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WILLIAM MEIKLE

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Short Stories

April Newsletter

A new reissue of Tormentor, some short story sales news and a new giveaway for April, all in the newsletter this month.

The last of my DarkFuse novellas to be reissued, TORMENTOR is now available from Crossroad Press.

In this one there’s a lot of fish, some drums, some beer, a lot of whisky, dancing, some good weather, some bad weather, weird noises in the night and some Spaniards – among other things.

I’ve had a love affair with the Isle of Skye for many years. If we hadn’t come to Newfoundland, we might well have ended up on the same stretch of coastline described in this novella, a windswept shore near Dunvegan Castle.

This novella was a long time in the making. The basic idea came to me way back in 1991, but it took me a long, long time before I felt that my writing was up to the needs of the story. Then, a couple of years back, it all finally came together.

No limbs, no limbs, no head, no head, left arm gone, left leg gone, no legs, no head.

A door is open, and something is coming through. It’s just a matter of when — and what.

With Tormentor William Meikle has crafted a genuine classic Haunted House story that excels in so many different ways.The Ginger Nuts of Horror

Next up from Crossroad Press will be a new short novel, THE BOATHOUSE which is another in my Sigils and Totems series, so watch out for that in May.


I have several nice short story sales to report this month. I’ll have a story, LACUNAE AND NOCTURNES in a forthcoming Dark Regions Press anthology set in Jeffery Thomas’ PUNKTOWN setting, I have an Arthurian fantasy short, THE ROOT OF ALL THINGS coming in By The Light of Camelot from Edge Publishing, there’s a new Carnacki coming with BATS IN THE BELFRY in an Ulthar Press anthology. Also from Ulthar Press, I have a story SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND coming in a new antho, VOICES FROM THE DARKNESS, and there’s a reprint of my CARNACKI: THE KEYS TO THE DOOR coming in Japanese from the magnificent, but undecipherable by me, Nightland Quarterly.


 

April Giveaway – Win 3 Meikle Scottish Supernatural novellas

 

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Five favorite horror short stories

I’ve got a little list, of five of my favorite horror short stories. These ones have been chosen because they’ve stuck with me over the course of many years now. I’m sure there’s recent ones bubbling under that’ll be on this list in years to come.

But for now, here’s my best of the best.

Mackintosh Willy by Ramsey Campbell

My first reading of Mackintosh Willy was in the Dark Companions collection, sometime in the late ’80s. I wasn’t a writer then – I was newly divorced, living in London and mostly drunk. But there was something that crept in that story, something about the urban decay, hopelessness and the way we treat the other that rang a bell with me, and I found myself thinking about it more and more over the next few years. My personal circumstances improved, I got remarried, escaped London…but Ramsey’s story stuck with me, and when I started writing for myself in the early ’90s, some of Ramsey came along with me, for which I’ll always be grateful.

Sredni Vashtar by Saki (Hector Hugh Munro)

I first read this when I was a boy of similar age to the protagonist Conradin, which makes it round about 1968, and it must have been one of the first true horror stories I ever read.

It’s a slow burner, about a child in an unfriendly situation, and how he escapes into a fantasy world of his own making, creating a cult and a religion around his pet ferret, Sredni Vashtar, which is built up in his mind as an all powerful force of destruction. And then the pet is discovered by the unfriendly family.

If you’ve never read it, I won’t spoil it, but it is a delicious tale, the likes of which Roald Dahl would perfect later, but this one, my first of the kind, has always stuck with me and still does to this day, almost 50 years on.

Sticks by Karl Edward Wagner

If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise.

Sticks is Karl Edward Wagner’s homage to the weird tradition, and has been collected several times since it first appeared in Whispers back in the early ’70s. It’s also, purportedly, based on a true story of illustrator Lee Brown Coye’s experiences in 1938 in a farmhouse in the Mann Brook region. I didn’t know that when I first read it, in the Arkham House reprint of the Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos anthology, and even if I had, it couldn’t have made the impact of the tale any stronger than it was already.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a country lad and spent a lot of my time rambling in woodland and playing with sticks myself, but something in this story crept into me and stayed there. I was reminded of it strongly in The Blair Witch Project, and that made the movie even more creepy for me, but the story itself, simple enough as it is in plot, has depth and heft and a capacity to make you look over your shoulder to make sure you’re not being watched. It still strikes a chord today, even after repeated readings. It’s the kind of story I aspire to write, and reminds me, in a way, of Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows, or Machen’s The White People. It’s in good company, and deserves to be.

Smoke Ghost by Fritz Leiber

Another one that’s been with me for an awful long time. In the early ’70s, I was reading Leiber mainly for his science fiction, but stumbled upon a collection that contained this, and was immediately unnerved. Smoke Ghost, written in 1941, was an early attempt to bring ghosts into the modern age, and it works perfectly.

There is a thing here haunting city alleys, roofs and railway lines, a thing of tattered cloth, old newpapers, oil and smoke, a thing of the city’s dispossessed and lost, that is as effective a haunting as anything ever put down on paper, and all the more scary for its modernist trappings. If I’m ever pressed for my favorite short horror story, this is the one that usually first comes to mind, for that thing of scraps and oil haunts me yet, and I’ve met it in my dreams.

Don’t Look Now by Daphne Du Maurier

It’s a masterful feat of storytelling, building from an almost comical, married Brits abroad start to quickly pile on subtle, then not-so-subtle hints that things are not all that they seem. Our protagonist’s journey from concerned husband and his pent up grief at the loss of a child builds into something dark and strange, as if the foreign city itself is conspiring against him.

The final scene, where he faces his grief, and finds the truth, is as shocking in print as it is in film, and that’s a testament to the descriptive and narrative powers of De Maurier.

It’s one of my favorite things, both in print and in film, and I wish I could see, and read, both for the first time all over again.

 

 



 

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Through a Mythos Darkly

Some stories fall through cracks. Some whole books do.

Getting a story in THROUGH A MYTHOS DARKLY was a big deal for me. It’s from PS Publishing, who were one of my white whale publishers, and my story in it is an alternative history Arthurian thing, influenced as much by Michael Moorcock as by H P Lovecraft. I had an awful lot of fun writing it, loose and racing, and it’s one of my favorites of all the stories I’ve written.

And yet… I’m not sure anybody’s read it. Sure, the book is out, and the hardcover in particular is a lovely, lovely thing. But I’ve yet to see a single review, not even on Amazon, and it’s as if the book’s invisible now that it’s out there in the wild.

So if this is your first time hearing about it, seek it out and give it a chance. There’s plenty in there to reward you.

Get the shiny hardcover here  ( ebook is also available)

Here’s the TOC

Cody Goodfellow . . . The Roadrunners
Jeffrey Thomas . . . Scrimshaw
John Langan . . . Sweet Angie Tailor in: Subterranean Showdown
Robert M. Price . . . An Old and Secret Cult
Pete Rawlik . . . Stewert Behr–Deanimator
Don Webb . . . To Kill a King
William Meikle . . . The Last Quest
Christine Morgan . . . Fate of the World
Konstantine Paradias . . . Red in the Water, Salt on the Earth
D.A. Madigan . . . The Night They Drove Cro Magnon Down
Sam Stone . . . Sacrifice
Edward Morris . . . Get Off Your Knees, I’m Not Your God
Stephen Mark Rainey . . . Excerpts from the Diaries of Henry P. Linklatter
Tim Waggoner . . . Plague Doctor
Lee Clark Zumpe . . . Amidst the Blighted Swathes of Grey Desolation
Nick Mamatas & Molly Tanzer . . . Cognac, Communism, and Cocaine
Damien Angelica Walters . . . Kai Monstrai Ateik (When the Monsters Come)

 

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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!

A visit to Spook Central

Definitely the last leg of THE GHOST CLUB tour, an interview at spook central, UK’s HAUNTED magazine where I talk about the book, my own spooky experiences, and beer.

http://www.haunteddigitalmagazine.com/2017/12/did-you-hear-this-story-about-club-of.html

The Ghost Club Launch Tour – Final Stop

I’m calling it now — the Ghost Club launch tour is done.
 
Many thanks to everybody who hosted me, talked to me, listened to me, shared my posts, reviewed the book and generally supported the whole effort. It’s been a load of fun.
 
The links for everything are archived on my web site on this page if anybody missed something.
 
 
I do believe I’m done talking about myself for a while, although I’ve got a lot of things in the pipeline, so there could be a Meikle on Tour 2018 event to come.
 
In the meantime, the book is out there doing its thing, picking up great reviews and hopefully a few more to come.
 
So long, and thanks for all the fish.

An Unbirthday Present

AN UNBIRTHDAY EXCLUSIVE FOR SUBSCRIBERS

It’s my 60th Birthday in January and I’ve decided to give an unbirthday exclusive to my newsletter subscribers. I’ll be sending out a link to download RHYTHM AND BOOZE, a wee collection of Midnight Eye stories, containing the following:

– Rhythm and Booze
– The Weathered Stone
– The Inuit Bone
– The Forth Protocol
– A Slim Chance

Thirty three thousand words of Glaswegian urban fantasy and occult detection.

If you want in on the deal, sign up at the form on the link. You’ll also get my Lovecraftian collection HOME FROM THE SEA free as a new subscriber.

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

The Ghost Club Launch Tour – Stop 18

GHOST CLUB LAUNCH TOUR STOP 18

My as-live radio chat with Jimmy Wienholz at The Horrific Podcast, talking about books, movies and big bugs among other things – I had a blast.

https://horrificnetwork.podbean.com/e/thp-135-william-meikle/

XMAS GIVEAWAY – 3 copies of THE GHOST CLUB to be won

Fancy your chances at winning a copy of THE GHOST CLUB? Either sign up for my newsletter, send some tweets, subscribe to the RSS, or do all three and tweet every day for more chances to win. 
 

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