Time for an update on my current busy-ness. Let’s start with comics:
- My story The Fishers Also Shall Mourn has been accepted for Into the Woods 2, the second anthology of fairy tales edited by Stacey Whittle. I loved the first volume – a mix of reworkings of classic fairy tales and new stories in the genre. The Fishers… falls into this second category, and I can’t wait to see how it develops in the very capable hands of artist Brendan Purchase.
- I’m delighted to be working with Barry Nugent in the universe of Unseen Shadows. Building from his novel, Fallen Heroes (a great read), Barry’s built an empire of comics spin-offs and audio-dramas, and has a further novel in the works. My story is in and approved and now it’s over to an art-bunny…
- I’m also working on new titles for Disconnected Press, our erstwhile comics publishing venture. This autumn will see the launch of three new titles: vol 3 of Disconnected, our anthology of weird and wonderful stories set in small towns; Do Aliens Play Basketball?, an exploration of space and science in collaboration with Vashti Hallissey; and the somewhat leftfield Sentient Zombie Space Pigs, which does exactly what it says on the tin. You can follow progress on all of these at www.disconnectedpress.co.uk or by following @DisconnectedPrs on Twitter.
On the prose front, the novel moves on apace. I’ve had a few very productive writing sessions recently (TV off, mood music on, 1.5-2 hours of solid writing followed by a cake-shaped reward) and I’m aiming to finish draft number 1 by the end of May. At that point, look out here for excerpts…. I’m also out of the habit of writing short stories and flash fiction, so have been trying to carve some time for those too; a few have flown off to competition-land, but I’ll aim to share more on the blog soon.
And that’s it. I think. Time to get on….!
The last two weekends have been spent in conference venues, pubs, restaurants and hotel bars with fellow comics creators. London Super Comic Con and Cardiff Comic Expo fell one after the other so, along with fatigue, hangovers and a lingering cough, I’ve got a head full of comics chatter, some of which I thought I’d share.
I was lucky enough at Cardiff to take part in two panels: one on Women In Comics and the other on Getting Ahead in Small Press / Self-Publishing. It’s the latter of these that I’d like to talk about, particularly to share some tips on writing for small press comics. Continue reading
Here’s a tale inspired by some fairly claustrophobic weather we saw on holiday last week.
You can see the others as you kick at your skis and move forward across the snow. They are there as you are pulled down the slope, pushing your weight this way, that way, this way, that way, feeling the mountain breathing beneath you. They are there as you pause for breath: they answer with muffled words from behind their scarves as you say “it’s closing in”.
Together, you watch the whiteness coming. The piste in front of you narrows; you see thirty feet ahead, now twenty, now ten. If you close your eyes, the world is black; if you open them, the world is white. You close your eyes. You open them. You are alone. Continue reading
Here’s a little tale about salt. And love.
Here’s a little Christmas tale, just for you. Yes, you. Really it’s yours….
Lonely This Christmas
Three small creatures, dressed in green and red, stood on tiptoes, resting their fingers and their chins on a frosty windowsill, their faces just high enough to peer in through the window. Their grip was precarious: every so often, one of the elves would lose his balance on the snow below, or feel his fingers sliding off the sill, and would tumble to the ground. This brought forth laughter from his companions – elves find nothing funnier than other elves falling over – then hurried shushing as they tried to stay hidden from the man inside the house.
Watching for a while, they were intrigued.
“What’s he doing now?” asked Torven, the elf who had fallen most often and so could see the least of what was happening inside.
“He seems to be… moving.” Heggle replied, in a not very helpful way.
“That’s not very helpful,” pointed out Mishi, for elves cannot help but state the obvious.
“You’re stating the obvious,” Heggle answered with a smile.
Here’s a Christmas greeting of sorts… Written by yours truly and drawn by Conor Boyle, it was our contribution to the mirth and mayhem that is the 2000AD Forum Advent Calendar. For those who don’t know the character, here’s a link.
I have a Christmas story in the works for you too; I promise it’ll be more cheerful
So, Iz McAuliffe (@izmc) didn’t only suggest the word “shoes” for a story. She suggested something else as well. I’ll tell you what it was at the end of this one (though my Twitter feed will probably give it away). There’s no title for this one yet – ideas on a postcard, please:
This was written earlier today in a coffee shop in Manchester whilst waiting slightly too long for a train (yes, I know, trains go from stations, not coffee shops). It was inspired by Iz McAuliffe (@izmc) who, when asked for a one word theme for a story, said the only word that ever pops into her one-track mind: shoes.
So here it is: Continue reading
All attention at the moment on the next offerings from Disconnected Press, my comics publishing (ad)venture.
We had a great reception for the two books we published in May this year.
Disconnected Vol 1 is an anthology of stories all about the weird and wonderful things that happen in small towns but don’t make the big city press. We were blessed with some incredibly talented writers and artists and have had some great feedback and reviews.
Our other book, Lost: Boys, featured four stories written by yours truly, with art by four relative newcomer artists. Not only did we get more glowing reviews, we’ve also SOLD OUT of the first print run. A second print run and digital edition are in the works.
Inspired by our first endeavours, we’re now working on Disconnected Vol 2, carrying on the same small town theme with a new crop of creators, and on How To Kill Bears, another anthology, this time featuring up and coming female artists. Both will launch at ThoughtBubble in Leeds in November!
The short stories and the great novel-in-progress will be back on track come November, but right now, it’s comics all the way to print deadline day…..!
I was in need of some inspiration, so I asked the inimitable Rich McAuliffe for a word, a theme for a short story. The word he suggested was hiraeth. I said “of course!”… then looked it up. It turns out hiraeth is:
a Welsh word that has no direct English translation. However, the University of Wales, Lampeter attempts to define it as homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed. It is a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness, and the earnest desire for the Wales of the past.
(Quote and references at the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiraeth)
So, here it comes, a somewhat sad tale called Hiraeth.