Wednesday 31 October 2018

Samhain Salutations

Have a satiatingly salacious Samhain. Found this critter in The Hague.

Monday 29 October 2018

TEDx Livestream

Hi guys. I've been a little bit quiet recently as I've been off giving a TEDx talk at the University of Luxembourg. It was a fairly intense experience. There was a lot of preparation involved, writing the speech and rewriting it. I left Kigali on 22nd October, arrived in Luxembourg on 23rd, then there was a dress rehearsal, a private coaching session, and then the proper performance on 26th. So, it was all go.

Thankfully, the team and the speakers were absolutely fantastic. It was such a supportive environment and a wonderful chance to talk about ideas and passions. A truly incredible experience.

They're currently editing the speeches now, so there will be a bright, glossy version which I will post later on, but if you don't want to wait, the livestream is still available here. It's rough and ready, but what people were watching on the day.

I'm currently holed up in The Hague with my lovely cousin Tamsin and her fella, Guido. Eating, drinking and attempting to survive the freezing cold weather before flying back to a sensible climate on Wednesday.

Saturday 20 October 2018

The Death Book

I'd like to give a shout out to a most excellent individual, Matthew Holroyd. 

He's releasing this gem on Halloween:

Edited and published by Matthew Holroyd, the founder of Baron and Baroness Magazines and photographer Edith Bergfors, the death book is a series of loosely connected vignettes exploring photography’s relationship to death and how death is portrayed in Western society.

A photograph typically captures a moment in the past, bringing it to the present. In contemporary surveillance culture (a.k.a the internet), the dead and alive exist side by side. On the satellite mapping site Google Earth, for example, Bergfors has sourced photographs of her now-deceased grandparents gardening. Likewise, as a genre, portraiture tends to circle around mortality, desire and power.  Through extensive Photoshop manipulation, the editors of this book presents themselves as thinned down, airbrushed and clad in designer fashions, in an attempt to be remembered as rich and picture-perfect. Sadly, The National Portrait Gallery, London, rejected their attempts to bequeath these portraits to the nation.

Popular representations of death act as simulations of death, rather than representations of any reality. For example, the devil has come to signify a host of mortal sins – from drinking to sexing. Playing on this legacy, here a rent boy is portrayed as the devil, alongside muscular clubbers exhibiting their sporty physique.

The book also contains contributions from  image makers and other visual practitioners who have informed the editors’ own ideas on death; these include Palm d’Or-winning director Lars von Trier, Golden Lion-winning director Roy Andersson, Turner Prize-winner Damien Hirst, a letter from the musician Merle Allin to the serial killer Danny Rolling, conceptual artist Manabu Yamanaka, the documentary photographer Miron Zownir,  conceptual artist Dallas Seitz and crime scene simulator Bill’s Playhouse.

In a time where a digital version of almost anything is possible, the advantage of being able to upload a posthumous video for loved ones to watch is now a possibility. Bergfors and Holroyd recreate such films and the book ends with two QR codes for anyone to scan and watch, just like a supermarket barcode.

The subject of photography and death is something I'm also extremely interested in, and writing my own novel about.

Got very excited when I saw Matthew post about this. We were at BRIT School together, and once got an A in Physical Theatre for doing two-person forward rolls back and forth in front of a television playing white static. That probably explains a lot about how we came to be where we are today.

Thursday 18 October 2018

Cover Reveals

Here's a quick sneaky-peek at some ink that should - with any luck - be out before Christmas. All available in paperback and Kindle.

This one's already out across all territories. First new work in about three years.

Paperback: UK/US
Kindle: UK/US

Three dark fairy tales: Wolfish, Red & White and Skin. The first was originally written as a novella which was longlisted for the Leapfrog Press Award last year. 

Cover art by Victoria Cooper Art.

After six years in print, Netherworld Books is taking the original edition of Lucid off their list. As the rights revert back to me, I've taken the opportunity to do what most authors dream of doing with their early work - polishing it and choosing a better cover.

This was actually the very first novel I ever wrote. Shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead Bursary for New Writers in 2009. 

Cover art by BetiBup33.

Finally, this lovely venture into the world of Hookland, the creation of author David Southwell. This needs more explaining than I can give it here. Folklorish, paranormal wyrdness and wonder. Check out the Creeper's Cottage tab on this blog for more details.

  Cover art by José Bethencourt Suárez.

[UPDATE: all of these books are now available. Check out my website for more details and links]

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Hello, People of Earth

Oh my goodness. This was me giving a presentation in Luxembourg yesterday, whilst simultaneously tuning a piano in Kigali.

No, not a hologram, a pre-recorded tape, played at the first rehearsal day ahead of the TEDx talk on 26th October. You wouldn't believe how difficult it was to record that with a very grainy webcam and upload it over a limited 3G connection. Took a few attempts, but got there in the end.

I'll definitely be there for the second rehearsal on 24th October, though. Looking forward to meeting all the other speakers. I have videos of their rehearsals too, which I'd love to watch, only... 3G, limited. 

Never mind. You can find out all about them on the event website.

Monday 8 October 2018

Sunday 7 October 2018

The Man in the Mask

Just noticed this video review of Rosy Hours - in a mask. Thought I'd share it. Firstly, because the guy took the time to make it, and secondly, because it's honestly more terrifying than anything I've ever written.

Well done that man.

Thursday 4 October 2018

Sounding Good

Sitting back with a sigh and trying to decide which take-away to order. Spent the day finishing up the midsection on the first Rwandan piano. Sweaty work, but satisfying. Just got the bass to put on now. You can follow our adventures at the Kigali Keys blog.

Monday 1 October 2018

The Tangled Forest

Hello everyone.

Announcing this fine book for sale in paperback and e-format.

The trees whisper stories in the deep, dark woods.

This is the retelling of three ancient fairy tales by the women who lived them. Stories that at first seem unrelated become twisted together like the branches above.

One night, a little boy appears at the window of a girl’s cottage. Birthed by rain and thunder, he is motherless and hungry. Their friendship will lead them deep into the woods, where years later a girl draped in donkey skin will beg for their protection. Two sisters, a bear, and a man of undetermined height form the link in this chain, as they journey between the mountain’s legs to a castle far, far away.

From the witch and the wolf to the king and his courtiers, no one leaves the tangled forest unchanged.

It's a retelling of three fairy tales: 

  • Wolfish - Red Riding Hood
  • Red & White - Snow-White & Rose-Red
  • Skin - Donkeyskin

The first, Wolfish, was originally a novella. It was longlisted for the Leapfrog Press Award last year and picked up by Ghostwoods, who published Rosy Hours. They asked for two more stories to turn it into a collection, then hit some problems and had to drop the project. I put it out on submission and received some lovely responses, but no one who would take a novella or a short story collection, so I decided to use the manuscript to take my first shot at self-publishing.

I've really enjoyed having full creative control over layout and cover art. The cover was designed by Victoria Cooper, who is very talented. I'm really pleased with it and I can assure you, it looks sumptuous in print.

So, I hope you will enjoy reading.

It's a project that was done for pleasure rather than prowess. All the same, it's the first new work I've released in three years and I appreciate reviews, ratings and getting the word out. 

It's available through Amazon in all territories, but here's the UK/US paperback link and the UK/US Kindle link. If you purchase the paperback, you get the Kindle version for around 99c.