FortyFirst Time

January 3, 2010 at 9:49 am (Uncategorized)

Happy 2010, Lords and Ladies!

Okay, let’s start as I’m hoping this year will go on, and tell you some good news: Lost Places is complete! That’s right, complete. Done, dusted and dealt with. For me, at least… Last night, I received the file containing all the stories, the introduction by Barbara Roden, the acknowledgement and the endword and story notes, all put together and lovely. I’ve proofed everything and I’m happy, so all that needs to happen now is that it goes for a final proofing by an external editor and then it needs printing…and of course, selling, publicising, reviewing, reading and loving ! Working with the Rodens and Jason Van Hollander on Lost Places  has been an absolute joy, and I’m convinced that the final product is going to be one that all concerned can be proud of and that people will enjoy. Reading all the stories again to proof them, I was struck by how Lost Places contains some of my best writing, and a stories that I’m enormously proud of, and I can’t wait for people to read them and for the fan mail to start rolling in (ha ha ha!). It’s still on for a March release, so get yourself ready…

In other news, I’ve had some great feedback on my story The Hand Delivered Letter in the anthology Gaslight Grotesque, including feedback from Stephen Volk that he liked the story, which is praise indeed in my book. My copy of Gaslight Grotesque still hasn’t arrived, unfortunately (cursed postal service!) so I can’t comment on any of the other contributors’ work, but its the anthology from last year that I’m most excited to be in and I can’t wait to read everyone else’s stories.

So, what next? Well, it’s World Horror in March, and I’ve been told I’m doing two signings and one panel, so that should be fun (one of the signings is the mass Ash Tree signing with 5 of us author types in attendence, including my friends Steve Duffy, Gary McMahon and Larry Connolly, which I’m really looking forward to). I have a bunch of new stories to write, and I’m still waiting for feedback on the novel so that may yet bloom to life (although I’m not hopeful at this point, to be honest – if it doesn’t, I’ll make a decision later in the year about whether to tackle a novel and if so, which one). I’m definitely going to pitch a second collection in the next few months – I have about two thirds of the stories done and the others aren’t far off completion, so it’s a viable proposition at this point. I have stories due out in the next issue of Black Static magazine and the newly released Exotic Gothic 3 anthology, and of course, I’ll be looking for other anthologies who want contributions from a tall, slightly overweight northerners with a grumpy streak… Watch this space folks!

Reviews: The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston – the true story of the investigation in the the Italian serial killer known The Monster of Florence. Now, I’m not normally a big fan of true crime stories, but this is a fantastic, highly recommended read. Preston is co-author of a large number of books (including The Relic) which I like, and this is the story of his involvement with the Monster of Florence case. It’s partly a precis of the events that make up the Monster’s killings, but it’s far more a description of the intricacies and stupidities of the Italian justice system. This second half (which is the section dealing with how the case was and continues to be investigated) is by far the scarier part of the book, and when I say that it concludes with the author under investigation for his involvement with the monster case, and with a chapter that made me re-evaluate my opinion on the recent Meredith Kercher murder trial, it may give you some idea of how bizzare this book gets! Highly, highly recommended.

The Roar of Butterflies by Reginald Hill. The latest Joe Sixsmith (Luton’s finest black, middle-aged PI) novel, this is a great read. Hill’s Sixsmith books are my favourite by him (now that the Dalziel and Pascoe novels have gone off the boil a bit), and although it’s not as good as the simply magnificent Singing the Sadness (which, along with the Dalziel and Pascoe novel On Beulah Height are among my favourite crime novels ever), it’s still very good – intricately plotted, witty and as well-written as ever. Recommended, although one question remains: why the illustrations?

I’m behind on my reading and reviewing, so I’m going to make a concerted effort to read the various things by my bed and then post my thoughts on them. I don’t make new year resolutions, but if I did, that would be one of them (along with ‘get healthy and thinner’). Promise. You have my word on it.

Right, that’s your lot. Until next week, Lords and Ladies, goodbye!

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