Happy Halloween!

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!).

Everyone, meet Eddie

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:

 

It used to look like this…
This…is my boomstick! (kinda)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

This was my Saturday night set-up. Alan Shaw edits, Coors, Kettle Chips, notebook and 1800s London map. I’m so hardcore.

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!

Advertisements

New reviews for Not Before Bed

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:

Pete Denton

One scaaaary Hombre

“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:

Ecowitches love the outdoors!

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!

New Edition of Not Before Bed!

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!

You can feel it already can't you? Fear in your fingertips...

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.

Publicationment!

I’ve had two large thuds on my doormat this week, and for once it isn’t the neighbour’s kid posting frozen poop.

The first package, I cracked open to find this inside:

Creepier and creepiest

 

If you like werewolves and creature features, you’ll love this collection. I’ve only got throgh the first few stories, but I’m so impressed with the quality that Misanthrope Press have injected into their book. I’m very proud to say that my short story ‘Hunting Grounds’ is nestled in those dark pages. And more than that, Paul Anderson gave my story an honourable mention in the Introduction. I could just wee!

The second thud came much later as it was originally delivered to the wrong address; ironically to the house on my street which I have long suspected of harbouring vampires (more on that in a future post). But once I scraped off the dried virgin blood and native soil encrusted on the package from next door, I found this inside:

What fantastic artwork!

What a cover! Where Misanthrope Press went creepy, Pill Hill Press have gone for a full-on awesomeness. This one is taking pride of place on my shelf from now on. In this anthology is my own tale ‘The Fly Man’ (page 105 if you want to skip that way :D). But the other stories are absolutely immense in their scope and diversity. This one will keep you up at night, for sure. If you want to invest in something for Halloween this year, then I’d suggest the hardcopy version. Worth every cent!

I couldn’t be more pleased. In one month, I’ve had two stories printed in two fantastic anthologies. This has given me a real spur to submit to more anthologies in the future. Remember guys, if you’ve read the stories, I’d love to hear what you think!

Thanks for reading.