Tiki Surfer Witches Want My Blood (and I’m not complaining)

Tiki Surf Witches Want BloodIf you know me personally then you’ll know I have a bit of an obsession with anything Tiki related and I love a good cocktail. So I was kind of thrilled that, while I was searching the internet for Tiki stuff in preparation for a project I’m working on (which may never see the light of day, but hey) I came across a comic book whose story is not only 100% Tiki, but includes cocktail recipes as part of its modus-operandi and features more gratuitous boobs than Game Of Thrones.

Tiki Surf Witches Ritual

Tiki Surfer Witches Want Blood wasn’t that easy to track down. I first came across a search that took me to Amazon to buy an ebook version, but I struggled to find a physical copy and after a bit more searching found that it was published by Sex And Monsters. Continue reading →

The Elements Of Eloquence

Elements Eloquence Mark ForsythIf you’re into writing or reading in any way (and you probably are, if you’re reading this), then The Elements Of Eloquence – How To Turn The Perfect English Phrase by Mark Forsyth is a must have book.

I was lucky enough to get this as an xmas present a couple of years ago and once I’d started reading it I couldn’t put it down. I now always keep it around and dip into it every now and again (along with some other books I’ll tell you about in another post).

It’s definitely one of those books that’s a lot more fun as a physical version as a digital version as once you start flipping through the pages you’l want to share it with someone else.

For instance, do you know what Anadiplosis is? Here’s an example:

If the soup had been as warm as the wine, and the wine as old as the fish, and the fish as young as the maid, and the maid as willing as the hostess, it would have been a very good meal. – Anon Continue reading →

HORROR? WHY NOT? A LIFETIME OBSESSION WITH THE MACABRE: PART TWO.

pan book horror stories 7For a few years during my childhood my mother accidentally went out with a man who thought that sending me to boarding school was a really good idea. From the age of nine to thirteen I spent most of the week wondering who I would be going to spend the weekend with, as the man also thought it was a good idea to live in France leaving me unable to see my mother for weeks at a time. It was down to a handful of relations and school-friend’s families to look after me from Saturday to Sunday during the school term.

My grandparents lived fairly close to the school and occasionally my grandfather would rescue me for the weekend in his little white Mini, but this meant two days of keeping myself entertained as grandmother was riddled with Parkinsons disease and watched soaps like Coronation Street and grandfather spent most of his life in the garden shed with a soldering iron and a collection of ham radios. A weekend with the grandparents was a welcome relief from the monotony of prep-school, but it wasn’t exactly exciting. There was nothing else to do but read.

pan horror book 7Behind my grandmother’s large upright chair was a cheap glass fronted bookcase that housed a collection of weathered old paperbacks. Lining the shelves were a pot-pourri of romance novels featuring horses, countesses or heists, the occasional Agatha Christie thrown in for good measure; hardly the tales of adventure suitable for an overactive nine year old. Apart from a few collections of short stories, there was nothing of any interest whatsoever. By short stories I’m talking about The Pan Books Of Horror Stories, selected by Herbert Van Thal. They were interesting.
Continue reading →

Twitter Litter – My Top 20 Twitter No-Nos For Authors (and anyone else promoting something on twitter)

I’ve been off Twitter for a while, but since I resumed book writing mode I’ve been back with a vengeance, following and reading about what other authors, fans and reviewers are doing these days and how they use Twitter to interact with each other and the wider world.

It’s not pretty.

Twitter today is borderline unbearable. Every other author appears to think that the rules of engagement were written for everybody else to follow, and are confusing conversation with exclamation. It’s like being at the worst literary dinner party ever, each guest shouting out the title of their book as loudly as possible simultaneously, at set intervals, over an infinite number of courses. Even a spot of one-upmanship would be nice, but everyone is so busy composing their next ear-shattering tweet that there’s little chance of anybody noticing what everyone else is up to.

I thought bands were bad (and I’ve plenty of experience with those), but it turns out that authors are far, far worse. For people whose passion it is to communicate, I find it unfathomable that so many authors seem unable to construct any form of cohesive dialogue on Twitter.

If, as a reader, you were offered a free copy of someone’s new book based solely on a months worth of their tweets, whose book would you choose? The repetitive, automated Twitter exclamations of a writer simply telling you to buy, buy, buy his book, or the tweets of someone letting you into his world, tweeting as he writes, being human and, more importantly, actually being there? Continue reading →

Horror? Why not? A lifetime obsession with the macabre: Part One.

horror moviesDeciding on the horror genre for my first novel has come as a bit of a surprise to some of my friends; I’m an upbeat kind of guy, I don’t restrict my wardrobe to black and I’ve not had one goth girlfriend. I’ve been known to wear some horrifically loud shirts over the years, but that’s about it; I’m just not that well known for being scary.

The truth is, I’ve been into horror for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories of witnessing a horror film was when, aged six, my mother left me alone briefly to go to a party in the flat downstairs, unaware that I’d be sat up, alone, watching ‘Let’s Scare Jessica To Death‘ for the next hour and a half. Instead of sleeping I’d chanced upon the damn thing while clicking through all three TV channels in succession until something interesting showed up. Well, it was interesting. Bloody interesting and completely terrifying, actually.
Continue reading →

Gate To Hell

Italian scientists say that they have found the ‘Gate To Hell’.

Francesco D’Andria used ancient mythology as his guide to locate the legendary portal to the underworld.

Strabo (64 B.C.- 24 B.C.) wrote, “This space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death. I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell.”

Sounds like an ideal destination for a package holiday. Of course, you’d come back in a different kind of package to that which you left in.

Scientists Reportedly Find Gate To Hell

Toby Dammit

When I was about nine years old and living in France I saw Histoires Extraordinaires (Spirits Of The Dead) on a small black and white TV late one night when I couldn’t get to sleep. Suffice to say it scared the hell out of me, mainly because of the unsettling and truly bizarre Fellini portion of the film, ‘Toby Dammit’. Based loosely on several Edgar Allen Poe stories, seeing this collection of short films coincided with my asking my mother for Poe’s complete anthology, that I got for my tenth birthday and I still have to this day.

The Fellini segment is based on the Poe story ‘Never Bet The Devil Your Head’. You could argue that it’s not that close to the original piece, but the uneasy and confused state of mind that Fellini creates with art direction and camerawork captures something about Poe’s writing that I find fascinating; a sense of evil and a distrust of social norms. In some ways, Toby is better off at the end.

A very nice person has made this available on YouTube in five parts.

Toby Dammit One

Toby Dammit Two

Toby Dammit Three

Toby Dammit Four

Toby Dammit Five