It's turning out to be a good month for my shorter fiction. in the first place, my modern ghost story 'Lightning Dogs' is now available to read for free at The Indie Book Lounge. That particular tale of terror was first published in 2002, and is currently featured both in my latest hard print collection, Our Lady of the Shadows, and in my Kindle collection of horror fiction The Black Lake.
Out too is Gaslight Arcanum: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes edited by Charles Prepolec and J.R. Campbell for Edge Publishing. It's a follow-up to Gaslight Grimoire, and contains my first ever Holmes tale, 'The House of Blood.' In it, the great detective has turned out to be immortal, is still here with us to this very day, and gets involved with the investigation of a very curious series of murders in none other location than Las Vegas. It was the inspiration for my Kindle collection Sherlock Holmes in the 21st Century. And there'll be more Holmes stories going online before too much longer. In the meantime -- happy reading!
For some peculiar reason, my home city and one of my favourite directors just don’t seem to mix. Woody Allen came to London a few years back and made two movies. The first -- ‘Match Point’ -- ought to have been called ‘Match Pointless’; it was perfectly watchable until you reached the end, and then you sat their scratching your head and wondering why you’d bothered in the first place, what Americans call a ‘long run for a short slide.’ And his second effort -- ‘Scoop’ -- was so plain bad that I’m mentioning it here for the first and the last time.
Then he departed for Spain and came up with a big improvement, ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona,’ which I’ve already discussed earlier on in this blog (Sketches of Spain, 19 February, 2009). And now he’s cast his eye across Paris, and come up with his best movie in years. I’m not going to do a spoiler by telling you what Midnight in Paris is about … if you’ve not the first clue, then go to your local movie house and find out at first hand. But suffice to say that what happens to Owen Wilson in the film is my -- and most likely every creative person’s -- most heartfelt and unattainable secret dream. ‘Midnight’ is a delight from start to finish, and Allen’s most charming movie since ‘The Purple Rose of Cairo.’
And it dovetails neatly with my own recent experiences. Louise and I hadn’t been to Paris in years, and so last month we decided to spend three days there, just to reacquaint ourselves with the old girl. We rented someone’s tiny fourth-floor pied á terre, just two minutes walk from the Place de la Contrescarpe (top left) at the very heart of the Latin Quarter. There was a plaque for Hemingway on a house nearby, and about fifty yards further down from that another plaque for James Joyce. If you’re a writer, that’s the kind of thing that makes your jaw drop open. And we spent a glorious time there, touring the sites during the day and eating at a sidewalk table every evening. I just thought I’d share some photos with you.
The paperback of my newest collection, Our Lady of the Shadows, has been out for a few months now. It's made up of eleven stories -- four of them brand-new -- and a complete novella, and is mostly ghost fiction or stories about ghost-like subjects (there's an imaginary friend, and even an 'angel' puts in appearance). And it's had some good reviews so far. But Wendy Zazo-Phillips has just looked at it for MonsterLibrarian.com, and has given it a genuinely rave one.
She starts out her summary like this: "There are the books that are required reading, perhaps for a class or because your cousin/friend/coworker just wrote one and bullies you into reading a copy. There are the ones you read for pleasure, but afterwards you place it on the shelf and forget about it, or give it to a book sale, and you say, “Yeah, I read that,” when anyone asks you about it. But then there are those special books that you come back to every so often, the books you pick up on a lazy Saturday morning to read in bed for a while. I’m pleased to say that, for me, Our Lady of Shadows has become one of those books."
Wow! You can read the rest of the review by clicking here.
Incidentally, the interview I recently did, also with Wendy, has been moved from MonsterLibrarian's blog to a permanent posting on their website.