MØ45: A bloody party

 
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Morning Øutput #45

Alrate!

Wow, what a weekend. My fiancée planned a surprise party for my 30th. I wasn’t supposed to know about it, but did, so I printed off a surprised face in preparation. 

I don’t know how much I drank that night and I don’t even remember going to bed. But there was definitely a lot of alcohol consumed. I also half-remember drunkenly trying to slice limes with one of our sharpest meat carving knives and failing pretty spectacularly. I woke up with my fingers covered in tiny cuts. And I must’ve been using my phone whilst bleeding because the thing was covered in dried blood, especially around the home button. I wonder how much got inside? I’m half-expecting Frank Cotton from Hellraiser to start growing out of my phone, demanding me to kill people for him. 

“Hi Apple, I need to get my phone replaced. Yeah, there’s a skinless guy from Liverpool growing inside. What do you mean that's not covered under the warranty!?”

All in all, it was a good weekend, minus the ritual bloodletting. Now back to the work at hand.

****

THE WORK I DONE THIS WEEK

I finished my short story for The Other Stories this week. A story about a contortionist called, The Amazing Kieslowski. I think it turned out pretty good in the end. Not my best but… pretty good. Sometimes you just gotta try something a little different. Short stories are perfect for a little experimentation.

The big win for the week was finishing my draft of KEITH. I decided to get it done before the week ended and ploughed on through a mammoth editing session on Friday. Once done, I printed it all out, just so I could hold it. 105 pages of pure Keith.

Already I know some bits I want to cut out, but I have a good enough working document to send to some people who are going to be working on the film with me. It feels good to get such a big part of the filmmaking process done and out the way.

**

ÎNPUT

WATCHED

Big Trouble in Little China: There's a point in this, maybe ten minutes in, when the lightning dudes show up, where you have to say... "I don't know what the hell is going on!? ... and that's okay."

The Ritual: This got a limited theatrical run in the UK but they tried to market it as another Brit Horror Comedy like Shaun of the Dead or Attack the Block. The trailer made it look bad. Real bad. But the film ISN'T that. It's a really solid, well executed, folk horror film. 

Deep Blue Sea: We watched this last night in prep for Horror Hangout and I think I'm still processing.

*

Right, bit of a short one this week but I feel like I need to go grab a bottle of Lucozade and replenish my electrolytes. 

Until next time,

Luke & Family

 

MØ44: I'm thirty today!

 
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Morning Øutput #44

Hi.

Today I turn thirty years old. I finally got hit by the big three-oh. Which, weirdly was the name of the horror novel I wrote last year. I think my subconscious was telling me something.

How old do you feel?

That’s a question people ask sometimes. Me? I feel about thirty. 

Remember… age isn’t everything.

I know it’s not, but it’s a pretty good measure of how many years I’ve been alive. I feel thirty… and that’s okay.

Although I did I clean my room yesterday. Not only that but I gave it a good deep clean. I whipped the mattress off and everything, hoovered all the nitty-gritty bits. That’s not something the 29-year-old Luke would’ve done on a Sunday afternoon so maybe I am different. Maybe I’m a man now.

I remember when time didn’t mean anything. The first few years of my life seem like soup to me now, but I do remember the exact point at which time started to mean something. 

It was the first day back at school in 1995. My second year of primary school. Back then we used to write the date at the top right-hand corner of every page of our exercise books. I remember this exact moment because I wrote 1994 by accident. It was the first time in my life that I realised that time was finite and that the years were going to keep going now. There would be a 1996, a 1997, maybe even 1998. It was the first time in my life I felt the gears grinding as they shifted. It was my first existential jolt. I was seven.

Here’s what my seven-year-old self would ask my thirty-year-old self.

7 - Why are you like this?

30 - Why am I like what?

7 - Why are you not an action hero?

30 - Well there’s not really a market for action hereos, you know… there was a recession-

7 - And where’s your hair!?

30 - Wow, that’s to the point. Well, let me explain something called male pattern baldne-

7 - You have money, right? You have like… billions of pounds. 

30 -  Err... not exactly. 

7 - So… what’s good about you then? What's the point of you?

30 - Simon Pegg once gave me a Jaffa Cake.

7 - Yeah. Cakes are good I suppose. But who the fuck is Simon Pegg!?

Okay maybe the seven-year-old Luke wouldn’t swear. But he had aspirations, I’ll give him that.

****

THE WORK I DONE THIS WEEK

I finished the new draft of KEITH and it’s pretty good. I’ve got a list of bits I want to go over and fix but it’s so much better than that piece of crap I wrote two years ago. A lot more focused, a clearer character arc, some genuinely shocking moments. At least I think so.

I also just finished a short story for the Theme Parks theme of TOS. It’s a little crime story about a contortionist called The Amazing Kieslowski. Named after but not about one of my favourite film directors.

The advance copies of Take The Corvus are DONE and DUSTED. They are currently available exclusively for my patrons. Dan asked me what my goals are for that book and I said, “Well definitely not to make bank.”

I wanted to put together a book that underlines these last five years of my writing. Something of a portfolio piece, I guess. But a portfolio piece I’m happy to shove into people’s faces and say - “This here is me, fucker!”

In other news, They Rot went on a freebie giveaway over the weekend and hit number one of all free Post-Apoc books on Amazon.com. Considering there’s like a gazillion books on there, I think that’s pretty cool. Oh yeah, and The Other Stories is up for Best Fiction Podcast over at ThisIsHorror.co.uk. Go check it out and give us a vote.

***

Birthday Presents

If you did want to support me and my work, or maybe give me a little birthday gift, here are some ways to do that.

  1. Become a patron over at Patreon.com/Lukeofkondor
  2. Buy a book
  3. Subscribe to one of our podcasts
  4. Leave a review for a podcast or a book.
  5. Or just drop me a message and say hello. 

**

ÎNPUT

WATCHED

The Cloverfield Paradox: It was okay. My friend, John Lees, put it best in his review - "A perfectly fine mid-tier exercise in sci-fi suspense."

Role Models: Remember when before Paul Rudd was amazing? No. Me neither. I've been in love with that guy since he showed up in Friends as Mike. My fiancée says I have a man-crush. It's not a crush if it lasts forever.

Sinister: Apart from the jump scare fodder, there's something really effective about Sinister and it's better on second viewing. Those little snuff films creep me the hell out. That lawnmower, guys, that fucking lawnmower.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Good but a little janky in places. I still think McDonagh's got a fantastic track record and I can't wait to see what's next.

The Cabin in the Woods:  One for Horror Hangout. An absolute blast. A pitch perfect meta-horror comedy.

READ

Mountain Home by Bracken MacLeod:  Absolutely solid little novel. It actually sits right at the 4 1/2 mark for me. The story bounds along and has some really lovely touches. The idea of the Kreewatan was fantastic. Joanie's little flashback was heartbreaking. Oh, and the author has a very cool name. Which is most of what I look for in a novel.

LISTENED

This wonderful collection of music from the recently deceased Jóhan Jóhannsson.

*

Okay I'm currently in the middle of my birthday and I'm supposed to be chilling so I'll leave it here.

Until next time,

Luke & Family

 

MØ43: The Internet of Keith & The Whole Micro-Budget Film Thing

 
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Morning Øutput #43

When you and your dog gotta drink that coffee and get to work.

Hi.

The end is in sight!

I’m currently hovering around page 75 of the new KEITH screenplay and it feels good to be so close. This would bring me to Draft 1.0. A much cleaner, stronger draft than that zero draft I rushed out in a week (almost two years ago!). Of course, this isn’t really the end. The screenplay is only the beginning. It’s just the blueprint. I have to make the film next. 

Death, after all, is only the beginning.

My friend, Matt Clarke, and I have been jumping on the phone a lot (our phones are insured for jump damage) and chatting about micro-budget filmmaking. Matt’s going to be travelling down a similar path to me real soon so we’ve been talking about how it’s more possible than ever to make micro-budget feature films. I don't understand why there aren't more people doing it.

El Mariachi was made with $7000 but most of that money went to the film stock, developing, etc. Steven Soderbergh has just released the trailer for his new film UnSane. He shot that thing with an iPhone! 

It's so easy now to make a film...

Well...

But even with these film studios in our pockets, it doesn’t account for the time, the storytelling, the editing, the working with actors, the selling people on your idea, the getting-people-to-watch-the damn-thing thing. Perhaps it’s easy enough to make a film, but it’s just as difficult to make a fucking great film.

Which is what it’s all about for me. All of us have our pencils and papers now. But we still gotta take the time to learn how to draw.

******

Speaking of drawing.

I’m no artist. Believe me. But a friend of mine challenged me to make a comic. Nothing spectacular. Just something small. Something I can piece together and print out. Maybe give away at a con. So I spent a couple of hours this week doing just that. 

I came up with this:

 
 

Like I said, I can’t draw, but it’s a great little experiment and something I’d like to do every now and again for fun. 

*****

The Work I Done This Week

I got the final edits back for Take The Corvus. My editor also sent along a note that read: "I'd certainly think about producing some more essays on the subject of writing and putting together a short book of those. Lots of demand for advice and encouragement from self-doubting self-publishing authors out there! You're very inspiring and your upbeat style is a delight.”

Well, we’ll see about that. One for 2019 maybe.

Next step is to compile this bad boy and start sending it out to beta readers and patrons. I’ve also asked a friend/hero/comrade to write a foreword for me. He’s recently launched something that’s having some crazy success so we’ll just have to wait and see if he has time to put something together.

But the majority of this week has been spent working on the screenplay. I had a moment of ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’ so I spent a little while going over my outline, getting back into the story, getting back into the emotional beats, and now I know where I am.

****

One Second Every Day JANUARY

A good friend, FC Shultz (check out his stuff, sign up to his newsletter!) recommended I try an app that records and compiles one second of video every day. I did. Here is my January.

 
 

***

Do you like my stuff? Then consider heading over to Patreon.com/Lukeofkondor and help me make my micro-budget film, KEITH. I will love you for it. KEITH will too.

**

ÎNPUT

WATCHED

Maniac Cop: It does what it says on the tin. It's a cop who's a maniac. Fun little slasher with Bruce Campbell.

Fright Night: The original. I sat down to watch this with Cat, half expecting her to groan all the way through. Well, she watched it all, said she loved it. I'll have to dig out number 2. A pretty solid example of great 80's horror. Campy, synthy, with great gore effects.

The Raid: Hey they ripped off Dredd! I'm joking of course. Both these films came out a similar time and they both deserve love. Korean martial arts brutal craziness.

Super Dark Times: This was an absolute treat. Dark, moody, set in the 90's. Kids go into the woods to play with a samurai sword. Things go wrong. I don't want to say anymore but go watch it. It's out on Netflix now and nobody's talking about it.

The Good Place Season 2: A great end to another great season. Full of heart and super sharp wit. Some of the best TV I've seen in a long while.

READ

We3: My second reading. Sparse. Beautiful. Moving. Perfect.

Rebel Without A Crew:  I think this is maybe the fourth time I've read this book. The first time I read it I went out and made a short film two weeks later. It's still arguably the most successful thing I've ever done. Now I'm re-reading it, getting all inspired again, ready to go in and make a new film. 

This book inspires like no other. Go read it. Then go make some cool stuff.

ESSAYS

LISTENED

*

Wow, this one came out a little longer than I intended.

I'm gonna go nail this script! What are you gonna do this week?

Until next time,

Luke & Family

 

MØ42: build like a motherfucker

Morning Øutput #42

Hi.

Ooh-boy am I feeling better this week. If you read last week’s MØ then you’ll know I was on a bit of a downswing. I can’t tell you what caused it but I was feeling pretty stuck. 

And this week?

I feel fucking great. 

I watched all three of these Eddie Izzard documentaries on Youtube. They detailed how he decided to run 43 marathons in 51 days, without any prior running experience, and with only five weeks to train.

What the...!? 

I strongly, strongly advise you to go and watch the first episode HERE

I watched all three and figured if a 47-year-old man can run over 1000 miles on pretty much his mindset alone, I can get myself out this weird little funk. 

So I made some coffee, took a few deep breaths, and got to work. I’m now 40 pages into the new draft of KEITH and I’m getting super jazzed to start filming. I ran a new 6.5miles route and got a new PB. I read some great books, watched some great movies, and I gave the house a damn good clean. You’d be surprised how much better you can feel after a thorough cleanup. 

Thanks, Eddie. You're an inspiration.

****

LET’S TALK KEITH

So I’ve been re-reading Robert Rodriguez’s Rebel Without A Crew. It’s his day-to-day journal during the making of his $7k breakout movie, El Mariachi. The first time I read this book, less than two weeks later I made the KEITH short film. Although the technical information is nearly 30 years out-of-date, the little nuggets of filmmaking wisdom are gold. 

Here’s something I underlined:

“If you want to learn the guitar, you don’t take a couple of guitar classes and expect to do anything innovative. You practice in your garage until your fingers bleed.”

As someone who actually did practice guitar until my fingers bled (been playing for 16 years now (16 years holy fuck!!!)), he’s completely right. 

For me, most of my learning is done on the job. I struggle to learn from watching others or thinking about it too much. I need to get my fingers dirty. I need to get them bleedy. 

I’m looking to make KEITH as a sort-of practice film. I want to make feature-length films and this is going to be a good incremental step for me. A giant fucking Everest of a step. But a step nonetheless. 

It’s got me thinking that if/when I pull this film off, I’d like to make another couple in the coming years. Maybe three micro-budget feature films in the next ten years? I think that’s reasonable right? Maybe then I’ll have bled enough to know how it’s done. 

***

THE WORK I DONE THIS WEEK

Like I said, I got 40 pages of the KEITH screenplay done. I’m super happy with 80% of it. If I can keep that level throughout, I’ll finish this screenplay a happy man.

Also I've been thinking about my next essay for my Patreons. There was a time, a good 8-years ago now, that I did standup comedy. I don't talk about it too much because I was very, very average. But I did learn some valuable lessons from that period of my life. One lesson being that you should never get too precious with your work. 

I also got the edits back for Take The Corvus and have gone through and approved/declined the little bits and pieces. Next step is to write the foreword, give it another proofread, and then get some ARC’s out to some readers. If you fancy an advanced reader copy, let me know!

**

ÎNPUT


WATCHED

Assault on Precinct 13: Another John Carpenter film and another classic. You can almost feel John putting everything into what little budget he had for the film. It's there in every cut, every gunshot, and in the killer score.

Creep 2: It seems like low-budget filmmaking is on my mind right now because this is another small one that has a big effect. I loved the first Creep. Mark Duplass is fantastic as the guy-who-loves-you-so-much-he-wants-to-murder-you character. I'd take a new Creep movie every year for the next ten years.

El Mariachi: And to round off my low-budget triple-billing, I had to go and watch Robert Rodriguez's 1991 $7k action thriller. I mean I can't recommend this enough. I dare you to read Rebel Without A Crew and then watch El Mariachi and not be inspired to go and make a film. I dare you.

Dirk Gently Season 2: We finally finished this off and it's a little bittersweet. The show is genuinely one of the more interesting things knocking around right now and it looks like they've cancelled it. Goodbye, Bart, you holistic assassin, you.

READ

Wizard & Glass by Stephen King: The fourth in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. 

Here's my SPOILER-FILLED-THOUGHTS.

A Behanding in Spokane by Martin McDonagh: I don't read plays. Well, I mean, I've NEVER read a play before. But I mean that really has to change now because this thing is so much fun. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. If you like the vulgar back and forth dialogue in In Bruges then you will LOVE this. It's more of the same. And I fucking love it.

ESSAYS

LISTENED

*

Onwards and upwards ladies and gentlemen. Let's get our heads out of the ground and get out there and make some cool shit. 

Let's build like motherfuckers!

Talk soon,

Luke & Family

MØ41: When you just can't...

…you point to people who can.

I woke up this morning and sighed. A cartoonish whimper that made me think that something’s not right. I can’t tell you exactly what it is but I just know that something needs to change. Or maybe it’s just the dodgy tuna I ate the other day?

Who knows...

The point is, even writing this is difficult today. It feels like my brain has turned to treacle and its dribbling out onto the keyboard. So to avoid disappointment in the future, I recommend you subscribe to these newsletters:

*

THE WORK I DONE THIS WEEK

I finished my first draft of They Ruin, wrote a short story called Mr Skin (my take on Rumpelstiltskin), and played around with Twine. 

Twine is this nifty little interactive fiction game engine. Very much recommend checking out the Uncle Who Works For Nintendo as a great example of the kind of thing you can make with it.

I published a new essay for my Patreon all about the perfect writer’s morning routine.

**

ÎNPUT


WATCHED

The Quatermass Xperiment: The first big horror hit from Hammer and the film that started it all for them. It still holds up pretty well, I reckon. There are a few genuinely creepy moments. Definitely going to keep on with my Hammer horror exploration.

The Wicker Man: One for the Horror Hangout. Also one of my favourite films growing up. I mean, I only saw it the one time, but it’s really stayed with me. Watching it now I can’t see how they thought they could get away with a remake. The film’s soul resides in the hedonism of the 70s and the fears that come from that. The music, the sex, the naked dancing, oh the naked dancing. 

Thor: Ragnarok: A great big technicolour ball of fun. Super funny, super charming, and a soundtrack and visual aesthetic that really takes it out of this world. 

ESSAYS

***

That’s all I got in me today. I’m going to plough on and try to squeeze out some actual writing but… I dunno guys. I just dunno right now.

I wish I could be a great example of mental grittiness and stoicism but sometimes I just get down and I can’t stop the ball from rolling that way.

All I can do is brace for the nadir.

Speak soon,

Luke & family.

MØ40: Marshmallows

 

Morning Øutput #40

Hi.

So we were about to wrap up a podcast recording when Cat burst into the room. I looked over, a little miffed. After all, this is my precious podcast time (I wonder if my dad ever used that phrase).

“Alaska’s something something," she blurted.

“What?” I said.

“Alaska’s having a reaction.”

So I looked over, nodded, looked back to Ben (who was patiently waiting on Skype to finish our recording), then I looked back to Alaska and the realisation hit me like an ice cube to the scrotum. 

Oh my god… Alaska’s having a reaction!

An allergic one!

Her usually smooth, fine, furry face had become marred with marshmallow bumps. She looked like a cumulus cloud. No, better yet, she looked like the header image on one of those BOTOX GONE BAD clickbait articles. Never use toasted sesame oil for your botox! Her cheeks were puffed right out and her eyes looked ready to prolapse. 

Panic immediately set in as we tried to work out what the hell was going on with our dog. Did we break her? What did we do? We'd read the manual and everything. I ran to the corner-shop to pick up some antihistamines and Cat got the vet’s number as she had a good look around for anything Alaska might’ve eaten.

I got back, wrapped some of the tablets in blocks of cheese, made her shake my hand for her meds. It’s only polite. And after ten minutes or so, it started to settle. We started to settle. The next morning her face was back to its lovely smooth finish and our little puppy was back. We still have no idea what it was that she ate. 

Nothing like a good scare to get the heart racing, though. 

If anybody has any ideas of what it might’ve been, I’d love to hear them. It's put us on edge a little bit, watching everything Alaska eats. I think we're giving her a complex. 

It all reminded me of this sketch with Nick Frost:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc0KIQBf7zU

👌

*

The Work I Done This Week

I hit the 60k mark of They Ruin and I’m currently working on the denouement. I’m expecting to wrap up my draft by today or tomorrow. If you’ve been reading our Rot books, let me tell you, this is the most action-packed book in the series. It’s out-and-out brutal in spots. It follows Colin’s journey to London to find his wife and child. He takes Joanna, Sunny, and Dylan along for the ride and finds that sometimes when you’re chasing something you used to have, you run the risk of all the good you currently have.

Book 3 is short and sharp and should lead us nicely into our final book in the series.

I also wrote my short story for the Nightmares theme of The Other Stories. It’s called New Year, New Me. It's a story about a nightly mediation app (like Headspace) that literally changes you into a new person. Like most of my Other Story episodes, it ends right nasty. 

It feels good to get that first story down for the year. I’ve also been having various brainstorming sessions for new stories to write. One idea of which sounds particularly exciting but also maybe way too hard to pull off.

But that’s what this year is all about for me. Taking my craft to the next level. I want my prose to really sing. I want each and every story to crackle. How I do that, I’m not so sure. 

Oh yeah, I also put out a new short story for my patrons called Toother-Two. A Post-Apoc Western. Action, horror, and robots. Fancy it? 

**

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The Hawk & Cleaver Book Club

Are you looking to read more this year? Are you looking to boost your book count? Well, why not come on down to the Hawk & Cleaver Facebook Group and join our monthly book club. Each month we’re voting a book to read. Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller, whatever. And then reading it over the course of the month and having a little internet waffle about it. 

For January we’re reading Joe HIll’s Strange Weather. A book comprised of four short novels and it’s been a ton of fun so far. The second novel, Loaded, ended in such a way, such a perfect line that I literally guffawed. I couldn’t believe he had the balls to end on that particular sentence. Bravo, sir. Bravo.

So yeah… come and join us… we’ll be voting on February’s book soon.

***

ÎNPUT


WATCHED

Rosemary's Baby: One for Horror Hangout. A fine film. A damn fine film. Oddly it only makes me want to visit New York all the more.

Thirt13n Ghosts: We've decided to do a guilty pleasure episode of Horror Hangout and we picked this. I'd not seen it in years and I can't say it was much of a pleasure to revisit it. It was interesting at least to revisit that campy MTV horror of the mid-naughties. It was a certain brand of high-budget horror that got swallowed up by Blumhouse and his low-budget behemoths, Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Conjuring, etc.

Dirk Gently S2: I don't know many people who caught Season 1 but I enjoyed the hell out of it. I loved the mix of whimsy-quirk and bloody thriller. The tone is very similar to my Hipster novels. Which is very weird because the theme music is composed by the same guy who I wrote most of those books to -- Cristobal Tapia de Veer. 

LISTENED

I stumbled upon this weird little synthy album called Black Corner Den and it's made for wonderful writing music. Totally recommend for those times you want to drown out the outside world and lose yourself in your horror.

****

So that's it for this week. This is a relatively small newsletter. My subscriber numbers are teeny compared to our main H&C ones but the open rates are through the roof. I can only assume that means you like it. 

If so, then why not do me a favour and recommend it to your friend. I made a simple signup form here --> Luke's MØ

But yeah, that's all for this week.

All the best,

Luke & Family.

 

MØ39: Old & Grumpy

 
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Morning Øutput #39

Hi.

Now that I'm a month shy of turning 30, I think I'm allowed to get a little grumpy. My skin is souring so why not my attitude? 

So... can I just have a quick whinge about a certain sort of type of person... the sort of person who just so happens to be in the fucking way?

I consider myself a pretty positive guy but man oh man this one truly grates on me. So I mean physically. I mean you're walking somewhere and some jerk is mindlessly tickling their nipples as they gormlessly watch the skies, taking up all available space and won't let you pass.

"Ain't it pretty," they say as they snail-slide across the high street, right in front of where you've got to get to.

I don't care, you think to yourself. Get the fuck out of the way. 

Worse are the groups of people who do this side-by-side, taking up any and all space on the pavement and the only way to pass is either stepping onto the road or to scream "red rover, red rover," and King-Leonidas your way through.

I'm not one for lingering. I don't like hanging about. There's far too much to do and if I'm on my way somewhere, I want to get there and I want to get there soon. Call me impatient. Tell me I need to chill. Say it's the Londoner in me. Fine. But there is a certain amount of ego involved with people who think they're entitled to stand at the entrance to a café or a shop and hang about as if they own the door. 

"You shall not pass," they say. "Whilst I choose a podcast to listen to."

Worse, still, are the people who know they're in the way, but still won't let you pass, as if seeing you trying to overtake them gives them Mario Kart flashbacks and their competitive edge floods back to them in waves of stars and turtle shells.

"You weren't there, man. You weren't there!"

I pride myself on being someone who gets out of the way. It's the polite thing to do. Be polite. Get the fuck outta the way.


Take The Corvus

One of my big aims for this year is to allow myself to follow the muse a little more, experiment with different mediums, do more audio, video work. So far I’ve doodled with some songs, got my sights set on making a Twine game, an audio VR story, and recently made a book trailer for my upcoming book of short stories. 

I went in with a simple idea and got so into the audio design, the glitch work, narration, etc, that it came out with something quite absurd, almost a short film in itself. It was a right good time and exactly the breath of fresh air I needed.

So come on down... enter the world of the Corvus:

And just as a quick reminder, this new book is a greatest hits sorta deal. My best short stories from my first five years of publishing. It will be out very, very soon.

 
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The Other Stories is open for submissions

We’ve been writing nearly all of the TOS stories for the past 2 years and we want to start opening it up. If you think you’ve got a short horror story in you and are looking for a good platform then this is it. We can’t offer much in the way of remuneration but we do get a good chunk of downloads and you’ll be free to promote anything you want on there.

My tips on a good TOS story?

Start at the end. Make it so that the big thing is happening right now, or is about to. Your character is on the edge of the cliff, looking down. Start at ten, then jump back, work your way through. Then end on the reveal, the big scary, the rug pull, the twist, sting, etc. 

It’s a good format for keeping the tension nice and taut and if you work it right, it should end with a satisfying final snap.

Pucka.

Also, try to enjoy the writing. Feel it. Be in the story. Be scared for your character. Or, as I tend to do, laugh maniacally at the torture you’re about to put them through.

Check out the submissions page for the details.


The Work I Done This Week

I’ve been focusing on my first draft of They Ruin. I’m 50,000-words deep and I can feel it coming towards its final climax. Dan once said something along the lines of "writing novels feels like your carefully nudging a boulder to a cliff-edge, waiting for it to roll, slowly at first, building with its own momentum until it comes crashing down on your characters, smushing them.”

Well, the boulder is definitely starting to roll now. 

I also finished an essay on a writer’s morning routine (one for the Patrons) and I’ve just about finished my final proof for Take The Corvus.

I tell you what, though, my head is swimming with ideas for Keith. I’m chomping at the bit to get cracking with it. I got the New Year shakes, riddled with inspiration. I want to, need to, work work work work. I better see a doctor.


The Blackest Mirror

Season 4 is another triumph. I think this season doesn’t quite aim to blast you into despair like the previous seasons. They're just interesting stories told well. 

And can we take a moment to appreciate the talent we have in Charlie Brooker? I think we take for granted that he wrote nearly every episode of the series (I think one or two of the ideas were donated from other people). This guy, this absolute legend, wrote six of the best episodes of TV this year and hit an incredibly high standard with each one.

Did I tell you I met him once? At the London Screenwriters Festival. I asked if he was going for a beer afterwards. He said no. 

Nice guy.

Fantastic writer.

So if you’re curious. Here’s how I rank the episodes:

  1. USS Callister (how could it not be?)
  2. Metalhead (B&W AI Slasher directed by David Slade — i.e. Hard Candy.)
  3. Hang the DJ (Lead performances made it for me.)
  4. Black Museum (Very very good.)
  5. Crocodile (Very good)
  6. Arkangel (Good)

ÎNPUT

WATCHED

John Wick: Chapter 2: Doesn't have the same emotional pull as the first but is super stylish.

68 Kill: A bloody irreverent comedy about a guy who can't say no to attractive women.

Mayhem: Joe Lynch's low-budget horror is a lot of fun, even though the logic of the disease doesn't quite hold up.

Cube:  We revisited this classic from my childhood. Still great.

Carrie: See HORROR HANGOUT

The Good Place: We're finally getting the other half of Season 2. Still great. Still very, very clever.

PLAYED

Doki Doki Literature Club: Free-to-play. Someone told me it's a horror game. It is. I won't tell you how. I just promise you that it is.

LISTENED

Crazy Clown Time by David Lynch: I didn't like this when I first listened to it a couple years back but it's definitely working for me now.


And done. This MØ came out a little long. Sorry to waste your time. I feel like I'm standing in your way. I apologise. I will move outta the way.

Until next time,

Luke & Family.

 

MØ38: Moving On. Waving goodbye to 2017. Saying hello to 2018.

 
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Hi.

So it was Christmas Day and my dad had dug out some old home movies. He’d hooked a chunky VCR to the TV with three colour-coded cables that would baffle anyone under twenty. The family, full from dinner and a little boozy, watched and laughed at our younger selves.

We saw clips of my mum and dad’s wedding. We saw me and my sisters riding our bikes. We saw my fourth birthday party with the bouncy castle and the homemade Beetlejuice birthday cake.

I sipped from my beer and looked away from the TV, caught sight of the others, smiling wistfully at what was once us, only twenty-five years previous. It didn’t seem so long ago in that moment. It seemed like maybe we weren’t real, maybe we were our younger selves, imagining this moment.

Would younger-us be happy with older-us?

I think so. Mostly. We’ve lost some friends and family along the way. We’ve fought and made up. We’ve split and moved apart. Some of us have had kids of our own, continuing the cycle. The usual ups and downs of any family unit.

But man does it make you take stock of it all. 

Twenty-five years is nothing. One is even less. 

What happened to my plans to live in America? To have a rock-solid set of abs? To climb Kilimanjaro? To make a million pounds so I could buy all the Mutant Ninja Turtle and Star Wars action figures?

These things we want to do, these goals, are like water in our cupped hands. We do our best to hold onto them but they slip through our fingers no matter how hard we try to hold on.

And I’ll be honest, there’s a part of me that finds that almost too difficult to take. It’s the reason I cry at the end of Click (yes… the Adam Sandler film). The thought of losing it all without appreciating it fully, making the most of it, hits a nerve.

So here I am… once again at the tail-end of the year, processing in public, trying to hold onto time by writing stuff down, hoping that by doing so, somehow, it’ll slow down, give me chance to take it all in. I don't want to spill a single drop of it.

See here for the previous end of year reviews:

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The 2017 To-Done List:

  • Kickstarted a comic book. El Marvo #1 - a post-apocalyptic story about an out-of-time luchador wrestler.
  • I published 3x Novels with my co-writer, Dan Willcocks — They Rot, They Remain, and Lazarus.
  • I ran my first 10k... and then did it again... five more times. Something I didn't even think was possible a year ago.
  • Our podcast network hit a million downloads.
  • I wrote 39 stories (mostly short stories, some scripts, a couple of novels).
  • I got a short story accepted for a publication. Should be out next year.
  • We got a dog! Her name is Alaska and she is made of snow.
  • I lost some weight. I only know this because this is the first year my family mentioned it. Well, they mention my weight every year but normally it’s a ‘have you tried dieting?’ or ‘I hear Crossfit works wonders’ sorta deal.
  • We put out 129 new podcast episodes. See The Story Studio, Horror Hangout, and The Other Stories.
  • I screened Keith and did a Q&A and didn’t have to get wasted to handle the nerves.
  • We did more comic cons
  • I launched my personal Patreon page.
  • I finished my #PROJECT365 -- a story idea a day for a year.
  • I finished two NaNoWriMos, sorta. Camp NaNo in February and NaNoBoozeMo in November.
  • 2017 was the year I wanted to ‘build like a motherfucker’. 
  • 2017 was the year I did more of what worked — collaboration being the key.
  • 2017 was the year I really learned to reach, and by this I mean scheduling a 10k run, being completely terrified of not actually being able to do it, but then doing it anyway. Sometimes, you’re only limiting yourself.
  • 2017 was the year I learned to love walking the dog and peace and quiet in general. Fuck the noise. Go outside for a bit. Breathe.
  • 2017 was the year I lost most of my money. Not a good thing but it’s a thing that happened. Maybe next year I can get some of that back.
  • 2017 was the year I fell in love with Stephen King books, this Bon Iver performance, learned to love running, found the Bookstagram community.

Themes to live by in 2018:

Play.

Experiment with stuff that might not go anywhere. I felt weirdly regimented in 2017. I want to make some music, take more photos, draw some more, try to cook, maybe do a coding class.

Build/Make.

I know myself well enough now to know that if I’m not working on a big project, I’m not too nice to be around. #KEITH.

Write.

Maybe it’s a little close to the last theme, but writing is my favourite thing to do. I’m sure I'll be dreaming up short stories in my final days before death.

Run.

Further. Faster. In the sun, rain, snow. Do more. 

Read/Watch/Listen.

A good piece of art is more refreshing to me than anything in the world. I plan to watch more great cinema, read more great books, and listen to a ton of podcasts and music.

Less Social Media.

Maybe even cut it out completely?

Things To Do in 2018:

  • Publish They Ruin.
  • Make Keith.
  • Edit The 3.0 and send out for submissions.
  • El Marvo #2.
  • Lots of short stories.
  • Run a half marathon.
  • Do NaNoWriMo again.
  • Turn 30.
  • Have that hernia operation (long time coming).
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Stuff I Enjoyed:

Music

Sharon Van Etten & Dirty Projectors & Tom Waits & Bon Iver & Radiohead & Jamie Lenman & Pantera & Metallica.

TV Shows

Twin Peaks & Fargo S2 & Castlevania & The Good Place & Inside No 9.

Films

Let The Right One In & Stand By MeJohn Carpenter & David Cronenberg & Brawl in Cell Block 99.

Comics

Uzumaki & Hellboy & Postal

Books

Want my top books? Go here --> top reads of the year. However here are some stand out authors who rocked my year:

Stephen King & Joe R. Lansdale & Clive Barker & Nick Cutter & Neil Gaiman & Scott Smith & Jeremy Robert Johnson.

Podcasts

Killer P.O.V & Shock Waves & Pure Cinema Podcast & Joe Rogan Experience & Nightmare Magazine


And that’s that. The home movies are finished. They ended in glitchy lines of white noise and left me and my family finishing our booze, wiping our eyes, and looking at each other with a rekindled love.

None of us said anything for a while until my mum spoke up: “Tea anyone?"

"Yes please," I said but actually meaning "I love you."