Tag Archives: fiction

Publication Update

Forgive a little self-promotion (it won’t take too long, I promise)

– just to be clear, I don’t intend to use this blog to promote my own writing, but there has been a little surge of late where a few of my short pieces of fiction have popped up in anthologies. If, for some reason, you enjoy my little brain-dribbles here; below is a list of more refined work which you can acquire…

My 2013 novella ‘The Black Land’ is available for only 99p (or 99cents) from the lovely folk at Blood Bound Books…

Black Land

When American resort tycoon Martin Walker travels to England in hopes of acquiring a lonely island off the northeastern coast, he brings his family along for the trip. Only then does he learn the island’s long-abandoned keep carries with it a legacy of terror.
Some say the ghosts of Viking raiders, clad in wolf-skins and drunk on slaughter, still haunt its twisted architecture. Some say the island itself is cursed. An ancient, hateful force slumbers within the windswept rock—and the Walker family has awakened it.

UK link here

US link here

More recent short fiction. My story ‘Life is Prescious’ appears in Parallel Universe Publications‘ ‘Kitchen Sink Gothic’ anthology.

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Coined in the 1950s, Kitchen Sink described British films, plays and novels frequently set in the North of England, which showed working class life in a gritty, no-nonsense, “warts and all” style, sometimes referred to as social realism.
It became popular after the playwright John Osborne wrote Look Back In Anger, simultaneously helping to create the Angry Young Men movement. Films included Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The Entertainer, A Taste of Honey, The L-Shaped Room and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. TV dramas included Coronation Street and East Enders. In recent years TV dramas that could rightly be described as kitchen sink gothic include Being Human, with its cast of working class vampires, werewolves and ghosts, and the zombie drama In the Flesh, with its northern working class, down to earth setting.
In this anthology you will find stories that cover a wide range of Kitchen Sink Gothic, from the darkly humorous to the weirdly strange and occasionally horrific.

Available on Kindle 

and Paperback

My post-apocalypic story ‘Down There’ appears in Mad Scientist Journal’s ‘Selfies from the End of the World’ anthology.

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“It would be our duty, as citizens on this earth
to document its end the best way we know
and if that means a second by second update
of the world going up in flames, or down in rain, or crushed under the feet of invading monsters
so be it.”
— Shivangi Narain

No one understands an apocalypse like the people who have experienced it. Mad Scientist Journal has brought together twenty-three tales of people who have seen the world end. These accounts range from irreverent to surreal to heartbreaking. Zombies share space with global wars, superviruses, canned peaches, and the death of the sun.

Available in ebook format on amazon

more info on Goodreads and Smashwords

Last but by no means least, one of my favourite stories that I have ever written, ‘Rockets’ will appear in Great British Horror’s ‘Play Things & Past Times’ anthology, provisionally released this September.

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In PLAY THINGS eight authors remind us that even the most innocuous toys can be evil…
In PAST TIMES eight authors revisit childhood traumas which continue to cast shadows over the victims’ adult lives for years…

More details on Facebook.

If you, constant reader have braved this hideous, slice of self-aggrandising spam and reached thus far on this post…here’s a reward of sorts…I will gladly sign any of the above publications and post them back to you if you purchase one (or indeed all). Not sure how the logistics of that will work but feel free to message me on my Facebook author page. As I’m pretty sure no one except my mum reads this (hi mum!) then it can’t be that difficult.

Coming very soon, a guest post from MR Carey about books.

Safe Roads.

M xx

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The Books That Shaped My Life: Guest Post by JS Collyer

Finding out what makes fellow writers tick is a constant source of fascination. Reading, as writing, is a very solitary process and in its formative years often shares the same innocence, that same lack of conformity and influence.

in this month’s blog – close personal friend and SF author JS Collyer goes completely against what I asked her for and gives a revealing summary of the most important books and authors that shaped her as she grew into word-spitting space creature she is today. (I’m not having a go here, it’s great!)

If you want to learn more about JS Collyer (and by rights you should, she embraces social media with the same enthusiasm that I endure it like an uncomfortable adolescent in a family photograph) her blog is here, her Twitter is here and she also has a Facebook with the highest concentrate of Star Wars memes on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

She also wrote a novel called Zero which has a sequel coming out soon. You can hurl virtual money in exchange for it just here.

Onward…to infinity! (or whatever it is these space-types say)

The Books that Shaped my Life – JS Collyer

I always find it incredibly interesting when writers share the fiction they enjoy as a reader. Translation is one of my favourite aspects of writing fiction: taking that which inspires you or that which you admire and using it to inform your own process. It helps a writer be as engaged to their own work as they are with the fiction they enjoy reading.
Having been a prolific reader all my life, you might think it would be hard for me to narrow down the works that have most impacted on me as both a reader and writer, but far from it. I know very specifically what fiction has left its mark, because it is those books I remember the most and try and consciously emulate in some shape or form whenever I commit words to page.
If we’re going in chronological order, I’d have to say the very first works of fiction that need to be mentioned are the Narnia Chronicles. Whereas, as I’ve grown, I’ve wandered more toward SciFi than fantasy and fairytale, these have to have a mention because they are stories I return to again and again, even know. The magic, the characters and the rich arc of the all the tales continue to stir something childlike in me from a time when I still believed in magic. 200px-ScholasticNarnia
However as a teenager, I discovered Star Wars and a life-long-love was born. (This was before the new prequels I’d like to add) I devoured every novel that was released set in this universe. I knew every character, location and aspect of the political structures of the galaxy. Yes, I was a totally obsessive nerd, but that was because for me the universe was so rich and full of a magic of its own I couldn’t help but be drawn in. Though I’ve grown apart from the novels in recent years, I still love the films and am eagerly anticipating the new one. And even with the distance of time, my love of those books is the yard stick by which I now measure my interest in things. I’m always on the lookout for something that grabs me so tight that I can’t get away and just have to find out more, like they did.
The loved the sheer scale of the story, as well as the well-realised settings and intriguing characters. It was also where my love of character-driven fiction was born. I love experiencing a story through a character or characters, driven along by their decisions and motivations. I like to live the story with them and my enjoyment of this way of storytelling has led me to try and write the same way.
There were dozens of these novels – I had several bookshelves of them – and they all influenced me. But if I had to choose one in particular, I think I would choose the New Rebellion by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, simply because it was the one I went back to again and again.
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I have, in fact, recently re-bought it to revisit it again, 15 years later.
Next I do feel like I need to drop in the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles, particular the first one, Interview with the Vampire. In my world that until this point had been dominated by lightsabers and spaceships, it was thrilling to discover this dark and decadent world of velvet, destruction and blood. I was hooked from the beginning. They showed me that I love a bit of darkness in my fiction and desire richness alongside everything else. The first book in particular with its melancholy and introspective narrator Louis de Point du Lac confirmed for me that it’s all about character-driven fiction. Still now, my favourite story is the sort that lets you get into the characters’ heads and knowing the story and settings as they know them.
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The last two books I feel have to mention because they too have shaped me as a reader and a writer are both Fantasy series. Yes, I’m a SciFi writer, horror writer on occasion, but I simply have yet to find any SciFi books, or series of books, that inspired me as much as these and made me want to write exactly like them. Star Wars I loved as I say, and started off certain trends in my preferences that I still hold dear, but they were not novels that inspired me with their technical abilities. These series did.
The first series is just two books: Point of Hopes and Point of Dreams by Lisa Barnett & Melissa Scott. The series, sadly, never got any further since Lisa Barnett passed away in 2006. Her writing and life partner, Melissa Scott, did bring out another novella in the series, Point of Knives, very recently. However, I have to say, it wasn’t a patch on the novels she wrote alongside Barnett.
I would go so far as to say these are my favourite books ever. They are not for everyone, mind. They are full-on fantasy: magic metals, gargoyles, spells etc. However, I haven’t before or since encountered the genre used in quite this way or written so well, with such a simple yet effective approach. I think this is why they stuck with me the most: the writers are the best I’ve ever found for use of exposition. They have created the most amazing world in these books, rich in history and magic, but write about every aspect as if it were commonplace, with very little out-and-out explanation. It means to begin with you sometimes have to make a couple of passes to follow what’s going but, but this gives it such a real feel, no matter how far-fetched the object, context or motivation, that the reader is sucked right in to experience it all right alongside the characters.
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Plus, the actual stories are basically whodunnits, the main character being what passes for a police detective in that world, and they are one of my favourite types of story when done well.
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My list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies by Robin Hobb. Hobb is a wonderful writer. She, like Barnett and Scott, creates a world that has magic and dragons but makes it feel real. The stories are character-driven again (sensing a theme here?) so, even though there are magic powers and mystical beasts crawling through the stories, the primary driving force of the plot is the narrator, FitzChivalry Farseer. We live his tumultuous but adventurous as a bastard son of the royal family alongside him and feel his pain and share his victories. It is all about fate and free will, decisions and love, heartbreak and power. The books are, without a doubt, magical, but with a really generous helping of grit and realism, my ultimately favourite combo.
farseer-trilogy
I have Robin Hobb to thank more than any other author for wanting to become and author myself and for showing me the sort of author I wanted to be. I wanted to take people on a journey like she did with me. She also replied when I wrote to her in Canada (in days before the internet) encouraging me to follow my dream.
Hobb has also just begun releasing a third trilogy in this series too, the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, the first novel of which, Fool’s Assassin is out now and waiting in my book pile for when I am through the half-dozen other novels I am reading at the moment. It pleases me immensely that she is still releasing these novels I love so much and her writing still continues to inspire me.
Narnia birthed my love of stories. Star Wars my love of Scifi. Lisa Barnett, Melissa Scott & Robin Hobb my love of wonderfully written fiction. They are all the reason I am the reader, the writer and probably the person I am today.

The Books That Shaped My Life #2 ‘The Deptford Mice’

‘When a mouse is born, he must fight to survive. There are many enemies…’

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A lot of my formative reading, I remember doing when I was ill in bed. This is probably common for many people and if, like me, you were a kid in the late 80s you didn’t have a TV in your room. (I wasn’t allowed computer games either…I know, right? Dry your tears for me and do carry on…)

My dad had read me both the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings over a year of bedtimes and whilst I immersed myself completely in the plight of the story, I don’t think I was old enough to really appreciate the depth of Tolkien’s world-building.

Reading alone had become default escapism from other children and difficult maths questions at school and I longed for something that I could vanish into, something less huge than middle earth but something more than the confines of The Witches (A huge favourite and monumental milestone in my journey to horror in its own right!).

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Again, like many kids in the 80s, I spent a lot of my time playing the ‘Fighting Fantasy’ Series – single player game books that were incredibly addictive and often disarmingly frustrating (eg. If you want to follow the goblin, turn to page 244 *turns to page 244* You have fallen into a trap hidden in the road and your body is impaled on a cluster of spikes, you are dead.).

Exhausted with the effort of mainly cheating my way through these books, I fell upon something else; a book that a friend of mine at school wouldn’t stop going on about and spent many playtimes regaling me in its finer and most gruesome points. I had been given this one for Christmas or a birthday fairly recently ,the first in Robin Jarvis’ Deptford Mice series ‘The Dark Portal’.

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The Dark Portal is a magnificent introduction to world-building for younger readers. The real skill Jarvis has is his ability to reach out from the very first sentence and pull his reader into his world without dumbing-down, patronising or over-complicating. I think this was the first book I ever finished in one sitting – writhing about between the sheets, back aching, throat parched but unable to stop.

The power of this story is its simplicity; set in Deptford amongst a community of mice, The ‘Brown’ family who live in ‘The Skirtings’ – an abandoned old house. The mice are complete with their own customs and deity – Bringer of spring – The Green Mouse. It is clear that mice, the world over, share in the same beliefs, thanks to the smart inclusion of the streetwise city mouse character – Picadilly and his opposite, simple country-mouse ‘Twit’.

Life is not all harvest festivals  though – below the Skirtings,through a leaf-shaped grate daubed with strange occult symbols lies the sewers, a dank underworld teeming with the brutal and vicious rats – slaves to an even darker entity, a bloated tyrant revered by the rats and known only as ‘Jupiter’.

Of course, these two opposite world must collide; father of the mouse family, Albert Brown has already been lost to the pull of the malevolent sorcery that emanates from the sewers. Piccadilly,his companion, survived and flees to The Skirtings whereupon the Brown family and friends return to finish what their father started and rid the world of the foul rat-god.

watership_down

Since the reading Richard Adams’ Watership Down, The Plague Dogs and Shardik, I enjoyed the idea of stories from the animals’ point of view. These animal books, however,  always filled me with a frustrated contempt for the human elements; the hunters, scientists and persecutors. I gained from these books, and still maintain a sense of sorrow for the way our race treats our animal friends and this sometimes put me off reading such stories. The Deptford Mice, however, overlooks the malign influence of us in their world, instead, shrinking the reader to the size of a rodent and absorbing them completely. We are right there, in the sweat-ridden dank of the terrible rat mines, with Oswald, the sickly albino runt; we stand, trembling before the presence of the Green Mouse with Audrey Brown.

Like all of these posts, I don’t want to include too many spoilers about the plot. Whatever your age, The Dark Portal does not compromise its depth or richness of its atmosphere. There are two more in the Deptford Mice Trilogy ‘The Crystal Prison’ and ‘the Final Reckoning’ along with a three prequels named The Deptford Histories. I am confident that those unfamiliar with Jarvis’ seminal work will not be long hankering to read the lot.

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As for how The Deptford Mice shaped me – I find myself striving to make my work as convincing as the world of the Deptford Mice. The very idea of anthropomorphism is huge turn-off for many readers, but Robin Jarvis’ skill is that the idea of walking, talking rodents is largely irrelevant, what matters is them and their world. These books are not afraid of the dark either – I find much of my own writing draws upon the idea of murky dark gods which owes more to Jarvis than Lovecraft if I’m honest.

Anyway, who cares about me, right, what matters here is these books. I would safely say The Deptford Mice trilogy can be enjoyed by all ages and are a perfect bridge between young and adult readers.  I certainly felt more confident in my ability to enter completely the world of a good book after reading these gems. Even now, just looking at the covers brings back the evening shadows dancing over the cornfields, the cosy wooden corners of the Skirtings and the musty reek of Jupiter’s domain.

Writing not to be sniffed at. (sorry…sorry…)


The Books That Shaped My Life – #1

Not long ago I did an interview for The Gingernuts of Horror, a wonderful site for those of a horror persuasion with book reviews added almost daily. There is also a plethora of interviews with various horror authors (I provide them with a dip in quality here).

But this isn’t some self-aggrandising vanity post, imploring you to read things I have said (well, actually it is but seeing as you’re here you might as well keep on, eh?)

No, what intrigued me about doing this interview was another feature of the Gingernuts site called ‘The Books That Matter‘; a section of the website where authors and others wax lyrical about the books that ‘made’ them, the books that wedged themselves between the folds of the brain, carved out their own little nest and laid their young. It is the cry of these young that you never really stop hearing all your life, if the book mattered that much.

It was difficult for me to choose one, but I wrote about a book that was pivotal in my development as a reader as well as a writer (you can find it here). But, as is the case with these things, the moment after I had submitted the piece, the writhing young inside eggs laid long ago inside my brain began clamouring.

What about me? What about me?

And as the time went by their voices were joined by more and more and more…

Well, I thought, I can’t start spamming poor old Gingernuts of Horror with any more of my drivel, this is what I’ve got a blog for, right?  So, with gratitude and a doff of the cap to Gingernuts of Horror, I am going to use this platform for a spot of self-indulgence (not that sort you filthy beast!) and talk about the books that shaped me, that awoke something in me, that inner spark that gave me this need to write, that made me who I am today.

I will do this on a month-by-month basis and attempt to work in some sort of chronological order but will skip early childhood (with massive props to Where the Wild Things Are and everything by Michael Rosen)

So this month’s post without further ado.

The Books That Shaped My Life #1

Nothing to be Afraid of… By Jan Mark

jan mark

I was quite a solitary child. My problem was that I didn’t really like other children, they scared me. Other children were unpredictable, they broke stuff, made loud noises, needed your attention when all I really wanted to do was get on with my own thing.

To be fair, I haven’t changed much.

One of my favourite things to do as a child (and this is going to sound a little odd but bear with me) was to sit in my room, listening to audio books and playing board games (yes, me against me, the battle of the great mind…!).

My parents were early pirates of the audio industry and for my 8th or 9th birthday had borrowed a a load of audio books from the local library and copied them onto TDK cassettes.  They also cut out pictures from newspapers and magazines to create their own tape-covers; that sort of budget innovation is something to be admired!

By that age, I was on my way to becoming fully-fledged horror fanatic. My bedroom was filled with skulls and various macabre ornaments I’d acquired from junk shops and jumble sales. ‘Nothing to Be Afraid Of’ was a worthy addition.

I swear to you, though, I have no idea where my father found a drawing of a child tucked up in bed with some sort of demon made from black smog peering out from the corner of the room, but that picture haunted me for years.

The thing is with Mark’s stories, the majority of them aren’t strictly ‘horror’, they are about perception, written with aplomb from a child’s perspective from the sometimes terrifying but very real adult world around them.

A good example of this is ‘The Choice is Yours’ a story about a schoolgirl going back and forth relaying increasingly complicated and hostile messages between two teachers. Whilst in no way a horror story as such,  what is does capture, exquisitely, I may add, is that feeling of powerlessness and confusion that children feel when trapped by the stark and unrelenting rules of school.

Horror enough I’ll say.

Many of the others, however, are immersed in the sometimes baffling world of children themselves

‘How Anthony Made a Friend’ is a crookedly charming story about a strange little boy constructing a strange multi-limbed guy for Guy Fawkes night. Another, whose title escapes me is about a slightly sinister next-door neighbour and her batty little sister who charms warts using potions she makes in her garden shed.. again, not horror in the strictest, but these tales are all about perception, how as children we still have one foot in the imagined world and that there is still magic tingling in our toes.

The title story is a smart piece of perception-tinkering; following  a journey though a park with a small, mollycoddled boy and his older cousin. The cousin mischievously distorts everything around them, to terrify the youngster; they are being tracked by a leopard they can only escape by walking on their heels, they must run down a path called ‘poison alley’ “because that poison will burn right through your hat, right into your brains psssst.” But ultimately the experience opens the child’s eyes to imagination. The last line is the boy’s remark to his distraught mother who has chastisted the cousin for telling him such horrible things.

“I want to go to the park!”

When Mark does full-on horror, that’s when things get dark. ‘Nothing to be Afraid Of’ is remembered by many for ‘Nule’ a genuinely terrifying and clever story where some children personify their new house’s newel post with a hat and coat, gradually allowing their imaginations to take over. The power of this story is what you don’t see, but what the children’s minds conjure up at night when they hear the stairs creak…

I must have listened to these stories hundreds and hundreds of times over because as I am writing this more than twenty years later, having never read or heard them since, I can still recall some of the lines.

Some of the tales may read a little dated nowadays but what Jan Mark has done with this book is what many other authors have tried and failed to do and that is tap right in to the very root of childhood itself.

Whilst writing this, I have ordered the book again to read to my own son when he is old enough (but hopefully less of a strange loner than I was!) but doing a bit of digging i have found something else remarkable about ‘Nothing to be Afraid of’.

According to a comment on a blog post about ‘Nule’ (I found it after a google search of the book to jog my memory), the book was conceived after a long telephone conversation between Jan mark and her brother where they both recalled incidents from their shared childhoods in Ashford, Kent. Apparently all the stories have some basis in reality…including ‘Nule’ – unfortunately the house in which it was et was demolished in the 1970s to make way for a ring road.

But this just goes to show sometimes clichés are correct and the truth is often stranger than fiction.

Submission call (of sorts)

I would like to invite any followers/readers to send me a guest post about the books that made them who they are or influenced them in some profound way. Horror doesn’t have to enter into it and you don’t have to try and find the most high-brow book on your shelf; just give me 1000 words or so about a book, any book that has helped make you who you are. I will post the on the blog with any images you would like.

Drop me an email: bothersomedirtchild@gmail.com and put ‘The Books That Shaped My Life’ in the subject line.


Books that Matter – The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe

Originally posted on Gingernuts of Horror

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THE BUTCHER BOY BY PATRICK McCABE

Everyone had that one teacher. You know, the one that really got you, the one that you actually learned things from, the one that was effortlessly cool and despite their age, managed to engage an entire class of listless teenagers with their sheer force of personality.

Mine was a fearsome Irish English teacher called Ms. McCormack-John. When she first walked into that classroom in her shiny red Doc Martens and silenced a bully who was busy calling me names for having the temerity to be a lad with long hair, I knew we’d get along.
Ms. McCormack-John liked Irish literature; she took us through Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle and Cal by Bernard MacLaverty (which made me long for a cigarette every time the protagonist lit up).

Ms. McCormack-John gave me As for my short stories and when I left school in a mess, half way through sixth form she slipped a note into my hand.

                “Read this.” She said.

The note was the title of a book. This book.

This book changed my life


The first thing I noticed about Patrick McCabe’s Butcher Boy was its voice; McCabe’s Irish-ness is distinct and his narrative unrelenting; a psychotic stream of consciousness that, whilst for some may be blindingly caustic, drew me in to a blurry and distorted world of a boy’s descent into madness in the backdrop of small-town Ireland. Ms. McCormack-John knew instinctively that my current state of mind at the time would be a perfect dance partner for McCabe’s dark-hearted novel.
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The Butcher Boy tells the story of Francie Brady, son of a violent, alcoholic father and mentally unstable mother. To escape this grim reality, Francie retreats into his own mind, a place of comic books and westerns.

Much of the Irish literature in our English lessons held a darkness in their hearts yet the stark sorrow Doyle and Tóbín paled when I read McCabe. This was the under-the-counter Irish stuff they didn’t warn you about; Frank McCourt after some botched electro-convulsive therapy. I had never been fully blown away by literature before the moment I finished the Butcher Boy.

As a wayward teenage boy, I identified with Francie Brady, his state of mind as he felt his grip on life begin to tremble. Francie begins to lose everyone close to him; his family are labelled ‘Pigs’ by a local woman whose son, in turn, takes away Francie’s best friend, the deeper he slips into his psychosis. We finish with Francie returning home from institutionalisation of sorts, his mind in tatters, fixated upon old memories and the people who are gone. It’s never going to end well…

The wonderful thing about this book, is just how entrenched you get into its protagonist’s head. After putting it down, I found my thought rattling, jangling around the inside of my skull as if dictated by McCabe himself. You pity Francie, you laugh with him (and believe me, there are many laughs to be had!), you feel his loss, his desperation, you are on his side as his world crumbles beneath him and most of all, you fall with him into the whirling, black pit of insanity, you do it together. Your hearts break in perfect synchronicity.

The Butcher Boy showed me how to break the rules of literature, to mix the normal and the absurd, the conscious and unconscious, to pour out undiluted hope, loss and heartbreak in an unrelenting tide of pitch-black water, punctuated with music, comic books, films in a sort of maniacal poetry. McCabe has even coined his own genre – ‘Bog Gothic’ (an affectionate term!). bb2

I have, so far in my life never read a book that has resonated so strongly with me. I think I have owned at least ten copies of this book, pressing it into bewildered people’s hands at parties, imploring them to just read it. In fact, just looking for a copy now, to find a quote has proved fruitless. I love this book so much, I cannot own it.

The Butcher Boy undoubtedly lit a rocket under my arse and pushed me forward in my want to write, my need to write. This book feels like it has come from somewhere dark, some untapped vessel somewhere deep and buried. Whilst not autobiographical, McCabe has used much of his early experience as inspiration for this novel and it shows.

It showed me that, as a writer, especially of horror, crime and other unsavoury subjects, that tapping into the grimness of real life is essential to make a story believable, to give it undiluted authenticity. That’s not to say that every horror writer must have had bad experiences to be legitimate, far from it; but to truly experience horror is to look in the dark places within humanity, to be able to look upon that whirling pit of insanity and to draw from it, to tap it and splay that blackness into words. Anyone can look into that place.

I know I haven’t spoken too much about the plot of The Butcher Boy but I don’t want to spoil it and a great many of you will be wondering what exactly is so good about a grim account of young boy’s descent into madness?

Everything I tell, you everything. Because life is not pretty, there aren’t many happy endings and more often than not, the darkness of the human soul prevails.

“…one day you looked and the person you knew was gone. And instead there was a half-ghost sitting there who had only one thing to say: All the beautiful things of this world are lies. They count for nothing in the end.”

 


Books on Tyne Festival

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I am pleased to announce I shall be doing a reading of my short horror story ‘Ellie Hill’ as part of this year’s literary festival ‘Books on Tyne‘, which has a huge series of events including discussions and workshops including appearances by north east based authors and publishers. If you live in the area and have an interest in literature or writing, this is really worth checking out.

The loose theme of the festival is ‘on the edge’ and I am personally very excited to be attending a crime writing discussion with not only Ann Cleeves and Mari Hannah, but one of my favourite authors Yrsa Sigurðardóttir.

My story will appear in an anthology published collaboratively by Iron Press, Red Squirrel Press and Tyne Bridge Publishing which resulted from a workshop with several up and coming North East authors, led by the inimitable Peter Mortimer. Tickets to the reading are available here.

The title of the anthology is ‘Short not Sweet’.

A bit like this blog post.


100 Words of Horror

A quick interlude from the paranormal, but no less Halloweeny

Dailynightmare have just published their anthology: ’22 More Quick Shivers’ – 22 tales of horror, each one of them 100 words that re-tells a real-life nightmare submitted to the website.

This anthology includes my story ‘Victim’ based on this nightmare and you can buy the paper copy here or else the significantly cheaper pdf here.

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