Tag Archives: horror

Mementoes by Keith Brooke – due late 2016 from Newcon Press

Back in 2012 the fabulous Newcon Press launched a series of twelve single-author short fiction collections called ‘Imaginings’, each available in limited edition hardback and ebook versions. Each book contained a mix of reprints and original fiction, often with accompanying notes by the author, and the line-up of constributors was impressive:

  1. Tanith Lee: Cold Grey Stones
  2. Stephen Baxter: Last and First Contacts
  3. Tony Ballantyne: Stories from the Northern Road
  4. Lisa Tuttle: Objects in Dreams
  5. Nina Allan: Microcosmos
  6. Adrian Tchaikovsky: Feast and Famine
  7. Steve Rasnic Tem: Twember
  8. Eric Brown: Strange Visitors
  9. Adam Roberts: Saint Rebor
  10. Dave Hutchinson: Sleeps with Angels
  11. Liz Williams: The Light Warden

You might have noticed that the 12th volume is missing from the list…

On Saturday I attended a lovely gathering to mark Newcon’s tenth anniversary, and among other things Newcon supremo Ian Whates announced that the final ‘Imaginings’ volume, due later this year, is… Mementoes by me.

This is a special book for me, marking various anniversaries in the field, including almost 30 years to the day since I first sat down to try to write for professional publication, and 25 years since the publication of my first novel.

The collection includes the four-part serial Memento, first published in Aethernet and now compiled as a novella to form the first part of the collection; the second half of the book comprises six short stories, and a novelette. Two of the stories are original to the collection, one a big SF story the revisits the Fermi Paradox (as many of my recent stories have done), and the other a quiet and nasty little horror story (returning to the kind of writing I did when I was starting out). Others included a novelette about alien languages and mind-sets (a rare exploration for me, as up until recently I’ve shied away from aliens in fiction, for reasons explained in the story notes), and a near-future story that was shortlisted for last year’s Seiun Award.

It was fun to put the book together, revisiting the stories and thinking about what was behind them, and it’s a genuine honour to be part of such a series. And it’s the perfect landmark to celebrate all those anniversaries for how long I’ve been knocking around in science fiction and fantasy!


New: four young adult novels from Nick Gifford

“The king of children’s horror…” Sunday Express

A set of handsome new paperbacks, plus the first ever ebook editions of Nick Gifford’s first four novels: young adult fiction with a dark, paranoid edge, first published in the UK by Penguin.

Piggies by Nick GiffordFlesh and Blood by Nick GiffordLike Father by Nick GiffordErased by Nick Gifford

Piggies
Transported to a world inhabited by vampires, Ben befriends a girl called Rachel. She takes him to her farm to prove she’s not like the other vampires, but that’s when he discovers a terrible secret. And why is the book called Piggies? That’s the worst horror of all. Optioned for film by Jonathan Cavendish and Andy Serkis.

“Ingenious… this chilling story reads with all the power and demented logic of a thoroughly bad dream.” The Independent

Buy this ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK
Buy this book in print: Amazon US – Amazon UK – CreateSpace

Flesh and Blood
Matt’s home life is falling to pieces as his mother seeks refuge from divorce by returning to the seaside town where she grew up. Separated from his friends, bored and discontented, Matt gradually becomes aware that his mother’s family are the keepers of a terrifying secret.

“Another great teen thriller.” Spot On

Buy this ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK
Buy this book in print: Amazon US – Amazon UK – CreateSpace

Like Father
Danny is terrified of being like his father, who ended up in prison after a night of savage violence. But then he finds his father’s diary and uncovers his dark thoughts – and even darker secrets. Who was whispering to his father, goading him, leading him on? And what if they are coming back for Danny?
*Originally published by Penguin as Incubus, this edition reverts to the author’s preferred title.

“Incubus is a chilling psychological drama, a supernatural horror story and, somewhere on the edge, is a political thriller: the episodes in East Germany are as tense and unusual as the rest … a dark story that will chill the reader … Teenage readers should find this gripping: a cut above the usual horror tale.” School Librarian

Buy this ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK
Buy this book in print: Amazon US – Amazon UK – CreateSpace

Erased
You’re not paranoid if they really are after you. Someone is messing with Liam’s world. All the rules have changed and his life has unravelled completely. What he does know is that someone is watching him. There are no bystanders in this terrifying game.

“An exciting, fast paced book that will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page.” Word Up

Buy this ebook from: Amazon US – Amazon UK
Buy this book in print: Amazon US – Amazon UK – CreateSpace


Free copy of Piggies by Nick Gifford

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Piggies by Nick Gifford

Piggies

by Nick Gifford

Giveaway ends December 24, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 


New: The Fabulous Beast by Garry Kilworth

The Fabulous Beast by Garry KilworthA set of beautifully crafted tales of the imagination by a writer who was smitten by the magic of the speculative short story at the age of twelve and has remained under its spell ever since.

These few stories cover three closely related sub-genres: science fiction, fantasy and horror. In the White Garden murders are taking place nightly, but who is leaving the deep foot-prints in the flower beds? Twelve men are locked in the jury room, but thirteen emerge after their deliberations are over. In a call centre serving several worlds, the staff are less than helpful when things go wrong with a body-change holiday.

Three of the stories form a set piece under the sub-sub-genre title of ‘Anglo-Saxon Tales’. This trilogy takes the reader back to a time when strange gods ruled the lives of men and elves were invisible creatures who caused mayhem among mortals.

Garry Kilworth has created a set of stories that lift readers out of their ordinary lives and place them in situations of nightmare and wonder, or out among far distant suns. Come inside and meet vampires, dragons, ghosts, aliens, weremen, people who walk on water, clones, ghouls and marvellous wolves with the secret of life written beneath their eyelids.

‘Kilworth’s stories are delightfully nuanced and carefully wrought.’ Publishers Weekly

‘A bony-handed clutch of short stories, addictive and hallucinatory.’ The Times

‘Here is a writer determined and well equipped to contribute to the shudder-count.’ The Guardian

Buy the ebook edition now:
amazon.com
amazon.co.uk
kobo
barnes and noble
Buy the print edition:
amazon.com
amazon.co.uk
createspace.com


Snapshots: Stephen Volk interviewed

Whitstable by Stephen VolkQ: Just published by Spectral Press is your new novella, Whitstable, a creepily disturbing mixing of fact and fiction that pays homage to the Hammer House of Horror and the Gentle Man of Horror, Peter Cushing. Why Hammer? Why Cushing?

Because the idea centres around a young boy who needs a monster-hunter, and to me a monster-hunter is Van Helsing – and Van Helsing is Peter Cushing! It’s really as simple as that. The idea of the boy came first, a boy who is the victim of harm of the most despicable kind, and the only way he can assimilate it and deal with it is through the metaphor of fiction. Of the horror films he watches. The only kind of evil he understands is the vampire and the only hope he can expect is that of a vampire-hunter. The surface lore of the story is all about the horror genre I love – but underneath that, it is about real horror, the horrors of real life.

Having said that, I wouldn’t have become so excited about the story if it wasn’t about my favourite actor and my favourite film company. I grew up on Hammer films, and in many ways their mythos has informed everything I’ve wanted to write since – it certainly contributed to my wanting to become a horror movie writer. When I saw names such as Tudor Gates or Jimmy Sangster on the screen, I always thought: how brilliant would it to be to have that job, to dream up stories like this and be paid for it? So I was happy that my idea for “Whitstable” allowed me to indulge in my passion for the films of that era and, more importantly (if I got it right) pay an incalculable debt of gratitude to Peter Cushing, the actor who made many of those films so vivid and unforgettable.

Q: Given that this story centres around a rather well-known actor, did you feel constrained by needing to stick to the facts and the desire to pay tribute to Cushing, or was it more the case that fiction freed you to do so?

I knew I had to go as far as possible to get it to feel right. I knew I was putting him in a fictional situation, so there was a point where research runs out and my imagination or skill has to take over – and that is the fun of it, and the challenge. To worry about whether people might pick holes in this or that detail would completely stymie me, so I tried to forget about that. First of all I had to please myself and feel I’d done a good job. A case in point (spoiler!) is that I was wondering how Cushing could defeat his nemesis. I found it impossible that he would kill or be violent to the antagonist: it simply didn’t feel in character, even in fiction, to do that – and I felt desperately that even though this is fiction, it had to be plausible. The good thing is that the solution to this was much more fitting to the story – it really added another layer, which is that Cushing finds the strength to stand up to this monster, and in doing so, destiny takes over. Fate takes a hand. He doesn’t cause the ending physically, but somehow that seemed better, to me. Like his moral strength had nevertheless vanquished the enemy.

Q: How important is sense of place to you in your work?

I think in most stories specificity is important. Well, authenticity is important. If you are trying to convince the reader or viewer that something weird or outlandish really happened, the trappings of real life are often useful to give a feeling of realism, in a way. If somebody lights a Silk Cut rather than a cigarette. All those touches – not to belabour them, obviously – add to the feeling this could happen.

Beyond that a sense of place also helps with the symbolism and theme. I’ve always found off-season seaside towns evocative, even ghostly, in their dry, slumbery atmosphere. This was excellent in Don’t Look Now, of course – somehow making the place itself otherworldly. And in “Whitstable” – look, the place is the title, even! – the image of the bereaved man looking out to sea seemed fundamental. There’s something about the constant nature of the sea and our fickle, fragile lives. And then, of course, I thought about the industry there of fishing and fishermen. I didn’t want my “vampire” to be a nobleman or toff, or office worker, or weirdo with pervy glasses – I didn’t know what he could be without it being a cliché. Then I described him as a hippie, very much of 1971, in contrast with the fuddy-duddy, old-fashioned Cushing, and I thought Cushing would probably observe that he looked like Jesus Christ (as people often said of John Lennon). Then, bingo – the connection with being a fisherman was complete. Les Gledhill became the exact reversal of the Saviour that Cushing felt had abandoned him. The themes all came together, largely by thinking about the place.

Q: Official publication date is 26th May, but I believe the hardcover edition has already sold out. What kind of response has Whitstable received?

To be honest it has been beyond my wildest dreams. It got 5 out of 5 stars in SFX magazine and an amazing review in Starburst. I’ve girded my loins for a bad one but there simply hasn’t been, touch wood! I’ve even had some tremendous feedback from people who knew Cushing and are experts on his work – David Pirie, Jonathan Rigby, Wayne Kinsey, to name a few. They’ve all been massively encouraging. But of course it was vital for me to get input from people like that to reassure me I’d “caught” the great actor convincingly. I’m happy to report that, to a man, they reported I had. Director Mick Garris and critic Kim Newman have also said they love it. I feel a bit humbled by the positive response, to be absolutely truthful.

Q: What brought you to horror fiction?

Growing up with Hammer, with comics, with Famous Monsters of Filmland. Gravitating to Pan and Poe and Stephen King. I think it is a familiar route, except for some bizarre reason I didn’t particularly want to be a novelist, I wanted to write movies. I picked up a paperback of the screenplay of Westworld just after it came out, and that was my Bible. I actually loved the screenplay form. I loved seeing films in my head. The only way to do it.

Q: As well as prose fiction, you’re a successful scriptwriter for TV and film. What makes an idea a book or short story, rather than a TV or film proposal and script?

A short story is a succinct idea with a definite voice that you can bite off as whole, I find. You know how to do it. A film is simply a drama of definite length with dramatisable action and good roles. A TV show is a proposition – a set-up with open-ended possibilities: an engine that can run and run. The format, the way it works as a drama, is everything – and that can take months or years to work out. Even Call the Midwife, which you’d think would be a no-brainer, was in development at the BBC for ages. That’s what people don’t realise about TV when they watch it, and it works or it doesn’t work. It takes bloody forever!

Of course, some ideas are perfectly suitable as a film or a novel, so there’s malleability sometimes. One idea that I’ve just had turned down by a broadcaster I might turn into a proposal for a series of books – I don’t know. You can waste an awful lot of time re-circulating ideas and sometimes it’s better just to ramp up new ones. But you don’t want to waste that perfectly good idea just because that one person didn’t get, either.

Short stories for me are “instant gratification” – and I do it for love, certainly not money. I can tell a story exactly as I want it, and it gets in a book. That is a very welcome contrast to films, which take five, ten years to get into production – if they get produced at all. I can spend a year on a TV script and even then only six people will ever read it before it’s rejected and that’s that. So it’s very soul-destroying at times. I write short fiction because I’ve got to write stories and I have to get them out there, and getting a story accepted in an anthology, as happened today, can be just as much of a thrill as having a big screen movie released. It sounds insane – but it’s true!

Q: What has scriptwriting brought to your prose fiction?

Planning. And not planning! I’m punctilious about organising my thoughts on a screenplay because a script is about concision – less is more. It’s about structuring the scenes and what happens within the scenes, and that is 99% of the work. Thinking, not typing. So I bring a sense of structure to story writing, I think, and a sense of dialogue and subtext, which you would expect.

Paradoxically, though, what I like in writing fiction is what you don’t do in screenplays which is the voice, the voice of the story or the tone of the narrator, be it first or third person. I also enjoy that fiction can meander – you can go “off piste” with little thoughts or big thoughts, but in film it is all about the spine and forward motion. Then again the reverse is true and I like to think that the freedom I have in fiction filters back in to my scripts, and I’ve learnt there are no rules – break them, divert, do whatever the hell you like. They can’t shoot you for it.

AfterlifeQ: What are the highlights of your writing career to date?

Wow. Tough one. Most enjoyable moments? Walking along the South Bank after the premiere of Gothic at the old NFT. Felt I was walking on air that night. Felt like it was all taking off (…but of course it wasn’t!). Being with Lesley Sharp and everyone at the Royal Television Society Awards when she picked up Best Actress for Afterlife. That was very special. And of course, the night I collected a BAFTA for writing the short film The Deadness of Dad starring Rhys Ifans. I stood on stage between Sean Connery and Sigourney Weaver. I’ve never been so excited in my life! Unless you count going to a party at Carrie Fisher’s house in LA and lining up for barbecue chicken next to Harrison Ford, Danny De Vito and Jack Nicolson! That was pretty nuts!

Q: What are you working on now?

I’m head down in a new series for BBCTV. Early days yet. But I’m very excited about it. And quite a few spinning plates with TV and film companies, including Playtime, a script I’ve written with Tim Lebbon, and Telepathy – which I hope will get its financing confirmed at Cannes and be filming later this year. On the fiction front I’ve stories coming out in a Professor Challenger anthology soon, in Beyond Rue Morgue (Titan), in Terror Tales of the Seaside (Gray Friar) and in The Burning Circus (BFS Publications). I’m also hoping to hear news soon about a second collection, my follow-up to Dark Corners. Which is very exciting.

Q: Describe your typical writing day.

Yikes. Must I? I’m a chronically slow starter and mornings are useless (unless I’m on a deadline) – paperwork, noodling, the inevitable emails, and coffee. Afternoons, I get stuck in, but I’m at my most productive in the evening and night time. If I had no family or social life I’d probably work from 4pm to 2am. But a lot of writing happens when you’re not writing. You’re never off work because problems and ideas are always percolating. They come together when they need to. I get panicky if I haven’t sat at my desk for a certain number of hours, but the work always gets done. Though doing 10 pages a day on a script is different kind of work than working on a treatment or outline, which is different from rewriting, which is different from writing memos or notes or having meetings, or pitching. There is no typical day!

Q: What would you draw attention to from your back-list?

The best of my drama is probably Afterlife. The best of my fiction is possibly “Whitstable”. But others might tell me differently. In terms of “back-back” list I’d like the old BBC series Ghosts to be released on DVD – I wrote two of those, and they weren’t bad. Is Network TV listening?

Q: Which other authors or books do you think deserve a plug?

I’ve just read Joel Lane’s collection Where Furnaces Burn, which is marvellous. I loved Mark Morris’s latest collection from PS too. And of course Graham Joyce’s Some Kind of Fairytale. And Stephen Gallagher’s The Bedlam Detective. One of the joys of joining the community of writers in the independent genre press or via the BFS (British Fantasy Society) is that I now count all the above people as my friends. I’d also like to plug Pain Cages, a great collection by Paul Kane, for which wrote the introduction.  And for no personal reason other than it’s brilliant, I’d recommend Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeannette Winterson.

Q: If you were to offer one snippet of writing advice what would it be?

First of all, if you are a genre writer interested in Horror, SF or Fantasy, join the British Fantasy Society. Then, I’d say:

Perseverance + Talent = Luck

You can’t do anything about your innate Talent (you’re either a storyteller or you aren’t) but you can work on the Perseverance part. And make sure when Luck comes along you are ready for it because you’ve been working your arse off!

Whitstable by Stephen VolkMore…

Stephen Volk is best known as the creator of the TV drama series Afterlife and the notorious 1992 BBC “Halloween hoax” Ghostwatch. His screenplays include The Awakening starring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West, Ken Russell’s Gothic and The Guardian directed by William Friedkin. He has been a finalist for the Bram Stoker, British Fantasy and Shirley Jackson awards, and his short fiction has been selected for Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, Best New Horror and Best British Mysteries

And more:

 


Coming soon: 3 for June from Eric Brown, Garry Kilworth and James Everington

June will be a big month for us at infinity plus, with three big titles to be published in paperback and a variety of electronic formats.

 

Salvage by Eric Brown

Salvage by Eric Brown

When Salvageman Ed saves Ella Rodriguez from spider-drones on the pleasure planet of Sinclair’s Landfall, he has no idea what he’s letting himself in for. Ella is not at all what she seems, as he’s soon about to find out.

Salvage by Eric BrownWhat follows, as the spider-drones and the Hayakawa Organisation chase Ed, Ella and engineer Karrie light-years across space, is a fast-paced adventure with Ed learning more about Ella – and about himself – than he ever expected.

The Salvageman Ed series of linked stories – four of which appear here for the first time – combine action, humour and pathos, from the master of character-based adventure science fiction.

“Eric Brown’s modest, slightly retro, extremely charming and very human voice has been a distinctive, indeed unique, presence in British SF for many years. Here he offers another interlinked selection of stories which, as is typical of Eric Brown, manage to be small scale, close-up, and completely free of heroic posturing, in spite of the galactic scale of their setting. There is something restful about them, something comforting. Yet while they gently entertain, they also, very quietly, deal with big questions about identity, love, and the relationship between body and soul.” Chris Beckett

 

The Fabulous Beast by Garry Kilworth

The Fabulous Beast by Garry Kilworth

The Fabulous Beast by Garry KilworthA set of beautifully crafted tales of the imagination by a writer who was smitten by the magic of the speculative short story at the age of twelve and has remained under its spell ever since.

These few stories cover three closely related sub-genres: science fiction, fantasy and horror. In the White Garden murders are taking place nightly, but who is leaving the deep foot-prints in the flower beds? Twelve men are locked in the jury room, but thirteen emerge after their deliberations are over. In a call centre serving several worlds, the staff are less than helpful when things go wrong with a body-change holiday.

Three of the stories form a set piece under the sub-sub-genre title of ‘Anglo-Saxon Tales’. This trilogy takes the reader back to a time when strange gods ruled the lives of men and elves were invisible creatures who caused mayhem among mortals.

Garry Kilworth has created a set of stories that lift readers out of their ordinary lives and place them in situations of nightmare and wonder, or out among far distant suns. Come inside and meet vampires, dragons, ghosts, aliens, weremen, people who walk on water, clones, ghouls and marvellous wolves with the secret of life written beneath their eyelids.

‘Kilworth’s stories are delightfully nuanced and carefully wrought.’ Publishers Weekly

‘A bony-handed clutch of short stories, addictive and hallucinatory.’ The Times

‘Here is a writer determined and well equipped to contribute to the shudder-count.’ The Guardian

 

Falling Over by James Everington

Falling Over by James Everington

Falling Over by James EveringtonSometimes when you fall over you don’t get up again. And sometimes, you get up to find everything has changed:

An ordinary man who sees his face in a tabloid newspaper. A soldier haunted by the images of those he has killed from afar. Two petty criminals on the run from a punishment more implacable than either of them can imagine. Doppelgängers both real and imaginary. A tranquil English village where those who don’t fit in really aren’t welcome, and a strange hotel where second chances are allowed… at a price.

Ten stories of unease, fear and the weird from James Everington.
“Good writing gives off fumes, the sort that induce dark visions, and Everington’s elegant, sophisticated prose is a potent brew. Imbibe at your own risk.” – Robert Dunbar, author of The Pines and Martyrs & Monsters

“The horror angle in the stories is almost always a metaphor for other things – loneliness, fear, isolation, regret. The word “haunting” really does double duty here… Beautifully written, evocative, masterful…what shines through these stories is the author’s love of language.” Red Adept Reviews, 2011 Indie Awards Short Story category

“Everington is excellent at evoking a mounting sense of unease, turning to dread, that close, oppressive feeling when everything is still and ordinary, but the whole world is filled with the sense that something huge and terrible is just about to happen.” Iain Rowan, author of One Of Us and Nowhere To Go


New titles by Garry Kilworth, Eric Brown and James Everington due from infinity plus

I’m delighted to announce three new titles due soon in paperback and ebook format from infinity plus.

First up is The Fabulous Beast, a new collection from Garry Kilworth. This includes 18 stories, from Anglo-Saxon tales to fantasy, science fiction and horror, by an author described by Punch as “a master of his trade” and by New Scientist as “arguably the finest writer of short fiction today, in any genre.” Some of the stories in this book also featured in Garry’s ebook-only collection Phoenix Man (no longer available). Already available from infinity plus is Garry’s book of memoirs, On my Way To Samarkand, crammed with anecdotes about his farm worker antecedents and his rovings around the globe, as well as his experiences in the mid-list of many publishing houses.

James Everington‘s Falling Over is a wonderfully gritty and compelling collection of stories that tread the fine line between crime, horror and just downright strange. “Beautifully written, evocative, masterful…what shines through these stories is the author’s love of language” (Red Adept on James’s The Other Room).

And infinity plus stalwart Eric Brown returns with a book of the Salvageman Ed stories, rewritten as a single novel. Previously, we’ve brought out eight of Eric’s books, including early novels such as Meridian Days and Penumbra, his landmark collection The Time-Lapsed Man and other stories, the horror and ghost story collection Ghostwriting (which I think contains some of his best writing), and more.

These titles are due to appear from May to July, 2013.


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