Publication and Other Nice Things

2019 has already been my busiest year as a writer so far in terms of actually getting words down and cracking on with projects. I’ve made a real effort to up my game and sneak in as much writing as possible in spare time, so far, it’s paid off.

Let’s start with the great news. On 19th April, Demain Publishing (run by the fantastic Dean Drinkel) are publishing my story Dulce Et Decorum Est as part of their Short Sharp Shocks! range of chapbooks and novellas. I’m absolutely thrilled that this story has found a home and working with Dean has been a great experience. As I’m sure you’ll agree, the cover art looks brilliant.

To give a little flavour of the story, I’ve pinched the Amazon blurb.

A young history student on a school trip finds a picture of his long dead doppelganger on the wall of a Belgian war museum. As his homesickness and social awkwardness kick in, his experience of the Somme comes to replicate the horror of those that fought there more than one hundred years earlier…

Grab your copy on Kindle now for 99p at Amazon UK & Amazon US. Plans are afoot for a paperback release but I’ll post more details on that as and when I have them.

In other news, I’ve also completed the first draft of a novel in the last week. I started working on it on New Year’s Day and completed the first draft on 3rd April. Not a bad turnaround.

Unlike when I wrote Round Here, this latest novel just fell out of me. I had very few days where I didn’t come to keyboard armed with what I wanted/needed to say. The new novel is a big departure from my usual stuff, as in, it isn’t horror. Shock horror! The new one is a story of a painful father/son relationship set against a background of professional sports. I’ll say more when I get the thing knocked into shape.

I’m going to let it sit for a while, write something else and then come back to it later in the year. I also owe myself a lot of edits on Round Here so it’s already shaping up to be a big year of editing and rewriting. Next up, I need to shop my novella Territory and see if I can keep the momentum going while I tidy up the novels I’ve finished.

Also, for those readers of the anthologies I have co-edited with James Everington, our third book is progressing nicely and will hopefully be out in the summer. Again, more news on that when I have it.


Book Rec: Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand

Wylding Hall

It has to be said, oral histories are one of my favourite types of books. Not just in terms of fiction but in general. It is a sub-genre that lends itself particularly well to horror and sci-fi, if done well. The lead example being World War Z by Max Brooks and large elements of The Final Reconciliation by Todd Keisling.

Wylding Hall ticked a lot of boxes for me. Oral History – Check. Gothic/ghost story setup – Check. Tainted history of a band or musician – Check.

I checked the book out on Audible and was glad that I did. The narration from the voice cast is absolutely excellent. The general premise is that the surviving members of Windhollow Faire, a promising teenage folk band from the 60s come together to discuss the making of their album, the titular “Wylding Hall” forty years after its release. Their story is one of tragedy and loss, including the mysterious disappearance of Julian, their lead singer and lead creative force.

The narrative is fairly slow, with horror seeping in around the edges of discourse around how the band met and got their break. Despite most of the horror here being quiet, there is a sense of dread and foreshadowing that pervades throughout. An overtone that the worst is yet to come.

Each character here is nicely drawn, something that was accentuated by listening to the book. But each has their own voice and quirks that would make them unique, even on the page itself. Each character has secrets and opinions all of their own as well as a full and fleshed out set of background circumstances.

When the terror does arrive, Hand draws it nicely. A few images raised hairs on the back of my neck during the morning commute, which always shows something has really hit the mark.

This books was recommended to me by Michael Wilson, and I have to say that it fell perfectly into the middle of my wheelhouse. I can’t recommend it enough. The Amazon link to the book is below, but for the full hit, get it on Audible if possible. Don’t forget, your first book is free when you sign up. Wylding Hall would be an excellent place to start.

Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand – Kindle Edition