Coming out of the cold

I’m very pleased to share a couple of very good reviews of Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow.

The first is from Anthony Watson over at his blog Dark Musings. He calls it a “sublime tale of winter horror” and seems to have really enjoyed it, so that’s good. He even includes a Sigur Rós song at the end of the review – a particularly relevant bonus as they provided the entire writing soundtrack for that story.

James Everington says some very good things too, over at This is Horror, calling it “a classic piece of Arctic horror” and making some very flattering comparisons. He also gives a special shout-out for one of the bonus stories, ‘Turtledove’, which makes me very happy.

If you want to grab yourself a copy, Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow is available to order from Spectral Press.

Within the Wind wrap

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An interview

The wonderfully talented Priya Sharma took the time to interview me over at her blog, which you can read by clicking here. It focuses on my latest effort, ‘Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow’, available from Spectral Press here.

Priya writes brilliant stories (check out this list) so track some down if you haven’t already. I reckon you’ll love them too.

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Care to dance?

I’ve a new Less Is More column up at This Is Horror. This time I focus on ‘The Dancing Partner’ by Jerome K. Jerome and you can get to both the story and my analysis by clicking here. It’s a grim little story but with a pinch of light humour, too.

If you have any suggestions for future Less is More pieces, feel free to leave a comment below. Suggested stories need to be available online.

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Bits and Pieces

It’s been over two months since I last updated this blog. It’s also been four months or so (four months!) since I wrote anything other than research notes or plot outlines, the worst I’ve ever been hit by a loss of mojo. I even had to pull out of a project commitment, which is something I’ve never done before. A fair bit happened in those unproductive months. Some of it was bad (really really bad) and some of it was really pretty damn good (the universe likes a bit of balance, it seems), so essentially what I’m saying is life got in the way a bit and I stopped writing.

Time to fix that.

To start, here’s a bit of an update on current projects.

Water For Drowning is going down well it seems, with a new review appearing here courtesy of Matthew Fryer. As This Is Horror’s first mass market paperback, you can still order it if you want a copy.

My next story, due this Christmas time (if you’re still wondering what to buy for presents), is a novelette called ‘Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow’. It’ll be released in paperback from Spectral Press and comes with several ‘bonus’ stories, one of which is as new as the main feature. It also comes with some gorgeous cover art from the wonderful Jim Burns:

Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow

Here’s the blurb:

Gjerta Jørgensen patrols the frozen coastline of Greenland. She is the first woman to do so as part of Slædepatruljen Sirius, an elite dogsled team pushed to the limits of physical survival, risking hunger, exhaustion, frostbite and attack. But out here, where beautiful frozen desolation shows you little but snow, ice, and darkness, there is more to fear than this. She can hear it within the wind. It waits beneath the snow.

The darkteeth.

With only Søren Olsen and a dozen dogs for company, Gjerta must face these dangers and the darkness that hides in her past. Or else succumb to the cold and all it brings to haunt her.

‘Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow’ comes with the bonus material of several additional stories, stocking fillers at Christmas time, to see the winter in with extra chills…

And here’s some early praise that made me very happy indeed:

“Compellingly atmospheric, it draws you into its world of terror with a skill that, in my opinion, puts Cluley up with the best writers of weird fiction we have at the moment.” (Stephen Volk)

“All the best winter tales are as eerie as they are beautiful, as cruel as they are comforting. In ‘Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow’, Ray Cluley has written a hauntingly memorable winter tale about love and loss and longing. And the darkteeth inside all of our souls.” (Carole Johnstone)

“A quiet horror set deep within the isolated icy coast of Greenland where the real horrors are left off the page. ‘Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow’ once again proves just how versatile Cluley is as a writer. Echoing Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, this will continue to play on your mind long after reading.” (Michael Wilson, This Is Horror)

You can pre-order now by clicking here. I’m really excited about this as ‘Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow’ is a story I’m particularly proud of. It took a while to write and get out there but I’m hoping it proves worth the wait.

The collection, Probably Monsters, is in its final stages. Thanks to the personal stuff previously mentioned, life getting in the way and all, and thanks to some technical difficulties with laptops, internet connections, and the ‘track changes’ function of Microsoft Word, I’ve not been able to give it as much attention as I’d have liked. That said, I’ve now completed and tweaked three new stories for it, messed around with the order a bit, and added author notes to discuss each story a little. It should be available early next year, all going well.

I’m also putting the final touches to a story due to appear as part of this interesting series.

IMG_0873

The first in the series is available to order here. My story, the zombie one, is called ‘Bone Dry’. It should be available early next year as well.

Non-fiction wise, I’ve finally written the next Less is More column for the This Is Horror website and hopefully that’ll be up soon. It was fun getting back into the short story analysis, and this month’s story is a little gem. I’ll plug it properly when the time comes. I’ve also been tasked with writing a couple of academic pieces for a magazine aimed at English A Level students . One is about Wilkie Collins, focussing on The Woman in White and The Moonstone, while the other looks at Dickens’s Great Expectations. These projects came just as I received a copy of Drood, by Dan Simmons, a book featuring those very two writers… spooky, huh? The universe works in weird ways, I suppose. I’m seeing it as a good sign, a cosmic ‘just get on with it!’, and who am I to ignore the universe?

Something else. Jim Mcleod recently wrote a piece at Ginger Nuts of Horror that I fully recommend to fans of the horror genre. There’s a kind of irony in me recommending it, I suppose, in that it’s about recommending things, namely that people tend to plug their own stuff (see above!) with less concern to promote others. He says it a lot better than I just did, so click here to read The Horror Community – What’s Wrong? With that in mind I’d like to tip my hat to a few things.

Check out Ralph Robert Moore’s blog. I love it. I particularly liked, recently, his discussion of a story and the writing process as part of his Lately series (like they do in movies, December 1, 2014). But check out the whole site. And check out his fiction – he writes great stuff, I promise you.

I’m reading Year’s Best Weird Fiction at the moment and thoroughly enjoying it, so that gets a shout out too (available here and here). In particular, massive thumbs up for the story ‘Furnace’ by Livia Llewellyn. This is why I love anthologies like this, they bring stories to my attention I otherwise would have missed.

This looks great: These Last Embers, by Simon Strantzas, available from Undertow Publications. I ordered it immediately.

And this is a project I intend to get behind. If you haven’t seen Babadook yet, do. While I wasn’t as blown away by it as so many others were, it’s a solid movie in a genre that doesn’t get all that many. But what I did like, what I really loved in fact, was the pop-up book that featured as the driving device of the film. Supporting this project here means it might actually get made, and I personally think that would be a beautiful thing.

So there you go – no blog updates for months and then all this with links and stuff. See, universe, I’m back at the laptop. I’m getting on with it.

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Real-time rabbit

Des Lewis has done another of his wonderful real-time reviews of Black Static. You can read the whole thing by clicking here. This is what he said about my story ‘The Hutch':

“This is almost a Robbe-Grillet type anti-novel short story… In such a relatively short space, the description of the hutch nevertheless seems slow motion, attritionally so. It is like a Duchamp ready-made – to enclose the ‘step’ relationships of families these days, rent not ownership. Including the final image of womanly ‘confinement’ and the crude ‘hutch’ enclosure. A very effective story where the real action is under the surface, unseen”

Makes me happy.

You can order Black Static here.

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Some catching up

Well, it’s been a while. A lot’s been going on but I’m getting back into the writing and posting side of things now and here’s a little something that’s been happening…

First, check out this cover design by Erik Mohr for Probably Monsters. How absolutely awesome? It’ll be out soon from ChiZine…

Probably Monsters

And out now is Water For Drowning. I went and signed a load of them last week and they should be shipping out as you read this. You can order it here or here.

Jess book

It received some kind words over at http://www.bookedpodcast.com recently too, things like “pretty close to perfection” and “I can only imagine Water For Drowning will win numerous awards” (that’d be nice) but perhaps my favourite was “Ray Cluley, you’re a sick fuck but you write a good story and that’s all that matters”. Lovely. Both reviewers gave it five star(fish) out of five. :-)

So what am I up to? (I know you didn’t ask, but a question as if you did helps me into the next bit…) Well, I’m trying to catch up with deadlines I’ve missed and ones getting close real quick, plus I started a new piece called ‘Old Bones’ which is my most personal to date. Not sure I’ll ever publish that one but it needs writing. Then I better crack on with the stuff I quit my job for – the novel, the novella, the graphic novel, etc, etc.

I’d better get writing…

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Stephen Graham Jones on ‘Water For Drowning’

Some bloody kind words from Stephen Graham Jones about ‘Water For Drowning’ – thanks, man.

“With this, Ray Cluley takes​ us to the water’s edge and holds our faces under until we can see as he does. And it’s beautiful under there. Dark and funny and amazing. And don’t worry that you can’t breathe. Breathing is secondary, when you’ve got writing like this.”

If you want to see what he means for yourself, you can order it here.

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