Search

WILLIAM MEIKLE

Genre Fiction

Author

williammeikle

Scottish genre writer with over 20 novels and 300 short stories in print.

Newsflash: Operation Loch Ness Launches

New today: OPERATION: LOCH NESS follows the survivors of the Scottish Special Forces squad from INFESTATION, OPERATION: ANTARCTICA, OPERATION: SIBERIA and OPERATION: AMAZON, home to Scotland, and a meeting with a legend.

Click on the image for details and buying links, or go straight to Amazon here

Please give me a hand with the launch, and retweet this Tweet. Make an old man very happy.

S-Squad are relieved to be home, and even an order to investigate animal mutilations at a local wildlife park does not seem like an onerous detail.

But things take a turn to the twilight zone all too quickly around the S-Squad, and even their homeland is not immune.

Something is feeding, ravenously, on animals, wildlife, and now people in the Scottish Highlands, and the trail leads to only one place, a place of legends, and the dark waters of Loch Ness.

 


 

Advertisements

A Relationship With an Old Lady

I mentioned my time in London earlier this week. Here’s something I prepared earlier, that originally appeared on my pal Steve Lockley’s blog last year.

I went to London to seek my fortune, or rather, to follow a woman, back in early 1982. My relationship with the Old Lady proved to be the healthier one of the two, a love affair that I still carry with me even though it lasted less than ten years.

For the first few months I was living and working outside the main city while making forays into the museums, cinemas and pubs of the city center at weekends. But the love only came after I started working in the old city itself. I got a job in a converted warehouse in Devonshire Square near Liverpool Street Railway Station. My desk looked out over Petticoat Lane Market, my lunchtime wanderings took me to the curry cafes of Brick Lane and the bars of Whitechapel in the footsteps of the Ripper. I was supporting computer systems down in the financial sector, and my wanderings down there took me to Bank and Monument, to indoor markets and gorgeous old pubs, to tiny churches and cemeteries hidden away in courtyards, and across the river, to Borough Market and even older pubs, like The George and The Market Porter. If you’re after a true whiff of old London, there’s few finer places to seek it.

A few years later we moved office to Farringdon Road and more old markets, Guardian journalists in the pubs and forays into the area between there and Euston. Then we settled in High Holborn which for me meant Skoob Bookshop, the British Museum and yes, more pubs, in the Victorian splendor of The Princess Louise, the high gothic weirdness of The City of Yorke and many more, including forays down to Fleet Street for some Dickensian musings in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, the Strand for The George and the Coal Hole under The Savoy for some slices of theatrical history, and many other bars, too numerous to mention or too lost to memory in alcoholic poisoning of the brain cells.

For a while London got into my soul. I got able to find my way around from just about anywhere inside the M25, I lived south of the river in Bromley, Beckenham and Ladywell, where I discovered that the flat I’d bought didn’t just have a bogeyman in the stairwell, but that the Old Lady’s Well bubbled up in the cellar, to my eventual enormous financial cost, But at least I got to know the similarly drunken patrons of a variety of night buses after concerts or drinking sessions during my time there.

London is indeed a fine old city. Almost, but not quite, the equal of Edinburgh or Glasgow in my heart. My real love for it came from not just the place, but from the people I met there. I met many Londoners, but I also met people from all over the UK, people from India, Pakistan, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Poland, Greece, Turkey and many other far flung spots. I made great friends and a lot of them are still friends today, 35 years on. We spent many happy hours in those aforementioned old bars, telling each other stories. They heard mine, and I heard theirs, and the telling of them bound, and binds us in friendship all across the globe to this day. That’s been better than any fortune to me over the years.

Towards the end of my time in the Old Lady, I met my wife there too, in another of the old bars, and our courtship was spent over beer, curries, film and theatre around Covent Garden and in the West End.

We left London for Scotland in 1991, but the Old Lady came with me, in my friends and, eventually, in my own writing. When I started to drift into writing Victoriana, it was London that called loudest to me, from Baker Street and Cheyne Walk, from Whitechapel to Embankment and yes, from bar to bar, Charringtons IPA, Fullers London Pride, Young’s Special and all.

November Newsletter

A bargain book today, general writing news in the newsletter this month.

My book of late Victorian ghost and science fiction tales as written by the greats is only 99c on AMAZON for a few days as part of the Crystal Lake Publishing Halloween promotion, so get in quick if you want a read in the old-fashioned style.

If you feel like giving me a hand, please retweet –> this Tweet and make an old man very happy.

‘The Ghost Club is a massively ambitious anthology of stories ‘by’ classic authors as imagined by the extremely talented William Meikle. Massively entertaining, too.’Simon Clark, author of the award winning The Night of the Triffids

There are a number of solid reasons to add The Ghost Club to your reading list. For example, you love a good ghost story, or maybe you’ve read and enjoyed Meikle’s Carnacki tales, or perhaps you’re a fan of Victorian terror, or maybe you just enjoy a good read. Whatever your reason, happy reading.CEMETERY DANCE

 


In other news, I signed a contract with Dark Regions Press for my 4th CARNACKI collection, THE KEYS TO THE DOOR and Other Stories

I’ve delivered OPERATION: LOCH NESS, #5 in my S-Squad series. to SEVERED PRESS and signed a contract for #6, which will be OPERATION: SYRIA. Deserted ancient cities and temples, an ongoing war zone…and spiders. Big Spiders.

I got interviewed for the local paper here about horror, writing, and horror writing if you’re interested.

 


 

I have a large back catalog of 30 novels, 12 novellas and 9 story collections still in print and/or ebook and 16 audiobooks with more coming, so I hope you’d find something to take your fancy. Every month from now on, I’ll pick one and feature it here as a teaser.

FEATURED BOOK OF THE MONTH

Click on the image for details

 

 



Onward and Upward – Captain’s Log

With OPERATION: LOCH NESS finished and delivered to Severed Press, and OPERATION: SYRIA set up as my winter project, I’ll have written six of these S-Squad books in two years.

And I’m still having fun. After the disappointments of DarkFuse and Dark Renaissance going under, and the fact that my Sigils and Totems idea hasn’t grabbed many of you the way it grabbed me, fun is exactly what was needed.

I was in a funk for a bit, a combination of life circumstances, turning 60, the afore mentioned publishers closing, and having a few hits to my confidence at once, but I’m slowly coming out of it, thanks in the main to the S-Squad lads, and the fact that THE GREEN AND THE BLACK is being well received, as was THE GHOST CLUB earlier in the year.

A look at what’s in the pipe also cheered me up.

Coming up I have:

  • Operation: Loch Ness – Severed Press
  • Operation: Syria – Severed Press
  • Carnacki: The Keys to the Door collection – Dark Regions Press

On the shorter work, there’s a bunch of anthology appearances (I just need one of these to take me over 100 in the ‘wall’ )

  • Operation Severn / Prehistoric / Severed Press
  • Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation / Tales from Arkham Asylum/ Dark Regions Press
  • Blacktop / I Am The Abyss / Dark Regions Press
  • Tumshie / Halloween Haunts / Dark Regions Press
  • Nocturnes and Lacunae / Transmissions From Punktown / Dark Regions Press
  • Something for the Weekend? / Voices in the Darkness / Ulthar Press
  • Into the Light / Their Coats All Red / 18th Wall Productions
  • The Color From The Deep / Summer of Lovecraft / TBA
  • Carnacki: Bats in the Belfry / Tails of Terror / Golden Goblin Press

Before Operation: Syria, I’ve got a couple of stories to write for anthology invitations, and a nice new invite just came in this morning.

Plus there’s a historical fantasy trilogy I’ve been working on with another (much more famous than me) writer, my first full-length collaboration, and it’s getting near to be done. More on that as and when I can.

So although I was thinking things aren’t that great, counting my blessings, and writing this down, has done the trick.

Onward and upward!

Newfoundland and Me

Newfoundland is worming its way more and more into my soul, and out again in my writing.

When I started writing in the ’90s in Scotland most of my stories were set either there, or in London where I spent the ’80s. I appear to need to be tied to a sense of place for work to come easily. With Newfoundland, the ties fell into place naturally.

We came over on holiday in 2005, primarily on a whale watching trip to Trinity, and fell in love immediately with the area. There is much here that reminds me of home, in both the maritime landscape, and the warmth of the people, and although they’re mostly of Irish descent around here, I felt an immediate kinship with their stories of ekeing a living out of a harsh sea, as it’s something my own family have much experience of on the opposite side of the same ocean.

When my IT job in Edinburgh went tits-up in 2007, I’d had just about enough of working for the man after 25 years of wearing a suit and commuting into busy cities, having worked in London, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. I talked to my wife, Sue, about the possibility of downsizing totally, and it was just when I was starting to get some serious pro-level story sales. We knew from our holiday that we could get a nice house with a great view dirt cheap (compared to Scottish prices ) over here on The Rock. So we sold up in Scotland, whacked some money in the bank, bought a house on the shore here, and I tried writing full time. I’ve not starved us yet, more than ten years down the line.

We chose Catalina, a fishing town up on the Bonavista Peninsula. It’s a long way from any kind of night life, bookshops or cinemas, but it’s not quite in the middle of nowhere. We have roads, a post office, a supermarket and some takeaway places. We even have running water and electricity. The people are very friendly, as I said earlier, mostly of Irish descent around here, and it’s lovely and quiet, which suits me just fine.

The local accent here is very strong, and strange on the ear at first, but I’ve come to understand most of the people well enough, although there are still a few old timers in the town who leave me completely baffled, and we communicate mainly by smiles, hand-gestures, and nods of the head.

We have an open view across a wide bay, the opening of which is out onto the Atlantic, we have whales out there, moose and bear in the hills, bald eagles overhead and squirrels in the garden, as well as the ever shifting moods of the bay itself. It’s not a bad way to live.

It also seems to suit my writing. As I said earlier, the ties to the landscape fell into place quickly. The third Derek Adams book, THE SKIN GAME was stalled in its opening act back in Scotland and I hadn’t been able to get past a blockage, but that first winter after we got here I realised that if I could come to Newfoundland, then Derek, The Midnight Eye and protagonist, could come here too. After that the rest of that one fell quickly into place and a pack of Scottish werewolves howled at the moon under a Newfoundland sky.

After that I wrote a handful of short stories set on The Rock, testing the waters as I let the place seep into my soul. It’s got its hooks deep in me now. My home will always be Scotland, but The Rock has my heart and soul on loan in the meantime.

Since those early short stories I’ve been exploring various parts of the island and its culture in my novels. THE DUNFIELD TERROR takes place around Trinity, where I spent my first year here working on a whale tour boat, FUNGOID takes place in the island capital St. Johns, and also up this peninsula where I live while SONGS OF DREAMING GODS is set in a corner townhouse in St. John’s again. THE BOATHOUSE is set here in our home port of Catalina, and my latest, THE GREEN AND THE BLACK, is set in a derelict Victorian mining colony in the island’s interior.

There will be more, as I haven’t covered the whole glorious gamut of this place yet.

And I still need to get a moose in somewhere.

If you’re at all intrigued by any of this, check out the books I’ve mentioned. You never know, you might fall in love with the place too.

fungoidad

October Newsletter

New book release today and general writing news in the newsletter this month.

My latest book, THE GREEN AND THE BLACK launches today. Before I go on, I’d like to ask a favor. If you could spare a moment, head on over to my Twitter and retweet the pinned tweet at the top, please? The link will take you directly there –> HERE IT IS

The more eyes on my announcement of the book, the better it will be for me, and Twitter gets me the best bang for no bucks. And you’ll make a pal for life. I’m loyal, like a labrador puppy.

THE GREEN AND THE BLACK is a Newfoundland based novel in paperback and ebook from Crossroad Press.

A small group of industrial archaeologists head into the center of Newfoundland, investigating a rumor of a lost prospecting team of Irish miners in the late Nineteenth century.

In this one you’ll meet some Irishmen, some archaeologists, a fair bit of booze, some mannequins, a song, two mineshafts, hospitals, the wee folk, cigarettes, a lot of foliage and more booze.

You could call this folk horror, dark fiction, weird fiction, or dark fantasy. But at its heart it’s a horror story and it deals with some of my own fears, particularly that of dark, enclosed, spaces, and the perils of drinking too much.

Here’s some links with more background on where THE GREEN AND THE BLACK came from.

As ever, if you buy it and read it, a wee review anywhere of your choosing is always appreciated, on this, or any of my books.


In other news, I recently sold my 4th CARNACKI collection, THE KEYS TO THE DOOR and Other Stories, to Dark Regions Press for publication in paperback and ebook. This means that I have now written 50 of my CARNACKI tales, 48 collected in four volumes, and the two CHALLENGER / CARNACKI crossovers in the Challenger collection. 50 seems like a good point to stop for a breath. Ten years ago I hadn’t even written one of the old lad’s stories, and I think both of us need a rest for a few months at least.

I’m currently working on OPERATION: LOCH NESS, #5 in my S-Squad series. The first 4 are selling well for me, and there is an audiobook of INFESTATION coming soon. SEVERED PRESS seem happy for me to keep on keeping on with the Scottish squaddies adventures, and I’m happy to oblige for a while.

My anthology appearances page at my website currently as of writing shows I’ve had 99 short stories in anthologies. #100 should be along some time very soon. I might need to have a centennial party.


Old Stories, New words

THE GREEN AND THE BLACK was originally going to be about Kobolds, the goblinesque things that knock in coal mines.

Goblins in the deep places have haunted my dreams since a first read of THE HOBBIT, way back in 1968, and I’ve long wanted to do a modern times novel with them at the center of things. I started one a while back, but that fizzled out and ended up as a story in Dark Melodies. And similarly, when I got to the point in THE GREEN AND THE BLACK for the reveal, there was something else behind the curtain.

The wee folk who turn up drinking and singing in the mines and the camp are close cousins to goblins of course, but give off the appearance of being something more jolly, at first glance at least.

I dredged these ones up out of some old Scottish tales originally, of people being trapped in fairyland after overindulging in booze and song and dance at the wee folks’ party.

And then things took an even darker turn, when I realized what song it was they were always singing in my story. I have my auld grannie to thank for all the snippets of folk songs, lullabyes, show tunes and hymns that provide me with regular earworms. One of those is prominent throughout THE GREEN AND THE BLACK.

The dolls of stick, leaf and branch that became a motif throughout likewise came from old stories from home. Originally, they were going to be scarecrows, with goblins inside, but they too took another turn, when I realized the wood and leaf was still alive, still capable of taking root, and growing.

Some of my family did spells as coal miners, back in the auld country, and their tales too found their way in into the mix, of friendship and bonds, of dark places and sudden deaths.

Mix all of that in with some of my archaeology experience and you can see that THE GREEN AND THE BLACK came from a soup of influences from a lifetime of songs and stories.

I said what I wanted to say, and got out before I dredged up anything more to complicate things further.

You can order the ebook, or buy the paperback now on Amazon here –> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H6JTYTS

On drinking

I like a drink.

I’ve liked a drink for about 45 years now. People keep telling me it’ll kill me, but at this stage, if it’s drink that gets me now, I’ll consider it a win.

It started back in late ’73 and my first foray at 15 going on 16 to one of the local discos. Beer was 8p a pint, spirits 10p a shot and a packet of ten Embassy Regal 12p. I took to the beer first, fags later, and spirits a wee bit later after that, but by the time I went to University in late 1975 the taste for beer in particular was well developed.

While in Glasgow I discovered hand-pumped real ale, and that became a love that’s stayed with me though University, then 10 years in London, then eventually back to Scotland and a growing small brewery / real ale pub culture that kept me happy for years before I came to Newfoundland, where the search for decent ale in a small fishing town is a bit more challenging.

There’s an old saying, I only drink to be social. Not quite true, but it’s hard to beat banter with old pals around a table in an old bar with decent beer and food on offer.

Alongside the beer during University days I also discovered single malt Scotch. I’m not an aficionado, but I know what I like, and I like it a lot. I took to it eagerly.

By the time I was around 30, back in the mid to late ’80s in London I was mostly working and mostly drunk, a heady combination of good beer, good whisky, Camel filters, curries and Chinese takeaways.

Sue rescued me from incipient alcoholism back then and nowadays I still like a drink, but it’s under control and even diminishing as I get older and try to avoid hangovers.

All of that has come out in several of my books and stories, Derek Adams, The Midnight Eye in particular being a bit of a Mary-Sue character for my love of booze, Chandler and Glasgow.

And it came out again in my newest work, THE GREEN AND THE BLACK, where you’ll meet a lad who doesn’t know that he likes a drink until he has one that transports him, and a man who knows he likes cigarettes a bit too much, but can’t quit the smoke without a push.

In THE GREEN AND THE BLACK you’ll also find Newfoundland and a lot of Irishmen, many of whom, like the Scots, enjoy a few pints, a wee dram, and a song. There’s also archaeologists, cabins in the woods, derelict mineshafts, singing, and drinking in dark places, where the green meets the black.

thegreenandtheblackadvert

Some musings about the S-Squad

The S-Squad books are me having fun.

The S doesn’t really stand for anything apart from the fact that they’re Sweary, Scottish, and Squaddies. Probably not a good idea to get Sir Sean Connery to do the narration.

In these I’ve lightened my touch, and gone for all out, balls to the wall, plot and adventure. They’re pulpy, in the old sense of the word, irreverent, and more than a wee bit sweary. I’m also enjoying the hell out of writing them.

They’re definitely creature feature homages at their basic level, with added influences ranging from ALIENS, PREDATOR, DOG SOLDIERS and any number of Alistair MacLean books and movies. They’re also in a voice that I am able to drop into naturally, that slightly sarcastic Scots idiom I grew up with. Not having to worry too much about whether the dialogue is natural frees me up to write, and these come at me fast and furious. I’ve written four in the past 18 months, and the next one should be done well before Christmas.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have few pretensions. I’m not a literary writer. I don’t spend days musing over le mot juste. I just get on and tell the story to the best of my ability. I tell a lot of stories. That has led to me being called a hack in some quarters, but if a hack is someone who values storytelling, then I suppose that’s what I am. I’m making a definite choice to write mainly at the pulpy end of the market, populating my stories with monsters, myths, ghosts, men who like a drink and a smoke, and more monsters. People who like this sort of thing like it, and the sales of these books are proving to me that there is a definite audience out there for it. So fuck anybody who dismisses it as hackwork. This is who I am, and I wont be apologizing for it.

Now that that’s out of the way… 🙂

I hope to be able to be pitching and selling new ideas for these guys to Severed Press over the next few years.

OPERATION: AMAZON recently came out, I’m working on OPERATION: LOCH NESS, and I have sketchy ideas already for OPERATION: INNSMOUTH, OPERATION: ROCKIES, OPERATION: UR and OPERATION: MONGOLIA, among others.

I’ll be at this for a while I hope, something to look forward to as I march into my seventh decade on the planet, dragging my history behind me as inspiration.

I’d love for you to join me on the journey.

operationamazon

WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: