Re(a)d Letter Day: December 2011

7 12 2011

The Awakening written by Stephen VolkAs it’s the festive season I’ve decided to put aside my normal Scrooge-like persona and write about something a little more positive. To that end, I am going to tell you about an aspect of the horror genre I particularly enjoy and why I enjoy it – traditional ghost stories. This was prompted by the recent release of Stephen Volk’s The Awakening in the cinema (co-written with director Nick Murphy), which, judging from the reviews, harks back to the species of stories that started me off in the first place.

Read Simon Marshall-Jones’ December Column


Flash Fear: The Yule Log by William Meikle

6 12 2011

The Yule Log by William Meikle (Illustration by Vincent Shaw-Morton)As part of the ever-expanding Read Horror ship we promised you we would introduce original fiction to our readers in the form of Flash Fear. Flash Fear delivers short original horror stories to readers from some of the best names in the genre.

But wait, that’s not all. Each Flash Fear is accompanied by an original illustration from a talented artist.

Today, our premiere Flash Fear is from none other than William Meikle, author of The Invasion and many more novels and short stories. Illustrating the tale is Vincent Shaw-Morton, winner of the Ruskin Award at The Asylum 2011.

We do hope you enjoy this new section, and please leave us your feedback on this short and let us know who you’d like to see Flash Fear from in the future in the comments section.

Read The Yule Log by William Meikle


Meet The Reader: December 2011

5 12 2011

Craig and his serial killer houseIn a fairly leafy, suburban street in north Milton Keynes, just round the corner from an area of parkland, there sits a secretive and foreboding house.  There are no windows on the front of this house nor means of seeing inside. There are no prying eyes here. The stark, concrete walls convey secrets – details of what goes on behind the closed door. A hanging basket adds a flash of colour – perhaps a diversionary tactic, intended to distract passersby? Whilst no eyes can look in, eyes can look out – yes, there’s a peephole.

Meet The Reader: December 2011

Ghost stories come but once a year…

5 12 2011

Alt. FictionChristmas has always been one of my favourite times of year. Not just for the presents (although of course that’s always nice), and not just for the excessive and luxurious eating over the festive season. Indeed, one of the things I have come to look forward to the most over the last couple of years is the ghost stories.

Many years in the past, some of our finest writers of ghost stories would gather their friends around a fire to share their latest chilling creation. And what a canon of writers we are looking at – MR James, Algernon Blackwood, Ambrose Bierce, Charles Dickens – as well as an astonishing set of some of the best-known and best-loved stories of all time. Ghost stories have over time developed a universal appeal, touching some basic and essential fear that lives within all of us. The unknown, the spiritual, the beyond – all of these authors explore these themes with deft skill and artistry.

And when I began work for Writing East Midlands on the Alt.Fiction brand, this was one of the things that I was keen to bring back in some capacity. With the right atmosphere and delivery, there are classic ghost stories out there to entertain and thrill audiences today. And it was as such that Christmas Spirits was born – a night of classic ghost stories, infused with a festive feel and an eerie atmosphere. Our first event took place in 2010 and sold out in a matter of no time, and the night itself was a great success, presenting superb versions of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, an extract from Henry James’s Turn of the Screw and Charles Dickens’ classic The Signalman.

So naturally, come 2011, we were keen to revive this fine tradition again and present a new night of spooky tales for Christmas. As such, Christmas Spirits 2011 takes place this December, and Sustained Magic Theatre Company will be presenting their versions of two well-loved stories – Lost Hearts by MR James, showcasing a true master of the form at work, and Charles Dickens’ festive classic A Christmas Carol, surely the most festive story ever told.

So if you’re a fan of ghost stories, or horror, or just want to relive the Christmas tradition of yesteryear, Christmas Spirits is the night for you. We’ll be presenting two nights of this fantastic event – on 9 and 15 December – so be sure not to miss out! You can find full information on the event, and booking details here.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Alex Davis

Co-ordinator, Alt.Fiction

for Writing East Midlands

Drop Dead Frickin’ Gorgeous: Special Edition

2 12 2011

Wayne SimmonsThis week zombie aficionado Wayne Simmons has announced that his Belfast-based undead tomes Flu and Drop Dead Gorgeous are to see limited edition hardback release.

Each title will be strictly limited to 500 collector’s edition hardbacks that will be of exemplary paper stock and have a ribbon bookmark amongst other features. In addition to being signed, each book will be re-edited and will contain some extra features.

Drop Dead Gorgeous will feature brand new cover art from Wayne’s favourite tattoo artist, the award winning Chris Jones [Editor’s note: that’s Chris ‘Frickin’ Jones!].

Wayne is expected to release more details of this must have book for British zombie fans over the next few weeks.


The Gorefather: November

1 12 2011

The Texas Chainsaw MassacreI’ve always been more influenced by good screenwriters than by well-respected novelists. Ever since I was young (yes, that long ago) I always found my own style of work more influenced by screen writers like Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Blue Collar) Robert Towne (Chinatown) and Walter Hill (The Getaway and Alien) than by the writers people usually expect horror novelists to owe a debt to.

The Gorefather – November 2011

Shaun Hutson’s column delayed due to unforeseen circumstances

30 11 2011

Unfortunately Shaun’s e-mail server is down at the moment so there will be a temporary delay in his regular last Wednesday of the month column appearing on the site. We fully expect his column to feature on Read Horror before the end of the week. Watch this space.

Apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment that this has caused, but we would like to stress the column will go live very soon.