Sunday, March 12, 2023

Do you dare visit Nightmare Abbey?


I'd like to give a shout out to amazing new publication Nightmare Abbey, whose third issue is currently being planned! The first one appeared on the horror scene last year and featured such names as Ramsey Campbell and Robert Bloch (so it's not messing about here...) as well as many others including Steve Duffy and Lynda E. Rucker, either of whose stories are always a spine-tingling treat. Oh, and a tale by me, about a mountaineer whose near-death experience in the snowy Scottish hills is just the first of his woes. Nightmare Abbey is richly illustrated, including brilliant pulp fiction style covers, as you can see (left). Altogether a welcome addition to the bookshelf.

Issue two came out in November 2022 and again featured one of my stories - "The Wynd", about a curious type of city alleyway, and what lies at the end of it. It was inspired by the many wynds and vennels I have seen whilst wandering around Scottish cities. I think a "wynd" sounds so much more sinister than a "lane", don't you? If you fancy experiencing this tale to see whether you think the type of thing appearing in Nightmare Abbey might be up your street (groan), there is now an audio version of it on YouTube, superbly read by David Longhorn.

As mentioned, issue 3 is currently in the works but if you fancy reading either of the first two issues, they are available via Amazon as well as some other bookstores (eg. Barnes and Noble in the States). Rumour has it that there will be a new Steve Duffy story in issue 3 so I'm very much looking forward to that!

You can also read an interview with Tom English, who created Nightmare Abbey, here:

Sweet dreams...

Sunday, March 5, 2023

2023 Book News!


2023 is shaping up to be an exciting year for me as I finally have a new book out this autumn! It's called Jump Cut and here's what it's about:

104-year-old Mary Arden is the last surviving cast member of a notorious lost film, The Simulacrum. Holed up in Garthside, an Art Deco mansion reputed to be haunted, she has always refused interviews. Now Mary has agreed to talk to film enthusiast Theda Garrick. In return she demands all the salacious details of Theda's tragic past. Only the hint of a truly stupendous discovery stops Theda walking out. But Mary's prying questions are not the only thing Theda has to fear. The spirit of The Simulacrum walks Garthside by night, and it will turn an old tragedy into a new nightmare…

I love cinema and I have long been fascinated by lost movies and the tantalising thought that there might be a copy out there, somewhere. So that's where the premise comes from. I also find the whole idea of haunted technology very interesting. Some years ago I was at an M.R.James conference in Leeds and there was a brilliant short talk about technology in his work (there's more than you'd think, considering he's all about ghosts and academia), which I think was by Ralph Harrington. There is, I think, something peculiarly ominous about grainy old films where things are seen indistinctly, or crackling audio recordings. I've long thought that the antique nature of Murnau's Nosferatu (1922) makes it particularly creepy. Jump Cut is my contribution to this tradition.

Like my previous novels Ghost and Too Near The Dead, the book will be published by the fabulous Fledgling Press in Edinburgh. The exact launch date and cover art will be revealed as soon as possible. I might do an online launch event as well as an in-person one again - one of the few positive things to come out of the pandemic was events like these, which everyone can attend, even if they're on the other side of the world. So if you're interested in that, let me know in the comments! 

Meantime, I have new stories coming out in a couple of really exciting anthologies. The first, in April, is Twice Cursed, edited by Marie O'Regan and Paul Kane. The theme of the book is dark fairytales with curses in them, and my contribution, "A Curse is a Curse", is rubbing shoulders with various illustrious names including Joe Hill and Sarah Pinborough. I write a lot of short stories but this was one I particularly enjoyed working on. It's a bit of a change of genre for me, but it made me think I'd like to do more along these lines. I'm not saying any more than that...

Later in the year, I also have a story in dark academia themed anthology In These Hallowed Halls, again edited by Marie O'Regan and Paul Kane. This tale is called "The Professor of Ontography", and anyone who is as nerdy about M.R.James as I am will recognise that as a Jamesian reference. The story itself does have some Jamesian aspects - how could it not, being set in academia? - but also some rather non-Jamesian nastiness. So that is one to look out for too.

I'll post more news as I have it! And I hope very much that this autumn you'll join my heroine Theda Garrick, as she travels north for her encounter with the ghosts of the The Simulacrum.

Hollywood star by RedKid sign generator.