Nightmares After Christmas

We were going to blog on New Year’s Day but we hate New Year’s as much as we hate Christmas. Everyone else is so positive, with resolutions, how this year will be better, it’s a fresh start like last year is magically wiped from existence, and we’re sitting here thinking ‘the world doesn’t change because everyone gets new calendars’. Resolutions are usually broken within two weeks – mostly because they’re overly ambitious, such as ‘I’ll run five miles a week’ when the only running you do is for a bus. We’ve had the same resolution for the past 3 years – do something different. And we’ve kept it. The past 3 years we’ve been to so many new places, met loads of new people and done things we’ve never done before. And even though it’s a new year, that doesn’t mean that all the hurt and bad times won’t affect you just because the clock turns midnight. This isn’t Cinderella.

So if you were expecting a happy ‘New Year, New Us’, sorry about that. The darkshines came to visit after our gorgeous cat, Ebony, died in December and the darkshines love dwelling in misery and negativity and backing up that negativity with statistics to prove their point. We think the darkshines are allergic to New Year’s. While everyone else is all cheerful and optimistic and singing Auld Lang’s Syne, the darkshines are sitting in a corner, singing Del Amitri’s ‘Nothing Ever Happens’.

Now that we’ve utterly depressed you, we’ll tell you what we’ve been up to. A lot of time has been spent contacting haunted locations to hire them. Some don’t get back to us, some are so expensive we’ll have to start smuggling diamonds to pay for them and a some ask us for public liability insurance. Yes we’re public liabilities, no we’re not insured. But there are some places we can hire. And we’ll be teaming up with regular and new faces.

But over the past two months, we’ve mostly been working on novels. Seeing as our sales are lower than a stripper’s inhibitions, we’ve needed something positive to do until the darkshines crawl back into the dungeons in our minds. Two publishers have an open window this January – Angry Robot and Gollancz. Gollancz publish Terry Pratchett and George RR Martin, so we’re a little star struck. We’re sending Silent Dawn to Angry Robot. But they wanted novels of 70,000 words and higher. Silent Dawn was 63,000. So we had to do a lot of work on it. Gollancz are accepting self-published novels, so we’re sending them Soul Asylum and Bleeding Empire. Soul Asylum was published three years ago and after we bring a book out, we do not look at it again. Ever. We’re so scared we’ll find mistakes or it will be shit etc. But we had to re-read Soul Asylum to write its synopsis because we couldn’t remember what happened. See, when we write a book, we only ever remember the original. No matter how times we work on it, only the original version sticks in our minds. And while the book is not shit like we feared, we picked up on passive voice and framing that we didn’t know about three years ago (thanks Anya for teaching us about them), so we’ve been doing a lot of editing on it and will re-publish it once we’ve sent the extract to Gollancz. And of course, having to write three synopses has not been fun. But massive thanks to our mum, and our mates Tom and Hayley for beta reading our work. If Bleeding Empire isn’t accepted, it will be the next book we release.

As well as submitting three novels to publishers in January, we’ll be entering Romance is Dead and The Malignant Dead in the National Self-publishing Awards. Soul Asylum was short-listed (2012) and Deadly Reflections was highly commended (2014). Yes. Four novels and one short story collection will be sent off in one month. We don’t believe in taking things easy.

Normally, we enjoy spattering Valentine’s Day in blood, but since Gunning Down Romance, Bad Romance and Romance is Dead were all brought out in print last year under the series name Romance is Dead, we mourned the loss of ruining the day for everyone this year. But that has changed. One, because Deadpool is out and we’ll be spending Valentine’s in the cinema with our mate, Andrew. And two because Southcart Books in Walsall, who stock our books, have invited us to be one of the headliners at their Valentine’s Day Massacre event on Feb 13th. So if you’re around that day, feel free to come. We’ll be reading from Romance is Dead. But you probably guessed that. So give your lover a Valentine’s Day they will never forget.

Southcart Books