Archive for the ‘FantasyCon’ Tag

Monthly Round-Up: September 2016

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

Well it’s been a busy old month since the last update. End of September? How did that happen? Before you know it, it’ll be time to think about the dreaded Festive Season…

But for now, on with the news.

the-whispering-death-new-master-website-2OUT NOW

I am pleased to announce that THE WHISPERING DEATH has been re-released with a new cover, hand drawn by the uber-talented Erin Kelso. I include it to the right. Nice and spooky, yes?

The story itself is unchanged, and remains available in print and Kindle version from Amazon.

And of course SUFFER THE CHILDREN is available in all e-book formats.

PROMOTION

I’ve had a few guest appearances online in the past month.

On 5 September I did a blog swap with Chuck Bowie, with a post about the importance of rewriting appearing on his blog. Then on 16 September I appeared on Diane Dooley’s blog, with a post about being a woman of horror.

My interview for the British Fantasy Society’s journal appeared in issue #16, which was released this month. The British Fantasy Society exists to supports British writers and publishers of science fiction, fantasy and horror, and the journal is free to members. If you’re not a member but want to be, check out membership options on their website.

And, speaking of the BFS, I attended FantasyCon, the SF/F/H convention run by the BFS which this year was in the Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough. It was a great weekend, catching up with old friends and making new ones, and I had a panel and a reading as well. I read from SUFFER THE CHILDREN. Reading slots were organised this year with two authors sharing a half-hour slot. A very good idea, to my mind – it meant the audience was bigger. And my reading partner, Priya Sharma, is a fantastic short story writer and a lovely person.

WORK IN PROGRESS

I am making good progress with the fourth Shara Summers novel, which is currently titled DEADLY SUMMER. Still first draft, though, so a long way to go yet.

That’s it to report for now. See you next month!

What I’m Doing At FantasyCon 2016

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

This weekend I head for the Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough for the annual British celebration of SF/F/horror literature, FantasyCon. FantasyCon was the first con I ever attended, some time in the late 1990s, and I still hold it in fond regard.

On this occasion I am travelling alone, since Hubby is not joining me. He claims to want a quiet weekend at home. I think he’s looking forward to a weekend of being able to play games, make models, watch the documentaries he likes in peace. That’s OK with me as long as he remembers to feed the cats.

Anyway, I shall be at the day job Friday morning, and then boarding a train to the wilds of Yorkshire mid-afternoon. Somewhere I have to change trains. I think it might be York. There’s not a lot of time between the two so I hope the first train doesn’t run late. I am supposed to get to Scarborough about 5:30pm. In plenty of time for the disco – hurrah!

In any case, I do have things to do for this particular convention. I am giving a reading at 3pm on Saturday. The organisers have organised author readings in half-hour slots, with two authors per slot. I rather like this idea. It means you’re less likely to have no one turn up to your reading, since there’s a good chance there’ll be someone there to watch the other author as well. My reading partner is Priya Sharma. I have not met her before, but looking forward to doing so on Saturday.

Then at 8pm I’ve got a panel called ‘Paint It Black’, which is all about why horror permeates so many other genres. My fellow panellists are Simon Bestwick, Jo Thomas, Timothy Jarvis and Phil Sloman, who is moderating. With the exception of Simon, who I’ve met in person, everyone else I only know from the internet so I am looking forward to meeting some new people.

Other than that, I shall be visiting a few panels and spending a lot of time in the bar, where I hope to be able to meet up with the people I only ever get to talk to at Cons. Although I might be tempted by the FantasyCon karaoke.

So if you’re there, come and say hello. If you tell me you’ve bought a copy of any of my books at any point, I might even buy you a drink.

 

 

Monthly Round-up: August 2016

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

With the summer behind us we are facing longer nights, colder days, and can look forward to Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night (at least here in the UK). Though we are having a burst of unseasonably warm weather here in London so maybe we can hold onto summer just a bit longer.

OUT NOW

SUFFER THE CHILDREN is now available in from all e-book retailers. It’s still available direct from the MuseItUp store at the special release price of $2.99, and if you buy it from there it is available in all e-book formats.

PUBLICITY

I’ve been busy with guest posts since the last round up. Here is a run-down:

30 July – guest post on Luke Walker’s blog on the endurance of horror.

12 August – interview on Judy Penz Sheluk’s blog as part of a new series called ‘Before they were authors‘.

17 August – Interview on Kay Lalone’s blog about SUFFER THE CHILDREN

I’ve got a few more guest posts coming up over the next few weeks, and I’m also off to FantasyCon in Scarborough next month. So watch this space!

WORK IN PROGRESS

The horror novel has not been going well so I’ve put it to one side while I work out how to fix it. I think none of the characters are working. Or the plot. In fact the only thing I’m happy with is the setting, so I think some major surgery is required for this time.

In the meantime, however, I’m happy to say I’ve started work on the fourth Shara Summers novel. This one takes her to New York city, and it has a provisional title of DEADLY SUMMER. Early days yet, but it’s going quite well.

See you next month!

Monthly Round-Up: October 2015

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

Here we are at the end of October, rapidly approaching the Witching Hour. The clocks in the UK went back last weekend and it’s now dark by 4:30pm. I really hate the long nights, but there are things about Autumn that I really like. The beautiful colours of the trees. The crunch underfoot as I walk through fallen leaves on my way to the station. The anticipation of bonfire night, and of Hallowe’en. And of course October is my birthday month. This year I happened to spend it at FantasyCon. It’s the first time I’ve spent my birthday at a convention, but it was quite nice to get all the extra birthday wishes. Since the date of FantasyCon 2016 has already been announced and it’s in September, it’s looking unlikely that will happen again next year.

Anyway, on with the news.

OUT NOW

Nothing new to report, but just another reminder that THE WHISPERING DEATH is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon. If you’ve read it and feel inclined to review it, I would be most grateful. Word of mouth is the best way to promote a book, and reviews really help.

PROMOTION

I’ve been fairly busy with online promotion over the last month.

14 October – I made an appearance on Theresa Derwin’s Terror Tree blog talking about the questions you shouldn’t ask a writer.

14 October – on the same day I was part of the Horror Writers’ Association’s Hallowe’en Haunts feature, with a blog post about what Hallowe’en is like in the UK.

25 October – I appeared on Iva Valentino’s blog talking about my lifelong love of reading.

In addition, I did two Cons in October – Bristol Horror Con and FantasyCon – and two book launches.

Ready for punters at the launch for THE WHISPERING DEATH on 14 October

Ready for punters at the launch for THE WHISPERING DEATH on 14 October

The first book launch was locally on 14 October. That went rather well, and we had about 20 people turn up, including two who happened to see my poster and liked the sound of the book. So proper punters, as opposed to people who already know me. I was very pleased about that. It felt like one more small step on the path to notoriety.

The second book launch was at FantasyCon, and didn’t go quite so well. I am grateful to the five people who did turn up and show support, but clearly all the promotion, Tweeting and cajoling people at the Con didn’t have much effect. I think launches at Cons only work if you’re well known enough to have a following. Evidently I’m not there yet.

WORK IN PROGRESS

I’ve made some progress with SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH – in fact the end is in sight. This is only a first draft, though, so there’s still lots of work to do yet. Not so much progress on the urban explorer horror novel, however.

I’ve set a new pledge to write 3,000 words a week between now and the end of the year. Most weeks I’ve managed to meet my target, and every little helps.

Well that’s it for now. I wish you a happy Hallowe’en, and I will see you here next month!

Monthly Round-Up: September 2015

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

This blog has been a tad neglected of late. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on. On the contrary – things have been extremely busy, and thus I have a lot of news to report as we move out of September.

OUT NOW

I am pleased to announce that FEMME FATALE, an anthology of horror stories by women, is now available in print and on the Kindle. All profits from this book are going to a charity that supports victims of domestic violence, so if you buy a copy, your hard-earned cash is going to a good cause. And of course you get to enjoy an outstanding collection of stories. My story ‘The Haunted Dolls’ House’ features.

And of course THE WHISPERING DEATH is also available to buy now. I also want to add a reminder that another anthology featuring one of my stories, FORMER HEROES, has also been released recently.

PUBLICITY/FORTHCOMING EVENTS

I had a blog swap earlier this week with fellow Muse author Susan Royal. She appeared on my blog talking about tim travel, and I appeared on hers talking about why I wear many hats.

There are a great deal of events going on in real space in the forthcoming month, and I shall be kept very busy. For starters I am attending two conventions in October. The first is Bristol Horror Con on the 17th, where I am appearing on a panel at 11am about the use and abuse of horror in literature through the ages.

The following weekend I’m off to FantasyCon in Nottingham, which runs from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 October. On the Friday at 5pm I’m on a panel about the use of fear in horror – an appropriate topic, since I did my dissertation on this very subject when studying for my English degree. The launch for THE WHISPERING DEATH will be happening at FantasyCon on the Saturday, at 8pm. That day also happens to be my birthday. If you’re at FantasyCon please come to the launch; that will be enough of a birthday gift.

WD launch poster (477x640)And, speaking of launches, this is of course the second launch for THE WHISPERING DEATH. The first will be held at The Brook independent arts centre and bar in Wallington, Surrey at 7pm on Wednesday 14 October. This launch is for everyone who isn’t going to be at FantasyCon, and if you’re in the London/South East area and can attend, do please drop me a line. I am attaching a copy of the official invite. There will be free bubbly, if that makes a difference…

WORK IN PROGRESS

And amongst all this, I’m still hard at work on two WIPs. The third Shara Summers novel, SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH, stands at nearly 40,000 words and I am aiming to get this finished by the end of this year.

The second WIP is a horror novel about urban explorers, as yet untitled. Thus far only 2,000 words of it exist. I’m aiming to get this one finished by Summer 2016, though.

So, I have a lot of work to do. I may be neglecting the blog a bit longer as I race my way through my busy October. But if you’re going to be at the Cons at either Bristol or Nottingham, do say hello!

Cover Reveal: The Whispering Death

FINAL COVER

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

It’s time to unveil the cover for my forthcoming horror novel THE WHISPERING DEATH!

This one is being released by British horror publisher Kensington Gore in the Autumn. The e-book version may, in fact, be available in a few weeks. The print version will follow in a couple of months. I am hoping to be able to launch it at FantasyCon in Nottingham in October but I am awaiting confirmation on that.

This is the scariest novel I have written in a while, and it’s not for the faint-hearted as it has rather a lot of gruesome scenes. It also has a lot of references to LARP, to D&D, to Resident Evil and is an homage to geekiness in general. Oh, and it has zombies, too.

I am very excited about the release of this book. For those of you in the UK and not going to FantasyCon, I’m endeavouring to arrange another launch, in the South of England, to offer another opportunity to attend. As always, watch this space for further info.

In the meantime, here’s a teaser in the form of a blurb for the novel.

Blurb for THE WHISPERING DEATH

Death comes to us all; life is the name of the game and everyone has a role to play.

When a group of live action role-players perform a ritual as part of a game, they unwittingly unleash an ancient evil that tears their world apart. The reanimated corpse of a long-dead magic user, corrupted by powerful dark magic, offers a promise of unlimited power, but at a terrible price. Having helped open this Pandora’s box, Mark and Elizabeth must race against time to close it again – before it’s too late.

Monthly Round-up: September 2014

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

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!

Monthly Round-up: August 2014

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

We’re over halfway through August already.  Where is this year going?  This means it’s time for another report on what I’ve been up to writing-wise over the last month.

COMING SOON

I now have release dates for both the forthcoming Shara Summers novels.  DEATH SCENE is to be released on 22 September, and DEAD COOL on 25 November.  Though both books are e-book only, they will be available for pre-order through the MuseItUp website.

PROMOTIONAL NEWS

I’ve made a couple of guest appearances online since the last update. Details below:

13 August – I appeared on Kat Holmes’ blog as part of her Summer Bash, talking about cultural displacement.
20 August – I was on Anne Stenhouse’s blog with Five Fascinating Facts.  Well, I hope they were fascinating…

Con-wise, I went to the fabulous Geekfest, and had a fine old time.  Next up, FantasyCon in York, which will also be the last Con in my calendar.  At least for this year.  I’m already lining up my Con schedule for next year.

WORK IN PROGRESS

I have made a start on what I will hope be the final rewrite of the new horror novel, which is entitled THE WHISPERING DEATH.  I’ve worked out what I need to do with this, and feel happy with the way the rewrite is going so far.

September is looking like a horrendously busy month, with a lot of personal and day-job related stuff going on.  But with the release of DEATH SCENE on the horizon, there’ll be plenty of writing-related stuff going on as well.  Catch you next month!

Suffer The Children?

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

In the last 12 months, I have been at two different panels, at two different Cons, where a member of the audience asked the same question.  The question was, “Is there anything you feel you can’t write about?”

The first panel was the one on British horror at FantasyCon in Brighton last year. The panel was peopled entirely by men (unrepresentative, I thought, as there are plenty of British women horror writers, but I digress). The second panel was at the Harrogate crime conference last weekend and dealt with the issue of whether women write more violent crime than men. This panel was almost entirely women – the sole man there writes under a female pseudonym, and he was there to give a slightly different slant to the discussion.

All members of both panels unanimously gave the answer that they shied away from writing about terrible things happening to children.

In my writing career thus far, I’ve had terrible things happen to many children in my stories. Indeed, the plot of the first novel, SUFFER THE CHILDREN, revolves around a supernatural creature who survives by sucking the life essence out of children. My urban fantasy project – though currently shelved – features a supernatural private eye who works as a ‘ghost whisperer’, and in an early scene she has to deal with the ghost of a child horribly disfigured in the accident that killed her.

Admittedly I come from the perspective of someone who not only doesn’t have children, but who clearly wasn’t in the queue when maternal instinct was handed out. Most of the writers on the aforementioned panels were parents. But let’s look at this a bit closer. My writing idol, Stephen King, has many terrible things happen to children in his stories.  In CARRIE a gymnasium full of teenagers at their high school prom burn to death. The plot of IT kicks off with the young brother of one of the main characters being pulled into the sewer and killed by the Big Bad, in the guise of an evil clown. And then there’s PET SEMETARY, that features a toddler mown down by a truck, who consequently comes back from the dead and goes on a murderous rampage.

People with children are uncomfortable with the idea of terrible things happening to children because it cuts too close to their own fears for their children. But as horror and crime writers, our job is to scare people. You can write about nothing more convincing than the things that scare you. I think that’s what Stephen King was doing with PET SEMETARY. After all, he is himself a father. Surely nothing scares a parent more than the thought of one of their children dying. And the father in PET SEMETARY, having to face this tragedy, knows that there’s a mysterious graveyard over the hill that seems to possess the abililty to bring things that are buried there back from the dead – even if they don’t come back quite the same as they were before. Faced with that knowledge, what should he do? What would any grieving parent do?

In order to grow as writers, I think we need to be able to write about anything – especially the things that we are most afraid of. Ultimately that’s why I decided I need to tackle that rape scene in the current WIP. I knew I was shying away from it because I was uncomfortable with the subject matter. And hence, I needed to face it.

There should be nothing that a writer should be afraid to write about, especially if you like to write stories that scare people. The things that scare you the most are likely to scare your reader as well.

FantasyCon 2011 Round-up

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

This past weekend was the hottest October weekend in the UK since records began, and as such it was a great time to be heading to the seaside town of Brighton, back to the same hotel where World Horror Con was held about 18 months ago.

FantasyCon is a Con both Hubby and I like to attend, and we arrived in Brighton around 2pm. My reading was at 3:30pm, so I figured this was plenty of time to prepare. Unfortunately the hotel wouldn’t let us check in until 3, so we left our bags with the concierge and went to find the bar. We ran into a few T Party people on the way.

I wasn’t so nervous about doing the reading. I was more worried about not having an audience. There were two reading rooms, with readings scheduled against each other, and I think I lost out to the competition in the end. Plus, Friday afternoon was a quiet time, as not everyone had arrrived. Still, Mark West of Stumar Press – the publisher of my forthcoming collection – made it to the reading, a couple of T Party people and one or two others so I wasn’t playing to an empty house. I read two stories from the forthcoming SOUL SCREAMS. When I rehearsed them at home, I timed them together at over 20 minutes. For the reading, though, I was done in 15. I guess I was reading a bit fast.

Once the reading was done, I felt I could indulge in some alcohol (I didn’t want to be incoherent for my reading) but I really wanted to attend the panel on crossing genres, so I didn’t get to spend much time in the bar. Panel moderator was Sarah Pinborough, and the wonderful Mike Carey was on the panel, along with other writers whose work I haven’t read: Gary McMahon, Steve Mosby and Suzanne McLeod. I think I shall have to remedy this soon. They all write some variation of crime/supernatural crossover, and that’s just my cup of tea.

During the panel, Hubby had succeeded in getting us checked into our room (the queue had been far too long at 3pm). We attended the FantasyCon welcome party, catching up with a few more people in the bar. I encountered Simon Clark, whom I remember having long conversations with nearly 20 years ago, when a group of mainly BFS members used to have monthly pub meets in the Wellington pub in Waterloo. The monthly pub meets still happen, but the venue has changed several times since then, as has regular attendees. I don’t think he remembered talking to me nearly as well as I remembered him, but he was gracious enough to pretend he did.

Friday night ended with the infamous FantasyCon raffle. There are usually a lot of donated prizes, so it goes on for a while. Happily, I did win a prize – a book called WAKE UP AND DREAM by Ian R Macleod. Not an author I know, but the book looks quite interesting, and I’m never one to turn down free books, so it, too, has been added to the towering TBR pile.

Saturday Hubby and I decided to sample panels representing all genre fiction, so we went to the Trends in Fantasy Fiction panel, and the Where Next in SF? panel. Hubby then snuck off to his favourite Brighton guitar shop, while I wandered around investigating various launches, and a couple of readings.

In the hotel lobby I caught up with Gavin Williams and Tim Lebbon. As I mentioned in my lowdown of Horror Con, these two chaps and I used to be in the same writing folio – a sort of postal writing group – many, many years ago. They’ve both subsequently become very successful writers. Tim Lebbon especially is now a Famous British Horror Writer (and yes, that’s Famous with a Capital F). Quite nice that they both still remember me, though. We had a good chat.

Hubby returned with his loot from the guitar shop in time for the interview of veteran sf writer Brian Alldis, by Christopher Priest. Mr Alldis has led a fascinating life. After the interview he was signing books, and Hubby went off to buy one. He came back very happy, having engaged Mr Alldis in conversation for about 15 minutes, mostly about Singapore, where the writer was stationed during the war, and where Hubby ends up travelling to for work fairly regularly.

After a foray outside for some dinner and a walk along Brighton’s sea front – well, it seemed a shame to waste such a lovely day inside all the time – we returned to the bar for some more drinking and socialising. The evening’s entertainment included a Burlesque show. However, after the first half I dragged myself away from the girls with nipple tassels to attend another panel, on How to Scare Your Readers, which was populated by some of the best contemporary British horror writers. And one might be forgiven for thinking that contemporary British horror is dominated by bald blokes, as there were three of them sitting in a row – namely, Adam Nevill, Tim Lebbon and Simon Clark. The other two panellists were also blokes, though not bald – Ramsey Campbell and Tom Fletcher. Personally I think this panel should have had at least one woman – we women of horror are woefully under-represented.

In any case, the panel was very interesting, and Adam Nevill’s book THE RITUAL has gone on my TBR list, after Tim Lebbon – who himself writes some damn scary books – cited it as being the scariest story he’d ever read.

This panel was followed by Ramsey Campbell’s midnight reading, where the iconic horror writer read out one of his characteristically whimsical and disturbing short stories.

After that, I ventured back to the bar to find the first FantasyCon disco in full swing. Since the delegates at FantasyCon are mostly, like me, 40-plus geeks, the music played was entirely to my liking. The disco was Sarah Pinborough’s idea and I hope it becomes a FantasyCon tradition, because it was jolly good fun, even though bopping around in such sweltering heat meant none of us smelled too fragrant by the end of the evening.

Sadly, the evening had to end, and we retired to bed. Although there were activities scheduled for Sunday until mid afternoon, we were anxious to make an early start home, as engineering works meant our journey was going to be somewhat arduous. We said our goodbyes and left.

The post-Con comedown is always a struggle. After a weekend in such excellent company, getting back to real life can be a wrench. Sadly, I was obliged to return to the day job on Monday morning, but I have many wonderful memories from this year’s FantasyCon. I feel doubly sad about this Con ending as it’s the last one I’m attending this year. Already I’ve got post-Con withdrawal symptoms, and I don’t, as yet, have any Cons for 2012 booked up to have more to look forward to. I need to address this soon, methinks.