Monthly Archives: May 2014

Whisperers in the Darkness

The Kickstarter campaign to create a new HP Lovecraft-themed TV show is down to the last 52 hours. So if you want a shot at funding them do it now. Starring Doug Jones (Abe Sapien from Hellboy) and many others… grab yourself an IMDB credit!




Urban Fantasy anthology update!


My short story “Blood of an Englishman” features in Twisted Boulevard, the new urban fantasy anthology from Elektrik Milkbath Press. This eclectic blend of short stories promises to have something for everyone.

You can buy it from, or if you’re a Brit. 

Hmm. Moody cover.






A Lovecraftian TV show?

Today, I wanted to share with you  what I think is a great idea. The folks over at the Lovecraft E-zine have decided to go ahead and make a H.P. Lovecraft-inspired TV series called “Whispers from the Shadows”. They’re raising funds on, and you can be a part of it.

The rewards are fantastic. And the series is being made with professional horror movie actors. You can even get an Associate Producer credit if you pledge enough.

In case you have been hiding in a cave since the 1980s and don’t know who H.P. Lovecraft is, he is considered the father of weird fiction. Lovecraft was unappreciated in his lifetime, yet he is probably the most influential horror writer of the 20th  century, inspiring everyone from Guillermo del Toro to Stephen King.

Here is a link to his Wikipedia entry:

These people need pledges, and the deadline is looming. So do yourself a favour and head over to Kickstarter and see for yourself how cool this is. The deadline is 2nd June.

Go check it out here:–b4dbaa7ac4a499fa5c7ce2ebe608b1c76870f0b5&ref=backer_project_update


13 Modern Horror Authors you must read ?

Horror has always been the unloved bastard lovechild of fiction. This is no more so than now. Horror books are often derided as puerile or unsavoury. Horror films are often accused of exploitation. Worse still, in recent years, horror fiction has often been diluted and warped into “dark fantasy”, thanks to TV shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the innumerable “paranormal romance” novels that litter the bookshelves.

But for those who like their horror fiction a little more mature, a little stronger, a little darker, it’s time to share with you my personal love of the horror genre. So here is a compendium of what I think are 13 of the greatest contemporary horror authors.

(One side note: by contemporary, I mean since the 1970s. I struggled to compile a list of more recent authors who ranked alongside these greats. Feel free to agree or disagree.  But for argument’s sake, here are my thirteen, in no particular order…)



Okay, let’s get this one out of the way. Everybody knows King’s work, thanks to the hugely successful movies. However, the films do not capture the essence of King, which is his style. Often very detailed to the point of making you believe you are there, his collloquial storytelling manner immediately disarms you. Perhaps his most successful novels (in terms of evoking fear) are “The Stand” and “IT”. But for a real treat, check out his short stories in “Night Shift”.



King once wrote that Herbert was not a great writer, but a great novelist. Whatever the truth of that, when you read a Herbert novel, you are soon unable to put it down. Pages turn with greater and greater rapidity toward an often brutal and apocalyptic conclusion. His novel “The Rats” still aches to be made into a decent film. But for sheer insane brilliance, try “Domain”. “The Fog” also sees Herbert at his catastrophic best. Sadly missed since passing on recently.



The enfant-terrible of horror. Barker has been at it since the 80s, when Stephen King declared him the future of the genre. Belonging more to the school of body-horror than classic scares, Barker’s novels create a fantastical nightmare world where anything is possible. Not satisfied with writing, Barker directed his own novella “Hellraiser” to enormous success. But for me, his novel “Cabal” , filmed as the underappreciated “Nightbreed”, is his best. With the Hollywood machine currently churning its way through his gigantic short story collection “The Books of Blood”, Barker  is sure to remain a popular name in the genre.



A totally different entity, Anne Rice has been quietly crafting brilliant, haunting gothic stories since the 1970s. Her Vampire Chronicles have spawned about ten sequels, as well as one good movie and one not very good one involving her most famous creation, the vampire Lestat. Her Mayfair Witches stories are just as good. No serious horror fan should miss her books.



Here’s where it gets interesting. Matheson was a prolific contributor to Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” before penning “Duel”, a young Steven Spielberg’s first feature, as well as “I Am Legend”, a novel that has been made into two very different movies starring Will Smith and Charlton Heston. Capable of writing paranoid sci-fi/horror (“The Incredible Shrinking Man”) to tear-inducing romantic fantasy (“Somewhere In Time”, “What Dreams May Come”). Again, he passed away a few years back, but left us with a truly memorable body of work.



The king of the short story, Bradbury penned the screenplay for “Moby Dick”, as well as the seminal sci-fi classics “It Came from Outer Space” and “The Beast from 50,0000 Fathoms”. His novel “Something Wicked This Way Comes” was once made into a Disney movie, of all things! Also a master of science-fiction, Bradbury wrote “The Martian Chronicles”. But his most eerie stories, almost mythic in tone, can be found in “The October Country”.



Straub’s work has never enjoyed the mainstream success of his sometime co-writer Stephen King. He also often chooses to write mystery novels. However, his titanic supernatural masterpiece “Ghost Story” is one of the best modern books in the genre (once made into a rather forgettable movie with Fred Astaire and Ray Milland). His other horror fiction, such as the feverish “Julia”  and “If You Could See Me Now” is rife with ghostly happenings that seem sso realistic, you could almost miss them. A very sophisticated writer who wields a pen as sharp as a scalpel.



Although not as well known as he should be, Grant was immensely prolific, writing under several different pseudonyms and in different genres. His major achievement in horror fiction was creating the town of Oxrun Station, introduced in “The Hour of the Oxrun Dead”. His dreamy, poetical style often starts with a slow burn and then reaches a terrific climax. Reminiscent of the “classic horror” movies of the 40s, Grant’s prose dwells less on gore and more on atmosphere and suspense. Another writer who sadly is no longer with us.



A writer of weird fiction, Campbell is perhaps the most successful horror novelist to come out of Britain besides Barker and Herbert. His fiction is characterised by the bizarre breaking through the mundane world. His short story collection “Demons by Daylight” and his novels “The Doll Who Ate His Mother” and “The Parasite” are all highly recommended.



Yes, that Roald Dahl. The man who gave us “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach”. Come to think of it, wasn’t “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” always rather frightening? Dahl also penned some deliciously twisted short stories with a classic twist in the tale in his collections “Kiss Kiss” and “Someone Like You”. In fact, they made a whole TV series out of them, appropriately called “Tales of the Unexpected”



Deserves inclusion on this list simply by virtue of being so prolific, if nothing else. Laymon’s novels are not for everyone. They tend to be as subtle as a brick wrapped in bloody innards. However, their breakneck speed drags you along until the last chapter. So high-concept, it makes you wonder why Hollywood hasn’t bothered with them. Check out the brilliant “Among the Missing” or the downright bizarre “Beast House”. Whether you like his work or not, Laymon’s huge output has helped keep the horror market afloat. Yet another writer who recently passed away.


There were more that I felt could have been included here: Graham Masterson, Fritz Lieber, Virginia Andrews, William Peter Blatty, TED Klein, Robert R McCammon, Whitley Streiber and Robert Bloch to name a few. However, although it surprises me, my thirteenth place goes to…



“Ballardian” has become a phrase to describe the bleakness of modern living. As well as providing fodder for Hollywood with the likes of “Empire of the Sun” (a horror story if ever there was one), Ballard wrote the auto-erotic (in a literal sense) “Crash”, filmed by David Cronenberg. His other works include a novel about a man marooned on a traffic island and a whole apartment complex of people who go insane. Fitting metaphors for the horror of “modern living”, where we can connect anywhere on the planet but still remain isolated. A rare example of a horror writer who was lauded by the literary establishment during his lifetime, Ballard passed away in 2008.


So there you have it, my top 13 horror authors. Each has a distinct voice, from the Gothic to the frighteningly modern. You may also notice that there is a substantial lack of new blood in the field (pun intended). Who will fill the void?

Will it be you? 













More praise for Horror Without Victims anthology!

Another review of my story Clouds in the Horror Without Victims anthology (an anthology of horror fiction without victims. Yes, honestly).  So good, it doesn’t even need quotation marks!

“This one generates quite a respectable degree of tension before being brought to a satisfying conclusion.”

This is one of the most original horror anthologies I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t checked the book out yet, it’s available on Amazon. So what are you waiting for?



New Reviews!

There have been several new cool reviews of  my short story “Clouds” in the intelligent but creepy “Horror Without Victims” anthology.

Here’s one in the latest issue of Black Static magazine. Apparently, it’s solipsistic. Which I think is a good thing.

Here’s another:

Clouds – Eric Ian Steele
“He had scared himself with his crazy imagination. He hadn’t looked at clouds like that since he was a child.”
…routine-work ravaged Evan faces a horrifically accretive onset of erasure, brilliantly conveyed. But it is a situation potentially providing a tabula rasa more fulfilling than fullness… It reminds me of failing to notice things in life as one grows beyond childhood and I once used to watch clouds, imagining them, as I did, in a race they had with each other and still have … towards their eventual death or mine? I rarely noticed them in later years…until reading this inspiring story.

If you haven’t bought your copy yet, you’re missing out. This is a unique anthology with some quite memorable stories, including of course one by yours truly (shameless plug). What’s not to like?

You can buy it on here:






Bonus post! How to write Hollywood action lines part 3!

Here is something that trips me up time and time again, and I’ve seen even the most seasoned screenwriters falls for it. So I thought I would include it in this bonus post about how to write Hollywood-style action lines in your screenplay.

This tip can be summed up in one word:


What I mean is, you should always be trying to REMOVE UNNECESSARY WORDS.

Do you have a screenwriting bible?

I do.

It contains everything I’ve ever leant about screenwriting in bullet point form. Only I can understand it, which is fine because it’s only for my use. But in it, I’ve written down the words I should try to avoid at all costs.

And now I’m sharing them with you.

So here they are:








“We See”

Please note: if you read a lot of produced screenplays written by professional screenwriters, you will probably see these words being used over and over again. The difference between them and you?

They got paid already.

Another point worth mentioning is: don’t go overboard. If you include one “but” in a 110 page script, chances are it won’t make any difference. Also, if you edit your action lines down too much, they may not make sense. Removing every “a” or “the” will confuse the reader. Sometimes you might even want to deliberately break the rules to make more of an impact on the reader.

So use common sense.

But before you start marketing your script, a simple search for these words will allow you to edit them out of existence and strengthen your action lines. And that might be enough to tip the scales in your favour.

Now if only I’d used this tip on my last script…