'Tis the Season to be Scary

Halloween is here again, and with it comes a glut of 'best of' horror lists and spooky special issues. It's hard to think of another genre that has such a specific window for impressing the general populace. Readers who'd never dream of picking up a copy of the latest Stephen King are suddenly happy to be scared witless for a week or two, as winter begins to draw in and the darkness descends. Horror writers must have been counting down the days since the Spring.

I don't consider myself a horror writer, but my output has taken a notably horrific twist in recent months. I've found myself more and more attracted to the weird and the worrisome, from dark, twisted short fiction to novels of supernatural horror. I may not be horrific enough to be a genre writer, but I've felt an undeniable pull towards the dark side.

A couple of weeks ago my werewolf story 'Beasts of London' was performed at Liars' League - you can see the live reading, and read the words, here (the video should also be at the end of this post). Following that, the Liars performed it at LitCrawl London, and then again at Liars' League Hong Kong. It's the story that just won't die. Given that it was originally an idea for a novel, this little 800 word nugget is already showing remarkable endurance - I've even thought that it might make a great comic book (comic/graphic novel publishers, take note)...

Werewolves are usually a little too cliched and mainstream for my tastes, however. I tend to lean more towards the weird and unsettling, and my flash story 'The Way of All Flesh' is a better indication of where things are heading. You can find it in the Wales Arts Review Halloween Special, an outstanding collection of weird and disturbing flash fiction. In addition to my story, it has wonderfully unsettling contributions from Niall Griffiths, Angela Readman, Dan Powell and Ashley Stokes, among others. It's the perfect literary companion to the haunting season. You can download it for FREE here.

The weirdest thing of all, however, is the fact that I appear to have been on this dark and devilish path for some time. Looking back over my recent publications (and a couple still to come) there's a dark vein running through them, a rich seam of eerie transformations and unrelieved fear. Perhaps this is the road I was always meant to take, the blackness at the heart of my imagination.

Watch the shadows. The dark is rising.