Morning Øutput #40
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:
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?
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.
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.
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.