MØ39: Old & Grumpy

 
Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 16.35.10.png

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.

 
CORVUS.jpg
 

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.

 

MØ36: Jedi Radicalism & My New Book

 

Morning Øutput #36

Hi.

It’s been five years since my first story was published in a little-known collection of short-shorts called, ‘Flash Fiction World’.

So to honour, move on, ritualise, something, I’ve decided to take the best (audience favourites, most downloaded, personal selections) short stories and put them into one halfway decent collection. 

Introducing:

 
CORVUS.jpg
 

Take The Corvus: Short Stories & Essays by me

It will have stories previously published. It will have some new stuff. It is a best-of. It will be FREE to all of my patrons. I will be doing some signed print editions. I’m definitely going to want a copy of this on my shelf.

I haven’t worked out the blurb yet but here’s the track-listing:

  1. Take The Corvus
  2. Finders Keepers
  3. Women’s Running Magazine
  4. Doghouse
  5. Tusk
  6. Photoshop Wizard
  7. Chew Toy
  8. The Three-Oh
  9. Hell’s Kitchen
  10. Mr Lundin
  11. Ocean Eyes
  12. The People Who Live In My Beard
  13. The Old Fools of Tudor Close
  14. It’s Wednesday Night!
  15. Monty’s Meats
  16. Toast
  17. @boyonawall
  18. Old Knobbly
  19. Blackberry Gap
  20. Cardboard
  21. The Last Days of my Dad
  22. The Corvus Takes
  23. ESSAY: Tales from my first Five Years in the Womb
  24. ESSAY: On Writer’s Block & Other Buckets of Shit
  25. ESSAY: What I Learned from Writing a Short Story a Day for a Year
  26. ESSAY: How I made an Award-Winning Short Film in 7 Days with No Money, No Camera, & No Ideas.

The stories are all written but I’m going to go over and do another round of editing. So it should be primed and ready for the new year.


Star Wars - The Last Jedi

I went to see TLJ last week. I liked it. I didn’t love it. I laughed at all the jokes. I was in awe at all the beautiful bits. I got all tense at the battle bits. But something didn’t click for me. 

Now, for me, I give it a B. 

I’ll definitely rewatch it at some point and that may change, but what’s been more interesting to me, is how people’s reactions have almost turned into a parody of left-wing, right-wing politics.

People have been radicalised in their opinions. It seems, either you’re a far-left ‘Best SW film since Empire’ sorta person. Or you’re a far-right ‘Triggered nerd boy who doesn’t want change’ sorta person. 

I’m sure there are many people who feel the same as me. Middlin’. But even I’ve felt a little forced over to one side based on people’s reactions.

When you read articles with headlines like ‘TLJ doesn’t care what fanboys think’ or meme’s like ‘Fanboys complained because Force Awakens was too similar, now they’ll complain because Last Jedi is too different,’ it forces you to try and justify your feelings, pushing you further and further into them. And then you come up with conclusions and you try to justify them, too. It turns into a feedback loop, pushing you further and further into your position, into your far-right, or far-left views.

Swap out all the Star Wars stuff and pop in something to do with Election Results or Brexit and I imagine the situation will be pretty similar.  

...or maybe not. Who knows? Politics is weird.

If you really care for my thoughts on the film, I’ll put an image at the bottom of this post. It will contain SPOILERS.



ÎNPUT

Currently in the middle of three separate books and I watched a LOT of films. Mostly HH stuff. 

WATCHED

Black Christmas, Jack Frost, & Krampus

All for the Horror Hangout Christmas episode.

Ringu 2

See above.

The Last Jedi *SPOILERS*

Here are my thoughts:

  • Act 2 and 3 are the wrong way around. (You end with the kamikaze, obvs.)
  • Porgs are cool. 
  • Luke fake out and then dying anyway isn’t emotionally satisfying and is actually a bit of a cop out. He meditated so hard he popped his clogs? Eesh. Dude needs a final moment of bad-assery.
  • Superman-Leia was awesome. I got goosebumps.
  • Such pretty visuals. 
  • Why are all the battle scenes so rushed? Take your time. Give us the ups and downs of the battles, dude. OG Trilogy had the best battles. Hoth comes to mind.
  • I kinda loved the Falcon going through the caverns. It reminded me of the run to the core of the Death Star II.
  • Maz Kanata scene was like a checkpoint in a game. “Now you must go find the codebreaker, bring me five alien-horse collars and I’ll throw in some extra bonus points.”
  • Ackbar!!! Dammit. That fish deserved better.
  • Rey & Kilo dynamic was the most interesting part of the film. 
  • Poe Dameron is a mutineer! And all his superiors can say is, “Awh, ain’t he cute.” No! He should be in fucking space prison. 
  • For me, it’s not as good as people are saying. It’s also not as bad as people are saying. It’s a solid B.

Like I said, I'll watch it again. It's a good film. But I can't lie and say I came out feeling particularly jazzed about it.

Life

A baked beans-on-toast sorta movie. Doesn't wow you, nor does it change your life, but it hits the spot. Also, the thing itself, Calvin, was really kinda scary.

LISTENED

The Robocop Soundtrack and this compilation of Star Wars tunes.


Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 08.14.08.png

That's all for this week. Hold onto your balls because Christmas is upon us, and Krampus is coming.

Until next time,

Luke & Family

 

MØ33: Quickie

 
Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 12.32.23.png

Morning Øutput #33

Hi.

Just a quickie this week. I'm coming to the end of NaNoBoozeMo. The dial is below the red line. The engine warning light is on. I went over a speedbump and something fell off. Not sure what it was.

NaNoBoozeMo Stats:

  • 44739 out of 50000 words written.
  • 60000 out of 50000 metres ran (overshot that one).
  • No booze (man I need a drink).

Some other stuff:

  • Thinking about putting together several lists at the end of the year. 10 Best Film Discoveries, 10 Best Book Discoveries, etc. Just stuff that I've watched, read, heard, that I've really enjoyed.
  • I'm happiest when I'm working on a project. Maybe you are too?
  • There's so much stuff I'd love to do and I'm scared that I just won't get around to all of it. A quality problem, I guess.
  • I wrote a short story for my patrons: The Friend I Lost In Blackberry Gap - #PROJECT12

ÎNPUT

Lots of films again this week.

WATCHED

Hardware

This film is so of its time it hurts. Feels a little like Robot Wars Xtreme.


Free Fire

There's a lot to love about this film. The fact that it's just one long scene is both the best thing AND the worst thing about it. Lots of fun characters, great lines, and pure chaos.


American Werewolf in London

The Nazi werewolves, the undead brainstorming how to commit suicide, the stalking of the three-piece-suit at Tottenham Court tube station.

All good scenes, but for me, the massacre at Picadilly Circus was just sublime. Made all the better for the fact that I used to walk through there to get to work.


The Exorcist III

This one needs a rewatch at some point. I don't know if I properly processed it all.
 

Kong: Skull Island

Way better than I'd been led to believe. I had a right good time. 

 

READ

The Rose Weapon by F.C. Shultz -- 

A lovely little novel about family, honour, and firey beasts in the sky. Also, there's a mountain named after me... which I always felt was missing in other novels. Looking forward to the next one!

LISTENED

Brace for the Turing - My NaNo Playlist

This Bon Iver live performance. Still listening to this.

The Shouting Matches - I Had A Real Good Lover


 

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

Until next time,

Luke & Family

TAGGED: MORNING ØUTPUT

 

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

 

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

MØ27: NaNoBoozeMo & Nottingham Comic-Con 2017

 
22467623_10155917002207682_756330246401734451_o.jpg

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. 

22499872_123324485043902_1115583129109659648_n.jpg

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

 
22277528_1932540530341988_2421160381440327680_n.jpg

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.


22158631_156233014972343_2015823508600258560_n.jpg
  • 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.
22220918_142421679829118_14142906398932992_n.jpg

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.