A few years ago, while resting on the rooftop of a hotel in New Orleans, I had a vision of a hideous, unholy realm.
I’ve never told too many people about this, but sometimes I have strange visions. I’ve been having them off and on since I was six.
Are these just daydreams? Well...sort of. But they feel more intense and immersive than daydreams. Are they hallucinations? Well, kind of. But I know these are imaginative experiences and I understand they’re not real.
It’s difficult to describe them, but I’ll try.
Adult writers turning to YA is a tricky business and many have come a cropper
Book two “Alight” which is the middle section in Scott Sigler’s “Generation Trilogy” has recently been published, so this article features a review of this latest book of Scott’s as well as give a wide over-sweep of the other novels and career of this fantastic horror crossover science fiction writer who has broken the rule book on the phrase ‘over-the-top’. Although the new novel is primarily aimed at the ‘YA’ market it will also be widely read by the author’s sizeable and incredibly loyal following of adult horror fans. These ‘uber-fans’ are known as “junkies” and I am proud to count myself amongst their number. Why? I’ve read every word Sigler has written since 2008 and when he published a new book this is a big event in my calendar. Basically: Scott Sigler publishes a book, I batten down the hatches and power through that bad-boy in no time at all. For anyone who has never read a Sigler novel: they are usually a terrifically exciting and violent fusion of science or speculative fiction, horror with the odd alien thrown in. Did I mention how violent they are? Astonishingly graphic in parts, stomach body horror churning in others, sadism is thrown in with good cheer and these reads are so far over the top they’re half way down the other side. Sigler lives on a planet all of his own and it is a scary place. But it’s good for us mere mortal fans to visit once in a while for a day trip.
Clown Wars: Blood and Aspic is a fantastic read. Jeremy Drysdale and Joseph D'Lacey have created a unique book; that is scary, thrilling, thoughtful, intelligent and rather funny. It is the perfect onion book in that it has loads of layers. Over this weekend, the authors are discounting the price of it on Amazon. To celebrate, and as a way of a thank you, especially to Joseph, as he has always been a great supporter of the site, we have put together a list of some of the biggest and scariest clowns from film, TV books and music. And yes before you go
"OH IT CAN'T BE A PROPER LIST WITHOUT PENNYWISE"
do you think that Ginger Nuts of Horror would be so obtuse and obvious? If you did shame on you for thinking that. So read on to find out which clowns, jesters, fools, mimes and all other breeds of clowns have scared and impacted on Joe Young, Duncan Ralston, Kit Power and myself. Can you guess which clown belongs to who?
I have done this sort of post numerous times, and while it may seem that I am a complete grump, I do these posts because I care. I want you writery folks to succeed, and I would hate to see a great writer fail because they don't have the most basic of social media savvy that even a god damn blind cat has.
It's not difficult; this isn't advanced quantum physics. This si just simple polite interaction that doesn't ram your book down prospective readers throats.
Here are some of the things I have seen this week that has really got my blood boiling. Some of these go on all of the time, but a few of them are new ways in which to piss off readers.
1. We will start with the good old fashioned "I am a best-selling author." You're no more a best-selling author than the 100,000 other authors out there. Being a top ranking writer in something like the following
BOOKS>FICTION>LITERATURE>HORROR>GHOSTS>CHILDREN>KITCHEN SINK> FEATURES A PINK CUSHION> GETS DESPERATE TO FIND A CATEGORY THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS WRITTEN IN> CONGRATS YOU SOLD 10 COPIES OF YOUR BOOK YOU CAN NOW CLAIM TO BE A TOPSELLING WRITER, WHEN WE ALL ACTUALLY KNOW THAT YOU ARE STRETCHING THE DEFINITION OF BEST SELLING TO BREAKING POINT>CATS
If you have to go more than five levels down the tree, then you are not the best selling author that you claim to be. Stop doing this, stop it now you have no idea how much it annoys readers and reviewers. If I see this in a review request, and I don't recognize the name I delete the application without reading any further.
2. We all need friends even this grumpy reviewer needs a few friends. By all means go and send out those friend requests on Facebook and Twitter and whatever other form of social media you use. But don't when you get the offer accepted automatically send out a request to
LIKE YOUR PAGE
READ YOUR BOOK
BUY YOUR BOOK
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER
TAKE PART IN A NAKED CONGA DANCE
Jesus, get to know me first, you wouldn't into a new house then go straight round to you new neighbors and beg them to do the above, would you? Learn to become patient, form a friendship then do the above, slow it down and you'll get there.
And if you use an autoresponder on Twitter that sends a spam DM I hope you burn in hell.
For the record, I'm always up for a naked conga dance; I just require photos of the two folk preferably ladies that I will be in between. I would not want to be sandwiched between to blokes that look like me.
3. This one is a new one to me. Adding people to an event, that isn't an event, this is what prompted this post. I was added to a group, which turned out to be a review farm for a fucking short story. The author had invited 274 Facebook friends to this "event." with the sole purpose of asking them to review his book. Are you kidding me? Do you think this is the way to get people to review your book? I tell what doing this achieves,
IT WILL ONLY SERVE TO DRIVE THE MAJORITY OF THOSE 274 FURTHER AWAY FROM YOUR BOOK.
Stop being so desperate for a review.
4. Taking out a load of advertising on a website then pulling out and asking the website owner to cancel everything, because
"YOU DECIDED TO GO WITH A WEBSITE THAT YOU FOUND THANKS TO THE ONE YOU TOOK OUT ADVERTISING ON PROMOTING ON TWITTER"
Not even going into the complete lack of class at such a thing, you do realize that this is a bit silly. You'll notice that I am not advertising on that other website, possibly because I have a larger readership and reach, and you know you found that site from just one of my tweets.
Does that not tell you something,? You know maybe what I do works, and maybe going a few steps down the ladder isn't probably the wisest of moves. Well, I hope that works for you because you know what you will never feature on my site. If you enquired then said sorry that's too much, fair enough but to book the place then pull out once the invoice has been sent is a shitty move.
Unfortunately, all of this has left hundreds of authors scrambling to pick up the pieces in the final month of Booktrope's life,
At the end of May, the paperbacks of my books, Gristle & Bone and Salvage, may be unpublished for a brief period of time, due to my publisher (Forsaken) closing its doors.
This seems to be an ongoing trend with small press, unfortunately. Companies overextend themselves to produce a ginormous back catalogue (everyone knows the back catalogue is where the money lies), which leads to a lack of quality control, often involving a lack of any viable business plan, etc. etc.
To paraphrase South Park's Underpants Gnomes:
Step 1 - Open the floodgates and let the writers pour in.
Step 2 -
Step 3 - Profit.......
it plays like a symphony of “trigger warnings,” and is so grim for the most part it could easily induce states of profound depression
Barring the Terminator franchise (which may or may not be...derived from Mr. Ellison's work on the old science fiction show, The Outer Limits), I'm a relative late-comer to the work of Harlan Ellison. It's only thanks to his (finite) involvement in video games that I am aware of him at all (for some reason, despite being extremely lauded in the U.S., he doesn't seem to be that well known or marketed here in the U.K., certainly not in comparison to the likes of Stephen King, who can be found on the shelves of every book store in the country).
My first exposure to his work was, like many, via the loose video-game adaptation of his seminal short story, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. Often cited as a work of extreme nihilism and misanthropy (a fairly picayune reading of the story, to be certain, but one that sustains and pervades), the story involves a day-after-the-day-after tomorrow scenario in which humanity has been eradicated in the last World War; a conflict between the U.S.A, China and Russia, as the result of the super computers created to orchestrate the war merging and becoming self aware, giving birth to an entity of supreme, almost divine power, but also infinite and infinitely imaginative cruelty. The entity “AM” is mankind's greatest creation; the sum of all of its technological innovations, its experiments in physics, chemistry and consciousness, but also a reflection of every dark and tribal impulse to beat in the species' collective breast.