Sunday, 16 December 2012

Share this slow, steady descent to madness

Well, it's now mid-December, and various Christmas-themed things are on the horizon, including a couple of online stories of mine, which people might enjoy checking out.

The grim picture above could illustrate either of them, but more about those later. In the meantime, I have a new post up and running at KILLER READS, the HarperCollins crime-writing blog.

This will be my forth since Avon Books commissioned a new series of crime novels from me, and it won't be the last - they are set to run well into next year. But in this one I discuss my early days as a professional author - joining the writing team for THE BILL while I was still finding my feet as a journalist (having just left the Greater Manchester Police).

I won't say too much more, otherwise there'd be no point in anyone going and reading it there, but I'm really grateful for the opportunity KILLER READS has given me to create a brief blow-by-blow account of my gradual transition into authordom (or my my slow descent into madness, as my wife, Cathy, would doubtless say).

I highlight several watershed moments from that early stage of my career: not just the obvious ones like the first time I was invited to THE BILL offices in response to my sending them an on-spec screenplay, but the later frustration I found in trying to produce tough cop thrillers in the slightly sanitised environment of pre-9pm TV, the spin-off of which was my search for other venues in which to extrapolate some much darker themes and my subsequent arrival on the horror scene.

Anyway, as I say ... you'll have to go THERE to see the rest of it.

On the subject scary stuff, that brings us rather neatly to the point I raised at the beginning of this session - Christmas is fast approaching, always a popular time for spooky tales, and this year looks like being no exception.

To start with, a brand new Christmas story of mine, a particularly creepy one, I think - MIDNIGHT SERVICE - will be appearing on KILLER READS sometime in the next couple of weeks. I haven't got an exact date for that yet, but it will be up there in time for Christmas (I hope). Watch this space for more details on that.

A bit sooner - in fact on Tuesday this week, December 18th - a story of mine entitled DOWN IN THE DYING-ROOMS, will appear on the always excellent VAULT OF EVIL website, which specialises in fun and scholarly assessments of horror and dark thriller literature. This will be part of webmaster Demonik's annual Advent Calendar, which presents us with a different terror tale each day.

To access it, you'll need enter the Vault's actual ADVENT CALENDAR section. It isn't just my story, of course - numerous luminaries of the horror game have contributed this December already, not to mention last December and the December before. So you'll have plenty to read. But first you'll need to register (in order to get the downloads). Don't be put off by that. It won't cost you anything, no-one is going to pester you or shower you with advertising, or even expect you to participate in the Vault's daily life. If you like your daily chillers, it's a good place to be at any time of the year, but you can always delete your account afterwards if you're not satisfied.

Just for your info, my story next Tuesday will be DOWN IN THE DYING-ROOMS, which not many people over here in the UK will have read as it has only appeared once before, back in 2005 in the cracking US horror mag, DARK DISCOVERIES.

Again, I won't go into further detail, but put it this way, if you like the macabre atmosphere generated by the two derelict hospitals displayed in this column - (top, Denbigh Mental Hospital); bottom, Cane Hill in Croydon), then this one could be right up your street.

Thanks to Howzey for these amazing images of two medical facilities that time forgot.

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