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Sunday, 21 February 2010


Just a brief update, really: the next Jonny Cave 'adventure' should appear in October. Yep, a fair few months away but I promise it'll be worth it, by gum! I'm also polishing a few stories to send to various anthos and zines, see what happens with them...

On a personal note, I should be starting work within a few months at a kid's home, teaching them how to make films! I'm *very* excited and nervous, but I'll be doing it with a friend of mine who's not afraid to shout at any unruly teenagers so it should all be okay haha

Said friend has also lent me 'Manhattan' by Woody Allen, because I have never watched one of his films. Yes, I know: shocking.


Tuesday, 16 February 2010


This is my hundredth post! Woop-de-doo! In two weeks I'll have been submitting work for one year, and in that time I've managed to get 14 acceptances, so I'm suitably chuffed.

Some more good news, too: I asked Jodi Lee, editor of The New Bedlam Project, about the possibility of serializing the adventures of Jonny Cave, and she said she'd love to see what I have to offer. However, in my 'thank you' reply email I spelt her name 'Jodie'. Bollocks. I did send an apology right away but let this be a lesson - always double-check your emails and make sure you know how to spell the name of someone you're hoping to curry favour with hahaarrghhhh

Anyway. I have a whole bunch of ideas and adventures in store for Jonny, but I think his first/next escapade might very well involve that ol' staple of 'fiction becomes reality'. Hey, we're talking New Bedlam here, and that town is a hotbed of WEIRD.

And that's HOW for NOW!

Monday, 8 February 2010


I've been so preoccupied with bubbling over like a fat kettle that I completely forgot to post some actual good news. Tarnation!

ONE MAN AND HIS DOG has been accepted for the Zombie Zoology anthology by Severed Press!

An elderly exterminator finds a peculiar cockroach, and subsequently dooms his entire town. OOOOHHHH???

Currently re-drafting Grease Paint and Monkey Brains, which is about a sinister circus (but really, is there any other kind?). I really love this story, just need to get some pretty big plot holes filled in then I'm going to see where I can sub it to. Thanks once again to the critters on Cafe Doom, who've really helped me out lately, with some editing. Mainly, a horror/weird/western story called ...And The Band Played On, which has been subbed somewhere and I've got my fingers crossed about it.

What else? Nothing really. I'm a big fan of video games, and am currently playing Dragon Age: Origins on the Xbox 360. Story and setting's proper cut-and-paste fantasy guff but it succeeds by pulling a few rabbits out of the top hat. For one, elves aren't the hippies they normally are - they're slaves to humans, which is a bit different. Also, dwarves operate on a Caste System which, again, actually makes them interesting. I don't read fantasy, mainly because I haven't found anything interesting or unusual (I do read/like/write urban fantasy, though) but enjoy playing fantasy games. Maybe because you're actually involved in events? I would think so.

I also picked up the Fleet Foxes album recently, as a bit of a gamble. I really like it. They're sort-of at the other end of the spectrum to bands like Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities. Whereas that band is genuinely terrifying (with blasts of nightmare jazz accompanied by Hi-Life guitars and kitchen folk percussion), Fleet Foxes are very, very pleasant, though this is tempered with a sinister lyrical edge that appeals to me. Check out their single, White Winter Hymnal, to see/hear what I mean:


although I'm certain I've seen a hand-drawn animated video for this...

Thursday, 4 February 2010


Now, let me just state that I don't like using this blog to moan about things, partly because this is (hopefully) the first stop for anyone who's read my work and also because, quite simply, no-one really wants to read some faceless berk's 'woe is me' guff.

However, I have not been so ANGRY in such a long time that I simply have to vent. You'll see why in a minute.

Right, so here in the UK we have a benefit system. The main benefit you can claim is Job Seeker's Allowance (aka The Dole), which, as its name suggests, is a payment you can receive every couple of weeks whilst you look for work. I have been on the dole for over a year, though I work part-time at an art gallery (if you work 16 or more hours a week you no longer qualify, but I'm still claiming because my hours vary from week to week).

Last week, my boss offered me a new job within the gallery. I'd get to work with kids and help with exhibits and it basically was/is an excellent opportunity. Suffice to say, I was very happy to be asked. Here comes the second 'however'...

However. The position is linked with what the UK government call 'Future Jobs Fund'. The idea is the government give a ton of money to an employer, to enable them to create a new job within their organisation. But - and here's one of the first problems with my country's benefit system - these FJF positions are primarily aimed at 18 - 24 year olds, because 'they need the work more than anyone else'. I'm going to leave that statement alone for the time being because it's a whole other can of worms.

I showed the printout of the job to a lady at the Job Centre today and explained how my boss told me to ask about it. She looked at it, noticed it was a FJF job and went "Oh it's for 18 -24 year olds".
I said "Yes I know, but my boss told me that, since I've been technically unemployed for over a year, I am also eligible to apply for the position."
"Oh no," says this woman, "the position can only be offered to people over 24 if" - and this is what's made me so angry - "they've been unemployed between 39 weeks and a year."

I'm involved in this thing called Flexible New Deal, because I have been 'unemployed' for over a year. The point of FND is that I attend interviews/meetings at a sort-of consultancy, and they help me find work. Hmm. Yep.

So, the long and short of it is, I've been unemployed for TOO LONG to apply for a job! A job I've been offered, by a manager, at a place I already work at! A job she wants me to have! It completely beggars belief. I can understand the reasoning that been on FND means that process itself will get me a job, but it's actually going to be at the expense on an exisiting one! I can't put into words how absolutely absurd this is. And that's where I'm ending this post before I dissolve into expletives.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


I'm not the biggest fan of vampires, I have to admit. I've always found them a bit, well, boring. Add to that the fact they're the 'go-to' monster for a quick easy villain and they end up being overused as well.

But then something strange happened. I watched True Blood and found myself interested in vampires. Maybe it was the sex, or the violence, or the Southern accents, but something in that show piqued my interest. I think it was probably the sex. Ah ha!

True Blood was a bit of an anomoly, though. I gave the first Twilight film a go and enjoyed it for about 30 minutes, then got severely bored, once again. Is there nothing involving vampires I'd like?

Yes. Yes there is. And it's a book.

FEVRE DREAM by George R R Martin, to be precise.

It's not giving anything away to reveal that the antagonists are vampires (or rather vampire-like creatures) since you find out within the first 30 pages. They share some weakness (and strengths) with old-fashioned vampires, but are presented as more of an actual different species, one that *could* be viewed as the flipside to the coin of humanity. And as such, it makes for a refreshing change from Anne Rice's sexy aristocrats (even though the book is from 1982, so not so 'fresh'...).

Abner Marsh is a steamboat captain, plying his trade up and down the Mississippi in the mid-1800's. Unfortunately, his finances and reputation have taken a knock after a personal/business mishap, and all Marsh wants is to get back on his feet. Enter Joshua York, a mysterious and vaguely sinister dandy. He knows all about Marsh's rep and history, but that doesn't stop him from asking to become his business partner, with a 50-50 split on everything. Marsh is at both suspicious and intrigued, but gets won over when York says "I'll pay for you to build a brand new boat". Lo, the Fevre Dream is born!

Marsh has an eye on racing his massive, fancy new steamer against a rival boat, but first he needs to build his reputation back up...unfortunately, York's peculiar sleeping habits and mysterious unscheduled stops along trade routes are giving the Fevre Dream exactly the sort of reputation Marsh does *not* want.

What is York, and what is his link to the equally sinister Damon Julian, whose followed in alternating chapters? The answer is surprising, and not like anything you'd normally associate with or find in vampire fiction.

FEVRE DREAM is full of character, both in its cast and prose, and right from the first page draws you into its world with excellent historical detail, tempered with an edge of folklore and, I guess, Southern Gothic charm. I also cried a bit at the end, becauseit all felt so...unfair.