Sunday, 19 May 2019

The Woods

Firstly, for anyone who passes by this blog from time to time, apologies as I have been neglectful in my duties and have left the weeds to grow. This has mainly been due to life with a major family illness and a lot of change in my day job. However, I have been busy writing in the background when the time allows and also a bit of editing.

Peter Mark May of Hersham Horror Books was kind enough to ask me to be editor for the latest in his fantastic PentAnth series. The connecting theme is five writers coming together on a single themed anthology (hence the Pent and Anth). Peter asked me to wrangle writers together on the subject of The Woods. Fantastic! I love the woods in general, spending lots of my free time either with family or on my own walking in the woods and exploring nature, so this was a perfect theme for me.

I am delighted to say that I was able to find some fine, fine writers to be part of this anthology alongside my good self (the editor always puts in a story in the PentAnth series). I was delighted when Cate Gardner, James Everington, Mark West and Penny Jones all said yes to being involved. They have crafted some fantastic pieces and I expect to hear their several if not all of their names mentioned when we come round to awards time next year.

Mark, as well as providing a story, also worked with Peter to provide a fantastic cover for the book which I present to you below:

The Woods launches at EdgeLit on 13 July in Derby and will also be available from the usual online places. I hope you grab and copy and enjoy the stories therein.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

The reviews are coming in.....and they're great!

It's been about a month since Broken on the Inside, my micro-collection from Black Shuck Books, was released. There's always a nervous feeling when you launch a new book, your baby out there in the world. Will people like it? Will they hate it? Will they even read it?

With Broken on the Inside I lined up a number of reviews with different sites in the genre and I've opened each review as they've been published with excitement and trepidation. I needn't have been apprehensive. Suffice to say I have been blown away with the love being shown. And thank you to all the reviewers for taking the time to read Broken on the Inside and give their thoughts. Here's a few links to show what people have been saying:

Jim McLeod, Ginger Nuts of Horror: "Broken on the Inside, is a magnificent collection of stories. Writing about mental health issues is never easy, it can result in some clumsy, heavy-handed writing that does nothing to address the issues that the writer is trying to address, but to attempt this within a genre story, that demands the inclusion of certain aspects and themes makes this task even more daunting. Sloman has more than risen to the challenge, all of the five stories transcend the trappings of the genre to deliver a set of intelligent, heartfelt, and haunting incursions into the broken minds that so many of us suffer from. If this book doesn't win awards this year then there is something seriously wrong with the world."

Gavin Kendall, Kendall Reviews: "Phil Sloman is unquestionably a talent, someone I definitely want to read more of. Sloman has a writing style that leaps off the page and offers near perfect characterisation, Broken on the Inside is a superb collection. Five excellent shorts that evoke all sorts of emotions. For a book with such dark, and serious, subject matter it’s not a heavy read in the slightest."

Chris Hall, DLS Reviews: "It’s savage and cold and utterly unforgiving.  But then that’s what Sloman does best.  He might be a happy smiling fella on the outside, but in his stories he’s slicing and dicing the souls of his characters until there’s nothing left but broken shells and insanity."

Anthony Watson, Dark Musings: "It’s a strong ending to a very strong collection. Along with the clever ideas already mentioned there’s a great deal of intelligence in the writing. Ideas are great but it takes skill to craft them into stories that are as enjoyable to read as these five are. This skill, along with a keen eye for the minutiae of human behaviour in all its dark reality mark Phil out as a writer to watch for in the future."

Yvonne Davies, Terror Tree: "Each story was completely different and whilst there were not monsters and demons in this book, it shows how frightening human nature and conditions can be. Each story built up to unexpected endings. I love this author’s short stories and I hope there are more to come. If you have not read any of this authors work before than this is a great collection to get you started."

Charlene Cocrane, Char's Horror Corner: "These stories were all heavy hitters and combined, make up this powerful narrative as a whole. I enjoyed it as entertaining storytelling on one level, but it also caused me to think deeply about life as we know it and how we go about living that life. Every single person in this book had problems-addictions and obsessions. They were broken on the inside. This led me to thinking about the people I know and even myself. Aren't we all BROKEN ON THE INSIDE in one way or another? Highly recommended for fans of extremely well written dark fiction!"

Daniel I Russell, Horror Writer: "In summary, goddamn this Phil Sloman and his book. It's a perfect example of how strong the horror game can be, particularly on reaching levels of characterisation other authors may require chapters to reach. Goddamn him."

Broken on the Inside can be bought here.


Sunday, 13 May 2018

A trio of announcements

As usual, have been a bit quiet on here. Perhaps one day I will get good at this blogging lark! Anyway, it is with good reason as I have been busy on the writing front and with something to show for it. Over the next two months I have three writing related ventures out in the wider world.

To start with I have my first solo collection out with Black Shuck Books. Steve Shaw approached me at FantasyCon 2017 to ask what my plans were for the next year and offer me a deal to pull together a mini-collection. Naturally I jumped at the chance. Steve has been doing some great work and building a respected name under the banner of Black Shuck Books. My collection, Broken on the Inside, will be the sixth in the Shadow Series which has featured such names as Paul Kane, Joseph D'Lacey and Thana Niveau among others. What a line up to be alongside!

Broken on the Inside features previously published stories Discomfort Food, The Man who fed the Foxes, There was an Old Man and Virtually Famous alongside a story penned specifically for this collection, the titular Broken on the Inside. And Steve himself produced the cover art based on a concept I gave him which he ran with and then some! I hope folks notice the gradually expanding fracture in the dolls which Steve went above and beyond to sort out. It is released on 4 June and pre-orders are available

Next up is my short story Dust which appears in Holding on by our Fingertips from Grimbold Books and featuring some brilliant writers at the top of their game. I was approached by Amanda Rutter to submit a story with no promise of acceptance. The premise was those early days when the end of the world is imminent. Fortunately Amanda liked what I came up with and there is a launch on 8 June at Waterstones, Oxford alongside two other superb books from Grimbold.

Dust tells the tale of a couple in their retirement, holed away in the remoteness of the countryside. How does someone tell someone the world is coming to an end when they have dementia? Does it matter or do you struggle on and pretend everything is normal? A sad tale as the world lurches towards its end game.

And finally a book a long time in the making yet well worth the wait. In Dog We Trust launches on 14 July at EdgeLit in Derby. The brainchild of Anthony Cowin, In Dog We Trust brings us a collection of tales from some amazing writers about our four legged friends and the horrors which exist in the world. All proceeds go to the Birmingham Dog's Home.

My story A Dog is for Death is a grim tale exploring the world of dog fights and dishes out revenge to the vile scum who run this racket. Another offering from Black Shuck Books.

 So there you go. Three books for you to get your hands on with some cracking tales therein. I hope that you enjoy them if you're kind enough to pick up a copy or two.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Onwards into the unknown!

Onwards into the unknown! Okay, that was a mildly more exciting title than it needed to be but I've had a multitude of food, booze and cheer and so it was the best I could do in these trying circumstances. What I wanted to say was 'here is what I am up to in 2018' but it's less snappy and filled with wonder and unknownness.

2018 is one of those years where I'll look quite busy (and I invariably will be) but a lot of the initial legwork has been done in 2017.

Plans for writing work to come out are:

La Vacation - this is a novella length French folk horror story as part of a small anthology being edited by Dean M Drinkel who has published a number of my stories previously. It follows Frank and Elizabeth, a middle-aged English couple, as they take a trip to France the latter half of the last century. Think Hammer horror with a touch of Gallic flare. My first dip into folk horror so will be interesting to see what people think.

I've about three charity anthologies which I have contributed stories to (one story still to be written). The causes will go to help people with autism (Child Autism UK), homeless people (Shelter) and a dog's charity (charity being finalised). Will plug properly as they become available.

On top of that I have four other short stories which have been accepted in to anthologies with themes ranging from monsters, ice cream trucks, the end of the world and industrial horror. There are also a couple of open submissions I might chance my arm at.

I am also really excited to have my own mini-collection coming out with three or four re-prints and a new short story which I shall be penning next month.

And final current work in progress is a novella I have embarked on off my own back entitled Stanley Sebastian Solomon. It's a dark psychological tale about a lad on probation housed up in a halfway house and the residents he lives with. I'm about halfway through and this one feels quite angry as I am writing it (I think a reflection of a personally dark 2017 I have had where my head has been an interesting, if not pleasant, place to be) and hopefully offers something a little different to other works out there. Currently considering whether to experiment with self-publishing or pitching it to established publishers.

Then the real push for 2018 is to put a novel together (isn't that what most writers say at this point?). I have the plot in my head and it feels like something both commercial as well as something I want to write. Sitting in the psychological market I hope I can ride on this year's BFS Best Newcomer nomination but we'll see. The first thing is to get the words down on paper otherwise wishes and dreams count for nothing!

Looking forward to an exciting 2018 and also to reading the vast quantity of books from others coming out this year. I'm am in awe of so many other writers out there at the moment and the quality they are producing month after month. We truly are in a golden age of horror.

Love, hugs and kisses and an amazing 2018 for all of you!

Phil x

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Imposter Syndrome

Next weekend sees me at SledgeLit where I shall be doing a reading from a great anthology I am in entitled Imposter Syndrome published by Dark Minds Press and edited by James Everington and Dan Howarth.

Here's the blurb:

What if you thought your family had been replaced by identical copies? 

What if you could no longer trust the faces of people you met? 
What if you saw someone who looked exactly like you? 

Dark Minds Press brings you an anthology of doppelgängers, clones, changelings, Capgras-delusion and pod-people, featuring stories from some of the best writers of horror and speculative fiction around. 

And the line up of authors is amazing! Just check out the TOC below:

James Everington & Dan Howarth

Gary McMahon

Laura Mauro

Timothy J Jarvis

Holly Ice

Neil Williamson

Stephen Bacon

Ralph Robert Moore

Tracy Fahey

Georgina Bruce

Phil Sloman