Tag Archives: Les Vampires

My FantasyCon 2019 schedule

I’ll be attending FantasyCon in Glasgow this weekend, and this is what I’ll be getting up to:

Launch: The Shadow Booth
Friday 5pm
Launch of Shadow Booth Vol 4, edited by Dan Coxon, with readings by Robert Shearman, Gary Budden and Tim Major.

Panel: The 13th Doctor
Saturday 12pm
The Doctor is back and she’s better than ever! What are the best moments in series 11? What do we love about Whittaker’s Doctor? How has the series riffed on existing concepts but explored them in new ways? And what kind of stories do we want to see next?
David Thomas Moore, Mark Morris, Tim Major, Una McCormack

And the House Lights DimLaunch: Luna Press
Saturday 1pm
Launch of the Harvester series of single-author collections by Marie O’Regan, Paul Kane, Nick Wood and Tim Major.
This is the official launch of my collection And the House Lights Dim, which was published in July this year.

Workshop: Short Fiction Submissions
Sunday 12pm
Alongside my BFS Horizons co-editor, Shona Kinsella, I’ll be running a workshop about how to make the best possible impression when sending short stories to editors.

…and then I’ll be attending the banquet for the first time – exciting!

Les Vampires by Tim Major…and then I’ll be attending the British Fantasy Awards for the first time – also exciting!
(Not least because my monograph about the 1915 film Les Vampires is on the shortlist for Best Non-Fiction – though it’s up against some fine competition, any of whom I’d be delighted to see win. Still, the nomination is a great excuse to finally stick around long enough to see the awards presented.)

Another first: I’ll be staying in the convention hotel. Hopefully this will mean a more flexible approach to planning my days, and less lugging around everything needed from morning until night. And more chance to bump into people and hang around with people I like, which surely is the point of FantasyCon in the first place.

Les Vampires shortlisted for British Fantasy Award

This morning I was delighted to discover that my monograph on Les Vampires has been shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award, in the Best Non-Fiction category!

I’m very flattered, and surprised – and as always, I’m grateful to Neil Snowdon of Electric Dreamhouse Press for giving me the opportunity to write the book.

British Fantasy SocietyThe full list of shortlisted works is well worth checking out. More than anything, what strikes me is the reminder/realisation that I know so many of the shortlisted writers, editors and artists personally, from various genre events, and how much of a pleasure it is to see them achieving and progressing so swiftly in their careers – and being so supportive while doing so.

Find out more information about my Les Vampires monograph here.

Hannah’s Bookshelf radio interview

Last week I was interviewed by Hannah Kate for her show Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM. I really enjoyed it, and felt far more comfortable than I expected – it was a long, detailed conversation, but there always seemed plenty to discuss, which has done wonders for my confidence with regards to forthcoming public appearances.

We talked about my recent novel Snakeskins, my upcoming short story collection, And the House Lights Dim and my non-fiction book about Les Vampires – and also my preoccupation with houses, nostalgia and baked beans in fiction.

I also picked my books to cling onto after the apocalypse: John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, John Updike’s collected Rabbit novels and T.H. White’s The Once and Future King.

If you fancy listening to the interview, it’s available to stream on Mixcloud.

My writing year 2018

This year I wrote about 135,000 new words – more than any other previous year (I usually average around 125k, and in 2017 this fell to fewer than 80k as much of my free time was taken up with moving house, twice). I wrote:

  • Hope Island – novel, in progress (currently 85,000 words)
  • ‘Red Sky At Morning’ – weird short story (2800 words)
  • ‘Throw Caution’ – Mars SF short story (3000 words), published in Interzone #276
  • ‘What Can You Do About A Man Like That?’ – weird short story (8600 words) for unannounced anthology
  • ‘Concerning the Deprivation of Sleep’ – SF short story (2800 words)
  • ‘Dear Will’ – weird short story (2900 words)
  • Three pieces of non-fiction for as-yet unannounced projects, by invitation

This year, I spent 254 hours either writing or editing. I’m not sure if that sounds a lot, but on average it works out as 21 hours per month doing what I love doing – not quite 5 hours per week. When you put it like that, it doesn’t seem like much at all. In 2019 I’m determined that I’ll find the time to write for at least 10 hours per week.

When I wrote my summary of my writing year 2017, I noted that it had been a year of paving the way for an interesting 2018, and I suppose that panned out as I’d hoped. This year I had the following published:

  • Les Vampires – non-fiction book about the 1915 serial, as part of the Midnight Movie Monographs series (Electric Dreamhouse Press)
  • Machineries of Mercy – YA SF novel (ChiZine)
  • ‘The Pale Shadow and the Conjuror’ – mystery short story, Mystery Weekly
  • ‘To Ashes, Dust’ – Mars SF short story, Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #61
  • ‘Throw Caution’ – Interzone #276
  • ‘Cast in the Same Mould’ – Shoreline of Infinity Issue 13
  • Six of my older stories were reprinted, including two stories in ‘best of 2017’ collections: ‘The Walls of Tithonium Chasma’ in Best of British Science Fiction (NewCon Press) and ‘Eqalussuaq’ in The Best Horror of the Year Vol 10, edited by Ellen Datlow (Night Shade Books).

But, once again, this year has mainly felt like prep for a more exciting next year. Because the biggest news for me this year was the double-whammy of signing with Alexander Cochran at C+W literary agency, and securing a two-book deal with Titan Books. Snakeskins will be published by Titan in May 2019, a milestone around which much of my year will be arranged. (And Hope Island will follow in May 2020. Knowing that my novel-in-progress already has a home has changed my attitude to the writing process, though it’s hard to say whether the net result is that it’s more or less pressurised.)

Secondly, my first short story collection, And the House Lights Dim, will be published in July 2019 by Luna Press. Alongside 13 stories that have previously appeared elsewhere (including a novelette that was originally published as a standalone title, Carus & Mitch), there will be three new stories:

  • ‘O Cul-de-Sac!’ (10,600 words)
  • ‘The Forge’ (7000 words)
  • ‘Honey spurge: Confidential report into dispersal, growth and catastrophe’ (300 words)

Other stories not written this year but to be published for the first time in 2019 include:

  • ‘The Bath House’ – weird short story (4000 words), Twice-Told: A Collection of Doubles anthology edited by C.M. Muller
  • ‘A Crest of a Wave’ – Mars SF short story (2400 words), Shoreline of Infinity
  • ‘Kraken Mare’ – Mars SF flash (250 words), Martian magazine
  • ‘Hangers-on’ – weird short story (2800 words) for unannounced anthology
  • ‘What Are We Going To Do With You?’ – horror short story (6000 words) for unannounced anthology

In addition, behind the scenes I’ve been lining up various events and projects. Next year is going to be busy. More on all that in the New Year.

Perhaps most importantly of all, I’m genuinely closing in on the one-million-new-words mark:

Les Vampires (Midnight Movie Monographs)

Yesterday I returned from FantasyCon. From about the halfway point of the convention I started feeling quite overwhelmed – but not in the what-am-I-even-doing-here? sense that I used to feel at such events. This time I was overwhelmed because I felt comfortable, and because the people I was speaking to are no longer intimidating but are my friends, and because those same people are so very, very talented. Each time I looked around at the faces in a reading room, or a panel session, or at the bar, I felt awed at the thought of all the wonderful fiction these people were producing, and even more awed at all the potential still to be tapped.

Also, it was fun.

In the midst of all this, I failed to take stock of the fact that a book I wrote was released at FantasyCon. My non-fiction book about the 1915 French crime serial, Les Vampires, was launched at the PS Publishing event on Friday. I held a copy – briefly – when somebody asked me to sign it. I picked up a copy for myself the next morning, and jammed it in my rucksack along with books I was far more excited about, including novels by Aliya Whiteley and Stephen Volk and collections edited by Dan Coxon and Mark Morris. When I rolled into my hotel room at 2am I picked up the Les Vampires book, smiled, fell asleep.

I was tired on the train home on Sunday. I decided I wouldn’t begin reading any of the books written by my friends; in my addled state I wouldn’t have paid close enough attention. So, with the guilt of vanity, I started flicking through my own book. Then I ended up reading the whole thing. I felt very emotional.

I realised that I’m proud of my book. In published form, I found it easier to enjoy and appreciate than other books I’ve written, perhaps because it’s primarily factual, but also because it’s a response to a film I adore, and because I think my enthusiasm is clear and real and honest.

I still don’t know whether the book would be comprehensible to somebody who hasn’t watched Les Vampires, and the film is over 100 years old, 7 hours long, and is frustratingly difficult to buy on DVD in the UK right now, all of which makes my book hilariously niche. But I think it’s a good book, and I really do like the 10 pieces of weird fiction I wrote and slotted in between the analyses of each episode of the film. I hope the book is noticed and read.

Anyway, to tie in with my overwhelmed and glowy feelings about FantasyCon in general, I feel very grateful that I was allowed to write Les Vampires. Neil Snowdon, founder and editor of the Electric Dreamhouse Press imprint (he even designed the excellent cover of my book!), was indulgent in letting let me spend legitimate time exploring a film I love. He’s been supportive of my work in general and he was responsible for introducing me to many of the writers who are now my friends. I spent several hours with Neil on Saturday, after having met in person only once before, two years previously, and then for only 15 minutes, and we felt like old friends. I hope we’ll continue to collaborate in the future. I hope the Electric Dreamhouse monograph series will continue to grow, and that the books will find readers and recognition.

So. I had a great weekend, and things are great. I have a new book out, and I’m proud of that.

You can find out more about the book here, and you can buy it direct from PS Publishing or from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

And if you haven’t already – and regardless of whether you buy my book – you should watch the film. Les Vampires is utterly wonderful and deserves to be seen.

 

My writing year 2017

It’s been an intense year. My family and I moved house twice (from Oxford to a rental house in York in January, then to a house we bought in York in June), the first move being when my youngest son was only six months old. Sleep has been hard to come by and work has been sporadic – not that it’s been hard to get, just difficult to schedule given that my wife and I now share childcare duties right down the middle.

On the plus side, my day job has been hewing closer and closer to my ‘hobby’: much of my freelance work this year has involved fiction editing. In October I became co-editor of the British Fantasy Society’s fiction journal, Horizons (along with Shona Kinsella), and I’m looking forward to putting together the first issue early next year.

Finding time to write has been a challenge. I’ve written fewer new words this year than in any of the previous five years – around 80,000 as opposed to the usual 120,000ish. I finished up an SF novel, which is now out on submission. Other than that, I’ve completed a handful of short stories and a novelette, but I’ve spent most time writing non-fiction and doing revisions on earlier projects.

Speaking of which, 2017 has been mostly enlivened by Things Happening With My Writing, which is a great relief given that I’ve been doing so little actual writing. I had four new short stories published, including appearances in Shoreline of Infinity and Not One of Us, as well as the first of two inclusions in Hic Dragones anthologies – all of these publications had been on my wishlist. Perhaps more significantly, having signed contracts this year, 2018 will see various projects reach fruition:

  • My first novel for young adults will be published by ChiZine, likely in October 2018. It’s about a prison for young offenders situated within a virtual world and modelled as a sleepy English village. The original Westworld film from 1973 was a big influence, as were the London riots a few years back. The first task in the new year is to decide upon a title.
  • My first non-fiction book will be published by Electric Dreamhouse Press in summer 2018 as part of the Midnight Movie Monographs series. The book is dedicated to Feuillade’s 1915 silent crime serial, Les Vampires. Along with an analysis of the film I’ve written ten pieces of weird fiction, each inspired by an episode of the serial.
  • There’ll be another fiction publication in either late 2018 or early 2019 too! I’ll have more information before too long.

There will also be more short stories published in 2018, including my first audio reading and my first sale of a mystery story – see here for a list of upcoming publications.

So, I’m not at all glum about having had a static year. In fact, I can’t wait to get started on my writing in 2018. I have a few commissioned pieces to complete at the start of the year, a novel planned out and more ideas bubbling up. But as much as all that, I’m looking forward to getting a bit more sleep, too.

Oh, one other thing. I did reach the writing milestone of passing 75% of my first million (new) words.

‘LES VAMPIRES’ film book to be published in 2018

Another publication announcement! My first non-fiction book will be published in summer 2018 by Electric Dreamhouse Press, the PS Publishing imprint run by editor Neil Snowdon, who was responsible for the terrific Nigel Kneale anthology, We Are The Martians.

While I started work on this project at the start of 2017, I haven’t talked about it at all online – mainly because my imposter syndrome kicked in badly with this project (the impressive list of contributors to the Midnight Movie Monograph series is daunting). But I’ve now delivered a draft and can finally accept that it’s happening…

My book is about the 1915–16 French silent crime serial, LES VAMPIRES, which stars Musidora as the original femme fatale, Irma Vep. As well as details of the production, the historical context and my response to the film, the book will contain 10 new pieces of weird fiction inspired by each of the 10 episodes of the serial.

Before I started writing the book I loved LES VAMPIRES. Now, after watching the 10 episodes countless times (the serial runs to 7 hours in total), it’s become one of my favourite films of all time. Lucky, that – I’ll be watching it many more times before the book is published…

More info in the new year.