Tuesday, 29 March 2016

March; a month for anthologies.


Casting my mind back to this time last year, I had never seriously written any pieces of work that I considered good enough to be published. Sure, I had dabbled with a few ideas here and there, and I had  been an avid reader for a long time, following and supporting the independent writing scene for the last couple of years.

Back in about last April / May, I read an interview online with a writer called Stuart Keane that really sparked my interest. I liked the look of his books and decided to give his work a read. I'm not entirely sure about the sequence of events, however we got talking and the subject came around to an anthology that he was putting together for Dark Chapter Press. The theme for the anthology was scary kids. He suggested that I write a submission and send it to him for consideration.

Initially I was unsure, in fact the prospect scared the shit out of me. What if I send something in and become a total laughing stock? What sort of quality of work are these people looking for? Why are you asking yourself stupid questions? Go and write a story.

So I did. I wrote a short story about a girl that falls foul of some school bullies after losing her father in a tragic road accident. The concept was simple, yet quite hard hitting and held a brutal twist; for me the clincher of the story. I titled the piece, simply - Anna.

I submitted the story and after a few initial tweaks, to my complete amazement, it was accepted. Collecting my jaw from the floor, I continued working with the team at Dark Chapter Press, in particular; Stuart Keane and Jack Rollins. I watched in awe as the book became bigger and bigger. Names like Michael Bray, Chantal Noordeloos and Mark Parker were added to the table of contents, I was literally blown away, and excited beyond belief as it became big enough to fill two volumes.

Working with Dark Chapter press initially got me off an a good foot. The way that they conduct their business and take pride in the standards of their work is phenomenal. I continued to submit work for other anthologies, as well as their monthly flash fiction competitions. I quickly started to gather momentum and made some great friends with the returning faces of their other writers.

The support and encouragement that they offered is something that was valued as a new writer, and I will never forget their help.

And so, Kids, volume one was released on March 15th. The book just oozes quality, the stories contained are the perfect mixture of dark, scary and downright creepy. I can't stress how proud I am to have been included in this collection, for me, it all started here.


Foreword - Ryan C Thomas
Bad Little Boys Go To Hell - James Walley
The Bones of Baby Dolls - Feind Gottes
The Boy in the Apartment - Josh Pritchett
Little Angel - Sharon Higa
The Apothecary's Hiccup - Douglas F. Dluzen
Raw - Erica Chin
Twins - Andrew Lennon
The Ladder - Pete Clark
Born Bad - Mark Parker
Milk - Michael Bray
Anna - Matt Hickman
Dig - Alice J. Black
Omens - Chantal Noordeloos
The Box - Gary Pearson
Social Sacrifices - Shawn Dixon
The Butcher's Apprentice - David Basnett
The Seventy-Five Percent - Brian Barr
Pregnant With Freedom - Christopher Ropes
Detention - Afterword - Stuart Keane.

You can grab your copy here; http://hyperurl.co/ra4t95

Easter Eggs and Bunny Boilers

Casting my mind back to January, I was working just outside Southampton, whilst in the area, I arranged to meet up with Matt Shaw to discuss business. By business, I mean meeting in the pub and taking the piss out of each other..

We got around to talking about projects that we were both involved with and titles that were due to be released, when he had one of those moments that he often has. The hatching of an idea. (Yes, I really went there)

He mumbled something at me, my initial response whilst wiping a lump of scampi from my eye was, You what?

Easter Eggs and Bunny Boilers, he repeated. I'm going to put together an anthology and release it as a title at Easter. And that was that, when Shaw gets an idea to do something, he doesn't hang around. It took about three hours for me to drive back from the South, at which point he had sent me a message inviting me to write a story, the initial cover art was prepared and he had set up guidelines for submission.

By about 8pm that evening, he had created a group and started to invite other writers, each and every name that was announced as agreeing to write was a well seasoned and respected writer within the horror community. He managed to entice the lads from The Sinister Horror Company, fantastic authors like Kyle M. Scott, Duncan Ralston, Graeme Reynolds, the names just kept on coming. It was a true testament to the writers on the scene, and their willingness to participate in something fun. He had even lined up the proprietor of The Gingernuts of Horror - Jim Mcleod to write a foreword.

By the end of that night, there were nearing twenty authors all on board, Shaw had already written and shared his story, and Kit Power had sent in the first submission. The ideas that were being banded about were insane, absolute quality, and the sort of madness that you would come to expect from these guys.

So then I had to think about what I was going to write about. Easter; not a typical theme by any means. After a short while to mull it over, my idea sprang to mind. Educating Horace is a story about a fourteen year old boy who is a bit of a loser. A boy that eats chocolate eggs for breakfast, is a bit, well, a huge day dreamer and who has a soft spot for his favourite teacher - Miss Fingerhut. Tongue planted firmly in cheek, I went about writing the tale, I was actually sniggering all of the way through writing. It eventually became quite a twisted, sordid little piece of work.

The Anthology was released on 27th April, my initial worry was that maybe there could be too much of a good thing. I needn't have bothered. From start to finish, the book is crammed with fantastic story after story. It really is a huge slab of quality entertainment. Hats off to Matt Shaw for pulling it off and thanks to all of the other phenomenal authors that I shared the pages with. It was truly an honour.

 Contents :

Introduction - Jim Macleod
Introduction - Matt Shaw
Desserts - Matt Shaw
Bastard Bunny - David Owain Hughes
He Is Risen - Duncan Ralston
The Chickens and the Three Gods - Kit Power
Wicker Baskets - Kindra Sowder
My Last Easter - Jack Rollins
Lepus - Stuart Keane
Little Bunny - Glenn Rolfe
Run Rabbit, Run - Michael Bray
When a Bunny Snaps - Jim Goforth
Help Me - Neil Buchanan
Educating Horace - Matt Hickman
Deb Loves Robbie - Mark West
Tradition - Kyle M. Scott
Hey-Zues - Duncan P. Bradshaw
Feldman's Rabbit - Rich Hawkins
On the Third Day - Graeme Reynolds
Easter Eggs - Chantal Noordeloos
Easter Hunt - JR Park
The Jesus Loophole - Luke Smitherd

So just look at that line-up. You are really picking up a bargain, the book weighing in just short of 100,000 words is available for only 99p/c here :


The Gingernuts of Horror review can be found here :


To listen to a mad podcast featuring myself, Matt Shaw, Stuart Keane and Justin Park on B-Movies and E-Books to promote the title, click here :


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