Of Musings and Wonderings

{August 17, 2014}   So, So Sorry…But I Am Alive!

so sorryThis is me apologising. Mainly for disappearing pretty suddenly and not posting anything for…what, five months? Seriously. I really am sorry. I don’t think I can say that enough. Not that I think there are loads of people out there who constantly watch this blog for updates, but for anyone who maybe was a reader or enjoyed the things I posted, I want them to know my face looks just like the Doctor’s, right up there.

I won’t go into too much explanation of why I’ve been gone. I’ve just been, well, enjoying life, really. And looking for a new job in amongst all that. And of course, I’ve watched a number of films and read a number of books in that time but I won’t be able to post about all of them. I’ll do what I can though. I can’t promise regular updates, but I am back and I will be posting more. And if anyone did e-mail me and I didn’t respond, it’s likely the e-mail got lost in the huge number of blog updates I get. Feel free to e-mail again (I will be checking regularly) or post below and let me know if you’ve e-mailed and I’ll go through a hunt of them.

So yeah, that’s it, really. Just me saying I am still alive and I am sorry for being gone so long. As always, I hope you enjoy any future posts I put up here.


{January 4, 2014}   New Year, New Me?

Hopefully everyone’s Christmas and New Year went well. Mine…sort of did, sort of didn’t. See, 2013 was perhaps the worst year of my life. The worst year for my family. There were some awesome moments, of course, but dealing with all the crap that got thrown my way kind of outweighed that. I won’t go into the details, but my family has changed completely, and we’ve all been struggling with that. Christmas was never going to be a good day, but it was as good as we could make it, even if my dad’s Christmas present still hasn’t turned up. But my brother did make an excellent Christmas dinner, and we had a sort of enjoyable day, even if it did get very emotional.

New Year was better. Went to a friend’s flat, met some cool new people, had a good time and maybe too much to drink. Been back at work the last two days, and now, with a weekend to just chill, it’s time to start looking forward. To start thinking about what I’m going to do with this year.

So, my 2014 resolutions –

  • Get something published. Obviously. Need to get working on some short stories, editing stuff, polishing it, all that stuff I hate. But it has to be done.
  • Get fitter. I am so unhealthy right now. So, I ordered a treadmill. And my brother, bless him, got it all set up and ready to go. It’s currently sitting in the spare room, just waiting to be used.
  • Read outside my comfort zone. The last few days I’ve been going through Goodreads, adding books to my to read list that I usually wouldn’t glance twice at. I’m trying to read things that aren’t all about zombies or vampires or werewolves. I now have more classics, romances and just general non-supernatural stuff on my list.
  • Work towards getting a job I love. It’s not that I hate my job. It’s actually not too bad. But the pay is crap and it started off as just something to get some money for a few months back when I graduated. I’ve moved teams, but I’m in the same place I was summer 2012. I need to do something that makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning, that makes me smile to think about it. Not something I have to drag myself to.

What about you? Any goals for this year? Anything you’re hoping to achieve?

And if anyone out there has something they want read and reviewed, just let me know. Like I said above, I’m trying to read more varied stuff, and I’m completely willing to give anything a shot.

Here’s to a better 2014.

{November 9, 2013}   Poetry from the Trenches

Poetry from the Trenches.

{October 28, 2013}   Scardiff 2013

Yesterday, a few friends and myself headed to Scardiff, Cardiff’s first horror expo. And, you know what? It was awesome.

Started the day grabbing a few freebies by the door, including a copy of Tales from the Crypt and The Walking Dead. Wandered around for a bit, glancing over various products on offer including comics, books and other items, including creepy dolls and bears (dolls are terrifying as they are, they don’t need to be made more so), small vials of strange potions and trinkets on offer. None of us wanted to spend our cash until we’d had a proper look around, and I was glad I held back. There was just so much, and part of me wanted to throw my money at everyone.

Luckily. we grabbed a fair few leaflets and cards and the like, so when I get my own flat, I can hopefully decorate it with some cool, creepy stuff, including crystal skulls, dragon heads, and jars and vials of…well, more creepy stuff. As it is, even if I had the money I wouldn’t have anywhere to store any of the stuff I saw.

We headed for a panel, which I was quite excited about as I haven’t had the chance to do the whole panel thing before. Cardiff Comic Con talks got filled up really quickly, and panels…I dunno, I’ve always liked the idea of them. Anyway. We listened to the guys discussing the tropes of horror, and what makes vampires, werewolves, ghosts and zombies so long-lasting. Personally, I think it’s because they can be reinvented, constantly, to fit in with every new generation. They did cover that, and then went into why we keep reinventing them and returning to them. Which, to be honest, I could talk about, but it would take a whole blog post of its own.

Back inside the main room, we looked around a little more before I started buying stuff. Look out for reviews on these whenever I get the chance to go through them. I grabbed a copy an anthology of stories and comics, the first two issues of Stiffs, a zombie comic set in the South Wales valleys. Picked up three films – Dead Snow (because who doesn’t like zombie Nazis?), a Zombie double feature for 50p, including Night of the Living Dead and Revenge of the Zombies, and lastly, Terror of Dracula, which I got signed by the film’s star. He did ask if I was interested in the old films, and seemed quite pleased when I said I liked the 1933 version of Dracula. Terror of Dracula is apparently a throwback to the old films such as Hammer Horror, and as I do love the novel, I thought I’d give it a shot. Look out for my review on here whenever I get a chance to watch it.

My kind of swag!

My kind of swag!

One of the things I really do love is talking to the people behind the stalls. And they’re always willing to chat, artists talking about their work (when they’re not busy drawing), authors talking about – and trying to sell – their books, others just looking on with smiles as we gushed over the things they’d made. Most of the time, my comments were along the lines of “If I only had more money!” There were some beautiful (in a dark way) decorative items for sale, including small vials of potions, dragon skulls, crystal skulls and more. I picked up leaflets for the majority of vendors, hoping I can actually buy stuff from their websites, eventually.

One memorable stall was the zombie stall, selling DVDs, books, board games and other zombie-related stuff. From there, I got Dead Snow and an anthology of zombie stories. And, because I was buying direct from the authors or publishers, most of the books went into my bag cheaper than the RRP. So, I have a lot to read, enough to keep me going for a long while. And, again, look out for the reviews. The books themselves are a mix of horror and dark fantasy, some the sort of stuff I wouldn’t have picked up on my own. Safe to say, I’m very excited about diving into them.

IMAG0049We went to one more panel before leaving, this one about the next big thing in horror. There was something about this panel that struck me as particularly interesting. There were two guys who made low-budget horror movies, young guys, and, joining later on (running late), was a guy who had been in the business for a fair few years, worked commercially and made low-budget horrors in his spare time. When asked if they thought the next big thing would come from the low-budget, grass-roots or the commercial side (Hollywood), the younger guys said grass-roots. And I think they were right. They expanded on it, using the obvious examples. After all, Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was low-budget, made with a few friends, and look what it sparked off. Blair Witch Project created mass interest in the subgenre, the found footage film, and we’re still seeing that used a lot today.

The commercial guy, however, stated that he believed the next big thing would come from Hollywood, and mentioned that they are making a number of creature features, so obviously that’s the next big thing, right?

Well, no. Just because Hollywood makes it doesn’t mean it’s going to be popular. It might flop. It might make nothing and mean Hollywood won’t touch it again until they run out of ideas and go back to the barrel to scrape up some more. I’m not saying that is going to happen, creature features might well be popular in the next few years, but the real fans will look beyond Hollywood and towards what the ‘smaller’ guys are doing. And the internet, the ease of access for almost anything, means that if a film is well made, word of mouth, blogs, forums, etc. will get a decent film out there. Even if the film itself isn’t massively successful, if it gains enough momentum through the fans then Hollywood might look towards what the smaller guys are doing and do more stuff like it.

That’s my take on it, anyway.

But yeah, overall a brilliant day, and I have my fingers crossed that it’s done again.


nanowrimoLadies and gentlemen, ghosts and ghouls (it is, after all, almost Halloween), that time of the year is upon us once again. And, you know what, I am super excited for it.

I really do love NaNoWriMo. The first two times I tried, I failed quite miserably. Barely wrote anything. But for the last four years, I have somehow managed to hit the 50,000 word count before the end of November. At University, this was done between nights out, my birthday, visitors from home, essays and exams. Last year, it was done despite the fact that I was working a full-time job. Not only that, but I was in the midst of changing teams, taking on a lot of extra information.

This year, I’m working 8 – 4, so it’s more evening time for me to get stuck in. I have the 31st October and 1st November off, to give me a bit of a kick-start on the first day, and I’m taking the two days after my birthday off (13th & 14th November). Among the Halloween parties next weekend, the usual birthday meal with my family, a visit from my best friend from University and other family stuff that’s been going on recently, I’m hoping to have enough time to get ahead of myself early on so I don’t have to worry too much towards the end of the month. Oh! And the last day of the month is a Saturday. Which means I can stay up late on the Friday, and can do nothing but focus on the novel on the Saturday.

*deep breath*

I really am excited for it this year. I think part of it is because, unlike previous years, I’ve planned out bits and pieces of the novel. I did try this the first two years, but the ideas themselves fell a little flat early on. I was also in my last year of A Levels, then working a 12 – 8 shift in work, neither of which left a lot of time for novel writing, unfortunately. My first year of University, I wasn’t even going to do it. But 1st November, I had an idea for a novel which became Into The Night, (three versions of which, the third currently in progress, can be found on my Fictionpress page here) and decided to make it my NaNoWriMo novel. That year, I just about made it to 50,000. The last few years have, oddly, been easier, even if I have been busier. Into The Night turned into a trilogy, one I’ve loved writing, and although I’ve had two which I looked at after and kind of though ‘meh’, I have a special love for the first two NaNoWriMos I completed.

This year, I’m planning to do a horror novel. It’s going to be about a young guy, Mason, brought up as a hunter, going after various ghosts, ghouls, demons, all that stuff. Inspired, just a tad, by Supernatural, but Mason isn’t on his own, and there are going to be plenty of unnatural creatures working alongside him, as well as some other hunters that are coming alive, slowly, in my mind. Including two I’ve actually written a short story about (which you can read here if you so wish), called Seth and Holly. I started off by researching Celtic gods and Welsh myths and legends, as I want the novel, like a lot of my others, to have a Welsh feel to it. I’ve also looked into monsters from around the world, reading through Christopher Dell’s Monsters, A Bestiary of the Bizarre. And you know what, it’s made me really miss the research aspect of University.

I can’t wait to get started. And I will be posting excerpts up here, maybe along with a couple of character profiles and the like.

Bring it on!

In others news, I know I’ve been way behind in my TV reviews. I’ve also been behind in my actual TV reviewing. There’s been some bad family stuff going on recently, and things have gotten worse in the last week or so. I really haven’t had time for blogging, or even watching TV. But like I said, I will have a little more time in the next few weeks (hopefully!) so I can post (among other things) about Arrow, the novel Flu, Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and probably a lot of other things I’ve forgotten.

Oh, and Scardiff, which takes place tomorrow and I am oh so happily attending. My first horror expo! I’ll let you guys know all about it when I have a chance.

And, as I’m always interested in the people who read this, too, let me know if there’s anything you’re looking forward to this month. Participating in NaNoWriMo? Interesting events you’re attending? Or just looking forward to curling up by the fireplace with a nice cup of hot chocolate?

et cetera