After what has so far been a grim year (the death of my publisher and friend Ginger Mayerson, the suicide of a dear friend and some huge health issues) I have some very good publishing news. Dreamland, an anthology of ‘Other’ stories, will be released into the wild on 26 August and includes my story Sky Eyes, a piece I’m very proud of. It’ll sit among some mighty stories by mighty female writers. I’ll let publisher Black Shuck Books and editor Sophie Essex describe the concept:
At heart, Dreamland is an elemental feminine landscape.
These twenty-one stories from female-identifying writers embody the disconnect between reality and the subconscious, the desire for meaning and the need for escape, the too-blue sky and the abyss.
These are voices that embrace the topography of the other: the weird, transgressive, uncanny and strange. Voices that displace, unsettle and unnerve, that are subtly subversive in their power.
“D.U.S.T ltd is a Memento Mori museum and shop with a growing collection of stuff related to death and grieving rituals. It houses a collection of objects and curios connected to death and mourning. A mummified cat, dried frogs, the head of a goldfinch, broken graveyard debris, Victorian tear vials, bones and haunted dolls are on display alongside artworks by artists and makers whose work addresses grief in some way selling artworks relating to dust, dirt and death. The Shop also hosts a series of online lectures, events and podcast exploring mourning and in particular the presence the dead have in the lives of the living.”
DUST Ltd has recently opened in Penzance. I visited the shop on its opening day and spoke with the owner, Lucy Willow. As you can see from the photo below, it’s an intriguing and beautiful place, highly reminiscent of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall. I gave Lucy a copy of Dykes Ink and it’s likely her shop will stock the zine – there are a number of zines etc for sale there with a ‘folk horror’ element and although Dykes Ink doesn’t come under that category, our ethos is certainly something she could relate to. I also spoke to her about my writing and she will be interviewing me for her forthcoming podcast. It’s very exciting to have such a place here in Penzance and I’m looking forward to working with Lucy – and, of course, visiting the shop again.
I’m happy to announce that Gingernuts of Horror has just published a short piece by me discussing childhood fears and how they influence my writing. Truth be told, I’m not completely happy with it as a piece of writing, but the subject matter is accurate and I think it’s likely that many people will be able to relate to some of what’s discussed. I think childhood’s a time of great truth – but, sadly, little chance of having it acknowledged by us adults.
Thanks to Kendall Reviews for giving me the opportunity to discuss why I write horror. I’ve written a few articles/answered interview questions on this subject a few times now and I try to use a different angle to approach how I answer so that I’m not endlessly repeating myself. Over time influences and motivation change, so hopefully this piece casts a slightly different light on the subject and it’s useful for me to reassess what I do and how I’ve evolved as a writer and as a person.
Very happy to see this review of Tomorrow, When I Was Young on Rising Shadow. Reviews are very hard to come by so I always appreciate the time taken to do this – whatever the opinion is. I find it interesting, of course, to hear another person’s thoughts on my work and I’ve been moved by some reactions over the years. Essentially I’m writing for my own purposes and often wonder if anyone else will make sense of my stories, but this particular reviewer has really got the essence of the tale, I think. Thanks RS.
I’m very happy to announce that Monsters Out of the Closet, an LGBT horror podcast, has just released an episode, Wild, that includes my story, The Cruor Garland (at around the 17 minute mark), alongside T R North’s A Mockery of Birds. It’s a very different experience to hear, rather than read a story and I’m grateful to Matt, Eric Little, J M Dow, Meredith Katz, Casey Lucas, Mason Hawthorne and Troy Gardener for providing the voices and narration to the story. The incidental music provides the perfect backdrop, so thanks also Eric Matyas and Kai Engel for composing such atmospheric sounds and a big thank you to podcast editors Nicole Calande and Shriya Vencatesch for having faith in my work.
I’ve also just been interviewed for the MOotC website and I’ll post here as soon as it’s been published.
Tomorrow, When I Was Young is now available from Eibonvale Press and will be on sale at FantasyCon in Glasgow. A huge thank you to David Rix for all his work – as well as for designing the excellent cover. The story is probably more fantasy than anything I’ve written before and it’s possible I could write further episodes at some future date, but that wasn’t my original intention so the story stands alone.
Work has continued on a project that’s been in progress for around eighteen months. I’ve still not able to make an official announcement about this, but I hope to soon. It’s a unique and very moving project and well worth the time and energy spent on it.
In DUV news, Dykes Ink zine is now available in Housmans Bookshop in North London. We have also been involved in talks about a possible collaboration which could be huge – more information will appear if it comes off.
We Are All Falling Towards The Centre Of The Earth has been getting some extremely positive reviews and feedback. Author Tom Adams describes it as an “enchanting collection…reminiscent of the best that authors such as Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick or Robert Aickman can offer,” while author Priya Sharma states it has “the same bold surrealness….of Leonora Carrington. It’s utterly strange and beguiling”. Bearing in mind how much of my work has been overlooked by reviewers in the past (with some notable exceptions), it’s certainly been overwhelming to find this reaction. Additionally, Andy Martin has recorded an audio version of Beautiful Silver Spacesuits and uploaded it (in Parts 1 and 2) on YouTube. I think he’s done a grand job – the sound effects give it a very 1970s radio feel – and I’m grateful to him for the effort he’s put into this.
Vastarien has had a good reception, from what I can tell, with Des Lewis stating my contribution, Trigger, is “unique, I suspect”! And I hope to be able to make an announcement about a major project, due in the Autumn, soon.
I’m very happy to announce that Issue 2 of Vastarien has now been published, which includes a story by me. Trigger is much shorter than my usual fare, but is probably the most brutal and intense piece of fiction I’ve ever written. It was distressing to write but it needed to be done – and if it helps even one person to understand certain states of mind, then that would be a wonderful bonus. I’m impatiently waiting for my contributor copy to arrive – I’m very interested in what this journal, dedicated to the work and ideas of Thomas Ligotti, contains. If the front cover is anything to go by, it’ll be dark and beautiful. Vastarien is available from Amazon.
Greetings on this Solstice day, wherever you are in the world.
I’m delighted to announce that my new short story collection is now available from Wapshott Press and Amazon (paperback and Kindle versions). There is, perhaps, an accidental theme in this book, having (mostly) been written in the years following the death of my Mother and of a close friend. But at least one of the stories is a good, old fashioned horror tale, albeit with contemporary characters and settings. If I was trying to pin down what I do, the closest I could get would be, “feminist/queer/pagan/surrealist/occultist/dark fantasy”. Not necessarily in that order. But should I pin it down? People, including myself, like points of reference, landmarks and suchlike. Ideally, an open mind should be kept about all things – but when was the last time I read a book that wasn’t from my various genres or obsessions?
The cover photo is a detail from the Jhonn Balance Memorial Woodland, Cumbria, England, taken in April 2016. It seemed appropriate to add a green hue when taking the photo; for me, green stands for Life, nature, the environment. The location is extremely relevant to the theme of the book in various ways, and I’m really happy that editor Ginger Mayerson went with this image.
Story notes for all the tales in this book will appear soon.