Ghosts and Deadlines

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I’ve been working on a novel with the working title HOUSE OF SLOW ROOMS for the best part of three years. I’ve not been writing it every day, but I’ve certainly been thinking about it every day (which is, some would say, the same thing, or at least part of the job). It has had to take a back seat to a number of more urgent, time-sensitive projects (for ‘urgent, time-sensitive’ read ‘paid’) and because it isn’t part of any publishing contract, it has no deadline, other than those I pin to it. And then reschedule, with depressing regularity.

I like deadlines. I like the sound they make when I meet them. I imagine the sound as the wet splat you hear when Andrew Lincoln kicks a zombie’s head in. I’m pretty good at meeting deadlines and I do love to have a date set in stone that I can work towards. A July 2015 deadline for something else I’ve got to write has provided me with an unofficial kick up the pants for HOSR, otherwise it will go on the back burner for another six months. So I’ve given myself until the end of February to at least knock it into some kind of shape. To at least wrestle an ending out of it, so I can call it a first draft. I’m at the 80,000 word mark and it feels as though there’s not much more to go (although I am retro-fitting a new character and sub-plot, so the word count could swing up into six-figure territory).

Kindle surprise

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Two recent short stories, originally published by the good people at This is Horror and Nightjar Press, are available to buy online. The Fox was shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award and was well received by Starburst: “As events unfold, a knot appears in your stomach, twisting tighter and tighter until you reach the denouement.” Adam Nevill said of The Jungle: “In a Conrad Williams story you always see the very texture of the world’s simplest wonders and sudden horrors, but through eyes you thought had closed in your past.”

Priced at £1.99 each ($2.99 in the States). Cheap as chips. Or fries.

Forbidden Planet Halloween Signing

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No Tricks, just Treats this Hallowe’en as the greatest names in British horror gather downstairs at the FORBIDDEN PLANET LONDON MEGASTORE (https://forbiddenplanet.com/) to sign their terrifying tomes on Saturday, October 25, from 1:00–2:00 pm.
 
Here’s a list of the authors, artists and editors who participating:
 
Pat Cadigan
Ramsey Campbell
Michael Chislett
Adrian Cole
Peter Crowther
Les Edwards
Jo Fletcher
Christopher Fowler
Amanda Foubister
Stephen Gallagher
Stephen Jones
Paul Kane
Alison Littlewood
Paul McAuley
Gary McMahon
Lou Morgan
Mark Morris
Kim Newman
Thana Niveau 
Reggie Oliver
Sarah Pinborough
John Llewellyn Probert
Joe Roberts
Lynda E. Rucker
Mark Samuels
Robert Shearman
Laurence Staig
Lavie Tidhar
Simon Kurt Unsworth
Stephen Volk
Conrad Williams
 
There will be in-store give-aways and, for the first 10 people to buy all five ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! titles on the day, a prize draw for the latest Sony XperiaTM Z3 phone (worth more than £470!) to tie-in with the publication of ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! ENDGAME.
 
For those who cannot make it into London, you can pre-order your signed books through the FORBIDDEN PLANET website.
 
Following the signing, many of the authors will move across to The Bloomsbury Tavern, 236 Shaftsbury Avenue, where THE BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY is hosting an Open Day in the Upstairs Bar, and where you will be able to socialise with the writers, artists and publishers into the early evening. There will also be a raffle of books featuring some of the authors present.
 
So, please come along and join us on Saturday the 25th for THE GREATEST HALLOWE’EN HORROR SIGNING EVER!

Doctor Wh-aaargh!

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So this is what my name looks like in Russian:

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Thanks to editor Stephen Jones, who recently gave me a copy of his 1997 anthology The Mammoth Book of Dracula (in which my story Bloodlines appears), I can now say I’ve been translated into Russian. The one thing he told me as he handed over the book was that the figure of Count Dracula on the cover was actually Doctor Who. Now I can’t get William Hartnell out of my head… пока!

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The Spectral Book of Horror Stories

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I’m delighted that my story The Devil’s Interval, is to be included in the inaugural edition of this new annual anthology from Spectral Press, edited by Mark Morris. Here is the full ToC:

ON THE TOUR – RAMSEY CAMPBELL
THE DOG’S HOUSE – ALISON LITTLE WOOD
FUNERAL RITES – HELEN MARSHALL
SLAPE – TOM FLETCHER
THE NIGHT DOCTOR – STEVE RASNIC TEM
DULL FIRE – GARY McMAHON
THE BOOK AND THE RING – REGGIE OLIVER
EASTMOUTH – ALISON MOORE
CARRY WITHIN SOME SMALL SLIVER OF ME – ROBERT SHEARMAN
THE DEVIL’S INTERVAL – CONRAD WILLIAMS
STOLEN KISSES – MICHAEL MARSHALL SMITH
CURES FOR A SICKENED WORLD – BRIAN HODGE
THE OCTOBER WIDOW – ANGELA SLATTER
THE SLISTA – STEPHEN LAWS
OUTSIDE HEAVENLY – RIO YOUERS
THE LIFE INSPECTOR – JOHN LLEWELLYN PROBERT
SOMETHING SINISTER IN SUNLIGHT – LISA TUTTLE
THIS VIDEO DOES NOT EXIST – NICHOLAS ROYLE
NEWSPAPER HEART – STEPHEN VOLK

Mark, a lifelong horror fan and champion of the short story, had this to say of his new project: “I grew up reading and loving the Pan and Fontana Books of Horror and Ghost Stories, and have always harboured an ambition to edit an annual non-themed horror anthology of my own. I would love it if The Spectral Book of Horror Stories became a long and fondly-regarded series. My aim is for each volume to showcase the very best that the genre has to offer.”

You can follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMorris10.

The Shirley Jackson Awards

We sat in the car. I switched on some music. An old tape of Clapton. She held my hand between both of hers. I closed my eyes and it was like being caressed by two different people. Her nails scored the tender part of my inner arm.
   ‘You’re a minor chord, Warrington,’ she said.
   ‘Minor?’ I asked. ‘That’s nice. Why can’t I be major?’
   ‘Because major chords are happy sounding. Positive. Minors are fragile, sad things.’
   ‘Great,’ I said. ‘Thanks a bundle.’
   ‘E Minor,’ she said. ‘The saddest of all chords.’

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I’ve known for a week but I can now reveal that my story, Raptors, published online by Subterranean Press, is a finalist for the Shirley Jackson award in the Best Novelette category. It’s great to be on the shortlist again. Congratulations and good luck to all the other nominees. Thanks to Bill Schafer at Subterranean for taking the story.