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WILLIAM MEIKLE

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THE EXILED is back

When people ask me what’s my favorite of the books I’ve written, this one often comes to mind. There’s a lot of me in this one; it’s Scottish, it’s set in Edinburgh and rural Scotland, and there’s a particularly Scottish flavor to the people and the dialogue. It’s one of those books where I said what I meant to say, and was happy with the end result, which doesn’t always happen.

Its origins are in a nightmare, in my childhood, and in the bars and alleyways of Edinburgh itself. Even the castle makes an appearance.

It’s available again now in ebook at Crossroad Press having originally been published by DarkFuse, and there’s an audiobook, masterfully done by fellow Scotsman Chris Barnes, who got the accents and banter exactly right.

AMAZON     SMASHWORDS

The nightmare? I’ve been having it off and on since I was a boy. It’s of a bird – a huge, black, swan. The stuff that dreams are made of.

In the nightmare I’m on the edge of a high sea cliff. I feel the wind on my face, taste salt spray, smell cut grass and flowers. I feel like if I could just give myself to the wind I could fly. Then it comes, from blue, snow covered mountains way to the north, a black speck at first, getting bigger fast. Before I know it it is on me, enfolding me in feathers. It lowers its head, almost like a dragon, and puts its beak near my ear. It whispers.

I had the dream many times, and always woke up at this point.

Then, in 1991, I heard what it said.

“Will we talk about the black bird?”

The next morning, for the first time, I wrote a story. It wasn’t a very good story, but something had been woken up, and the day after that I wrote another, a wee ghost story. It didn’t have a black bird in it, but it did have some jazz, and a sultry broad, a murder and some dancing. When that one made me 100 pounds in a ghost story competition, I was on my way.

The bird comes back and whispers to me every couple of years – I’ve come to think of it as my spirit guide. Although it terrifies me, it also reassures me in a weird kind of way. As long as it’s around, I’ll still be a writer and not just a drunk with weird ideas he can’t express.

The bird came to me a few years back, and the next morning I had an idea forming, a murder mystery that led to a place of legend and horror, a myth. THE EXILED is a way of making sense of that dream – I think I got close to the heart of it.

Will we talk about the black bird?

When several young girls are abducted from various locations in Edinburgh, Detective John Grainger and his brother Alan, a reporter, investigate the cases from different directions. The abductor is cunning, always one step ahead, and the only clue he leaves behind at each scene are the brutalized corpses of black swans. When the brothers’ investigations finally converge at a farmhouse in Central Scotland, they catch a glimpse of where the girls have been taken, a place both far away yet close enough to touch. A land known throughout Scottish history with many names: Faerie, Elfheim, the Astral Plane – Brigadoon. It is a place of legend and horror, a myth. But the brothers soon discover it is real, and, to catch the abductor, they will have to cross over themselves. 

You’ve just given your wee posh company car away to a known villain in exchange for an old banger and two bacon rolls, you’re on the run accused of murder, and your only alibi is that you were away in Fairyland with a big black bird. It’s hardly any wonder something smells of shite.

To catch a killer, John and Alan Grainger will have to battle the Cobbe, a strange and enigmatic creature that guards the realm, a creature of horrific power that demands a heavy price for entry into its world. The fate of both realms hangs in the balance… and time is running out…

Shall we talk about the Black Bird? 

Totally gripping, The Exiled delivers a killer story that will appeal to fans of both crime fiction and dark fantasy. – The Ginger Nuts of Horror

This book will appeal to people in the overlapping section of a Venn diagram showing Grimm Tales readers, Stephen King fans and crime fiction lovers. – This is Horror

A must-read for any fan of horror or truly dark fantasy. Highest possible recommendation. – Horror After Dark

 

 

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NIGHT OF THE WENDIGO is back.

My novel, NIGHT OF THE WENDIGO, is rereleased today in a new ebook edition from Crossroad Press. Formerly at DarkFuse, it picked up some great reviews back in its first release, and I’m hoping it’s going to get a new audience with this new edition.

AMAZON      SMASHWORDS

Four hundred years ago a Scottish cargo ship fell prey to a Wendigo at an early settlement on the Hudson River. Now a team of archaeologists have uncovered the boat, and let loose the evil. Manhattan is soon overrun by an ice storm like no other before it.

There are things moving in the storm.

Blue, cold things, with razor sharp teeth. 

Since I moved from Scotland to Newfoundland I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with cold weather. Part of me finds it fascinatingly beautiful, and I’m often in awe of the force and majesty of the winter storms that sweep this island from January till April. But another part of me pines for warm, sultry days in the sun.

Back in the winter of 2007/8, a particularly harsh one in these parts, I started to have a germ of a story idea. At that stage I only knew I wanted to do an “ancient evil comes back for revenge” tale, and I wanted to trash a big city in print. (This was before I wrote CRUSTACEANS, and I hadn’t tried anything on this scale before.) That it would involve weather extremes was a no-brainer, given that, at the time I had the idea, we had three feet of snow on the ground here.

I started with no real plan beyond an opening scene where archaeologists uncover an old boat on a cargo dock in Manhattan. Pretty quickly a cast of characters started to squabble for my attention; cops, forensic teams, other archaeologists and a conspiracy nut. Somehow they all fitted in to the same story, and I had to step back for a while to outline a plot.

The characters never stopped squabbling, but the main character, the winter storm itself, rode roughshod over them, and it was the force of the storm that drove the story forward in my head.

It runs in my mind like any number of big dumb disaster movies, with its theme of chaos and destruction coming to modern Manhattan, with antecedents in the Emmerlich and Devlin blockbusters 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, and even Godzilla.

I’d love to be able to sit down with my popcorn and beer and watch it for myself on a big screen. It’s a dream I have.

This book is informed as much by classic drive-in B-movies as it is by prose fiction and it’s none the worse for that. It would, in fact, make a pretty good film. It’s an exciting page-turner of a book that I finished in just two sittings. – THE BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY

Night Of the Wendigo is one hell of a story by one hell of a storyteller at the top of his game and is a tale that is not to be missed… I give it my highest recommendation. – FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND MAGAZINE

Night of The Wendigo is another near perfect example of why I love Willie’s writing. Within minutes I was transported into another world, a world in which all the crap of real life didn’t exist. All that existed and all that mattered for my time spent in this book was the book itself. Some books require you to think and concentrate, and some books like this places your brain right in the centre of an 3D Dolby 7.1 surround sound narrative. And please believe me this is no criticism of Willie’s writing, Willie has a gift for writing highly entertaining thrilling novels, and this is no exception. – GINGER NUTS OF HORROR 

 

 

Fifty bricks in the book wall

With OPERATION: ANTARCTICA my book wall has hit 50 covers. Which is nice. And more to come… next goal is 100 for the anthology appearances wall, which is at 93 so far. Not bad for an old fart.

Get details of them all here

A Tale of Two Books

I spent much of December giving my new Victorian supernatural collection THE GHOST CLUB a big push, with a whole-hog blog tour, interviews, podcasts and frequent postings on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and anywhere else that would have me.

At the same time, my very pulpy creature feature book from Severed Press, INFESTATION was out, but I did little to publicise it beyond a few posts here and there on social media, as it had arrived quickly and with little time to set up reviews or interviews to help with the launch.

And now, into the New Year, they’re both out there and selling, doing okay.

But guess which one is doing better?

I think the cosmos is trying to tell me something.

Maybe I should be listening.

2017 – My short story appearances

I was going to post about how it had been a quiet year on the short story front, then I did a count back. I was rather more busy that I thought 🙂

  • The Longdock Air / Shadows Over Main Street 2 / Cuttingblock Press
  • Call and Response / The Arkham Detective Agency / Dark Regions Press
  • A Life in the Day of / NATURE Futures
  • The Last Quest / Through a Mythos Darkly / PS Publishing
  • Carnacki: The Lakeside Cottages / The Children of Gla’aki / Dark Regions Press
  • Carnacki: The Lusitania / Fearful Fathoms / Scarlet Galleon
  • Carnacki: Bedlam in Yellow / Nightland Quarterly / Nightland (Japan)
  • Transplanted / Ask You, Ask Me / Xiaoduo Media (China)
  • Stars and Sigils / Halfway to Anywhere / Sinister Grin Press
  • The Call of the Deep / The Return of the Old Ones / Dark Regions Press
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Gentlemanly Wager / Sherlock Holmes and the School for Detection / Little Brown
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Little Washer Woman / MMX Publishing
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Ghost Shirt / Occult Detective Quarterly #3
  • Occult Legion: The Nest / Occult Detective Quarterly # 1
  • Got my Mojo Working (with David Wilbanks) / Occult Detective Quarterly #1
  • The Needs of the Many / The Stars at Our Door / April Moon
  • The Pied Piper of Providence / Once Upon An Apocalypse / Crystal Lake
  • Staying Alive Among the Beasts / Unnerving Magazine #4
  • Outposts / Further tales of Cthulhu Invictus / Golden Goblin Press

 

Several more interesting things lined up for 2018 too.

Onward!

2017 – My Writing Year

It’s been quite a year.

It started with DarkFuse publishing my novel FUNGOID to great reviews, only for the publisher to fold just as sales were starting to take off, leaving the book, and all my other DarkFuse titles in limbo. I’ve since managed to place all the works at Crossroad Press who are doing a sterling job of getting old and new books into ebook, print and audiobook. They’ve already brought out the new novel SONGS OF DREAMING GODS and the reprint of THE HOLE, as well as the three Sigils and Totems novellas. Next up from them is RAMSKULL, a Scottish Hammer horror tribute with Satanism and bloody mayhem on a small Scottish island, so look out for that.

DarkFuse weren’t the only publisher to disappear. Dark Renaissance finally ended their on-again, off-again dance, leaving me with another couple of books to home. My Sherlock Holmes novel, THE DREAMING MAN, found a home and was published in the spring by the ever reliable Gryphonwood Press, and my third Carnacki collection, THE EDINBURGH TOWNHOUSE was published in the Fall by The Lovecraft Ezine imprint to some very satisfying reviews.

On the personal front, my wife fell very ill, and a lot of the late Spring and early Summer for me was spent in worry that has thankfully abated a bit with her recovery. It left me with some catching up to do on the writing front that I’ve just about managed to handle.

I’ve been involved in the ROWAN CASEY / VEIL KNIGHTS series cooperative venture with some great fantasy writers, and that’s been fun, playing out of my usual comfort zones.

And towards the end of the year I’ve seen the publication of my big-bug creature feature INFESTATION at Severed Press, and, most recently, and the current focus of much of my activity, my Victorian supernatural short story collection, THE GHOST CLUB from Crystal Lake Publishing. It’s picking up great reviews. Which is nice.

2017 also saw me making some inroads into the German language market, with THE AMULET and SHERLOCK HOLMES: REVENANT being published by Blitz Verlag in ebook and very nice mass-market format paperbacks. I have THE INVASION coming from them soon, and have also sold a handful of novels to Voodoo Press for publication in German, so watch this space.

With all of that, my short stories in anthologies and magazines have taken a bit of a back seat this year, but I’ve had some great appearances, including one alongside the likes of Joyce Carol Oates and Joe Lansdale among others, and I’ve repeated my success with sales to Night Land Quarterly in Japan, had my sixth sale to NATURE FUTURES, and some nice appearances in Dark Regions Press anthologies. I also took great delight in providing a James Bond novella to April Moon Books’ BOND UNKNOWN. (Contrary to S. T. Joshi’s well publicised belief, I am not actually trying to make a career out of Carnacki pastiches.)

I hope to get more time next year to hit some short story markets, but it’s already looking to be a busy one.

Coming up I have…

  • The Boathouse (novel) / Crossroad Press
  • Ramskull (novel) / Crossroad Press
  • The Green and The Black (novel) / Crossroad Press
  • Operation: Antarctica (novel) / Severed Press
  • Fungoid (novel) / New Edition coming soon from Crossroad Press
  • The Dunfield Terror (novel) / New Edition coming soon from Crossroad Press
  • The Exiled (novel) / New Edition coming soon from Crossroad Press
  • Night of the Wendigo (novel) / New Edition coming soon from Crossroad Press
  • Tormentor (novella) / New Edition coming soon from Crossroad Press
  • Clockwork Dolls (novella) / New Edition coming soon from Crossroad Press

There’s also the novella, BLACKTOP coming in Dark Regions Press’ huge I AM THE ABYSS anthology that I’m really looking forward to, and work in another handful of anthologies waiting to be published, including a story in Jeffrey Thomas’ PUNKTOWN setting that I think is close to the best thing I’ve ever written.

As for the writing schedule, I’ve got another novel, OPERATION: SIBERIA to write for Severed Press, I’ve got book 3 of a fantasy trilogy I’m working on with Steve Savile to complete, and I’ve had a tickle of interest from a publisher interested in a set of Victorian ghost stories.

I’ve got my 60th birthday in January. I always thought I’d be dead or at least stopped writing by now, but it seems I still have stories to tell.

Busy, busy, busy.

Onward.

NEW ADDITIONS TO THE MEIKLE MYTHOS

Several of the stories in my new collection THE GHOST CLUB fit into my ongoing Sigils and Totems mythos.

It’s a simple enough concept.

There are houses like this all over the world. Most people only know of them from whispered stories over campfires; tall tales told to scare the unwary. But some, those who suffer… some know better. They are drawn to the places where what ails them can be eased.

If you have the will, the fortitude, you can peer into another life, where the dead are not gone, where you can see that they thrive and go on, in the dreams that stuff is made of.

There it is in a nutshell. There are houses where people can go to get in touch with their dead loved ones.

But this gives me lots of things to play with. To even get inside a room, you need a sigil; a tattoo or carving on your skin, and a totem, a memento of your loved one. Then there’s the fact that your loved one might be a parallel universe version rather than the one you actually know.

And where do these houses come from? What’s behind the walls? How do they work? Why do they work? And who chooses the concierges who run them? Or fixes them when they don’t work?

So I’ve got all that to play with, plus the fact that the houses can exist anywhere, at any time. They’re like lots of boxy, multi-faceted Tardis, spread across space time, places and situations into which I can hook in characters and stories.

I think I’ve stumbled into something that could keep me busy for a few years.

When it came to writing THE GHOST CLUB stories, I thought it would be fun to have some of the famous writers stumble into this mythos, as if it’s something that has always been out there, on the fringes of storytelling since stories were first told.

So I have Bram Stoker telling of strange doings in a house in Whitechapel, a tale that is the most directly linked in the mythos of them all, I have Rudyard Kipling’s army officer stumbling into a cellar in the mountains of India where a house is in the process of being ‘born’, and I have Henry James telling of a chess set that may, or may not, have come from another such house, and which will turn up soon in a later story of mine that’s going into the whole mythos in more depth.

These stories add to the novel, three novellas, and another handful of tales that are already published, and there is more to come.

I’m Willie Meikle, and this is my mythos.

http://www.williammeikle.com/aboutsigilsandtotems.html

The Ghost Club Launch Tour – Stop 2

THE GHOST CLUB LAUNCH TOUR – STOP 2

Today I’m over at my friend Blaze McRob’s place, talking about some Scottish supernatural fiction writers and some other Scots who have influenced me over the years.

http://www.blazemcrob.com/2017/12/guest-blog-post-for-ghost-club-newly.html

THE GHOST CLUB LAUNCH TOUR – STOP 1

THE GHOST CLUB Launch Tour kicks off properly today with a long introductory interview over at my favorite review site THE GINGER NUTS OF HORROR.

Jim has built up a great resource over there in recent years, and has always been a strong supporter of my work, so it’s only fitting we start here, at the very beginning, a very fine place to start.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…

http://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/dare-you-enter-the-ghost-club-an-interview-with-willie-meikle

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