Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Setting Sky by Craig Saunders - R.I.P.

The Setting Sky by Craig Saunders.

Born 23rd August 2013 - Died 25th September 2013.


The Setting Sky, my eighteenth full-length novel, done and gone into the dust today.

It goes a bit like this:

Brian Keene, Joe Abercrombie, Clive Barker walk into a bar, summon up Conrad William's One, with a side order of King's The Stand. Swirl it around in a big pot full of roofies and acid, rub it on their hair, get Dante's ghost-barber to shave them bald, and knit a story-jumper from the cuttings.

It is, of course, very little like that. Nothing, to be honest...but it's a sales pitch and a half, ain't it? :D

The Setting Sky, coming soon to all good booksellers.

Love you! x

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Quiet Man

I've got something to say...better to burn out, than fade away...

Anyway, got to thinking. Thinking about those influences that shape who we are, who we aspire to be.

I grew up on cowboy flicks. John Wayne and, later, Clint Eastwood. Big men, portraying a kind of dignified gunfighter. Maybe a little dirty around the edges, but doing it right when they could, against the odds. Sure, they were misogynists, or rumoured to be. I didn't know what a misogynist was back then. But they were faded, jaded heroes. They weren't perfect, but they tried, God damn it...they tried.

I grew up on knights. Knights of the Crusaders, Knights of the Roundtable. Rapists and murderers and thieves, probably. But fuck it, they gave it a pretty good shot.

I grew up on American Ninjas, and Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee tore off a man's balls with his bare hands.

I don't have an addendum to that.

But...hang on, I didn't grow up at all. I write fiction for a living, right? I believe in the fiction of heroes and men's men, I believe in the fiction of Druss and a man living by a code despite the world trying to tear him down.

Is that growing up? Is it a fantasy?

You know what I think? I want my children to live in that fantasy world, like I, and so many others do. I want them to strive, to aim for the unachievable, to live by a code and fight for those that cannot fight for themselves. Fighting's not all about fists and guns, either. We all fight the good fight in whatever way we're able.

If they aspire to be Druss or Aragorn, or Josey Whales, or The Quiet Man, I don't believe I'll be unhappy.

I think I'll be proud.

All the heroes aren't gone. They're here. I think, sometimes, we just let our eyes wander in the wrong direction, toward the man, the woman, who makes the most noise...

Watch them, sure. Watch them fall, then remember what it means to stand tall.

Ah, fuck it. I'm all misty eyed.

Love you. x

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Guest Post from Robert Essig!

Something a little different today - Robert Essig's taking over with an informative piece on working the Small Presses, his new novel, 'People of the Ethereal Realm', and being awesome...so, here he is!

The Genesis of People of the Ethereal Realm
Part One

There are a variety of ways to begin writing a book, but from where I stand there are basically two viable methods. Some writers plot their novels meticulously with flash cards, notes, character backgrounds and whatnot. We’ll call them Plotters. Then there are writers who sit down with an idea and a few characters. With a vague sense of where they want to go and what kind of tale they want to tell, they sit down before their computer and type, weaving a story by the seat of their pants. I don’t know what we’ll call them, but I am a member, and as much as I’ve tried plotting my stories, I can’t. Maybe some day.

People of the Ethereal Realm began one day while I was lying on the couch in that phantasmagoric moment just as sleep washes over, a moment when, in the company of others, I may mumble nonsensical words. I felt a presence, and I attempted to remain in that thin stream of consciousness. The presence was female, though I am reluctant to even entertain the idea that she was spiritual. Probably just one of the random thoughts caught in the filter of my mind, a distortion of a memory. I abruptly leapt off the couch and wondered about jealousy. Could someone become jealous of an apparition, ghost, spirit, something from beyond, something that couldn’t be seen by others?

When I began writing People of the Ethereal Realm I had three characters, the beginnings of a plot, and a scene that would set the stage for what the book would become, but I had no idea where it would go or how things would turn out for Adam, my protagonist. I knew he was in for a world of change, a struggle worse than his dissolving marriage, but I couldn’t, at that time, even speculate at where he would end up and what he would have to go through to get there.

I began writing toward the scene that burned in my mind, a scene I felt would direct my muse and shape the path of the story hidden beneath the water. I just had to dip my psyche into the frigid current, witness the whole of the story, the iceberg, and lay it down on paper (well, a computer document).
But there was a problem. I developed Adam and his wife Justine and their crumbling life together. Adam began having visitations in the night, perhaps a product of his desperation or maybe sexual frustration, and then I wrote that brilliant scene that I had been working toward, and it turned out just as I had intended. I thought getting to that point would fuel my muse but I was mistaken. I sat there in front of my computer and I was lost.

For whatever reason, I found myself staring into the fuzz on my television and then looking at a blank wall. Asinine and childish, I know, but the afterimage was glorious to behold: a bold green rectangle wherever I looked, even when I closed my eyes, glowing and growing perpetually yet remaining the same until it finally faded away. I tempted myself with the television again, wondering if I could be potentially damaging my retinas.

One more time wouldn’t hurt, right?

The second time I could swear I saw someone. Jesus Christ on Tuesday I saw someone!  Continued seeing them because that damn afterimage, the green one that a moment ago seemed quite interesting, wouldn’t fucking go away.  And damn-it there was someone in there.

The idea for a short story about a man who sees things in afterimages had been developed and the more I thought about it and prepared myself to write it (I suppose I did some plotting in my mind), I realized that Gerald, the probable protagonist for this new story, would fit right in with my novel-in-progress. By weaving Gerald into the developing plot, the pieces fell into place. I wrote the rest of the book by the seat of my pants, but really it wrote itself.

And that’s the way I like it.

Adam and Gerald, two men from different sides of the tracks, took me on quite a ride. I had no idea where we were going, but we went there together, and I am quite pleased with how it all turned out.

I would like to thank Craig Saunders for allowing me the use of his blog.  Thanks a bunch, man!  Part two of the Genesis of People of the Ethereal Realm, where I discuss the process of getting the book published in the small press, is featured on Kenneth Cain’s blog. Don’t miss it!

Follow Robert's journey over on Kenneth Cain's blog, and don't forget to take a look at Robert's blog while you're at it :D 

Links below...this:

The Genesis of People of the Ethereal Realm, Part Two (Live from Tuesday 17th September)

That's what he looks like!

That's it, take over done. One last note from me - 

Love you! x