The Ghost House

Late last year Jan, Misha and I went to Keele Hall where two distinguished writers read out their stories — hi there A Leslie and R Shearman. A very enjoyable time. Spooky, too, as it should be. After, as we were getting back in the car, I noticed that the eerily lit Hall would make a perfect eerie picture. Here it is — edited a bit to double the atmosphere.

 

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Back again…

Golly gosh, my previous post was from before moving house. Nearly five months ago. The move was stressful at times but in the end all went well. Most importantly, all (well, almost all) the books are now in the house and not in the garage, where they were initially stored until shelves had been erected. Now we’re waiting on a new kitchen and bathroom. Once they are done, it’ll be time to decorate.

In the meantime Jan and I have been receiving submissions for The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors, due later this year. In fact, we’ve received over 250 stories — a lot of reading and shortlisting to get on with now the sub window has (almost) closed.

In addition, I am receiving stories from Bryn Fortey for his second collection, which will come from The Alchemy Press, also later in 2018.

I’ve also edited and prepared the layouts for a new novel from Misha Herwin, Shadows in the Grass. This isn’t my usual type of reading material but nevertheless it proved to be a most engaging read, about three generations of a family as they escape from early 20th century Poland to the relative safety of Bristol. The novel is only available as a Kindle book at the moment — the print version should be available shortly. The brilliant cover is from a painting by Misha’s sister Anuk Naumann.

I’ve also been photozapping images again. Here’s one I did previously:

I wish you all a (belated) happy 2018. May it be successful and peaceful.

 

 

Hekla’s Children reviewed

Over on the Piper at the Gates of Fantasy website I’ve reviewed the new novel by James Brogden, Hekla’sChildren:

Quite simply, I fell in love with this novel almost instantly. I admit some may think I’m somewhat biased: I’ve known James Brogden for many years and have included some of his short stories in the magazines I edited for the British Fantasy Society, as well as publishing a collection of his finely crafted short stories (Evocations, The Alchemy Press). However, and trust me in this, if I hadn’t enjoyed Hekla’s Children I wouldn’t have read it so quickly and thus you wouldn’t be reading this review.

Pop over to Piper to read the full review and then buy, read and savour this fabulous novel.

 

An Alchemy book launch

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It can’t be difficult, surely, to organise a book launch (as part of the recent FantasyCon weekend). After all, I have organised and co-organised the British Fantasy Convention itself – several times – plus many one-off events. Ah, as with all best-laid plans, it didn’t quite go according to – well – plan.

My first worry was: did I have enough copies of the books to be launched? It turned out, yes I did. It’s better to bring home unsold copies then it is to run out.

Number 2: Would I have enough wine? I counted the number of authors who said they’d come along to the event and the anticipated audience based on pre-convention interest. Thus a couple of weeks beforehand I doubled the wine order. Weirdly, considering this was a fantasy, horror and science fiction convention (those who have attended these things in the past know that attendees drink like fish), relatively few people were in fact drinking the wine (and for hotel wine it wasn’t too bad). I brought home a few unopened bottles of the red and white stuff. Never fear – it will be drunk.

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Something Remains

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At the 2013 World Fantasy Convention, held in Brighton, Joel Lane’s Where Furnaces Burn won the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection. Due to personal problems Joel wasn’t able to collect the award in person. I had intended to visit Joel soon after, meet up for one of our irregular balti meals with mutual friends Dave Sutton, James Brogden, John Howard, Mike Chinn and Stan Nicholls, and to toast Joel for the win. Sadly, that visit to Birmingham didn’t materialise in time – for not long after the convention Joel passed away in his sleep. His death left a huge cavity in my life.

Last year, after months of sorting out the detritus of his life (in other words, clearing his house in preparation for its sale) Pauline Morgan mentioned the wealth of notes Joel had left behind. The notes were penned in his immaculate handwriting on all manner of pieces of paper; some were bullet points, some long detailed pages – all preliminary to unwritten stories and poems. It occurred to us that these notes should not be lost, that they should form the basis of a book of stories completed by Joel’s friends and colleagues. Pauline and I read through dozens and dozens and dozens of notes, finally honing them down to a score or two.

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