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WILLIAM MEIKLE

Supernatural Fiction

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Sherlock Holmes: The Dreaming Man, out now.

My new Sherlock Holmes novel, THE DREAMING MAN launches today from Gryphonwood Press.

There’s a paperback too for anyone who prefers hard copy.

THE DREAMING MAN is a novel length expansion to my earlier novella, REVENANT ( that makes up about the first 1/3 or so of this new story.)

Cover art once again by the great Wayne Miller.

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Meikle’s authorial voice is a thing of wonder as you find yourself drawn into the story and racing along after clues with Holmes and Dr. Watson, sometimes losing sight of the fact that this is a horror/armchair mystery mashup created by William Meikle and not one of Doyle’s own creations. – Hellnotes

After being called to help Mycroft with a case in the House of Lords, our duo find themselves on the run, pursued by the law and beset by a foe who cannot be traced.

The clues lead Holmes and Watson to an alchemist in Scotland, and deeper mysteries where they find their case linked to the quest for immortality, and a plot that might bring down the British Empire.

But even as the case appears to reach a conclusion, a series of seemingly unrelated robberies proves that the matter is larger – and more personal – than even the great detective can imagine.

A dreaming man, lost in a fugue, leads them down dark passages, through the streets of London – and underneath them.

Soon Holmes’ brother, Mycroft has to become involved, and the details of a fiendish plot become clearer when Mycroft is abducted.

A friend is lost and found again, an old enemy resurfaces and Holmes must walk perilous paths for a second time.

A fall is coming, a fall that has haunted Holmes’ dreams, and now must be faced again, in the place where past and present become one, and two old foes meet for a final battle.

FUNGOID

There’s been a bit of chat around about FUNGOID in the past few days. Here’s some thoughts from me on how it came about.

When the end came, it wasn’t zombies, asteroids, global warming or nuclear winter. It was something that escaped from a lab. Something small, and very hungry.

In this one you’ll find a chunk of Newfoundland, a fireman, some nasty rain, a bit of real science, a lot of unreal science, some Canadians, many cigarettes, some trucks, boats and planes, and plenty of spores, mushrooms and rot.

It’s for fans of John Wyndham, William Hope Hodgson and H P Lovecraft, and is a wee homage to a lot of the things I’ve loved since childhood. As such, its origins come from several different life strands.

There’s something a lot of people don’t know about me: I used to be a botanist. And no, it doesn’t mean I know about gardening. For my honors thesis I studied how much archaeological information could be gleaned from analyzing pollen grains in the strata of peat bogs in Central Scotland, I spent a year after graduating in cataloging the plant fossil collection in the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, and after that I had an abortive attempt at doing a PhD in the causes of rot in apples as they ripen.

Along the way I also learned quite a lot about fungi. The pollen analysis stuff hasn’t made it into a story of mine yet, but the fungi have; there’s something insidious about the creeping of mycelium, something obscene in the flesh of the caps, something scary in the fact that they spend so much time in the dark, just sitting there… growing.

I started to get a germ (or should that be spore ) of an idea a few years back of a fungal takeover of the planet, and I tried it out in a piece of flash fiction that I sold to NATURE FUTURES. It was just one image I had in mind, of a dark sky and vast, endless fields of high fruiting bodies. The image wouldn’t leave me, and it came back in another story, THE KEW GROWTHS, in my Challenger collection where the Prof has to tackle a giant fungal menace threatening London. That story was fun, but the image I had in my head was still for something a lot darker – something insidious, obscene and scary.

Then in early 2016, another, accompanying, image came, this time of a man in a HAZMAT suit, with nothing inside that was remotely human, just creeping filaments and bursting spores. As soon as I had him in my head the story all came together.

So that’s one thing. Another is the fact that I love end of the world stories.

There’s something cathartic about seeing everything being torn down. It also makes for amusing daydreams when the boss is being a tool or when the commute seems to take forever. And who doesn’t think they couldn’t do better at building a society if given a chance?

So there’s that, and there’s also the sheer spectacle of the thing… the same reason people like to slow down to look at car crashes. There’s a “there but the for grace of God” vibe you get when watching or reading the world being torn down. Emmerlich and Devlin hooked into that early and have made a pot of money out of those very same vibes.

I started my fandom of the genre young and at first it was from a Science Fiction perspective. The British ones from the ’50s and 60’s got my attention, in particular John Wyndham’s DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS and THE CHRYSALIDS. Them, and A CANTICLE FOR LIEBOWITZ were my earliest introductions to the form. After that came tales of cosmic disaster, mainly Lieber’s THE WANDERER and Niven and Pournelle’s LUCIFER’S HAMMER. My interest was further piqued by Terry Nation’s TV show THE SURVIVORS, and Stephen King’s THE STAND, the first to being real horror to the genre IMHO. But my favorite in the genre is by Robert Macammon. His SWAN SONG is a roller coaster blockbuster which eschew’s King’s religious trappings for non-stop action and gritty realism mixed with a slug of the supernatural. My kind of tale.

There is much that is good about civilisation that I’d certainly miss if it went, such as books and entertainment, central heating and modern medicine. But on the whole, civilisation as mankind defines it is hell-bent on destroying the ecosystem and we’re too stupid to stop shitting where we eat. I don’t think it’s a matter of why or why not. We’re now at a stage where it’s only a matter of when. I just hope it’s a few more years yet.

As for FUNGOID – it’s pretty obvious there’s a big Day of the Triffids influence, and that’s deliberate, as Wyndham was one of my favorite writers when I first started reading in the genre back in the late 60s/early 70s. There’s also several William Hope Hodgson touches, again, mostly deliberate. If there’s any unintentional ones there, I haven’t spotted them.

The third strand that weaves its way through FUNGOID is a sense of place.

Having written a lot of stories set back home in Scotland or in London, and now a bunch in Canada, there’s no real difference between them at all for me. A story is a story is a story. This one, however, is set firmly in my new home.

We came over for a holiday in 2005, and fell in love with the place. I was considering writing full time, and when the opportunity came up to sell our house in Scotland, we took the plunge and came on over and got a great house on the shore with a sea view for a tenth of what it would have cost back in the UK. I’ve got a great view from the writing desk, I can write full time, and watch the eagles fly over the bay and icebergs go past in Spring. It’s a quiet fishing village, and it suits me just fine. It’s still pretty rural and unspoiled, a lot of the old traditions, mainly Irish ones, are still followed, and a lot of the old songs are still sung in the bars. It feels more like a Scots/Irish community than anything else. It feels a lot like home to me.

The story begins with spore-filled rain over Newfoundland. I’ve trashed my new homeland in this book. Sorry.

All of the above were in my head when I sat down to start. And thats the fourth strand that makes this book what it is – the writing of it itself.

Below are two quotes from reviews of FUNGOID, and both of them pleased me greatly. I love it when I connect with a reader who gets what I’m up to.

“William Meikle is a talented writer, the story is perfectly paced so that the story isn’t bogged down by character, drama or the science – instead it’s a perfect blend of all three. He doesn’t mince words or add any excessive detail, each word he writes is essential to the story.”

“The story is extremely fast paced, leaving little room for breathing as you flip through the pages.”

I work hard at getting the pace and flow of my work right. Actually, I work hard at all of it, but the pace and flow is what I concentrate on. FUNGOID came through fast and hard, and I let it come at its own speed. It rolled along so smoothly it was as if a film was being unwound in my head.

And that’s how I think of it, now that its done – a glorious, ’50s influenced, B-movie with a creeping menace, an end of the world scenario, and plucky survivors – and scientists – trying to save the day.

I love it, and I hope you do too.

Get it HERE

 

VEIL KNIGHTS THE CIRCLE GATHERS just 99c

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If any of you have been dithering about buying the VEIL KNIGHTS series, the price of the first ebook, THE CIRCLE GATHERS is just 99c on Amazon now. There’s been thousands of copies sold already, with the first four books ( of twelve) available, so get in now and enjoy.

Amazon (COM) |  Amazon (UK)

A modern reimagining of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table sure to please fans of urban fantasy and Arthurian legends alike!

The Veil Knights urban fantasy series is published under the pseudonym Rowan Casey and features regular new volumes detailing the exploits of one of the knights through to summer 2017, when season one of the series comes to its stunning conclusion.

With more than ten million copies of their books in print around the world, including New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestsellers, the authors bringing this series to you include Lilith Saintcrow, CJ Lyons, Joseph Nassise, Steven Savile, Annie Bellet, Jon F. Merz, Pippa DaCosta, Robert Greenberger, William Meikle, Steve Lockley, Hank Schwaeble, and Nathan Meyer.

Cover art by Lou Harper of Harper Design.

Samurai and Other Stories

samurai

My story collection SAMURAI AND OTHER STORIES from Crystal Lake is currently on discount at 99c for Kindle at AMAZON

Here you’ll find numerous ghosts, many Scotsmen, a big blob, some holy relics, some unholy relics, a Mothman, a barbarian, some swordplay, a shoggoth and a lot of unexpected people.

This collection brings together some of my favorite stories from the past decade or so in an exploration of the perils of exploring dark places, both external and internal.

Includes:

  • Samurai
  • Rickman’s Plasma
  • Home is the Sailor
  • Turn Again
  • Inquisitor
  • The Scotsman’s Fiddle
  • The Toughest Mile
  • The Havehome
  • The Yule Log
  • Living the Dream
  • The Shoogling Jenny
  • The Haunting of Esther Cox
  • Dancers
  • The Brotherhood of the Thorns
  • The Young Lochinvar
  • A Slim Chance

So what makes this short story collection so special?

Samurai and other stories contains a real cross section of what I’m all about as a writer. There’s fantasy, swordplay, supernatural beasts, sword and sorcery, ghosts, horror, history, humor and a lot of particularly Scottish characters in weird situations. It’s also got some of what I think of as my strongest work, whether its in the quieter ghost stories, or the blood and thunder sword swinging. I’m very proud of it as a collection, and Crystal Lake have done a wonderful job in the packaging, especially in the brilliant Ben Baldwin cover that captures the title story perfectly.

Tell us more about your title story.

Samurai is a cautionary tale of being careful what you wish for. A group of shipwrecked sailors find shelter in an ancient abandoned Japanese temple. They proceed to sack it of its treasures – but find, to their cost, that the temple has a guardian, and that service comes with a stiff price. It’s a fantasy fable, with more Scots in trouble, more swordplay, and a splash of red gore in the green jungle. It runs in my head like a movie, and in fact, I think it would make a great one, if somebody has the cash for it.

Why should readers give Samurai and Other Stories a try?

It’s packed with entertainment, at least I think so. My ethos as a writer is that story comes first, and I like to think that shows in this collection, whether it be in tales of adventure, or misadventure, spooky goings on in coal mines, strange musicians, poltergeists, magial relics, or the people that nobody expects. A wee bit of something for everybody.

In the pipe, five by five.

carnackitwatgI’m a bit stuck on starting a new big project – this is the first time I’ve not actually been contracted for anything for a few years, and I also think the demise of Dark Renaissance threw me for a loop for a few weeks, but I’m starting to come out of the fug now and can see light ahead.

In the meantime, the list of work I’m waiting to see in publication in print and/or ebook continues to grow apace, with plenty of stuff to look forward to in the remainder of the year and into 2017

There’s two new novels coming.

  • Fungoid – novel / Darkfuse / September 2016
  • Songs of Dreaming Gods – novel / DarkFuse / Feb 2017

There’s also new Ebook editions of work already in print coming soon

  • Carnacki – The Watcher at the Gate – collection / Dark Regions Press
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Quality of Mercy – collection / Dark Regions Press
  • Sherlock Holmes: The London Terrors – 3 novellas / Dark Regions Press
  • Professor Challenger: The Kew Growths – collection / Dark Regions Press
  • The House on the Moor – novella / Dark Regions Press
  • The Amulet – The Midnight Eye #1 – Gryphonwood Press
  • The Sirens – The Midnight Eye #2 – Gryphonwood Press
  • The Skin Game – The Midnight Eye #3 – Gryphonwood Press
  • The Concordances of the Red Serpent – Gryphonwood Press

I have three German Language editions coming of novels

  • The Hole – Voodoo Press
  • The Dunfield Terror – Voodoo Press
  • The Amulet – The Midnight Eye #1 – Blitz Verlag

Alongside that little lot, I’m waiting for 20 stories to appear in anthologies ( including a couple of new HOLMES stories in big mass market books), there’s a juicy novella I can’t tell you about yet, and I’ve got hopes for several other current submissions, so keep everything crossed for me…

Onward and upward.

The Watchers trilogy is back

watchersomnibuskindleMy Scottish historic vampire fantasy is back!

These new editions come from Gryphonwood Press, with shiny new covers by the great Wayne Miller

In my Watchers series I am dealing with a retelling of the Bonnie Prince Charlie story, where romantic myths have already subsumed the harsh reality of a coup gone badly wrong. I needed to strip all the romance out of the Highlanders and build them up from the bottom. Making them a shambling army of vamps and mindless drones seemed an obvious place to start. The Watchers series is a swashbuckler, but there is little lace and finery. What I do have is blood and thunder, death and glory in big scale battles and small scale heartbreak. I love it..


It is 1745, and the long awaited night has come.

The BloodKing calls his army to battle and will bring them South to claim his birthright; the throne of Britain.

Only the young Watchers on the old wall stand in his way.

It is time for them to face their destinies – to whatever end that might lead them.

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The Watchers have failed…but they may yet have a chance at redemption. Can Martin be a leader to his people in their time of need?

And can Sean fulfill his oath without losing his soul?

Neither have much time to consider, for the Boy King is on the rampage…and his heir is waiting to be born in the Blood Chapel of Ross-Lynn.

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A great victory has been won, but the war is far from over.

The Boy-King now needs his bride…and his heir.

The dead are rising. A new darkness is fast approaching. Victory is close…but will the hands of Martin and Sean be too bloodied for them to grasp it?

The conclusion of the critically-acclaimed Watchers series!

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Bonnie Prince Charlie, and all his highland army, are Vampires and are heading south to claim the British throne. The “Watchers” of the title are the guards of the old Roman wall built by Hadrian, now reinforced to keep the vamps out. It is constantly patrolled by officers of the Watch, two of whom become the main protagonists of the series.

I got the idea on a walk along what is left of the wall, and by the time I’d had finished my walk and had a few beers the first part of the trilogy was fully formed in my head. Think “ZULU” or “Last of the Mohicans” with vamps and you’ll get a feel of what I was trying to do.

…superb story. Thoroughly enjoyable from the first word to the last. William Meikle has a wonderfully unique style…” – The Eternal Night Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

“Breathtaking, Scary and Original. A must read. An impressive blend of horror, history and imagination.” – Dave Dreher, Horror News Network

“I was captivated from the very first scene…Very well written.” – Patricia Altner, author of Vampire Readings

“I’m always impressed when anyone can add a new twist to the venerable vampire canon. Hugely enjoyable fun to read.” – Joe Gordon, The Alien Online

“…descriptions so vivid you can almost hear the clash of the swords and smell the blood.” – Murder and Mayhem Bookclub

“William Meikle does it again! The past comes alive, especially the undead! …the perfect follow-up to his fine debut novel.” – Nancy Kilpatrick, author of The Power of the Blood series, editor of Graven Images

“…a confident and breathless romp through an alternative Jacobean history. Aims for entertainment, and hits the mark.” – Simon Morden, Vector, the magazine of the British SF Association

“The author is relentless; just when you catch your breath, something new and exciting happens, sending you spinning into another part of the adventure, and keeping you flipping pages to see what’s next.” – David Wilbanks, Horrorworld

“Anyone who’s fond of a good story and a good piece of writing will enjoy Meikle’s clever conceits, interesting and earthy characters, and well turned prose.” – Dread Central

“Meikle has taken on a much abused genre and re-invented it to present us with a refreshingly different and sinister tale.” – Counterculture

“The book is very well-written. The language is rich, and… I found myself carrying the book everywhere, and taking slightly longer over lunch than I should have, as I just had to know what was happening!” – The Dracula Society

BERSERKER now in paperback and ebook

berserkerMy Vikings versus Yeti novel, BERSERKER is now available in paperback for the first time and there’s also a shiny new ebook edition, both with the new cover by Wayne Miller.

For Tor and Skald this is their first viking raid. Their minds are full of thoughts of honor and glory. What awaits them are beasts. Huge, hairy and fanged, the Alma will not suffer intruders in their domain. When the Vikings slaughter a female Alma they soon find themselves in a battle of  bloody revenge. Now Tor and Skald must stand and be counted, for their destinies await them high in the mountains, where the hairy ones dance.

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The narrative crashes over you like a tidal wave, punches you like a mailed fist and carries you along with joyful, gory abandon. This book is meant to be consumed with gusto.-INNSMOUTH FREE PRESS

…maintains a delicate balance between character development, plot and brutal action. BERSERKER is an intelligent, fast-paced pulp fantasy novel! William Meikle writes to turns conventions on their heads. – PAGE HORRIFIC

Once again Willie Meikle has crafted a first class adventure story, the narrative rushes along like a Viking Longboat caught in a strong tail wind. That’s not to say that Willie skimps on characterisation and plot. The story is peppered throughout with Viking mythology which adds to the reading enjoyment. Not that there was any doubt that this was going to be a great read, I mean Vikings verses Yeti, you know that’s going to be a killer book. – GINGER NUTS OF HORROR

This new edition comes from GRYPHONWOOD PRESS and is the first of several reissues in the near future.

Big beasties fascinate me.

Some of that fascination stems from early film viewing. I remember being taken to the cinema to see The Blob. I couldn’t have been more than seven or eight, and it scared the crap out of me. The original incarnation of Kong has been with me since around the same time.

Similarly, I remember the BBC showing re-runs of classic creature features late on Friday nights, and THEM! in particular left a mark on my psyche.

I’ve also got a Biological Sciences degree, and even while watching said movies, I’m usually trying to figure out how the creature would actually work in nature – what would it eat? How would it procreate? What effect would it have on the environment around it?

On top of that, I have an interest in cryptozoology, of creatures that live just out of sight of humankind, and of the myriad possibilities that nature, and man’s dabbling with it, can throw up.

Back at the movies again, another early influence was the Kirk Douglas / Tony Curtis movie THE VIKINGS. There’s that, and when I was very young I would be taken ten miles over the hill to the shore at Largs on the Ayrshire coast. There’s a memorial there to The Battle of Largs where Scots fought off Vikings. The story was told to me so often it sunk into my soul, and as kids we spent many a day in pretend swordfights as Vikings (when it wasn’t Zorro – but that’s another story

All those things were going round in my head when I first sat down to write BERSERKER. And there might be some of THE THIRTEENTH WARRIOR in there too.

Free unbirthday reads

thepersistenceofmemoryIt’s my birthday on Monday 25th Jan, so here’s some unbirthday free reads for anyone interested.

These are all short stories previously published over the years in a variety of magazines and anthologies.

They provide a pretty good snapshot of what I’m all about, with ghosts, monsters, beer, aliens, slime, more beer, a lot of Scotsman, some very silly stuff and some serious stuff.

This is who I am.

 

Permanently Free on Kindle

Permanently Free on Smashwords for other ereader formats

Please help yourself.

My top seller – THE INVASION

invasionTHE INVASION reached no 2 in both Kindle SF and Kindle Horror and has sold over 20,000 copies.

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I nearly didn’t bother writing it.

The first science fiction I ever encountered was Fireball XL5, one of the early Gerry Anderson productions. I was only about four years old, but I was hooked immediately on spaceships and adventure in the stars. I grew up during the exciting part of the space race, staying up nights to watch space-walks then moon missions, eyes wide in wonder as Armstrong made his small step. At the same time Gerry Anderson had continued to thrill me, with Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet. The Americans joined in, with Lost in Space then, as color TV reached Scotland, Star Trek hit me full between the eyes.
Also at the same time, my reading was gathering pace. I’d started on comics early with Batman and Superman. As the ’60s drew to a close, Marvel started to take over my reading habits more, and I made forays into reading novels; Clarke and Asimov at first, and most of the Golden-Age works. By the early Seventies I had graduated to the so-called New Wave, Moorcock, Ellison, Delaney and Zelazny dominating my reading, and they led me on to reading, then writing horror.
I more or less stopped reading Science Fiction round about then, but I never stopped watching, especially after Star Wars gave the visual genre a huge push forward. I re-discovered the ’50s classics after the advent of the VCR and quickly built a huge collection of movies, many of which I still watch avidly.
Which brings me, in a long winded manner, to the novella, The Invasion.

Another part of my early reading, and the one that united my Science Fiction reading with my horror reading, was the works of H P Lovecraft. I realised that the Invasion in my story would have Lovecraftian antecedents, in that it would come from space, and be completely uncaring of the doings of the human race. My training as a biologist also made me realise that aliens should be -really- alien, not just simulcra of pre-existing terrestrial forms. Once I had that in my mind, it didn’t take much to come up with a “color out of space” that would engulf the planet.
Most Invasion movies concentrate on the doings in big cities, and with the involvement of the full force of the military. I wanted to focus more on what it would mean for the people. Living as I am in Canada, in a remote Eastern corner, I was able to draw on local knowledge and home in on people already used to surviving in extreme conditions. I just upped the ante.
An interest in conspiracy theories and post-apocalypse survivalists also gave me one of the main characters, and the early parts of the story are a news report from the bunker where he has retreated to ride out whatever is coming.

So come with me, to a winter storm in the Maritimes, where a strange green snow is starting to fall.

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