Saturday, March 31, 2012


Sangria as an Ebook

Sangria in the Sangraal is now available as an ebook. The hardcover deluxe edition is still available and if you are a collector with a healthy bank balance, that's the one I recommend you buy, for the sake of the publisher who put his faith in it. I suspect the book has sold less well than many other Ex Occidente titles, for the simple reason that it has been mostly marketed at readers who prefer dark fiction and Sangria isn't especially dark. It's more like the white half of the taijitu symbol of the Taoist philosophy, with only a speck of black inside it; although that speck does represent an entire hemisphere of darkness that isn't present and which contains its own speck of white. Alternatively, I might say that Sangria in the Sangraal is crepuscular rather than nocturnal.

As you can see, the ebook has a different title. Tucked Away in Aragon was the original title for this story-cycle; I have reverted to it simply for the sake of variety. The book consists of 10 linked stories that cover one thousand years of the make-believe history of a real place that certainly seems to have more than a touch of magic about it. The ebook is available for $3.99 from Smashwords here. Or if you prefer to buy your ebooks from Amazon (as so many readers do) then it's also available there by clicking on this link. Hope you enjoy!

(A new review of this book has just gone online at the excellent Bibliomancy website courtesy of Jason Rolfe.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


It Ain't Heavy, it's a Lighthouse

On the weekend I went back to my old stamping ground along the coast of the Vale of Glamorgan. This is where my earliest hikes took place, from Porthcawl to Nash Point and beyond, when I was a teenager. Back then, the distances seemed huge. Now they seem merely quite big. But maybe that's hubris and I'm not taking into account the fact that all my early hikes were done in hot weather. Higher temperatures do have a habit of sapping strength. The sap of my strength tastes like maple syrup and fossilises nicely into energy amber.

Anyway, having explored the Gower to the point where I know almost every nook and cranny of its coastline, I thought it would make a nice change to go walking elsewhere. The Vale of Glamorgan is a remarkable place for many reasons, few of which I'll go into here. We caught the train to Llantwit Major, a picturesque little town, found a path through woodland to the beach and then proceeded along the clifftop path westwards to Nash Point, where the lighthouse stands. Mind you, it doesn't have legs, so maybe it doesn't really stand, unless you want to argue that yes, it does have a leg, one leg; in which case, we might be able to describe its posture as a fossilised hop. Why not?


Then it seemed a good idea to go inside the lighthouse and have a look around. I've never been inside a lighthouse before and it's something I've always wanted to do. We ran up the spiral stairs to the top, seven levels above the ground and enjoyed the views. Nash Point lighthouse was constructed in 1832 after a shipwreck on the offshore sandbank claimed the lives of many passengers. The name of that unlucky ship was the Frolic. We frolicked a lot ourselves but we weren't wrecked. No, we were sober.

Of course, nothing is ever as simple as it should be. I thought I had entered the lighthouse on a whim, but it fact I had been tricked! Unbeknownst to myself, my face had applied for a part time job as an emergency replacement light... My job is to grimace at passing ships as I rotate, to warn them off reefs and stop them colliding with mermaids and Atlantis. So now I am trapped inside the lamp and will never be set free again. Needless to say, my situation made me furious, which explains why I am seeing red in the photograph below... Imagine being tricked by one's own face! How can I ever trust any of my expressions again?

I bet you are asking yourselves: if he's trapped inside a lighthouse, how is he able to write this blog post now? We don't believe him! We think he's a liar, liar, his pants are on fire! We think he's a fibber, fibber, his gibbon can't gibber! But you are rushing into an unwise and uncharitable judgment if that's what you think. The truth is that I asked an owl to deliver messages on my behalf. And he did. So there! You can see the owl in question if you look carefully. An owl in question is its own answer! How fortunate is that?

So if any of you ever find yourselves in the vicinity of Nash Point, please spare a thought for the occupant in the lamp. It might be fine for a genie to call a lamp a home, but it's a tight fit for a fully grown human being like me. In some ways I am a prisoner here, but it's a light sentence. Anyhow, if you do pass the lighthouse, give me a wave from the deck of your schooner or galleon or submarine and I'll know that this message has reached you safely and that you cared enough to respond appropriately. Bon voyage!

Incidentally, these photos originally had captions underneath them, but I had to remove them because they were formatted badly and kept interfering with the text. The only two funny captions were "Dr Who, eat your hearts out!" and "In the limelight, but without the lime." The other captions were more forced and didn't really work. But why should captions work? They aren't slaves!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


The Shapes That Clouds Make

I am an inveterate cloud watcher. I watch clouds in an effort to see shapes in them. It's easy to be a cloud-watcher in Wales. In fact it's difficult not to be one. Mind you, the clouds that blanket this country in an almost perpetual shroud tend to be of the boring nimbostratus genus. A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to chance upon an excellent book called The Cloudspotter's Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, which is a history, physics and sociology of those vaporous masses that the writer Max Brand once memorably called (in an obscure novella) "argosies of moisture".

Anyway, here's a photograph of a particularly impressive coherent shape that I recently saw in the sky. Much to my amazement, the clouds fleetingly formed themselves into the semblance of a soldier with a seagull perched on his head. How astounding is that? Only kidding, of course... The shapes that clouds make is a recurring motif in my Sangria in the Sangraal book and in fact that's the basic conceit on which the entire story-cycle rests. There are still a few copies of this book remaining and the magnificent D.F. Lewis has just finished reviewing it. If you want to purchase it but are anxious about the reliability of the Romanian postal service, you can always obtain it from Ziesing Books. Or you can wait for the ebook version, which is imminent...

Thursday, March 15, 2012


My Most Self-Centred Blog Post Ever!

This is going to be my most self-centred blog post so far. This is necessary to establish a reference point for other blog posts. Mind you, I've always been a bit bewildered by the term 'self-centred'. It's used as a term of pop psych abuse, but when you think about it, it's rather a weird insult. "You, sir, are self-centred!"

Yes, I am centred in myself. Where else is my self supposed to be? It can hardly be centred outside myself, can it? That's called being a ghost. And it can't be centred inside anyone else. That's called possession. My self is, oddly enough, centred in myself. And I suspect the same is true for you.

Even if my self did manage to be located elsewhere, then surely that would simply create a new centre for it? So I would still be self-centred, the same way that a caravan can be moved from place to place and still be called 'home', provided the occupants go with it, of course.

Anyway, the reason why this is my most self-centred blog post ever is because it's a graded list of interviews with me. Yes, you heard right. Interviews with me, arranged in order of best to worst. Imagine that! Well, you don't need to imagine it because here it is for real...

(I'm happy with the following; I regard them as giving an accurate portrayal of what I think and believe and am, irrespective of whether the impression I make is good or bad. This is me to the best of my ability.)

(1) An interview for
Bibliomancy conducted by Jason E. Rolfe...This interview is presented inside the framing-device of a story that has been manufactured from various scanerios in several of my own stories. To do this successfully required the interviewer to be extremely familiar with my work, more so than most interviewers have shown themselves to be. Of all the interviews I have ever given, this is almost certainly my favourite.

(2) A three-part interview for the
AmeriCymru website. In the third part, I reverse normal convention and ask the reader questions. And readers answered, some of them at least...

(3) An interview for a website specialising in
horrifically horrifying horror fiction. Yes, I know I'm not a horror writer. Too bad.

(4) With
Anthony Brockway, Welsh cultural expert. Of all the interviews I have ever given, this is the one most often linked to.

(These are fairly representative of me too, but maybe don't capture everything I had hoped to say when the questions were asked.)

(5) With the Italian publishing company
40K. I like being published in Italy. This interview is in English, though.

(6) For
Thomas Ligotti Online, a forum where devotees of the writer gather. They are a decent bunch of people and tolerant of my contrarian nature and this is one of the few forums where I haven't flounced off in disgust (or been kicked off).

(7) On behalf of the publishing company
Atomic Fez. This isn't a bad interview but it's not a great interview either.

(8) For the
Crawley WordFest. It's a bit thin, this interview. I'm not thin. I need to lose five kilos in fact.

(These turn my cheeks red. Either the interviewers didn't really understand what I was saying or, in the case of the very last one, I sound like a pillock)

(9) With
Steve Redwood. He interviewed me when I was in Spain. The interview is quite subjective in the sense that the interviewer makes assumptions about me that aren't right. But I would say that, wouldn't I?

(10) For
Cafe Babel. So inaccurate that it's mainly wrong. The interviewer either misheard my answers or (I suspect) forgot them and made them up later. I am not, nor ever have been, a fan of Tolkien.

(11) For
Jeff VanderMeer... The very first interview I ever gave! I had waited years to be interviewed and was bursting with stuff to say! And I said it all badly! I was too excited. As a consequence, I come over a pompous twit, and frankly I cringe when I read some of my answers. Not that the answers are substantially different from my answers to similar questions in other interviews but my tone is just so nauseatingly pompous. There really is no other word for it...

There have been other interviews with me, but none of them are online. I was interviewed on Portuguese TV a few years back, but I can't find the relevant link to that footage. And I have been interviewed in newspapers and magazines.

Friday, March 09, 2012


Update on Message Below

Two of the remaining copies have been snapped up already. So only two remain! One of the orders came from the USA and I think I've overpriced the postage and packing costs for that destination. I will find out exactly how much P&P comes to when I mail the book today and refund any overpayment. That's easier than changing the Paypal 'buy now' button.


There is now only one copy left. One copy. One.
The three ordered copies have been mailed and with luck should arrive soon. Thanks for buying these. You know who you are...

Thursday, March 08, 2012


Limited Brothel Creeper - Last Available Copies

It was exactly one year ago that The Brothel Creeper was published and five large boxes turned up at my house containing one hundred hardback books. And now, there are a total of FOUR remaining. Books I mean, not boxes! Here they are.

Selling only 96 in 12 months isn't so good really; it works out as one sale every 4 days; but then again, I am quite obscure despite my efforts to be less so, and the publisher has announced himself as pleased, so who am I to grumble? And to be honest, the paperback is cheaper.

But some people prefer hardbacks, especially when they are signed limited editions. If I had more money than I do, and a place to keep them safe, I might also be a proper book collector. Maybe one day in the future... Anyway, here's your last chance to buy one of the few remaining copies. It will cost you £15 (approx €18 or $24) for the book, but you'll have to fork out extra for postage, I'm afraid.

I'll pass on 50% of the earnings to my publisher and keep the rest for myself. Who knows, I might make a massive £30 out of this: enough to repair my bicycle!

If you would like to buy a copy choose the correct postage option from the drop-down list below:

Choose Postage Option

Sunday, March 04, 2012


A Nasty Accident

Yesterday I witnessed a nasty accident in the grounds of Swansea University. It involved a man with his head split open; he was losing a lot of blood and had gone into shock. I ran to fetch the campus medic and an ambulance was called for. Despite the fact that the university is next door to a hospital and an ambulance depot is no more than five minutes' walk away, it took more than half an hour for the ambulance to arrive.

Not the fault of the ambulance team! They did a great job when they reached the accident victim. No, the problem is that there aren't enough ambulances to cover the Swansea area. The British National Health Service (NHS) is underfunded, that's why. And much larger cuts are on the way; our Prime Minister, David Cameron, is pushing for them as hard as he can.

I am 45 years old and I have lived under the administration of no fewer than nine Prime Ministers (Wilson, twice; Heath; Callaghan; Thatcher; Major; Blair; Brown were the others) and I think it's safe to say that in my experience Cameron is the worst ever, even worse than Thatcher, because not only is he is a parasite, an idiot and a liar (as she was) but he is also a coward (which she wasn't).

Great Britain is very far from being 'Great' but I have always been proud to be a citizen of these isles for two reasons -- (a) our total freedom of political thought (i.e. the liberty to have whatever ideas we please about the way we want to live our lives), and (b) a caring, well-funded and efficient NHS... Cameron is doing a fine job of eroding both. What a truly magnificent little turd!

When I was young, our political leaders seemed to have guts. Even when they had bad ideas and worse policies, they weren't yellowbellies. I remember when you could shout something like, "I hope someone puts a bullet in your brain!" to a politician, even to a Prime Minister, and they would shrug it off. They had sang-froid. They knew that the threat was just words, that words are only vibrations of air in the ear, that words are pretty soft missiles to hurl at anyone. They still believed in the old adage, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me..."

There also seemed to be an understanding that frustrated citizens should be allowed to let off steam occasionally. It helps to keep the peace. Saying you are going to kill someone is a hell of a lot different from actually attempting to kill someone. It's just words. Every single day of my life I hear motorists, pedestrians and cyclists imploring each other to, "Die in agony with all your family!" That's blowing off steam. Ritualised posturing that prevents real violence.

And our former leaders seemed to recognise this. In other words, hotheads weren't discriminated against. They are now, though. If I call for the violent overthrow of Cameron (just words, folks!) then I'm liable to go to jail. Welcome to the beautiful British 21st Century, my friends! A nascent dictatorship, if ever there was one. There have been some recent high-profile cases where people have gone to jail for four years for the crime of... words! Not actions, but words. Words. Words that weren't even heeded!

A lot of British authors are clearly going to be in trouble! I wrote a short story a few years ago in which the entire human race is wiped out by a series of natural disasters... Words. Am I going to be charged and found guilty of inciting comets and volcanoes to commit genocide? Words.

What the hell have we come to? Our current 'leaders' are a bunch of oversensitive sissies with all the compassion and backbone of a compost heap. Witnessing the accident yesterday has upset me a bit, so now I'm going to blow off some steam. Ready? I want David Cameron to be involved in his own nasty accident and I want the ambulance that is sent to pick him up to take its time. I want it to take longer than half an hour; and I want Cameron to bleed to death before it reaches him. Oh dear! What have I said? Words. See you in prison, my friends...

Thursday, March 01, 2012


Rhysop's Return

Oh no! Not more fables? Not another ebook of them? I'm afraid so!!!

Join an absurd host of aardvarks, ghosts, pirates, flying jellyfish, hospitals made of lemon jelly, yetis, rhino cops, slobbery kisses and many more entities in the continuing quest to learn absolutely nothing truthful about life or why we are here! Includes a bonus fable in verse at the end!

Available as we speak from Smashwords for the fabulously small sum of $0.99. Or from Amazon for the equally trifling amount of £0.77.

I'll try not to write any more fables in the future, I promise!

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