Archive for the Other Category

The Dark Muse

Posted in General Musings, Other with tags , , , on November 9, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

Mark Rothko committed suicide, apparently slitting his wrists so deeply that bone showed through the cuts. Jackson Pollack drank himself to death, as did the poet Dylan Thomas. Vincent Van Gogh, prone to anxiety and mental illness, died at the age of 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Then there’s Sylvia Plath, the American poet, novelist and short story writer, who took her own life just six days before I was born, in 1963. And let’s not forget the countless musicians and actors whose stars have burned bright but briefly, leaving this world either through their own doing or the effects of drink or drugs.

There’s a pattern here – a pattern that often leads people to make an erroneous assumption. It’s generally thought that the greatest art is made by those who are consumed by inner demons and that it is only through their creativity that they find release, while we benefit from a purity of vision in their works. I wouldn’t deny that many of the greatest artistic, written or musical works have been driven by a deep rage at the world, or informed by personal tragedy, or raw emotion – still there’s an undeniably widespread belief that truly great art, of whatever form, can only be created through being afflicted in some way.

In recent weeks, my paintings have come to the fore rather than my writing. Many of those paintings have been informed by a certain measure of anger at the general stupidity that surrounds us. I have suffered from depression ever since my strike nearly fourteen years ago, and I am prone to it still, even though ostensibly I am extremely happy with my lot in life at present. One of the unfortunate side-effects of a rebalancing of brain chemistry, I believe. I have used my art as a form of therapy, a way of getting whatever I am feeling inside out there onto the canvas. Art, for me, is anything but a relaxing pastime – I have been known to throw things across the ‘studio’ and kick things and rant and rage – mainly because I am something of a perfectionist, a serious character flaw sometimes. I want everything to be exactly as I see it in my head and the thing is, it very rarely turns out like that. Hence the hissy-fits.

However, despite all that, I consider myself to be a relatively happy and well-rounded individual, not normally given to murderous thoughts or thunderous rages or bitter ranting, although I do harbour a slight shade of misanthropy (must be all that noisy and anti-social music I listen to). I’m quite sociable, and enjoy meeting up with my mates once in a while. And yet, when you look at my work (or at least some of it), there are hints in there of something less than palatable, less than wholesome. I do possess a darkness within me, that is for the most part deeply buried, if only because it’s not the kind of thing that’s encouraged to be shown publically. If I have need of expressing it, I either write or paint.

The point, however, is that no matter who we are, we all have that streak of negativity inside us. It isn’t the special preserve of the artist or the creative type. Most people learn to deal with it, as it’s considered to be a bad thing, not conducive to easy social cohesion or interpersonal relationships. Yet, when it comes to creativity in general, and artists of whatever stripe in particular, this brand of ‘darkness’ has been elevated into something almost spiritual. The inference is that without it, art has less meaning or, in more extreme cases, that it’s less pure, and therefore with less merit.

We all of us deal with negativity in ways peculiar to ourselves. Some just dismiss it, some take it out through sport or a gym session, still others just attempt to numb themselves to it by using drugs or alcohol. Those who possess a spark of creativity appear to have a need, or are driven, to let the world know just how pissed off they are by creating a piece of art, or writing a book or song. It’s only because, I think, that art (be it painting, sculpture, a novel, or a particularly vituperative three-minute song) is so visible that we notice the negativity. Additionally, the media appear to lionise and idolise those who are ‘suffering’ for their art (especially after they’ve left his world). I have often wondered whether the Hendrixes, Morrisons, Cobains and Joplins of this world would have achieved the level of (almost) deification they have had they not died. Sure, there’s no denying their talents, but has that talent been magnified by their deaths and the manner of it?

I also feel there’s a hypocrisy when it comes to rock stars, for instance, indulging in drink and illicit substances. For some people, there’s a synonymity between the two – if you’re a rock star then obviously you must be taking drugs and imbibing titanic amounts of alchohol. Yet, if I were to do the same thing, I’d be slammed for being such an idiot and become a pariah.

Having said that, I like confronting people with the images I create. When it comes to my own tastes, I generally tend to shy away from soporific art, as it does nothing for me – it doesn’t do anything, it just hangs there (that doesn’t mean to say, however, that I can’t appreciate mastery of technique). When I look at a painting, for instance, I would like it to take me by the lapels and shake me. Conversely, when I see someone reacting negatively to one of my images, I then know that it’s done its job. It’s shaken them in some way (and remember, the painting is static – it’s only the viewer’s reaction that gives it meaning, positively OR negatively). It’s simply an expression of an inner motivation I’ve felt. In just the same way that others disagree with what they see of the world around them, then so is mine a species of the same thing.

I am under no illusions, though – just because I have had a troubled life in many ways, and vestiges of that interior anger still colour my imagery, it does not automatically confer any greater merit upon it than some other artist who likes painting still-lives of fruit in bowls. There is no greater ‘truth’ to my personal  symbolism than any other, even if it is possessed of a modicum of deeper experience driving it forward. Others’ visions are no less valid than mine. The imagery symbolises MY truth, or my perception of it anyway – it just so happens that I visualise it and nail it to a canvas. It is there for the world to see – and for the viewer to either accept it for what it is, or reject it.

On a parallel note: it’s become apparent to me that painting is where my strength ultimately lies. My writing, whilst very much something I want to pursue still, contains less of a powerful punch when compared to the impact of one of my images. So, I feel like I am being gently nudged along a route that I hadn’t foreseen – but that’s not unwelcome. If this the road down which I should go for a while, then I may as well enjoy the scenery.

Spectral Press: some teasers….

Posted in News, Other with tags , , , , , , on November 8, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

So, as a form of gentle encouragement to you all and as teasers as to what you can expect in the first year of Spectral Press’s existence, here are the back-cover blurbs of the first three chapbooks. (Please note: the publication dates are tentative only – as previously stated this is only because I need sufficient time to raise the funds for this venture. IF I manage to get the funds sooner, then the publication dates will be brought forward – buying a subscription will certainly help make Spectral Press a reality even sooner!!)

—()—

WHAT THEY HEAR IN THE DARK – Gary McMahon (April/May 2011)

An absence is more terrifying than a presence…

Rob and Becky bought the old place after the death of their son, to repair and renovate – to patch things up and make the building habitable.

They both knew that they were trying to fix more than the house, but the cracks in their marriage could not be papered over.

Then they found the Quiet Room.”

“Gary McMahon’s horror is heartfelt…” –Tim Lebbon

—<>—

THE ABOLISHER OF ROSES – Gary Fry (September 2011)

“It’s not always the guilty who have the darkest secrets . . .

Peter has been married to Patricia for nearly thirty years. He’s a practical man, the owner of a thriving factory and the father of two fine lads.

He also has a secret mistress.

One day, his wife takes him along to an outdoor arts exhibition involving some of her paintings, staged in a dark, deep wood. The fact that Peter would rather go for a pie and a pint and to watch the match is something he keeps very much to himself.

But his are not the only secrets in this marriage. And as Peter strays off the only path through the woods, he soon realises that Patricia – through the weirdest of creative art – has quite a few revelations for him . . .”

“Fry is a writer whose technique is as accomplished as his intellect and imagination are powerful.”–Reggie Oliver

—<>—

NOWHERE HALL – Cate Gardner (January 2012)

“We want to live…

In the ballroom, wallflower mannequins stretch their fingers towards Ron. He can’t ask them to dance. He’s already waltzing with other ghosts.

Someone stole the world while Ron contemplated death. They packed it in a briefcase and dumped him in the halls of the ruined hotel–The Vestibule. A nowhere place.”

“One of the finest and most individual voices around- there really is no-one quite like Cate Gardner.” –Simon Bestwick

—()—

Now don’t those sound absolutely fantastic! Get your orders in now, as there will ONLY be 100 of each, signed and numbered…. act fast!

Correction and apology

Posted in Other on November 1, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

Before I do anything else this morning, I wish to extend an apology to CONRAD WILLIAMS, when I inadvertently used a photograph of his without his permission on my September 21st blog on the BfS Award Winners.  I have now added a caption to the photo, with a copyright notice to and a ‘used with kind permission of Conrad Williams’.

Once again, I sincerely apologise for this oversight and for any offence caused.

The uninvited guest

Posted in General Musings, Other with tags , , , on October 23, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

Yesterday, it was brought home to me quite forcefully that, no matter how inured we are as aficionados of the horrific in literature and cinema, when death steals unexpectedly into our real lives we are still shocked and moved. That clash between the fictive and the real is nothing short of seismic, a genuine soulquake that leaves us bewildered and dumbfounded, not to say wondering. More to the point, it illustrates just how tenuous life really is, and also that we all have that line beyond which it all seems to have no meaning.

I lost a very good online friend on Wednesday night, Chris ‘Choppie’ Votaw, a man who was very much on the same kind of wavelength as me. Both of us believed in the freedom of the individual to decide for themselves what they stood for, what beliefs they held and how to express themselves, whilst also acknowledging that tolerance of the views of others is of paramount importance. That we should lead by example, and show others the way forward. Although he was an atheist, he possessed a deep understanding of religion and belief, and how it sometimes blinds us to the truth of the world around us. And when I say deep understanding, I mean he studied it properly – not merely scooting the web and picking bits up here and there; no, he studied for a degree in theology. I would say that he grappled with the basic questions that belief asks, but he also struggled with what religion can make people do. He sought to go beyond mere pat answers – he wanted to get to the very heart of the matter, to witness for himself the pulse that quickens the very philosophies on which they were built.

We met on an online forum, now defunct, many years ago. His breadth of knowledge and erudition were obvious from the very start, and he dispensed wisdom without appearing to do so for his own glory or standing. By his very words he encouraged us to think and to question, even ourselves and our long-standing beliefs. And he always did this with a twinkle in his eye, a ready smile and a humorous remark that would invariably leave you crying with laughter.

More important than all this, however, was that he was a good husband, father, brother and friend. He had time for anyone and everyone, and would listen. He was open, but forthright when needed. He was generous, beyond even the bounds of the definition of the word. When Liz and I got married, he sent over, at his own expense, some wedding presents (some bottles of absinthe and Goldschlager) – and this was at a time when we still didn’t know him that well. This was the measure of the man. He didn’t care that we had never met him – he just knew what kind of people we were and he was showing us his pleasure at having met us. That was a gesture that neither of us have forgotten, and indeed are very unlikely to forget, ever.

This is but a short eulogy – and I am not even sure that I possess the proper words to express my deep respect for this man. I have only touched upon but a miniscule fraction of what the man known as Choppie represented. Words are never enough – it is what I and all the people and friends he ever touched carry in their hearts that matters. There, we know, and we feel, what he meant to us. And, ultimately, what he meant is inexpressible.

My heart goes out to his wife Sarah and his children – I sincerely hope you all gain the strength needed in the coming days from all the love of his many friends. My heart also goes out to the rest of his family. Most of all, my heart goes out to the man himself – may you find peace on your onward journey, whatever Valhalla it is you’ re going to, and, like I have said elsewhere, I still owe you more than a few drinks – and I will always keep my promises on that one.

See you on the other side, Chris!!

Another book, and more news and some speculations…

Posted in Books, News, Other on October 12, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

This morning the postie had to knock on the door because the book that got sent to me probably because he thought it wouldn’t have fitted through the letterbox… certainly it’s a hefty tome:

The Demi-Monde: Winter, by Rod Rees (Quercus)

This is part one of a projected four-part fantasy/steampunk series, and this first volume is already 522 pages…. lovely cover too. I saw it advertised at FCon nearly a month ago and intrigued about it.

Yes, you guessed it, more Spectral gubbins….

I have been thinking seriously about bringing the launch of Spectral Press’ first chapbook, Gary McMahon’s What They Hear in the Dark, forward, as it’s more or less nearly complete in terms of being ready to be printed. I will be giving the manuscript a final line-edit this weekend, the finished artwork should be ready this weekend and all that really needs doing is for the whole thing to be compiled as a PDF file. Financing of the project is still being worked on (see below) and I am still looking at a 2011 launch. The question I find myself asking is when/where the earlier launch should be – any suggestions? Eastercon 2011 has been touted as a possibility, with an ‘official’ launch at FantasyCon 2011 in Brighton next September.

FOR SALE

Now, to help raise the funds for this project, I am currently looking at things to sell, and this is one of them. This is one of my original paintings, called ‘HiveThink’, and it can be yours for £250 or thereabouts. It’s airbrushed acrylic on canvas. Please let me know if you’re interested by contacting me at fracturedspaces@gmail.com, and then I will get back to you.

If you would like to commission a painting, then I am available to do that as well. Same procedure applies – send me an email and I’ll get back as soon as I can.

The subscription/competition idea is still going to be run. As a subscriber your name will be entered into a draw where you stand to win a signed, framed edition of the very first issue, along with an annotated and signed copy of the manuscript itself. You can ONLY win this prize if you become a subscriber.  Again, please email me for more details/expressions of interest.

Thanks!

More new arrivals

Posted in Books, Other on October 8, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

Oh yes, yet another new tome found its way here this morning. a hefty one, even in paperback:

Dancing Jax, by Robin Jarvis (Harper Collins)

The book is described thusly on the back cover:

“A contemporary horror story, a portrait of a nation in crisis, and a breathless race against time, this landmark novel is also an incisive portrayal of the danger of art, and the power of stories to corrupt the soul…”

Haven’t quite decided whether that means it’s intriguing, or it’s nothing more than pretentious hyperbole – certainly it’s giving itself a lot to live up to…

However, something else arrived this morning which is more exciting; a signed souvenir programme from FantasyCon 2008, which I won at this year’s FCon raffle. And who is it signed by? No less a personage than Dave McKean, illustrator of the dark and twisted, photographer, comic book artist, graphic designer, film-maker and musician. So, annoyingly multi-talented then…

Regardless, it’s a beaut of an item, something that is going to be treasured and kept safe. Thanks to the wonderful Pixie Pants for sending it, and now I am so glad that I didn’t let Guy Adams sweet-talk me into surrendering my raffle tickets to him when I realised that I wasn’t actually going to be there for the draw itself… =)

What’s in a name?

Posted in General Musings, Other on October 5, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

At the recent FantasyCon there was a panel discussion that I sadly missed (due to something called ‘lazy-gitness-whilst-under-the-influence-of-alcohol’ syndrome) about what we should collectively call the plethora of small publishing outfits that constitute a large percentage of our scene. Should it be called (as it has historically been) the ‘small-press’ or the ‘independent press’? Although I missd the panel, here are some thoughts of mine that may add to the debate (alternatively, you can just tell me to shut up….).

I’ll start by going back to my days of running the record label for a moment. Necessarily, the label wasn’t a huge operation, although it was run as a self-employed business, with accounts and all that legal malarky. And it most certainly wasn’t competing on the same footing as any of the majors. For a start, it was devoted to the kind of music that the big guns would run a mile from, citing that it was ‘uncommercial’ (which it most decidedly, and proudly, was). I didn’t have the advertising budgets or the operational costs of the majors either. Therefore, it was known as an ‘indie’ (independent) label and was run on a much smaller scale than any of the ones that you’d find stocked in HMV, for instance.

Note, though, that outfits such as FracturedSpacesRecords was before it went under are seen as independent record labels, not small record labels. It denotes that there’s a distinction between what the majors cater to and the market at which my offerings were aimed at. The term independent somehow conveys a seriousness that would be missing were that scene called small labels, or small music. See what I’m getting at here?

In terms of the thriving genre literature arena, the use of the term small-press gives the impression of it being a place where frustrated, hopeless or untalented writers get their chance of seeing their work in print, which, in my experience, is far from the truth. While at one time it may have served as an accurate descriptor of people busily mimeographing or photocopying ‘zines/books and then stapling them together themselves, many of the presses feeding the scene nowadays are professionally-run outfits producing first-class products. Gone are the days of hideously- and grubbily-reproduced pages of typewritten stories and articles – now, in some cases at least, you’d be hard-pressed to distinguish them from material emerging from the big publishing houses. Additionally, the quality of the stories/novels/collections themselves is absolutely immense and, I would venture to say, contain some of the best writing to be found anywhere, despite what the literary snobs would have you believe. So, in essence, there is nothing ‘small’ about this aspect of the publishing industry at all.

So, maybe, just maybe, it’s about time we ditched the ‘small-press’ epithet and called it the ‘independent press’ instead. It would be fair to say, at least from what I have seen, that it has grown up considerably since the days of the lonely nerd sitting in his bedroom, tapping away on an old manual typewriter well into the early hours, and then hand-pasting everything so he/she can go down to the copy-shop the next day to produce a few copies to send to mates and other interested people. The computer (and the advent of desk-top publishing) has mercifully done away with all that and allowed publishing entrepreneurs to produce a good-looking product relatively cheaply. On top of that, the internet has thrown up the possibilities of reaching out to people from all over the place, so increasing the ‘fan’ base of any enterprise. Consequently, the scene itself has grown.

In my opinion, we have to show ourselves as being serious people, running serious (and ambitious) enterprises, that we want to nurture genuine talent and in the process present, and promote, it in a serious way. We can’t do that unless we move away from the ‘small’ (therefore all-too readily ignored) press and shifted onto firmer ground by calling it ‘independent’. Spectral Press will itself be known as an independent publisher for that reason. That may be seen as pretentious, but I have a serious intent when it comes to the imprint, make no mistake about that. And I will be busy promoting the independent press at every opportunity.

Anyway, these are my thoughts – what are yours?

(Before anyone fires a flame/rant at me for writing this – this is just my opinion. If you run a publishing outfit and are happy calling it a ‘small-press’, then that’s brilliant – I am simply stating what the term conjures up in my mind. And, in all honesty, there’s always the possibility that I could be wrong…)

Spectral Press

Posted in Books, Other on October 2, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

As most of you will know by now, I will be launching a new chapbook imprint next year at FantasyCon 2011, which will be in the wonderful seaside city of Brighton. As most of you will also know, I have decided to call this imprint Spectral Press, for reasons which will become clear later on. Things are progressing very nicely on many fronts with regard to the imprint, so I have very high hopes for its success – obviously, there is a great deal still to do before the launch, and even though there’s just less than a year to go (which appears to be a long way away), that time will go swiftly and I want to keep on top of everything so it doesn’t run away with me.

But, here’s the story so far: Each chapbook will contain one tale, from an invited author, which will be anywhere up to 7500 words in length. It will appear either once every quarter or every four months, I haven’t quite decided yet; each edition will run to 100 signed and numbered editions. They will be printed on very high-quality paper stock, with full-colour covers and featuring a uniform design across the series. This design will be classic yet modern and will at the very least encapsulate within its parameters the idea of ‘spectral’, along with quality. I am envisaging they will retail at somewhere between £3 and £4/issue – the idea is to make a small profit, all of which will be ploughed into the next one to maintain the level of quality.

Each issue will also be a true collaboration between editor/publisher, author and cover artist – all three working very closely together to produce a very worthwhile package. As such, each issue will be signed by all three. Each chapbook will be something that people will be thrilled to display on their shelves.

The series will concentrate on the ghostly/supernatural end of the scale, as opposed to outright horror. There will necessarily be elements of the horrific, but only in the context of the ghost story. I will be publishing subtle, Robert Aikman-style stories mostly, where the supernatural element is always in doubt – in other words, events could be supernatural in origin OR could be purely humanly or psychologically-inspired. It’s left for the reader to interpret, based on their own predilections and reading of the story. And that, I would wager, is where the horror comes in. Within that story-type, however, there can be many different interpretations, from the traditional right up to the quirky and bizarre: the only elements that will be common to all is the creepy and atmospheric. (And this is why it’s called Spectral Press)

I already have some very good authors lined up to appear (I reckon about 5 year’s worth as a conservative estimate), with a particularly heavyweight opening contender to start things off with a decided bang. Some authors you will already know – and some are relatively new to the scene, but who possess more than the necessary talent to rise to the highest spheres. Some of those who will have stories appearing in Spectral are:

Gary McMahon, Gary Fry, Cate Gardner, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Simon Bestwick, Steve Lockley, Willie Meikle, Thana Niveau, Alison Littlewood, Mark West, RB Russell, Nicholas Royle, Johnny Mains and a few others. I want to make this an imprint that authors will feel proud to be a part of; in fact, will want to be a part of.

As pointed out above, this is, for the moment at least, an invite only affair. Why? Because I already know the quality of the writers I have asked, all of whose literary output will reflect well on what I am trying to achieve with Spectral. Plus, because there will only be one story every so often, then I will at least be able to exercise a level of control over the whole thing.

I also want to offer a yearly subscription scheme, plus I am toying with the idea of Founder’s Subscriptions – ie. if you want to subscribe to the first year’s worth of issues before launch you will be offered a slight discount on the subscriber price and each chapbook will be personally signed to you – plus you will see your name listed in the launch issue itself as part of the credits, plus a permanent listing on the website (which is coming soon – http://spectralpress.wordpress.com – watch out for that). Apart from anything else, you will also earn my undying gratitude in helping to get this project off the ground. More details on this aspect of Spectral Press will be forthcoming within the next few months, once I have worked out the finer nuances.

All in all, this is an exciting project and I hope you will join me in seeing it come to fruition and beyond. Keep checking back here regularly for updates on the imprint’s progress and also for news on what’s being released and when.

The future not only looks bright, it looks positively Spectral!

(Thanks to Neil Williams for the fabulous logo design, pictured above!)

I’m home… and relaaaaaaaaxxx!!

Posted in Other on September 19, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

Returned just over an hour ago from FantasyCon 2010 – and what a weekend it was indeed. I will be writing up a blog tomorrow, giving the lowdown on all the event’s happenings. In the meantime, I would like to thank all the lovely people I met, friends old and new, and especially those who took the time to talk to me. I particularly like to thank those VERY lovely peeps who bought me drinks – and when Liz and I are a bit more solvent then the drinks will be returned with much gratitude. The hospitality shown me, a relative stranger, was truly touching. =)

Right now, however, I would especially like to thank Gary Cole-Wilkins and Soozy Marjoram, and Mick and Debbie Curtis for inviting me to the various meals going on over the weekend.

Thanks are also due to Raven Dane for giving me a lift to and back from Nottingham. Very special thanks to Adam Greenwood for letting me sleep in the spare bedroom – at least I seem to have got some sleep, unlike some of the con’s delegates, judging by the looks of some.

So, once I have recovered from the shenanigans, I will get down to a) write a recap of the event and b) review the books I was given to do a write-up about – including a wonderful hardback copy of Angela Slatter’s Sourdough and Other Stories, published by RB Russell’s wonderful Tartarus Press. Absolutely stunning -looking book – definitely looking forward to reading that one.

Watch this space!!

Get your glad rags on….

Posted in Other on August 22, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

… because this is my 100th post. Yes! You read that right, my ONE HUNDREDTH POST! I think reaching that milestone deserves a little whooping and hollering about, and a smidgeon of celebration (my wife is actually out shopping right now, and is going to be buying a bottle of wine with which I can properly mark the occasion…).

In all honesty, however, I really didn’t think that this blog would amount to anything when I first set it up nearly three months ago – after all, I am just one of millions of people out there doing the very same thing, and all attempting to grab the attention of billions of potential readers. Plus I suspect it takes a peculiar species of chutzpah to even think that anybody could be remotely interested in what this individual has to say, especially considering that he hasn’t actually been in the ‘scene’ that long (just coming up to a year, in fact). That’s like taking the advice of a barely-known neighbour on that small medical problem you have, rather than seeking the views of  a highly-trained doctor.

So what has this blog achieved? Quite a lot, in my humble opinion and I am pleased with the small impact it’s had. First, in just the three months of its existence polluting the webisphere it has a daily average hit-rate of 52 or thereabouts. I have regular readers, some of whom have told me that they enjoy what I write about and also look forward to the good range of guest-blogs I post. I am proud to have hosted some mighty fine guests on these virtual pages, some well-known and some not so, but ALL with valid and useful contributions. Given that my aim is to generate debate about various topics in the writing world, I think I have achieved that, too – you only have to read the comments on the latest guest-blog, from Rhys Hughes, to figure that out.

It really is nice to think that there are people out there who take something away from my little virtual corner of the interwebz. I may not be the most insightful person on the planet, or the most articulate (or even the most opinionated), but it nevertheless makes me feel justified in having set up this blog in the first place (and here, I must once again thank Mark West for encouraging me to go ahead with the idea). It’s given me enormous pleasure posting something nigh-on every day (and it’s given me some much-needed discipline in that regard), whether it be one one of my own warblings or whether it be a guest-post. More than that, I’ve learnt a great deal from the guest-blogs and from the comments contributed by correspondents. I’ve also met some great people through here, too.

Obviously, it doesn’t end there.  I have ideas for the blog that I would still like to see come to fruition – like, for instance, spotlight features on small-press publishers, as a means of bringing them to the attention of people who might not necessarily be aware of their existence and what they have to offer. I suspect that there are some people who equate small-press with low-quality and with rough DIY production values and concomitant ethos, which is something I would seriously like to disabuse those people of. The small-press does a sterling job of bringing new and exciting writers to our notice.

Something which is already starting to happen on the blog is writers talking about new projects and books they’re involved in, and I would encourage more authors to contribute such articles to “Ramblings…”. If nothing else, it’ll provide insights into their minds work, as well as let us know about new material from our favourite horrormeisters.

I would also like to throw out an invitation to you readers out there to tell me what else you’d like to see on here. I would also like a little bit of feedback on how you think I’m doing, the good bits and where you see me going wrong. Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated,

I should like you to all to raise a virtual glass of good quality vino and join me in saying: “Here’s to the next 100 posts!” *CLINK*