Monday, 30 October 2017

The Sound of Horror

What does horror sound like? You can find out today on Brighton & Hove's Coastal Waters Review, hosted by Caroline Waters, with special guests Tom Johnstone and... me!

It's on at 4 pm. (That's UK time and our clocks just went back, so as far as I know, that means time has stopped entirely in the rest of the world.)

You can hear us live here:

Tom will read his story "The Apotheosis of Jenny Swallow" and he'll also be discussing the role of sound in horror. I'll be reading an extract from my radio-based horror story "Two Five Seven", about a little girl who hears a ghostly voice coming from her grandfather's old radio. Has she merely found a numbers station? Or is there something else at work behind those dials that look like staring eyes?

Friday, 6 October 2017

Fantasycon 2017 - Peterborough

Well, Fantasycon 2017 has come and gone. As always, it was great to see old friends and make new ones. And OMG, how much easier and less stressful it is not having to perform! LOL Don't get me wrong - it's an utter delight that so many people remember our crazy Teatro Proberto shows and ask us when the next one is, but they probably can't imagine just how much obsessive work goes into those things. We had some great ideas for 10-minute versions of HALLOWEEN, THE HOWLING and one we called EVERY GIALLO YOU'VE EVER SEEN, but if they ever happen, they may have to be shot on film.

But let's talk about books now!

I had an unofficial launch for Unquiet Waters, my "micro collection" of stories with a linking theme. (No points for guessing that theme, sorry.) Black Shuck Books is definitely a name to watch and Steve Shaw is doing a great job with Great British Horror too. I hope to have a story in volume 3.

We also launched Darker Companions, the eagerly awaited Ramsey Campbell tribute anthology, which contains my story "The Sixth Floor". Alas, we didn't get to take home our contributor copies, but I'll do the requisite book selfie once it lands!

I also got my contributor copy of Steve Jones's The Lovecraft Squad: Waiting. As with all these anthologies, I find myself in stellar company, and I hope you like my 1950s-set story "Arkham House on Haunted Hill" because I had a blast writing it. (Shout-out to my brother jesse, who helped me with the blokey car talk bit!) And is it just me or does the guy on the cover look a lot like Captain Picard in Dixon Hill mode?

It wasn't launched at FCon, but I recently got my contributor copy of Phantasm/Chimera: An Anthology of Strange and Troubling Dreams, so I thought I'd include it here. I'm super proud of this one, which contains my story "The Last of Liquid Sleep". The Ginger Nuts of Horror review by William Tea gave the book a great review and here's what he said about my story:

Thana Niveau’s “The Last of Liquid Sleep,” meanwhile, offers a more particular and personal perspective of gender oppression. A woman with no memory struggles to assert her own identity against the demands of a disembodied male voice hiding in her mind, eating away at her like a psychic parasite. Niveau plays to a variety of emotions here, blurring the line between magic-realism and science-fiction.

Baby Groot shows you where to start reading...

In Not-Me news, John launched his new collection, Made for the Dark, which he did a reading from (in his usual subtle, understated style). It's on YouTube if you want to check it out.

Until next time... I'm still writing and you'll see more from me soon!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The waters rise...

It's been a few years since my debut collection From Hell to Eternity. And I haven't been idle. I wrote a novel (coming soon) and tons of short stories, most of which are scattered throughout various anthologies. Others are out there in the wild, hopefully appearing soon. A second collection is also imminent.

But before either of those books comes this micro-collection from the Black Shuck "Shadows" series! This isn't a collection of previously published material, though - it's four original stories, all connected by water.


To Drown the World
The Reflection
Rapture of the Deep
Where the Water Comes In

Unquiet Waters is available now for only £5 from Black Shuck Books:

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Resistance is futile

I am the beginning. The end. The one who is many. I am the Borg.

"Don't be tempted by flesh."
At least I am in one parallel universe. And how deliciously ironic that it should be the lure of assimilation that should reacquaint me with something so organic and vital. Something I'd sadly forgotten: the pleasure of writing just for fun, for its own sake.

I was raised by Trekkies so I never stood a chance, really. My brother and I grew up with the original series and it was our geeky family tradition (once we had the entire series on VHS - oh, those were the days!) to take turns choosing an episode to watch during dinner. There was no prize for winning, but there was kind of a competition to see who could guess the episode first. Some of them ("Devil in the Dark" springs to mind) could be guessed from the opening shot.

There were conventions, costumes, memorabilia, gushy fangirl encounters and all the books, movies, games and fanzines. I still have the commemorative 3D chess set and the original phaser and communicator (out of the packages, of course - no WAY was I not going to play with those!), but alas, my uniforms are lost in the mists of time. As is the Bajoran earring I made and later sold on eBay.

"I always thought Starfleet had a lot to learn
from ME, Captain."

But hey, back to the writing.

I'm completely hooked on the Star Trek Timelines game, and I have my brother to thank for finding some like-minded people to form a fleet with. I've been roleplaying with them for nearly a year and together we've written a fairly epic saga. It's more than just RP or fanfic. It's like a living, breathing world and we treat it like a TV series we're all simultaneously writing, starring in and living as our characters. And those of you who know me know that my head can hold a lot of identities!

Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own.

It's been so much fun to collaborate with others (incredibly, something I've never really done before) and it's become my Chinese New Year resolution: to collaborate on a story with someone. John and I already have a quirky horror novel planned together, as well as a steampunk trilogy (oh yes, just you wait), but I want to write some horror (and/or SF) with my other writer friends also.

The RP continues to be a real joy and some of the things I've written in character are things that never would have come otherwise. I usually have so many projects on the go that the very idea of writing something just for fun would be unthinkable. Even (gasp) self-indulgent! But if you only focus on the "job" aspect of it, it can start to BECOME a job. And I confess that sometimes I've fallen a little out of love with the process.

Humans. Flawed. Weak. Organic. But we evolved to include the synthetic.

A whole SF story grew out of one little RP vignette I wrote and I've had ideas for many more. But that isn't the goal, and that's what makes all the difference. There's nothing at stake, you see. And that nagging voice in the back of my head, the one that tells me (and all writers) that I have no talent, that what I'm writing is crap, that no one will want to publish it, let alone read it, is silent when I'm just having fun. I can truly let go. It's made writing the stories I'm actually supposed to be writing so much easier and enjoyable.

My RP character is a Vulcan, but an unconventional one. She's a thrill-seeker who rejects the philosophy of logic and suppression of emotion. She's also a bit mad.

"Dif-tor heh smusma."
It's incredibly liberating to inhabit a headspace like hers and recently she's taken me somewhere I've always fantasised about going: she got assimilated by the Borg. For ages I've been wanting to write about the fusion of man (well, woman) with machine, but kept getting stuck. Now I know exactly how I want to do it.

Of course, I do have several horror projects on the go as well, but I'm finding it less of a struggle these days. I don't sit there staring at the blinking cursor for ages, paralysed because I can't think of the perfect word or phrase. Now I'm too eager to write the next thing to waste time torturing myself with my usual neurotic insecurities.

So for those of you who, like me, sometimes lose sight of why we do this mad thing, why we make stuff up and spend hours obsessing over every word and then spend more hours fretting about how we're frauds and no one will like what we wrote...

"One to beam up, Captain."

Cast your mind back to all the fanfic you've written, all the fantasies you ever put into words, all the people you pretended to be. You can't begin to imagine the life you're denying yourself if you don't.

Lower your shields and surrender. Resistance is futile. 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy 2017!

Wishing everyone a HOWLINGLY good 2017!

It's become a tradition. (3 times makes a tradition, right?) Every year John and I do a film tribute to end the year.

Last year we wished you a very HANNIBAL New Year...

And the year before that, we wished you a SHINING New Year.

So now here's hoping for a happy and healthy 2017!

All the best to you!

Friday, 2 December 2016

"The Curtain" rises in The Dark

I'm darkly delighted to be one of those crows on the cover of The Dark this month, edited by Sean Wallace. That's me under the letter R, soaring headlong into the unknown. Perhaps I'm heading for the ocean, to dive into the gloomy depths. Or maybe that's only in my story, "The Curtain", which is featured alongside stories by Steve Rasnic Tem, Cate Gardner and Priya Sharma.

"The Curtain" is possibly my favourite of all the stories I've ever written. It made its debut in my collection From Hell to Eternity and was later reprinted in Best New Horror 24 and Far Voyager (PS Postscripts 32/33). So it delights me no end that others like it too!

Now it's here for all to read in issue 19 of the glorious magazine The Dark.

So go on. Follow the sound of our fluttering wings. If you dare.

Monday, 24 October 2016

spiders, swans and somnambulists

It's almost Halloween. So what better time to experiment with makeup and costumes? Especially since the postman is bound to turn up just when you've finally perfected a look!

I did a few looks in the run-up to FrightFest but I didn't immortalise them here. I shall do that now.

"Awaken from your dark night..."
"I just want to be perfect."
"Satan! Come to us! We are ready!"
"And so he committed his first act of murder."

(Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Black Swan, Lords of Salem, Tenebrae)

I also made a little tribute to one of my favourite movies: