May 2020 Update

May has been a month for maintenance, as well as writing. Besides completing the first drafts for a handful of short stories, I’ve begun a long-delayed clean-up effort, pruning all but the most essential information from the site in a bid to refocus it to something more professional.

I’ll gradually sift through the ephemera of the past eight years, and some of the pruned material will reappear, though not necessarily on this site. So if you can’t find a favourite post, don’t worry – it’ll probably be back.

Related to this refocusing effort, I’ve decided to dispense with my TinyLetter list. It’s been four months since I set it up, and not a month has gone by without some issue cropping up. So for the foreseeable future, my monthly updates will be hosted right here, starting with this one. I’ve also made all previous updates available on the blog, in a revised form.

Another change relates to my Patreon account. As I recently noted on Twitter and in last month’s update, I’ve become somewhat disenchanted with Patreon’s setup. As such, I won’t be updating my Patreon for the foreseeable future – though I won’t be dispensing with it entirely. If you are currently a patron, you should feel no obligation to maintain your pledge – though you have my most humble thanks for making it in the first place.

However, as I mentioned last month, I’ve set up a Curious Fictions profile, and so far I much prefer it to Patreon. I’ve posted a handful of free reprints already and starting the first week of June, I’ll be serialising the first Royal Occultist novel, The Whitechapel Demon, there every Friday afternoon.

Subscribers will be able to read the entire serial for free, while non-subscribers will be charged a dollar for every chapter after the first three. Once The Whitechapel Demon is completed, I’ll serialise the sequel, The Jade Suit of Death, followed by The Infernal Express.

In addition, I’ll be posting a short story once per month, also starting in June. Sometimes it’ll be a reprint, other times a completely new story, exclusive to Curious Fictions. Reprints will be free to read for subscribers and non-subscribers alike. Like the serials, new stories will be free for subscribers, and will cost non-subscribers two dollars apiece.

To sum up, subscribers can enjoy a new serial chapter every Friday, and a short story once a month. To subscribe, or read the free stories I’ve already posted, follow this link to my profile. If you’d like to be notified when I create a new story or post, make sure you follow my profile, and if you enjoy the stories, be sure to hit the ‘Like’ button. Every little bit helps.

April 2020 Update

 April has been a busy month, for reasons mostly unrelated to writing. Even so, I managed to find time to complete revisions on my forthcoming Legend of the Five Rings novel, Poison River, as well as the second Casefiles of the Royal Occultist collection, Hochmuller’s Hound.

I also started a handful of new stories, nudged some older ones closer to being done, and started working on an exciting new project that I unfortunately can’t talk about right now.

Of late, I’ve begun to rethink my participation in Patreon for various reasons. As such, I’ve set up a Curious Fictions profile, which does much the same thing as Patreon, but with fewer hoops to jump through on my end. I’m still weighing the merits of both, but if you’d like to check out my new profile, feel free – there’s two free stories up (both reprints, natch) for you to enjoy.

I was also interviewed recently about my forthcoming Arkham Horror novel, Wrath of N’kai, as well as my love for the Arkham Horror board game. Why not give it a listen? 

This month, Black Library released the anthology Warriors & Warlords, which includes my story, “Light of a Crystal Sun”. They also released the Space Wolves Audio Collection, which includes my script, “The Art of Provocation”.

I’ve started listening to The Folklore Podcast this month, which I recommend to anyone with an interest in folklore. It’s informative without being overly academic and the episodes are fairly short. Perfect for listening to while walking the dog, for instance.

Reading-wise, I binged on Lobster Johnson this month. I managed to pick up all five of the trades and read them one after the next. While they’re not the most complex of stories, there’s a good deal of depth there, especially if you’re a fan of Hellboy. That said, you can enjoy one without having read the other.

Also, Bosch came back for its sixth season this month so that occupied a lot of my free time. While I’ve never read the original novels, the show is exactly my thing. It does what it sets out to do very well, and without pretension. It’s as engaging as it is entertaining, and I can’t wait to go back and watch it all from the beginning. Needless to say, I recommend it if you haven’t given it a look.

March 2020 Update

With Poison River completed, I’ve turned my attentions to other projects this month. Most notably author’s notes and a new short story to fill out the forthcoming second volume of Royal Occultist stories, Hochmuller’s Hound.

I’ve also been working on a pitch for a new novel, and working on getting my Patreon site reorganised. I’d like to start putting up regular content for patrons, but that might mean switching over to a subscription model, rather than my current pay-per-post set-up. I won’t be changing anything anytime soon, whatever I decide.

Black Library just released my Kal Jerico short story, “Red Salvage”, as a digital short this month. I’ve also posted a new Baron Vordenburg story, “A Test of Fortitude”, to my Patreon. It’s free to read, for patrons and non-patrons alike.

After numerous suggestions by friends, I decided to check out Critical Role this month. I started with the second season, and I’m enjoying it so far. Watching people play RPGs is a bit like watching play-throughs of video games – I enjoy the sense of disconnect, however odd that sounds. Then, I am a bit of a hermit by nature.

I also binged season two of Kingdom this month. What a fantastic series – if you haven’t watched the first season, I highly recommend you check it out now. I’ve also been dipping in and out of the first season of Picard. I have a somewhat acrimonious relationship with Star Trek, but despite that I’m enjoying it. It raises some interesting questions about the utopia/dystopia juxtaposition.

Book-wise, I finished a few books, including Fighters of Fear: Occult Detective Stories, a hefty anthology of occult detective stories. I’d read some of them before, but a good many were new to me, and I suspect it’ll be a book I return to often.

February 2020 Update

 As with January, I spent most of this month working on the first draft of Poison River. I’m experimenting with a slower schedule this year – one big deadline at a time, and working on smaller projects in the evenings and on the weekends, if time and inclination permits. These include short stories and lore write-ups for Hi-Rez Studios’ SMITE.

So far it’s been a big improvement on my previous method of working non-stop all the time. As a result, I’m more satisfied with the work I’m doing, I feel a bit more in control of my schedule, and I’m feeling much less stress. I’ve even begun playing in a second RPG campaign and I might finally get a Warcry campaign up and running in the next few months. It’d be nice to have hobbies again.

Black Library released my novel, Kal Jerico: Sinners Bounty, this month. It was previously released as a limited edition last year, but it’s now available in hardback and digital format.

On a friend’s recommendation, I’ve begun listening to the Old Gods of Appalachia podcast, which is quite something. Equal parts influenced by Manly Wade Wellman and Laird Barron, it’s an engrossing story. I encourage you to give it a try, if you haven’t already. I also watched the 2018 Swedish horror film Draug. A bit slow for my tastes, but a great film nonetheless and fantastically creepy.

Book-wise, I recently finished Alan Baxter’s The Roo, which is perhaps the best demon-kangaroo story I’ve ever read. I also read Elizabeth Peters’ Crocodile on the Sandbank and Theodora Goss’ The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, both of which I enjoyed.

January 2020 Update

Most of my time this month has been occupied with the first draft of Poison River, a Legend of the Five Rings novel. In preparation for the project, I spent most of December getting to grips with the background for the setting. A new IP always provides its own challenges, and Lot5R was no different. I’ve also been working on pitches for several short stories, as well as a new novel and lore material for Hi-Rez Studios’ game, SMITE.

Black Library released my latest audio drama, Darkly Dreaming, this month. I also had a new short story, “Midnight in the House of Bats”, appear in the latest Cohesion Press anthology, SNAFU: Last Stand.

In addition, I have a number of short stories and several novels due out later this year, including Poison River and my Arkham Horror novel, Wrath of N’kai. More on those as and when they appear.

For my downtime this month, I’ve been enjoying the new podcast from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society, Voluminous: The Letters of HP Lovecraft. Sean Branney and Andrew Leman present a highly informative and entertaining look at Lovecraft’s letters to and from his various correspondents. I highly recommend it, if you haven’t listened to it already. I’ve also been reading Dan Weatherer’s new collection from PS Publishing, The Tainted Isle, as well as Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.