Friday, November 24, 2023



My massive book of fairy tales has just been published, MY BIG GLIB BOOK OF FLIPPANT FAIRY TALES. Hundreds and hundreds of pages of fiction. I don't actually think the stories are glib or flippant but that's a pre-emptive strike against those reviewers who don't like me for reasons that have little or nothing to do with my work (you know the kind of person I am referring to). Anyway the book I had published a couple of months ago, STARFISH WISH, was a sampler for this one.

Originally the manuscript of this monster was 914 pages long, but Amazon said no to that: it was too long. So I took out 141 pages and put them into another book, a companion volume called MY LITTLE GLIB BOOK OF FLIPPANT FAIRY TALES.

The former volume has been in preparation for what feels like ages. It is done now at long last. 313 stories contained in 773 pages. These two books don't include ALL my fairy tales, fables, parables, whimsical flapdoodles and paradoxical picaresques, but they do contain many (or even most) of them. I put in a lot of work to make this happen, foolish amounts of work, in fact, over many years, decades. It has been a very tough climb. But whatever happens now, whatever my writing future holds (or doesn't hold), at least I can point to the two GLIB books and say: here you are, here I am, this is how my imagination works. And that counts for something.

Review PDFs are available for anyone who feels they can review one or both of these volumes...

The big volume has a real ISBN and all that proper stuff. The little one doesn't. It is like a little amateur brother to the big semi-professional chap. The covers are variants of each other. Makes sense. The ebook editions of both volumes are currently free from any Amazon outlet but only for the next four days, so if you are reading this after November 27th 2023 they are no longer free.

Monday, November 13, 2023


Three Favourite Reads and One Hundred Short Stories

There is a website devoted to books that I am very fond of. It is called Shepherd and it acts as a refreshing alternative to Goodreads. It is mercifully free of the negativity that can often be found in some corners of Goodreads. They are currently running a feature called The 100 Best Books of 2023, an overview compiled from the lists created by many authors who were asked to name the three best books they had read in one year.

My own list of Three Favourite Reads of 2023 can be found on Shepherd. Anyone who scrutinises my choices will see the authors Henry Green, Walter Moers and Guido Morselli. All of them have been a revelation to my reading mind. I am especially impressed with Green and have embarked on a reading of the nine novels he wrote in his lifetime (I am currently near the end of the seventh). Conveniently, I discovered that Vintage publish these nine novels in three omnibus volumes.

It has been a long time since I read an author who appealed to me as strongly as Henry Green does. His style is unique or almost so, the structures of his novels are unusual, his grasp of characterisation sublime and his ear for dialogue perfect. But there is something decidedly odd about his work. It is more menacing in tone than any rational analysis would lead one to conclude it should be. He is like a more brutal (but that's not quite the right word) version of Firbank.

Another thing I guess I ought to mention is the recent release of an ebook collection of one hundred of my short stories. This collection is called (simply enough) 100 Short Stories and it includes some previously unpublished stories as well as work that has already appeared in magazines, journals, anthologies and some of my other books. The earliest story in this collection was written in 2004 and the most recent was written just a couple of months ago.

Wednesday, November 08, 2023


The Golden Fleas

I am retiring Gloomy Seahorse Press, which was my first small-press venture. Ten years is long enough for a small-press imprint. Any future books I issue will be from Gibbon Moon Books or a new imprint called Trojan Donkey Press. The former will mostly focus on my own books, the latter on works written by other writers. You can expect several books in the next couple of months featuring work from W.E. Bowman, Jason Rolfe, Boris Glikman, D.F. Lewis, Mitali Chakravarty and others.

The first book issued under the Gloomy Seahorse imprint was More Than a Feline, a collection of cat-themed stories and poems. That was at the end of the year 2013, exactly one decade ago. The last book to be issued under this imprint is The Golden Fleas, a story collection published two days ago...

The Golden Fleas contains previously uncollected work that is among my earliest surviving fiction. In fact, this new book has been created primarily for those select few readers who have expressed a wish to read all my stories. When I recently examined the contents of my published collections to date I noted that many of the stories I wrote between the years 1989 and 1995 don't appear in any of my books. These stories are cruder than my later fictions, true, but I do believe they have some value...

...and now they are available to be read.

Sunday, November 05, 2023


The Graphologist and Other Stories

A chapbook of four of my ghost tales has been published. These stories are more Gothicky and less whimsical than most of my Weird fiction. In fact, I'll go as far as to say they are proper horror stories. None have been published before.

The chapbook includes a story called 'The Tipping Point', which is my attempt to write something inspired by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, although ultimately it doesn't really resemble a Le Fanu tale in structure or plot; yet it has something of the same mood that infuses his work, or so I believe. Le Fanu, for me, was one of the best ghost story writers of all time. I much prefer his slightly offbeat visions to the drier and more elitist pontifications of M.R. James.

The other three stories in the chapbook are 'The Puppet Show', a sort of Ligotti tribute; 'The Filtered Ones', my attempt to write a tropical ghost story and my own favourite among the four pieces; and the title story, 'The Graphologist', a brief horror thought-experiment about a paradoxical situation.

The chapbook is one in a series of booklets that includes work by Douglas Thompson, Stephan Clark, Jonathan Wood, Christian Riley, and others. It has been published by the legendary and rather elusive Mount Abraxas Press and this means I have no good idea where you will be able to purchase it, nor any of the other chapbooks in the series... Getting hold of Mount Abraxas productions is never the easiest bookish task in the world!

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