Friday, 27 November 2009 Advent

Peter Tennant of TTA Press is running a flash fiction advent calendar during December. A different story will be linked to every day, so it’s a good opportunity for a little additional traffic to one of your online stories, as well as a little bit of fun. Maybe even pick up a lovely comment or two of glorious praise via their forum. Can’t be bad.

Full details available here.

Friday, 20 November 2009 No Peeking

Firstly, apologies for the long post - it didn't start out that way, but somehow grew.

I still remember one long ago Saturday sitting in the dark with my brother, waiting for the horror double-bill to start. I was tired, but alert with anticipation as I always was when allowed to stay up late for the usual scare-fest of an old Universal flick followed by a Hammer or an Amicus.

I loved all that stuff; it was the highlight of the week. It was scary, but it was safe; none of it was real and I knew that. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, monsters – all great fun, but safe fun. I’d go to bed happy, without glancing over my shoulder or jumping at shadows. I’d lie awake and think of the stories I could write.

This particular Saturday night was different; this Saturday night the main feature was Don’t Look Now. From the opening scene with the rain falling on the water I knew this was different and I was set on edge straight away. Something told me this wasn’t going to be safe, this was going to be real.

And it was.

The ball floating on the water, the jacket the boy wears as he repairs his bike on the grass, his long 70’s hair, the little girl in the red rain coat clutching an Action Man (my Action Man) in her hand. All these simple things anchored it in reality, in my reality; in things I saw every day.

Then the little girl dies.

And as she slipped under the water, I was truly, truly terrified.

While the whole film unnerved me, it was the ending that kept me awake that night and for many nights after. The small figure in the red coat standing in the corner, facing the wall. Then she turns...

Perhaps I shouldn’t have watched it back then, but I did and it stayed with me. I didn’t understand a lot of it, but I could grasp how devastating it was.

Nothing before or since has had the same kind of impact on me. It’s the one fictional thing I can say has ever instilled me with a real, intense fear and horror and dread.

Looking back it’s easy to see the influence this has had on my writing, especially since I’ve had children. It’s scarred me for life, but for the better.

To this day, it sends a shiver of fear through me. It’s a bright, sunny day here and I’m alone in the office as I write this and I’ve just watched the clip below.

And I’ve felt that familiar fear that’s stayed with me all these years.

It's on TV tonight in my neck of the woods and I'm still not sure if I'll be watching it.

It's on late and it'll be dark.

Friday, 13 November 2009 All Sewn Up

I’m a happy writer again today; my story Lock and Key has wormed its way into the 2010 line-up of 52 Stitches. Huge thanks here to Aaron.

I remember I was thrilled when my stories were accepted for the first volume around this time last year. Now, after seeing the quality of the other stories in the anthology, I’m both thrilled and honoured to be making another appearance.

Here’s to another great year of stitches.

Thursday, 5 November 2009 Whoops Apocalypse

I’ve taken the zombie survival quiz and frankly, I’m a little disappointed with the result. I only have a 65% chance of surviving the impending undead apocalypse.

See how well you'd fare here.

All those years of watching Italian zombie flicks in my youth obviously haven’t paid off as well as I thought.

Still, watching a zombie attack a shark isn’t the best education is it?

Monday, 2 November 2009 Smugglers Cove

For those of you who haven’t seen this yet, there’s a great review of Fifty-Two Stitches over at The Book Smugglers. It comes out as highly recommended and I can second that… obviously.

It was nice to get a personal mention too; being called ‘eerie’ and ‘haunting’ just about made my day. Not in strange way, you understand, but nice all the same.

Submissions for the second year opened, fittingly enough, on Halloween. I wanted to have mine ready for opening day, but that didn’t quite work out. Hopefully, I’ll have it wrapped up and ready to send soon.

I’m sure Aaron will do a fantastic job again this year and best of luck to everyone.