MØ32: Milly-Vanilly

 

Morning Øutput #32

Hi.

So today our podcast network hit 1 million downloads. Pretty sweet, eh? 

18 months after launching The Other Stories and here we are with a big number to show for it. I think it’s about time we celebrate. Here are some interesting stats:

  • Most downloads by city — Chicago US, London UK.
  • Most downloaded episode — 21.3 Psychomanteum
  • Our listeners also listen to — Alice Isn’t Dead

***

Man, I’d love a beer. But I can’t. Not yet. Not until the end of the month. It’s NaNoBoozeMo remember. Speaking of which.

NaNoBoozeMo Stats:

  • 34410 out of 50000 words written
  • 43750 out of 50000 metres ran
  • No booze.

ÎNPUT

WATCHED

Psycho - see above

The Ruins - After enjoying the book so much. Well, enjoyment might not be the right word, but it was definitely an experience. I thought I'd check out the film. And it's okay. Good, not great. The book is better, more visceral.

[REC] 2 - The first one holds a special place in my heart. I remember watching it with a few uni friends, drinking, smoking, the usual, and being absolutely terrified. This one was okay. I liked dipping back into the world but it got a little too video game for me in places.

Big Bad Wolves - Quentin's favourite film of 2013. A pitch-black comedy of horrific errors with a seriously nasty bite in the end.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective - Stone cold classic. I haven't seen this in years and I forgot how ludicrous Jim plays the character. There's one bit where he bites a guys hand like a dog that had me in stitches. Weird to see the transphobic twist, though. Felt a little out of time

LISTENED

Brace for the Turing - My NaNo Playlist

This Bon Iver live performance


That's all for this week, folks. Back to the office.

Until next time,

Luke & Family

 

MØ31: Why so stressed?

 
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Morning Øutput #31

Hi.

“Why? What is it that’s stressing you out?”

Dan asked me that the other day after I told him I was feeling overwhelmed. I was panicking about the piles of shit I had to get through that day —  all those words to write, all that running to do, a house to clean, washing up, a dog to walk, podcasts to record, some reading, eating, etc.

Well?” he said.

I quickly realised that yes, I did have a lot to do, but it was all my choice. I was the taskmaster, the drill-sergeant. The only person threatening to break my legs if I didn’t hit my deadlines was me. 

That ‘me’ dude needs to chill out a bit. 

Maybe after NaNo is done I’ll take a week off or something. Who knows?


NaNoBoozeMo Stats:

22974 out of 50000 words written

25750 out of 50000 metres ran

No booze. 


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ÎNPUT

WATCHED

They Live

Another John Carpenter film and another winner. 

Haute Tension/Switchblade Romance

After reading Intensity, I wanted to see what all the rip-off fuss was about. Basically, this film came out a few years after the book was published, not billed as an adaptation in any way. And wow... just wow... although the final act is significantly different, the first half of the film is beat-for-beat. Not just a same premise sorta deal, but more of a re-skinning of names and locations. The film was fun, but wow... tag the artist, man. Tag the artist!

The Burning

Making the most of my Shudder subscription. A pretty standard summer camp slasher film. Some nice makeup effects from Tom Savini, though.

READ

Intensity by Dean Koontz -

4.5 out of 5.

This is a solid novel. I wanted to give Koontz a go and this was a pretty great place to start. It's genuinely tense, thrilling, pretty brutal in places, had a heap of catharsis in the end with great characters. I could read about Edgler Vess for days and not get bored.

I would 100% recommend this book. I'd even say it's a 5-star book, but for me, personally, there were a few niggles here and there that didn't quite work for me. A matter of taste more than anything else. 
But yeah... I'm up for reading some more Koontz. I'm thinking maybe Watchers or Phantoms.

LISTENED

Brace for the Turing - My NaNo Playlist


Right I'm off. That bastard is beating at the door again, demanding words, always words.

Until next time,

Luke & Family

 

MØ30: NaNoBoozeMo is on!

Hi.

NaNoBoozeMo is in play.

We’re six days in and here are my stats:

  • 11510 out of 50000 words written
  • 12870 out of 50000 metres ran
  • No booze. 

I’ve been waking up at around 4:30am every single morning (3am on one day) and getting to work right away. There was a weird point on Saturday when I was done with everything, assumed how it must be getting late on in the day, better wind down, get ready for bed, and then saw that it was only 3pm. 3pm!? I still had a whole day left to do nothing but chill, watch films, read, play with the dog.

This getting up early thing.

It’s my jam.

Bits of Interest

- Cypher - A Dark Audio Sci-Fi Adventure is currently on Kickstarter. If you’re a fan of The Other Stories podcast, then go check it out. It’ll be right up your alley.

- Speaking of The Other Stories. This past week it was featured on the UK iTunes homepage and the downloads went off the charts. Over 100,000 downloads, number 1 in the Arts and Literature categories, and number 4 of all podcasts… everywhere! And there's bloody loads of them.

- I watched Brawl in Cell Block 99 the other day. After that and Bone Tomahawk, S. Craig Zahler is right up there amongst my favourite genre filmmakers working today. The grindhouse brutality and the genuine character work really hit the right note for me. It was the kind of film I was desperate for but didn't know until afterwards.

It got me thinking about a recent interview with John Carpenter where he said that if he were getting started today, he wouldn’t have made it. The idea being that there is no room for a pulpy genre director in today’s world. 

So then that got me pondering my favourite directors working today - Ben Wheatley, Edgar Wright, Mike Flanagan, Jordan Peele, Guillermo Del Toro, Charlie Brooker (he counts!), Denis Villeneuve, and the list went on for a good while, and then I got to thinking, wow… I love JC but he’s dead wrong. We’re living in a fucking golden age of genre filmmaking. There’s just a lot more of it and it’s a little more varied. I’m so utterly excited by what these filmmakers are going to be putting out next. Especially Zahler. Like I said, I really liked Brawl.

- I'm about to go in for an x-ray for two hernias. Seems now that I’m about to hit thirty, my body has decided to begin its shutdown process. I’m kinda hoping I’ll come out on the other side with superpowers. Will report back.

- Two friends with new horror short films - Liam Banks' It Followed Me Here and Edward Harvey's The Sitter.

- Ryan K. Lindsay's Spaceship Noir comic, Stain The Seas Scarlet is funding now and it looks great!


ÎNPUT

WATCHED

Society

My first time watching this insane gooey satirical horror about the rich 'shunting' the poor. Those last twenty minutes were all kinds of amazing.

The Fog

Speaking of JC. We'll be deep-diving on this one for Horror Hangout.

Brawl in Cell Block 99

See above.

READ

Whisperer in Darkness by H.P. Lovecraft -

It's weird, the more Lovecraft I read, the more I feel like I know how to read him.

ESSAYS

A Tale of Two Londons by Nicholas Shaxson

LISTENED

Brace for the Turing - My NaNo Playlist


So that's it for now. I've got words to write, distance to tread, and an x-ray-ted sesh with the doctor. Wish me luck.

Until next time,

Luke & Family

MØ29: Animal House

 
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Morning Øutput #29

Hi.

So much cool stuff is brewing right now it’s about ready to pop and all I can do is stay focused, do the work, and remind myself to smile.


The clocks shifted this weekend. The world around us shunted forth and we jettisoned an hour. Which meant Alaska was up at 4:30 am barking her head off, threatening to wet the bed. 

I got up, gave her a fuss, let her outside to do her business. She’s had a rough weekend, that one. In fact, both of our animals did. It felt like living in a Pixar film. 

- Alaska got beat up by a German Shepherd puppy at the park. It pinned her down in the mud until she yelped. We took her home, gave her a bath, tried to make her feel better about being bullied. I'm pretty sure that this is her inciting incident. Soon up there’ll be a training montage and the film will end with her realising she may not be as big, but she’s quicker and smarter than the big bad bully at the park.

- And then Oscar, the cat, fell out of the bathroom window. We found him clinging for dear life on the guttering outside the house. The poor thing was terrified. I had to climb out the window, peel him away from the gutter, and help him back inside. I figure his character flaw is about how much of a scaredy-cat he is when it comes to the outdoors. Which means his character arc will most likely involve him getting lost out in the city, and will have him finding his way home, making alley-cat friends on the way, learning that the outside isn't so scary after all.

The stories are around us… all the time.

But truth be told, rescuing your animals only makes you care for them all the more. I love our family unit. It’s one of the things that really makes me feel whole.


Bits of Interest

  • I wrote an essay! All about what I’ve learned five years into my writing career. It’s called Tales From My First Five Years In The Womb. It’s only available to my 10-dollar patrons, so if you’re interested, get to the pledging
  • CYPHER - H&C’s latest audio drama will be live on Kickstarter very soon. The sound production on this is next level. 
  • I'm 18,000 words into my novella and I’m realising it might actually turn out to be a small novel. Maybe 40,000 words. We’ll see. Also, the working title has changed. Now I’m thinking of something like Brace For The Turing. Hmmmn. Not too sure actually. What do you think?
  • We interviewed post-apoc and fantasy author, Jon Cronshaw over on The Story Studio podcast and it was super fun. I was sincerely impressed by his Ray Bradbury challenge. Read one poem, one essay, and one short story every day for a thousand days. He’s on day 430.

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ÎNPUT

READ

Pet Sematary - 

4.5 outta 5.

It would've been a five if I didn't know the story so well from the film. I think it was maybe one of the first horror movies I watched as a kid so I knew what was coming.

Although... the ending still got me. In fact, that whole final part with Oz the Gweat and Tewwible was lovely and dark.

SHORT STORIES
eyes I dare not meet in dreams by Sunny Moraine

ESSAYS
Attitude' by Margaret Atwood

WATCHED

Stranger Things Season 2 -

Holy crap... how good is this show!? Only halfway through so far. I think I'm most impressed by how they've managed to capture that eighties vibe with it feeling authentic and in no way pastiche. 


NaNoBoozeMo begins on Wednesday. I'm nervous, excited, unsure if it's even possible. I'm gonna get myself prepped and ready so...

Until next time,

Luke & Family.

 

 

 

MØ28: 'What is Life?' & Other Interactive Media Nightmares

 
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MORNING ØUTPUT #28

Hi.

Another quick one this week. It seems like all the busy stuff is happening today, right now, so I just gotta crack on.

How are you? 

Here are some interesting bits:

  • 12,000 words into my new novella and it’s going well. The more I work on it, the more I realise that it's the thematic cousin of Keith —  AI, what is life, interactive multimedia nightmares, etc. Also, 1000 words a day is achievable. No matter how busy you are. You can always find a bit of time to crank out 1000 words. 
  • NaNoBoozeMo is happening — write 50,000 words, run 50,000 metres, no booze, Nov 1st-30th. Come join me!
  • We had a massive leak in the house on the weekend. The kind of leak that warrants a landlord visit. Which of course means the house is now super clean because you can’t have a landlord visit without cleaning up like you just murdered a man in the bathroom. So anyway, we got to talking and the landlord said he’d be open to us buying the house off of him sometime in the future. Interesting. Owning property is definitely something I’d like to do at some point but it always seemed like some impossible mountain. One for the future.
  • N.S. Paul is running a pretty awesome looking KS for his comic, Resurrection Men. Absolutely love his art style.
  • "...fiction writers should abandon technically correct writing and experiment in the same way painters were forced to experiment in order to keep their medium relevant.” More wisdom nuggets on this article by CHUCK PALAHNIUK.
  • Stick some headphones on and listen to this. Do it! It’s this amazing demo of a haircut recorded binaurally. It’s all kinds of amazing. I’d LOVE to do an episode of The Other Stories using this technique.
  • Did you hear my latest episode of The Other Stories? It's called Ocean Eyes and it's fucking great. 

ÎNPUT

READ

Uzumaki by Junji Ito - 

I mean this book is amazing. 

The idea of a town becoming infected with the idea of spirals is incredible in itself, but the stories Ito pulls out of that one idea is downright genius. 

I'm so incredibly impressed by the way he can draw these absurd body horror ideas and translate them to the page so easily. The snail transformation, the knotted bodies in the row houses, the scar that sucks in the eye. It's so, so good

WATCHED

Suspiria - See Horror Hangout.

Eyes Without A Face - See Horror Hangout (on Wednesday anyway)

1922 - Incredibly bleak, played very straight, a little slow, and Thomas Jane's accent was good but sounded like he was chewing on condoms a little bit. I could almost hear the spitty plastic squeaking between his molars. BUT... not to take away from his performance, because it really was quite good.


So I'm gonna down this soy-filter coffee, prep some talking points for tonight's podcast recording, and get my 1000 words in.

So...

Until next time,

Luke & Family.

 

MØ27: NaNoBoozeMo & Nottingham Comic-Con 2017

 
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MORNING ØUTPUT #27

Hi.

Just a quick one. If you like this newsletter, then why not pop over to my Patreon page and support me and my stuff from as little as a quid a month. You’ll get exclusive short stories, behind-the-scenes access, and an essay or two on the craft of storytelling.

But anyway…

This week has been terribly busy, all kinds of fun, and I ate a burger...

Let me tell you about it.


NOTTINGHAM COMIC CON 2017

How lovely it was to be back in my home city of Nottingham. It only took six hours of bus rides with two crammed rucksacks and one wheelie suitcase so full of books it was practically bubbling to get there, but it was lovely all the same.

As I wheeled along through the city, taking in the Tudor architecture,  sniffing up the nighttime air, I felt like a proper travelling salesman. I almost wanted to open my case, shout “Step right up, step right up”, and start promising how our books will give you vitality, a full head of hair, and a rush of blood to the penis, but decided against it.

The con was at the Nottingham Convention Centre, just around from Rock City. We set ourselves up, marvelled at all the stuff we’ve made this past year, and then went on to talk and sell and talk for the next 7 hours. 

I also got the camera out and got a little snap-happy. I put a few pictures here.

There were tons of other small press companies making and selling some really incredible comics. It’s really awesome to see how creatively vibrant the UK is right now. Can't wait to do a few more cons in the future.

Afterwards, we found a Wetherspoons, ate burgers, drank beer, and debriefed. And then at 7pm I caught my bus back home. 8 hours later (yes 8 hours!) and I was finally getting into bed. A long day but definitely worth it.


WRITING

I’ve started work on a new novella I’m hoping to get out for Christmas. I’m writing it quite slowly. Only 1000 words a day. But I’m really focussing on making the prose as mature as I can get it. I’ve got a few ideas for the name but for now let’s call it Mr Errata.

I’m also starting to plan out my NaNoWriMo. I’ve done it twice now and really enjoyed it both times but to keep things interesting I’m looking to switch it up.

So here’s what I’m thinking:

NaNoBoozeMo.

  • Write 50,000 words.
  • Run 50,000 metres.
  • No booze.
  • Nov 1st - Nov 30th.

What do you reckon? You wanna get involved?


BITS OF INTEREST 

  • The Rose Weapon by F.C.Shultz is out now! Been looking forward to this and will snatch it up on payday. 
  • Harry Sherriff's new web-series, Early Days, is an absolute treat. A lovely dry English comedy filmed in and around the city of Manchester. 

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ÎNPUT

READ

The Ruins by Scott Smith - 

Don't come to this book for safety. You'll find no comfort here.
Tautly written in a way that just keeps pulling you through. A survival horror full of characters making bad decisions, but in my opinion in a somewhat believable way. It's a gruesome book both physically and psychologically and ends with a wicked little burn. One of my favourite books I've read this year so far.

WATCHED

The Omen - See Horror Hangout.

Cold in July -

Based on a Lansdale novel starring Michael Hall, Sam Shepherd, and some other guy who was absolutely great. A really amazing thriller that seems to have gone under the radar.


Okay so the dog is howling at me which means I need to put my life on hold and take her out for a walk. That's how it goes when you got a dog, I suppose.

So have a good week. 

Until next time,

Luke & Family.

 

MØ26: Finishing Strong & A Big Yella Beast

 
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MORNING ØUTPUT #26

Hi.

We’re coming to the end now. The final stretch of the year. What do you want to do? What boxes do you need to tick? I got an email asking if I was planning to "finish strong in 2017" and I thought about it and said, "yes, I would definitely like that."

So I’ve been looking over my plans and goals and that and have readjusted, realigned, and I think… think… I know what I’m doing. Which is what everyone says before they drive off a cliff.

“I think I know what I’m doing.”

"No you don’t", replies the world in Conor McGregor’s thick Irish accent. "No you fooken don’t!”

But none of that matters anyway. All of those goals are just compass points. The important thing is taking a few small steps, every single day.


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  • This week has been great. I booked the time off work and have been doing nothing but writing, walking the dog, reading, watching great TV and films, working on Keith, and napping. I’m going to miss my midday nap. 
  • I saw maybe the most beautiful sunrise I've ever seen in my life. I was out with Alaska and this perfect golden beast peeped out over the Pennines.
  • I also got a chance to nip down to London for a quick film meeting with a director whose work I really admire. I floated around the city, sucked up some inspiration from the Thames, drank coffee, went to the UK’s oldest bookshop (over 200 years old). 
  • I ran my second ever 10k… and it was great. I beat my last time by 18 minutes. It was difficult, sure, but I popped on a little Frank Turner and he helped me to finish (easy now).
  • We are going to be at Nottingham Comic-Con this Saturday! Details!
  • I wrote my best short story of the year. When you know it, you know it. It's called The Old Fool of Tudor Close. I'll put it up on the site soon.
  • New essays section on my site: How I Made an Award-Winning Film with No Money, No Ideas, and No Camera. Think I'll start adding more of this kind of thing to the site. Depending if people actually get much out of it.
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ÎNPUT

READ

Bubba Ho-Tep by Joe R. Lansdale

After watching the movie and seeing the novella going for 99p I couldn't say no.

The movie was good. The story is better.

WATCHED

Hellraiser 2: Hellbound -

We watched this for Clive's birthday and I gotta say... this film doesn't hold up as well as I'd hoped. Starts out creepy enough but then quickly devolves into an absolute mess. Still fun, though.


The Omen -

Watched this on the bus ride back from London and loved it. That music can make anything terrifying. 

Inside No. 9 Seasons 1 & 2 -

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton's anthology TV show. How had I not watched this sooner? It's absolutely fucking great. There was one episode that was so moving I had to take a few moments afterwards to think and kiss my fiancée and tell her I love her.

***

That's all I got for this week. Remember to take a few moments every now and again. Remember to breathe.

Until next time,

Luke & Family.

 

MØ25: End of Term

 
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MORNING ØUTPUT #25

 

Hi.

This won't be a standard issue of MØ.

We're now at the end of the quarter and I'm supposed to be taking a few days off to refresh. Also, it's Cat's birthday so I really shouldn't be doing anything other than making her cups of tea and twizzling my fluffy nipple tassels (a once-a-year outfit, I swear). 

So just to keep it short and sweet, here's a list of the week that was:

  • We just spent a fair bit of money on H&C stock for the upcoming conventions. Next one on the list is the Nottingham Comic Con on the 14th October. Want to come?
  • Finances are really tight in our household. I'll be honest. It can get a little stressful. I was actually looking at whether or not I need to get a weekend job (on top of my full-time job, writing, etc), but thanks to my supporters over at Patreon, we're just about making it work. 
  • KEITH - I've been working on the opening title sequence and it's really coming along. I've been putting a few sneak peeks on my Instagram story. I'm kinda in love with making this film right now.
  • Two more short stories down this week. One because I couldn't not write it and another purpose-built for an anthology submission.
  • Also nailed a 5-mile run.
  • Been exploring the countryside with Alaska. Definitely didn't slip and fall arse-over-nip into a big puddle of mud. Definitely didn't happen at all.
  • We spoke to horror author, Kealan Patrick Burke, over on The Story Studio podcast.

înput

READ

By Bizarre Hands by Joe R. Lansdale - 

Incredibly varied and amazingly brutal.

A great showcase for Joe's expansive story-pallette and full of horrific, weird, sweet, satirical, subversive, eye-popping, dog-fighting, zombie-battering, ... the list goes on.

Although some of the stories didn't quite vibe with me, the ones that did, did so in a BIG way.

WATCHED

Gerald's Game -

Pretty much nails the book. For better or worse. We're doing a HH on this soon.

Bubba Ho-Tep -

Bruce Campbell really kills it as a washed up, impotent, crippled Elvis Presley. The entire premise of this film is absolutely bonkers in the best way.

I have to admit to chortling. A couple of guffaws too. When Elvis and a black JFK (yeah they bleached his skin) were reading the toilet cubicle hieroglyphics, I giggled like a little goon.

The Good Place - 

Cat popped this on the other day and said, "I think you'll like it."

We'll see about that, I thought with all the faith of a toilet-stain. We'll just see about tha-

Cut to five minutes later and I'm laughing at Ted Danson like a little fool. A few more hours and we're already halfway through the season and I think it's one of the most refreshingly unique shows I've seen in a while. Good junk-food fun. 


So that's it for this week. I think I hear Cat beckoning for more tea.

"Dance, nipple-boy, dance!"

Yep. That's my queue.

With all the craziness happening in the world right now, remember to smile and look after the ones your care ab-

"I said dance!"

Okay gotta go, until next time,

Luke & Family.