Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Catching up on some reading

I finished “Where The Heart Is” yesterday and I’ve posted my review up at - which can be found here.

I sent Carole Johnstone (who wrote the marvellous “Stamping Ground” in the anthology) a little note, on GoodReads, saying that I really liked her story and she came back, saying that she’d also enjoyed “The City In The Rain” but also that she’d read and liked “The Mill”. How cool is that?

On the reading front, I’ve just starting a full critique of Gary McMahon’s new novel, which is the sequel to “Pretty Little Dead Things” (due to be published later this year by Angry Robot) and I’m really looking forward to that.

On the writing front, I’ve had no word on the fate of “Come See My House In The Pretty Town” (and I’m starting to think that might be an ominous sign) and I still haven’t started on ZoQuNo, though I’ve had a few more bits of imagery relating to it.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Where I am now

Well, here we are in the start of a new week and, I have to say, I had an excellent weekend. My dear friend Pauline celebrated a milestone birthday on on Saturday and I went to help her celebrate and it was great to see her and, particularly, another friend I haven’t seen for the best part of 20 years.

Yesterday was Fathers Day and - aside from a glitch when Dude & I were shopping on Saturday and as we walked through Clinton’s he said “we got you a big card from here” - I had a wonderful day. He bought me a t-shirt with Darth Vader on it and the legend “I Am Your Father” which, for a 5 year old without ready access to funds or the ability to get to the shops, is pretty good going!

I’ve started to read “Where The Heart Is” (as I await Gary McMahon’s new novel, which I am going to critique) and, though I’ve only read four stories so far, they’ve been of a very high standard. Still waiting for hear about “Come See” (though judging by the writers accepted so far, I think I may have gone way, way, way off guidelines), but more and more ideas are starting to coalesce on ZoQuNo. I need to start work on that soon though, before the enthusiasm starts to dwindle away…

Dude & I at Isham railway bridge, just prior to our Fathers Day picnic!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

"The City In The Rain" is going strong...

Des Lewis is currently doing one of his patented real-time reviews of "Where The Heart Is" and he's just got to my story, "The City In The Rain".

He liked it!

I particularly liked this bit - "Without putting too fine a point on it, it is in many ways the perfect horror story. It has the horror feel, its tropes, a sense of pulp and popularity, yet with an underlying sophistication and poignancy that bowled me over, a completeness, a satisfying whole, and a language perfectly pitched for what it is."

The review can be found here -

Friday, 4 June 2010

I'm a Guest-Blogger

I am currently the ‘guest-blogger’ at Simon Marshall-Jones’s site (cheers, Simon), with a little essay about how I got into writing. I’m to be the first in a series, as Simon explains:

To begin my irregular series of guest-blogs by already-published authors reminiscing about the ups and downs of being a new writer and how they arrived at where they are now, I am happy to kick it all off with the ruminations of Mark West, author of the short story collection Strange Tales, and two novels, In the Rain with the Dead and Conjure. His novelette The Mill was featured in the Gary McMahon-edited anthology We Fade to Grey. He lives with his wife and son some distance north of me:

So why not pop over and take a read -
Mark’s guest blog - and let us know what you think.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

New Reviews up

I have two new reviews in the May edition of VideoVista.

Both are French, part of the new-wave horror that seems to be coming out of there right now and both of them, for the most part, are very good.

High Lane features some hair-raising climbing footage that had my afraid-of-heights wife almost swooning at times

Mutants is a kind of zombie film, but not.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

It's off!

"Come See My House In The Pretty Town" (come on, you knew the working title of 'david & the clowns' wasn't going to stick, didn't you?) has just winged its way over to the editors in-box and I await her decision with what approximates patience from me.

I like the story a lot - it's a very different beast to "Mr Huxton Goes Camping" but I think that's a good thing and, as Sarah (my kid sister and stalwart pre-reader) says, at least this ending explains itself!

I'll let you know how it goes...

All That Mullarkey, by Sue Moorcroft

On Saturday, Matthew & I went along to Waterstones in Kettering to see my old critiquing partner Sue Moorcroft, who was having a signing there. Her latest book - “All That Mullarkey” - has just been published by ChocLit and it’s wonderful - I’d go so far as to say it’s my favourite book of hers to date (I read it in draft, some time ago) and I’m really looking forward to getting into it again.

Sue writes romance/chick-lit, which isn’t a genre I tend to read particularly widely in, but her books always work for me (in fact, her “Starting Over” is currently no.1 in my books-read-this-year list) and “Mullarkey” does more than most. The lead character reminded me of a very dear, close friend, it’s funny, touching and clever and there’s a character in it who writes horror for the small press. I enjoyed the version I read so much, in fact, that it’s the book Beth Hammond takes to Heyton with her in “Conjure”.

Sue’s book is available in all good bookshops or can be ordered
from Amazon here.

And we find ourselves here...

“david & the clowns” is almost done now – I’ve read it to Alison, picked up on some stupid little mistakes and I’ve got good feedback from my pre-readers (thank you, one and all) – and it should be winging its way to its intended market tomorrow. Which leaves me with a clear plate, writing-wise and I’m eager to capitalise on my new-found enthusiasm, drive and creative vigour. Which means only one thing – yep, it’s novel time.

I’m going with ZoQuNo – I’m getting images from it all the time and I want to try and coral all that information before it slips away somewhere. It’s also reassuring to have “Shine” and “The Gash” on the back-burner, plus that lost film idea that keeps calling out to me too.