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Journal

The trouble with modern vampire fiction

It’s time to lay my cards upon the table. I blame Anne Rice. It was she who inspired a lesser band of pale imitators, all of whom ignored the subtleties of her work and went straight for reproducing the angst-ridden supernatural melodrama. Due to Ms Rice, vampiric southern gothic is back with a vengeance. And all because Brad and Tom simpered with their handsome, pale faces in ‘Interview with the Vampire’ and Buffy kicked vampiric ass while falling in love with a ‘nice’ vampire called Angel.…

One of the best examples of the modern form of the genre is ‘True Blood’. I started watching this series with high expectations. Unfortunately, I was left disappointed. ‘True Blood’ tries too hard. It’s too self-consciously cool. It’s more about sex, religion and the American South than it is about th

Stephen King- Dark Tower adaptation

My attention was drawn to this recently:…

http://io9.com/5633554/ron-howard-and-akiva-gol...

I was stunned to read that TV and film producers are considering filming Stephen King’s Dark Tower series in its entirety, by making 3 films and screening the rest as a tv series.

I thoroughly enjoyed the books, although the Dark Tower is a very bloated, ambitious epic tale. Also, unlike many, I thought that King’s ending was appropriate although after wading through seven novels I can understand people who felt that it was an anti-climax.

However, I cannot even begin to imagine how they will film it, and how they will separate the different books into 3 films and a tv series and make it work. It’s hard to even imagine people who are fa

Beyond Twilight: my collection of 14 stories

I recently published a short story collection, comprising 14 original stories and entitled ‘Beyond Twilight’. My books can be bought here:…

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/SteveMace

At the end of the book, I wrote an Afterword detailing how I came to be inspired to write many of the stories. I reproduce it here for those that are interested:

Death Head

I wanted to write an opening story for this collection that was a bit tongue-in-cheek from my point of view but I also created a sense of atmosphere for the stories that would follow. This is the companion piece for the ‘Verity Jamieson’ story, but it was written after ‘Last Days of Verity Jamieson’. I just thought of the concept for the story after reading about rock musicians like Marilyn Manson and Norwegian death metal bands that were into

My first two books are published

I’ve published my first two books with Lulu: a fantasy novel entitled ‘Copper Moon Rising’ and my collection of short stories, ‘Beyond Twilight’

‘Beyond Twilight’ is a collection of stories in the horror, science fiction, fantasy and suspense genres.

‘Copper Moon Rising’ is the story of three boys: a runaway orphan of royal blood, a sorcerer’s apprentice and a young fisherman in a primitive world. Their lives are endangered by a fragile political situation within their society, and the ambitions of alien masters revered as ‘gods’. When their world’s rulers begin to fight for power and influence in the kingdoms, it leads to tragedy and civil war.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/SteveMace

Writing Challenge success

My small piece Fox-Curse won a writing challenge here on Redbubble, which I’m delighted about! It was my first attempt too, so I’m very proud about that. I’m looking forward to taking part in more challenges!

World Cup 2010- reflection

The World Cup was magnificently staged by South Africa, who were fantastic hosts. Hopefully the legacy will go beyond this month and filter down into improving social issues in the country.

My best memory of the tournament will be Paul the Octopus and his 100% predictions- he got 7 out of 7 outcomes correct including the final!

I thought the actual football was a disappointment. I don’t blame the players, or the ball – I blame the coaches who are ruining the game with negative tactics, and the big clubs of European football, who are leaving the best players in danger of burn-out.

My team of the tournament: (4-4-2) Casillas; Lahm; Van Bronckhorst; Puyol; Pique; Mueller; Schweinsteiger; Sneijder; Iniesta; Villa; Forlan.

My Player of the Tournament: Bastian Schweinsteiger

World Cup Blog 3

The world champions Italy were brought crashing down to earth as they were eliminated from the World Cup at the first round stage. A shock 3-2 defeat to Slovakia dumped the Italians out and left the population of Italy crying into their spaghetti.…

After being a substitute for the previous two games, Antonio Di Natale would have been delighted to finally start a match, but devastated by the final outcome. Italy’s number 10 had started on the left of a three man attack, alongside Vincenzo Iaquinta and Simone Pepe. All three had previously played in the same Udinese team before Iaquinta was sold to Juventus.

Di Natale served notice of his intentions, taking a long range strike at goal after just fifteen seconds following kick-off. However, that was as good as it got for him and Italy during

World Cup Blog 2

Along with his fellow Italians, Antonio Di Natale suffered a painfully frustrating game for Italy against New Zealand.…

Di Natale was left on the bench again by Marcello Lippi, even though Italy started with a 4-4-2 formation. Vincenzo Iaquinta and Alberto Gilardino were paired together in attack, while Claudio Marchisio and Simone Pepe occupied the wide positions.

New Zealand took a shock lead when Shane Smeltz scored after 7 minutes. The Italians managed to equalise when Daniele De Rossi earned a penalty in the 29th minute. Iaquinta sent Mark Paston the wrong way.

The scores were still level at half time when Lippi decided to send Di Natale on, to replace the anonymous Gilardino. Camoranesi also came on, more surprisingly, for the energetic Pepe. Di Natale almost had an instant impact wh

World Cup Blog 1

Italy made an uncertain start to the defence of their World Cup crown, drawing 1-1 with Paraguay in their opening game. The Italians began the match with a 4-3-3 formation. Daniele De Rossi, Claudio Marchisio and Riccardo Montolivo started as a three in central midfield. Alberto Gilardino was the spearhead in attack, with Vincenzo Iaquinta and Simone Pepe operating to the left and right of him respectively.…

Antonio Di Natale was left on the bench, but he would come on later to give Lippi a different attacking option. The Italians suffered a setback when Antolin Alcaraz opened the scoring in the 39th minute for Paraguay with a stunning header past Gianluigi Buffon. It got worse for Italy when Buffon was forced off at half time with a back injury, and had to be replaced by the inexperienced

Inspiration in Dreams

The other day I had that wonderful experience that I keep a notebook on my bedside cabinet before – a vivid dream that was remembered immediately upon waking. I awakened with a feeling of jangling nerves and anxiety, a legacy from my slumbers. I reached for my notepad, and scribbled the events and figures of the dream down- eager to record the details before they vanished in a cloud of morning smoke.

I was blessed with a clear narrative and vision of what could be a new short story or novel. It is a moment that all writers hope for, a dream of a dream.

Tropic of Cancer

I saw two very interesting television programmes recently. The first was ‘Tropic of Cancer’, a travelogue presented by Simon Reeve. He followed the imaginary geographic line of the Tropic of Cancer around the world, visiting various countries and meeting the people there. He started in Mexico and went from there to the Bahamas, before crossing to the African continent and visiting the Sahara and travelling from there to Libya. He then proceeded to travel through Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, India, Bangladesh, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Taiwan before finishing in Hawaii.…

There were so many issues arising from the programme- social problems, poverty, ecological and environmental problems. Most shocking was the moment when, at the end of the programme, Reeve visited a beach in Hawaii which was utte

Comparing Disciplines

I was watching an interview with a famous UK pop star where he made a comment that went along the lines of: “songs are about making big ideas smaller, while novels are essentially about making small ideas big.” The statement made me pause, as I objected to the implicit assumption that novelists work on the basis of ‘small ideas’, while musicians have more profound, meaningful thoughts that need to be downsized into four minute pop songs.…

I then started thinking about the comparison between the two artistic disciplines of songwriting and writing literature. I also thought of Bob Dylan- a fine lyricist but an unsatisfactory musical performer, to my taste at least!

My personal broad summary would be that music requires more inherited natural talent, while writing requires craft, patience, an

Creative update

A creative update. I have been working on several projects since December, and I have finally reached the first stage of fruition. I’ve completed first drafts of 13 short stories, and they will make up a collection entitled, appropriately enough ‘Thirteen’. In a future blog post I will list the titles, to keep you all tantalised.…

Aside from those stories which have made the initial list for the collection, I was also working on three other stories. ‘Rosebud’, ‘Beyond Twilight’ and ‘Moonlight Bay’. They won’t be in. I started work on all three but I dropped them for different reasons. ‘Rosebud’ and ‘Moonlight Bay’ I think can be novels. I started writing and I realised that the stories can be extended in length and the story is better if its fully developed in this way. I’ve added them to

The Music Industry

Ed O’Brien, guitarist with Radiohead, reckons that the music industry is becoming dominated by the money men who demand profit at the price of creativity.…

I sense, and many artists sense, that it’s become dominated by money, and the need to make more money. And I think the problem with that is that the creativity’s gone out of the industry, the fun. You realise there’s something hugely missing now. And I think that’s fun and creativity. That was the main thing. And I think the problem is that in the last 10-15 years it’s become about money and the money men are now running the companies, whereas traditionally it’s always been the creatives…So I think that’s a long-term thing and that’s important for the general health of the industry…What’s great about the moment is the very fact that we’

The world is too much with us

Okay, I think that’s enough snow for 2010 in the UK! No more please! I think we’ve had enough, although as I live 4 minutes by train from work (and about 40 minutes walk), I have no excuses.…

Has anyone else noticed how busy everyone is in London? Everybody is always rushing off somewhere, meeting someone, or has a commitment they can’t get out of. No one has a spare moment, or any time to kill. If they did, they’d probably think something was wrong with them.

We become burnt out that way. Give me the gentle pace and the peace and tranquillity of rural life any day. Boring? Life is draining when you constantly rush and never stop to contemplate anything.

On their death bed, no one ever regretted the fact that they didn’t spend enough time at work.

The world is too much with us; late and so

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