Bad first, because that’s generally the way around that I prefer: I’ve had to put a bullet in the head of my haunted house project.

It was a grim decision after six months’ work, but a rational one I think. Do you know the moment in the film Apollo 13 when the near-despairing ground-crew chief played by Ed Harris asks ‘What have we got on the space-craft that’s good?’ Well: after careful examination of the haunted house zero draft I concluded that there simply wasn’t enough there to justify what it would take to turn it into a functioning book I could be proud of.

I won’t lie to you: there has been some wailing and gnashing of teeth going on over here. As any long-term followers of this blog will know, this is not the first project I’ve had to abandon recently. I can see I’ve got into some bad mental habits about the way I’ve been going about longer-form stories. I’m reassessing my methods. More on this in a second.

Now the good news. Opinions are in about The Last Duel (my latest short story) from my agent and the person who is going to illustrate it. Both (to my delight!) were very positive. The next bit of sinister masterplan therefore looks something like this…

Line edits for my upcoming book for Barrington Stoke. It’s now been tested by young consultant readers, and their notes are about to arrive. This part of the process was my main reason for writing something for Barrington Stoke in the first place, so (though I hear it’s going to be intense!) I can’t wait. Bring it on. 😀

More short stories: Jethro, Family and now The Last Duel makes three. That’s a decent start towards a collection, but still only a start. ;D

A new novel. I’ve already begun drawing ideas together for a completely new long project – something epic, wild and properly awesome. But this will take time – possibly a long time (reminder: The Black Tattoo took me five years). Everyone will have to be ok with that – and in that ‘everyone,’ I include (since one of the aforementioned bad habits that I most need to break is impatience) me.

I’m feeling hopeful. I’ll keep you posted.


PS: The sweetly smiling green dude at the top of this post is the star of a new Portuguese short horror film called Blarghaaahrgarg. You can watch the whole thing at Twitch, here.

PPS: Here’s something I just posted to TBM about another manga, the wonderfully scurrilous Gantz, by Hiroya Oku.