Liam Davies

Writer of new weird, absurdist, horror and fantasy fiction

"I'm almost thinking Davies may be some evil genius..." John Boden, Shock Totem
"...the writer's laurels definitely have to go to Liam Davies." Charles Packer, Sci-fi online.

News and Reviews blog

News, reviews and gimcrack

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Adventures in Bedsit (and the phantom game of pocket snooker)

Posted by Liam Davies on September 12, 2015 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This entry is to serve as an introduction to my latest book, Adventures in Bedsit, published through Bad Marrow Books. Essentially, it is a short story collection with a rather large wrap-around novella to give the stories a rather fun framework from which to occupy. The wider story details a psychotic wannabe horror writer, who carves his stories into the walls of his squalid bedsit before inking the scored surface with the blood of his first and last murder victim, his favourite author - all this before killing himself in an act designed to grant him eternal infamy. What follows though is a series of mishaps and blunders that takes him into the absurd bureaucracy of the afterlife and straight into the path of his murder victim. The short stories that intersperse the chapters of this novella are the very tales our luckless nutjob scratched into the plaster of his damp flat: mirrors reveal portals to purgatory; love-cheats are reincarnated as supermarkets; satan seeks an apprentice to help him finish his janitorial work at a struggling comprehensive school; a Parisian theme park owner tests the scariest ride ever created; a futuristic sex toy may just save the sanity of everyone on the planet; an alcoholic needs to feed the fish that secretes his favourite psychotropic drink; lettings agency workers are more than they seem, under the skin; the members of the most controversial band of all time sell their souls to satan for an all new sound; humanoid sharks in people costumes run the world's financial empires; and much, much more.


Okay, advert over. I sincerly hope, if you're reading this, that you pick up a copy and enjoy it - as dark as a lot of the content of this book is (it does go really go to some icky places) the overall aim is to have some fun - think The League of Gentlement but one of their particularly harrowing episodes... but there's something else I wanted to cover. This is my first short story collection. The pieces of fiction have appeared in magazines and journals on both sides of the Atlantic over several years. I wrote them sporadically, subbed them infrequently and only ever put them together for this book. And so here's the nub of things. It was only when perusing these stories next to one another during the drafts, edits and proofs, that something dawned on me. If some themes develop in a writer's work from the depths of their subconsciousness, then what does it say about me that in about half of these stories some character, at some stage... ahem... well... pleasures themselves? Maybe that I need to get out more, some of you might be thinking. Well without revealing too much information, I have to say that my life is fine, in all ways, and I wouldn't change anything - no, there's nothing wrong there. So, suffice to say, I was perplexed, and perhaps a little spooked by what I was unwittingly including. Then again, in my recent book, The Shadow Intermission, I focues heavily on the most negative aspects of maleness and in this collection there is barely a male character that does not transgress moral boundaries of some sort. So yeah, that's what I'm going to go with. My work asks pertinent questions about gender, about maleness, about how men view, use and abuse themselves and their lives and so on... either that, or my work just features a hell of a lot of wankers. Adventures in Bedsit is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

j

Adventures in Bedsit (and the phantom game of pocket snooker)

Posted by Liam Davies on September 12, 2015 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This entry is to serve as an introduction to my latest book, Adventures in Bedsit, published through Bad Marrow Books. Essentially, it is a short story collection with a rather large wrap-around novella to give the stories a rather fun framework from which to occupy. The wider story details a psychotic wannabe horror writer, who carves his stories into the walls of his squalid bedsit before inking the scored surface with the blood of his first and last murder victim, his favourite author - all this before killing himself in an act designed to grant him eternal infamy. What follows though is a series of mishaps and blunders that takes him into the absurd bureaucracy of the afterlife and straight into the path of his murder victim. The short stories that intersperse the chapters of this novella are the very tales our luckless nutjob scratched into the plaster of his damp flat: mirrors reveal portals to purgatory; love-cheats are reincarnated as supermarkets; satan seeks an apprentice to help him finish his janitorial work at a struggling comprehensive school; a Parisian theme park owner tests the scariest ride ever created; a futuristic sex toy may just save the sanity of everyone on the planet; an alcoholic needs to feed the fish that secretes his favourite psychotropic drink; lettings agency workers are more than they seem, under the skin; the members of the most controversial band of all time sell their souls to satan for an all new sound; humanoid sharks in people costumes run the world's financial empires; and much, much more.


Okay, advert over. I sincerly hope, if you're reading this, that you pick up a copy and enjoy it - as dark as a lot of the content of this book is (it does go really go to some icky places) the overall aim is to have some fun - think The League of Gentlement but one of their particularly harrowing episodes... but there's something else I wanted to cover. This is my first short story collection. The pieces of fiction have appeared in magazines and journals on both sides of the Atlantic over several years. I wrote them sporadically, subbed them infrequently and only ever put them together for this book. And so here's the nub of things. It was only when perusing these stories next to one another during the drafts, edits and proofs, that something dawned on me. If some themes develop in a writer's work from the depths of their subconsciousness, then what does it say about me that in about half of these stories some character, at some stage... ahem... well... pleasures themselves? Maybe that I need to get out more, some of you might be thinking. Well without revealing too much information, I have to say that my life is fine, in all ways, and I wouldn't change anything - no, there's nothing wrong there. So, suffice to say, I was perplexed, and perhaps a little spooked by what I was unwittingly including. Then again, in my recent book, The Shadow Intermission, I focues heavily on the most negative aspects of maleness and in this collection there is barely a male character that does not transgress moral boundaries of some sort. So yeah, that's what I'm going to go with. My work asks pertinent questions about gender, about maleness, about how men view, use and abuse themselves and their lives and so on... either that, or my work just features a hell of a lot of wankers. Adventures in Bedsit is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

j

A Fresh Start

Posted by Liam Davies on August 4, 2015 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

So, this has been a rather exhausting year for me, personally – I’ve had a new job, my beautiful baby daughter was born, I’ve had a protracted house move and perhaps most significant of all, I’ve had a health problem, which although I don’t want to go into this in any detail online (thankfully it is seemingly over now if anyone has any concerns), it has been physically very debilitating indeed. All the while, my writing productivity has suffered. But it has prompted me into taking stock of where things are going and make some decisions with regards to my books.

Here goes…

I have been published in the traditional sense – I’ve submitted work to publishers, had acceptances, worked with editors, honed drafts etc, and have learned a lot from the process. My work has appeared on ToC lists with writers whose work I love or respect: Thomas Ligotti, Rhys Hughes, Blake Butler, Shane McKenzie, Kurt Newton, Mark Allan Gunnels and Mark Howard Jones. The experience though hasn’t been a positive one. Sometimes payment has been prompt, but by and large most of my experiences has resulted in having to chase monies owed to me. One of my first sales to a British horror magazine resulted in no payment or contributor copy ever materialising, in spite of my work being used. I’ve had work published in anthologies by well regarded and successful publishing houses relatively recently – again, not even the contributor copies have arrived, in spite of chasing this up, and still my work is being used and the books that feature the stories are selling. My novels and novellas have sold and although I’ve never had a problem with advance payment or the creative working relationship with the publishers, lines of communication have been slow and prospective publication dates have elapsed without sign of a release… and all the while I’ve been evaluating things, prompted by all the stuff going on in my life that I mentioned earlier in this post.

So, I’ve decided to go it alone. I had options – submit to new publishers. Keep plugging away and get a few more sales here and there, which I’d be confident of doing. But the thought of repeating experiences is enough to put me off. With the diminishing stigma of being an indie author, with the prospect of having more control over the whole process, with the ability to know exactly when my books are to be released, it was almost a no brainer. Of course, there is still a stigma. The vast majority of self-published work is poorly edited and lacks the benefit of an external pair of eyes to constructively help shape the story – to help the writer know when to control certain elements. Otherwise, they are often purely and simply 50 Shades of Shit. These are challenges I will have to overcome, but they are less fundamental than the issues I’ve encountered in the traditional publishing sense. I see it similarly to how the music industry is changing or how a film can be self-financed (I’ve always loved the story of how the first Evil Dead was hustled together by Raimi, Tapert and Campbell and because self-publishing is cheaper than movie making, I don’t have to pitch to dentists and doctors to invest anything!)

I’ve also harboured the desire to publish the work of others, to have my own small press. Creating a publishing imprint to put out my own stuff allows me to combine the two - to see if I can get my own work out in a satisfactory way to legitimise my desire to publish others’ writing when the time comes.

Above all, though, it means it panders to my control freakery of the creative process!

For the first time in years, I feel I have something to look forward to with my writing and that I can build something of my own.

Bugger All Backwards Review in Shock Totem 6

Posted by Liam Davies on April 8, 2013 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)

As there is no online link, here's a tiny excerpt from the review that features in the print/Kindle version of Shock Totem 6.


"The kicker is that, as ridiculous as this premise reads, it really works. The characters are strong and believable and the moral of the tale is quite strong. I’m almost thinking Davies may be some evil genius."


They're obviously people of great discernement and taste at Shock Totem. Either that, or I probably owe them money now... 


Happy times.

Bugger All Backwards out now

Posted by Liam Davies on August 22, 2012 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Just a quick couple of notices. 

Debut novella Bugger All Backwards is out now through Amazon (both US and UK versions) as well as from the Gallows Press website directly (at a slight discount).

Secondly, recently got initial word that my short story, "Colne", has been accepted for a bizarro anthology edited by Cameron Pierce entitled In Heaven Everything is Fine - a selection of fiction inspired by the films of David Lynch. 

I'm very happy about both. 

News - Sow and Bugger All Backwards

Posted by Liam Davies on July 8, 2012 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Just a quick update as to when some of my books are coming out:

Sow & The Three Beasts of Brunlea should be out in August after a small delay with the publisher, however it should be preceded by my novella Bugger All Backwards, which could be with us as early as this month. I'm really excited about this one as the story's an odd one which could have proved a difficult sell. It's set in the ghost of Dylan Thomas' anus where the fictional welsh town of Llareggub has become lodged - it's an intertextual love story where some of the most famous characters of literature and film have inbred and mutated over several generations, trapped in their iconic fictional towns and forced to mate with one anther over and over again.

I have no news as to when Gallows Press plan to publish Adventures in Bed-sit and Onion Skin Apocalypse but they're a great bunch over there in Conneticut and I'm sure all will pan out in good time. 

A brief interview with Mark Allan Gunnells

Posted by Liam Davies on April 20, 2012 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

As a new guy on the scene, it gives me great pleasure to be afforded some time to interview Mark Allan Gunnells, one of a fresh breed of horror writers who produces some of the most entertaining and satisfying horror tales around at the moment. Here's what he had to say.


LD: Firstly, having read quite a bit of your work now, you seem to be dabbling in a quite a variety of sub-genres within horror, from monster/survival fiction (Creatures of the Light), zombie fiction with social commentary (a la Romero to a degree in Asylum), ghost stories (Whisonant; Ghosts in the Attic), holiday horror (Dark Treats), post apocalyptic (The Last Men on Earth) and now it looks like your writing a bit of slasher fiction in Sequel, due out soon through Gallws Press. A lot of writers tend to fall into thematic patterns, so what gives? Was it a conscious decision to explore such a range of styles? If you carry on as you are, it's only a matter of time until you pen a romance!

 

MG: I don't consciously go into the writing of any story with the intent of exploring a different style or theme. I always say I am an instinctual writer, I just have ideas pop into my head and I have to follow them, see where they lead. I guess I'm lucky that these ideas often lead me to different places and I'm not just telling the same stories over and over.


LD: Seeing as though you've explored such a range of styles, which type of horror do you think is your strongest suit as a writer?

 

MG: Hmm, I would say I like Twilight Zone-esque stories, with ordinary people thrown into situations both surreal and bizarre. And often unexplained. It's the type of story I enjoy most, and I think I have a certain knack for it.


LD: For the Mark Gunnells uninitiated, what thematic ideas are most prevalent in your fiction? Do you ever write with a conscious agenda or message or do you set out to entertain?

 

MG: Never, or should I say rarely do I ever write with a message or agenda. I am a writer who just wants to entertain. Sometimes depending on the subject matter, I explore certain social themes, but I don't do "message" pieces per se. My main goal is always to have fun in the writing, which will hopefully translate into fun for the reader.


LD: What's your favourite aspect of the writing process?

 

MG: The discovery. Because I am an instinctual writer, I find writing to be an act of discovery more than an act of creation. I let the story take over and pull me along, revealing itself to me as it unfolds. That can be quite exhilarating.


LD: Personally, I think you're very good at a couple of things in particular in your stories: firstly, you take the time to create characters that people give a shit about, especially when they  end up in jeopardy, but perhaps most of all, secondly you inject a strong sense of pace. Your work really ticks along quickly, almost "movie-like", resulting in stories that are hard to put down. Are these things that you've particularly paid attention to whilst learning the craft? And conversely, are there other aspects of your writing that you still work to improve on?

 

MG: Honestly, I often worry I'm not as good at character development or pacing as I need to be, so those are two areas I tend to worry over. However, I try not to "try too hard" if that makes any sense, I don't want it to feel tortured and overworked. As a more instinctual writer, I try to stay aware of those things, to work on them, but ultimately I just try to get caught up in the flow of the story and just let it unfold. Once it's done, any tinkering that needs to be done can be done. As for aspects of my writing I'm still working to improve, I'd say all of them. I want to be the best writer I can be, and I think I can use improvement in all areas and I am always striving to improve.


LD: Picking up on the overt Laymon homage in 'A Laymon Kind of Night', have you ever read a piece of fiction by a writer that you wish you'd written or that drives you to have that horrible love/hate feeling towards its author? (I hope you know what I mean by this... I feel it towards Ramsay Campbell all the time - it makes me sick to think just how good that guy is... a benchmark to show by just how far the rest of us have to travel).

 

MG: Have definitely read works that I think are so great that I feel intimidated, like I'm never going to produce anything that good. Feel that way when I read most anything by Lansdale. I am in awe, and also envious all at the same time. Natural human reaction, I guess. Sometimes I also read something like King's recent 11/22/63 and it frustrates me because I have an unpublished novel about time traveling that involves a plot to stop the assassination. They play out very differently and have different tones, but how can I possibly sub a novel with that premise NOW? ha ha

 

LD: Bad luck. I once wrote a novel called Catcher in the Rye - I was livid I discovered that it'd already been taken. Anyway, other than favourite writers (please feel free to mention any more if you'd like), which people or events have been the most significant in terms of helping you get to where you are right now as a writer?

 

MG: First and foremost, Tom and Billie Moran from Sideshow Press, and now Gallows Press. I first met them when they published a story in their magazine "Black Ink Horror" then they took a chance on me for their chapbook line, publishing me alongside the likes of Edward Lee, Brian Knight, and Kurt Newton. Since then they have offered much encouragement, put out more books by me, and done worlds of good for my confidence level as a writer. They make me feel that I truly belong. And I've met a ton of really wonderful writers who have also made me feel part of the community, part of the "club" if you will. People like Brian Knight, James Newman, John R. Little, Gene O'Neill.


LD: Now that you're getting somewhere, where do you want writing to take you? Do you harbour grand ambition and if so, how would you measure it? And as a caveat to this question, what's the greatest ever compliment anyone's ever paid to your fiction? What's meant the most to you?

 

MG: Well, I think we all harbor secret dreams to make a living from writing. Quit our day jobs and support ourselves solely on our passion. But for me, if that never happens I'll be perfectly content with having a day job I don't hate that affords me time to write. I wish I sold more, mostly because I'm a feedback whore and I love to hear from readers, but mainly I just want to write stories that entertain me and hopefully entertain those who take a chance on them. The greatest compliment a reader could pay to me is to say that they were entertained. The compliment that meant the most to me I think may have come from John R. Little when he said my collection TALES FROM THE MIDNIGHT SHIFT was one of the best collections he'd ever read. That filled me with utter joy.

 

LD: The Quarry (which I finished reading shortly after conducting this interview - Mark - I was entertained!) is out right now through Evil Jester Press - am I right in thinking it's one of your first novel-length works? What's it about and how was the process different considering it's length?

 

MG: It isn't the first novel-length work I ever wrote, but is the first one I've had published. It's set on a small college campus in the South, involving an ancient creature that is trapped beneath the lake on the edge of campus. It is part creature feature, part possession tale, even with a bit of a serial killer feel. The process was different than short stories, which are what I have mostly been writing, in that the pacing of a novel is completely different, and I really had to keep a reign on that, make sure certain parts weren't dragging, that other's weren't being rushed. And while I don't do traditional outlining, I did sketch out a lot of notes to try to keep the story moving along.

 

LD: You've a couple of things coming out through Gallows Press in the now and near future: you've contributed to their introductory anthology and you've also a novel out in May called Sequel. Firstly, why is your contribution to the anthology a useful taster for new Mark Gunnells readers and finally, what is Sequel all about?

 

MG: Well, with the anthology I know I could potentially be exposed to readers who aren't familiar with my work, so I wanted to give them something I felt was a strong work, a short story that would make them think, "Hmm, I want to check out more from this guy." Ended up choosing the first story I ever sold, which also appears in my collection TALES OF THE MIDNIGHT SHIFT. It is called "Jam" and I hope people like it. As for my upcoming novel SEQUEL, it's a homage to the slasher films I grew up on, about a cult horror movie that a studio decides to make a sequel to. However, someone doesn't want this movie made, and people on the set start dying in gruesome and brutal ways.


Many thanks to Mark Allan Gunnells for sharing. Please check out his work. It's probably best to visit his Amazon homepage for information or most preferably to buy some of the guy's work. Do it. You'll definitely be entertained. Sequel will be released on May the 13th, 2012 through Gallows Press

 


 


Appearing in anthology

Posted by Liam Davies on March 1, 2012 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Just a quick shout. 

My brand spanking new story, Mirror World, will be featuring in an anthology being put out by Gallows Press. It's a slice of existential peculiarity about a man who mistrusts his reflection. Most fun of all is the pleasure of seeing my name alongside some talented others, such as Gene O'Neill, Shane McKenzie, Mark Allan Gunnells and Kurt Newton. 

In terms of Sow (& the three beasts of Brunlea), it looks as though it won't be part of the Gallows publication launch event, but should be following hot on the heels fo novels by Kurt Newton, Jeff Strand, Shane McKenzie and the aforementioned anthology.

It's exciting to think my first novel will finally be published any month now.

Hecky thump!

Finally getting there...

Posted by Liam Davies on January 21, 2012 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Some real news today:


2012 will hopefully be a good year for me, in spite of those twats urging on The Rapture because the Mayans said it would be so (they didn't predict the Spanish, did they.... let's hope we're okay this time).


This year should see the release of two of my novels: "Sow: the three beasts of Brunlea" and "Onion Skin Apocalypse". The former is a sucker I've been hawking for years to no avail but finally somebody has seen something in it - in fact they've even sent a preliminary cover design through and it's utterly wrong on every moral level that it's rendered me pleased as Pepperami. The book should be available in good time through an online bookstore that names itself after a famous world river. The second, is due out via the same stream (or river) this year also.


If anybody reads this... when these books come out, buy the bastards; be entertained; be appalled; be enlightened.... whatever you end up being... buy them! Sounds needy. Sure it does. But I'm about a sperm whale's cock away from "making it" as a writer even in spite of being 'signed up'. Any future books rely on the purchase of whatever is put out initially.... and if not for me, do it for the children.


More to follow....




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