The Collection so Far

Posted in Heaven, Hell, Horror, Published Works on March 13th, 2015 by Craig

craig herbertson collection Delighted to see my nephew has collected most of my main works to date. Stories in collections, novels and anthologies. I hope to be adding to this shortly.

Brian Keeley: Cover artist of The Heavenmaker

Posted in Hell, Horror, Published Works on December 29th, 2014 by Craig

With the paperback coming out I thought I’d highlight the cover artist, Brian Keeley, a very good pal. The Heavenmakers cover is a mixed media effort, painted in acrylic and photographed. Heaven-Maker

It was set up finally by David Riley of Parallel Universe publications:

http://paralleluniversepublications.blogspot.co.uk/p/forthcoming-books.html

Brian is a great joker, massive football fan and one of the coolest guys I know. A completely unassuming man, I’d known him for years in Dortmund merely as a brilliant joke teller. I mentioned in the course of one drunken conversation that I needed a portrait for my next CD and he replied ‘I’m a painter’. I thought he meant of walls but it transpired that not only was he a trained fine artist but also an innovative filmmaker. Never mentioned his talent once in all the years I knew him. Some of his eclectic tastes can be seen here on his youtube channel. www.youtube.com/user/dortmundbrian/videos including films of the Tartan Army, Dortmund, documentaries, bands like ‘Magazine’, ‘Hugh Reed and the Velvet Underpants’, ‘The Glasgow Diamonds’ and his own efforts with Bibo his lovely German wife. His early films appeared on channel 4 and various other places. They changed the way music videos were filmed. Apart from Punk Rock, Brian also has a fascination for the seventies show biz idols and personalities like Ken Dodd (and me of course) – he just can’t seem to get away from all that glitz and fakery.

Brian, who has a lovely dark humour had his own horror story thrust on him, nearly dieing of a heart attack in 2012. At one point he was the sickest man in Scotland and a step away from death. How close? He married his wife in intensive care to the sound of nurses crying outside the door:

www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/health/heart-transplant-patient-who-married-2947724
Happy ending though. Brian is back on his feet, painting again – specifically the nurses who saved his life
www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/scots-heart-transplant-patient-set-2945983

He know does a lot of work raising awareness for donors becasue indeed a donor saved his own life.

Read more: http://vaultofevil.proboards.com/posts/recent#ixzz3NHgTnhID

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Heavenmaker in paperback!

Posted in Hell, Horror, Published Works on December 24th, 2014 by Craig

Delighted to say The Heaven Maker and Other Gruesome Tales is
being published by Parallel Universe Publications  and will be available shortly, priced  £11.99.

E.R.Burroughs, R.E. Howard, Leigh Brackett, Lin Carter or George R.R. Martin and a bit of pseudo sexism?

Posted in Fantasy, Heaven, reviews on January 10th, 2014 by Craig

The winners are in each category:

Story teller

E.R.Burrroughs
R.E. Howard
Leigh Brackett
Lin Carter
George R.R. Martin (modern)

Ability to inspire, to thrill and excite
R.E. Howard
E.R.Burrroughs
Leigh Brackett
Lin Carter
George R.R. Martin (modern)

Consistency in plot, writing

Leigh Brackett
George R.R. Martin
R.E. Howard
Lin Carter
E.R.Burrroughs (modern)

I don’t want to seem like a George R.R. Martin basher because he is a very good writer and translates well on to the screen – I just don’t like modern fantasy very much. I can read Tim Powers for example but to me it’s pygmies sitting on the shoulders of giants. I probably don’t like the modern world either and it reflects on my liking of all things modern, including writing.

I’d like to use Brackett as the floating point, the only female among these writers.  I enjoyed the Martian Brackett more than her Skaith novels. I thought that they were very good, and at times really great. Having looked her up on wikipedia I fond she was an athletic tomboy and that’s no surprise. Ultimate respect to a woman working and excelling in a man’s world. I would have loved to meet her and I’m fairly certain she would have pasted me at volleyball.

In The Sword of Rhiannon, Brackett’s archaeologist Matt Carse enters the forgotten tomb of the Martian god Rhiannon and plunges into the Red Planet’s past. Vast oceans cover the land, legendary Sea-Kings rule from terraced palaces, there are heroes, anti heroines, slaves and loads of minor characters carrying swords and scowls around: In short, all the required elements for the juvenile mind. The language is at times superb, the pacing is great, the plotting accurate and my only criticism is really quite simple: Despite being an athletic tomboy Brackett was not a man. Ah ha you say – Politically incorrect, knuckle dragging chauvinist reveals inner soul. How can I state this offensive garbage when Brackett was more thoroughly steeped in the mores of American society – a friend of Bradbury and a lover of E.R. Burroughs – closer to the source of all this sword and sorcery fantasy than I will ever be?

The answer is quite simple and I rest my case with a paper called ‘Gender, Genre, and Writing Style in Formal Written Text’ in ‘Text & Talk’ Ed. Sarangi, Srikant.

The paper explores differences between male and female writing in a large subset of the British National Corpus covering a range of Genres in both fiction and non fiction. They found significant differences between male and female writing

I’m sure you don’t want to go too deeply into the paper but in simple terms the total number of nominals used by male and female authors is virtually identical but females use many more pronouns and males use many more noun specifiers. Also females exhibit greater usage of features identified by previous researchers as “involved”. Males exhibit greater usage of features which have been identified as “informational”.

It comes down to this: A female is likely to use ‘she’ and ‘her’ significantly more than a male writer. She’s also likely to go into reasons and emotions while a man, simple little fellow that he is, is likely to just tell you something straight.

On a more personal and intuitive level (I have intuitions) I noticed that while Brackett was superb in her description of certain aspects of war and savagery, when it actually came to fighting she lacked the Conan factor. I cannot recall a single example of Brackett reveling in the slaughter of hapless enemies or the delight in skewering someone on a sword.

This genuinely may have something to do with the functional parts of male and female anatomy and the influence this has on the more elevated thoughts in the unconscious. So, as a simple bloke if I was ever cast into one of these fantasy worlds and handed a sword I have no doubt that rather than swirl it above my head and shout ‘tally ho where is the heroine?’ I would lie down on the ground and cry in abject fear. However, in reading a fantasy novel I want the opponents to be ruthlessly slaughtered. Brackett just doesn’t want this, most likely because she’s a decent person and a girl.

In any case, Brackett – excellent genre authoress but not Howard or Burroughs.

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David A. Riley The Return

Posted in Hell, Horror, reviews on November 9th, 2013 by Craig

Mr. Fosset, making a brief appearance in this work by David A. Riley says “Dark, bleak, nihilistic stuff. Not the kind of thing to take to bed for a good night’s sleep.” Admirably summarizing this new work by a veteran author who many horror aficionados will have encountered in the legendary Pan Horror series and subsequent ‘best of’ collections. There is a reason why I mention’ best of’. Riley has produced some fine short stories and I was curious as to how his undoubted skill as a short story author would translate on the wider screen

The answer is very well. Fans of Grudge End, a horrible place full of horrible places, will lap this up. “Even in bright daylight the five-storey building looked dark, forbidding, and sordidly utilitarian.” – a good description of Riley’s bleak uncompromising prose – sparse, economical and clinically scary.

Riley has produced one of his marvelous anti-heroes in Gary Morgan. I won’t go too much into plot because a large part of this work is dependant on a slow build up of dark energies contained in the utterly mundane. Gary is not what he seems and the reader will be surprised that at the conclusion of this story you’ll find yourself drawn to a real sympathy with the character.

A thoroughly enjoyable read and I would ignore Mr. Fossett and start it late at night.. You’ll finish before dawn…I hope

Published by Blood Bound Books splendidly illustrated by Andrej Bartulovic and available from Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1940250056/ref=s9_al_bw_g14_i2/184-0977107-7107034

The Return

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Filthy Creations #7 review

Posted in Hell, Horror, Published Works, reviews on July 8th, 2013 by Craig

Filthy Creations #7, edited and illustrated by author and illustrator, Rog Pile begins with The Wicket Man by Franklin Marsh a peculiarly English tale of a game of cricket gone spectacularly bizarre. As always Franklin Marsh drives with enthusiasm and humour to a dark but incredibly funny conclusion. The Architect’s Table by Penni McLaren Walker is a subtle and disturbing story of a draughtsman whose PC breaks down in the middle of a job. He has the fortune to find an old drawing board and for a while revels in the old days when pencil and paper were the thing. Unfortunately, the paper that goes with the table produces some brilliant inspirational drawings and some rather awful consequences. A well written tale from a relatively new author.

D F Lewis provides two short shorts -All Endings Are Happy and The Final Climax both excellent examples of the absurd.

Shapeshifter by Charles H Gallagher gives pointers to those weary people who wish to take their life. The sad vacuum of the living may be bad enough but perhaps worse awaits. In Mycelium by Robert Mammone, Tommy discovers a fairy ring in the forest but like some relationships, mushrooms can be poisonous. In this case, tragedy awaits the whole family when the mushrooms get mean.

Filthy Creations #7 presents the second episode in two new serialisations: Sendings (a.k.a Moloch’s Children) by David A Riley. And also The Death Tableau. by Craig Herbertson.

This is perhaps the best Filthy Creations to date not least because of the superb illustrations by Rog Pile.

Filthy Creations #7 costs £3.00 including p&p but is free for review.

http://filthycreations.yolasite.com/filthy-creations-7-june-2013-out-now.php

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Filthy Creations 7

Posted in Hell, Horror, Published Works on July 5th, 2013 by Craig

Filthy Creations7 edited and illustrator by the notorious author and pencil man,  Rog Pile presents the second episode in a major new serialisation:  Sendings (a.k.a Moloch’s Children by David A Riley.

Also this issue, part two of  my novel, The Death Tableau.

Filthy Creations 7 cover

Both David A Riley and I had our first stories appear in the now legendary . Pan Books of Horror and of course David has gone on to establish himself as a major force in the horror world

Short stories in this issue:

The Architect’s Table by Penni McLaren Walker
Mycelium by Robert Mammone
Shapeshifter by Charles H Gallagher
All Endings Are Happy and The Final Climax by D F Lewis
The Wicket Man by Franklin Marsh

There are nine mono illustrations plus a colour cover by Rog Pile.

Filthy Creations 7 costs £3.00 including p&p but is free for review. Go to this link to immediately purchase this small but beautiful magazine which has already sold out its first run:

http://filthycreations.yolasite.com/filthy-creations-7-june-2013-out-now.php

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Screaming Dreams

Posted in Hell, Horror, Published Works on June 5th, 2013 by Craig

Delighted to announce that Screaming Dreams are going to publish their classic “The Screaming Book of Horror” in some dandy new formats.

The collection featuring numerous stunningly good horror writers also includes my story ‘The Iron Cross.’

Further developments to come.

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The Ninth Black Book of Horror – Encouraging review

Posted in Hell, Horror, reviews on April 21st, 2013 by Craig

 

Very encouraging review of The Ninth Black Book of Horror here

http://matthewscottbaker.com/blog/category/uncategorized/

TERROR TALES OF THE COTSWOLDS: Paul Finch

Posted in Hell, Horror, reviews on January 3rd, 2013 by Craig

terror tales of the cotswaldsAs one would expect from a cast of award winning authors and new contenders to that title, this offering from the Terror Tales series edited by Paul Finch is well worth a look. Beginning with Alison Littlewood, who sets the superior tone of most of the collection, we have ‘In The Quiet And In The Dark’ where young Steph comes from out of town to Willow Cottage, Long Compton and instantly hates it. The horrible prospect of the coming term at a new school is mitigated by a chance meeting with new friends and the fond hope of a `liaison’ with Kix, a handsome enigmatic youth who seems to take a shine to her. The young people have a strange way of talking and Steph wonders about their connection to the stone circles…. It’s a well written piece echoing many of the motifs that follow – strong, character based tales which include such delights as the flesh-eating fiend of St. John’s, the vengeful spirit of Little Lawford and the satanic murders at Meon Hill. Stuff to freeze the cockles of the horror fan’s cold heart.

As a man with a fairly old fashioned taste in horror I was struck at times by the high quality of the prose which sometimes competed with the terror invoked. This may sound contradictory but there were moments when I had to do a little too much thinking for my tastes. However, the modern horror fan will have no such quibbles and there was enough variety to please the most discerning.

Highlights for me were Reggie Oliver’s Charm a delightful tale of the degeneration of a Hooray Henry – impeccably told – and Thana Niveau’s ‘The Scouring’   a savage psychological drama about the White Horse Of Uffington. Thana, who never fails to inflict a suitable degree of pathos in her awful tales,  is one of the best new female writers in the genre.

Ramsey Campbell in ‘The Horror Under Warrendown’ and Paul Finch in ‘Bog Man’ both pack a powerful punch in tales that seem perhaps to evoke a darker sense of ancient history than some other contributors: No surprises really given their maturity and scope. John Llewellyn Probert in ‘A Taste of Honey, A Horror of Stone’ also scores a big winner as he contrives to extract the maximum possible horror from a simple piece of yellow Cotswold stone. It would be churlish to dismiss the other stories, all strongly written and conceptually perceptive.

Interspersed with fascinating historical snippets of truly terrible history (I just love this stuff) there is something here for everyone. I haven’t yet read any of the other collections in this series but certainly aim to redress that.

Available from most sources and also http://www.grayfriarpress.com/catalogue/cotswolds.html which is well worth a look in any case

 

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