Sunday 28th July 2019

Good afternoon folks. I’ve been trying to write for a couple of hours and have got about twenty words written. I’m back to being a little stuck on the story I’m working on for the vampire book which isn’t helping. I also don’t have another active story I’m working on either. So I need to figure out a short story idea to get cracking with.

I have been doing some social media stuff today as well. A little promotional stuff mainly. It’s something I’ve not really sussed out yet but I’m getting there. The reason I’ve been doing some pimping is because tomorrow we have the launch party for an anthology of stories that are 84 words long. This is from one of the writing groups I am in, and this book is now live on Amazon. So if you can’t make the launch(check my social media for the details please) then please check out the book here.

One of the anthologies I’ve been published in, Under The Weather, is also now available as an audiobook. I’ve not read this yet, but I was lucky enough to read a couple of stories from other contributors and those are very good, and when you look at the table of contents its an impressive list of fine writers Burdizzo Books and Back Road Books gathered for this collection. So please, check it out.

That’s all for now. I’m hoping writing this will open my brain up a little and let me get some fiction sorted.

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Book Review: Forever and Ever, Armageddon: A collection of 24 short stories

This is a fantastic collection from David Court. I’ve read some of his short fiction before and knew I liked his work and this collection has confirmed that.

There is a good variety of stories here. There’s a few that made me think, one of which made me stop what I was doing and say “oh sh*t”, and a couple that are just the written version of a gut punch. There was a couple of the stories that had me grinning like a kid!

Kristina Fitzgerald does a fantastic job of narration. Great range and delivery.

This one is definitely worth checking out.

Book Review: The Other Side Of The Mirror by Lex H. Jones

The Other of the Mirror tells the story of Carl Duggan as he tried to piece together a series of homicides in a city split by a river with wealth on one side, and poverty on the other. Duggan’s world is that of poverty and death.

This is a crime noir story that just feels dirty. With the characters and their depth and individuality, the city (which is itself a character), the story that has a pace that is beautifully executed and is well crafted to deliver what the reader needs at just the right time, we have a story that quickly hooked me and left me wanting more from these characters and this city.

Lex H. Jones has smashed it with this one. Definitely one of my reads of the year so far. 

 

14th of June 2019

Good evening all. I sat at my desk tonight, and got work done! I know, shocking right? I wrote about 600 words on a book I won’t be writing for at least two years, but this particular scene has been speaking to me for a few days and I needed to get it down. I think it’ll get rewritten when the time comes but for now, it was the easiest 600 words I’ve written in a long time.

I did write a couple of hundred words on a short story I’ve been playing with this morning, so about 800 words in all.

Something that stumped me tonight was thinking of a title for my zombie mini collection. At the moment it’s called Zombie Trifecta (it doesn’t really make sense which I always knew and had it as a place holder). I still don’t have a title but I’m working on it.

I did a little work on what should be a four part blog series as well.

That’s been my Friday, writing wise that is. During the day I was at the day job. Last week I was off from the day job. Which is always fun, having that break refreshes mind and body but the first week back is always weird because I’m out of my routine. But there’s been lots to do so that always helps.

Oh, I’ve also listened to the audiobook of The Other Side Of The Mirror by Lex H. Jones this week. I really enjoyed it and recommend people check it out. I’ll be popping up a review in the next few days.

 

19th of May 2019

It’s been a slower week than I would have liked. I’ve not had much time to write, but I also didn’t make the most of the time I did have. Part of the problem has been I’ve not been familiar enough with where I am with the vampire book. Last night I read through what I’m thinking of as the next episode. These stories are like a serialised TV show where there’s an overall story arc but many of the individual stories can stand on their own. I’m onto episode three now, and I was hoping that I could just do a heavy edit, but as I was reading it last night I realised I need to rewrite it. In doing that though, it means I know what I’m doing for the next week, and yes I am setting myself a goal of having it done by this time next week. There’s another seven stories after this one and I need to pull my finger out and get this one done!

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I did get the zombie book off to beta readers. I’m had a touch of feedback already and I’m looking forward to seeing what the thoughts on the whole novella are.

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I have been listening to Scott Sigler’s Galactic Football League books again this week. I’ve got up to the third and I’d kind of forgotten how damn good they are. I have the hardbacks of these books but for me I have to listen to them. Sigler narrates them himself and believe me, it’s worth a listen! I’m up to book three, The All-Pro now and have had a rollercoaster of emotions. From choking up and elation but through out I’m laughing. If I remember right Sigler pitches these books as Any Given Sunday meets The Godfather meets Star Wars. He’s not wrong. These books really are fantastic and the character arc of the protagonist, Quentin Barnes is damn well done.

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It’s a little scary how quickly I zip through these books, but they are very addictive and it’s very easy to listen to them back-to-back.

I’m going to get stuck into this vampire story. I just need to skim through the original a little and key some key points for the rewrite and then off I go.

 

 

Top Ten Of The Year 2018

Here is my Top Ten Books Of 2018. These aren’t books that were released in 2018, they’re the ones that I read. Some of them I have reviewed and will link in those reviews with the respective books.

Going off my Goodreads challenge I read forty-nine books in 2018. I had a few moments during the year where I was finding it hard to read so hopefully this year I’ll hit and pass the fifty books I’ve set in my challenge for 2019.

Lets get stuck in to the list:

Number Ten: Off Season By Jack Ketchum

I brought this one on audio after Jack Ketchum sadly passed away. I’d heard about him and an interview with him on The Horror Show With Brian Keene podcast. It was a choice between Off Season and The Girl Next Door. I kinda tossed a coin and went with Off Season which I’m really happy with, although The Girl Next Door will be checked out this year. Off Season is a fantastic tale that isn’t scared to give gut punches and as a reader you take it because Ketchum writes the story beautifully and you just keep turning the pages, or listening in my case.

Number Nine: The Malignant Dead by CL Raven

The Malignant Dead brought tears to my eyes but it also made me laugh. That’s something CL Raven do, they flip that coin really well and The Malignant Dead does that very well. They also transport you into the city of Edinburgh beautifully, you feel you are there and can easily picture these characters in these locations. It is a heartbreaking story but thats because CL Raven bring these characters to life so thoroughly.

Number Eight: Forest Underground by Lydian Faust

This was one I went into without no real knowledge of it. I’d seen people speaking nothing but good things about it and I saw that Pippa Bailey was the narrator of the audio book. I’d met Pippa at the launch of the Sparks anthology that we both have stories in and I wanted to support her as well. The story itself is two that are woven together very well and gives a great outcome at the end of the book, but it still left me wanting more. The characters keep you guessing and there were a few moments where I wasn’t sure what one characters reality was.

Number Seven: White by Tim Lebbon

White was a fun and fast story to read. Tim Lebbon gives a very tight and well told story of an apocalypse that has left people stranded and how these people deal with their plight. The bleakness of this one struck me. If something is bleak it doesn’t tend to get my attention but Tim Lebbon puts in just enough hope to keep that bleakness at bay.

Number Six: The Log House by Baylea Hart

I first heard of The Log House while at Bristol Horror Con in 2017. Baylea Hart was on a panel and gave a brief description of her book and it sounded good. I wasn’t disappointed. This is a post-apocalyptic story which has a protagonist who I didn’t like as a person, but I was quickly hooked on the journey she was taking and the world she was part of and what happened in the characters past. Baylea Hart builds a world that is very seductive and easy to fall into.

The author who I read the most in 2018 was Brian Keene: City of the Dead, The Complex, Ghoul and Dark Hollow.

Number Five: Billy and the Cloneasaurus by Stephen Kozeniewski

Where do I start with Billy and the Cloneasaurus? In my review I said it was 1984 meets The Lego Movie, and I still stand by that. It’s got this optimism to it that masks the real problems. This book had me hooked from the first sentence. It’s got a great energy to it, and has left a lasting impression on me. Even if the ending was a kick in the gut!

Number Four: Dark Hollow by Brian Keene

There are so many reasons why Dark Hollow spoke to me. From how the story is structured and paced to the multiple conflicts of the protagonist. Brian Keene really does build this character beautifully and its also very raw in many places. I’d recommend reading this one and then listening to an episode of The Horror Show with Brian Keene were he talks about this story. The big bad of this story is something I’d not come across before and found it fascinating. This is another story where the ending was a blow to the gut. So far it’s my favourite Brian Keene story.

Number Three: What Good Girls Do by Jonathan Butcher

Okay, where do I start with What Good Girls Do? Like Forest Underground I went into this one blind. Part of it was I saw it was getting a lot of praise, another part is again I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the narrator, Tara Court, and wanted to show some support to her. Another part was it’s a The Sinister Horror Company book, like Forest Underground and I was impressed with that one. So I went in blind. This is the most brutal book, movie, tv show, that I’ve even consumed. It doesn’t hold back and deals with a topic that most people blatantly ignore. Those who do know about it don’t want to talk about it. Jonathan Butcher doesn’t baulk with this story, and in lesser hands I think it would have been a disaster. But Butcher handles such a delicate topic with a skill that I think few have. This is a fantastic book, but not one I’d say I enjoyed but. It is one I’m pleased I listened to because it is so beautifully written and deals with something I think we as a society need to be more aware of.

Number Two: The Human Santapede by Adam Millard

A big change of pace from What Good Girls Do, we have The Human Santapede by Adam Millard. This is a book I find myself reluctant to talk too much about because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. All I’ll say is Santa has a problem and sends an elf off to figure out the mystery. Adam Millard goes full speed with this one. It’s like he wanted to write the most out there Christmas book ever and had fun while doing it. I think I laughed at something on every page! This was definitely the funniest book I read in 2018, probably ever. If you want a giggle, buy this book!

Number One: The Silence By Tim Lebbon

Here we are, number one in my top ten of 2018. I brought The Silence on audiobook when I learnt there was going to be a movie of it and I wanted to check the book out first. This book rattled me. There was three distinct moments where I had to hit pause and stop listening to it for that day. I think part of the reason it struck me so hard was because it is set in the UK and peoples reaction to the threat in the story felt very real. It is strikingly well written with very real characters whose pain you feel as they make their journey. It’s written with a skill that I admire. Lebbon tears the lives of these characters apart with such a deft hand that it’s still brutal but the build up to the hardness of the story is as smooth as silk and this brings you into these moments without missing a beat. Its become an instant favourite of mine, I even brought a paperback which I’ve gotten signed.

There it is, my top ten books of 2018. 2018 was the first year I really started reading horror and it was quite a year. Lets see how 2019 compares.

Just to wrap up the post I wanted to give a few honourable mentions. If this had been the best fifteen books of 2018 these would have made the list.

In no particular order:

Bleeding Empire- CL Raven

Aliens:Bug Hunt- Edited by Jonathan Maberry

Fur- Matthew Cash

IT- Stephen King

Never Forget- Lisa Cutts

 

 

 

 

23th of December 2018

I’ve had a few busy days between work, our works Christmas Party and a few bits and pieces that needed to get done today.

I have written a few words in the last few days though, not many but a few. Friday I didn’t write anything, but I did watch Bird Box on Netflix which is based on the book by Josh Malerman. I listened to the book a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it, and I think the film is a good adaptation of the book. The odd change felt a little unnecessary but it still worked overall, and it stayed loyal to the ending of the book.

Yesterday I managed to get 260 words written, god knows when because it was a damn busy day and then the Christmas Party. I’m not much of a drinker but did have a fair few last night, but no hangover today! So that’s a win if you ask me.

Today I had a bit of running around to do so didn’t really have a lot of time to spend at the keyboard but have managed 386 words for the day. I probably added another hundred or so but did some editing which meant a few words were deleted but I’m happy with what I did today.

I tried to read a DC Rebirth comic the other day, and I just couldn’t get into it. I was only a few pages in but it just didn’t hook me. I’m a comic book latecomer and I’ve liked some of the Marvel and DC stuff  I’ve read but the last few pieces I’ve not been gripped by. This is something I’ve been thinking for a while, that Marvel and DC comics really aren’t for me. I’ve got a few on my to-read shelf so I will check those out, and I really want to re-read DCs Hush again next year.

I’m not giving up on comics though, I’ve really enjoyed the 2000AD ones I’ve read, mainly Judge Dredd ones so far but I’ve begun Insurrection by Dan Abnett and Colin MacNeil. I’m a huge fan of Dan Abnett and I like that this one is set in the Judge Dredd universe but I don’t believe he appears in it. So far I’m really enjoying it and looking forward to really getting stuck in over the next couple of days.