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WILLIAM MEIKLE

Genre Fiction

FUNGOID is back – new release from Crossroad Press

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.

GET IT ON AMAZON    SAMPLE

For fans of John Wyndham, William Hope Hodgson and H P Lovecraft, here’s a wee homage to a lot of the things I’ve loved since childhood.

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 cataloging the plant fossil collection in the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, and I had an abortive attempt at doing a PhD in the causes of rot in apples as they ripen.

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 ( you can read that one–> here. ) It was the 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 another, accompanying, image came – a man in a HAZMAT suit, with nothing inside that was remotely human, just creeping filaments and bursting spores.

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

A band of survivors on the Eastern coast of Canada watch as their world falls and crumbles to ruin. The infection seems relentless. More than that, it seems to be learning, adapting and evolving faster than they can fight it. Worse still—it is infecting not just their bodies, but is creeping into their minds, dancing in their dreams.  Can they stop it before it takes them? Or must they all join in the final dance of death? 

Fungoid is a fast paced ecohorror thriller that delivers on all fronts. The large cast of characters combined with Meikle’s tight plotting and a keen eye for dialogue bring a real cinematic feel to the narrative. By focusing more on the fast based plot rather than getting bogged down by over characterisation Meikle has created a real page-turner. – GINGER NUTS OF HORROR 

Lightning fast, engaging and thouroughly entertaining. – Unnerving Magazine 

The end result is a deeply entertaining piece of writing which takes a number of well-established tropes and characters and moulds them into something new. – Dark Musings

Recommended for fans of fast paced, plague spreading, biological menaces! – Char’s Horror Corner 

Do you like campy horror? Immersively weird apocalyptic scenarios? Star-crossed lovers in impossibly disgusting situations? Then this book is for you. – Bookshot at Litreactor

Above all else in my love of the horror genre, I cherish implacability. Prolific and accomplished author William Meikle masterfully delivers this element; in fact, I consider it one of his trademarks. In FUNGOID, a story determined to keep you wide-eyed awake, he brings together a seemingly natural process, adds the suspicion of human meddling, and a frisson of supernaturalism. Together, I raced through the pages as fast as my Kindle could handle – The Haunted Reading Room

 

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X – The Unknown (1956)

My first viewing of this early Hammer horror was sometime around 1970, late night on BBC 2, and it was made vivid in my memory because one of the actors, Scottish character actor Jameson Clark, lived in my home town and we’d see him in the street.

The movie itself is full of all the stuff I’ve come to love over the years: Hammer horror, big blobby things, a Scottish setting, and scientists dabbling in things best left alone.

It was originally intended to be a sequel to THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT, and you can see some of the joins in the script as a result, but it still holds up well to repeat viewings, and there’s an array of faces that would become much better known in later genre movies and TV, like Leo McKern, Kenneth Cope, Michael Rimmer, Frazer Hines and even a quick appearance from Anthony Newley.

It moves along at a great clip, there’s some decidedly iffy FX, the obligatory child in peril, a pervy doctor hitting on nurses and some lovely melting flesh. Everything a growing lad like me loved at the age of twelve, and still does to this day.

The setting is Scottish seen through an English studio lens, there’s a joke Scottish soldier who gets killed off early after some ludicrous banter, the geography is all over the place, as one minute they’re near Glasgow, then they’re near Inverness, and there are plenty of stock Scots locals harrumphing behind the non-Scottish leads. But none of that matters.

It’s got a big radioactive blob wreaking havoc in Scotland.

That’s enough for me.

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Dark Regions Press and Me

Dark Regions Press were my breakthrough publisher – the one where I started to believe I could do something with myself in the genres, and the one who gave me my break into both the hardcover markets and the Carnacki / Challenger / Holmes pastiches that have proven so popular with my readers in recent years.

Due to the overlap with Dark Renaissance, and with them taking on the books when it folded, Dark Regions Press is now home to a lot of my material from the past ten years, and I’m always happy to see it there, given the tremendous production values that the company puts into their products.

I also get to rub shoulders with a fine stable of established writers.

If you’re looking for a great read, look no further.

You’ll find my available books over at their online shop here » Dark Regions Press

And there’s a full list of all the novels, novellas, collections and anthology appearances over at my website

I’ve got more stories coming in their fine anthologies in the months to come. First up will be an appearance in the huge I AM THE ABYSS, where I get to rub shoulders with some great writers, and, a wee dream for me, I get a two page, full color illustration by the legend Les Edwards accompanying my story.

So look out for that.

I hope to sell them more work in the future. I love the look of those hardcovers on my shelf.

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My Fifties in Writing

So, a look back at my fifties in terms of the writing.

In January 2008, when I turned fifty, I had five pro story sales to my name, a lot of small press credits in for-the-love markets, a total of five sales to mainly small press anthologies, and a handful of novels in print in the US small press at Black Death Books. Island Life had gone out of print, and I’d just had a failed year trying something different, writing a straight crime novel (failed), a children’s novel (failed) and I was working on an “Ice Zombies take Manhattan” thing I wasn’t at all sure about. The main thing that was keeping me going was the memory of a sale to the pro anthology NOVA SCOTIA where I’d rubbed shoulders with Hugo and Nebula award winners, but even that thought was fading quickly into the past.

I was new in Newfoundland, with no regular income to speak of, and staring into a void.

Fast forward ten years. I’ve been selling regularly to pro markets with over eighty pro-rate story sales, I’ve had novels, novellas and collections published in some of the better known genre presses, I’ve sold books to foreign markets, and have numerous appearances in anthologies from the big name publishers. I have a lovely shelf of deluxe hardcovers of my work, and a full bookcase of paperbacks of my books and antho appearances.

And we haven’t starved. Which is nice. It’s been a golden period, ten years that I could hardly have imagined back in 2008.

I sense that some of it will slip away a bit now, with the demise of DarKfuse and Dark Renaissance, but I have new places to conquer, new paths to walk, and there’s still the dream of fortune and glory to pursue.

I wonder what my sixties will bring?

Onward!

 

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Winter Prize Draw – 6 ebook bundle to be won

Now that the birthday giveaway is done, I’ve taken it down off the website, and added a new one that will run from now until 28th Feb.

In this one you get a chance to win a six ebook bundle containing the following:

  • THE HOLE
  • NIGHT OF THE WENDIGO
  • THE EXILED
  • CLOCKWORK DOLLS
  • PENTACLE
  • THE JOB

ENTER HERE

It’s a simple wee form on the site, sign up for my newsletter (or tell me the email addy you’ve used to sign up there) and then tweet as many or as few times as you want (the more times, the more chance you have of winning), or follow me on Amazon, or follow the rss feed of this blog. All activities get you points, and points mean prizes!

I’m having fun with these giveaways. It gives me a wee distraction from the writing, and also keeps content rotating on the web page itself which can get a bit static otherwise.

 

 

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CLOCKWORK DOLLS is back

CLOCKWORK DOLLS is back. My latest rerelease from Crossroad Press, and a novella that garnered some of the best reviews of my career.

Does all human passion, all memory, all imagination come merely from the chemistry in our brains, like the movements of a clock follow from the arrangement of its cogs and wheels?

Are we just clockwork dolls?

AMAZON  SMASHWORDS

This one is a bit of a departure for me. It’s darker than a lot of my other stuff, and features a protagonist who is very hard to like.

Dave is a shit; a self-obsessed wanker with few redeeming features. The fact that he reminds me a lot of myself at a certain stage of my life is neither here nor there.

He’s also a skeptic of all things paranormal and likes to show off.

I wanted to write about such a person having an epiphany, of sorts, and it took me down some strange alleys, into studies of philosophical discussions, and thoughts of beer, love, and my place in an uncaring Universe.

As I’ve said, it turned out darker than I anticipated, but there’s also hope here, and I learned some stuff about myself in its progress, which was nice.

Full of strong and well written characters, an ever building sense of dread, topped off with a satisfying conclusion. This novella hits the mark perfectly. – Ginger Nuts of Horror

I never thought that such a short novel could have such a huge impact, not only on my emotions but also on my ideas of God, the Universe and Fate. This is a thought provoker if ever there was one … It’s totally mind blowing. – Magic of Reading

… a brilliantly written story which offers plenty of rewards for those game enough to read it. – Fantasy Book Review

It’s a novella that takes a piece of metaphysics and turns it into a monster. Keep your Secret, gurus. William Meikle has the cure for what ails me. – Wag the Fox

This is a fine story which manages to run the full gamut of emotion but is never stale, it fairly rockets along. Meikle takes what he has learned from years of writing pacy adventures, gives us a character worth caring about, an intriguing plot and away we go. I have always enjoyed William Meikle’s work but with this story he firmly moves into my list of favourite authors and I will be really interested to see where he goes from here. – The Heart of Horror

I know William Meikle’s writing chiefly through his pastiches of the work of others, the role of pulp chameleon one at which he is very good indeed and never less than entertaining, but if this is an example of what he can come up with under his own steam then it’s something I most definitely want to see more of. – Pete Tennant, Black Static #34

 

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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

 

 

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 

 

 

Giveaways

My 60th unbirthday special newsletter will be going out on 20th Jan.

Among a batch of free ebooks, there’s going to be an exclusive for the 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

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