If 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 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 →
Well finally I’ve finished the first draft of Recital and it’s come in at just over 73,000 words. That is to say, I wrote the last word of the book and it was the 73659th. The most exciting thing about this is that, regardless of the fact that there are massive gaps in the narrative and whole sections where I’ve said things like ‘something happens here’, I actually managed to make it to the end. I’ve printed it out to have a read through and it feels nice to hold something physical. Flipping through the pages makes me feel like an author.
What’s amazed me is how long it’s taken me to get here. Several false starts (with an initial version of 10k words and a second, longer attempt discarded) and a huge amount of procrastination (when the narrative confuses me I have a tendency to stare into space) have meant it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride. I’ve kept myself going through the years with the mantra ‘Just think how good you’ll feel when it’s finished’. And it’s kind of true; I have the first draft sitting on my desk, and it does feel kind of good.
However, I’d call this the ‘musical chairs’ draft. By that I mean that the mechanics of the plot work, the characters behave themselves in space and time and everyone gets to where they need to be for things to happen. That’s not to say it’s told eloquently as there is an awful lot of chaff (pointless explanations and redundant text) and for the most part there’s not enough close third person (too many people going from place to place without a window into what they’re thinking). Although there’s quite a bit to pull out, there’s quite a lot more that needs to go in so I’m expecting the next draft to end up around 90k. Continue reading →
For 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.
Behind 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 →
Recital. So, I’ve researched. I’ve sketched. I’ve blocked. I know who is who, what is what, and I’ve got a fair understanding of most of the why and I have a spreadsheet the size of Manhattan showing about 80% of the when. Which means, after two false starts and a lot of other stuff in between, finally I feel that I can sit down and write my ‘real’ first draft.
This isn’t how it all started. It started when I sat down to write Recital and got to about ten thousand words before I realised there was no way I had enough structure to keep going. Too many unanswered questions and confusing dead ends, and unlike other ideas I’ve had for books which I could probably rattle off without a scrap of evidence to the contrary, this book just wasn’t feeling like that.
So I started again, and threw down about twenty thousand words before realising that I just didn’t have a firm grasp on the world that my leading lady inhabited. This is some pretty specific stuff I’m writing about and although it’s fine to make up the events surrounding other people’s worlds, you can’t go about re-creating a world that already exists. I needed to research.
Research changed everything. It changed the plot, the direction, even the theme. Research became, as I’m sure many other authors would understand, more akin to archaeology; digging up hidden gems that were there all along, just waiting to be part of a story. Rather than simply fleshing out an existing yarn, each discovery made me re-evaluate what had gone before as I unearthed clues I could easily have missed. It turns out that a simple process of fact-finding can help uncover the true fiction and the most compelling ideas lie beneath the surface where the real and the unreal meet.
I’m done with exploring Recital. Time to dust myself off and show you what I’ve discovered, one word at a time.
Deciding 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 →
St Mary’s church in Whitby is falling down the cliff it’s perched upon. Bram Stoker was inspired to use the cemetery as the backdrop for some of Dracula’s horror scenes after visiting the North Yorkshire town in the 1890s.
In the story, Dracula attempts to relocate from Transylvania to England, but his ship runs aground in Whitby in a storm.
Stoker hit upon the idea of the count while reading a history book at Whitby library, and made St Mary’s part of the story after being struck by the way the bats circled the building.
The church is now falling down the cliff as the cliff itself collapses, throwing bits of old body parts and coffins down the slopes onto the houses below. Useful if you’re growing veggies in the back garden I would imagine.
I’ve no idea how I missed this after all these years, because it’s awesome. Tim Burton doing his thing way back in 1982, full of all the zany goodness that we’ve all come to love.
My favourite Tim Burton is probably Ed Wood, also my favourite film with Johnny Depp in it.
Anyway, check out this cartoon if you’ve never seen it – there’s worse things to do with six and a half minutes! Not only that, it’s actually narrated by Vincent Price, and as it’s all about a little boy who keeps pretending to be Vincent Price that’s pretty damn cool!