READING & RUM

This blog post started life suffering from depression.

It opened with the sentence “Let me begin by saying that 2015 was, for me at least, like a silent fart in an elevator.”

There was a completely asinine title: “New Year, New Me (Or Something to That Effect)”

There were cliches: “picking up the broken pieces” and “dotting the i’s”.

There was evidence of failures taken to heart: “I made big plans at the start of the year…”

There was passive voice.

It wasn’t working. It read too much like someone else, some cookie-cutter type who Googled the phrase ‘a deep and never ending sadness’ and regurgitated the results verbatim into a text box.

I became twitchy, easily offended, a touch insane. I asked a friend to read a story of mine. He said “Sure – but I’m busy right now.” I stomped around the house for a bit. Drank two glasses of milk and ate three Drifter bars in quick succession. I belly crawled to the Playstation for help, diving into GTA V and unleashing an artistic rage bomb on the artificially intelligent people of Los Santos. I drove around aimlessly, got a terrible haircut, smashed up a bus stop with my (Michael’s) bare fists. I lit an oil tanker on fire at a petrol station with a jerry can. I met up with two members of the Epsilon Program in the mountains, was abducted, drugged, robbed of my clothes and left in a field in the hot sun, stumbling around like a sick antelope. I got a text from Marnie of the Epsilon Program asking me to donate $500.

I donated the $500.

Then I switched it off. Nothing seemed to appease me.

Then I picked up a book and started reading. I’m a writer. I should be reading, a LOT. Or at least a lot more than I’ve been doing.

But, Netflix. You know how it is.

FUCK IT, I said. Off went the TV. And I felt sort of, kind of, a bit better. Also, I held a games night and got people I liked round and drank rum and shouted and let off steam.

So let it be known:

READING (& RUM) SAVES LIVES.

 

Leslye Headland’s Writing Process

I may have to try this technique…

theOffice

tumblr_mkktuoFy7u1r6kz6uo1_500“I feel so much that writing is like chopping wood. I’ll always say to aspiring writers, it’s time logged. Just sit down, ink out however many hours you can in the day. Turn the phone off. Just write. I usually have the script open in one window, and then in another window I have a Word document where I free write. So, as soon as those voices start to come up, like, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing. You’re an idiot. This is going to be terrible,’ I switch over to that and I start free writing. I write out all of the fears that I have and all of the negative talk that’s in my brain, and then I’ll go back to the script.”

Leslye Headland

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Goodbye Grimdark, Hello [insert new thing here]

Where’s the year gone? I’ve been in a sort of reverse hibernation, staying inside for most of the summer and having an impromptu slowdown with anything work related. There was some rearranging of priorities, some shuffling, and I stepped down from reading submissions for Grimdark Magazine. The lovely and capable Cheresse Burke has taken over and has an exceptional eye for great stories, so look out for future issues from the best and bloodiest ezine this side of the known universe.

Here’s a pilfered paragraph + quick rundown of what readers can expect from issue #5:


“Grimdark Magazine issue #5 is chock full of grimdark goodness. We’ve pushed the genre boundaries of grimdark a bit more in this issue, with zombie apocalypses and cold-hearted near-future sci-fi to go with the three fantasy pieces, which include a Dominion of the Fallen short story by Aliette de Bodard.”

Short fiction:

  • Against the Encroaching Darkness by Aliette de Bodard, a Dominion of the Fallen short story.
  • First They Came for the Pigs by Chadwick Ginther.
  • Boomer Hunter by Sean Patrick Hazlett
  • The Right Hand of Decay by David Annandale
  • Lessons of Necessity by T.C. PowellGrimdark Magazine Issue #5

Articles:

  • Who is the Grimdark Hero by C.T. Phipps

Reviews:

  • The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence (review by Tom Smith)
  • The Mechanical by Ian Tregellis (review by Malrubius)
  • The Witcher 3 (review by C.T. Phipps)

Interviews:

  • James A. Moore
  • Peter Orullian

Excerpts

  • The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan (Chapter 1)

Elsewhere, Halloween is fast approaching and limbs must be gathered from boxes and costumes de-fluffed for a friend’s party. We’re working on turning Empty Oaks into an ebook before issue #2 is out. Lots of learning curves and swearing, naturally, but fingers crossed it’ll be all right on the night (i.e. when I press the ‘publish’ button…), we’ve called in the Great Beta Reader to perform feats on social media and she’ll be live tweeting the upcoming Bristol Horror Con on 17th October. We’ll be there too, not at a stall or anything. Just mooching around, trying to work up the nerve to talk to cool people…