Showing posts from 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all

I hope that visitors to this blog enjoyed reading Little RED Riding I explained in the book Beyond Twilight , 'Red' was written a couple of years ago for a competition to update a fairy tale in a modern, contemporary or futuristic setting. This will be my last blog entry for 2011, so may I wish you all a merry christmas and happy new year. After the holiday period, I will serialise two more stories on this blog, and I've chosen two from my book The Splendour of Shadows : 'The Silent Path' and 'Bloodlines'. If you wish to do so, you can buy bound hard copies of my books here: or buy them from Amazon for the Kindle here: for the USA:

November Update

It's been a while since I posted an update about my writing. I finished my last short story collection Splendour of Shadows a few months ago and self published it on Lulu and Amazon Kindle. Since then I've been working on new material. I've finished the first draft of a new novel, Staccato House, which I have been working on for some time. The first part of this novel was shortlisted in the novella writing competition held by Contact Publishing earlier this year (see previous posts). Now the entire novel has reached some kind of completion, but it needs a bit more work, editing and polish. I'm also working on a science fiction novel that was originally conceived some time ago, but was put on hold while I completed other work. I have a number of novels that have been started, and are in varying stages of completion, and I plan to spend the next few months working on them as well. I was also planning a collection of plays, but I have since decided against that idea

Thomas Pynchon: Entropy and Zeitgeist

I remember first attempting to read Pynchon as an English Lit undergraduate. The book that I chose, ominously, was his postmodern masterpiece 'Gravity's Rainbow'. At that time, I suppose the most literary novel that I had ever read was 'The End of the Affair' by Graham Greene or maybe something by JG Ballard ...I attempted the first one hundred and fifty pages or so of 'Gravity's Rainbow' and gave up. It was completely unlike anything I had ever read before, and I swiftly realised that I had no grasp on the material I was reading and no idea what was going on. Pynchon would remain untouched and unread by myself for at least another decade. The only two scenes that left an impression on me (and rather a rotten, disturbing one at that) were the notorious scenes with Katje/Ernest Pudding and Slothrop diving into the toilet to reach for a lost harmonica (which Irvine Welsh also pays homage to in 'Trainspotting') I revisited Pynchon much later. The f

Halloween cartoon


The Steven Mace collection (Quartet of books)

Check out this picture of my four published books! I'm very proud of the latest one- 'The Splendour of Shadows', which is my second collection of short stories (fifteen of them, and 477 pages in all!) The others include my previous collection of short stories, 'Beyond Twilight' (fourteen of those), and my fantasy adventure novella 'The Pirate Princess'. Making up the quartet is my first novel, the fantasy-SF novel 'Copper Moon Rising'. You can buy my books here: Or download them at Kindle:  and

My new collection of short stories- The Splendour of Shadows

I've recently completed and published a new book. It is a collection of short stories entitled 'The Splendour of Shadows'. Unlike my previous collection of short stories, 'Beyond Twilight', all of the stories in this new collection were written in a shorter period of time before publication- between October 2010 and July 2011. Early versions of the stories 'The Visitor' and 'Bloodlines' were originally conceived way back around 2001/2002 but they have been largely rewritten and reworked by me in the past year while I was creating and compiling this collection. I'd like to especially thank Janne Olkkonen, who gave me permission to use the artwork 'Fear No More...' as the cover illustration for this book. A few words about the stories: Vortex (Genre: SF/Fantasy/Horror) This is the first of what I would call the 'Arcadian Tales' in this collection, which are linked to a universe where an organisation known as the Arcadian Vortex

Blog 'Grotesquerie' I found this interesting blog while I was browsing t'internet recently. This American guy is also an aspiring writer, and obviously influenced by H.P Lovecraft, and he also posts interesting articles on SF/Fantasy/Horror and on comics as well. Worth a look and also worth a browse through his articles if you are interested in horror fiction and fan criticism.

Pirates and other marine life

One of the problems I had with my novel 'The Pirate Princess' was writing it for a particular audience as children have a particularly affinity with pirate tales, but I wanted to introduce more fantasy elements and darker themes within the story too. In the end, I suppose my completed novel(la) was one that could be aimed at 'young adults' which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but I still have a sense of dissatisfaction with the finished book. I have thought since I completed it that I could have done a bit more with it. That's why I'm planning to write a sequel, which will be a much more complex book. However, I didn't realise that Tim Powers had got there first with the kind of idea that has been playing on my mind for a while. I think I am still going to write the book eventually though but I'm glad that I didn't read 'On Stranger Tides' by Tim Powers before I wrote 'The Pirate Princess', as I wouldn't have wanted to be to

Fright Night remake

I was fascinated to see that the classic 1980s horror-comedy 'Fright Night' has been remade, as the original is one of my favourite films. The remake stars Colin Farrell as the vampire Jerry Dandridge and David Tennant as the reluctant vampire-hunter Peter Vincent, while Anton Yelchin is the unwitting teenager Charley Brewster who discovers his next door neighbour Dandridge is a vampire. Those roles were originally played by Chris Sarandon (Dandridge), Roddy McDowall (Peter Vincent) and William Ragsdale (Charley). The original was definitely more of a horror-genre film than comedy from what I can remember (perhaps in the same manner as An American Werewolf in London ), and was a very frightening film in certain scenes: Chris Sarandon as Jerry Dandridge in the original film The original Fright Night poster There was also a 1980s sequel, Fright Night Part 2, with Julie Carmen as Jerry Dandridge's sister seeking vengeance for what hap

Facebook Page

I just thought I'd remind people about my Facebook page, where I also post news and other little tidbits: Please feel free to visit or even 'like' the page, as I'm usually quite active there. I've already finished my new book (a collection of original short stories) so in the next couple of months there will be plenty of news heading your way about my latest writings. I will be keeping you posted! The latest book will contain most of the short stories that I've been working on in the past year. Whereas the previous collection 'Beyond Twilight' contained stories that were written over a much longer period, from 1997-2010, this new book will contain material that I have written in the past twelve months. I think that the new stories are a discernable step up in quality, although they explore similar themes to the 'Beyond Twilight' collection and are mostly written in horror, thriller, fanta

The Historian/Vampire fiction

I finally got around to reading 'The Historian' by Elizabeth Kostova this past week. I enjoyed reading it, but it wasn't quite as good as I hoped it would be. It obviously carried a debt of inspiration to Bram Stoker, and was written in epistolary form as an appropriate tribute. However, I don't think the structure of the narrative with the changes in chronology helped the story. It was also difficult to distinguish a distinct change in narrative tone between the three separate characters of Bartolomeo Rossi, Paul and his daughter, and I found myself flicking back to double check where I was exactly in the story and who was writing this particular missive. Another problem was the fact that the story wasn't really that frightening. 'The Historian' is a book with wonderful prose, and Kostova describes the scenic travelogue sections of the novel with marvellous skill, and some sections of it are very atmospheric. Yet maybe the traditional vampire depiction do

The Baron's Cheesecake (or; a Quest with a Difference)

AUTHORS NOTE: ( I was going through some old papers and notes recently, and I discovered this old story amongst my materials. It's a short piece of fiction for children, entitled 'The Baron's Cheesecake'. It's a short story written in a comic fairy tale style. I think I wrote it in 2001 or 2002. Having re-discovered it, I've decided to publish it online and make it available for people to read - SM) The Baron’s Cheesecake (or, a quest with a difference) “Delicious! Truly delicious!” said the Baron, as he devoured the very last morsel of steaming partridge pie. “May I compliment you on such excellent food and a splendid dish!” The cook, who was a nervous, quivering, and obsequious man when in the Baron’s presence, let out a gasp of relief. He had been watching apprehensively from the opposite end of the dining table, wringing his hands with trepidation like an old woman. They were in the Great Hall of the castle, underneath the oak rafters of the

My books are now available for the Kindle

My books 'The Pirate Princess' and my collection of short stories, 'Beyond Twilight' is now available on Amazon for the Kindle:   (Beyond Twilight)  (The Pirate Princess)  (Copper Moon Rising- thanks to Peter Krause for the fresh artwork)

Science fiction is speculative fiction

I don’t like the term ‘science fiction’. Why? Well, I claim to be a science fiction writer but I would say while I know a little bit about fiction, I don’t know very much about science. Not off the top of my head, anyway. I could probably just about manage to turn on a Bunsen burner. I got a double B for Science in my GCSEs, but that was the last time I studied Physics, Chemistry or Biology to any great depth. If I write fiction where I need to know scientific principles or where science is applied or subverted in some way, then I need to do my research (luckily I am a trained researcher and that’s my job title). I’m not a qualified aeronautical engineer like Robert Heinlein, or a professor of biochemistry like Isaac Asimov. Most importantly, how do we define ‘science fiction’? If you ask most people this question, they will most probably picture a story that is set in space and/or some future time. There are numerous repetitive motifs in science fiction (much like dwarves, elves, an

The writing of Philip K Dick

Philip K.Dick is perhaps the wildest, most erratic and yet most original Speculative/Science Fiction writer of them all. For those of you who are more inclined to follow film/cinema than books, you might be interested to know that films such as ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Total Recall’, ‘Minority Report’, ‘Paycheck’, ‘A Scanner Darkly’ and ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ amongst others are based upon his writings, and more of Philip K Dick’s fiction is likely to be adapted to film in the future. Some more loosely than others, of course. There are always difficulties in adapting written fiction for the screen, no less illustrated when considering the clunky nature of some of Dick’s titles: “Blade Runner” is based on the novel titled “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” while the original title of the short story that ‘Total Recall’ is based on was “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale’. The movie title comes from the name of the company ‘Recall’ in the original story, which uses technology to implant fa

Shortlisted in Contact Publishing's Page Turner Prize competition

My novella 'Staccato House' was shortlisted for Contact Publishing's Page Turner Prize competition. I came 7th overall and won a book as a my prize. I'm planning to rewrite and extend my novella entry 'Staccato House' into a novel.

The unknown artist

Unfortunately I do not know who the artist was who created the covers for my 'Copper Moon Rising' and 'Beyond Twilight' books. I found these images online in 2006/2007, saved them and made a note of the artist's web page URL and contact details as I thought they were perfect as covers for my self-published books. Unfortunately, I lost the URL of the artist's website. When it was time to self-publish in 2010, I spent hours searching on Google images with the original JPEG titles, but I could not find the images or the artist. I had set my heart on using the images and so I did, but if you are that artist, or you know who the artist who made those two book covers is, then please contact me! I would have asked your permission had I been able to find out who you were. Apologies.

Q & A

Some time ago I posted that I was going to do a Q & A to respond to fan questions. Thank you to all the people who asked me questions about my writing. I received several by e-mail, on facebook and verbally. Here are my responses, I've endeavoured to answer them to the best of my ability. Do you really think you could become a famous and successful writer? It's incredibly difficult but we can all dream! You need about 5 % inspiration, 45 % hard work and 50% of a thick skin that can accept rejection and properly assess your own work in order to improve it. It's really important not to give up. A short story or a novel might receive 100 rejections and the 101st could be successful...a lot of people would give up before the 50th rejection. J.K Rowling was rejected several times by publishers before her manuscript for the first Harry Potter novel was finally accepted. The importance of networking and knowing the right people and right avenues to go down and who to approa

Film noir, Marlowe and Chandler

I like detective fiction and I like reading Raymond Chandler. It's easy to admire his cynical hard-bitten private detective, Philip Marlowe. Sometimes I think Marlowe, the protagonist of Chandler's novels, speaks with Chandler's authentic voice and is a fictionalized version of Chandler's real-life personality too. The majority of detectives in modern fiction: in film, television and books, are influenced by the figures of Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade in American 20th century fiction (along with Agatha Christie's 'Poirot' and Arthur Conan Doyle's 'Sherlock Holmes' of course) Chandler partly invented the noir/film noir genre and this cool, hard-nosed, cynical but somehow heroic private detective who is a staple of such fiction. He has also spawned a legion of imitators, not to mention parodies and caricatures of the genre. Chandler himself was heavily influenced by the work of Dashiel Hammett and Hammett's own detective creation, Sam Spade. Ch