Saturday, May 14, 2016

Keith and Danny: "It ain't about the songs"

'You out tonight?'
'Why not? Nurses is having a do up the Tadpole. They'll all be in the Shed later.'
'I don't go in the Shed no more.'
'You does.'
'Ain't been in over a year.'
'Bollocks has you not.'
'I ain't. They banned me, remember?'
'What, when you fell on that bird?'
'I never fell on her. Graham Selby pushed me.'
'He was helping you tap off with her, I heard. Eggin' you on like.'
'Oh yeah? That why he tapped off with her himself soon as they kicked me out?'
'That's the way it goes sometimes. And they never banned you.'
'Look, I just ain't going in the Shed again. Plus I got stuff else to do.'
'Like what?'
'Don't matter.'
'Oh aye? You on a date?'
'Shut up, I ain't on a date. Ain't even going out.'
'It's fuckin' Saturday night! How come's you staying in?'
'You shittin' me?'
'No. Me and mam is watching Eurovision. Sarah might and all. Plus her Dave's coming if they loses in the footy. We're having a party.'
'What, four of you?'
'A Eurovision party. It ain't like a normal party. You watches the songs and the results and have a sweepstakes and that.'
'Yeah but Eurovision is shite.'
'That's your opinion.'
'You saying you actually like the songs?'
'Course I do.'
'So you listen to 'em when it ain't Eurovision? Bands from fuckin' Borat-land and that?'
'That ain't the point.'
'Ah, you so admits they'm shite!'
'It ain't about the songs. It's about the whole package, all the different countries and that. I likes all the weird stuff. They got a naked feller this year. With wolves.'
'You're an arse bandit.'
'I ain't. You should see some of the birds on it as well - they'm practically naked and all!'
'Not as naked as one of them nurses tonight, after I gets her in me pit.'
'You wanna know how to tap off with a bird? Talk to her about Eurovision. All birds loves it.'
'Bollocks does they.'
'I ain't lyin'. Tell 'em about the naked feller and the wolves.'
'Tell you what, I bet all the good ones is stayin' in tonight anyhow. Or going to Eurovision parties like mine.'
'Four people ain't a party!'
'Sarah said some of her mates might come.'
'Yeah? Like who? That Chloe?'
'You shittin' me? If she's coming, I'm comin'.'
'I ain't invited you.'
'You sayin' I can't come?'
'I'm sayin' you just spent five minutes slaggin' off Eurovision. You can't have it both ways.'
'Well fuck you then. Thought you was a mate.'
'I am a mate, but you ain't coming to my Eurovision. That's the way it goes sometimes.'
'Fuck you.'
'Fuck you and all.'

Tuesday, February 09, 2016


I know how hard it is to believe, but I've put some new material out.

What? That guy who used to write? The dude who missed the entirety of 2015 on his blog after hitting every one of the prior ten years? And you're telling me... what are you telling me? That guy wrote something? And put it outWhat is this?

I don't blame you for reacting that way. But it doesn't change the facts... which are these:

It's called LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY AND MONSTERS. It's a novella. It's available for Kindle in all good countries and some shit ones too (as long as the tentacles of Amazon reach them). It's cheap - 99p, 99c or whatever the equivalent is in your preferred currency. It's kind of a new genre for me - alternative history (although you could argue that STAIRWAY TO HELL is also that). It features King Edward VII, A.C. Benson, Edward Elgar and The Old Ones.

Yes, I strayed down an unfamiliar alley when I wrote this one. But that's where my compass took me. Go ahead, Charlie, said the compass. Walk on down that alley. Breathe in the smells, soak up the knocks and spill it all on the page. 

Give it a go if you feel so inclined. UK, USA, Can.

(And if you dig it, please write a review.)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Damn, I skipped the entire of 2015

It wasn't much of a year anyway so good riddance.

I wonder if anyone still reads this?

Perhaps you're a Mangel fan hoping to find news of a fresh Blakey adventure? Maybe a new fan, wondering what the hell kind of guy writes books like THAT? Either way, I consider myself privileged to have you here, seeing as how I've neglected things somewhat of late. So pull up your stool a while.

What's coming up on the Williams front? It's true - things have been quiet. Some writers keep hacking away relentlessly year after year without a break, keeping that muscle moving in case it stagnates and dies. Me, I'm too lazy for that. Unless there's something urgent to do on the writing front I'll sit on my arse and read the paper. For years on end if that's what it takes. But I haven't been sitting entirely on my arse.

Perched on one buttock is how I'd put it.

With the other I have completed LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY AND MONSTERS, a novella first-drafted a couple of years back and dangled in front of anyone who was looking... then snatched away and hid in a drawer. Truth was I knew something was lacking, so I've clipped it, buffed it and shot it up with testosterone. Then I sucked out the testosterone and pumped in some oestrogen. In other words, I gave the thing an edit. Expect it available for your e-reading device in a couple of weeks. (Announcement here.) I haven't even been arsed to show it to a publisher. Like I said, I'm firing on one buttock right now.

Other than that, I'm alive. I walk around and breathe air and occasionally glimpse beauty and grace amid the darkness. Other times I hear the voice of Royston Blake. I'll share with you when he gets loud enough.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

What gives

Soz for the radio silence. And blog silence. Basically I have been silent on the radio and the blog, and it's just not right. So I'm sorry, OK? Like I already said. Jesus.

Anyways, some of you may want to follow another blog I am posting to here. I've been doing a fair bit of running lately and it's something I feel inclined to waffle about, so that link is where I do that. Or you could catch the action via @rungatedawn on Twitter, if you are that way inclined.

Other than that, just keep on trucking.

Especially if you are actually a truck driver.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Wombat Man

I love taking the dog for a walk at dusk. Bats follow me down the lane, swooping around my head and apparently trying to get my attention. They are delicate little animals, like kits made out of silk and bits of balsa wood, powered by a little clockwork motor. I sometimes wonder if they have been sent out by a reclusive demi-god to tell me something. But what? I can see that they are beautiful. I can see that they are admirable works of engineering. But what are they all about?

Good writing is like that. Failure awaits the writer who sets out knowing exactly what he wants to say. His output does the job and works efficiently. It is conventionally pretty and might turn your head for a while. You might even hail it as a work of genius for a season or two. But in the end it has no charm. You cannot love it.

The writer who sets out with a vague idea and a character to travel with, meanwhile, she can succeed. She has the best chance of getting something up in the air and making it soar forever. It can be a thing of beauty, something you can't take your eyes off. It can possess truth. But it might not be a bat.

It might be a wombat.

I love those wombats. For me, the best kind of novel is one I get to the end of and think, wiping a tear from my eye or calming my beating heart, shit, what was that? I might not know what it was but I know it was something. I know it lives and breathes and has a smell. I know it has slipped some form of truth past my consciousness. It's a truth bomb, waiting to go off at a later date, maybe not even noticed.

Maybe at dusk, taking the dog for a walk along that lane, the wombats swooping around my head.

Friday, February 28, 2014

I'm Bad

But not in the Michael Jackson way. In terms of being a tough guy in leather, a weird mullet and a lot of make-up, Jackson is king. (Notice how I say "is"? His legend lives on.) But in terms of staying up with the latest authors, yes, I am bad. The proportion of books I read published in the last five years or so is minuscule. Actually make that forty years.

Does that make me less of a connoisseur if the written word?

Hell no.

I hate to declare this, but books don't get written better as time moves on. Very little that is new and exciting can be discovered in terms of putting words together. Chaucer Nailed it. Shakespeare nailed it. Hardy, Conrad and Poe nailed it. Dickens nailed something, slightly overwritten though it sometimes was. Then there was Hemingway, Chandler, Hammett - they all nailed it in a tough guy kind of way. Thompson, Caldwell, Dick, McCarthy, Bardin, Goodis - they also did some pretty hard nailing of their own. Bringing us up to King, Lansdale and Thornburg, who all did nailing of varying degrees of prolificacy.

Does that make me more of a connoisseur if the written word?

Hell no to that too.

What it makes me is someone who digs old books. End of.

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Cool Thing

Here is one of the very cool things I was going to tell you about. I was going to wait until it's a fait accompli before telling you, but I just can't. So I have waited until it is a fait semi-accompli. But it's one hell of a fait!

A DEADFOLK film is in pre-production.

You heard it right - a project is afoot to turn Royston Blake into an actual living thing... at least for 90 minutes or so. The project is already quite a ways into development. The screenplay is written (by me), Stuart St Paul to direct and Neil Chordia and Andrew Berg of Eclipse Films producing. Casting is underway. I know what you're thinking: who is going to play the big guy? Believe me, when I know, you'll know.

Thursday, January 02, 2014


Hey, it's 2014! And you know what that means, right? Yes, we are in the future. We have actually time-travelled. Finally!

In other news, there will hopefully be two big announcements this year. I'm always doing that, right? I tell you there will be an announcement and it never comes. Well, that's not strictly true. I do eventually tell you the things, I just don't tell you they are the things I told you I was going to tell you. But I will tell you something about each of these things right now, it being not long past the season of goodwill*: one is Mangel-related, the other is non-Mangel-related. Is that useful?

* Is there a season of bad will?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Charlie's Top 7 Short Stories

I like short stories. Hey, what a coincidence... I have a new short story out! It is called LOVE WILL TEAR US APART and is a cautionary tale about what happens when zombies and romance get mixed up. Seriously. But there's one catch: it's only available for Kindle. Sorry. I know how much you love paper. But hey, this is the way things are going.

To commemorate this event, please accept a list of my all time top 7 favourite (at time of writing) short stories:

In the Hills, the Cities - Clive Barker
Ostensibly horror on account of its inclusion in Barker's Books of Blood, this one starts as an Eastern Euro weird tale and ends up just blowing your mind. With horror 
The Lottery - Shirley Jackson
I think all small communities should read this. Then lay down their stones 
The Swimmer - John Cheever
Has there ever been such a brilliant example of starting in one place and ending up somewhere so utterly different? But really, when you think about it, not going anywhere 
Savannah River Payday - Erskine Caldwell
No short story has hit me with the savagery of casual violence as much as this one from the master of the Deep South 
The Pattern - Ramsey Campbell
Similar to the above by Caldwell, the explosion of violence is both eye-watering and somehow inevitable 
City Fishing - Steve Rasnic Tem
Sometimes you just know things are going to end badly. Especially when there is a dead crow flopping around in the footwell of your car 
The Last Great Paladin of Idle Conceit - Paul Meloy
Meloy proves himself a virtuoso at taking a real life (dead) character and turning it to his own ends (Lenny Bruce). And simultaneously honouring him

If you're going to check out LOVE WILL TEAR US APART (UK, US, Can), please, whatever you do, read it BEFORE any of the above. Thanks.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Author Culpa

Just read on a blog that someone read one of my books and got lost at the end. In other words, he or she does not know how it ended, after investing all that time in reading it. The blogger also adds that he is sure that this is his fault, not mine.

I beg to differ.

Even though a book could only have ended one way. Even though I believed it to be the perfect ending, foreshadowed in several places (including the first line of the book) and summing up a lot of things about how this protagonist's life has gone. Even though my editor loved that ending, recognised its potential ambiguity and worked with me to make it clearer. Even though [insert excuse here]... is not that blogger's fault.

It is the author's fault, every time.

Every time a reader gets lost at the end of a book. Every time they yawn and put it down, switch on the TV instead. Every time they throw it across the room a little too hard, inadvertently hitting that goldfish bowl and causing the poor fish undue mental trauma while it thrashes helplessly on the chic, exposed floorboards. Every time they read the book, like it enough, put it back on the shelf and immediately forget all about it.

Each time one of these little failures happens it is my fault.

If you are a writer and you don't agree, just think of the way books are these days. This isn't the fifties. We don't have a pulp fiction stand on every intersection of every main street of every city. We don't have half the punters on the train to work with their nose in a book (or if we do, it's the same book). We don't have the written page as the premier format of storytelling. We don't have shit, dear author. Least of all a fair chance of making a living out of this gig.

So what do we have?

One opportunity to grab a reader's attention, every time we are lucky enough to have someone pick up our book.

Use it.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Meet the Deadfolk: Fenton on Fenton

To the untrained eye, Mangel is a soft touch of a place. And Fenton's eye is most definitely untrained. Were he to train it, he might notice that the people of Mangel, though unsophisticated, are bastards. They don't trust you, outsider, but will ride you for all you are worth. And you are worth a lot, right? Waltzing into town in your flash motor, buying up the town's premier piss house in cash. But there's something else you have, isn't there? Something you are hiding. Something they want. But enough about the people of Mangel, let's here from the man himself, "Mr" Fenton...

Club owner
Fave film:
Catch Me if You Can

“Sometimes I wonder how I ended up in such a hellhole. But then I relax, sit back and remember: This is meant to be exile, not a holiday camp. A necessary solution, engineered to cut myself off from my past and live in safety. NO ONE will find me here. That’s the whole point – Mangel is the arse hole of the universe, a tiny little corner that doesn’t even show on the map. OK, so I could have fled to Spain, Thailand, Rio. But something brought me here. And when I saw Hoppers – a fire-damaged shell of a building at the time – I knew. Hoppers is my project. I’m king here, ruling over all these little people who just want to fuck, fight and get drunk. This is my kingdom. As long as my past doesn’t catch up with me.” 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Meet the Deadfolk: Finney on Finney

I want you to meet Finney. People in Mangel don't have a good opinion of Finney. Due to one or two mistakes he has made in the past, they think he is less than bright. But what he lacks in intelligence, Finney more than makes up for in action. Finney might be a dosser but he is not lazy. He is a doer. Never more so than when Royston Blake needs a hand...

Fave film:
Rocky III

"I ain’t got a brother but you don’t need one when you got a mate like Blakey. Me and him has knowed each other for yonks, going right back  to when we was borned in the ozzie. It’s funny that, how certain folks gets tied to each other and has to go through life together. It can be a pain at times, especially when Blake gets wedded or goes off on one of his schemes. You can lose him for a bit then. But only for a bit. He always comes back, and he always needs my help in the end. See, he can’t do it without me. Like I says, him and me is like brothers. And brothers looks out for each other. Even when they hits you sometimes. Not that I'm complaining about that. Blakey gives you a slap, it's cos you deserves it. He's been on that door at Hoppers for fucking donkeys and seen every kind of cunt, and knows when to let em by and when to school em. I needs a bit more schooling than the average, I reckon. But I'm getting there. One day I'll make him proud of us."