Friday, 28 December 2012

2012 - A Year in Focus

As the New Year dawns on 2013 I would like to focus, as always, on the good things that have happened this year.

2012 kicked off with a bang when David and I were guesting at the SFX Weekender, which took place in North Wales in February. This was the first convention I could attend where I could go home every night and sleep in my own bed! There was a super line-up of other guests. Colin Baker, Brian Blessed and Eve Myles among them. Robert Rankin hosted the SFX awards to much cheering and applause as a well-loved and respected author of Surrealist Fantasy. I might add that I'm a huge fan of his work too.

There were about six thousand people at the event over the course of the weekend and we had a great time. Panels were packed to the doors and great fun. My favourite one being on Apocalypse writing.

David Wacks, Chase Masterson, Me, David J Howe
After the SFX Weekender David and I headed across the Atlantic to Colorado Springs with our friend Frazer Hines. We had all been invited as Guests of Honour to a new convention called GalaxyFest, run by David and Diann Wacks who also run the Colorado Literacy Foundation. The event proved to be something of a show-stopper for us and an amazing start to 2012. We made some wonderful new friends, among them Kevin J Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Guy Anthony De Marco, Dean Haglund, Chase Masterson and Denise Crosby. There was a hard-working team of people helping out at the con and we were made to feel like part of a new and wonderful family generated by the warmth of

With Kevin J Anderson
David and Diann and their fabulous volunteers and friends which included the gorgeous Stacey Vowell, David Boop and Christopher Salas.

During the trip we also got an opportunity to go Western Riding which I enjoyed very much. And we spent some time with a lovely lady called Karyn Valentine who kindly showed us around.

When I returned home it was a massive wrench to leave all of our new friends.

Some new and unexpected writing success then followed - I was invited to write and submit a story for Chaosium, by Editors Glynn Owen Barass and Brian Sammons. The anthology is called ELDRITCH CHROME, and when I submitted my story both Editors loved it. The story is called Sonar City and it gave me an opportunity to write out of my comfort zone because I had to create an new and unfamiliar dystopian world that fit into both the Cthulhu Mythos and Cyberpunk.

After that Brian and Glynn asked me to submit to their Cthulhu Steampunk anthology and Brian also sent me the guidelines for another anthology he was working on called EDGE OF SUNDOWN, with Editor Kevin Ross. I didn't make the final line-up for the the Steampunk anthology (congratulations to all of the writers who did) but my story The Puppet Master was chosen for EDGE OF SUNDOWN, which was a western/horror anthology. I was delighted.

In between times I finished my latest Vampire Gene novel Silent Sand. When I finally turned this over to my editor Terry Martin at The House of Murky Depths, the feedback was excellent. They felt this was my best work to date. Terry Martin also commissioned a fantastic new artist, Martin Baines, to design the cover for Silent Sand and as you can see it is pretty terrific.

This book is available signed direct from my website with any of the other Vampire Gene Series Books HERE, or in any reputable book stores, direct from Murky Depths, or Amazon.

When I finished Silent Sand I sent in a pitch to editor Stephen James Walker, at Telos Publishing. It was four lines, offering to write a novella that would be both Steampunk and Horror. I expected Steve to come back with a request for a fuller outline, or more information, instead he replied with 'How soon can you do this?' and 'I'll send a contract over'. Within 24 hours I had a contract to write Zombies At Tiffany's and a great advance. Because I was so pleased with the cover for Silent Sand, I recommended Martin Baines to Telos also. The cover he produced for this book was even better than I could have imagined. I love real art on my books.

Zombies At Tiffany's so far has received the best acclaim in terms of reviews this year. My favourite being when I was compared to both H G Wells and Alan Moore. I couldn't have had any greater compliment!

You can buy it in paperback form only for the time being. An ebook is due for release in August 2013. Buy signed copies direct from TELOS. Or you can purchase this book on Amazon or in book stores.

Further success came when I was approached by Peter Mark May from Hersham Books, he had asked editor Stuart Hughes to put together a PentAnth - a book that consisted of five stories on the subject of Siblings. For this I wrote the story Imogen - which was published in September in both paperback and ebook formats.

Buy SIBLINGS for £2.02 on Kindle
Buy SIBLINGS for £4.30 in Paperback

Imogen was later chosen by Salt Publishing for their Best British Fantasy Anthology 2013. Needless to say,  I was extremely pleased by this and the subsequent reviews the book has had.

My career took another unusual turn when AudioGo editor, Alexandra Arlango, picked up my collection Zombies in New York and Other Bloody Jottings and bought the rights to make it an Audio Book.

In her press release Alex said, "We are very excited to be working with Sam. She is a fresh and unique voice in horror and her short stories weave deliciously dark tales involving vampires, werewolves and clowns."

The collection is unabridged but only contains the short stories (not my commentaries on them, or the poetry), plus one bonus story, Walking the Dead, a black comedy that fitted in just right. The audio has also received some excellent reviews and it was a wonderfully exciting process to liaise with the editor about how the audio would be done.

You can purchase a download of the collection direct from AudioGo.

Chaosium editors Brian Sammons and Glynn Barass put out an open call for yet another anthology. This one was Atomic Age Cthulhu: Terrifying Tales of the Mythos Menace, and I was once again challenged to produce a story with a difference. This one was set in the 1950s with a Cthulhu twist. Fall Out was chosen for the final table of contents and I was absolutely delighted to be working with these great editors once more.

As well as writing work, this year has seen David and I being invited to many events as guests. In April we were guests at the huge event The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, in Peterborough. Here I made some more new friends and met some people that I had admired for many years, the fabulous and totally adorable Christopher Lambert and the very warm Adrian Paul of Highlander fame among them.
Me with the two Highlanders!
I really took a shine to two other media celebrities that I had the privilege to spend a little time talking to when we were all in the green room: Eve Myles and Montserrat Lombard. Both these lovely ladies were really likable and I hope to see them again at something else in the future.

The Peterborough event had the biggest media and Author guest list I've ever seen and it was extremely well attended.

Sometime after this we joined the Victorian Steampunk Society at MCM Expo and had the most entertaining weekend with Lady Elsie, Major Tinker, Ian Crichton and the gang. I love these guys so much! MCM Expo was supported by around 50,000 people. It was full of people cosplaying, and having a great time. It's the biggest one I've ever been to and it was great fun.

We began our book tour of Waterstones in September to promote the new books and attended Wales Comic Con, which proved to be massively successful. There I met someone I've admired for a long time: Anthony Stewart Head of Merlin and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. Tony was lovely. I also learnt that he had been asked to do the reading for Zombies in New York by AudioGo but had been too busy because it was such short notice. I was gutted, but thrilled that he had been asked anyway, and so I gave Tony a copy of Zombies At Tiffany's and stole a few hugs. And yes, I am blushing in this photo but don't tell anyone!

Another lovely new friend I met up with was Mark Lester. David and I met Mark initially at The Greatest Show in the Galaxy and I was really impressed with how normal and down to earth he was. So it was lovely to see him again at Wales Comic Con too!

Wales Comic Con had its best turn out yet this year and it was also great to see so many local Steampunks in attendance.

Also there was our best mate Frazer Hines, Gareth David Lloyd, Spencer Wilding, Virginia Hey, Chris Barry, Warwick Davis and many more stars including some of the cast of Game of Thrones.

We returned once more to The Asylum Steampunk convention in September. And we love this opportunity to get together with our friends, in splendid Steampunk fashion. We launched Zombies At Tiffany's and Silent Sand and my two new babies went out into the world in their finery for all to see for the first time. A convention high-light was the inaugural Steampunk awards and we cheered with happiness when our friends were short-listed and the best novel award went to Raven Dane for her super book Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron. A read I can fully recommend to anyone looking for a brilliant Victorian roller-coaster novel with Steampunk, alchemy and a dirigible or two!

Thanks go, as always to the gorgeous Lady Elsie and the dashing Major Tinker for putting up with us at Asylum and for all the hard work they and their crew put in to make the weekend so amazing.

As well as all of these events we were recently invited to attend the annual Dimensions Convention in November which was huge fun and allowed us to catch up with some of our friends in the Whoniverse.

A highlight of the event was joining our friend Chase Masterson and the Big finish crew for dinner and getting to chat with the lovely Sylvester McCoy, who was looking extremely dapper! I'm happy to say we will be joining Tenth Planet again for several more events next year - Dimensions and Big Finish Day being two of them. Can't wait to see everyone again!

Part way through the year I was invited to open Vampire Sunday by Grimm Up North, which was an excellent day of  back to back Vampire Movies, and I did a reading and a Q and A for them. This was the first time I had read an extract from Silent Sand. The event was extremely well attended and the reading well received by a very appreciative audience. In October we joined Grimm Up North again for GrimmFest in Manchester, and David and I introduced and hosted one of the films. This was called Attack of the Werewolves. I can thoroughly recommend it. It was a Spanish black comedy, with proper special effects and make-up rather than relying on CGI. The werewolves reminded me of the Lon Chaney Wolfman (in a good way) but the story was very modern.

Other noteworthy events - although I am actually confused now about the dates when they happened! This year has been a total whirl-wind - I was invited to a reading event by This Is Horror, which took place in the Electric Theatre in Birmingham. Jasper Bark hosted the event and the other two guest speakers were David Moody and John Llewellyn Probert. We took part in a recorded discussion about the works of Stephen King and then we all did a reading, followed by an in depth question and answer session. I was incredibly impressed with how Jasper Bark handled all of that too. He seems to have a remarkable memory!

Throughout the year David and I have been building a calender of events because of invites to various conventions and comic cons for next year. One that has particularly pleased me the invitation to Sci-Fi Weekender next March because we had such a good time last year at SFX Weekender. We are also going back to Colorado and GalaxyFest (YAY!), and I'm delighted to say returning to the wonderful Gallifrey Convention in Los Angeles to celebrate 50 years of DOCTOR WHO with all our friends there.

I have also been commissioned to write another novella, and a novel in six parts that is going to be serialised. However, because contracts are still being negotiated at the moment this is all I can tell you for now. But more to follow on this soon I hope.

So that concludes my 2012 round up. I'm thoroughly looking forward to 2013 even though it promises to be our busiest year yet!

Publications for 2012
Zombies at Tiffany's (Telos Publishing) Aug 2012
Silent Sand (The House of Murky Depths) Sept 2012
Imogen (Hersham Books, Siblings) Sept 2012
Zombies in New York and Other Bloody Jottings (AudioGo Audio book) Oct 2012

Commissions and Publications for 2013
Sonar City (Chaosium Eldritch Chrome) TBA
The Puppet Master (Chaosium, Edge of Sundown) TBA
Fall Out (Chaosium, Atomic Age Cthulhu) TBA
Imogen (Salt Publishing, Best British Fantasy 2013) April 2013
* Novel - TBA
* Novella - TBA
* Screenplay - TBA

*More news on the Novel, Novella, and a screenplay to follow early next year. Plus exciting news on a graphic novel of Zombies at Tiffany's.

Happy New Year everyone.

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