ceres Configuration which was featured way back in issue 4), Thicker Than Water by Ian Sales, The Rule of Law by Elaine Graham-Leigh (a prequel to her story The Blue Man's Burden from issue 18), Notes from the Apocalypse by Michael Pepper and finally a short The Bridge of the Compass Rose by John Rogers."

The cover is by yours truly.

If you wish to purchase a copy of this issue, or any of the back issues of Jupiter SF, go here: http://www.jupitersf.co.uk/index.htm
Jupiter SF costs £2.75 for a single issue.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Hotel Galileo to be published in 2009

Well, I'm still stunned, excited, delirious. After a polite query to Carol Hightshoe at Wolfsinger Press asking about the status of my short novel submission, 'The Hotel Galileo', I received a reply offering me a contract for publication! I was so excited about this I couldn't sleep Sunday night. Woke up for work this morning completely knackered and wondering if I'd imagined it! But no, it's true. Carol said the book was scheduled to be released "sometime in 2009" as a paperback edition as well as an eBook version for Kindle etc. The paperback will be available to buy through Amazon.com.

This is the culmination of two, maybe three years' work. The Hotel Galileo is, so far, one of the most enjoyable writing expereinces I've had so far. I really did have a ball writing it, and it was one of the first times I finished a project and was able to read it back over and feel really proud of it. (I've written several other novels prior to this which remain in a drawer and shall never see the light of day!)

So, what's it all about?

'The Hotel Galileo' is a murder mystery set in an alternate version of the Roaring Twenties where Mankind has ventured out into the stars. The action takes place on board the famed space hotel of the title, where an alien dignitary is murdered shortly after arrival. It is up to Barclay Heath, "one of the greatest detective mind's in the known universe", to see through the web of lies and subterfuge and uncover the deadly plot and the mystery which lies at the heart of the Hotel Galileo.

What else can I say? It's got dancehalls and flappers and the costumes of the Roaring Twenties all set in the plush surroundings of a steam-powered space hotel. It's a whodunnit, a whydunnit, a locked-room mystery with hidden chambers, unexpected twists and ancient alien mysticism.

And it's coming soon...