New anthology – Winter Tales

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My nasty little story of fenland isolation, The Frost of Heaven, is out now in Winter Tales from Fox Spirit Books, winner of the 2015 British Fantasy Society Best Independent Press Award.

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I dared to touch him, once. His skin was dry and just a little pliant. And cold.

Eerie? I suppose. I grew to rather love them. Nothing here is quite so… pardon?

Fleshly.

That is the very word.

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For The Love of Letters

I’ve just sent a real, honest-to-God, actual paper letter. It’s got ink on it, and a stamp, and I had to lick the seal.

Since moving house, I’ve been trawling through boxes of assorted flotsam. I know I’ll end up like one of those hermits you hear of, trapped under an avalanche of Screwfix catalogues and dog food tins. Since childhood, I’ve hoarded floppy discs full of Livejournal icons, Star Wars stickers, glitzy plastic bangles I can’t believe I ever wore – and letters.

So many letters.

I was a terrible teenage pen pal. I wrote bundles of pages in indecipherable spider writing; song lyrics, fan fiction, art I’d just discovered (four hundred years late, usually), books I loved, books I hated. Despatches on school (disastrous), air cadets (disastrous), the state of my kidneys (double disastrous). You can hurl yourself into a letter in a way you somehow can’t with email. They’re artefacts.

I put ads out in sci-fi magazines. I did those chain pen pal schemes where a notebook full of address and lists of interests slowly went around the country and you could pick out anyone who sounded interesting. For a while, pre-Internet, I’d order stifling incense from mail order witchcraft catalogues. Do these still exist?

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SAFE banishment & exorcism!

I love reading old letters. Some surprise you all over again with gifts and puffs of glitter.

Some leave you feeling old.

IMG_5383Others remind you you’ve got miles to go.

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There are treasures I’ll never give up, and things I can’t remember acquiring. I have letters from people I knew so briefly, I can barely recall their names or how we met.

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Others are from people still in my life, people I see online every day, as real as a neighbour at the window.

Some are anonymous scraps found in the street. Someone discarded the nine muses in a cloakroom.

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These days I’m an Internet person. Many of my dearest friends are people I’ll probably never meet. The web allows us pallid hermits to talk at any time of the day or night without having to venture into The Dreaded Outside and interact with postal workers. But looking through boxes of old correspondence, I do get that slightly embarrassing nostalgic pang for handwritten letters. Though I rarely send them any more, and seldom receive any, I wouldn’t get rid of my old letters any more than I’d give up my jewellery.

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Gliding into 2016

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Happy new year, everyone. I hope it brings you happiness.

Helen Barrell, author of the upcoming Victorian arsenic tome Poison Panic, has interviewed me about Beauty Secrets of The Martyrs, and my 2016 non-fiction book, The Mighty Healer.

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Cover Reveal

I love this part.

themightyhealercover The Mighty Healer: Thomas Holloway’s Victorian Patent Medicine Empire will be published in winter 2016 by Pen & Sword.

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The Frost of Heaven

Photo by Steve Hinch

Photo by Steve Hinch

I know, too early for snow. But my short, nasty, and very cold story, The Frost of Heaven, will be included in Fox Spirit Books’ Winter Tales anthology coming early next year. Fox Spirit won Best Independent Press at the British Fantasy Awards today. Well done, guys!

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Welcome to Cryptspace

Beauty Secrets of the Martyrs – my peculiar little novella of magic, makeup, crypts, and clownfish – goes out into the world today. Thank you to everyone who’s already pre-ordered the paperback. Help yourself to cake.

It's what he would have wanted.

Lenin cake. It’s what he would have wanted.

Get Beauty Secrets from Amazon, HeffersFoylesWaterstonesBarnes & Noble, or ask your local bookseller to order it in. (Ebook formats will follow shortly.)

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Silvan, at home in Dubrovnik

While you’re waiting, have a peep inside the cover…

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Pre-order Beauty Secrets of the Martyrs

My novella of magic, makeup, crypts, and clownfish is now available to pre-order in paperback all over the show.

beautysecretsGet it from Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, or scare the living daylights out of your local bookseller by walking in and actually buying something. Alternatively, get your local library to order it in.

If you end up liking it, it’d be lovely if you left a short review somewhere or told your fantastically-minded friends.

(Ebook formats will be coming soon.)

Beauty Secrets of The Martyrs from blessedwhiteeyesore on 8tracks Radio.

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Peel back and reveal…

Finally, I can share the gorgeous cover made for Beauty Secrets of The Martyrs by James at Bookfly Design.

Beauty-Secrets-of-the-Martyrs-Web-MediumLook how pretty it is. I’m beaming. Wait till you see the back.

The novella will be available to order soon, so hold onto your hats/scapulars/mortal remains.

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The Mighty Healer: Thomas Holloway’s Victorian Patent Medicine Empire

2015 is off to a busy start. I’m very pleased to say I’ve been commissioned by Pen & Sword to write a book on Thomas Holloway, my Victorian ancestor, who made his fortune with patented pills and ointments.

It’s due for publication in 2016, so I’ll be spending most of this year poring over material like this…

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Beauty Secrets of The Martyrs – due date

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August 2015 is when you can buy my novella of magic and makeup, crypts and clownfish.

It’ll be available in paperback and ebook formats, and can be found in those bricks-and-mortar bookshops you used to see everywhere, as well as online.

 

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