Thursday, November 27, 2014

Monthly Round-up: November 2014

It's the end of November already. Lots of stuff going on at the moment, and I don't just mean writing-wise. Sometimes Real Life gets in the way as well.

COMING SOON/OUT NOW

Quite a lot to report in this category!

DEATH SCENE is part of a promotional bundle pack organised by MuseItUp, which includes four mysteries by five authors for the bargain price of $1.99. This is a limited-time deal, so get it now. And, of course, DEATH SCENE is available on its own, too.

DEAD COOL, the second Shara Summers book, is out now!  Yay!!

I am also pleased to be able to announce that a story of mine is included in the forthcoming anthology THE DARK HEART OF PEEPING TOM, by Exaggerated Press. The anthology features stories that appeared in the 1990s horror fanzine PEEPING TOM, which included early work from a lot of now well-known British horror writers. And me...

The story of mine that features is "Jim Hendrix Eyes" which is now my most-published story - this is its fourth appearance. The anthology will be launched at the British Fantasy Society open night on 5 December.  Everyone is welcome at open nights, whether you are a member of the BFS or not.  If you happen to be in London that night, do come along.

If you can't, well you can still buy the book - just click on the link above.

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

This month I've been interviewed by Stuart West, and I was a guest on the Red River Radio blog talk radio show, the recording of which is still available to listen to.

WORK IN PROGRESS

Let's not go there.  Really.  My WIP is not co-operating.  When I get it behaving itself again, I will report.

My next update will be at the end of 2014 - where has this year gone??

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Publishing Milestone

(Cross-posted)

This month, I finally achieved something I'd been wanting to do for the past two years. I self-published my first collection of short dark suspense stories on Amazon, both for Kindle and the upcoming print edition. Malice and Mayhem: Tales of the Macabre are eleven stories, five previously published, that deal with how strong emotions like jealousy, obsession, and vengeance can often have detrimental, even deadly consequences.

I noticed that many of my characters, both in my short stories and in my longer works, are often seeking vengeance or are obsessed with wanting something, no matter how dangerous it might be. In "Obsession," Corinne cannot get over the fact her dead ex-boyfriend had a girlfriend before her, and she's determined to use necromancy to find out who he loved more. In "Family Tradition," a cursed kris (wavy dagger) forces a young man to commit murder, and he finds getting rid of the weapon is a lot harder than he expected.

These stories are influenced by the dark suspense shows of my past, namely ThrillerNight Gallery, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The idea is not to slather the stories in gore for the sake of scaring readers, but to leave them feeling uneasy. (Although there are some graphic descriptions, the overall rating for the book would probably be 14 and up.)

You can find out more about Malice and Mayhem and read the entire first short story, "It's in Your Blood" by clicking here.

Sometimes, there's truth to the warning, "Be careful what you wish for..."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Monthly Round-Up: October 2014

It's October already. Tthis month is mostly known as being Hallowe'en season. And for me it's also the month of my birth. I was born a week before Hallowe'en - fairly appropriate for a horror writer.

And it's time for another update, so here is the news for this month.

COMING SOON/OUT NOW

Death Scene is available at a 60% discount until the end of the month, as part of MuseItUp Publishing's fourth anniversary celebrations. If you haven't bought it yet, now might be a good time, before the price goes up.

Dead Cool is released on 25 November, but it can be pre-ordered if you want to get your order in now.

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

 Two guest appearances this month.  I was on Jami Gray's blog talking about the importance of a sense of place, and then on Margaret Fieland's blog talking about why my characters never get 'Happy Ever After' endings.

WORK IN PROGRESS

I have been feeling decidedly under the weather for a good part of this month, struck with the lingering virus that seems to be hitting rather a lot of people at the moment. I end up feeling tired all the time, so getting up early to write has been rather difficult. I'm still working on the horror WIP, though have not made as much progress as I would have liked.

Time seems to be flashing by, and I haven't done nearly enough writing. But there's still a bit of time left before the end of the year.

Happy Hallowe'en!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October Obsession

Con season is winding down and now it's time to move on to some serious writing. Tomorrow October Obsession starts, a writing challenge in which fellow participants, including yours truly, get busy and turn out wordage. Short story, novel, screenplay - doesn't matter. Heck, one doesn't even need to write something new. Revisions are fine, also.

I'll be finishing a short dark fiction collection that I hope to self-publish and have ready by Halloween. Then I'll move on to a psychological suspense novel.

I plan to write another psychological suspense novel for NaNoWriMo. Since my publisher's submission requirements have changed, I'm able to write the stories that I have enjoyed reading since childhood.

Sadly, however, I've also had to make a difficult decision. Today is my last day as a member of the RWA. I've made the rounds, said good-bye to my chapter mates, and friended many on Facebook. This doesn't mean that I will stop writing romance, but I am at heart a suspense writer, and I have decided I will focus on contemporary and paranormal suspense, although I plan to write other genres. After all, it's all about the story.




Thursday, September 25, 2014

Monthly Round-up: September 2014

September already, and here in the UK we are firmly into Autumn. Which means duvet back on the bed, heating on, sweaters and boots become normal work wear and we look forward to delays on the trains because of leaves on the line.

But enough of that. Here is the news for the last month.

COMING SOON/OUT NOW

Happy to report that DEATH SCENE is now available. Until Friday it's available at a special sale price from MuseItUp's online book store, so buy it now while it's cheap!

DEAD COOL releases on 25 November, but it can be pre-ordered now. So if you want to be front of the queue when it does release, visit the MuseItUp store and get your order in.

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

Lots of guest appearances in cyberspace over the last month. Here's a quick roundup of blogs that have hosted me since my last report:

22 August - Penny Estelle
3 September - Matthew Peters
17 September - Hilary Mackelden
19 September - Katie Carroll
22 September - Victoria Roder
23 September - John Rosenman

Con-wise I went to FantasyCon in York in early September and appeared on a panel about whether there can be hope in horror with Guy Adams, Ramsey Campbell, Roz Kaveney and Adam Nevill. The answer, of course, was yes there can be hope in horror, if the Big Bad is defeated and there are a few survivors. But it is equally acceptable to kill everyone off. There was an interesting discussion on this panel about whether or not killing everyone off is cheating the reader, since the human condition clings to hope. Those writers who finish their horror novels with everyone dying a horrible death apparently get bad reviews from unhappy readers. Something to bear in mind, I guess.

WORK IN PROGRESS

I've made a start on the third Shara Summers book. Well, inasmuch that I've been working on the plotting. Still rather a lot of writing to do before it looks anything like a story.

I'm also rewriting the new horror novel, and getting slightly depressed that there's more work to do than I initially thought. But once I get my head around what changes need to be made, it will probably seem slightly less daunting.

All in all, a rather busy month. Catch you next time!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Double Duty"

Sometimes, after I've finished a story or a screenplay, I wonder if it might not be better served in another format. For example, I have a couple of screenplays that I'm probably going to rework because even though I liked the stories in their current incarnation, I feel they'd work better as novels.

I've also taken two short novels - Death Sword and Exterminating Angel - and adapted them as screenplays, even though they've been published. So why adapt? Because I want my stories to do double duty. I have published short stories I plan to turn into screenplays as well. Not all of them, but ones I think are suited to the cinematic format.

Of course, this brings up the question of which is better, the movie or the book? Since I'm only writing spec scripts, I can't answer that question. What I can say, though, is there's a reason why adaptations may deviate from the original source. I've even had to make changes. (While I was writing the screenplays, I found myself asking why I hadn't originally written the story that way. Oh, well, hindsight and all that.)

One reason for changing a story is that screenplays are meant for the screen. Many novels feature detailed descriptions and while this is fine, the writer will not be choosing the film's settings, unless he or she is also directing the film, such as for an independent project. Selecting locations is the production designer's job, in collaboration with the director and producer. So going into vivid detail about that Queen Anne Revival is fine for a book, but the production designer, director, and producer may decide that a Romanesque Revival is better suited for the movie.

Length is another factor, although in my case not so much. Most screenplays run 80-120 pages, and think how long some novels are, many with multiple subplots. Obviously, one keeps the main plot but with time constraints, it's possible that not every single scene of the story can be used. I ended up combining some scenes, not because of length issues, but simply because the screenplay flowed better.

Will anything happen with these screenplays? Hard to tell. But that's another post.