I recently had a message from a friend asking whether my short story ‘The Ice House’ had ever been published. Well, yes and no. It was read aloud to …A Ghost Story for Christmas
I’m not very good at self-promotion, in fact I’m a publisher’s nightmare, but as it’s that time of year again when people are looking for gifts for themselves or for others, below you’ll find the link to my Amazon page.
If you check it out you’ll find my two poetry collections, Heading North and In Brigantia, along with a couple of anthologies I have some fiction in. If anyone wants to buy anything I’ll love you forever. If anyone doesn’t want to buy anything I’ll love you forever too. I’m kind of promiscuous that way.
I’m sat on this rainy day in a cafe, drinking coffee and reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales Of Terror.
The title of this post comes, not from Jekyll, but from the included gothic vampire tale Olalla, which has captivated me on this gloomy morning. It’s to stories such as this that I habitually begin to turn to around this time.
Even just out of a heatwave, and the recent cessation of the hill fires, maybe it’s the sensing of those approaching blue, irregular nights that puts me in this frame of mind.
We are not out of the woods yet. Though we are in the tail end of March there is still talk of cold weather to come, with possible snow for Easter being mooted.
But still, there’s always signs, hints of the season to follow. Winter is fighting it’s last rearguard action, and the end will be merciful. Easter does indeed bring a resurrection.
The longer days, the warmer weather and emerging wildlife always seem to bring a creative boon, and now is no different. I am tweaking the manuscript for a second poetry collection: In Brigantia, before returning to the second draft of the novel Seasons On The Hill that I’m writing. Beyond this I have ideas for a semi-fictional take on family stories handed down to me, provisionsally entitled In Times Of War, and also a collection of short stories called The Night Spills In.
I’ve also agreed this week to proofread a translated work for a fellow poet, so things are starting to move.I’ve got a tentative plan about the order of things.
But first a coffee, I think, and see what tomorrow’s weather brings.
I spent the morning finishing The Innocents by Ian McEwan.
I felt a great sadness when reading a letter contained within it, suggestive of other lives and other alternatives.
Literature, art, has the power to do this.
I find myself more and more subsumed into the creative life.
I’m currently on the second draft of a novel. I’m not a very disciplined writer. I don’t put aside set times to write. I just decide to go over a chapter when I have a window in time. Although this may seem a quite casual approach, from crude, rudimentary beginnings the book is beginning to take shape.
And yet, amidst this deliberate foray into fiction, poetry is beginning to call to me again. I have long had an eye on a second collection. Not one to multitask, I intended to turn to this after the completion of my novel. But words are beginning to nudge their way in, filter through. Single words, combinations of words, predatory lines demanding attention.
Inspiration doesn’t pay respect to timeframes and schedules.
I have a few new poems written: Judas Kiss, Boathouse, My Father As Child, In Brigantia and others. I’ve not posted much poetry recently on City Jackdaw as I’m holding them back for a possible next collection.
At the moment I’m still deliberating the order of my creative endeavours. My procrastination was given a nudge recently when I received a letter in the post from a great writer and poet that I gave a name check to in the foreword of my debut collection Heading North. Now in his 81st year and still as creative as ever, he wished me luck on my own foray on this open and crafted path.
This path of conjured words, and alternative worlds, that exist long after the demise of their creator.
This is a teaser trailer for a forthcoming short film made by a talented friend of mine by the name of Catherine Stepien. Having worked in film for a while, mainly within wardrobe and production design, Soul Mother is very much her project. Being her debut directorial outing, she also wrote the script, created the effects, designed the production and dealt with make up and wardrobe.
My old school mate is nothing if not versatile!
Please check it out. Turn your volume up.
Here is an interview I gave to highlight the publication of Mythos, an anthology in which I have two stories featuring. Many thanks to Linda for allowing me to appear on her great blog.
With me on the blog today is the awesome Andy Murray. If you’re a follower of his blog, City Jackdaw, you know that he’s a poet who released a collection of poems called Heading North, published by Nordland in December 2015. We talked about that here on the blog. Now, Andy is here to talk about the short stories he contributed to Mythos, the second volume in the Northlore series, published by Nordland in December 2016. (By the way, Andy contributed a short story and a poem to Folklore, the first volume of the series.) Stick around after the interview to learn how you can get your hands on Mythos.
El Space: Four quick facts about yourself?
Andy: 1. I’m at least six-generation Mancunian. 2. I knew my wife for twenty-six years before we got together. I play the long game. 3. I’m vegetarian. 4…
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The second of The Northlore Series of books is out today. A planned trilogy of books, the first volume was called Folklore, and this second one is called Mythos. I have two short stories featured in it.
The premise of this one is that since the advent of Christianity 2,000 years ago, the old Norse Gods didn’t just cease to exist but continued on, right through to the present day. These are their stories. There are tales of different times and different places: from the Russian Plains, to the Somme, to a cafe in New York. A varied collection that holds something for everyone, it is a great companion piece to Folklore.
In Folklore, I had included a poem about a Mara, and a story about a Myling. A reviewer (in a good way), described my story as ‘Murray’s bleak take on the Myling legend’. If he thought that was bleak, wait until he reads my World War One tale in Mythos! Though I liked ‘bleak’. I think I’ll take that.
The books contain humour, too. There is a good balance throughout: light and dark, prose and poetry.
Both books are available here:
And for American customers:
Nordland Publishing shared this yesterday:
The second of the Northlore series, Mythic, is in the works. Submissions are interesting, and varied and there will be a strongly unifying aspect to the entire collection. This makes it unique, as anthologies go.
We are currently editing and assembling the stories and poems in order.
No release date just yet, but soon…Soon!
I have a short story included in this, and, going off the previous volume, it should be a quality book. Something to look forward to.