This last week has been great, Sparks An Electric Anthology came out from Burdizzo Books. It’s got my story ‘The Last Charge’ in it, and all of the proceeds go to Resources for Autism. You can find it on Amazon here. Yesterday we had the first of two launch parties, you can see the readings from some of the stories at the Burdizzo Books Facebook page. The second launch party is on the 3rd of November, here’s the details. If it’s half as much fun as yesterday’s then it’ll be a lot of fun.
I’ve been up and down with writing this week. I’ve not got a whole lot of words done but I haven’t done bad. Today I’ve knocked out about two thousand words, despite feeling extremely wiped out.
Life does settle down a little from here on out, I think. I’ll no doubt be off to the cinema one night this week, a NaNoWriMo prep Write-In on Wednesday. This weekend is pretty clear though, I have friends over on Saturday but that’ll be nice and chilled out.
As I wrap this up, I’ll end by asking that everyone please check out Sparks. I’m really proud of this story, and happy to be in this anthology with some fantastic writers.
I haven’t got my word counts close to hand so I can’t say what my numbers for the week are, but they aren’t great.
The last week has felt like it’s flown by; I can’t really recall much about Monday and Tuesday, but on Wednesday I was at a Write-In and got some good words written. Thursday I was at the cinema to see Blade Runner 2049. Friday evening most of it was getting bits and pieces done for going to Bristol Horror Con yesterday.
I’ve got a lot I’d like to get done today. Outside of writing I’ve got a chicken house to clean out, and I’d really like to swap my bookcase around with my movie library (the bookcase is closer to my TV stand), but I don’t think that’ll happen today. I do want to get a good 1000, 1500 words done today, and get stuck into the outlining for NaNo. I’ve changed my mind (again) and will be doing a second draft of my zombie piece I wrote a few months ago. I think that’s the right piece to be doing, and there will be less prep for it than one of the other options. That’ll give me more time to focus on the WIP and getting that done before NaNo starts.
I enjoyed Blade Runner 2049, but it was too long. If there was half an hour shaved off it then I think I would have enjoyed it more. I’ve never been a huge fan of the original Blade Runner but do have some moments in the film that I find really memorable. I’m not sure there’s much in Blade Runner 2049 that I’ll find iconic. The performances were good and it looked amazing. The sound didn’t work for me. I’ve also seen the storyline before, anyone who saw the Battlestar Galactica reboot has seen it. I will give a shoutout to Dave Bautista, he was really good and showed just how talented an actor he is. Mackenzie Cook was also very good. It was hard to take my eyes off of her when she was on screen. Ana de Armas as Joi was incredibly good as well. She put a lot of heart into the film.
Finally, just a quick few words on Bristol Horror Con. It was a lot of fun. Last year was good, but this one was better. It’s been expanded into a bigger hotel, and I caught a couple of panels and the readings which was so much fun. I caught up with my friends CL Raven, such awesome people. I had a chat with their friend David Davies (From The Shadows Ltd), again. He’s a great dude. I also had a chat with Adam Millard again, again another great fella. His wife is really nice as well. I got a couple of minutes chatting to Tim Lebbon as well, another really cool and nice dude. That’s something that has struck about the couple of Horror cons I’ve been to, everyone is just so nice. When I was younger, and more stupid, I’d be a little wary of people who did live their lives different from mine. But in listening to more metal and ‘alternate’ music and going to cons, and seeing people from the Horror community online I’ve realised that this community is not only amazing, but incredibly welcoming as well. I’ve been to three horror cons now, and each one I’ve felt at home at. Everyone is smiling and having a great time. Cat and Lynx Raven have said a couple of times how great this community is, and they’ve been in it a lot longer than I have. Come next year, I want to get to a few more horror cons next year.
If you haven’t heard, we’ve got a Hellboy reboot in the works and it sounds like it’s quite advanced. Let’s roll back a little though, I loved Guillermo del Toro’s two Hellboy films. I think Ron Perlman rocked it as Hellboy and I’m still quite pissed off that we never got that third and final film. It’s been clear for some time though that it’s just not going to happen.
The reboot. When I first heard about this I wasn’t overly interested. I hadn’t really checked out the articles, but I do that at times. I can leave something a few days before looking into it. Sometimes I just need to see something at the right time for me to check it out and last night I think it was the right time. I was on Facebook and I saw that it had a title, Rise of the Blood Queen. Now for whatever reason that triggered some attention in my brain and I clicked the link to MoviePilot and did the reading. This is where it got my attention. Now, some of these details might change, it is something to do with Hollywood after all. But the article says that Mike Mignola, who created Hellboy, is writing it, along with Andrew Crosby and Christopher Golden. I’m not familiar with Crosby but I listen to the Three Guys with Beards podcast thats on the Project Entertainment Network, and Golden is one of the beards along with Jonathan Mayberry and James A. Moore, and I like the man. He seems to know his shit and talks passionately about what interests him.
Directing duties is down to Neil Marshall, who I like as a director. Dog Soldiers and The Descent are two films which I really like, and Doomsday is a movie that still resonates with me quite strongly.
The man playing Hellboy is David Harbour. I’m not hugely familiar with him, I’ve only watched the first episode of Stranger Things so far but with him being named as Hellboy I’m going to get back into it once I’ve finished Sense8 season two. If they’ve cast him though I’m assuming he’s impressed with what he’s done behind the scenes.
Both Marshall and Harbour have got a tough job on their hands, but I admire both of them for taking this on. That gives me confidence in this.
I’ve got a feeling this is going to stick closer to the comic book Hellboy. I’m sure everyone is looking at Marvel and seeing how it’s working out for them and thinking that’s a good way to go. By doing that the fans are getting respected, then it’s just figuring out the balance to make it appeal to the non-comic book fans.
It’s going to be R-Rated as well, so I’m interest to see how that’ll affect the tone of the movie. I really need to get some Hellboy comics and check them out
I’ll be keeping a closer eye on this now, it’s got my attention and I hope they get it right because I’d like more Hellboy please.
This is going to be a bit of a bulky post as I just sum up what’s been going on in the last few weeks.
It’s been a slow couple of weeks with writing, I’ve literally written no new words for pushing a month now. In that time though I have been working on an outline in much more detail than I have done in the past, and I’ve been working on getting last years FanFic piece read through. With the FanFic piece it’s a little complicated as I have to figure out what I’m going to need to connect the various pieces together, as well as figuring out what I’m going to re-write to make it all into a coherent story.
I have got my vampire collection all sorted out though. This is one of the files that I’d done beta note adjustments on, but I’d lost the file and have had to do them all over again. As I was doing the changes I couldn’t help but think it might just be an idea to rewrite the whole thing as (I’d like to think) I’m a better writer now. Aside from the time it’ll take for me to rewrite another story I’ve written (50k plus words), I’d also loose some of the subtext that is in those stories. I listen to Armand Rosamilla’s podcasts (Armcast and The Mando Method) and he has said that he has thought about rewriting some of his older work, but he isn’t now who he was then, and they’d loose something if he rewrote them. I can’t help but agree. I also don’t want to be that writer that keeps working on the same things and never moves forward. I do suffer a little of that but I’m trying to pull away from it. Now that I’ve got this done, and ready to go off to other beta readers, I’m feeling like I am moving forward.
We’re also moving forward on The Space Watch. Owen is working his way through, putting his stamp on it and I’m looking forward to sitting down with him to go through it in detail and see what he thinks needs working on.
I did have a massive highlight last Saturday (18th March) and that was meeting Scott Sigler. Scott is one of my writing idols and he’s having a small European tour and as soon as I heard him announce the two London dates I immediately booked the 18th off so I could go and hang out with a writer who I’ve been following since 2007. I also got to meet his business partner, AB Kovacs. Both Scott and A are really fantastic people. They are both very engaging, passionate, hard working, and genuine. They’ve also got a great deal of appreciation for the fans, we call ourselves Junkies, and that was very clear to see on Saturday. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the best moments of my life, and has opened my eyes a little to how much of a rut I’m in. Both with writing and life in general. I am taking steps to change that, but I am quite an introvert and it’s not easy for me to step out of my comfort zone.
Back to Saturday night though; in addition to meeting Scott and A, I got to hang out with a good twenty to thirty other Junkies who were an awesome group of people and were all so passionate about Sigler’s work. I also got to meet comedian, illusionist, and writer John Lenahan. John was podcasting back when Scott started off, and is such a cool dude. What made him even cooler was that he did the voice of Talkie Toaster from the TV series Red Dwarf!
Elsewhere, I’ve been getting back into the cinema. I’m a huge movie fan and it’s getting to the time of year when the movies I want to see are coming out. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been to see Lego Batman, Logan, Kong:Skull Island, and Beauty and the Beast. Lego Batman was a lot of fun, silly and over the top, which is what I was expecting. Logan was just brilliant! Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine with such commitment, understanding and passion over the years it’s going to be a shame not seeing him playing the character again. Kong was surprising good. Action right from the start and never did it feel like it was slowing down. It just kept its pace, and the action didn’t disappoint. It’s also the first time I’ve really seen Brie Larson in anything. She’s been cast as Carol Danvers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I was really impressed with how she was on screen. Beauty and the Beast is probably one of my favourite Disney movies. I saw the animated version a couple of times at the cinema when it first came out, and it’s always resonated with me. The live action version was good, but I think it doesn’t quite match up to the original. This is one of those times where I’ve realised this film was going to find it hard to impress me because of my love for the original, that said there was a lot I liked about the live action remake and I will definitely be buying it on Blu-Ray when it does come out.
TV wise, I watched The Expanse, and really dug it. It was a little bit of a slow start but once I’d gotten to about episode three I was locked-in. I’m looking forward to seeing the next series. It’s also reminded me I’ve got to get through the rest of the books in the series. I’m now getting stuck into Iron Fist, and am really enjoying it. It’s just taken a turn I wasn’t expecting. I could quite easily go and binge the last four or five episodes but I’d like to get some work down today.
Reading wise, I’ve not got Terror Byte by J.R. Park finished yet. I’m enjoying the story but I’ve let myself get distracted by movies, TV and comics in the last couple of weeks. I’m going to aim to get back to reading before bed each night, again and will hopefully have it finished by this time next week. Speaking of comics, I’ve just finished House of M, and really loved it. I’ve been curious as to what led up to Scarlett Witch’s ‘No More Mutants’ moment and I brought House of M simply because the cover looked cool and I was intrigued by the title. So seeing Scarlett Witch’s ‘No More Mutants’ moment was an added bonus. I’ve now moved onto Secret Invasion. I also listened to Alone by Scott Sigler. This is the third book of his Generations Trilogy and really ended the series well. The audiobook was narrated by AB Kovacs and she smashed it! A really impressive performance, and very easy to listen to.
Well, that’s about it. Sorry for the chunky post, it’s not often I break five hundred words, let alone a thousand! I am trying to focus my attention and energy better. I’m not being overly successful with it, but I’m trying. Hopefully I’ll have a productive week.
Silent Dawn tells the story of Ben, Keira, and Drake and their interest of a video game Silent Dawn, and how the game seems to begin merging into the real world.
This book is beautifully written, paced, structured, and doesn’t hold back from putting the protagonist through their paces. It has a tension that rises as the story progresses and as a reader I was wondering what was really going on with the story. There was times when I couldn’t quite figure out what exactly might be happening.
Each one of the protagonist has a lot of depth and all have a very engaging personality. Each one felt very genuine, as did their home lives and what they had to go through when they were at school. These teenagers are not the stereotypical teenagers that you see in the media, and for me that is one of the things that made them more real. That and what they went through when they were at school. Ben, Keira, and Drake are goths and they suffer the fact that they are not afraid to be different from the herd. What the characters went through with their class mates and teachers is so exquisitely handled by C L Raven it felt like I was there with them. I got a little bullying when I was at school but it wasn’t to the extent that Ben, Keira, and Drake go through though.
Something I really like about how C L Raven have written this is that we don’t really see a lot of Silent Dawn. They keep her as the boogey man type character, and that works really well for the story. As I was reading it I was never quite sure when or where she’d appear in the story.
I’ll wrap this review with a quick comment about the social commentary and humour in this story. The dialogue between Ben, Keira, and Drake is just beautiful. It’s humorous, on point, character building, and just fun. There was more than a few times which had me laughing aloud.
I enjoyed this book massively, and would recommend that people check it out.
This morning I woke up at about 3:30am and couldn’t drop back off. So after 45 minutes I gave in and got up. I made myself a cup of tea, popped the gas fire on, fired up my laptop and wrote a blog post and knocked out 837 words before going back to bed at about 6:30.
The rest of the day has been focused on signing up for mailing lists of people I met yesterday at Birmingham Horror Con, looking them up on social media etc. and sorting out the swag I got from the Con. I did tidy a bookcase up that was in a state as well. I’ve also started a Star Wars marathon and have, at the time of writing this blog post, gotten to A New Hope. I don’t think I’ll get to The Empire Strikes Back, tonight. I think that’ll be tomorrow night that I get into that one now. Once I’ve finished A New Hope I’m going to get tucked into bed and read some more of Savant by Nik Abnett before I get an early night.
Yesterday I travelled to Edgbaston Cricket ground for Birmingham Horror Con with my buddy Stefan and his partner, Steph, and boy was it a lot of fun! Aside from the fact that I got to see my friends C L Raven again I met some awesome people who all seemed really nice. I brought a load more books, T-Shirts and some really cool artwork, as well as a couple of comics.
One of the things I’ve loved most about the cons I’ve been to (DemonCon, Bristol Horror Con, and now Birmingham Horror Con) is how warm and welcoming these events are. I’ve not encountered any negativity from anyone. It just seems to be everyone there to enjoy themselves, which is really refreshing! In a world where there’s so much hatred and desire to stop other people enjoying themselves it’s something I’ve found to be really quite awesome.
As for Birmingham Horror Con, it was vibrant, full of great people selling their books, works of art, clothing, jewellery, and a tonne of other horror related merchandise. As I mentioned it was great to see Cat and Lynx Raven again, and spend a little time talking to them. It was also great chatting to Dave from From The Shadows, J.R. Park, Daniel Marc Chant and very briefly with Adam Nevill. This is where I fail a little. I need to get better at talking to people. I do have a shyness and I need to get over that. Just talking to the cosplayers and getting some photo’s of them would be great as well because they all looked so cool!
There’s another one later in the year, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get there for it but I’m going to try. I will definitely be there again next year because it was just so much fun.