Tag Archives: sharon ring

Project Deadwood

deadwood

It started something like this…during a chat with Sharon Ring on Skype, in which I mentioned that I was going to watch an episode of Justified, Sharon asked me what Justified was. The subject of Timothy Olyphant came up and I made some reference to Olyphant’s character in Justified, being a modern day version of his character in Deadwood. This chat resulted in the question that shocked me to the core:

“What’s Deadwood?”

Yep, you heard right, Sharon has not only not seen Deadwood but had never even heard of it! Things needed to be set right. In customary Sharon and Mark fashion though, this would not be done in a simple way: Sharon watching the series and then confirming that I was justified (pun oh so intended) in recommending it. Oh no, this was to become ‘Project Deadwood’, wherein both Sharon and I would watch the episodes together and then write a episodic commentary on them, Sharon from the perspective of a first-time viewer and I, as someone who hasn’t seen the series for five years but is aware of all the twists and turns, eager to reveal them but making sure I don’t.

So over the course of the next few weeks/months we are going to be finding days to watch the episodes and then forcing ourselves to write the commentary before moving on to the next. We have no set deadline for this, preferring to fit this around our other projects/deadlines.

If you’re in Sharon’s position, maybe you want to watch the series from scratch, or like me, watch it all over again. Either way, you are free to join us on my blog: https://markdeniz.wordpress.com/, and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, where we’ll post the commentaries, as well as our agreed dates for the episodes. If you have a Dropbox account, feel free to let me or Sharon know and we’ll add you to the folder, otherwise you can watch your own copies along with us.

Get yer guns!


Gareth L. Powell signs with literary agent Sharon Ring

gareth-l-powell-last-reef

January 9th 2011 – Bristol and Manchester, UK

Gareth L Powell and Sharon Ring sign author/agent contract.

Gareth L Powell has signed up with Literary Agent Sharon Ring. Sharon Ring will act as agent in regard to five titles, Revenant Skies; Reclaiming The Dead; Silversands (originally published with Pendragon Press); The Last Reef (originally published with Elastic Press); The New Ships.

Gareth is rapidly gaining a reputation as a “strong new voice in epic science fiction” (Solaris). In addition to his previously published novel (Silversands) and collection (The Last Reef), Gareth has appeared in several anthologies, including including Shine (Solaris Books, 2010), Conflicts (NewCon Press, 2010), 2020 Visions (M-Brane, 2010), Dark Spires (Wizard’s Tower, 2010), and Future Bristol (Swimming Kangaroo, 2009). His short story Ack-Ack Macaque won the Interzone Readers’ Poll for best short story of 2007; and Solaris will publish his second novel The Recollection in September this year.

Gareth said, "With two novels and a collection under my belt, I’m glad to have someone with Sharon’s contacts and chutzpah to help me scout out the territory ahead. I expect this will be a successful and productive partnership for us both."

Sharon said, “Gareth is an ideal writer to join forces with at this time. The more I read his work, the more I feel he is poised to have wider success in the science fiction community. He has a strong narrative voice; concise, direct and, above all, very human in the exploration of his chosen themes. I’m delighted to be forming this partnership.”

A full list of Gareth’s published work can be found at http://www.garethlpowell.com/books/.

All enquiries regarding this deal should be directed to Sharon Ring: sharonlring@gmail.com.


Gary McMahon and Sharon Ring sign author/agent contract.

Gary McMahon has signed up with Literary Agent Sharon Ring. Sharon Ring will act as agent in regard to two titles, The Quiet Room and Rain Dogs (previously published by Humdrumming Press).

rain_dogs_cover_prelim2

Gary is widely acknowledged as a powerful, new talent in British horror fiction. He received a British Fantasy Society nomination in 2009 for his first novel, Rain Dogs, and his short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Vols. 19 & 20 (ed. by Stephen Jones). Tim Lebbon calls him a “bloody good writer indeed… heartfelt, talented, soulful… serious and mature.” Conrad Williams describes Gary as “a skilful writer… an able cartographer of these badlands.” With three novels already under his belt, plus three more titles scheduled for publication in 2011, Gary is set to reach a wider genre-loving audience.

Gary McMahon said, “I’m very excited about this new collaboration. Sharon is an ambitious, knowledgeable and proactive person, who believes strongly in both my work and her own abilities to make things happen. Her passion for dark literature, along with the contacts and know-how she has developed over the last couple of years, will hopefully place us in a good position to take things forward and bring my writing to an even wider audience.”

Sharon said, “I’ve been working toward taking on my first author as a literary agent for some time now. I wanted to make sure my first client was a perfect fit. An opportunity arose to work with Gary McMahon on two titles and I knew the time was right. Gary is one of the most talented horror fiction authors on the scene, breathtakingly astute in his vision of the modern world and the fears which lie at the heart of us all, and completely unafraid to venture into the darkest of territories. It’s a privilege to be working with him at this time in his career.”

A full list of Gary’s published work can be found at http://www.garymcmahon.com/2008/04/publications.html.

All enquiries regarding this deal should be directed to Sharon Ring: sharonlring@gmail.com.


A new dark fiction giant is in town!

And the 31st October (what better date?) is where it will all begin:

DARK FICTION MAGAZINE LAUNCH

LONDON, MIDLANDS AND MANCHESTER, UK, 26 Oct 2010. Dark Fiction Magazine is pleased to announce the launch of a new service for fans of genre fiction. Beginning Oct 31st (Halloween), Dark Fiction Magazine will be launching a monthly magazine of audio short stories. This is a free service designed to promote genre short fiction to an audience of podcast and radio listeners. A cross between an audio book, an anthology and a podcast, Dark Fiction Magazine is designed to take the enjoyment of short genre fiction in a new and exciting direction.

Dark Fiction Magazine publishes at least four short stories a month: a mix of award-winning shorts and brand new stories from both established genre authors and emerging writers. Each episode will have a monthly theme and feature complementary tales from the three main genres – science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Co-founder Del Lakin-Smith said: “I love reading short stories, and with the increased uptake of mobile and portable devices this really is a growth area. But like many I find I don’t have as much time as I would like to read, so I tend to listen to many podcasts on the go. The idea of replacing my podcasts with high quality, well performed audio short stories is something I find highly appealing, so Sharon and I set about making that a reality.”

Sharon Ring, co-founder of Dark Fiction Magazine, said: “From technophobe to technophile in less than two years; I spend a great deal of time working online. To while away those hours, I like to listen to podcasts and drink copious amounts of strong coffee. Now, while I don’t recommend you drink as much coffee as I, I do recommend you check out what Del and I have created. We love podcasts; we love genre fiction; we built a site to bring the two together.”

The theme of Dark Fiction Magazine’s first episode is The Darkness Descends and will feature four fantastical stories:

  • ‘Maybe Then I’ll Fade Away’ by Joseph D’Lacey (exclusive to Dark Fiction Magazine)
  • ‘Pumpkin Night’ by Gary McMahon
  • ‘Do You See?’ by Sarah Pinborough (awarded the 2009 British Fantasy Society Short Story Award)
  • ‘Perhaps The Last’ by Conrad Williams

Lined up for future episodes are Pat Cadigan, Cory Doctorow, Jon Courtenay, Grimwood, Ramsey Campbell, Rob Shearman, Kim Lakin-Smith, Ian Whates, Lauren Beukes, Mark Morris, Adam Nevill, Gareth L Powell, Jeremy C Shipp, Adam Christopher, and Jennifer Williams, among others.

With a team of dedicated and passionate narrators, a central recording facility and a love of genre, Dark Fiction Magazine delivers a truly outstanding aural experience.

Dark Fiction Magazine will also be producing special editions with seasonal stories and topical issues, competitions, flash fiction episodes and novel excerpts. Each episode aims to shock and delight, to horrify and confound as Dark Fiction Magazine takes its listeners on an aural tour through the world of genre fiction.

Dark Fiction Magazine is a collaborative project, created and developed by Del Lakin-Smith and Sharon Ring. For further information, contact Del or Sharon at:
editorial@darkfictionmagazine.co.uk

 


WIP Wednesday – Part One…

…well day one at least…as this is the first day I’ve actually written one of these, and I did promise to do it last week…

Remember, I said I was doing this as a Morrigan Books WIP and not my good self. Not sure the Morrigan Books website should be a blog tool, so I’m quite happy to get my thoughts down here.

I chose quite a good week, actually, as there’s a lot going on at present: I’ve just agreed to look at a novel by an author who has had a bit of a tough time with a publisher and wants her book to actually see the world, rather than be shoved away, forgotten, into a corner. I’m looking at six different submissions now, with a view to them joining the Morrigan Books’ catalogue – no, we’re not open for submissions yet, this is stuff that has just seemed to find its way to my desk through some means or other…

I’ve been in discussions regarding some book releases and the international version of Scenes from the Second Storey, got itself a new co-editor yesterday, as Sharon Ring will be working on that with me now. We’ve been in discussion with those in the know at the BFS and it’s looking very likely to be a launch in Brighton next September, along with Mike Stone‘s Lemon Man. Looking forward to the con already, especially after missing this year’s.

I’ve looked into new distribution alternatives and been in talks about US support. All that is messy behind-the-scenes stuff but has kept me rather busy. We’re working on changing some of the company’s structure soon – remember that December 2010, is the end of Morrigan Books…did I get you there? No, it’s actually the end of Morrigan Books’ three year plan, meaning the team is going to sit down and work out what is going to happen with the company. Considering we have Liz Williams on board for two Detective Inspector Chen novels, means the future is probably rather bright…

Oh, and get ready for the month of October, as Morrigan Books is going to be involved in some competitions and exciting sales…more on that soon…those who are members of the Morrigan Books mailing list will actually find out first!

That’s been my last few days at Morrigan Books, what have you lot been up to?


The Domestication of the Vampire

[written by writer and reviewer, Sharon Ring]

I’ve been wondering how we made it from this,

Fear me!

to this.

Erm...hello...

As we’ve moved through Vampire Awareness Month I’ve been reading each blog post with great interest. I wanted to understand how vampire fiction has evolved from its earliest days of folklore to eighteenth century poetry, into nineteenth century gothic novels and through into modern cinema and literature. I also wanted to understand how each person who contributed and commented throughout the month perceives the vampire on a more personal level. Just what is our fascination with these creatures, why does the myth persist and why are vampires, as far as I can tell, the most oft-used fictional genre monster? Seriously, how does the vampire, more than any other fictional creature, manage to successfully reinvent itself through the generations?

Before I get any deeper into this train of thought, let me tell you a little about my own introduction to the world of vampire fiction, both literary and cinematic.

My first vampire book was Bram Stoker’s Dracula, read at the tender age of eleven, and the first vampire movie was the TV miniseries of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, watched at around the same age. Both tales affected me deeply although they troubled me in quite different ways. What connected them however, despite the seventy-eight year difference in each story’s creation, was the presence of the evil predator in our midst. It seemed to me at such a young age that this “presence of evil” was the most vital aspect of the vampire mythology: all things considered, I still believe this to be the most important part of any well-told vampire tale.

It's me again...


Back to the present day. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly Neil Gaiman talked about “what vampires get to represent”. His point of view is that with each generation of readers and movie-watchers the vampire is given a fresh role to play, a role that reflects the morals and ideals of the world into which this new incarnation arrives. I have to agree with Gaiman on this to a certain extent; the movies I’ve seen and books I’ve read about vampires over the years have definitely moved the creature through a number of subtle and not-so-subtle changes. Looking at the overall picture, from the earliest fictional vampires right up to the present day, we can see how societal attitudes have shaped our depiction of the creatures. Repressed sexuality and gender inequality in Victorian times, xenophobia throughout both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the sexual revolution of the post-war western world, have all served to define the creature who stalks the pages of the vampire novel or who broods on the big screen.

Inevitably, and mostly for the good, this leads to huge differences in interpretation of the vampire myth. In both books and movies there appears to be a vampire for everyone: you can still find the predatory, murderous vampire if you look hard enough but most of what you’ll find out there, in mainstream cinema and paranormal romance novels particularly, seems a poor imitation of what most of us consider to be the “real” vampire.

Today’s most popular vampire, Edward Cullen, is a rather insipid looking, generically handsome brooding teenager. He attends school to give the impression of a “normal” life, in daylight no less. Not sunlight, mind, sunlight is dangerous. Why, we wonder? Will he smoulder and burn, disintegrating before Bella’s eyes? No, he fucking SPARKLES! Yes, he sparkles, and it just wouldn’t do to be seen sparkling now, would it? I’ll say no more on Twilight for a moment, lest I begin to smoulder and burn myself.

Where's that Cullen bloke? I'm hungry!

Vampires for the grown-ups don’t do much better. The most popular vampires out there now for adult readers and television watchers – True Blood – based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I like True Blood and I’d be a hypocrite to pretend otherwise. It has its fair share of gore and not all the vampires in it contain their bloodlust, far from it. Still, despite my fondness for the show (not the books, they’re bloody awful), I have got to say that True Blood is little more than vampire candy floss.

What we’ve done, ladies and gentlemen, in our endeavours to reinvent and re-imagine the modern vampire, is made him a little too much like ourselves. Gone is that sense of the true outsider, we’ve replaced that with a bunch of moody teenage vampires. Gone is the dangerous sexual predator, he’s been usurped by the caring and sharing vampire boyfriend.

We have domesticated one of our most feared monsters, made him (and her) handsome and pretty, with human emotions and a whole new way of life that allows them to enjoy a little intimacy with the human race. Their previous elusive and disturbing qualities are now diluted to the point where they may as well now be us, albeit with a vague aversion to sunlight.

In the same Entertainment Weekly interview, Gaiman says, “… it kind of feels like now we’re finishing a vampire wave; at the point where they’re everywhere.” I hope he’s right. When we’ve reached a point where vampires sparkle in the sunlight, it’s time to call it a day, at least for a while. Stick the vampires back in their coffins, hammer a few extra nails into the lid and don’t let them back out to play until they’ve re-grown their fangs and washed off all the glitter.


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