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.