Here are some quick pics from my first school event of 2010, namely six talks with the awesomely enthusiastic pupils of Market Bosworth High School, Leicestershire.

Here I am (above) getting into it. I’ll have you know I had to leave my eyeballs charging all night to get that maniacal gleam.

Here, below, is one of the new star of the show. The book’s not out ’til April – this is my only proof copy! – but by popular demand (a show of hands vote!) I read the opening scene of Crawlers at the end of session three.

Crawlers

Here’s a glimpse of post-talk signing frenzy. HEE HEE HEE!

SigningFrenzy1

…And this next pic gives you a pretty good idea of what a kick a terrific school visit like this tends to give me.

CheesyGrin

A massive THANK YOU to everyone I met and spoke to today. Roll on tomorrow! :D

--------------------------


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

With the launch for CRAWLERS closing fast I think it’s time to drop a little hint as to what the book might contain…!

Isn’t this an amazing image? It’s from the Picasa Web Album of an urban explorer called Steve. Here’s what he says about it:

This sewer actually passes very close to or directly underneath the Bank of England building on Threadneedle Street. The Walbrook Stream, which seems to now be carried in this sewer, used to regularly flood the vaults of the Bank. [London Bridge Sewer, London, England, 2007]

Click here for more of Steve’s fabulous shots of London’s sewer tunnels.

Katie WebSphinx and I are hard at work on a special CRAWLERS website, due to go live very soon now. You have been warned. ;)

Meanwhile, here’s a great bit of news I just heard about The Black Tattoo, over at Trapped By Monsters.

--------------------------


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Having malingered, gleefully, for the full holiday period, this has been my first week back at the desk – and I’ve just had some brilliant news.

My PLR statement has arrived. PLR stands for Public Lending Right – a count of how many times my books are borrowed from libraries each year. Of course PLR is about money: fyi, each time someone takes home Black Tat or Tim from their local library I get a little over 6p. But to me, it’s more about how many readers I’m reaching. And for someone who’s only been in this ‘published author’ game since 2006, the figures are very encouraging…

The Black Tattoo was borrowed 4,694 times in the last year – that’s just here in the UK. I’m also delighted to say that Tim, Defender of the Earth is hot on its heels, at 3,767 times. Of course, Crawlers won’t have been out for a full year by the time of my next statement (the launch isn’t ’til April). But come next January you can bet I’ll be waiting anxiously to hear just how the youngest of my mutant offspring has been doing in libraries.

Being able to try books out for free at my local library has played a MASSIVE part in making me the reader and writer I am today. So the fact that my own books are in libraries right now, doing (I hope) the same for other people… that gives me an enormous thrill.

A HUGE thank you to librarians everywhere for the amazing jobs you do. And a very Happy New Year to you, reading this.

I’m glad to have got 2009 out of the way, aren’t you? Here’s to 2010, and whatever (else) it brings. :D

--------------------------


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for one of my absolute favourite monsters, THE KRAKEN.

kraken

Reprising the classic look from Ray Harryhausen‘s original film, the Kraken appears for a whole gleeful climactic eighteen seconds in the current trailer(2) for the soon-to-be-released remake of Clash of the Titans.

To my enormous delight, the Kraken was also recently honoured as Badass of the Week by Ben Thompson, on his brilliant website of the same name: click here for a great piece that rounds up some classic Krakenology in fine style.

kraken2_h

However: Mr Thompson’s excellent description of his subject as (I quote) “basically a giant-ass emotionless cephalopod who lives solely to eat boats, destroy all life in the ocean, and violently implode warships with his ultra-powerful crush-o-matic appendages of doom“, while wonderful, isn’t, I believe, quite the whole story. There’s a very different side to our titanic tentacular friend, as anyone familiar with the Kraken’s starring role in Tim, Defender of the Earth might already know. :D

Another mad year draws to a close. I am knackered, but with CRAWLERS poised to launch in April (and plenty more thrilling projects in the pipeline) I’m very, very happy.

Thanks, best wishes and Merry Christmas to anyone reading this. I hope you enjoy your food. ;D

kraken3

The sinister masterplan continues. SNEE HEE HEE!

Sam

--------------------------


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

I’d thought I was all finished with school events for 2009 but today I got to do a bonus one, having been invited at shortish notice [via TBM] to talk to Year 8 students at Oxted School, Surrey.

Oxted151209

The group were a little quieter than I’ve been used to lately. In fact during my readings from Black Tat, then Tim, and then (on its first school appearance looking like a proper book-!) Crawlers, the students were utterly pin-drop silent. Accustomed to having to work hard to get the attention of more boisterous groups, I was a bit disconcerted at first! But as the session went on hands started to go up and I was asked some fantastic questions. My thanks to everyone there for listening to me so carefully.

--------------------------


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

You know, in some ways being kidnapped by monsters and held prisoner in a cave for nearly a year isn’t quite as bad as it might be.

TheBeaverBroughtPaper

For one thing (and maybe I’m reaching here, but…) thanks to the monsters’ internet connection, I haven’t been deprived of music.

Not at all long ago, a music collection was something that had to be confined to a physical location: a stack of cd’s, say (don’t get me started on records and tapes). Now, of course, that’s no longer the case. And I can’t tell you how grateful I am.

Music is an essential part of my daily life. It’s also an essential part of my writing process. I don’t listen to music while I’m actually writing (or not usually – for me it’s too distracting) but I use music all the time in other ways: when I’m getting myself ready to write, when I’m thinking myself into a different frame of mind for a particular scene, and when I’m trying to come up with ideas.

I’ve found that all sorts of music can help with this stuff. But I thought I might share with you a few specific things that have been making my story-brain twitch and bubble over the last month or two…

Layout 1

Broadcast And The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age sounds like it was recorded forty years ago, but it wasn’t: it’s only been out since October. A series of short experimental pieces (none longer than a few minutes), this mini-album plunges you straight into the woozily sinister atmosphere of a 1970s horror film.

I liked where that took me so decided I’d stay, with the newly-reissued soundtrack to a genuine horror classic from the era, Blood on Satan’s Claw, composed by Mark Wilkinson. Disarmingly cute and massively ominous both at the same time, you can hear some samples of it here.

On the same label (Trunk Records) I found this incredible story about the rescue of another soundtrack from the era, in this case that of a nature documentary: Life on Earth, composed by Edward Williams. Imagine a whole album about living creatures and their biological processes. The Sex Life of the Fern, I can tell you, is a particular highlight. Comb Jellies is dead good, too.

LOECD1

Finally, here’s something really odd: twenty-two pieces of experimental techno created by various artists Twitter style – allowing themselves a maximum of 140 characters of code. Click here to hear sc140, and even download it free for you to own if you like.

Febrile psychedelia, rustic English horror, music for jellyfish and what sounds like the stomach rumbles of computers. There are all sorts of weird noises to be heard in these caves. But it’s great to be able to choose them for yourself.

If you’re interested in what else I’ve been listening to, you’re welcome to take a look at my LastFM profile.

[PS: The first illustration in this post is by Henry Holiday, from Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark.]

——–

EXTRA NEWS FLASH! It gives me no small measure of enchortlement and glee to announce that we have another winner for the ongoing Black Tat NMWHITMOTWC, or No Monsters Were Harmed In The Making Of This Website Competition!

Take a bow Bryan Lopez, for this wonderful winning entry made of motor oil, pudding and rocks. :D

Bryan wins Round Nine, and the unabridged audio edition of The Black Tattoo on CD. Round Ten has now commenced. Come on, disgust me!

--------------------------


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

…That, in case you’re wondering, is what I was told the unforgettable image on the cover of my new book CRAWLERS was made of. At yesterday’s Random House Children’s Books Christmas Party I got the chance to meet, thank and congratulate the person responsible, namely RHCBUK’s in-house design genius Rhys Willson.

He’s clearly a man who loves his job. ‘If you want to do cuts or wounds,’ he explained with relish, ‘then pork is the way to go, because it looks just like human flesh. As for the squid, I went down the fish-market, saw one I liked, and got the fishmonger to mash it up a bit for me with a mallet.’

:D

Meanwhile, CRAWLERS has now received its first review, by Barry Hutchison, author of the bracingly bloodcurdling and entirely awesome upcoming horror series INVISIBLE FIENDS: hit this link – and imagine how I felt as I read that first paragraph…! ;p

--------------------------


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

It’s time to reveal the cover of my new book, CRAWLERS, which is due to be published this April 2010

CRAWLERS_PROOF-1

I’m very excited! Hee hee hee!

In other news, by the time you read this the final two slices of my free, nasty story JETHRO’S ACE OF HEARTS will be live at Trapped By Monsters. For those who haven’t already, you can read it from the beginning, here.

--------------------------


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Here’s a cropped shot of the shelf where I keep my working editions – the ones that I take with me to my events at schools, libraries, bookshops, festivals, etc. That’s why Black Tat and Tim look a bit battered. But long-term followers of this blog might notice something new on their right. ;)

AndThenThereWereThree

The advance reader copies – ‘proofs’ – of Crawlers arrived this morning. These are rough, not-quite-finished versions of the book that will be given to booksellers, reviewers and other interested parties in the hope of generating some early buzz before the final version officially launches this April 2010.

To me, after two years of work, they’re something else, too. Now, for the first time, Crawlers is a proper book at last.

My disgusting, betentacled, mutant offspring (but its daddy loves it) is almost ready to slither forth out into the world with its siblings.

Today is a super good day. :D

--------------------------


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Today was my last school event of 2009, as I’m spending the remainder of the year hunkered down with Phase Four of my Sinister Masterplan. But my visit to The Ridgeway School, Swindon, was a great one to finish off with. Everyone I spoke to over my three sessions with groups from Ridgeway’s Year 7 and Year 9 was unfailingly polite, attentive, enthusiastic and awesome.

Ridgeway111109

If you’re from Ridgeway, reading this, a colossal thank you for your warm welcome and excellent questions.

--------------------------


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

« Previous PageNext Page »