It’s finally time for my favourite holiday of the year!
I love Halloween. It’s the time of year when everyone gets in the same mindset as me (if that’s possible). I think it probably started when I was a kid, watching horror movies that I shouldn’t have at that age, and all the best ones seemed to be shown at Halloween. I think it was probably some late-night marathon that first got me hooked on B-movies like The Blob, and then hammered home the “being scared is awesome” vibe with The Exorcist, The Thing, Alien, Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. Of course, these are staples of any horror lover’s childhood. And they probably sparked off me watching every other horror movie since to the point of addiction. To the point of writing my own horror stories, in fact!
Anyway, what I really love about Halloween is the tactile element to it. Those of you who are regulars will know I love tinkering with things. I’m a maker and a doodler underneath my writerly exterior. The costumes, the pumpkin carving, the baking, the scaring little kids when they knock on your door. It’s all brilliant. There’s nothing I like more than going all-out on a costume to make sure it looks really cool. I’m a cosplayer at heart, it seems.
Unfortunately this year no one will be dressing up. There will be no ordaining traffic on Doncaster’s York Road while dressed as Jesus (long story for another time). And so I won’t be dressing up, either. However, I have carved my first pumpkin; something I’ve always wanted to do and never got around to. I call him Eddie after one of my favourite vampire movies, the original Fright Night (You’re so cool Brewster!).
In other news…
Speaking of making things, I’ve decided to embrace my Steampunk soul a little more and mod(ify) myself a gun for the next convention. After some research, I decided on the Nerf Maverick, which seems to be a popular favourite. After a few false starts, and marking all the bits as I took it apart, I’ve finally got the base coats done. Just have the details to paint in, but here’s what I have so far:
Not bad for an amateur, eh? Also, if I haven’t mentioned this yet, I have another signing! This time I’ll be in my home town, Doncaster, nestled away in our local Waterstones branch in the Frenchgate centre. I’ve got my books, my sign, myself, and hopefully plenty of people will get curious enough to wander over. The lovely folks on the local radio and papers are plugging it for me (Thanks guys!) and if all goes well I won’t just be sat there on my own for hours on end. If you’re feeling adventurous, I’ll be at the above location from 11:30 this Friday (2nd November), until I get lonely and go home. Fingers crossed!
And that brings me to my last bit of news; perhaps the most exciting (at least for me). I have finished the first draft of The Adventures of Alan Shaw! How has this come so early? Well, as you may remember, Alan Shaw is a series of short adventures chronicling the life of the eponymous character as he grows up from a street urchin in the Age of Steam. As I’ve written these adventures, I’ve realised what an epic book this was going to be. I was half way through and already well over Greaveburn’s final word count. And so I realised that breaking the book into two volumes would not only be prudent, but pretty darned cool. And so that’s what I’ve done. And volume one is now sitting on my desktop, ready to edit.
Of course, with me being me, I’ve already started the edits, already made huge changes, added whole sections and fleshed out characters. That’s how I roll on my second draft. And I know it’s early days, but I’m really liking it. Generally if I’m enjoying writing it, I know it’ll be the best I can possibly do because I’ll put the effort in. Of course, whether that best is good enough is another deal altogether. I’ll just have to hope that I can get published again, and that you guys enjoy it. Time will tell. And in the meantime, I’d better get writing volume two. Although, I’ll be giving myself a little break before cracking on with that. I have uni work to do after all.
And that’s it for this week, folks. Hope you’ve enjoyed this wild ramble.
Thanks for reading!
If you’ve been around recently, you’ll already know the big news. If you haven’t…where HAVE you been? Oh, you have a life? Well, I hear they’re overrated. I won’t hold it against you. Better late than never.
Anyway, in honour of the publication of my debut novel, Greaveburn, I have decided to have a bonanza. Some lucky bugger is going to win things and that could mean YOU! But I’m not going to make it easy for you. Why would I? This isn’t the kind of giveaway you find on daytime tv where the question is something like:What is the name of the money-winning organisation for which millions of people buy tickets every week? Is it: A: The National Lottery B: The National Pottery C: The National Mockery (answers on a postcard, kids!)
No, we’re not going to do that, because that’d be crap. Instead, we’re going to go all Challenge Anneka on you. Below, you will find a couple of Greaveburn-related images. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to take one of these images (or one of your own making) and use it in the most imaginative way possible. The most outrageous/funny/obscure entry wins a personalised, signed copy of Greaveburn itself for your shelf and, of course, all entries will be put into a gallery for everyone to see and share (We’ll keep track of them on the new competition page). All mediums are accepted, including photos, vids, animations or whatever else you deranged readers can come up with.
Here are a few ideas to get you going:
- A tableau of you and your Steampunk/Goth friends brandishing the logo.
- Respraying your car/scooter/Harley Davidson with the cover images (That’d be freaking awesome).
- …or maybe a tattoo somewhere about your virgin flesh? (Soooo not worth the resulting prize!)
- Carve the title into a motorway overpass (I in no way endorse this vandalistic behaviour………although SOME might think it cool)
- Get your friends to spell out Greaveburn at a football game.
Whatever you come up with…camera *click*…email (Under my pic on the right, over there)…Simple!
I’m going to leave this open until the end of September, so pop back and see if you’ve won!
Since hitting the Steampunk genre running, and becoming a full-on obsessive, it’s been a hobby of mine to find the little pockets of enthusiasts around the UK. These people, after all, will hopefully become my readers when Greaveburn hits the shelves this summer. And ever since I started my search, it has never ceased to amaze me how incredibly creative people can be.
The beauty of Steampunk, in my opinion, is how it encourages people to create, build, imagine and fashion all manner of doodads and thingumies. Etsy is, of course, the best way to find out about the hundreds of talented folk who make trinkets, gadgets, costumes and things-with-no-name. With these folks in mind, I think it’s only fair that I share the wealth of what I’ve found with you. Starting with The Dark Power.com.
Now here’s someone who takes their creating seriously! Not only does Dark Power make the most impressive creations, but they have even won awards for their Steampunk short film Beast of the Air! Take a look:
Good, eh? I wouldn’t mind one of those guns for when I go shopping in ASDA. Can’t wait to see them tackle the book trailer for Greaveburn! (Hint hint, Dark Power, if you’re reading this )
Have a look HERE for more of their gadgets and gizmos .
Moving on to another tinker-type, I’d like to draw your attention to The Little Steampunk Shop. Chock full of things that you can actually BUY, alll handmade and utterly cool-looking. If you need some Whatsits for your next Steam-theme endeavour, this is where to get them! Here’s just a couple of things that caught my eye:
There’s all manner of jewelry, modded USB sticks, clockwork insects and mice, lamps…By Jiggins, I’m salivating! With payday on the horizon, and my Steampunk outfit nearly ready, I think I’ll be visiting The Little Steampunk Shop again very, very soon.
It seems that while our American comrades love their Steampunk, there’s much love in our own fair country for some Neo-Victorian shinanigans, too. I can’t wait to meet some of them at the Weekend at the Asylum Steampunk Convention in September. It’s going to be an absolute riot!
Thanks for reading.
Well, it’s time for my favourite holiday. All Hallows Eve is upon us once again. And it seems only fitting that the new print editon of Not Before Bed with its striking white cover be on the shelves and ready to rock. And, thanks the emminent thriller writer Pete Denton and the lovely Ecowitch, I also have two new reviews! Here they are:
“I don’t usually read speculative fiction but I’m glad that I downloaded Not Before Bed, which is a collection of short stories from the twisted mind of Craig Hallam!
This is the second e-book that I downloaded when I bought my Kindle and there are plenty of great stories to entertain you on a cold, dark night. I enjoyed reading each and every one of them, though my favourites are Laughter on the Landing, Sarah and the Monster, Lovecraft and Albert. I like it when you can read a collection of short stories and have so many good ones to try to pick the best from.
Once I had started each story I had to read to the end. One of the longest stories in the collection is – Albert. I thought it was an excellent narrative tale that draws you into his world. Craig’s writing brings each story to life and I have to give this book the 5★ rating.
Well done, Craig. I look forward to reading new stories and, hopefully, your debut novel.”
Thanks Pete! Now on to Ecowitch and what she thought:
“A superb collection of fourteen chilling tales that you really shouldn’t read before bed (unless you’re like me and you really can’t help yourself). Hallam has a knack for building the tension and fear slowly with Laughter on the Landing, Sarah and the Monster and Albert while giving the reader a short sharp shock with March of the Broken, The Fly Man and the title tale Not Before Bed (which by the way may be the shortest but it packs the biggest punch). Hallam also takes the more traditional horror genres and gives them his own unique twist with the original viewpoints of Daisy Chained, Hunting Grounds and Sleeping with the Dead. Each story is very well written and the style changes to suit the story being told with reflections of Poe and Stoker in some and Lovecraft in others. Hallam uses his words carefully weaving the story and atmosphere together to pull the reader in and keep them there until the very last moment. I can’t quite bring myself to pick a favourite from these stories but the one that sent the biggest shivers down my spine was the title tale Not Before Bed, which takes your own night fears and gives them a voice, and it’s not one you really want to hear.”
Incredible! I couldn’t have hoped for a better review than that!
And since we’re here talking about it…Not Before Bed is finally ready to buy from Amazon! Own yours today!
I’d like to thank everyone else who’s taken the time to read and review it, I hope I didn’t give you nightmares (Oh, who am I kidding? I hope it did!). Everyone has been extremely supportive, helpful and friendly while I’ve been putting this little project together. Now only if I could get Greaveburn accepted…
Thanks for reading!
Banshees and Ghouls!
This may be a bit of a surprise to you, but Not Before Bed has released a new edition! New cover, new stories, new horrors. Bigger, better and more petrifying than ever before. The really cool bit? IT’S IN PAPERBACK!
That’s right, you denizens of the night, Not Before Bed just made all your fears so horrifyingly real that you can now touch them. The problem is, they can touch you too!
And you could have YOUR copy ready for the fateful All Hallow’s Eve. It’s already available on the Creatspace eShop. And it has just hit Amazon too. But, because I love you, and I have a thirst for hunting long-pig, you can compete against the other victims to win yourself a copy RIGHT NOW over on Goodreads *EDIT – Competition has closed. thank to all who entered*. Go ahead, take a look.
Check behind the curtains, kiss your loved ones good bye.
Then turn out the light, if you dare.