Wednesday, 30 December 2009

New List for Santa

I'm starting a new list. The last time I did one I was probably about six and sent the thing up the chimney, chasing the dark on a slipstream of heat and smoke from the fire, to wing its magical way to Santa's hands. The main theme hasn't changed: it's still a list of toys. But I'm older now. And this list is all about stuff I'd like to buy should I ever become (ho ho ho...) a successful author. When I've got a better idea of what The List will contain, I'll put it in my next blog. Shouldn't take too long. But here's a sample of what I'm after...

M41A Pulse Rifle

Lament Configuration Puzzle Box

Not bad for starters…

Sunday, 20 December 2009

The Dead Book 1, Cover

This is the full cover proof for The Dead book 1. And it's pretty neat if you ask me. My brain still refuses to accept I had anything to do with it...

The artist is Mel Grant ( and he's brilliant to say the least.

The Rosedales... discovery of a new band

I love that moment when you take a punt on a new band and it pays off. Found the recommendation on Daniel Walters' blog (author of Generation Dead, for The Rosedales, Once Upon an Season. So figured I'd have a go. And it's paid off. Worth checking out. It's filling me with the urge to buy a big open top truck and drive, drive, drive to no place, stare at the horizon, neck a beer... Love it.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The horror question

I'm trying to work out why I like to read, watch and write horror. And I can't. It's as though I feel I should have some water-tight, and morally based reason for it. That I should be able to justify it to all. When, to be honest, all it boils down to is that I like scary stuff.

I like it when something genuinely makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end - like when reading Susan Hill's Woman in Black. Seriously, one of the scariest novels I've ever read. I like it when bad stuff happens and keeps happening and there's no way out, and when they, the 'stars', find it... it turns out to be the exact opposite. I like over-the-top horror, subtle horror, edge-of-your-seat horror, I-can't-believe-they-got-away-with-that horror, funny horror, sci-fi horror, black and white horror...

I've come to realise that it all harks back to being a kid and watching stuff you know you shouldn't. A biggie for me was (and it's not horror) The Sword and the Sorcerer. It's not very good. But it is utterly over the top, rather violent, and particularly dark, as well as amusing in places... and I watched it for the first time when I was 12. It was on late one night and I just happened to end up watching it. I distinctly remember thinking it was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. A three-bladed sword! A heart bursting from a witch's chest! A man's head being split in half! YEAH! I mean, seriously, what's not to like? I spent the next two weeks drawing decapitated heads on sticks being hacked apart by big swords. And that wasn't because I was thinking about re-enacting the movie, just that I was utterly taken by it. The whole thing was so far and away from what I was used to, the world I'd grown up in. It was dangerous, scary, My Parents Didn't Know About It...

And that's what I want from my books. I want to give that sense of creeping downstairs in the middle of the night to watch something on TV in the lounge while your parents are asleep. Remember that? When you had to sit so close to the TV you could hear the static off the screen because the volume was so low? When every sound in the house made you freeze, turn the TV off and panic that you were about to be found out?

I want to write the kind of stuff that you hope to god your parents don't find in your bag. Is that a bad thing? Can I justify such a stance? I don't really know. I've never been any good at coming up with intelligent arguments - usually I get flustered, angry, and swear a lot. It's not a very attractive trait, but then neither is that smugness certain people get when they come out best in a discussion.

So I guess in the end the reason I like to read, watch and write horror is because I'm still 12, watching Sword and the Sorcerer, and hoping my parents don't find out. And you know what? I'm just fine with that.

Friday, 18 December 2009

So where to now?

I've never read a blog. I've never subscribed to one. I quite like twitter. And my favourite cheese is... er... So, anyway... this is where it begins - so where to now? Or, as was said in The Machine Gunners, 'Where ya goin' now, Georgie?' (Genius.)

I'm sitting in a house of rubble, living off my redundancy, facing 2010 with the insane and idiotically rose-coloured-spectacled view that I'll make a living from writing. I feel a bit of a numpty. Not least because most people my age have a job. And some sense. I have neither. And I kind of relish in that.

From here to wherever it ends up, it'll be a bit of a laugh finding out I reckon. And frankly, that's a good enough reason for me to give it a go. I've got nothing to lose. Well, nothing so long as I don't include the house, the car, the self-respect... Actually, no. I've got the self-respect. I think. I'm not an accountant. So that's saying something. And I no longer work for Ofsted. Which, to be frank, could be the subject of many blogs to come: Why I Don't Work For Ofsted; Why No One Should Work For Ofsted; Why Ofsted Is Worse Than Shingles...

Ofsted. I mean seriously, who wants to work for an organisation that has, on it's dress code, that lovely material Corduroy BANNED. Seriously! Thou Shalt Not Wear Corduroy! Unsurprisingly, I wore it rather a lot.

2010: A year with no Ofsted, no income, and a daft idea that my insane aim to be a children's writer will pay off. It's a bit of a gamble, isn't it?