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WILLIAM MEIKLE

Genre Fiction

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Sigils and Totems

Q&A: What do you have coming up?

So, Willie. What do you have coming down the pike in 2017 and beyond that we can look forward to sinking our teeth into?”

On the novels side, I have 3 coming from DarkFuse, all in limited edition hardcover at first with ebooks to follow …

SONGS OF DREAMING GODS is a tale of a very strange house on a corner plot in St. John’s Newfoundland, and a continuation and exploration of more parts of my ongoing Sigils and Totems works. Dark fantasy more than horror I think…

THE BOATHOUSE is a short novel set here in my new home town of Catalina, and is a tale of an old boathouse, a hurricane, a derelict whaler and a very strange scrimshaw chess set… it also touches on the sigils and totems mythos, but less overtly.

RAMSKULL is a Scottish based Hammer horror homage – satanic rituals on a remote Scottish island, with plenty of gore and mayhem.

On the short stories front, I have 2 collections coming…

CARNACKI: THE EDINBURGH TOWNHOUSE is another set of new Carnacki ghost stories, this time coming from the Lovecraft Ezine fiction imprint.

THE GHOST CLUB is a set of Victorian supernatural stories coming from Crystal Lake and is a set told as if by different writers of the period, so there’s tales by Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, H Rider Haggard, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Jules Verne etc… Pretty damn ambitious of me, and might fall flat on its face, but I had to try… 🙂 More info on that coming soon.

There’s another Newfoundland based horror novel currently with DarkFuse for consideration, a tale of industrial archaeologists and strange things coming up from an old mine shaft…

And I’m working on a big epic historical fantasy trilogy collaboration with another writer at the moment… book 1 nearly done. More info on that when we’re ready to tell the world…

 

As always, get my newsletter to keep up to date with forthcoming releases.

Q&A: What was your favorite story to write?

That’s always a difficult one, as it changes with my mood. But I think I nailed it most in two fairly recent novellas, BROKEN SIGIL, and TORMENTOR, both from DarkFuse.

BROKEN SIGIL was the start of what is growing into a personal vision of mine, a mythos surrounding haunted houses that’s now spun off into more novellas, novels and short stories and is still growing. Broken Sigil itself is a slice of modern noir concerning a cop, a dead, unfaithful wife, a murdered partner and an obsession with the movie The Maltese Falcon. I got a lot out of my system with that one, and emotionally I think it really works.

TORMENTOR is a rather more traditional haunted house tale, set on a remote Scottish highland lochside; a recently bereaved artist arrives looking for seclusion, but the house wants to communicate. Loudly. The idea of a communicating rhythm underlying the real world is also a personal thing for me, and in TORMENTOR I got to figure out the ideas as I went along, and even scared myself a bit in the process. Again, I said what I needed to say, and I think it works splendidly.

But ask me again tomorrow, I’ll probably choose something else, as THE DUNFIELD TERROR is also one where I think I nailed it. And FUNGOID…

Getting away from favorite to ‘most fun’, I always come back to my Scottish PI Derek Adams. The Midnight Eye is really just me in another reality, mooching my way around the streets of Glasgow, drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and fighting the dark side. That’s my happy place.

 

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A Sigils and Totems Mythos – the story so far

I’m just about to embark on a connected set of stories that will add to my growing pieces of work that encompass the Sigils and Totems idea. A Meikle Mythos if you like.

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 more to come.

The first two novellas that used the concept, BROKEN SIGIL and PENTACLE were both well received. There’s two novels coming from DarkFuse that expand the idea further, SONGS OF DREAMING GODS, where a house is lying empty in the town center of St. Johns, Newfoundland after a brutal ritual murder, and THE BOATHOUSE, where the rooms are on an old whaling boat in a derelict shed and seem connected to an old chess set, and the arrival of a hurricane.

NOVELS

  • Songs of Dreaming Gods (coming soon from DarkFuse)
  • The Boathouse (coming soon from DarkFuse)

NOVELLAS

  • Broken Sigil (DarkFuse)
  • Pentacle (DarkFuse)
  • The Job (DarkFuse Magazine)
  • The Midnight Eye: Farside (Coming soon from Occult Detective Quarterly Presents…)

SHORT STORIES

  • Renewal ( The Black Room Manuscripts Volume 2 / The Sinister Horror Company )
  • Stars and Sigils ( Halfway to Anywhere / Sinister Grin Press)
  • Carnacki: The Edinburgh Townhouse – coming soon in a new collection from Lovecraft ezine
  • The House of the Dead – coming soon in THE GHOST CLUB collection from Crystal Lake Publishing
  • Outposts – coming soon in Further tales of Cthulhu Invictus / Golden Goblin Press
  • The Yellow Room – TBA
  • Refugee – TBA

 

I’ve also got an idea for a big honking fantasy trilogy using the concept, but that’ll have to wait until I’ve got time to do it justice.

 

Wish me luck, I’m about to knock on the door again.

Coming up from me…

After a relatively quiet patch on the publications front, I’ve got a lot of material coming out in the rest of 2017 and through 2018.

On the longer works side I have the following:

  • Songs of Dreaming Gods, a Sigils and Totems novel from DarkFuse
  • The Boathouse, a Sigils and Totems novel from DarkFuse
  • Ramskull, a Hammer horror homage novel from DarkFuse
  • The Ghost Club, a Victorian supernatural short story collection from Crystal Lake Publishing
  • Carnacki: The Edinburgh Townhouse, a short story collection from the Lovecraft ezine imprint
  • The Job, a Sigils and Totems novella from DarkFuse
  • Deal or No Deal, a Midnight Eye novella from Gryphonwood Press

As for stories in anthologies, there’s these to look forward to:

  • The Root of All Things / By the Light of Camelot / EDGE Publishing
  • The Last Quest / Through a Mythos Darkly / PS Publishing
  • Blacktop / I Am The Abyss / Dark Regions Press
  • Nocturnes and Lacunae / Transmissions From Punktown / Dark Regions Press
  • Call and Response / The Arkham Detective Agency / Dark Regions Press
  • The Longdock Air / Shadows Over Main Street 2 / Cuttingblock Press
  • The Pied Piper of Providence / Once Upon An Apocalypse / Crystal Lake Publishing
  • Outposts / Further tales of Cthulhu Invictus / Golden Goblin Press
  • Tumshiehied / Between Twilight and Dawn / Golden Goblin Press
  • The Needs of the Many / The Stars at Our Door / April Moon
  • The Mouth of the Ness / Cryptid Clash / 18th Wall Productions
  • Carnacki: The Lusitania / Fearful Fathoms / Scarlet Galleon

There’s also a whole load of German Language editions of my books in the works at Blitz Verlag and Voodoo Press, with THE INVASION from Blitz Verlag being next in the pipeline.

So there’s that lot, a couple of secret projects I can’t talk about, and a load of other things currently out on submission. More than enough to keep me busy well through 2017 and past my 60th birthday in January.

If you want to keep up to date with publication dates and releases of the above, announcements will be made first on my newsletter.  ( there’s a free ebook of my HOME FROM THE SEA collection in it for you too if you sign up ).

Onward!

 

Dreamlands – Shall we talk about the black bird?

The black bird has been with me for a long time – 50 years and more now.

I think I first saw The Maltese Falcon in around 1963.

My granddad was a big Bogart fan, and I remember long Sunday afternoons spent sitting at his feet watching movies on the tiny black and white TV that was the norm back in the UK in the early Sixties. Back then everything was Britain was still in black and white – the Beatles were about to change all that, but Bogey would stay eternally gray and eternally Sam Spade for me. Even at that early age there was something about the snappy dialogue and the larger than life character that spoke to me.

I saw the film several times before I got round to reading the book – aged around 12 so about 1970. In much the same way as the film had, the book also spoke to me, touched something in me – the stuff that dreams are made of if you like.

When I started writing for myself, back in school, my voice was heavily influenced by teenage longings – I hadn’t learned enough of the ways of the world to be confident and sparse, I wanted to be flowery and intense and intellectual.

University, then ten years of being a corporate drone quickly drummed that nonsense out of me. I developed cynicism and from that my own voice started to emerge, enough to ensure I could cope with being an adult but not yet enough to turn me into a writer.

The booze did that. Booze and nightmares and a new wife that understood me better than I did myself.

The booze is part and parcel of being brought up in a working class environment in the West of Scotland. Beer came easy to me in my late teens, a love affair I still have to this day. Whisky I had to work a little harder at, but I persevered and developed a taste for single malts that means my habit is largely curtailed by the expense. It doesn’t mean I don’t get the thirst though.

The nightmare? I’ve been having it off and on since I was a boy. It’s of a bird – a huge, black, bird. 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 since 1976, 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.

One of the bird’s recent appeareances was a few years back, and the next morning I had an idea that fused my own history, my favorite movie and my bad habits into one coherent whole – BROKEN SIGIL, my Darkfuse novella is the most personal thing I’ve ever written. It’s also among my favorites of all my works.

Will we talk about the black bird?

About SONGS OF DREAMING GODS

 

A new novel, coming in 2017 from DarkFuse.

SONGS OF DREAMING GODS is the story of a house.

In this one you’ll find creepy china dolls, a haunted lavatory, some hippies, some large, nasty ratty things, a chess board, a reaper, some cops, the great beyond, the other great beyond, and a lot of singing.

This is another in the growing number of stories of mine in a Sigils and Totems mythos that’s been developing through BROKEN SIGIL, PENTACLE, parts of TORMENTOR and several recent short stories. It’s both a culmination of my thinking on how the strange houses work, and an opening gambit for a whole slew of other works to come.

I’ve mentioned elsewhere recently about playing in other writers’ sandboxes – well, this is me, building a sandbox of my own, and I’m going to be happily building play scenarios in it for a while to come.

This is the story of a house.

It sits on a corner block on a hill in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in one of the oldest cities in North America, a non descript, three storey wooden cube, going slowly to seed.

When local cops, John Green, Janis Lodge and Todd Wiggins are sent to investigate a multiple murder on the top floor of the property, they start opening doors and uncovering secrets. But like peeling the layers off an onion, each door opened only leads them deeper into the mystery.

There are houses like this all over the world, and those who suffer are drawn to them, as John, Janis and Todd have been drawn.

They have found their way in.

Can they find their way out again? And at what cost?

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