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WILLIAM MEIKLE

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Sigils and Totems

The Seton family

Regular readers of mine know that I like to seed Seton family Easter eggs in my books. They’re generally wee red-haired Scotsmen and women who either dabble in alchemy, know more than they’re telling, might or might not be immortal, or have sold their souls for a shiny sword and a way with the ladies — they crop up all over the place.

Recently a young member of the family (and another cousin of his too) has turned up in the Rowan Casey / Veil Knights series, an elder statesman is in Ramskull, Occult Detective Quarterly #1, and Sherlock Holmes: The Dreaming Man. Alexander, who was the first to make himself known to me, is in The Concordances of the Red Serpent, and his granddaughter turns up in a new Derek Adams story coming soon in Occult Detective Quarterly Presents.

Then there’s Augustus, still hacking his violent way through late 16th Century Scotland in a sequence of sword and sorcery stories — he’ll be back I’m sure.

They’re also tied to an ancient mystical book, THE TWELVE CONCORDANCES OF THE RED SERPENT, an alchemical tome written by an elder Seton at the time of Bannockburn. There’s a copy in Carnacki’s library in Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, Sherlock Holmes has seen a copy too, as has Derek Adams, and one turned up in my recent novella, THE JOB.

The family, and the book are also in the process of being tied in to my Sigils and Totems mythos, so everything is all spinning around in one big happy dance of chaos.

It gives readers who read a lot of my books something to look out for, a wee wink and secret handshake between them and me as reward for their time spent in my worlds.

Plus, it’s fun.

Fun is good.

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Genre gear change. Maybe.

I’ve tried my hand at several works of fantasy over the years, and they almost always come out the same way — pulpy, with swords, sorcery, monsters and bloody battles to the fore. It’s the way I roll.

I may start with good intentions, of writing high fantasy with political intrigue and courtly goings on but, as in the Watchers series or Berserker, or some of the stories in the Samurai collection, my inner barbarian muscles to the fore, says Bugger this for a lark, and starts hacking.

The blame for my enthusiasm can be laid squarely at several doors.

There’s Conan, of course, and Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon and the whole pantheon of Eternal Champions; there’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Solomon Kane, Jon Shannow, Druss, the princes of Amber and the shades of a thousand more by the likes of Poul Anderson, A E Merritt, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H Rider Haggard and many others.

I’ve just come out of a months-long stint on another one, a historical trilogy set in 14th C Paris, with Templar mysteries, desert magic and more swashes than you can buckle, and it’s off to my co-writer Steve Savile for him to weave some more magic into it.

Up next for me is another creature feature for SEVERED PRESS, but I’m already thinking ahead — this might be the year for my own fantasy epic, which will likely be dark, and feature my SIGILS AND TOTEMS mythos in a Stone Age fantasy setting. I’ve got an outline that involves tattoos, flightless birds, thylacines, lost cities, pirates, whale cults, crocodile gods, the dreamtime, a big black bird, mad sorcerors, sea battles and love lost, found, and lost again. It’s been in my head for years. As I say, it might be time for it to come out.

It’s fermenting. The warmer weather this summer might see it develop.

 

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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

November Newsletter

The three Sigils and Totems novellas are now available in a compiled ebook collection from Crossroad Press ( paperback on its way)

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.

I’ve started linking it through to some of my other characters and ongoing work, so there’s sigils and totems stories featuring members of the Seton family, Derek Adams, the Midnight Eye, and Carnacki. Augustus Seton will be getting involved in 16th C Scotland soon too.

The novellas that used the concept, BROKEN SIGIL, THE JOB and PENTACLE were well received and are in standalone ebooks, and now collected in this single omnibus edition.

As ever all shares or mentions of the book on social media would be greatly appreciated.


 

A bargain box set is now available that contains, among other fine things, my early Scottish vampire novel ELDREN: THE BOOK OF THE DARK. And all in, you get 10 novels for 99c / 99p. Bargain! Here’s the gen.

Ten dark novels of supernatural horror from some of today’s bestselling authors!

This collection includes:

  • Closet Treats by Paul E. Cooley
  • The Crypt of Dracula by Kane Gilmour
  • Eldren: The Book of the Dark by William Meikle
  • Still Water by Justin R. Macumber
  • Refuge-Night of the Blood Sky by Jeremy Robinson
  • Dark Rite by David Wood and Alan Baxter
  • The Flat by Rick Chesler and Jack Douglas
  • Laughing Boy’s Shadow by Steven Savile
  • Piercing Through by RJ Fanucchi
  • Hunger by Jeremy Robinson

 


 

In other news

 

  • I’m busy setting up a tour of blogs and podcasts for the launch of THE GHOST CLUB from Crystal Lake Publishing on 8th December. Got some great blurbs in for the book too.
  • I’m looking forward to the release of INFESTATION, my big bug creature feature novel from Severed Press, and I have a new contract to write another novel for them.
  • I have a story in THROUGH A MYTHOS DARKLY from PS Publishing
  • I have a story in SHADOWS OVER MAIN STREET 2 from Cuttingblock Press alongside the likes of Joyce Carol Oates and Joe Lansdale
  • I have one of my Sherlock Holmes stories in OCCULT DETECTIVE QUARTERLY #3
  • I have a novella coming in the huge I AM THE ABYSS anthology from Dark Regions Press alongside the likes of Michael Marshall Smith and Steve Rasnic Tem that’s available to order now
  • Crossroad Press have a schedule for the publication of all my rehomed DarkFuse books new and old. Next up is RAMSKULL, a Scottish black magic Hammer horror tribute thing
  • Carnacki:The Edinburgh Townhouse and Other Stories is selling well from the Lovecraft Ezine Press
  • I’m on part 3 of a secret big honking fantasy trilogy I’m writing with a name author.

Busy, busy, busy.


New Book Day: Sigils and Totems: A novella collection

The three Sigils and Totems novellas are now available in a compiled ebook collection from Crossroad Press ( paperback on its way)

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’ve also started linking it through to some of my other characters and ongoing work, so there’s sigils and totems stories featuring members of the Seton family, Derek Adams, the Midnight Eye, and Carnacki. Augustus Seton will be getting involved in 16th C Scotland soon too.

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

More details HERE.

The novellas that used the concept, BROKEN SIGIL, THE JOB and PENTACLE were well received and are in standalone ebooks, and also collected in a single omnibus edition ( the paperback will be along soon).

There’s a novel that expands 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, coming soon, 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.

Alongside them, there’s a growing number of short stories, including the title story in my latest CARNACKI collection, THE EDINBURGH TOWNHOUSE.

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.

BROKEN SIGIL – A Sigils and Totems novella relaunches

A novella in the Sigils and Totems mythos, rereleased in ebook from Crossroad Press.

I’ve been having a nightmare 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 can move it is on me, enfolding me in feathers. It lowers its head and puts its beak near my ear. It whispers.

The bird’s most recent appearance in my dreams was early this year, and the next morning I had an idea that fused my own history, my favorite movie and my bad habits into one coherent whole.

In this one you’ll find a New York brownhouse, a broken cop, betrayal, smokes, hard liquor, the dreams that stuff is made of, memories, regrets, more smokes, more liquor, and a black bird.

BROKEN SIGIL is the most personal thing I’ve ever written, and was the kicking off point for what is an ongoing mythos of Sigils and Totems stories. It’s also among my favorites of all my works.

Will we talk about the black bird?

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

A bravura performance. – Pete Tennant, Black Static #38

The book has a strong and interesting story. The dread is mostly in the unseen, with little violence or gore. It’s all very subtle, and following a satisfying conclusion, very rewarding. – SCREAM Magazine

…would have made a great ‘Twilight Zone’ episode. – British Fantasy Society

While Broken Sigil is filled with ghosts, its true power lies in how it will haunt the reader’s mind even after the last word is read. Broken Sigil is one of those rare stories that is powerful enough to make the reader think about every word and turn it into something much more meaningful than just another story. – Examiner.com

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.

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