Tuesday, December 27, 2016

That was the year that was (the year that was)

Greetings one and all! Here's hoping that you had an excellent Christmas, and that the new year to come is happy, healthy and productive for us all.

It'd be way to easy to sum up the year we've had, exactly how I put it on Facebook...

But, to honest, although it doesn't seem that way, there's been a little more to it than that. On a writing note, it's been a good year - not quite as busy as 2015, but good nonetheless. A few more short stories have seen the light of day, namely:

"Saviour Machine", my story from this very blog, appeared in "47-16: Inspired by David Bowie" from Penny Dreadful Publications,  "Blasphemous Tumours", the everyday tale of the unlikely friendship between a man and his sentient cancer, appeared in "Unleashing the Voices Within" from Stitched Smile Publications and  "The Digit That Was Death", a comedy horror tale about a most unusual possession, appeared in the third volume of "Strangely Funny" from Mystery and Horror, LLC.  A couple of my stories also appeared on various online story websites.

September also saw the first Big Comfy Bookshop Literature festival, in which I was lucky enough to be a part of. More details can be found here.

"Scenes of Mild Peril" is still being worked on, but the new novel "Recreant" (or rather Book One of it) is now very nearly complete, is due for release next year and is available to read in serialised first draft format over on Wattpad - click the link here to read it.

Probably one of the best things to happen in the year is getting more involved with the lovely people at Stitched Smile - They're a great bunch, and I hope to be working with them and releasing things through them for the foreseeable future.

On a final note, if you've any Christmas spirit left, the regular Christmas Show that my wife and I do for Coventry Hospital radio is available for your listening pleasure by clicking here.

Happy New Year, and catch you in 2017!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Paris, November 2015.

This post is a bit of a diversion from the usual (although I will mention that I've just put the finishing touches to a new short story "Macrocosm, Microcosm, Macrocosm, Microcosm, let's call the whole thing off").

One year ago today, Tara and I were in Paris. We were on the second leg of our holiday which had seen us in Amsterdam earlier in the week, and we were about to spend a day at Disneyland Paris.  We'd been there before for our honeymoon, so it seemed rude not to pay a visit to Mickey and his friends whilst we were in the area.

After an exhausting day of rollercoasters and junk food, we decided to get off a few stops before our hotel and find somewhere for a drink. A short distance away from the Republica Metro Station, we stumbled into Flann O' Brien's Irish Bar (you can take the girl out of Ireland, etc.).

Having been out of the house all day, our phones had run completely out of charge - especially with the sheer number of photographs we'd taken. We got given free bags of Tayto crisps by the landlord solely thanks to Tara's Irish Heritage ,had a few pints and watched the football.

The whole night is described far better than I could manage in my wife's blog. To cut a long story short, this was the evening of the Paris attacks. The evening when three suicide bombers struck outside the Stade De France, when hundreds of people were killed or injured at the Eagles of Death Metal gig at the Bataclan, and when there were mass shootings and a suicide bomb at cafés and restaurants in the area we'd been in.

We found out what was going on at a bar nearer the hotel. The streets were chaos, sirens blaring and nobody sure what was going on. We got back to our room as soon as the news started breaking, stuck our phones on charge and switched them on.

At my most miserable, whenever I'm feeling low or useless or unwanted - something we all experience from time to time - I remember that night. Literally hundreds of SMS and Facebook messages and missed phone calls, all from friends - some of whom I haven't really spoken to for years - checking that we were okay. Friends had rung the pub we were at, just to check that we were fine. We were lucky, many weren't.

Not really writing related, but something that is pertinent on today of all days. I'd never felt as loved. And you, in turn, are loved back. Thanks x

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Tales to Terrify - 83

I'm pleased beyond words to let you know that my story "83" is featured in the 250th edition of the Tales to Terrify Podcast.

"83" is one of the stories from "Scenes of Mild Peril", my next anthology of short stories. It's a particular favourite of mine, and is definitely not one for the squeamish (or, for that matter, anybody having a job interview in the immediate future). Listen to it by clicking here. Enjoy!

Tales to Terrify is a Hugo nominated weekly horror podcast that's been going since January 2012. Some notable authors featured on it include Christoper Fowler, Steven King, Joe R Lansdale, Stephen Volk and Kim Newman.

If you've found your way through to here via Tales to Terrify and you like what you've heard, why not follow me on Facebook and Twitter? Cheers!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Forever and Ever, Armageddon - buy it here!

I have a handful of copies of "Forever and Ever, Armageddon" left over from my panel at The Big Comfy Literature festival.  It's usually £4.99 but for a limited period only I'll only charge £4.50 for a signed copy (which will include UK postage - for anywhere outside the UK, drop me an email).

Pop me £4.50 via this handy paypal link and in the notes mention who you'd like it made out to - if anybody at all - and I'll do the rest!

Friday, September 16, 2016

In the words of Marvin Gaye, "What's going on?"*

To start with, I had a brilliant last week at the Big Comfy Literature Festival last weekend in which I shared a local author panel with the talented (and infinitely more presentable) authors Elizabeth Earle and Kelly Hadley-Price. This was great fun, made even more pleasant thanks to cake and Prosecco (thanks, Elizabeth!).  I caught a number of other events there - the highlights being a talk by Kate Riordan and a performance of "Not tiggerdy Boo tonight", a play written by fellow Coventry Writer Group author Margaret Egrot.  Another highlight was an absolutely fascinating talk about the history of the Memorial park by local historian and writer Trevor Harkin.  Thanks to Michael from the Big Comfy Bookshop for both organising it and for having me!

Local Author Panel - Elizabeth, Kelly, Muggins.

"Did I accidentally leave a fork in the knife drawer? Bother."
I'm a mere couple of thousand words away from finishing Recreant, but after a (blessed) long absence the Black Dog is back with an absolute vengeance this week so my get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone. Normal service will hopefully soon be resumed!

Not this black dog.
So, you'll hopefully forgive me a bit of self indulgence. I received my copy of 47-16 (or to give it the fancy highfalutin full title 47-16: Short Fiction and Poetry Inspired by David Bowie) this week. My story "Saviour Machine" is the opening story. The tireless editor Chris Thompson has put together a beautiful piece of work that I'm very proud to be a part of, an eclectic mix of styles and authors - and a very worthy tribute to the great man.

Now comes the self-indulgent bit... It was only when I was putting it on the bookshelf when I realised quite how far I've come in just a few short years. From my first submitted short story "The Shadow Cast by the World" being accepted for the first volume of Fear's Accomplice, I've built up quite a reasonable body of work - and it's hopefully only the start..!  And there are more coming up that aren't even in the photo below.

Books of all shapes and sizes - look at 'em!

So, thanks for sticking with me and buying and reading my stuff. And if you're extra-special reviewing it as well. Hopefully you'll enjoy Recreant - when I've finally finished the bloody thing.  Sooner rather than later, hopefully!

Next time :)
* Released by Marvin Gaye in 1971, the year I was born. Coincidence? Yeah. Yeah it is.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

This local author finished a book of short stories. What Happens Next Will Surprise You.

It's been a little while since I've posted on here, so thought it only right to correct that. Truth is that after quite a drought, I've had an incredibly productive couple of months so wanted to have something to tell you about first!

Firstly, Scenes of Mild Peril - my next short story collection - is very nearly complete. Just working on the final edits and I'll be organising a release date for it. I'm incredibly happy with how it's turned out and I think it contains some of my strongest work - I'm really excited for this one.

Secondly, my first novel - Version Control - is now complete and I'm in the process of trying to find a home for it.. More information to be released if - and when - there is any.

Thirdly, I'm just working on the final chapters of my new science fiction novella "Recreant". I've kept relatively quiet about this one because the aforementioned drought nearly put paid to it, but it's turned out to be something I'm very happy with.  It's also going down very well with the beta readers, which is always reassuring.  I'll do a separate post about this when I've finished the first draft.  40,000 words down with 10,000 to go.!

Last (but most definitely far from least) The Big Comfy Bookshop is having a literature festival on the 9th, 10th and 11th of September. I'm on a panel of local writers with Elizabeth Earle and Kerry Hadley-Pryce on Saturday the 10th, and it'd be great if you could come along. I'll hopefully have some copies of Scenes of Mild Peril to flog to you :) For those of you on the mystical book of faces, here's a handy link.

Next time!

Quantum Leapt

Farage skipped down the corridor with a spring in his step, the disgruntled booing of European parliament delegates fading into the distance now. Taking a few looks around himself to make sure he wasn’t being followed, he ducked into the gent’s toilets, undoing his tie as he did so. That felt so much better.

Confident that he was alone, he let out a sigh of relief that he’d been holding deep inside for the past seventeen years. He threw some water over his face, took a deep breath, and waited. And waited.

And waited.

“Why hasn’t it happened yet?” he muttered, staring down at his hands. His Nigel Farage hands. “I got the UK out of the European Union, just as I was supposed to. I’m supposed to have…”

“There’s been a problem, Sam”, came a guilty voice from behind him.

Nigel span round to be confronted by his old friend Al, dressed in a shirt far more garish than any he’d worn previously.

“What do you mean, a problem? I’ve been stuck here for nearly two decades now, and you assured me that…”

“Hey, don’t blame me, Sam! I’m just the guy who passes on the information.” He angrily slapped the handset that he used to communicate with the hybrid super-computer Ziggy against his side. It beeped noisily in complaint.

“I think there’s been what Ziggy called a hyper-quantum catastrophe. Turns out that doing this ushers in something of a second dark age.”

Al squinted at the results on the handheld device and shook his head, sorrowfully.
"It’s not looking good, Sam.”

“Jesus, Al. Why didn’t you tell me? If the experts had warned me about this, I would have done something different! I’d have done anything to avoid this! Can you not bring me back and we’ll try again?”

“I’m afraid not, Sam. All knock on effects from the dark age. I don’t have long - just me being here is a paradox that’ll shortly resolve itself. The finances that would have been used to fund the quantum accelerator in the New Mexico lab went on building a wall. You’re stuck here – best just get on as best you can.”

Farage looked down at his feet, despondent.  “Oh boy.”

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Just like buses, you wait ages...

...and then two come along at once!  It's all been a bit quiet on here lately as I've been ridiculously busy, but I thought it timely to give you an update about recent developments.

Firstly, FLASH FEAR is now available in paperback.  It's a horror anthology (edited by the excellent Jonathan Butcher) containing a shedload of bite-sized pieces or horrific or dark flash fiction. As well as a story by my good self ("Good Dog"), it features pieces by such great authors as Andrew Lawston, Theresa Derwin, Matty-Bob Cash and A Stuart Williams. 

Pat-a-Cake by Lily Childs
Love is Blind - Duncan Ralston
The Colour Red and Lost and Found by Theresa Derwin
Good Dog by David Court
A Mother’s Love by Jonathan Butcher
Things to Do in Whitby When You’re Dead by A. Stuart Williams

The Sofa, the Sofa by Matthew Cash Wise Monkey by Pauline E. Dungate
Candy by John Wesley
A King’s Plunder by Timothy Frasier
Polly Gone by Nathan Robinson
Souvenirs by Irene Kingshott
The Letter by Steve Cotterill

The Men Who Value Everything in Money by James Everington
Prey for the Dead by Andrew Lawston
Corpse Mother by J. Rodimus Fowler
The Moon-Lit Bath of Retribution and Resurrection by J Rodimus Fowler

The Notebook by Meredith Black
The Song of Restoration by Lily Childs
The White Room by Charlotte Baker

Hell of a Christmas by Timothy Frasier
The Computer that Would Not Die by Olli Jacobs
The Mirror by Lynn M. Cochrane

It's published by Quantum Corsets and is available on Amazon by clicking on this handy link.

Secondly, "Unleashing The Voices Within", a horror anthology from Stitched Smile Publications LLC, has an impending release of June the 22nd. It features the following tales:

A Mirror Never Lies by David Owain Hughes
A Voice in a Box by Katie MacMillan
Blasphemous Tumours by David Court
Brattle-Boro by Michael Freeman
Cabinet of Truth by David Golightly
Cult of the Angel Eaters by Mark Deloy
Cutting Lies by Briana Robertson
Final Delivery by Jeff Dawson
Jacob's Mind by Ty Schwamberger
Janie's Got a Gun by Author Lisa Vasquez
Lullaby and Goodnight by C.S Anderson
Night Train Fights by Justin Gowland
Normalcy by Kristina Brooks
One Last Conversation by Veronica Smith
Pure Soprano of Death by Norbert Góra
Sandy by R. R. Judas Brown
Scarab by J C Michael
The Darkness by Jeff Parsons
The Killer and the Clergyman by Kevin Hayes
The Voice of Absolution by Ash Hartwell
Watch Out by Jeffrey Blevins
What the Heart Wants by Frank Martin

In other news, the final draft of Version Control - my first full length novel - is finally completed, and I'm beginning to sort out the launch details for "Scenes of Mild Peril", my next bumper collection of short stories.

If you're not doing so already, come like my author page on Facebook or add me on Twitter. I'd love to hear from you.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Free stuff!

For this weekend only (Saturday the 21st of May and Sunday the 22nd of May), and to celebrate the impending release of "Scenes of Mild Peril", the Kindle versions of both my first two collection of short stories - "The Shadow Cast by the World" and "Forever and Ever, Armageddon" are available for free on Amazon.

Clicking on this handy link here will take you to my Amazon author page.

Read them, and if you enjoy either of them, I'd much appreciate you sticking a nice review on either Amazon or Goodreads.

You don't have to have a kindle to read them - the free Kindle App is available for all smartphones, and is also available for both PC and Mac Platforms (The VIC-20, Oric Atmos, V-Tech My First Laptop and the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A are currently not Kindle compatible).

Friday, May 13, 2016

Weird Ales

Come on in, take a pew, and have a glass of whatever you fancy. Mine host welcomes you to your own personal lock-in at the Tavern of Weird Ales. In this delightful tome of beer and pub-flavoured stories, you will find a wicked brew of eleven glorious tales guaranteed to make you shudder. From a low-calorie lager that might be one beer too many, to a tentacled tavern of terrifying tipples, it's all here, in round-after-round of weird and wonderful fiction. The spirits are with us and your time has been called.

The first volume of "Weird Ales" from Quantum Corsets, an anthology of alcohol related horror, is now available. My story "In Vino Veritas, In Vino Mors" (the tale of a most unusual Oenophile and his mysterious acquaintance) concludes this fine collection of eleven tales.

Topped off with a beautiful cover by the brilliant Luke Spooner, it's a great read, especially accompanied by a good pint and a bag or so of your favourite pub snacks.

Click here to be taken to the Amazon page for the book, available in both paperback and kindle formats. I'd love to know what you think of it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Safety Record

My short story "Safety Record" is the featured story on today's front page of the Flash Fiction Press.

It's a rarity in that it's not related to horror of science fiction, but something altogether different...

I hope you enjoy it. Click here to be taken to the tale.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Strangely Funny III

Strangely Funny III, number four in the series (!) is now available on Kindle and shortly available in print.

As the promotional blurb says

"The fourth book in the Strangely Funny trilogy. Enjoy stories from some of the usual suspects, plus others from authors new to the series. Meet a man who wakes up as a cockroach - again. Learn why you shouldn't opt for a cut-rate mummification. And beware the perilous pinkie!"

My story "The Digit That Was Death" indeed features that very same perilous pinkie.  

Paul Wartenberg, one of the other contributors to the book, did a short (and sweet) little interview with me on his blog which can be found by clicking here.

If you've read my story, I'd love to know what you thought. It's a rare stab at more comedic horror, and I'm really rather pleased with it.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Revengineers

Don't panic!
"I glance over at the bedside clock and the bright red digital display passively informs me that it's approaching 5 a.m. The irony is that I've spent so long worrying about how little I've sleep I've had, that it's ending up keeping me awake – and at this bloody rate I know I still will be when my alarm goes off in around ninety minutes. Even now I know I'll be watching each of those minutes count down, the clawing feeling in my gut tightening as they tick by. (I know that strictly speaking digital clocks don't tick, but forgive me – I'm exhausted).

I’d count sheep but thanks to a traumatic incident in my childhood, they terrify me.

I've had a restless night with my still wide-awake brain dedicating its valuable processing time into either worrying about what time it was or mulling over what she'd said to me at the party last night. She wouldn't be lying awake angry and upset – of course she wouldn't. She'd be fast asleep now, probably smirking as she's dreaming of how she humiliated me at the party."

One of my short stories, The Revengineers, is the featured story for today on the Infective Ink website. It's a tale of break-up, revenge and a para-dimensional Captain Mainwaring . That old chestnut.

Click here to read the full story.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Let it Cry

My short story "Let it Cry" has been posted on the Stitched Smile Blog, and can be accessed by clicking here.  It's a slight deviation from the kind of story I usually do, but I'm really proud and fond of it - I hope you enjoy it.

Stitched Smile will be publishing my short story "Blasphemous Tumours" in their anthology collection "Unleashing the Voices Within", which will be available later this month.  For more information about them and the great stuff they do, click here.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Books, Films & Random Lunacy - an interview with George Bastow

At the start of the year, George Bastow, fellow Coventrian writer, asked if I'd do an interview for his blog. I did, it was a lot of fun, and is reprinted here with kind permission of George.  I urge you to check out his excellent blog which can be found here. So, without, further ado... 
For the debut instalment of ‘A Chat with,’ the newest segment to fill the virtual pages of Books, Films and Random Lunacy; I talk to the author of ‘The Shadow Cast by the World and ‘Forever and Ever Armageddon’ David Court.

Hello David, thanks for taking the time to chat with me here at the ink-stained headquarters of Books, Films and Random Lunacy. Could you tell the reader a bit more about yourself?

I’m a carbon-based life -orm who has thrown himself into the world of literature far later than he would have liked. By day I’m a mild mannered manager of a software department, and by night I’m typically scribbling the kind of stuff to make you laugh, think, or give you nightmares. All three, if I’m feeling particularly mischievous.

You have 2 published anthologies of short stories and another on the way, but where did it all start? When did the writing bug first sink its teeth in?

I’ve always been a keen writer, but have never been that confident in what I could produce. It was a few years back when I joined a site called “Readwave”, which is basically a place where you can submit stories and people can comment on them. I’d written a horror story for myself – “The Shadow Cast by the world” (my first published work) and it went down really well. I submitted more stuff, and people seemed to like it. It was only after a year or so that I realised I had enough stories to bung together into a reasonably sized anthology collection. Even though I’d always poo-pooed self-publishing, I did it to test the waters and people only went out and bloody spent money on it, the rotters.

Who would you say are your biggest literary influences?

I love reading, always have. I developed a Daredevil like sense of spatial perception as a child, able to walk with my head in a book whilst avoiding walking into people or walls. Because of my love for comics, I think my writing has a bit of a comic book sensibility to it – writers I’m heavily influenced by in that field are people such as Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman and Garth Ennis. With regards to your more traditional literature, I adore Stephen King and Kim Newman and the sweeping fantasy epics of Tolkien and Feist and they had to have influenced me somewhere along the line. Although my favourite book of all time is “Bad Wisdom”, a drugged up road trip about the escapades of Bill Drummond (formerly of KLF fame) and Zodiac Mindwarp. Go figure.

Let’s talk more about your anthologies, ‘The Shadow Cast by the World’ and ‘Forever and ever, Armageddon.’ How would you describe them to those who may not be familiar with your writing?

I’ll be brutally honest in that they’ve been hopelessly mislabelled on Amazon. Somehow they’ve both ended up categorised as fiction anthologies, whereas “The Shadow Cast by the World” is supposed to be an in-depth analysis of Northwestern Native American Cuisine (including my favourite part; a long lost traditional recipe for Psindamoakan, a foodstuff made from parched cornmeal and maple sugar). “Forever and ever, Armageddon” fared even worse, as that’s supposed to be a collection of sheet music designed for the Maori Nose flute, or nguru. In all seriousness though, both books are a collection of all my written work for the past few years. There’s no overall theme to either of them, but looking at them they’re predominantly science fiction and horror. There’s a bit of experimentation with poetry, and I’d like to think there’s a bit of dark humour in there as well. I’ve been compared to Neil Gaiman by a few people which is incredibly flattering, but I’m not sure I see it myself…

As well as those books you’ve also had your work featured in a number of other short story collections, the newest of which being a book entitled ‘Caped’. Would you be so kind as to tell us more about it?

I’ve always been a huge fan of superhero stories. When the fiction bug grabbed me a few years back one of the first stories I did was a superhero one, but as it featured a raft of DC characters I wrote it more for fun than to ever see it published (pssst.. drop me a line and I’ll let you read it). A little while back one of my friends saw a submission call for a superhero anthology by Local Hero Press LLC – an American publisher. I’d had an idea floating around for a little while, having wanted to play with the concept of the continuing rivalries of retired superheroes and supervillains way past their prime, and thought it’d be a nice fit. It was a story I thoroughly enjoyed fleshing out, and I sent it off. They wrote back to me a while later saying they liked the story, but with a few reservations – the ending didn’t work for them. After I’d done my petulant author stomping around, I realised that they were right. I developed a better ending, and they’ve printed it in that sweet spot of the final story in the anthology. (As an aside, and as a shameless plug, the story from Caped – “Sovereign’s Last Hurrah” – will be printed in my next anthology collection “Scenes of Mild Peril” which is tentatively scheduled for the middle of 2016. I’ll print this story as well as the one with the original ending, so the audience can decide which one they prefer. It’s like a Directors cut, or something. Personally, I think Local Hero Press were right in pushing me to write the one they eventually went with).

As you’ve mentioned, you have a great appreciation for the comic book medium, not only as a reader but a writer. You’ve recently worked with ‘Twisted Dark’ writer Neil Gibson of the indie comics imprint T Pub. As a result, one of your scripts is soon to be included in the first volume of the new ‘Twisted Sci-fi’ graphic novel from T Pub. Can you tell the reader about how that project came about?

I’m often being accused of not self-promoting enough and when a good friend of mine told me about Indies Day (an event originally organised by Neil Gaiman in which independent authors would help out a local bookshop) I decided to ask if I could tag along. Michael at the Big Comfy Bookshop at Fargo Village (Coventry) was good enough to let me take part – and it neatly coincided with the release of “Forever and Ever, Armageddon”. At the same event were Elizabeth Earle (a very good local writer), Mike Carey (of “The Girl with all the gifts” fame) and Neil Gibson from T Pub. I purchased a copy of all their books, and most of them purchased mine. I didn’t think anything more of it until I got an email out of the blue several months later from Neil. He liked my stuff, and wanted me to do something for Twisted Dark and their new title Twisted Sci-Fi. We chatted about it in London, and he now has an assortment of my scripts for both. I’ll let you know more as this gets closer to fruition, but it’s very exciting.

Aside from your prose and comics writing, you also have a blog, a very well-written one if I may say so, called FoldsFive. I would strongly urge you to check it out dear reader, it’s well worth a few minutes of your time. How long has FoldsFive been going, and what got you started on the highly addictive drug known as blogging?

You’re too kind. I’ll come here again. The FoldsFive blog has fallen by the wayside as I’ve been too busy, but back in 2008 I started the page just as a way of doing something slightly creative. It seemed to gain a bit of a following, and I found it particularly cathartic at certain traumatic periods of my life (the death of my mum, my own struggles with mental and physical illness) and other people seemed to like reading it. It became a kind of all-purpose notice board to throw anything I could think of at; rants, bits of satire, some of my earlier fiction. Every now and then a guest writer would come along and stick something on there, and it was just a nice collection of articles. It’s been superceded by the www.davidjcourt.co.uk stuff now though, and I might just have to officially retire the old foldsfive site

We’re both from the Midlands, an area of Britain that with the exception of Shakespeare, is not renowned for its writers. When I started writing my eccentric tales and creative ramblings, I was under the false impression that there were no outlets for creators in our region. However, when you look beneath the surface, there is a vibrant and eclectic scene in the Midlands. What are your thoughts on all the talented people doing big things in our home region?

I think there’s always been a surplus of home-grown talent in the Midlands. I blame the bleak weather and the difficulty of being distracted by the seaside. In the brief time I’ve been involved with the local literary scene, I’ve met an incredibly talented bunch of people – the writers from KnightWatch press, Elizabeth Earle. It’s always been there, you just need to look for it. Rees (Finlay) and his team are doing incredible stuff with the Indie Project, and I’ve heard rumour of this sneaky urchin called George Bastow who is writing some great stuff and is – apparently – a damned nice chap as well. He is clearly a threat and must be destroyed.

It’s been a pleasure talking to you David, before you go back to your keyboard and your highly intricate plan to take over the world, what new writings can the reader expect from you in the future?

I’ve halted work on the robot army, as it just wasn’t going anywhere. That sentient Artificial intelligence is a bugger to debug – So at the moment I’m putting the finishing touches to Scenes of Mild Peril, mainly working out what’s going in it and what isn’t. I’m also still sending my stories out to a variety of different anthologies and waiting for some of my already approved stuff to appear out there. I’ve got an inkling of a comic script idea, which a local illustrator (Simon Myers) and myself keep threatening to start working on – which will quite honestly be awesome. Anything to keep the Amazon Author page updated. So, more of the same basically – it seems to be working quite well so far.

Find out more about David and his work by clicking here: http://www.davidjcourt.blogspot.co.uk Follow David on Twitter: @FoldsFive

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Interview with Coventry Hospital Radio

Two weeks ago I was interviewed by Colin Gutteridge from the excellent Coventry Hospital Radio. It was great fun to do, and I've uploaded it to Mixcloud, and it should be available from the link below - all 45 minutes or so of it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Publicity Machine rumbles on...

A quick update;

I was interviewed by the delightful George Bastow, which can be found on his excellent blog.  I was also interviewed by Colin Gutteridge of Coventry Hospital Radio, and that interview should be broadcast this Saturday between 10:00 and 13:00 - clicking here will let you listen to it live.

A couple more of my stories will be appearing in anthologies coming out later in the year.

"Saviour Machine", my story from this very blog, will be appearing in "47-16: Inspired by David Bowie" from Penny Dreadful Publications

"Blasphemous Tumours", the everyday tale of the unlikely friendship between a man and his sentient cancer, will be appearing in "Unleashing the Voices Within" from Stitched Smile Publications

"The Digit That Was Death", a comedy horror tale about a most unusual possession, will be appearing in the third volume of "Strangely Funny" from Mystery and Horror, LLC

On another note, it would appear that the FoldsFive blog isn't quite dead yet - two guest posts in quick succession means there's life in the old dog yet.

OK was the answer

History speaks fondly of Charles Babbage (1791 – 1871) and his creation, the Difference Engine. He’s often referred to as a pioneer and the father of computing.   A piece of graffiti found behind some wallpaper in the family home of Edwin Thripp (1788 – 1850) speaks of his rival Babbage in altogether less polite terms.


  History has discarded Thripp, but if his copious journals are to be believed, it was he who invented the Difference Engine a good decade before Babbage, and unlike Charles, had procured the funds and means to actually build the bloody thing.
  The aforementioned journals cover the construction and initial testing of the device in some detail.  This was long before the days of terminals and keyboards, and instructions were programmed into the device using an array of levers and toggle switches, any results spooled out via a series of punched holes on paper ribbon.
  "The device is finally built", Thripp proudly announces on an entry for March the 1st 1843, "and looks far more impressive than anything that cocksucker Babbage could have invented." (The tone of much of the journal is in a similar vein, Thripp was nothing if not a bitter and petty man)
  "A series of mathematical queries have been compiled by some of the professors at Trinity College and the last eleven hours have been spent carefully feeding them into the device.  Now we only need wait a short week for the calculations to be complete."
  Several pages follow, unrelated to Thripps’ Difference Engine and primarily concerned with what he’d had had for dinner. 
  The entry for March the 8th is despondent.
  "There must be a fault in the device," bemoans Thripp, "for the results, regardless of the mathematical query being asked, are all very similar in theme.  A series of punched cards now litter the floor with responses such as 'Meh',  'Maybe', 'Whatever' and 'Dunno'."
  Thripp had, inadvertently, created an Indifference Machine.  In that matrix of pipes, cogs and valves, he had – unbeknownst to him – accidentally created the first ever artificial intelligence. Albeit one with the surly nature of a moody fifteen year old.
  Thripp spent the remainder of his years attempting to fix the device, but to no avail. Unable to recognise his creation as the breakthrough that it was, he died penniless, destitute and miserable.  His last recorded words were spent insulting Babbage. The air turned blue as Thripp's skin did the same.
  The Indifference engine, despite its cumbersome bulk, moved from owner to owner.  None seemed capable of getting any decent results out of it until, quite tenuously, a comedian in the nineteen-seventies inherited it as payment for a gig and one drunken night fed in the feed-line for a joke and, after a wait of several days, the device responded with a perfect punchline.
  The particular joke in question has been lost to history, but whispers from the Monkhouse estate indicated that it had something to do with the difference between a constipated owl and a bad archer.
  Something had been found that had stirred the contraption from its malaise.  This was something that it enjoyed doing and was really rather good at. Until finally breaking down for good in the early nineties, rumours are that it frequently changed hands between a secret cabal of comedians working the circuits (no pun intended).
  As a lasting epitaph for this device, to this day it bears the dubious honour of being the creator of one of only twelve jokes in existence that chemists find funny.

  "How did the date go when Oxygen went out with Potassium?"

(The above was an assignment for the Coventry Writers Group, a story which had to be themed around the phrase "The Answer is OK")

Friday, January 15, 2016

Saviour Machine

If life is a performance, then let us bear silent and secret witness to the last act. The Duke lies dying, surrounded by those closest to him. The gentle percussive movements of his last breaths are accompanied by a chorus of gentle sobs and quietly murmured words. Final words are muttered in parting, sincere lamentations delivered.
His frail physical shell is failing, each breath shallower than the last. The weight of life bears down on him, as a body with no fight left to give nevertheless fights to remain a part of it. An instinct tells him that his struggle is over, and, in death as much as life, he remains one who never could resist an urge.
A long resounding chord sounds, shaking room, bed and occupant. The Duke is reminded of “Day in the life” by the Beatles, and smiles at the irony. He suddenly realises that he’s alone now, the silhouettes of those who surrounded him now fading into emptiness, but he isn’t afraid. It feels like a dream, but one he’s had numerous times before.
A beat begins to sound, chaotic at first, but quickly forming a regular rhythm, increasing in both volume and strength. It takes the Duke a few moments to realise that the sound is coming from him – from his own heart. Beating as new, renewed now.
He pushes himself out of the bed and onto his feet. He tentatively lifts himself up, preparing himself for a twinge of pain that never comes. He feels strong. Even for a man who’d shed his skin so many countless times, he feels more renewed than ever.
There’s a scent in the air, unfamiliar at first. It grows stronger and more acrid, not unpleasant but unexpected. Alcohol. Specifically, bourbon. He recognises it as he hears the sound – the leaden whoosh of the sudden displacement of air. Something has arrived. The Duke suddenly realises he’s not alone, and turns to face this unexpected visitor.
Before this moment, everything had an unexpected familiarity; The déjà-vu of dreams. But the individual who stood before the Duke now broke the spell – not at all who he expected. The craggy countenance of this visitant was familiar, yet unanticipated. Their eyes were hidden in the shade of a Civil war style Cavalry hat, only mutton chops and a moustached jaw visible. 
“Aren’t you…?” the Duke asks, suddenly surprised by the strength and volume of his own voice – that tool of his trade previously reduced to a whisper for as long as he can remember. He’s interrupted before he can finish his sentence, a hearty chuckle from his new companion and a gnarled hand held out towards him.
“Too right,” comes the reply.  They shake hands like brothers, and everything starts to make sense to the Duke.
“I think I’d expected… somebody else,” he laughed. “But this makes perfect sense.”
“They thought I was doing them a favour,” replied his companion in a voice as coarse as gravel, “but I thought if I got here first, I’d get to you before anybody else.”
“Anybody else?”
“They’re all up here, man. They’ll all want you. But we need you.”
“It’s a cosmic jam, man. Me and Hendrix – must have made my mark when I roadied for him.”
“You still perform?  Even now?  Even.. here?”
Especially up here, man! That muse, that spark of talent? Where do you think it comes from, man? What we play filters on down – the sensitives, the passionate – they hear it, they write it and they play it.  Or they sing it.  Or they conduct it.  The whole of planet Earth is just our cosmic covers band, baby!”
“So everything I did was just…”
The visitor leaned in closer, close enough for the Duke to smell the tobacco and whisky on his breath.
“I’ll stop you there. Not everyone – for some of us, the spark was already there. Something unique, something magical.  Something that can’t be described in something as mundane as language. Something they couldn't create up here, even if they tried.”
The Duke stood in silence for a few moments. Slowly those thin lips began to curve, a smile finally returned to them.
“Sounds great. I’m ready then. Let’s dance.”
Two strong hands stretched out and patted the Duke on the shoulders, their owner laughing heartily to himself.
“Watch this. They only went and let me have these.”
Great wings unfurled from the visitor, not gossamer and feather as the Duke had expected, but thick black leather, already scarred, patched and worn. He took the Duke by the hand.
The two ascended.

Lemmy Kilmeister 1945 - 2015
David Bowie 1947 - 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I hold in my hand.. a piece of paper.

An actual factual photograph of Neville Chamberlain, and definitely not some crudely photoshopped image.
Anyway, photoshop wasn't even around in 1938.  Death Star pictured for scale.

As Neville Chamberlain once famously said after meeting Hitler in 1938, "I hold in my hand.. a piece of paper". If via some freakish breach in the Space/Time continuum, he'd in fact met me, the history books would have been very different.  He'd probably have said something along the lines of "I hold in my hand... a piece of paper.  In fact, several pieces of paper.  Including the front and back covers, approximately one hundred and thirty pieces of paper. Most of them with writing on both sides.  This is getting confusing and overly elaborate - I wish I'd just met Hitler now."

The author and the book.  Earlier today.
Cheerful author pictured for scale.
That ridiculously convoluted opening is to inform you of the exciting news that "Scenes of Mild Peril", my third collection of short stories, is now approaching completion and I've just had delivery of my proof copy - and very nice it looks too.

I'm aiming for a June release, which will give time for me to complete my editing as well as give my trusty beta readers (thanks, trusty beta readers!) time to give me their verdicts.  As it stands, it'll contain 30 stories and poems, and it's a good size thicker than either of the two collections that have come before.

The pre-order links will be up once everything is ready, and I plan on keeping it at the same price as "Forever and Ever, Armageddon" - despite it being nearly a third bigger.

I'm really excited about it - in my own humble opinion, this is the best stuff I've ever written. A few of them have appeared in other anthologies, so somebody else seems to be agree with me as well!

Finally, in a shit week that has seen David Bowie and Alan Rickman die at ridiculously early ages from cancer, a mention that I'm doing (and am nearly half-way through) the Cancer Research Dryathlon for January, in which I have and will remain booze free for the entirety of the month. If you'd like to pop in a couple of quid, click on the link here and it'll take you to my JustGiving page.  It's all for a good cause and, if you donate and do order or pre-order Scenes of Mild Peril, pop me an email nearer the release in June and I'll send you something personalised and special as a thank you.

Thanks for reading this, thanks for your ongoing support and wish you all the very happiest 2016.  And pop Cancer Research a few quid - and if you can't, it'd be much appreciated if you could share the link.


DISCLAIMER: The Neville Chamberlain estate does not support, endorse or even like the work of David Court.