Sunday, November 29, 2015

Something squamous this way comes

As mentioned in my last blog post, this Saturday (the 28th of November) saw the release of the new book from KnightWatch Press, "New Tales of the Old Ones".  I hadn't contributed to this particular collection, but as I've joined the KnightWatch fold through two releases in 2016 ("A Thousand Tiny Knives" and "Weird Ales: Last Orders") I came along to contribute.

If you haven't been to Southcart books, you really should correct that.  I'm a sucker for bookshops, especially second hand ones, and Southcart is a particularly good one, spanning the epic hemispheres of both new and used*:).   It was my first visit to Wallsall, let alone Southcart books, but Scott and Amy Carter (the owners) put on a fantastic day. Lots of wine and nibbles for all visitors.  A dab of red wine may have been had before I had to read my own piece.

As you've probably guessed from the title of the event, it was - as well as an event to release the new book - a celebration of Lovecraft and his works. I got to meet my editor Theresa Derwin at last, as well a number of other excellent authors. 

It was an excellent day. We heard about Great Cthulhu's online dating attempts and the Damp Ones respectively from Jonathan Butcher and Chris Amies, and an except from the new book from Michael Brush.  There was a fascinating biographical piece about Lovecraft and Astronomy from A. Stuart Williams (who also read his story from the aforementioned anthology), and a great reading from Richard Bruce Clay.  Not to mention some wonderful musical accompaniment by the supremely talented Jessica Law.  Some fantastic talents all crammed into a wonderful reading room!

Photo Credit: James Josiah
I'd - as per usual - completely misunderstood the brief, but had luckily confirmed with Theresa about a week before that I needed to have an original story.  I had a few stories that were could have tenuously linked to the Mythos, but none that could do it justice.  I had the basis of an idea that I spent a few days writing into a piece that would take about 20 minutes to read, and to my relief, it went down well.  I'm still nervous about public speaking, and this is one of the few pieces I've read that didn't feel uncomfortable - after a while where it was obvious the audience were enjoying it, I started enjoying it too - and that's a first!

So, all in all, an excellent day.  Lovely to put some faces to names of people whose works I've read, and nice to be a part of such a special day with such a great group of people.

There may have been drinks imbimbed once the event finished, but that's a story (and a blackmail attempt) for another day.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

ALSO: "Caped", the superhero anthology that I've contributed towards - and mentioned in my last blog post - is now available to buy.

(* pre-loved)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Are you absolutely positive it isn't a bird?

Three bits of news;

Firstly, I'm pleased to announce that "Caped" (a superhero themed anthology collection from Local Hero Press which contains my story "Sovereign's Last Hurrah") is now available to pre-order.

It'll be officially released on Tuesday November the 24th, and can be ordered from the following links;

It contains the following eighteen stories;

And Introducing the Scarlet Scrapper by Leonard Apa: A Golden Age tale of an actor who hates playing a superhero on the radio but discovers a new role awaiting him. 
Sovereign’s Last Hurrah by David Court: In a retirement home, elderly supervillains scheme to return an item of power to their greatest enemy. 
RIGHTMAN! Loses the Faith by Gary Cuba: Being a superhero is what you make of it, and what you can make from it. 
Dax and the Red Eyes by Adrienne Dellwo: Dax's disability prevents him from telling anyone about his brother using powers to hurt people. 
Dum Dum by Leod D. Fitz: Some supervillains are geniuses, and others are simply well-trained. 
Light Therapy by Che Gilson: Being a sidekick is a thankless job. 
Pinning Portugal by Elliotte Rusty Harold: A group of supervillains hatches a new scheme that naturally goes awry. 
When Fukayna Danced Her Libraries by Jake Johnson: Eventually even superheroes need to step away from the job. 
Super Frenemies by Stephen Kotowych: A group of super-powered children take on the neighborhood bully with surprising results. 
The Faces of the Wind by Laura Lamoreaux: After World War II, the country no longer needed superheroes, leaving the heroes with difficult decisions. 
Capacity Crowds by Paul McMahon: He wants to be a real superhero, but can't seem to find a villain to match him. 
Heart of the Matter by Robert J. Mendenhall: Cameron's powers are preventing the medical treatment that may save his life. 
Ebony Boneshaft, Secret Superhero by Wendy Qualls: She didn't mean to discover Ebony Boneshaft's secret identity, and when she did, it caused no end of trouble for her. 
Eye of the Beholder by Dave Ring: Being seen as the object of everyone's desire is a poor way to live life. 
I Am Hathor by Aaron Michael Ritchey & Jason Henry Evans: Balancing superheroics and motherhood is a difficult dance for Hathor. 
The Romulus Proposition by Tim Rohr: When the mighty have fallen, it's probably because they were pushed. 
Saul, Again by Eric Rosenfield: A time traveler takes a circuitous, long-term approach to facing a dangerous villain. 
Damn the Dark, Damn the Light by K. H. Vaughan: There's a fine line between heroism and nihilism and sooner or later everyone crosses it.

Secondly, some more details on the Cthulhu Calling day mentioned in the last blog post on here. KnightWatch press are releasing their Cthulhu themed anthology "New Tales of the Old Ones", and a selection of writers and artists will be attending Southcart books on Saturday the 28th of November.  (I don't have a story in the anthology, but will hanging around like a Banquo at the banquet).  A selection of authors (myself included) will be reading from Lovecraftian themed works, whilst artists show off their various squamous tentacled wares. 

There's a tentative schedule for the day, which is as follows:

Date: Sat 28th November
Time: 10:30 - 15:45
Venue: Southcart Books, 20 - 21 Lower Hall Lane, Walsall
10:30 - 11:00 Browse and Buy!
11:00 - 11:05 Scott and Amy: Welcome
11:05 - 11:10 Theresa: Introduction
11:10 - 12:00 Panel, "Cthulhu Forever: why has the Cthulhu Mythos lasted so long?" (moderated by Theresa Derwin, with A Stuart Williams, Jonathan Butcher, Richard Bruce Clay)
12:00 - 12:25 Richard Bruce Clay
12:25 - 12:50 Sam Sketch Paskin: Art work and imagining Lovecraft
12:50 - 13:20 Break (enjoy wine and nibbles)
13:20 - 13:45 A Stuart Williams; Terror Out of Space: H.P. Lovecraft's Astronomical Universe
13:45 - 14:15 Book launch: New Tales of the Old Ones from KnightWatch Press
14:15 - 14:40 Michael R Brush
14:40 - 15:05 Yours truly
15:05 - 15:30 Jonathan Butcher
15:30 - 15:55 Rob Cartwright

A facebook link to the event can be found here, or here for those of you who don't do social networking. Come along and say hello - it promises to be great sanity-wrecking fun. Your Elder Gods command it.  (Mental note: Must finish my Lovecraft themed childrens book The Colouring In Out of Space)

And finally, just a shout out to my fellow author Elizabeth Earle, who I've mentioned before on this blog - We first became friends almost a year ago to the day at a book signing at The Big Comfy Bookshop in Fargo Village, Coventry. She's just released an excellent kids book - "The Adventures of Captain Claw Paw" (the adventures of a Pirate Cat and his motley crew) which was released this weekend.  Profits from it are going to an excellent cause in Charlie's Beach Hut, Elizabeth both wrote and illustrated it, and it's thoroughly charming.  Grab your copy from The Big Comfy Bookshop or online from here.  It's a great kids book, an incredibly worthy cause, and I wish it all the success in the world.  I was lucky enough to see the work in progress as this book was being completed, and the final result is better than I could have imagined.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Exciting updates! (Disclaimer: Your definition of "exciting" may vary)

Updates for this blog are like buses - you wait ages for something, and then loads of them pop up at once.

My superhero short story "Sovereign's Last Hurrah" (a tale of the goings-on in a retirement home for aged superheroes and villains) has been accepted and will be published in the superhero anthology book "Caped", due for release on November the 30th by Local Hero Press.  Pre-orders for this title will be available from November 1st and I'll post the link up here when I have more details.

Secondly, my story "In Vino Veritas, In Vino Mors" will be published in the third volume of Weird Ales, due for release by KnightWatch press next September.  Weird Ales is an anthology series covering two of my favourite topics; The supernatural and booze.  "In Vino Veritas, In Vino Mors" is the tale of an aged collector of very unusual drinks.

Both "Sovereigns Last Hurrah" and "In Vino Veritas, In Vino Mors" are stories I'm particularly proud of and it's genuinely exciting to be published by Local Hero Press and KnightWatch for the first time (and to humbly share a book with a host of incredibly talented writers).

And finally, my short story "83" has been accepted by the excellent Audio Horror Fiction magazine "Tales to Terrify" - no date for when this will be broadcast yet, but I'll be sure to keep you all updated.  "83" is a story about the interview from hell.  Literally.

Cover WIP - Subject to a lot of change.
Pertinent links are as follows;
Local Hero Press LLC
KnightWatch Press
Tales to Terrify

In other news, "Scenes of Mild Peril" is at the proof-reading stage and is due for release around the middle of next year.  It's a lot bigger than both "Shadow cast by the world" and "Forever and Ever, Armageddon" with more tales and they're mostly longer ones at that.

And finally, I'm helping out at Cthulhu Calling day on November 28th. KnightWatch press are launching their Cthulhu themed anthology "New Tales of the Old Ones" and I'll be reading from some Lovecraftian themed works - Come along and hear me struggle with the word "Wgah'nagl! This event is taking place at Southcart books in Walsall over most of the day.  Should be great fun - pop along.

More updates as I have them!

Peace and Love,
Ringo Starr David

Friday, June 12, 2015

Scenes of Mild Peril

As it's been a long while since I've updated this because I've either been poorly or doing some actual writing and stuff, I thought I'd bring you up to speed with regards to what I've been working on over the past couple of months. That, and the blog is starting to atrophy through disuse.

Along with tidying up some scripts for Twisted Dark (and Twisted Sci-fi), I've also been working on the early stages of a Super Special Secret Project with the incredibly talented Simon Myers (of Pretty Funky fame) - it's very much in the thrashing out ideas stage at the moment, but we're bouncing some really good stuff off each other and I think it's going to be pretty damn special.

But the main thing is the impending release of my third collection of short stories (following in the footsteps of "The Shadow Cast By The World" and "Forever and Ever, Armageddon") 

The title for it is now officially "Scenes of Mild Peril", and it's a collection of 24 brand new stories (and a couple of poems thrown in as well after a few people moaned about their omission in FAEA).  It's considerably bigger than the previous two books, because I've enjoyed crafting some longer stories in this one. I'm really pleased with it.

Not Actual Size. Contents may settle during transit.

The photograph that accompanies this piece is merely a work in progress. Although it's still early days yet, I'm anticipating that the finished article will resemble an actual book (with all the usual gubbins of a cover, pages and a spine) as opposed to a promotional stress-relief toy in the shape of a van with "Scenes of Mild Peril" crudely scrawled on the top with a promotional ballpoint pen.

It's in the proof-reading and cover design stage at the moment, but I'm hoping to get it released by the end of September 2015 at the very latest. More information as I have it as we draw nearer to the release date.

Whilst I've got your attention, I urge you to look to the right and have a gander at the "Books, Films and Random Lunacy" link that's hovering there. It's written by my very good friend George Bastow, who is a fellow Midlander, a young talent of some repute and a real name to watch out for.  Well worth a few moments of your time.

There's also an interview floating around online - namely here - that I did for another local author Daniel Burton as part of his Journalism and Media module for Coventry University.

Thanks for your time and I now return you to your normal programming...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Bit of Peace and Quiet

Angus McGole was a miserable soul,
who hated the company of others.
Even as a child, he’d be mostly inside,
and would rarely play out with his brothers.

That hermit McGole had a heart black as coal,
And rarely did leave his own flat.
Being with people, you see, made him quite angry.
He couldn't even stand his own cat!

Angus McGole has in life just one goal,
and that’s to live somewhere remote.
But his budget won’t meet that of a mountain retreat,
so he’s stuck here for now, the old goat.

It’s the wee early hours of one morning
when Angus is watching TV
and an advert comes on, and McGole's quite transfixed.
It seems custom-made for him, you see.

They’re wanting some volunteers at NASA
and are recruiting from all over the place.
They’re wanting a fella to travel interstellar
and to be boldly flung out into space.

“Jings!” thinks McGole, “it sounds perfect!”
And books his flight right there and then.
“I’ll go into space, leave the whole human race,
and nae one’ll bother me again”.

So Angus finds himself at NASA,
With a handful of other brave souls.
They do loads of tests, to find who is best,
And the best of the best is… McGole.
“We’ll be launching you off in a rocket,
It’ll be further than man’s ever flown.
You’ll be landing on a planet way out there
and we’ll test how you cope all alone.”

“We’re after the right kind of person.
They’ll need to be mentally fit.
Does that sound anything like you?”
“Aye, a bit,” smirked McGole, “Just a bit.”

So McGole is sat there on the launch pad,
and listening as they count down from ten,
then the boosters ignite and old Angus takes flight,
hoping never to see people again.

As our world shrinks away on the view screen
and Angus travels out deep in space,
he takes off his gloves and he flicks Earth the V’s,
“In your face, human race, in your face!”

The first five years spent were a doddle,
the next five even easier still.
He’s happy as can be, in his own company,
his life-time achievement fulfilled.

An alarm sounds, he looks at the view-screen.
He can see his new home out in space,
The rocket slows now as it prepares to touch down,
and there’s a huge smile on Angus’s face.

He carefully puts on his spacesuit,
He can’t wait to get out and explore.
The airlock opens wide, and he’s then horrified,
by the thing that he sees out the door.

A city with millions of people,
It’s even more crowded than Earth.
He sinks to his knees and cries “Ach no, God, please..”
(but no answer comes, for what it’s worth).

“Good news!” said a man, sent to greet him.
“You’ll have company now, never you fear.”
“Just as you took flight, we invented Faster Than Light.
And luckily enough, beat you here!”

Friday, March 13, 2015

“It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.”

RIP Terry Pratchett.  You contributed to my love of reading and you took me on some incredible journeys, making me laugh along the way. The joy you gave me then is equally matched by the sorrow I feel at your passing. The world is a little sadder and more mundane a place without you in it.

Sir Terence David John "TerryPratchett OBE 
28th April 1948 – 12th March 2015

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Catching up...

Hello to you all! It's been an absolute age since I updated this blog, so I thought I'd spend a few moments letting you know what I've been up to and what's coming up in the future.

As well as working on some scripts for the excellent independent horror comic "Twisted Dark", I've had a flurry of activity writing some stories for a possible new short story collection to be released early next year - As yet untitled. (Incidentally, I was in fact tempted to actually call it "Untitled" or "As yet untitled" but some bugger's already nicked that idea.)

There's one piece I've written - Perspective - that's much longer than one of my usual short stories, that I'm really pleased with.  It's a story of a desperate colonists on a space flight gone horribly, horribly wrong that I genuinely didn't want to stop writing.  The rest of them are the usual mix of horror (including one visceral tale set in complete darkness that I'm really pleased with), science-fiction and satire.  More on this collection as it increases in size...

I've been lucky enough to be one of the first people to be able to read and give their opinions on two books for children that are currently being worked on by my good friends Elizabeth Earle (of Benedict and Blackwell fame) and the comedian Trevor Ship.  Both are very different types of book, but both look great and I can't wait to see them released!

The Finished Piece, prior to a bit of digital tweaking before it
goes in the book.
One of the highlights of the last couple of weeks was attending the opening of the "Muscle Memory" exhibition by the ridiculously talented and thoroughly decent bloke Al Davison (The Spiral Cage, Hellblazer). As well as catching up my friend George Bastow (who is a talent to watch out for and has a quite excellent blog) the highlight was seeing Al paint a page from it live which was being auctioned as he worked on it. I'll admit to bidding way more than I'd set as my top limit, but in the end it went for an impressive (but well worth it) £550.

He has a patreon page to raise funds for the second volume of his graphic autobiography, a book about his experiences growing up with Spina-Bifida. It's well worth your support. The exhibition itself has just recently closed, but there's another exhibition running for four weeks from the 11th of April where Al will be creating the exhibition live performing a version of his one man show as he paints - this is again at Fargo village. The tales from his past that Al relates are as funny as they are heartbreaking - well worth a visit.

In closing though, two things I've read recently that I've really enjoyed, that I really can't recommend highly enough.

The Girl with all the Gifts by Mike Carey
I was lucky enough to briefly meet Mike and get a signed copy of this at the signing I did at the Big Comfy Bookshop last year for release of "Forever and Ever, Armageddon". I could sing the praises of this book till the cows come home, but it's one I'm reluctant to say much about for risk of ruining the myriad of surprises in store. As poignant as it is horrific, it moves effortlessly between fantastic characterisation to bloody horror.  I absolutely flew through this book - it's the old cliché to say "I couldn't put it down", but it gripped me in a way that nothing I've read has for a considerable amount of time. I'm familiar with Mike from his comic work on Lucifer and Hellblazer, but.. wow.

Something Nicer by Andrew Lawston
If you're a visitor to this blog, you've probably found it through reading one of my books - and if so, you can't help but notice I'm rather fond of a short story. Nobody does them better than Andrew. The first collection was brilliant, and this one is even better. You'll plough through them in no time, but you'll have an excellent time doing so. (There are some utterly cringe-worthy puns lurking in there, but I for one can't criticise anybody for that!)

More updates very soon. Take care x