Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Anvil material galore coming soon!

Hey all, apologies for a quiet week from me- I've been hard at work getting some great new material done for Powerplay which I think you're going to love. As well as interviewing guitar legend GEORGE LYNCH, I just spent two days writing a heck of a lot of stuff about a certain metal band called ANVIL.

If you know me at all, you know how uch I love this band and what they do, and I was priveliged enough to spend some time with Lips and the guys on Saturday.

Soon in the pages of Powerplay Rock and Metal Magazine you'll find a brand new interview by me with frontman Steve 'Lips' Kudlow, a live review and album review. In addition, an exclusive column will be posted to the Powerplay site covering that particular day in the life of this metal hack. It was one hell of a day, and as you can see from Lips' expression here (pic by Chris Dowson), I think he had a pretty good time too!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

"Beneath an Orange Sky" to appear in "Explorers: Beyond The Horizon" Anthology

I was keeping this quiet for the time being, but seeing as a bunch of other authors have already annnounced it, I figured I'd so the same and bring you some happy news.

My story "Beneath an Orange Sky" has been picked up for the Science Fiction and fantasy anthology Explorers: Beyond The Horizon from the Dead Robots Society.

This is a very proud moment for me in that this is my first legit fiction sale (but it certainly won't be my last, as you will see in months to come *wink*) and it will be published alongside stories by some seriously talented people.

So yeah, thanks for that! The book doesn't have a concrete release date yet, but I'll be keeping an eye out for any developments!

Right, now I'll get back to writing stuff.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Terry Moore, I think I love you

Don't mention it to my girlfriend, but I think I am falling in love with Terry Moore, or at least his talents as an artist and storyteller. After having read the final issues of ECHO at last, it seems timely to mention just how very talented the man is. Oh how I envy that talent and drive. I started reading Stranger In Paradise properly in recent weeks.

For years I'd heard great things about this odd black and white series about someone that sounded like a sneeze and her friends. Now, Katchoo and Francine seem like family members. The trades of Strangers in Paradise are worth every penny of the cover price, and I encourage you to buy them and read them again and again, even if you are familiar with the stories they tell.

Why? Because after a while, Strangers in Paradise (as with ECHO as well) becomes much more than sequential art and speech bubbles. It becomes something you can find a great deal of solace in.

Those characters may be physically nothing more that black and white squiggles, but their motivations, their needs and wants are very real indeed. They laugh, they cry, they argue and they evolve. They're as real as you and me in many respects. Francine and Katchoo swiftly become people you would love to hang out with (just be wary of Katchoo's temper), and Terry Moore's gorgeous art style never fails to bring them to life.

His linework is beautiful, the facial expressions of his characters containing much more movement and fluidity than the lines seem to suggest. His backgrounds are immaculate, his characters kinetic and very believable, his stories are heartfelt, shocking and moving.

When you hand money over the counter for something with his name on it, you know you are buying quality. When you read Terry Moore, you're reminded other people have problems too, and this can help you deal with your own. I can certainly vouch for that. I've been rather stressed of late, with bouts of depression and myriad worries for the future. I'm sure you can relate.

It's stuff like Strangers in Paradise (Od my DVDs of SPACED, or The Breakfast Club, or Ghost World) that I turn to in dark times, times of uncertainty or just when things get a bit too much to deal with. Escapism is one thing, but sometimes you need to feel like someone out there understands that life gets complicated. It's for things like that which have made me fall in love with the work of a very special creator indeed. Dear Terry Moore- Thank you.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Many Voices, One Writer

Last night I was writing new material for the magazine, and then immediately switched to continuing work on the follow-up to Dead Thing, and struggled at first. It’s sometimes a little difficult to switch between the voices I need to use in my work. Music journalism and fiction require two very different disciplines, but they also draw from the same pool of experience. The trick is to use your own unique style in each circumstance.

On top of the book I just put out, I’ve recently written a TV script which I’ve submitted for consideration, and again this was a different discipline to use when trying to get a point across. These different endeavours all require the same attention to detail and quality, but they also need very different motivations to one another.

The thing is, all of these different endeavours make me a better writer the more that I do them. So no matter how many voices you end up using in the many varieties of work that come your way, they all stem from the same writer. You can apply your style to any format, but make sure that you do not allow that style to get in the way of the plot, the information or the emotion of a piece.

The content is the important matter, not so much your style. Of course, the style and the way it is presented is hugely important, but without strong content, all you have is some very pretty words that don’t mean a whole lot.

And so with many voices from one writer, we go on to the next project, and the next, and the next, all with the same drive and the same enthusiasm for producing something of quality that people will not just want to read, but remember long after they have reached the final sentence.

Friday, 10 June 2011

‘This Guy Has My MacBook’ = Internet Gold

One of the most entertaining things I’ve seen online in some time has been the recent incident of a guy getting his MacBook stolen and eventually getting it back thanks to the ‘Hidden’ app (which is dirt cheap when you think about what it does).

The app helped him trace his laptop down with the help of local police (and some media intervention), and enabled his MacBook to take photos and screengrabs of the thief and what he got up to on the stolen computer.

With the evidence he was able to gather from the thief’s activities, the police were able to not only track down the criminal, but get the MacBook back. This is internet gold, as it perfectly demonstrates one of the awesome things that can be done with computers right now.

Click here to check out the 'This Guy Has My MacBook' blog over at Tumblr!


Yeah, I’m sure there are some folks out there who would worry about their safety with an app like this, and whether it could be used to spy on innocent people (Not really- check the app out! It’s a thing of beauty), but you have to admit it’s pretty cool that he got his property back.

Of course, REAL internet justice would have meant the thief was tied up in a room and forced to stare at Memes on giant screens. Justice by Sad Keanu, LOLcats, Demotivational posters and the Forever Alone guy. Now that sounds like punishment ;)

Sunday, 5 June 2011

DEAD THING and ACROSS THE SEAS OF MIND now available on Kindle!

My new horror novella DEAD THING and my science fiction collection ACROSS THE SEAS OF MIND are now available to download and read on your Kindle, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android devices. Both are available at bargain prices.

These are my first forays into the world of Kindle publishing, and I hope you enjoy going on this adventure with me. More fiction will be arriving on the Kindle from me in weeks to come, including the sequel to DEAD THING in August! You can find the ebooks at the following links:

DEAD THING for Kindle (UK)

ACROSS THE SEAS OF MIND for Kindle (UK)

DEAD THING for Kindle (US)

ACROSS THE SEAS OF MIND for Kindle (US)

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Lisbeth Looks A Bit Chilly

So here we are, the needless US remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is coming, and we have now seen the first teaser poster, and I have flown into paroxysms of rage. Why the f**k is Lisbeth topless? It goes against the character. It’s cheap. It doesn’t fit with the story, and Rooney Mara looks freezing. It makes Daniel Craig look like a dirty old man. Granted, that’s pretty much how Blomkvist feels during his encounters with Salander, but there’s no need whatsoever to have her topless on the poster.

Look at the posters for the original Swedish films (which are quite brilliant). The posters that aren’t face-shots of Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth depict the character in a leather jacket and hoody. Those images fit the character and the story much better than a cheap shot of an actress with her tits out. This is just one more reason for me to not see this bloody remake.

Here's one of the posters for the original:

The original Swedish versions are wonderful, and a very respectful take on Stieg Larsson’s books. Yes, there is sex and there is nudity, but it wasn’t splashed all over the posters, and was always in context. It would be more understandable if she had her back to the camera, thus displaying the titular tattoo.

I know that money needs to be made from the franchise before it fades into being mocked a la The Da Vinci Code (even though a fortune has already been looted from Larsson’s legacy), but there are better ways. Hell, there’s an English audio dub on the Swedish DVDs. If people can’t deal with subtitles, just flip the audio. And has Rooney been photoshopped? She seems rather more buxom in that image than she actually is in the film. I’ll never know though, as I for one won’t be going to see this remake. Not for me, thanks.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Spread Eagle- 'Switchblade Serenade'

A brilliant slice of dirty rock/metal from a hugely underrated band. These guys had so much potential, then came grunge and everything went downhill for a few years (until the current awesome rock resurgence).