But if you want more free horror stories, then you have to organise your own giveaway. So that’s what I did. Then we have the one I have organised. It’s early yet and I’ll repeat it in December: The Gothic Giveaway.
I anticipate we will have more authors sign up as we get closer to Christmas, so keep clicking. How To Get More Free Horror Stories? These are all free, dude.
Recommendations For Horror Reading/Listening and Watching
Recently re-watched Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, based on Stephen King’s novel, obviously. As good as ever. I find lots of Jungian symbolism in it, but that’s maybe just me and possibly unintended by Kubrick. However, I recently came across a thread on Redditt r/kubrick where at least one other person has the idea that Kubrick was massively influenced by Carl Jung.
When I dig deeper, I see that in Full Metal Jacket, Kubrick made a direct reference to Jung. That’s on this webpage, but warning! There are so many video pop-ups on this page that you will suffer from vertigo and your device will slow down.
Actually, don’t go to that page, go to this one: no pop ups and a better analysis.
Note to self: never put paid advertising on my blog.
Tried to watch The Haunting of Bly Manor again but had to give up in Episode 1 again. I’m reading out The Turn of The Screw on The Classic Ghost Stories Podcast at present so the comparison hit me home. The real difference, as far as I can tell, is that James’s story was good, the Haunting of Bly Manor is shit.
I cannot cannot cannot bear the English characters in it. They are so awful and false and affected. I don’t even think they are real people. The only one mildly bearable is the cook. But the American teacher (was governess back in the 1890s) is the best thing in it. That’s not saying much.
I have enjoyed it. It’s not so much supernatural fiction as science fiction, despite the premise. The premise is a dead woman returns as a digital ghost in the form of her voice over the internet.
A company company recreates the auditory avatar dead wife of a bloke who works for the FBI. They use voice clips on a social media site and AI to make her real. Then they use the affection this guy has for his late wife to make him spy for them. It’s a clever idea, but I wanted to give him a shake. Like, come on, man? Can’t you see they’re just yanking your chain?
I listened to Uncanny Landscapes by Justin Hopper. I listened through a few episodes in fact. The one that grabbed me most was the one that had Gareth Reese on it.
I will attempt to explain Justin Hopper. Hopper is from the States but domiciled in England, East Anglia I think. He wrote a book called Old Weird Albion which is like a psychogeographical folk horror wander through backwoods England, picking up the resonances, both ancient and urban-modern and talking to weirdoes about earth energies.
Old Weird Albion is a very good book and Hopper deals with many of the themes I myself am interested in: the spirit of the place. Does the place have a spirit independently of who visits it? Discuss.
Or not. We don’t have time or space. Hee-Hee!
Gareth Reese featured in one of the episodes of Uncanny Landscapes. Gareth is a psychogeographical explorer in the mould of Iain Sinclair (another of my heroes: see Ludd Heat).
Iain Sinclair, Gareth Reese, Justin Hopper all put me in mind of Edward Parnell who wrote Ghostland. Ghostland is an autobiographical-psychogeographical-folkhorrorish-paean to the spirits of place, both personal and pervasive. I see from Twitter that he has a paperback version of his book coming out. It’s a good read
Anyway, Gareth Reese said something amazing to me. He said that the production of folklore, legends, and ghost stories ultimately are unconscious products of being people. So like birds build nests and beavers dam dams, people produce legends and rituals. We don’t even know we’re doing it.
He talks about wandering desolate motorway roundabouts where you would think nobody walked, and finding dolls with straws twined in their hands and shrine-like collections of apparent offerings. He wonders whether the person who put those things there would know they were engaging in ritual behaviour Probably not, but they were.
Anyway, I strayed from Listening to Reading.
Back to listening. I’ve been filling my ears with
The Heartwood Institute Witchseason with its references to Alex and Maxine Sanders
And Hawkwind’s latest Carnivorous. Some great driving trance rhythms in this one. This is what you get when Dave Brock is left alone in Lockdown. It’s right back to the hypnotism of his early stuff and you can definitely hear the resonance of Space Ritual and Opa Loka and music like that. Also, the 90s stuff like Distant Horizons. I can talk about Hawkwind to the extent that most people get bored. Imagine.
I loved Laird Barron’s In A Cavern, In A Canyon set in Alaska. He’s a great writer. Bad shit happens way out in the wilderness, but Barron brings us close ups of the family ins and outs of a trailer park clan and the very nasty spirit that haunts them.
Livia Llewellyn’s Allochthon (hard to say, hard to spell) is a weird, Cosmic Horror that is as much speculative fiction as traditional horror story. It’s poetic. I liked it.
Shepherd’s Business by Stephen Gallagher is set in Scotland and is a traditional horror story with a twist in the tail.
Neil Gaiman contributes a short Down To A Sunless Sea and he is the master of conjuring a grimy late-night cafe on a cloudy night by the River Thames.
There are so many stories in this book that I loved, it’s worth getting. It’s the best of the best of so they are bound to be good.
I finished my copy of Hellebore, which was the witchcraft edition and I think that the articles are better quality than ever before. Not really fiction, but if you’re interested in the things I’m interested in: folk horror, psychology, writing, psychogeography, weird music, then you’ll like Hellebore.
I just got my copy of The Ghastling, which is a collection of horror stories. They tend to be on the creative writing class speculative fiction end of it, but often a collection represents the editor’s tastes, and fair enough. I’ve only read the first one by Barry Charman, Doom Warnings and that was very well written and clever. I am looking forward to the rest of them.
I should say that the quality of art and illustration in both The Ghastling and Hellebore are top-notch. My daughter, who’s an artist, gets them for the art rather than the stories. Me, I like art, but I love words.
Some very kind people have been helping me out by beta-reading my forthcoming new Ghost Stories For Christmas. I’ve never had beta readers before (and it shows!). It’s funny how differently they all approach it. Some focus on language, and I’m used to that because I was a member of Scribophile for quite a while and that’s how people critique there.
However, there have been some wonderful ideas for themes and inclusions so it’s in the process of being a very rewarding exercise.
I have also been writing on Medium, as I do. I wrote a piece on the real story behind The Exorcist, which was rather tongue in cheek. Normally, you have to pay to read it, but I’ll send you via this free link, in case you’re interested.
Regarding Social Media Marketing of my work: earlier in the year I tried some software called Later.com. It was good, but being active on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc, was wearing me down and taking loads of time, so I have more or less stopped and it seems to have made no difference to the numbers of the listeners to the Podcast or my book sales.
After saying that, I am using paid Facebook ads to get people into the Podcast. That seems to work well. What doesn’t work well on Facebook is appealing for direct sales. It costs a fortune and is a very poor return on investment.
On Pinterest, I’ve mainly been pinning pictures of glamorous vampire women with beautiful eyes and blood-stained chins. I don’t know why. Possibly, I need therapy.
On Twitter, I tweet about my work. And then I wonder who actually cares? Not in a self-destructive, nihilistic way, but would I read someone who just tweeted: Get my book? So I comment on stuff I’m interested in, and retweet too. That’s better and the good thing about Twitter is you can make connections with people you admire, like Justin Hopper and Gareth Reese recently.
I am now done with Sales Funnels. If you are on this mailing list (which you are) you are, or have been put through the sales funnel. Sorry about that. It was supposed to nurture your love of my work and get you to buy some.
It didn’t really work. Never mind.
How to get more Horror Stories? Listen to my podcast!