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Thursday, 29 October 2009


If only to make sure October has more posts than any other month, here's another! HOT DAMN!

Found out about http://www.agentquery.com/ which is basically 'Duotrope for agents' so spent today sending off queries for my novel, THIS VILLAGE NEVER DREAMS. I've got so used to putting that in capitals in query letters that I think I'm incapable of writing it in any other way that doesn't denote SHOUTING.

I'm working on a collab story with a friend of mine, which is extremely exciting. It features a radioactive zombie, something we both felt was sorely lacking from horror fiction at the moment. It also has subtle 'Second Coming' and 'Anti-Nukes' themes, but not in the way you might think. How mysterious!

Once we've polished this one, if we have time we're going to try collaborating on a sci-fi novella (to sub somewhere). Science-Fiction isn't really my forté, although I am by no means adverse to it. I just thought my friend's much better at it than me, so it should prove an interesting experience.

In fact, THIS VILLAGE NEVER DREAMS (see? I keep shouting it) has some strong science-fiction elements...but only in that some of the characters are scientists, who conduct experiments. That's it, really. Not a massive sub-plot or anything, just an extra dollop to spice things up. But even so, that seems to fudge things up, as does the rather unexpected vein of sardonic humour that runs throughout the novel. Some people evidently have a problem with cross-genre work, but more fool them!

Argh now that's ended up sounding like I'm moaning about someone. I'm not. I either have crashed and burned with queries or been asked to send my manuscript in. More and more I keep finding out there really is no one true way to go about things.

And on a final note, someone recently read my query (not an agent or publisher, though) and said I needed to make a point of mentioning the themes. So I did, in one or two subsequent queries (which I'm still awaiting replies for) only to then find out "DON'T MAKE A POINT OF MENTIONING THEMES!". Why? Because it breaks one of the golden rules of writing: SHOW, DON'T TELL.


And on we go...

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


from writing on a pumpkin with permanent marker. I've managed to cram a fairy tale (all 370 words of it!) on to a pumpkin, ready for exhibition on Saturday. If anyone happens to be in Scunthorpe on Saturday, come check it out! 10 -5pm, 20/21 Visual Arts Centre, Church Square (next to the Leisure Centre).

I'll post the story on here soon, complete with an alternate ending :D

I asked my boss if I could make a pumpkin helmet for kids to wear and, true enough, it'd be a Health and Safety nightmare :( kind of fitting considering the time of year, but oh well.

Monday, 26 October 2009


I've got a bunch of shifts at an art gallery, which is cool, although completely exhausting because I'm working with kids pretty much all the time. With Halloween coming up, the gallery's having a 'Pumpkin Day' and us staff have been invited to take a pumpkin home to do something "arty" with. I figured I'd write a fairy tale about 'The Pumpkin King' - a handsome prince loves eating pumpkins so much it becomes a problem, and he ends stealing some off a witch. In retaliation she turns him into a pumpkin. The only problem is I can't think of an ending that would be suitable for kids. I know children have an innate appreciation for the macabre, but I think I might get in trouble for ending the story with the idea that the pumpkin the kid's currently holding is the head of The Pumpkin King, and all his brains have been scooped out.

My only other idea was to hollow out and carve the pumpkin, so kids could wear it like a helmet. I think that'd be pretty funny but two things are stopping me:

1) I don't have a child's head to measure so I don't know if it'd fit one
2) Health and Safety would probably go mental if they found out what I'd done, and would ban kids putting a giant fruit on their heads because they're soulless killjoys.

So, I'll continue with my 'write a possibly-too-weird-for-kids fairy tale on a pumpkin with marker pen' idea, unless my boss at the gallery says I am allowed to make a helmet. I really hope so. I can imagine toddlers wandering about wearing a pumpkin. I think it'd be awesome.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


So here I am working on a weird mix of Lovecraft/Chandler/Cronenburg and Burroughs, for an anthology of messed-up noir, when another antho comes to my attention. One that should allow me to use a goofy alien invasion idea that's being sitting round gathering dust.


I am serious, and don't call me Shirley.



Tuesday, 20 October 2009


Whilst perusing Duotrope for possible markets for some other stories what I gone done wrote, I stumbled upon The Midnight Diner.

It looks VERY promising, and not just because they have a genre listed as 'Shatner On A Plane' hahaha

I've started working on a new Jonathan Cave story, that I hope will suit this publication. And not just because Jonny is a preacher dealing with weird things, and Midnight Diner have a Christian noir slant to their stories.


Monday, 19 October 2009


Just sent off a query for This Village Never Dreams, to another publisher. This one specialises in horror noir, particularly Lovecraftian stuff. It is, in short, the perfect place for my book. But then, that's just my opinion *wink wink*.

I now have two queries out there with two publishers I REALLY hope I hear back from. The tension is KILLING ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 18 October 2009


I enjoyed "Zombie"land, although I'm not entirely convinced the "zombies" in the film were actually "zombies", no matter how many times the characters called them "zombies". See, they're infected by a rage virus. Oh wow. And that makes them mental, and cannibals. Oh wow. But there's no indication that the people infected are dead. Oh sure, they look a little manky, but not particularly so. But the most "zombie" thing these "zombies" do is RUN. Oh wow.

I hate fast zombies. I HATE THEM.

My main argument against fast zombies is: if they possess the dexterity to sprint without looking ungainly or simply falling over, why don't they also keep the motor skills needed to open doors and climb over small obstacles?

"Zombie"land ignores this quandry by letting the "zombies" act almost exactly as they used to when they were alive (or "uninfected"). They open doors. They climb over fences. They scramble up ladders. They can dance an Irish jig whilst juggling potatoes. They do it all! Saints perserve us!

There's also a lack of real/true conflict for the main characters, and you never really feel like they're actually in danger. They end up in dangerous situations, but that's not what I mean. Rule number one: make your protaganist(s) earn his/her/their place in the story. I'm not entirely convinced the chumps in "Zombie"land do. More like they coast through events. Hmmmm.

ANYWAY. The second part of the blog title refers to a friend of mine. He is a wonderful writer, with an arch sense of humour and extensive knowledge of olde worlde history. His first novel was recently picked up for publication. Unfortunately, the publishers want £3000 off him to "cover costs".


A reputable publisher would NEVER ask for money, especially not that much. I hope he doesn't get too excited about the prospect of getting published so soon after finishing his book, that it impairs his judgement. He's a smart chap though so I'm confident he susses them out.

Let that be a warning though - never trust a publisher who asks for money. Even small publishers (like Library of the Living Dead) cover all costs, with the caveat being "you will pimp the holy f**k out of your book". Which any writer would be happy/willing to do any way...

And so endth the lesson!

Thursday, 15 October 2009


Watched UP yesterday in 'Real 3D'. The film was wonderful and poignant, the 3D was a little pointless. All it does is add depth to the image, like a hologram. There's a tiny bit of 'stuff flying out the screen at you' going on, but mostly it just looks like the screen is built into a room. Kinda cool but after a while you start to forget you're watching something in 3D. I did get to keep the glasses though, so that's Rev. Austin - 1, The Man - 0. YEAH! TAKE THAT!

It's a bit nippy today in ol' North Lincolnshire, so what better way to spend the day then ensconced in a study tapping away at more stories? I finally started working at my local art gallery last week, which I don't think is a particularly interesting info tidbit, but someone thinks it's worth mentioning >_<

So the 'point' is, until I'm next needed there I can type away with IMPUNITY!


Tuesday, 13 October 2009


I was best man at a friend's wedding (as opposed to at a strangers haha) and it was AWESOME! My speech was labelled "brilliant...but a little bizarre" by another guest :D

But anyway, that took all my weekend up. So, I had a little break from writing, and went back to it this morning. I managed to sort out a 'logic' problem with a werewolf story I plan on submitting, and then had a read back over some older stories.

Which was depressing. See, I have most of the second book of my 'Jack Green triptych' worked out/written, and a nice amount of planning/the first few chapters of the third book sorted. But, I'm currently trying/hoping to get the first book published. So, on the one hand it's pointless spending time on something that relies so heavily on having something in particular published, but on the other, I'm writing some excellent lines and the whole idea's too awesome not to write. If I do say so myself :D

In the world of the Jack Green stories, there is no such thing as a 'background character' - everyone has a bigger part to play than first impressions suggest. This is both grotesquely ambitious and foolhardy, but nuts to that. "They" say you shouldn't expect your first novel to get published, but "they" are idiots. Why shouldn't you expect it to get published? Hope is a marvellous tool. Also, everyone who writes (and I mean everyone from Jefferey Archer to Stephen King to me and you) gets better as they go along - like with most any other craft. There's nothing to stop you going back over earlier work/an earlier novel and rejig/re-edit it. That's exactly what the above authors have done. I really don't think it hurts to write a novel/a story and leave it for a bit and take your time refining it (unless you're working towards a deadline).

And that's my "thought for the day". HOWZAT!?

Thursday, 8 October 2009


Just had my zombie story, Home Is Where The Heart Is, accepted for inclusion in LOTLD's antho 'Through The Eyes of the Undead'!

It follows a man as he heads across the English countryside in a desperate bid to reach his wife...but who's the zombie? Him or his missus? OR BOTH?! You'll have to read it to find out!

I've set it in 1986, as a 'spiritual sequel' to my short piece Tennyson's Penultimate Stand (it's set in the same universe)...which itself inspired me to start on a previously mentioned zombie novel. That novel is called (tentatively) Bricksville, and is set in the titular town in the 24 hours leading up to the end of the world. I've done 20ish thousand words so far, and am going to use this year's NaNoWriMo to try and finish it.

Although Bricksville itself is a fictional town, I've based it on a place 'created' by Mark Twain, which in turn was based on a town that has now been washed away by the Arkansas river...but the idea is Bricksville always existed, but people don't realise it does because of the reason it was named....and that's a little confusing but it makes sense when it gets mentioned in the book ;)
I like to add literary references that are kind of 'blink and you'll miss them' :D

Oh, and it's going to include MUTANTS as well as zombies! I'm thinking "80's horror film" haha

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Something else that's got me quite excited recently is the discovery of a dictionary I got in 1986, for my 7th birthday. I love archaic words, and it's interesting to see just how many words appear in this old dictionary (it's a 'pocket' oxford one, despite being the size of a brick) that no longer have a use in our lives. For instance, it has one of my favourite Lovecraft words ('Cyclopean') in it! Wonderful.

I also keep forgetting to plug CAFÉ DOOM. I've received some useful writing crit from the folks on there, and Ed (the big cheese) is currently running the Fifth Annual Writing Comp. So take a gander why don'tcha?

Remember I mentioned Lame Goat Press the other day? They're also running a comp at the mo to create the cover art for An Amorous Thing, by Kody Boye. I'm having a crack at it -not sure if my style would be suitable but if I don't try I'll never know. I'm also having a go at designing the art for another book cover, but I'm cheating a bit and reworking an exisiting piece of my own artwork for this ho ho nuts to it, I say!

And I don't know why the tag below for 'short story comp' has an asterik next to it. I WONDER WHAT IT MEANS!!!!!?????????

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


Just sent a query off for my cyclical novel, THIS VILLAGE NEVER DREAMS, to a publisher I really admire...so fingers crossed!!!

I think I might have said before, but I find it frustrating that I can't use quotes from a professional editor from a decent publisher in my query. He (the editor) even offered to provide me with more quotes, as he genuinely hoped I'd find a home for the book. This happened as a result of my very first query, and as such proved a remarkable incentive to persevere.

The argument is "if you tell people someone refused your work it looks bad" but surely, other publishers won't expect themselves to be the very first person you've sent it to, would they...? Plus, why would an established editor happily allow me to quote him if he knew it wouldn't help? It doesn't make any sense. And as a final thought on this subject, English publishers typically expect a covering letter, as opposed to a query. In The Writer's And Artist's Yearbook, they say to mention if someone important has read your work and liked it, as this stands you in good stead...it's all rather confusing.

Anyway, since the whole point of this blog is to promote my work, I'll include the main quote here (since it apparently can't find a place in a query), as well as excerpts from the aforementoned novel...

(The excerpts are also available HERE for a short period)
"[This Village Never Dreams is] original, unusual and extremely well-written"
Anthony Nott, Bloody Books

Excerpt from the first 'case', Where The Wild Things Are:

Doctor Brown’s house stood in probably half an acre of land. A huge manicured hedge bordered the footpath, separating his two-storey detached mansion from the common folk. A large black iron gate, topped with gilt leaves, guarded his driveway and the new Mercedes on it. I buzzed the small intercom next to the gate and waited to see if I’d receive an answer. I waited patiently for a few minutes and was deciding whether or not to give it another try, when a short crackle buzzed out of the speaker and a throaty whisper called out “Yes?”

“Is that Deborah Brown?” I stooped slightly so as to speak into the intercom.

“Who are you? What do you want?” the voice sounded tired and impatient. I licked my lips and continued, “My name is Jack Green. I’m a private investigator, and I’m currently involved with the police’s investigation into –” I suddenly realised she’d have no idea about what had happened at the university this morning. “Miss Brown, I’m sorry to disturb you, but I’m investigating a link between your husband and a friend of his who was found dead this morning.”

This news was greeted with a sharp intake of breath. “Who-who…? What are you…”

“I don’t really want to stand out here in the rain and discuss police matters in public; may I come in?”

“I assume you’ll tell me you only want five minutes of my time.”

“No, Miss Brown. Chances are it’d take longer.”

“I’m not…” a heavy sigh and then, “Have you got a badge or something? Can you show your wallet to the small camera above the speaker please.”

I did as she asked and after a moment the gate squealed and began to open. “Come in Mr. Green.”

I walked up the immaculate driveway, to be greeted on the doorstep by a woman who looked as exhausted as her voice. Deborah Brown stood at just over five and a half feet tall, with lank brown hair that had a slight tinge of grey to the temples. She was dressed in a baggy grey tracksuit top and faded black jeans. I’d have guessed her to be in her mid-forties, but the strain of grief had clearly aged her by at least ten years. “Please, hang your coat on the stand behind the door and come through to the kitchen.” I did as she asked and followed her into a cosy farmhouse-style kitchen, with brick-paved walls, wooden worktops and cupboards. However, all the warmth had been sucked right out of the room by the dull rain-soaked light leaking through the blinds above the sink, and the shadowed glow from above the cooker. A bottle of gin sat on the wooden table, with an empty glass beside it.

“Take a seat,” she said, catching my eye as I looked up from the table. “I’ve not had any,” she stated, almost sullenly. Once I’d sat down I could see the bottle was indeed unopened. “Wouldn’t matter too much if you had,” I said, as she lit a cigarette opposite me. “Different people cope with grief in different ways.” She seemed to ignore this comment and took a long, slow drag on the cigarette. I stifled a cough as she exhaled, smoke vomiting out of her mouth in a great cloud. “Don’t smoke, Mr. Green?” she arched an eyebrow, as if to start an argument.

“No.” I replied flatly.

“What have you got to do with the case involving my husband’s death, Mr. Green?”

“Your husband’s: nothing. I am, however, helping investigate the death of Professor Simon Edwards, this morning at the university.”

“Simon’s dead?” she quizzed, dragging on her cigarette again. “How?”

“We’re investigating that at the moment, Miss Brown.”

“I’ll allow you to call me Deborah. I abhor being constantly addressed as ‘Miss’.”

“Oh, of course.” I gave myself a mental kick in the balls for constantly rubbing the woman’s newfound widowhood in her face.

“So if you’re not involved with my husband’s death, why are you here….?”


“Jack,” she finished, tapping ash into the glass next to the gin bottle.

“I’m investigating any possible links between your husband and Professor Edwards, as they seem to have both been the subject of vicious animal attacks.” This news did something to the woman, but I couldn’t tell what. Her eyes almost…panicked. “Animal attacks?”

“Yes. My colleague on the force is something of a cautious man, and isn’t entirely convinced that your husband and Edwards’ deaths are linked. For any particular reason, I mean.”

“I’m not quite sure what you mean…”

“I discovered this morning that Edwards went on an expedition two years ago, and uncovered some strange artefacts. He then gave them to your husband to study, who in turn gave them to the museum.”

“Yes, I remember those things. Hideous little statues. Arnold brought them back home, but I simply wouldn’t allow them in my house. They were vile, not at all artistic.”

“So he took them to the university again.”

“No, no. He brought them home for his collection, in his study, after he’d had them at the university.”

“So where did he take them next?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you sure, Deborah?” it felt weird calling her by her first name, as I didn’t feel at all like this woman was keen to be friendly with me. “Need I remind you, Jack, that this was over a year ago. I don’t – didn’t – keep tabs on Arnold every moment of every day.”

“Yes, I’m sorry.”

“I don’t mean to be curt with you, Jack. Mr. Green.” She rested the hand holding the cigarette on the tabletop and massaged her temples. “The last two days have been filled with people. Always here, more arriving. When some leave, more take their place. Like a…constant stampede of well-wishers and family members. This afternoon is the first time the house has been empty. My sister’s gone to pick up some spare clothes but will be back later.”

“I think you’ve told me pretty much anything you could have.” I offered, preparing to stand up. “Please stay seated Jack.” Still looking at the table, she motioned with the hand holding the cigarette. I eased myself back on the wooden chair and stared at her for a moment. “Why do you think these artefacts are important?”

“I’m not really sure,” I replied, realising I was telling the truth. “It’s just something else that forms a more solid link in the chain between your husband and Edwards.”

“I honestly don’t know where he took them. Or he never told me. In either case, I can’t remember.”

“No worries, Deborah. I have some other leads I can try. I really should leave you to some peace and quiet.”

“That’s the problem.” She crushed the half-smoked cigarette into the glass and looked up at me. “I can’t handle all this extra human contact, but I don’t want to be alone.” Her eyes shone with barely concealed tears as she coughed and stood up, moving quickly towards the sink. I watched as she then poured herself a small glass of tap water, sighing quietly then facing me again.

“Do you want to look in Arnold’s study, in case there might be something of use?”

“I don’t want to intrude, or disturb the place…”

“The police have already rummaged through his things with little care, I don’t think one more pair of searching hands is going to matter.”

“Then I’d appreciate it,” I offered a slight smile, standing up.

“Follow me.” She plinked the glass in the sink and walked past me, back into the hall. She led me up a flight of curving wooden stairs, past pictures of Doctor Brown and his wife, posing in their nice clothes, expensive smiles glowing on their faces. The Deborah in the portraits bore little relation to the disheveled woman leading me to her dead husband’s study. I also realised that there were no pictures of children. “In here.” Her voice had once again taken on the throaty whisper from the intercom as she opened the study door for me, standing back slightly as I strode past her into a spacious office.

“I’ll be back in the kitchen when you’re finished,” she added, moving away from the door.

“Thank you, I won’t be long,” I replied, turning my head but still looking at the room.

Excerpt from the start of the second 'case', Kilgren:

“You have to help me,” he said. “I’m a dead man.”

I was about to make some crack about how he certainly didn’t look well, but something told me he probably wouldn’t appreciate it; his sunken eyes were wide and blood-tinged, his short dark hair slicked back by the sweat that covered his pale face. His lips were so dark they were practically black. Equally dark veins stretched up from underneath his open shirt collar and branched along his neck. He used the hand that wasn’t propping him against the door frame to roll up a jacket sleeve, exposing a similarly-veined forearm. He then readjusted his already loose-fitting tie and walked unsteadily into the office. No, he did not look well at all.

He’d introduced himself, rather curtly, as Jonathan Myers, said he believed that I was the only person that could help him. I offered him the chair facing me across my desk, which he fell into, trembling, arms on thighs and head bowed. I began to ask him what he wanted help with, when he interrupted me with a throaty cough, swore under his breath, then fixed me with those sickly eyes.

“They’ve got to me. That’s the only explanation for what’s wrong with me.”

“Who are ‘they’ and what is wrong with you?”

“The company I work for and I don’t know, not exactly. Well, I do, but…” he groaned and shook his head, holding it briefly in a black-veined hand. “Mr. Green,” he began again. “Jack.” I prompted. Nodding drunkenly, he continued:

“I work for Hadley Pharmaceuticals. Or more precisely, I work for a man called Macallister Jones, who runs a subsidiary of Hadley.”

“Did you just say, 'Macallister Jones'?” Alarm bells started ringing in my head.

“Yes. I’m part of a team that’s been charged with developing drugs for a number of childhood ailments. At least, that’s what I thought.” He punctuated this sentence with another throaty cough, this time expelling a small trickle of blood the colour of his lips. He wiped it away, eyes staring at the stain on the back of his hand. “Oh God, it’s started…” he slowly returned his gaze to me. “It’s started,” he repeated, voice rising as he himself rose from his chair. “Mr. Myers?” I asked, starting to move around my desk to help him.

“Someone on the team had heard of you for whatever reason,” he explained shakily, taking deep breaths. “told us you would believe what was happening.”

“What is happening, Mr. Myers?”

He answered me with another cough, accompanied by a larger dribble of blood from his mouth and visible shakes along his right arm. “Noooo…” he moaned, looking at his hands. I blinked rapidly – it almost seemed as if the dark veins were spreading. “Jack, Hadley are con-” he blurted out quickly, before bending over and garbling the rest of the sentence. I reached over for the phone on my desk, ready to call an ambulance. He staggered over and knocked it from my hand, spitting out: “they can’t do anything for me now”, the ‘now’ elongating into a strangled cry of pain. Blood vomited from his mouth onto his shirt and jacket, and I was somewhat disturbed to notice it had the consistency of runny tar. Myers steadily gained an upright position, using the chair to balance himself.

Breathing deeply, eyes once again fixed on mine, he repeated “Hadley are-“ before his jaw suddenly cracked open, leaving a jagged tear down and across his left cheek as it hung loose, still working to speak. More dark blood streamed from his mouth as he bubbled words at me, his eyes pleading. Without realising, I had backed up behind
my desk. The tear in his cheek made a wet ripping sound as it stretched to meet his shirt collar, dark veins now covering the entire left-hand side of Myers’ face. He stumbled forwards and somehow managed to shout what sounded like “Kilgren” at me before his chest split open and his head and shoulders peeled back like a grotesque fruit, revealing a nest of blackish tentacles where his ribcage and internal organs should have been. Below these writhing horrors, the legs began to convulse forwards, Myers’ arms twitching hideously behind them. My throat dried up and my eyes began to water, but I still managed to grab my handgun from the desk drawer and unload several bullets into the twitching bastard as it spasmed towards me.

With a disgustingly squelchy crunch, the thing that had been Jonathan Myers jumped at me. Having no desire to grapple the thing, I dived to the left, allowing it to smash through my large office window and plummet through the dense fog outside, hitting the ground several storeys below with a definite ‘crack’. Wiping sweat from my forehead and glass from my shoulders, I swallowed noisily and leant out the broken window. As expected, the fog hid the ground from my sight so, reloading my pistol, I quickly jogged down the stairs and rushed outside. Shards of window were strewn across the empty car park, along with a few small pieces of wood, but the thing had completely disappeared; there wasn’t even a trace of blood on the glass. Jonathan Myers had been right. I was the sort of person to come to for this sort of thing.

Monday, 5 October 2009


I've been going back over a couple of slightly older stories, imposing the new things I've learnt upon them. ie re-editing, and removing/altering things such as excessive passive tense, needless punctuation, and so forth.

One such gem I've rejigged is The Taint, which in turn started out as a script. It's about the fear of complacency all couples experience, and how apathy infects society (with the whole "it'll be okay" mentality). It might be too subtle, and too insidious for some, and has no real explanation for the "creature" and I know how much that winds up some editors (it's a METAPHOR!)...but I'm looking at possible places to send it. I'd quite like to see if I can get it in an anthology, and one of the places I might send it to is Lame Goat Press - they're so new they don't even have any books out yet, but they seem to have their heads screwed on. Their deadline is ages away yet though, so I might try other places first...

I'm also going to go back over my 'evil circus' story, Grease Paint and Monkey Paints (I think every writer must attempt an 'evil circus' story at some point) because I think it's a solid story, but at 9000 words is too long to send anywhere. Whoops!

In other news, I'm working on some cover art for some book competitions, so we'll see what happens with that. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!


This Morning is 21 years old this week!

Richard and Judy were the main hosts for yeeeaaarrrrssss, and they set a standard many talkshow hosts have yet to reach/attain.

And then there was THIS, which was awesome:

Saturday, 3 October 2009


I like Ryan Reynolds. He started out as the 'new' Chevy Chase, and I love Chevy Chase. But nowadays Ryan Reynolds gets himself involved in more interesting fare than goofy comedies. Case in point: The Nines.

This is another 'review whilst I watch' type affair, mainly because I started watching the film, thought it was alright, nothing special...and then it pulled a masterful stroke halfway through.

The film's in three distinct parts: The Prisoner, Reality TV, and Knowing. All three overlap, and all three star Ryan Reynolds as an actor, a writer and games designer, respectively. All three start to realise there's something wrong with the world, and it involves 'nines'. Very mysterious!

To be honest, the first part is rather clumsy, and the fat lass who plays The Actor's publicist is extremely irritating. We spend too much time watching these two goof around rather than discussing the peculiarities inherent in the world, and it doesn't bode well for the film. It also has a musical number, and...well it just doesn't work. Nothing in this part really works. Until the 'end' of it, when The Actor discovers he's a 'nine' and, possibly, kills the world.

Yep. I bet that's got your attention.

The Writer's part is a lot more interesting. Presented as a reality tv show following the creator of a tv show called Knowing, it's the best section of the film (so far - it hasn't finished yet). The fat lass returns as The Writer's best friend, and their relationship feels real and is quite affecting, especially when he's "forced" to kick her off his show (she's also an actress) and replace her with a prettier, thinner, actress. This is also the part with the masterstroke, when The Writer's being followed by the TV crew, gets angry, and tells them to fuck off. Then...well, you'll see if you watch it ;)

The third part, Knowing, is, as you might have already guessed, the tv show from the second part...except presented as reality.

Ah, it's just finished.

Throughout all three parts, there is a woman who seems to know *something* about The Truth. In the first part, she offers The Actor an escape. In the second part, she seeks to upset and control The Writer. In the third part, she encounters The Games Designer and reveals The Truth. And I have to admit, I liked the idea very much.

The Nines is kind of like three seperate realities ovelapping, whilst they also manage to co-exist. Which is a really cool idea, and puts me in mind of the short story Life Is What You Make It, by James Burr. I certainly didn't see the reveal coming (the 'overlapping realities' isn't the actual reveal, you understand), and ultimately ended up enjoying the film. If the beginning part could be re-edited, I think it'd be a very decent film. And if they managed to synch the music up to the action on-screen a little more.

Ryan Reynolds doesn't really need to 'act' that much, to be honest, except in the second part. Elle Fanning plays a mute girl in all three parts and is both very sweet and a nice little actress. The fat lass is, despite my derogatory labelling, both competent and attractive. I like 'em with a bit of meat on the bones. You didn't expect a film review to end with that comment, did you? :D


Acceptance number 11!

Library of the Living Dead (seriously, if you're a horror writer, check 'em out!) are putting together The Moron's Guide To The Inevitable Zombocalypse. There are a fair few 'zombie survival' books doing the rounds nowadays, but this one is full-on take-the-piss, subverting tropes and all that. I thought my sub, Reverend Austin's Official 'Staying-Alive-During-A-Zombie-Apocalypse' Tips, might be too much of a piss take, or even too "British" in its humour, but appraently not as it's going in the book, and is "fucking classic" according to the editor, so I'm chuffed to bits. CHUFFED TO BITS!


Thursday, 1 October 2009


Hurrahs all round, what what!

Regular viewers may recall the newsflash that I'd had my story, This Town Hides an Inferno, shortlisted for possible inclusion on the New Bedlam website, which is run by Jodi Lee....

...and I just got the email saying it has been accepted! Well, the email was sent last night but I've been away so I only saw it this morning.

Also, if Jodi Lee reads this - the last bit of my reply email should read 'mildly astounding'; I was in a bit of an excited hurry to send it back so I fudged these words up haha


And here it is: http://newbedlam.com/zine/?p=182


My alien horror story, Midnight In A Small Town, has been accepted for inclusion in Tales From The Void, an anthology from Library of Horror Press! I'm super duper chuffed, as it's pretty grotesque/insidious, and even starts with two horny teenagers smoking a joint, as they watch a meteor land in the nearby woods! Just like an old-fashioned sci-fi film haha well, it's set in 1978 (although this isn't obvious, just insinuated), so it's like a 30-year-old film.

Fun fact, pop-pickers: 1978 is the year the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers was made. That film is awesome. "AAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!"

This marks two acceptances in one day, and 10 in 7 months. Christ, I feel light-headed!