Sunday, July 14, 2013

Where Am I?

Well it's been a long time. I've got a large number of e-mails - including lots of ones from radio stations - asking about me and if and when I'm bringing out a new book. For them many thanks. Others say that I appear to have vanished off the radar and that they want me back as soon as possible. To them many thanks. I do think I owe people an explanation so I'm using this blog to give it.
The reason for my "disappearance" is three-fold. The first is a simple one - I thought I needed a break. I've been writing continuously for various publishers since 1995 - sometimes three to four books a year. Now that is a mammoth task by anybody's standards and is very wearing. And there appears to be a down-turn in the American book publishing market so it seemed a good time to catch my breath. Career Press and I had talked over a number of possibilities but none of them were viable, so it made my mind up for me. This doesn't mean that I don't have some new books out there - I'm currently working on a couple of illustrated books with a British artist which are being considered by a British publisher - these are the now finished Carnival of Dark Dreams and The Witch-Hunter's Handbook. These will take a bit of time but may be out this year. So taking a break.
The second reason stems from the disagreement I had with some of the Lovecraft set which I had last year. They took exception to something which they imagined and alleged that I had said in my book A Haunted Mind - I had incidentally never said what they alleged but any protests fell on deaf ears - and became very nasty about it. They kindly sent me two computer viruses which I was able to deal with but also a picture of what appeared to be an aborted human foetus. Thus mail was accidentally opened by my 13 year old daughter who was using my computer. This made me seriously question my writing in this area and so I took a bit of a breather to review the situation. I will continue writing but I have to think about the vein in which I do so.
The third thing is the tense social situation in Northern Ireland. Those of you who know anything about me will know that I also work in the field of community relations and that I'm extremely passionate about my work. Since the end of 2012, and the flag protests, tension has been rising particularly in Loyalist areas and paramilitaries have been coming to the fore once more - particularly in the area of organised crime. Communities are trying to rebuild themselves and their confidence as the Peace Process, imperfect though it is, seeks to take hold. 2013 has really hit the ground running for me in this respect and I've been engaged in working in community relations with very little time for anything else. So hence the absence.
I am still working in media though. I have a couple of television series coming up and did a very interesting documentary recently on vampires for the Russian First Channel. I may have another one on zombies coming through in Canada if Telefilm Canada comes through with funding. And I have now a new comics program about to run here in the North of Ireland as part of the Derry City of Culture programme. It's in its early stages at the moment but when it gets up to its full potential, I'll maybe write something on it on the Bogstandard Comix blogspot. And, of course, I'm woking on a major historical project based around the Plantation of County Derry by the English in 1613 and have been back and forward to London.
On Thursday I'm off to Amsterdam to meet with some old comics friends and discuss a project - I'm also taking my family with me and making a holiday of it - spending our time seeing the sights once more and eating rijsttafel which is always one of my favourites. And next year you just might see me in Athens, Georgia - more on that later perhaps. So still a lot happening. But to all those who wrote asking what I was doing and if I had a new book coming out, my thanks. It's really nice to know that you're appreciated and missed. And there may well be a new book out at some point - you never know what lies in the future. That's what makes it so exciting.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Christmas

It's been a while - October in fact - since I've done anything on the blogs. The reason for that is that the last couple of months have been very busy and I've been slightly injured by being accidentally and peripherally caught up in the riots which have been taking place in Northern Ireland over flags and emblems. I'm recovering slowly although I can't sit for a long period of time in the one position, nor can I drive for long distances at the moment  but I'm getting there.

A lot of my work has been in the community field over the last few months and I've not been doing as much writing as I would have liked. Still, American Vampires seems to be doing well and I'm inundated for interviews - one with the prestigious Huffington Post so keep an eye out for that.

I've also a new book out in the Middle East and did an interview in  Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania recently. I'm also getting a bit of publicity in Russia as I appeared as a kind of presenter/expert on the a programme of vampires on the First Channel in  Moscow. Still planning a trip to Iceland as well once these injuries are fully better.

I'm MCing a Junior Rock School this afternoon - part of a youth project that I've been working on - and then home to rest and watch a bit of football. West Ham plays Everton this afternoon but it'll be a tricky game and they might not do it. David Moyes team - Everton - have been playing incredibly well this year but we'll see what Big Sam's boys can do.

In the meantime I hope every one of you have an extremely Happy Christmas and a Preposterous New Year. I won't leave it so long the next time and will talk to you all then

Monday, October 15, 2012

Way Out West

It's taken me a bit of time to write here again. Two reasons. One I've been off to the States and in the Old West - in the wonderful town to Cheyenne for the Cheyenne Zombiefest -and second I've been reconfiguring my computer after somebody kindly sent me a virus designed to attack my hard drive.

Thankfully there was a secondary memory source built in and my friend Darryl and I were able to save much of the stuff that was on it, although we lost a little bit, but even though we had a good number of protections built in Darryl had to rebuild a bit of the main drive. I have my suspicions as to who it was sent me the virus but I can't prove it so I'm saying nothing. Anyway, the whole system is now changed and functioning and I'm getting used to the different command bars. So apologies for the delay.

On a brighter note, the Cheyenne trip was really something. It was the first time that I'd been to America in over 30 years so it was a bit of an adventure. And I met a lot of good people out there and those who were really interested in where I'd come from and how things were in Northern Ireland. It was great to meet Americans who had a genuine feeling for what's happening over here - a lot of whom were more clued in than I'd imagined.

Those whom I met in Cheyenne were absolutely terrific and couldn't have done enough for me. I'd like to say a massive thanks to Rory for inviting me over. As I told him when I was growing up Westerns were all the rage over here and I always wanted to be a cowboy. The good people of Cheyenne made that wish come true. Even more so because they gave me a terrific cowboy hat - a genuine cattleman's hat bought in The Wrangler from the hands of the Cattle Queen of Wyoming. This has now pride of place gives me a kind of "western gravitas". I'm going to wear it when I chair my next meeting with the "suits" from Stormont who chide me for not wearing a tie. Let's see what they make of the hat!

The trip was great and it was terrific to meet all the people who came to the lectures and to the book signings. And thanks to the couple who traveled all the way from Utah to meet me. I'm really glad that Zombiefest was such a success - I hope that I contributed in some small way to that. Truly great too to meet my co-guests, Jonathan Maberry and his lovely wife Sara and the inimitable George Hardy of Troll 2. We all had a ball and are now corresponding over the net and may combine on a new collaborative project which we talked about in Cheyenne. It's easy to become both isolated and insular as a writer and so it's great to meet others and expand your horizons - I really hope that the project between us all comes off and will keep you informed.

If you've never been to Wyoming and Colorado, I would definitely recommend that you go. The people there are great and I hope that I can count many of them as my friends. But the trip was exhausting for me. Three plane changes - one of which got significantly delayed - and three different time zones. I was shattered when I got home and it took several days before I felt human again. But it was worth it and if Wyoming was closer I'd be back in a heartbeat. To all who looked after me so well, my sincerest thanks.

And the only way to fly is Great Lakes Airlines - an unsolicited plug there. When you're looking directly over the co-pilot's right shoulder in flight it gives a whole new perspective to "priority seating". But what an experience! Go on, give it a try!   And I see I have another two invitations to the States for next year - one to Los Angeles and one to Atlanta, Georgia. I may become what the airlines sometimes describe as "a frequent flier".

Of course one of the big pluses on the trip was to meet my editorial staff at Career Press in  Newark. I know you think that I have to say that because Laurie reads my blog - but it's true. I've been working for them since 2003 but had never met them, So it was great to put faces to names and thanks for the chilli soup - it was fantastic.

And I think this would be a good time to say that American Vampires is ready and in stores. Hope you enjoy it. In a week's time I'm off to Dublin to meet with Irish President Michael D. Higgins and then there may be a trip to Iceland on the cards. I'm getting too old for all of this you know! But keep an eye for American Vampires in the shops and we'll talk again very soon.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lovecraft has been shipped.

The new book on Lovecraft is now out and I've got some author copies just yesterday. It's the biggest book I've done for Career and it should be out and in the shops or avaulable to order online as from the 15th August I think. It looks very well and I'd bve interested to hear what people think.

The next book is American Vampires which will be out at the end of the year - we're already going through the edit - which will be out in October. So if you want to read about a vampire chair or vampire plants, there'll be something in this book for you.  There's been a lot of interest in both it and the Lovecraft book already and we're gearing up a number of interviews. So watch out for those.

The Wyoming trip still looks as though it's on for the end of September so those of you who live in the US may get to see what I look like. Fortify yourselves with strong drink now! And there have been a few requests for radio interviews when I'm over so we'll have to see about those as well. Some of you have been asking what comes after American Vampires and the truth is that I don't know. We're considering a couple of ideas but nothing concrete yet.

The publishing world is very slow at the moment. One of the things we're looking at concerns witchcraft in America and I can truthfully say that to the best of my knowldge there's not another book on American Witchcraft like it. But I don't know - it's really up to the publisher.

On the Carnival of Dark Dreams - I now have the book completed and the English publisher is still considering what Andy and I have done. Hopefully that will be out before too long. It's an interesting illustrated book and something a bit different from what I've done before now. But it's difficult for writers at the moment - the markets are so limited and even when your book is accepted, it can a while to get round to publishing it. Just have patience!

I'd better go and get a bite to eat. The Olympics are on over here and the television doesn't seem to have gone off - we've all day coverage for the whole Games - so I'll sit and eat and watch them. And then get back to a new science fiction book that I'm working on. This could be the novel of 2013 or then again it might not. One thing - you never know.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Checking In

I said that I would try and keep up with this blog but it has not been easy. A mixture of work and illness has prevented me from writing as often as I'd like. Some time ago when in South America I cut my hand and lifted some sort of parasite which left me with a condition which is not a million miles from malaria - in fact they treat me for it with quinine sulphate.

It has also triggered a condition which is akin to Menieres Disease which is like the onset of vertigo and means you can't really stand up which is what I've been suffering from recently. It would appear to be triggered by sleep so you get up in the morning and the bedroom is going round. They can't treat you for it only "manage" it which is a bit frustrating because it means you can't work until the treatment kicks in. And worst of all there was a problem with my main television and it had to be left in - so no Sky. Sitting around waiting for the thing to pass and no television in my living room!

The good thing is that the condition seems to affect me in blocks - the last one was several years ago, so hopefully it'll eventually pass. Anyway, just at the minute I'm taking each day at a time. Been clear for a few days now. Problem of leading a kind of nomadic life. I can't even look at a computer screen when the thing's affecting me without being ill so haven't had a chance to get too much writing done. But have actually managed to do some more on the Carnival of Dark Dreams and fingers crossed that will be out sometime next year.

And another bit of news - Gina and I have finished our edit on A Haunted Mind which has now gone to the printers. It should be in all good booksellers soon. Still planning to come to Wyoming and am busy finalising some plans to be there in September.

Working too on the new Jackers book which might be on your websites sooner than you think. It'll need a bit of editing but it looks like it could be ready to go very soon. The summer here's a bit of a washout - severe flooding in some parts of the Province though thankfully not here. I live at the top of a hill anyway. Off to get something to eat but as soon as this condition clears completely will be back at this blog. Thanks for your patience and to those who wrote to me many, many thanks

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Carnival of Dark Dreams

All right! All right! I did say that I'd try to maintain this blogspot more frequently. I've been up to my eyes with a few projects - some of which are community related - and really haven't had the time to get near it.

Thanks to all you people who wrote directly to me and I've tried to reply personally to as many as I can. To others, please be patient and I will get round to answering all your mails.

The Haunted Mind book is getting ready for printing. Gina and I have more or less completed the final edits and the publicity company has been in contact regarding the campaign - so that will begin this week coming I think.

I'm also getting ready to sort things out for a trip to Wyoming. It's my first trip to the States in about 40 years and I've never been to Wyoming so it should be exciting. Hopefully everything will be fine. And maybe next year there might be a trip to Los Angeles - it's being talked about. There have been so many invites to the States and elsewhere for which I'm really grateful and I didn't want to continually say no. So it looks like Wyoming is on.

I'm also doing a new book - not for Career this time - with an artist named Andy Paciorek which is called Carnival of Dark Dreams. It's looking at some strange creatures that you won't find anywhere else - things from the fringes of folklore and legend. It's very demanding but a whole lot of fun and Andy's illustrations are incredibly well suited to what we're trying to do. If you want to see some of the material look on his own blogspot.

As yet we're still talking about a new book for Career and I'll let you know when we've decided. The publishing market is very slow at the moment but A Haunted Mind (August Publication) and American Vampires (October publication) are waiting in the wings.

Everybody tells me that this is a really slow year both for publishers and writers with everyone being very cautious. I suppose that we'll just have to see it through. I really can't get over how quiet it's been. But I am looking forward to the trip to the States and seeing what's going on there. Will try to write a bit more frequently and that's a promise. Hopefully befoe the end of the month. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

More Strange Creatures

Broke the little toe of my right foot in a silly argument with a chair about a fortnight ago - I turned suddenly and caught it on the leg of the chair - and it turned a rather fetching shade of black so I thougfht I'd better go and get it X-rayed. It was broken all right but the medics could do very little with it except to strap it up.

Then on Tuesday, I was in a queue in a supermarket and the woman in front of me stepped back in herhigh-heels and just clipped it. Agony! So still hobbling around.

The Strange Creatures chapbook that I had mentioned might be going ahead as I've been contacted by a publisher who might be interested. It's early days yet but there is a bit of an interest in the strange creatures that I'm doing - some of which I've never seen anywhere else. So working at that and I have almost ten creatures/entities done which Andy, the illustrator, is drawing. Of course nothing might come of it - I never bank on anything until the contract's in my hand - but it's very interesting actually doing it.

As well as that I have a print of the Italian comic that I did with David Lloyd out in Spain - or so he tells me which should be interesting.

I've also been contacted by a publisher in Bosnia about a comic strip but things are a bit difficult there - epecially with regards to payment. The Bosnian marka isn't exactly legal tender here - and he can only pay me in marka as he is a small outfit - and I'd have to get it changed in some other EEC country into euros which isn't exactly the most stable currency at the moment and by the time that would all be changed the amount wouldn't really be worth it. But we'll see. It's one of the things that people don't think of as being connected to writers.

Was talking to Adrian on Tuesday and we're definitely going to go ahead with a kind of scienc fiction posted on the web. The only thing I have to do now is to write it - I have one partly written and am doing a bit on that whilst I'm working on Strange Creatures but it's slow.

The Wyoming trip looks as if it might be on. I'm flying out from Northern Ireland into Newark where I've a 4 hour stopover before catching  plane to Denver and it'll give me a chance to meet the people from Career who are based there. I've been working for Career for almost ten years now and whilst I know a lot of the people there, I've never met any of them. So I'm very excited about that. Let's hope the trip comes off which I'm sure it will. If you are reading this in Cheyenne, I might see you in September.

And of course congratulations to West Ham Football Club who made it from the Championship back into the Premiership. I watched the match against Blackpool yesterday but I couldn't really watch the last couple of minutes - still all ended well. And Chelsea against Bayern Munich although my wife was disgusted - she doen't like Chelsea at all. Anyway, I'll keep you up to date with Strange Creatures and of course A Haunted Mind and American Vampires should be out soon. I'm sure I'll be back again soon