From Cardiff to London: Looking Back at October

October was a crazy month: live readings, pitching panels and author interviews turned it into an impromptu tour, as I hit the road for three very different events. From the drooling zombies of Cardiff (not a comment on the local populace - I was at the city's horror convention) to the hirsute hipsters of Shoreditch (definitely a comment on the local populace), October was a month of travel, madness, and pre-packed sandwiches.

First up was our Litro Book Club event in Shoreditch. I had the pleasure of meeting Marc Pastor, author of gothic crime novel Barcelona Shadows and rabid Doctor Who fan. It's always a pleasure to meet a fellow Whovian, especially over a few pints of Meantime's excellent London beers. You can listen to me interviewing Marc Pastor here, on the Litro Podcast. If you haven't already read Barcelona Shadows, be sure to check it out.

Then came SCARdiff 2014, as horror fans, writers, actors, producers, editors and... erm... pythons descended on Cardiff for a one-day convention. I was there to chair the Dragon's Pen Pitching Panel, at which we heard pitches from seven talented aspiring writers. But more importantly, I was there to socialise, make some contacts, and possibly imbibe some Brains (the beer, not the internal organ). A personal highlight was sharing a few beers with Litro #138 contributor Adam Nevill, whose novel The Ritual kept me well and truly spooked on the three hour train trip to Wales. As an added bonus I also met Tim Lebbon for the first time, whose short story 'Pay the Ghost' is being made into a film starring Nic Cage as I type. And who says short stories aren't glamorous?

Finally, my reading at Listen Softly London in Southwark almost felt like a homecoming. A relaxed evening that included readings from friends Reece Choules and Iain Robinson, as well as the frenetic Gary From Leeds, it proved that LSL is one of my favourite literary nights out in London. For less than a matinee ticket to the cinema, you can listen to writers, poets and performers showcasing their latest work - plus they have an excellent bar. I read from my short story 'Among the Pines', originally published in Neon magazine, a heady combination of David Lynch and the sheer horror of a weekend in Center Parcs. As you can see from the photo above, I also scared the crowd witless with my black clothing and unkempt facial hair.

Thanks to everyone who came along to all three events. I'll be taking a break for a month or two, gathering my energies for next year. Bring on SCARdiff 2015...