Wednesday, December 04, 2013
|Nebula Award Winner Michael Bishop|
Michael Bishop has recently said nice things about my most recent story collection and I am hugely delighted that such an eminent and wonderful author likes my work. Moments like this make the hard work worthwhile... Mr Bishop is one of the finest writers of modern fantasy and SF. His work has a depth and richness and emotional punch that very few of his contemporaries can aspire to.
The Just Not So Stories is my lowest priced collection still available and can be purchased by visiting the relevant webpage here.
Several years ago, Michael Bishop wrote the introduction for my novella The Crystal Cosmos (which is also available as an ebook together with several of my other SF stories) and he was generous enough to ensure that his introduction was also a piece of fiction,a short story which we agreed would be my hypothetical 612th story... That was long before I had reached the number #612 in my scheme of writing exactly 1000 stories.
When I did eventually reach that number I decided to return the favour (as best I could) by writing a tribute story to Michael Bishop called 'Transmigrating the Bishop', which as well as being available to read online will be one of the stories in my forthcoming book of tribute stories to authors I admire, The Senile Pagodas, due out next year from Centipede Press... Anyway, on the chess board of modern literature I dearly want to be a Knight, but compared with Mr Bishop I am probably only a Pawn.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Young Dictator Audio Sample
The publisher of my most recent novel has made a short film which includes a brief reading of the opening of the first chapter. I'm going to fib and say that the extract is read aloud by Dylan Moran because that's who it sounds like and also because I'm not actually sure who 'Thaddeus Lovecraft' really is. He might be Mark Lloyd, who runs Pillar International Publishing, or he might not be. Anyway I am thinking that my novel might make a rather nice audio book and the publisher agrees with me. Watch this space.
The Young Dictator is available from Amazon here and other online bookshops and hopefully soon will be on the shelves of real bookshops too.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
How does one promote two books AT THE SAME TIME?
The only answer is to duplicate yourself and promote them both equally... So here we go. I closed my eyes and strained and eventually popped into two individuals this morning! It wasn't easy...
THE JUST NOT SO STORIES on the left; THE YOUNG DICTATOR on the right. (And yes, she is mainly on the right, even if not always in the right)
Saturday, November 16, 2013
I have been so productive in the past five years that things are starting to get a bit confusing... In an attempt to get matters clear in my own mind I have made the following list of my books that are due out in the near (or reasonably near) future:
(1) More Than a Feline (a book of cat stories, poems and drawings)
(2) The Lunar Tickle (the complete adventures of Thornton Excelsior)
(3) The Senile Pagodas (a book of tribute stories to authors I admire)
(4) The Million Word Storybook (365 stories and exactly 1,000,000 words; it will be the longest single author collection ever published and only available as an ebook)
(5) Sangria in the Sangraal (updated second edition)
(6) Bone Idle in the Charnel-House (a collection of gothicky stories)
(7) Modern Milesian Tales (a collection of dark fantasy stories)
(8) The Knight of Whatever (poetry collection)
(9) Tintin in Oz (a novel that I haven't actually written yet but that has been commissioned)
This list may be subject to changes, of course; projects might be added (for instance The Impossible Inferno collection) or subtracted from it. The world might end first, etc. But this is a rough schedule. I do have the feeling I've left something off though!
I am supposed to be promoting my new most recent books, The Just Not So Stories and The Young Dictator, instead of talking about forthcoming books; I'll return to doing that imminently!
Friday, November 08, 2013
Just a photo of a few copies of my new book...
It's always nice when a concept turns itself into words and those words are actually printed and gathered together into a physical object...
Friday, November 01, 2013
My Twenty-Sixth Book
I am delighted to announce that my twenty-sixth book was published yesterday. The Young Dictator is available from Amazon right now and will be available from many other places in the coming weeks... This novel is my most accessible book to date, so if you are new to my work and want to try something but don't know what to go for, I'll say try this one. It has been described as Roald Dahl meets Spike Milligan and Kurt Vonnegut and that's exactly the effect I was aiming for!
Many years ago I tried to write a children's story but I never completed it. Then back in 2010 the editor Mike Ashley asked me to write a YA (young Adults) story for an anthology he was compiling. I dusted off the story I had started long before and finished it for him. As it happened, his anthology was cancelled so I decided to make my story the first chapter of a novel. The result was The Young Dictator. It's not really a YA novel, though I do think it can be easily read by anyone from the age of 12 onward.
That first chapter was published as a stand-alone story in the Spring issue of the BFS (British Fantasy Society) journal last year and was received well by readers. I sent the finished novel to my agent but he didn't like it very much. He felt that the main character, Jenny, a young girl, was too vicious. But that's the point. The novel is a comedy about dictatorship and nice dictators aren't much fun in fiction, are they? My agent also didn't enjoy the fact that the novel often uses lateral logic rather than the logic of everyday events.
Luckily there was a publisher out there who was willing to embrace absurdity and humorous darkness. Pillar International Publishing was founded in Ireland in the 1930s by Victor Lloyd and named after Nelson's Pillar, a structure that stood in the middle of O'Connell Street in Dublin until it was blown up by the IRA in 1966 (it had already survived an earlier attack in 1955 in which nine students had tried to melt it with flamethrowers). The original press issued many murder mysteries of the Death Carries a Coffin and She Died of Death type...
Victor's grandson, Mark Lloyd, refounded the press last year and by happy chance I learned of its existence thanks to the writer Sara Crowe. I submitted the book and it was accepted, and now it is a physical object and an ebook. I am proud of all my books but this one has increased the width of my grin by an unprecedented magnitude. It can be purchased online from Amazon here. All hail The Young Dictator! All hail her Gran too!
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Crystal Skulls and Throwing Swords
I have been in London for the past week. I haven't been doing as much work as I ought to and that needs to change. But anyway... London. The Big Smoke. I actually lived here for six months back in 1989 and it has changed a lot since then. But you don't want to hear about that...
A couple of days ago I went to the theatre in the West End to watch a play about the singer Paul Robeson. Very good it was too. If I had more money I would go to the theatre more often, but I don't so I shan't. I tend to stick to free activities. The British Museum is a free activity and one of the best museums in the world.
This photo shows me with one of the famous 'crystal skulls' that were supposedly made by the ancient inhabitants of Atlantis or the Aztecs. With this skull you can channel the cosmic powers of the ages, mages and sages. Unfortunately it doesn't really work. This is because it's not really an antediluvian artefact but was made by craftsmen in 19th Century Brazil. Even if it was an antediluvian artefact it wouldn't work, because supernatural powers don't exist. No matter! It's still impressive. The crystal skull is the object in the foreground, by the way...
Back in 2009 I wrote a novel called Twisthorn Bellow that features a golem who uses a kpinga. A kpinga is an African throwing sword. Here is a display case of genuine kpingas and fearsome weapons they are too! Imagine facing an oncoming barrage of these! Unfortunately this novel is unavailable as a physical object: the first edition sold out and hasn't yet been reprinted. But the kindle version is still available and maybe one day there will be a proper reprint.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Am I a Mystery?
Here's a short film about my 'career' made by the excellent fellow Paulo Brito.
The most exciting event in this career for ages and ages is the forthcoming publication of my novel The Young Dictator... Watch here for updates!
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Just Not So Kindle Version
If you follow the link to the relevant Amazon page and then click to "Look Inside" you can read the first two stories -- 'The Mistake' and 'The Pastel Whimsy' -- for free! Incidentally, 'The Mistake' was the story I read aloud in the only SF convention I've ever been to (Eastercon back in 2010). But anyway, the entire book can be downloaded from Amazon here for $5.66. I think that's very good value!
Monday, October 14, 2013
Facets of Faraway is Back
If you do purchase any I will be grateful!!
Sunday, October 06, 2013
My Twenty-Fifth Book
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Draw a Monster!
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Seaweed and Sunsets
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
The OuLiPo Compendium
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Talk on OuLiPo Tonight
OuLiPo this evening.
Committee Room 1, County Hall, Swansea. 7pm to 9pm.
I suppose I ought to prepare a bit for it today...
Come along if you happen to be in the area and have a bit of fun with various constrictive-constructive techniques such as lipograms, exquisite corpse and N+7.
There will be the writing of a communal poem that I'll put up on my blog.
Or don't come along if you prefer!
Friday, August 30, 2013
It's All Greek to Me
Sunday, August 25, 2013
The Ironic Fantastic #2
The second issue can be downloaded from Smashwords by clicking on this link. The first issue can also be obtained for free from the same place. If you are an author who sent material for this issue ages ago and I accepted it, but you now find that your story is not included, don't worry. This is a result of the fact I am utterly disorganised. Your story will appear in issue #3 or #4 or #5 instead. Because the Ironic Fantastic is going to be a theoretically limitless series of anthologies. I won't be editing them, though!
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Platinum Ass Update
When I was young my name was rather unusual but these days every man in Wales seems to be called "Rhys". I sometimes wish I had kept the pen-name I invented for myself when I began writing. Actually I had several pseudonyms, the first being the rather abstruse "Theophrastus Rhaeticus" when I was 15, followed by "Zadig Dikdorff" (inspired by Voltaire); and then "Henry Jovial", which is the pseudonym I now wish I had stuck with. Henry is my middle name anyway: and the surname Jovial (hearty, gleeful) is a nod to the satirist Juvenal. I collected Classical authors back then. I still occasionally read them.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Monday, August 05, 2013
Rustblind & Silverbright
Sunday, July 28, 2013
I have just finished writing my 703rd tale. This one is about a giant air bubble under the ocean where people go when they are tired of life on the surface. Shame the submarine that takes them there is a bit too pointy... It is called 'The Bubble Bursts'... All well and good, but the fact of the matter is that I have written dozens of tales that aren't included in my official list of written stories. Why did I leave them out? I don't have a good answer. Some of them just seemed too short to be valid stories; but in fact I love flash fiction and a story that's only half a page long can be just as mighty as a novel.
This means that the already existing ebook collection with that name will be coming down soon. You can still grab it before it vanishes! 101 flash fictions for only $2.99... Get it from Smashwords or Amazon now!
Monday, July 22, 2013
My Twenty-Fourth Book
The Abnormalities of Stringent Strange has been published at last, three and a half years after I sat down and wrote it. My apologies to all those who pre-ordered it for the delays! This first print run is the signed limited edition and there are only 88 copies, each one given the name of one of the 88 official constellations. The trade paperback will follow.
So I went to London last week to meet up with Paul Spiteri, the British partner of the publishing firm Meteor House. Paul turned out to be a generous and delightful host. We sat in his implausibly large garden drinking coffee watching foxes and deer... I signed the print run and then we went into central London for the launch itself.
It wasn't really a launch, in other words a formal event with readings, etc, but an informal gathering of anyone who wanted to turn up. I chose the Princess Louise pub in High Holborn as a meeting place, because it was the only London pub whose name I could remember. As it happened, the last time I was there was back in 1998, and I had forgotten that it's one of the weirdest pubs imaginable.
There are many doors on the outside and inside too, and they all seem to lead to tiny little cubbyholes facing a section of bar, and it's possible to see other cubbyholes across this bar but not to reach them. To change cubbyholes you have leave and go back out and then back in... The place is more like a hive than a normal building. So it's not the obvious place to meet people you have never seen before...
I left London on Friday and returned to Swansea on a very slow bus (traffic!) and arrived just in time to pop along to the opening of the new Elysium Gallery. It was a fine show, one of the best local art shows I have been to in a long time. Very varied and a bit freaky. One of the artworks was a miniature personal disco, perfect for solo dancing. I was still on a high from the booklaunch so it seemed a good way to celebrate...
And now it's back to work I suppose. With luck I should be having another three or four books out in 2013, The Just Not So Stories and The Young Dictator and The Lunar Tickle and (maybe) The Senile Pagodas. There might be launches for the first three but probably not for the fourth. I will post updates on my blog the moment I know anything, of course....
Anyone who wants to buy a copy of The Abnormalities of Stringent Strange should do so directly from the publisher by visiting their website. I'm not sure when the trade paperback will be available but it shouldn't be too long a wait.
It feels good to finally launch Stringent... I just hope he remembers how to fly!
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Stringent Strange Event
This edition is a signed limited one. The print run is only 88 copies and each one will be given the name of one of the 88 constellations. The limited edition will be followed by a trade paperback.
There will be a modest gathering on Wednesday evening to celebrate the event. No one will be pressurised into buying a book or anything else. I probably won't even do a reading unless you want me to, as it's a public space and I might get arrested for disturbing the peace.
The venue is: the Princess Louise, 208 High Holborn, WC1V 7BW, London, and I will be there from 7 PM until closing time on Wednesday 17th July... If you happen to be in the area come along and say "hello!"
Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Better the Devil You Know
Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Wet Wood Fire & Massive Proof Copy
feather stick to get it going in the first place. I was inordinately chuffed with myself when it worked. Tea with lemon followed and for some reason food and drink tastes better when prepared on a camp fire than any other way.
Exaggerated Press and I'll post more details here when the book is available to the reading public.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The Brandy Cove Giant
I went to Brandy Cove yesterday. There's a rocky outcrop that looks like a carved stone giant. Therefore I have named him the Brandy Cove Giant. Original, eh? Now that he has a proper name he can be climbed.
I also did a bit of slab climbing. Slab climbing is supposed to involve leaning back from the rockface, getting your weight into your feet and using your legs to do all the work. I find that a bit scary, so I tend to scrabble at the rock like a baffled lemur.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
The Ironic Fantastic #1 -- free ebook
In the meantime, please enjoy part #1. It is free! And this link is the place to get it from: THE IRONIC FANTASTIC #ONE
After part 2 I see no reason why there can't be a part 3 and then a part 4 and so on. In fact The Ironic Fantastic series could be run indefinitely. Certainly there is a dearth of outlets for this kind of fiction, for genuinely original and ironic, absurdist, whimsical fantasy. I don't fancy editing them all myself, though! I might look for an editor or editors willing to take on the workload.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
700th Story Written
This morning I added it to a new collection that I have just put together for a renowned editor in the USA. The title of the collection is Bone Idle in the Charnel House and at the moment it contains 24 stories and has a total length of 100,000 words.
But even if it's accepted I think the contents may be adjusted before publication as I tried to sneak some logico-philosophical absurdist stories in among the more gothicky material, for this is essentially a 'weird fantasy' volume along the lines of Clark Ashton Smith, Thomas Ligotti, Géza Csáth, etc.
Apart from the good things that have been happening with my writing, the other reason I am happy is because I have got back into exercise at long last. Running, hiking, cycling, even swimming. And I am climbing again. Climbing is certainly the finest sport ever devised!
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