How I Spent January 2020

DorisJan20This year, I’m making an effort to step up my organisational skills. I set myself a to-do list for January, and lo and behold, I’ve fulfilled my duty. I can look back at the items on that list and — with my hands on my hips and my jaw cocked at a confident angle — say, “I’ve done all ten of you.”

So, that’s the first original essay for Thoughts and Fears done; another chunk of my novel polished off; a draft completed for a new short story; and a few other bits and pieces, including the latest posts in my Charlee Jacob and Amazing Stories retrospectives. Not a bad month, all in all.

And I’ve sorted out another list for February. Now, if you don’t mind me, I’d better get going…

Articles of mine posted elsewhere this month:

Article topics for February and beyond:


January 2020: A Month in Horror

It’s been a fairly quiet month for horror. Well, there was a controversy over tweets made by Stephen King in reference to diversity at the Oscars, but nothing quite on the scale of the ChiZine furore that broke out late last year. So, let us take a gentle stroll through the occurrences of note in the first month of 2020…

Dracula - episode 1

I’m in a slightly awkward position writing this, a number of the highest-profile horror releases of the month are ones I haven’t actually managed to watch yet.

First we have the three-part Steven Moffat/Mark Gatiss reimagining of Dracula. Some liked it, some loathed it; as a person who enjoys a bit of Moffat-Gatiss, I suspect I’ll be in the former camp when I’m able to give it a watch. Then we have The Lighthouse, The Turning and Underwater — not to mention The Colour Out of Space, which isn’t even out in the UK until next month. Oh well.

Continue reading “January 2020: A Month in Horror”

BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Thoughts and Fears

Last year saw the publication of my first book — my volume on The Mummy for the Devil’s Advocates series. So, I’ve decided to start 2020 by getting stuck into my second non-fiction book; the title I’ve chosen is Thoughts and Fears: Essays on Horror and Culture.

Most of the book will consist of my past blog posts on the horror genre, dusted off and given a new coat of polish where necessary, but I want to give my readers something new on the side. So, I’m aiming for around a quarter to a third of the book — roughly 30,000 words, say — to be all-new material.

Of course, this will necessitate producing roughly 30,000 of all-new material by the end of the year. Here are some ideas I’m currently playing with:

  • An analysis of how Christina Henry derives horror from children’s stories in Alice and Red Queen
  • An exploration of the Creature from the Black Lagoon’s sex life
  • A deep-dive into Dan Simmons’ The Terror and its historical inspirations
  • A deconstruction of the gender-bending serial killer motif in Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, Seed of Chucky et al
  • A celebration of the feminine side of lycanthropy

If any of this sounds like your bag, then perhaps you could consider donating to me via Patreon or Ko-Fi to help cover expenses.

Cats, Cult and Subculture


When the first trailer for Cats hit, the overriding question people had was “who on Earth is the target audience for this thing?”

And to answer, I’m afraid I must raise a hand. The trailer made me want to see the film; and when I saw the film, I enjoyed it. So, I suppose that makes me the target audience. Pleased to meet you.

This clearly puts me in a minority, as Cats has received a whipping from critics and a bombing at the box office. But there’s been speculation that we may not have seen the last of it – that Cats might follow in the footsteps of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, dismissed upon release only to become the centre of a snowballing cult fandom. Personally, I don’t think Cats has bottled the zeitgeist quite the way Rocky Horror did, but could it still end up as a cult classic? That’s a question that got me thinking…

Continue readingCats, Cult and Subculture”

Midnight Widows Offer for 2020


Here’s an offer that’s going to be running throughout 2020: if you donate to me via Patreon or Ko-Fi this year, no matter how large or small the amount, you’ll get a PDF copy of Midnight Widows Issue 1, the vampire comic I put together with Marcela Hauptvogelova, Rosie Wigg and Delia Mihai.

The story:

When the Count was slain, his brides were freed. Edith, Kateryna and Gabriela were once the brides of Dracula. No longer confined to the castle of their groom, they are free to travel from nineteenth century Transylvania to twenty-first century London.

And now, a new threat has made itself known. Some of Britain’s most notorious serial killers have come back from the dead to resume their murderous careers. Who resurrected them, and why? Only the Midnight Widows stand a chance of finding out…