I think it was Caitlin R. Kiernan’s blog that introduced me to The National. I was immediately drawn to their mellow style and the sometimes strange lyrics. We were slated to go to see them live around this time last year but unfortunately life got in the way and we couldn’t go. This is one of my favourite tracks, Slipped from the album Trouble Will Find Me. My favourite line? I’m having trouble inside my skin Unfortunately it doesn’t have an official video. The band’s website is here. [Slipped – The National by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 3rd September 2014]
I guess this should really be called He Learned Five Things Last Week and you won’t believe what they are! Pushing the Sky Away (Death of a Blasphemer) is a new story by Caitlin R Kiernan and it’s available for free on the Subterranean Press website. Yobi3D is a search engine that lets you find 3D models. I’m not late – Although I am late finding that article. The Kickstarter Potato Salad project raised $55,492 – It got “media mentions” in 54 countries and is the fourth most viewed Kickstarter page Slovakian artist, Tomáš Moravec, has created a ‘skateboard’ that runs on the tram tracks in Bratislava [Five Things I Learned Last Week by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 11th August 2014]
Every reader a book that really speaks to them, mine is Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite. I read Lost Souls right in the middle of my goth/horror phase – it was the book for horror fans at the time. I’d read and enjoyed a couple of Ann Rice’s Vampire Chronicles but the darker, grittier feel of Lost Souls really resonated with me. I immediately moved on to Poppy’s other books and I loved them all but Lost Souls has always been “the one”. It’s one of the few books I reread and I still enjoy it now, probably because I’m still a sad old goth at heart (I used to have a t-shirt to prove it) and I’m secretly waiting for my real vampire parents to come and get me and whisk me off to New Orleans for a life of absinthe fueled debauchery. Poppy Z Brite and Caitlin R Kiernan are the only two authors that I really “collect”. I have all their mainstream books (sometimes multiple copies) plus limited editions, signed editions, chapbooks, CDs, monster doodles – pretty much anything I can find. In the case of Lost Souls, I have my paperback reading copy, a mint condition first edition, the 10th anniversary limited edition … Read More
So, with first draft of The Ghost Smuggler written and filed away for a few weeks before I start revising it, what’s next? Well, first up, I don’t want to stop writing. Partly because I’ve got a nice writing streak going (49 days so far) but more importantly because I’m enjoying the writing so much at the moment. The good news is, Ethel the Muse has been busy and I have a whole raft of ideas. First up, there’s three potential Ghost Smuggler related projects: The sequel novel A prequel novella called The Ghostwalker Edicts A parallel novella that tells the story of one of the secondary characters from the novel Then there’s a some other novels: A YA urban fantasy filled with freaks and the monsters who hunt them A YA urban fantasy about a girl who can create magical worlds A science fiction serial that started off as a throwaway idea but has grown into something a lot more substantial And some short stories: A psychological horror story called The Bone Boy A science fiction story about the skull of a military robot A horror-ish story about an ice creature and the girl she befriends Two novellas based in the world … Read More
I finished revising my new story – Bottled Lightning – today and sent it out into the big wide world. I’m pretty happy with it, especially since I really didn’t like the first draft. I read it through for the last time today and I think I managed to whittle it into something I can be proud of – as someone on Twitter pointed out to me over the weekend, you’ll always think you can make something better. Whether or not it’s good enough for publication remains to be seen. I also finished Justin Cronin’s The Passage yesterday. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a vampire apocalypse novel – think zombie apocalypse but with vampires. I enjoyed it and I’ll read the sequel but despite a few unresolved threads I wasn’t so enamored with it that I felt I had to rush out and buy the next one. Instead, I started Caitlin R Kiernan’s latest book, Blood Oranges. I’m a couple of chapters in and enjoying it so far. So much, in fact, that a large portion of this evening will be spent reading. But first, more submissions.
It’s been a while since I bought a comic – I limit myself to the odd graphic novel these days – but when Caitlin R Kiernan announced Dark Horse were bringing her character, Dancy Flammarion to comics and that Caitlin was writing the script I knew I’d be heading back to the comic store in the near future. I prefer to read full story arcs without breaks so I waited until I’d got all five issues of Alabaster: Wolves and then spent yesterday evening reading the entire story in one sitting – I wasn’t disappointed. Dancy is a teenager who travels the American South, accompanied by an angel, battling monsters as she goes. Alabaster: Wolves tells the story of…well, I’ll let you find that out. Suffice to say, this is a great comic. Steve Lieber’s art and Rachelle Rosenberg’s colours are a great fit and the writing is filled with little Kiernan touches. If you like your comics dark, I highly recommend Alabaster – even if you’re not familiar with Caitlin’s writing. You can preorder the hardback on Amazon, or buy a digital version of the comics (which at the time of writing are on sale) direct from Dark Horse. I’d offer to … Read More
This is the latest in a series of Meaty Monday posts – longer posts where I ramble on about writing related topics. You can find the first Meaty Monday post here. Authors are almost legally required to hate ebooks. After all, those cold, soulless packages of bits and bytes can’t compare with the tactile and olfactory delights a real book provides. In a lot of ways that’s true and as my heavily overloaded shelves will attest, I’ve always had great difficultly resisting the lure of the bookshop. In fact, until a couple of years ago ebooks held no interest for me at all but then I bought my wife a Kobo reader for her birthday and then I borrowed it to read William Gibson’s Zero History. I was hooked. Sure, the first generation Kobo reader is slow and doesn’t have wireless or any other bells and whistles but it was so convenient and – for some unknown reason – fun. I quickly bought myself a Kindle and I’ve never looked back. I do still buy physical books, usually Subterranean Press or Cemetery Dance limited editions, or books by my favourite authors (Caitlin R Kiernan, Haruki Murakami etc.) but generally I choose the digital version if I can. The biggest advantage … Read More
I ate deep fried Twinkies last week. Three of them. I wish I could blame alcohol for my momentary lapse of common sense but unfortunately I was alcohol free at the time. The only consolation is that I wasn’t the only person. Two other people ordered the same dish (although one of them had the sense to only eat half of a Twinkie, not all three). Ah well, I pushed myself a bit harder on my run yesterday, maybe that will make up for it. I spent two days in Orlando last week (that’s where the Twinkies were (but they weren’t the reason I was there)) which meant two days of travelling. I didn’t even get to enjoy the sun, tropical storm Debby meant it was wet, windy and very humid for my trip. Thankfully, she didn’t interfere with the flights, other than a bit of turbulence on the way in. I did a lot of reading during the flights, finishing off Caitlin R Kiernan’s The Drowning Girl and reading most of Mistification by Kaaron Warren. The former I enjoyed, the latter not so much. There was also lots of good food and some pretty productive day job time. It was also … Read More
Caitlin R Kiernan is one of a handful of authors whose books I always buy but never give away (Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Clive Barker, China Mieville, Haruki Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto being some of the others). She’s one of an even smaller number of authors whose books immediately jump to the top of my reading pile whenever they’re published. She’s also an author who makes me want to give up writing – I know I’ll never get close to her imagination or the sheer beauty of her writing so why bother? I’ve been reading Caitlin’s books for a long time. I can’t remember when I discovered her first novel, Silk (published in 1998), but I think it was through her association with Poppy Z Brite – another author whose work I love – and I’ve been hooked ever since. She’s written some fantastic books, Murder of Angels (the sequel to Silk) and Daughter of Hounds are probably my favourites, and so far I’ve not been able to find many other weird fiction authors that are so consistently good. Her novels and stories tend to be dark, particularly her short fiction, so if you’re the type of person who likes nice, neat Hollywood endings tied up with a … Read More
I’ve had a somewhat cultural few days. Friday evening saw another gig – this time Feist. She brought with her the holder of the world record for longest piano concert and a self-proclaimed musical genius – Chilly Gonzales. This is the third time we’ve seen Feist, and the second time we’ve seen Chilly and they didn’t disappoint. Great fun. On Saturday we went to see a production of the British musical – Blood Brothers. Not a happy go lucky tale but very enjoyable nonetheless. I spent Sunday revising The Ghost Smuggler getting to page 119 of 173 (that’s manuscript pages, not finished book pages). I’m making changes on pretty much every page and I think it’s definitely improving the book. The goal is to finish the entire manuscript by end of day Wednesday so that I can get it sent off for a critique. I also picked up a parcel from the post office – my copies of Two Worlds and in Between, the new Caitlin R Kiernan short story collection from Subterranean Press. More on that later.