Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Virus of Penzance

"I am the very model of a modern major malady,
Thriving in your respiratory tract via nasal or oral cavity
Know that you should wash your hands, It’s proven immunological
From pathogen from me to you, in order pathological."

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Scenes of Mild Peril - An Evolution

The original pre-publisher prototype cover
for "Scenes of Mild Peril".  I'm rather fond of this
design, and might use it for another project.

Back in September of 2018, Scenes of Mild Peril was released. It was a culmination of several years of work, being a collection of thirty stories both new and reprinted from elsewhere (where the rights had reverted to me, at any rate).

As I've mentioned elsewhere, it was a bit of a disaster. I was incredibly proud of the book, but the publishers were trying a new distribution model and I ended up falling foul of being the guinea pig for this experiment. Ultimately, the formatting was shot - each page had non-existent inner margins, meaning that you couldn't physically open the book wide enough to read the stories.

As a result of this - and the laborious process of sorting it out - I became disheartened. Despite an amazing review in Issue #51 of Scream Magazine, and a lot of positive buzz, I couldn't summon up any enthusiasm for marketing it. Despite the fact that there was an electronic edition out there which read perfectly well, it didn't feel worthy of promotion until there was an actual readable physical copy that I could be proud of. Something I was proud to put my name to. I was having to warn my friends not to actually buy any physical copies of it, which wasn't exactly the kind of promotion I'd envisaged.

Version 1 of Scenes of Mild Peril - now 
with Ultrathin(tm) inner margins!
Eventually the issues were sorted out - brilliantly, in fact - but it took a long, long time and by then it was too late. Any enthusiasm I'd had, had atrophied away. Reviews limped in - and really good reviews, at that - but it felt as though the time for Scenes of Mild Peril had come and gone.

This was devastating, as I feel as though this book contains some of the best stories I've ever written. The whole experience almost put me off writing for good, feeling that there little point in working on things that weren't being read.

But then, the rights reverted back to me. And with it under my total control again, I felt as though it was worth a final push. So, it's been re-released, is a good couple of quid cheaper, and is finally the book I wanted to release all along.

So, if you haven't picked up a copy yet, I'd love you to. I really want this out there and read, as it's something that I'm particularly proud of.

Like "The Shadow Cast by the World" and "Forever and Ever, Armageddon" before it, it's a collection of short science-fiction and horror stories, with a few poems thrown in for good measure. And it's thick - boy, is it thick. At around 338 pages, you could easily use it to disarm an assailant or to shield yourself from the explosion from a fragmentation grenade.

If you're after a copy, the new printing can be found here. Whatever your flavour of Amazon, it's the cheaper of the two paperback formats available. If you're after a signed copy, pop your £7.99 to my PayPal at davidjcourt at googlemail.com, and I'll happily get a copy sent to you.

And if you already own Scenes of Mild Peril and would like to help, spread the word by leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or anywhere that readers visit. The most important part of how well a book does is how many positive reviews it has, and if you leave me one you are directly helping me continue on this journey as a writer.

With love and genuine thanks,
David


And if that's not enough to convince you to get a copy, how about a word from this handsome awkward brute?






Tuesday, December 31, 2019

That was the year that was - 2019

I won’t be particularly sorry to see the back of 2019.

From a personal perspective, it hasn’t been a pleasant one. It has had its highlights – a lovely trip to Dublin in which I finally got to thank Michael Carroll of Judge Dredd fame in person for his lovely blurb for “Forever and Ever, Armageddon” and some lovely holidays (a stag do in Latvia that saw me firing AK-47’s in a terrifying underground bunker, and a considerably less weapon-based break in Budapest) – but my heart hasn’t been entirely in it.

Not the writer you want at your side in a Zombie Apocalypse - Here
author David Court struggles to hit a Latvian barn door at 10 paces
My mental health has taken a bit of a blow again this year, with depression rearing its ugly head as well as a health scare with my blood pressure. I’m lucky enough to know the cause of both issues – my day job – but it’s felt at times like I’ve been about to snap. Work have been very understanding – even tolerating me handing in and rescinding handing in my notice - and my work has gotten considerably easier to cope with, but it’s been far from easy.

To this end, the last thing I’ve wanted to do after a day of sitting in front of a screen is coming home and sitting in front of another. My writing has suffered considerably, and it’s been one of the least productive years I’ve had since I started back in 2013.

The formatting of my last book – Scenes of Mild Peril – finally got sorted out by the publisher, but it was all a case of too little, too late. Despite a lovely Scream review last year, there’s been very little take-up of it - although the few reviews it received have been lovely and very favourable. The rights revert to me very imminently, so I’m possibly planning a relaunch if there is enough interest.

On a more positive note, March saw the release of “The Theory”, TPub’s sci-fi take on their successful “Twisted Dark” brand. It features two of my stories – the opening tale “Obsession”, and a giant mech story “Battlesuit”. I got to promote this in person at MCM Birmingham and MCM London, attending a panel at each.

MCM London - Look!  There's a big picture of my face behind me, and
everything!
(Almost didn’t get into MCM London as they’d screwed up my speakers pass, but you’ll be glad to know that at no stage did I scream out “Do you know who I am?”)

There’s also been some good spin-off news from this, as Battlesuit is currently been filmed as an animated short by Hasraf Dulull, giving me my second IMDB credit(!). More news on this as I get it in the new year.

April saw the release of “A Town called Hell”; Burdizzo book’s ambitious shared universe horror anthology. I was a late invite to this, but contributed “And Heeeere’s your Host”, my story of a suicidal washed-out American Gameshow host. Burdizzo also released the first volume of their Burdizzo Bards books, and this included my poem “The Lantern”.

Also in April, Local Hero Press released the fifth volume of their “The Good Fight” superhero series, and this included my story “Blare the Bright Fanfares”. This is about a World War 2 Nazi supervillain who has a crisis of conscience, and features the return of the British super-hero “Sovereign” from my story “Sovereign’s Last Hurrah”

An amazing selection of short
stories, each inspired by
a particular song.
“Maps”, a story I wrote whilst holidaying in Croatia in 2018, featured in the first volume of “Burdizzo Mix Tape”. It’s inspired by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s song of the same name, and personally I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written. It’s a bit of a diversion for me, being a tale of romance and loss set against the backdrop of a failed multidimensional experiment.

The middle of the year saw the release of my second collection "Forever and Ever, Armageddon" as an audio-book. Kristina Fitzgerald did an amazing job of making my stuff sound good, with her wonderful lilting Irish tones, and I'm incredibly proud of how well this works. 

But, despite not writing much in 2019, I’ve turned my hand to a few articles which the esteemed Horror website Ginger Nuts of Horror have politely published. These have included a triptych of articles about horror in comics (concerning Swamp Thing, Zenith and Judge Death, respectively) as well as articles about Tales of the Unexpected, the new Creepshow reboot and horror-themed board games.  These seem to have gone down quite well, so I'll continue to write for GNoH for as long as Jim lets me.

I plan to be way more productive in 2020. My coming-of-age story set in Coventry in the eighties is currently out in the wild with a few publishers in the hope they'll bite, and I'm hoping to leap back into the industry all guns blazing. I'm not renewing my membership to the Horror Writers Association - it hasn't really been of any use to me, but I know that's a personal thing - but I'm not planning on giving up quite yet.

Here's to a wonderful 2020 for us all. Let the best of this year be the worst of the next, and I hope you'll continue to keep an interest in my writings. Thanks to those of you who've been there in some way for me this year - my fantastic wife, my partners in crime Lance Fling and MF Wahl, and my buddies at Burdizzo books - and a few select other people (you know who you are!).

So, fuck off, 2019.  Roll on 2020.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

September - Maps, Scenes of Mild Peril, Ginger Nuts of Horror and My First Mythos...

Fresh off the press is Burdizzo Book's new anthology collection, "Burdizzo Mix Tape Volume One". The brief for this was quite different - each author was given the choice of a song from a playlist, and the result is the Burdizzo Mix Tape. From The Stone Roses to Black Sabbath, Belle & Sebastian to Carole King, David Bowie to Tom Waits, it's an eclectic selection of both writers and themes, and is well worth checking out.

My own tale, "Maps", is inspired by the Yeah Yeah Yeah's song of the same name, and is a dimension-spanning tale of yearning and lost love.

Another bit of news is that, after a cavalcade of lengthy formatting issues, my last book "Scenes of Mild Peril" is now looking great. It's available in good old fashioned squirrel habitat format or Kindle, and can be found on both Amazon and a variety of other sites. Scream Magazine gave it four out of five skulls in a review that you can reads here.

I've written a triptych of Horror Comic articles for esteemed horror website Ginger Nuts of Horror; one on Swamp Thing, and ones about the 2000ad characters Zenith and Judge Death.

In other writing news, "The High Room", my coming-of-age tale set in Coventry in the eighties, is finished and trying to find a publisher, and my collection "Forever and Ever, Armageddon" is now available as an audiobook and as cheap as chips.

And I also did this, which may entertain those of you with kids and those bloody books... (click to embiggen)



Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Audiobooks! They're like you reading stuff out loud, but in a better voice.


"Forever and Ever, Armageddon" - my collection of short stories from 2014 - is now available as an audiobook from Amazon. Narrated by the wonderful Kristina Fitzgerald, it's a collection of 24 varied short stories; horror, science fiction and satire.
  1. Lucky Penny
  2. Good Dog
  3. These Words Will Come to Haunt You
  4. Once A Pun a Time
  5. KomRaid
  6. Scapegoat
  7. Forever and Ever, Armageddon
  8. You v2.0
  9. Adventurebots Assemble
  10. The Bogey Man
  11. A Change of Tactics
  12. Red Tide
  13. Keeping up with the Joneses
  14. Blasphemous Tumours
  15. BattleSuit
  16. Qil
  17. Undercurrent
  18. RSVP
  19. Adlib to Fade
  20. Tipping the Scales
  21. Double Dare
  22. Three Divided by One
  23. The Muse at Ten
  24. The Everywhere Song
From these stories, BattleSuit features in comic form in the graphic novel The Theory|, available from TPub. Blasphemous Tumours and Undercurrent can be found in the Stitched Smile books Unleashing the Voices Within and Hydrophobia, respectively.

Kristina has done a wonderful job of making my words sound awesome, and I can strongly recommend you give it a listen. If you're inclined to review it (and that would be awesome), drop me a line at davidjcourt at gmail.com and I'll pop you a promotional code.

To join Audible (or sign up for a 30 day free trial) and give this a listen, click here.  To order your copy from Amazon, click here.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018; That was the year that was that was

So, that was 2018.

It’d be easy to write a clinical list of what I’ve done this year, but 2018 has been a little different. It’d be a little disingenuous of me not to mention the downs as well as the ups. You'll no doubt be inundated with a volley of success stories from other authors, but I'll be honest.

Writing can be shit. It can be unrewarding, thankless and make you wonder on occasions why you bother. Depression doesn't make it any easier, either.

2018 has been the year where I’m happy with my writing and output, but it's also the first year since I've started where I've given serious consideration to giving it up altogether.
It’s been an odd one. There have been some successes, but some notable failures too. It’s been a year where I’ve submitted less in order to concentrate more on a new project, but even those relatively few submissions have resulted in some pretty hard-hitting rejections.

But, it's not all doom and gloom - some of it has been great.

The year started with the release of the first volume of the Stitched Smile magazine - this was a long time in the making, but ended up being a lovely piece of work. There's an original story of mine in it - "Our Elegant Decay", a tale of botany and revenge. It can be read here, if you're so inclined.

Visions From The Void" was released in March from the lovely people at Burdizzo Books. An op-art themed anthology, it included “Buddy, can you spare a paradigm”, my everyday tale of a jazz-obsessed detective who can predict the future. It's been really well received, and it's a delight to see my work featured in such an eclectic anthology.
August saw the debut of a new story (“ISOL-8") on the brilliant podcast Starshipsofa.  Wonderfully narrated by Nick Camm, it turned out better than I ever could have hoped. Give it a listen - it's terrific.

"Under the Weather" was released in August by Burdizzo; Another anthology, it's a wonderful collection of weather themed horror tales. My story "Red Sky at Night" features in it, and it's a tale I'm really pleased with.
Scenes Of Mild Peril, my new collection, finally got released in September.  The publisher (Stitched Smile Publications) recently changed their business model to use Ingram Spark, and, despite the advantages this brings over CreateSpace, it’s been an exercise in frustration for all concerned.
It’s a great piece of work (and wonderfully edited) but I’m finding it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to summon up much interest in promoting it. For one, the process has taken so long that these feel like old stories to me now. Secondly, ongoing problems with Ingram Spark have seen a cavalcade of formatting issues with the paperback version – I still haven’t even got a decent physical copy of it myself.  Stitched Smile have been incredibly helpful and are clearly equally as frustrated by the issues, but I'd be lying if I said it hasn’t made what should have been an exciting time a bit of a damp squib.

Still, it's been well received and got a lovely review from Scream Magazine (attached below) which can be clicked to actually make it legible :)


Far better news is that my comic work with TPub, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, will be released next year. Two stories- “Obsession" from Scenes Of Mild Peril, and “Battlesuit" from my previous collection “Forever and Ever, Armageddon" – have been adapted by myself for TPub's upcoming “The Theory". The art has been provided by the stupidly talented Phil Buckenham, and it looks nothing short of incredible.

So, what else for 2019? I'm hoping to release the next collection of short stories (in a book with the working title "An Untruth of Summoners") and I'm currently tidying up a piece of work which is a bit of a diversion. Rather than write something genre-related, I've completed the first draft (the aforementioned "new project") of a coming-of-age tale set in Coventry during the 80's. It's called "The High Room" and I'm really pleased with it - it's a piece of work that's very personal to me, and writing it was quite a cathartic way of finally dealing with the loss of my mum back at the start of the decade.

So, here's to a prosperous and productive 2019 for us all. I hope it brings you that which you desire.

David x