Even though the US is getting Disney+ later this month – November 12th to be exact – we finally know when the UK (and others, but they’re not as important because I don’t live there 😉 ) are getting the latest and -possibly- best streaming service: March 31st 2020!
This means that we’ll have access to a whole wealth of classic movies, TV shows and animations owned by Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Fox, and so much more.
For me that importantly is the Marvel umbrella of movies and, of course, the upcoming TV shows: Ms. Marvel, She Hulk, Moon Knight (OMG!!!), WandaVision, Loki, What If…?, and of course my two personal favourites…
…and that’s just for starters! Who knows what Disney+ will bring year on year? 🙂
The Crow is a superhero comic book series created by James O’Barr.
It is not just one of my absolute favourite graphic novels, telling the story of love and supernatural revenge, but also my all-time favourite movies.
The movie adaptation – which may just be THE best comic book adaptation ever – featured Brandon Lee in the lead role of Eric Draven and he absolutely OWNED it in what was, unfortunately, his final film appearance.
There were some truly awful movie sequels but also a really rather good TV series, The Crow: Stairway to Heave, starring Mark Dacascos (another amazing martial artist and all-round great guy!) as Eric Draven this time.
And finally I managed to get a Funko Pop version of The Crow character to add to my collection which will definitely take pride of place 🙂
“Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever.”
Well as the title says my dad turned 80 at the weekend. He’s had his challenges, medically, over the last few years – from cancer, to COPD, and heart failure – but he’s faced them all and is still here fighting so it was wonderful to be able to gather family around and celebrate a man who has done SO much (a career that has seen him in the police, in the Royal Air Force, in the military police, been awarded medals …but, you know, most importantly, just been filled with so much love <3 ) and see him enjoy himself with everyone.
Shallow Waters is the official monthly flash fiction
challenge hosted by the award-winning Crystal Lake Publishing. Every month a
new challenge is posted online, with authors submitting via email. The best
submissions are then posted on Crystal Lake’s Patreon page, where patrons read
daily entries and vote for the winner. What you’ll find in these Shallow Waters
anthologies include the most popular of our finalists.
Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
tl;dr – I attended WorldCon and voted in the Hugos; that is
frikkin’ awesome!!! 🙂 I met people I haven’t seen in real-life in years, I met
people I’ve only ever spoken to on-line, I met people I’ve never met before,
and I met ‘famous’ people I’ve been fans of for years. Basically, I had a FABULOUS
Now the longer version.
As I said up there, I actually managed to attend WorldCon, or
more formally the World Science Fiction Convention, is a gathering of fans of
science fiction, fantasy, horror, gaming, cosplay, etc who come together to
celebrate that in all forms but especially in literature. They are MY people;
I never thought that I would manage to get to a WorldCon,
due to logistics of distance (as they are normally thousands of miles away) and
health (as planning anything in advance around me not getting ill, or
travelling and not getting exhausted, is onerous and normally doesn’t happen anyway)
but when WorldCon was announced for Dublin I knew it was my chance …so I leapt
at it; and promptly got ill a few days before the actual Con started but,
throwing caution (and copious amounts of medication) to the wind, I travelled
down to the Dublin Convention Centre …leaving my wife and kids mid-vacation up
North… and entered a venue with thousands of other people who were like me; no,
not falling apart and ill! Geeks. Nerds. Fans!
During the four days that I was there I managed to attend a
play called ‘ConEIRE’ written by KATE LATIEY and performed by the Fox Spirit
Skulk, which was enormously funny. Many panels on such diverse subjects as ‘Irelands
Legends and Lore’; ‘Northern Irish SFF’; Fairies and Irish folklore in YA’; ‘Imagining
Disabled Futures’ (about disability and accessibility in speculative fiction); ‘Irish
Horror and the Supernatural’; ‘2000AD and the Supernatural’; and more that I am
probably forgetting. I got to attend readings by ADRAIN TCHAIKOSVKY, PEADAR O’GUILIN,
and the fabulous PETER BEAGLE who was very generous with his time, talking to
me about his work, writing habits, and life in general. I bumped into, and
briefly chatted, with both JOE HILL (I did ask him about an outstanding interview
with his dad, Stephen King 😉 ), DIANE DUANE, and GEORGE RR MARTIN, he of the
Games of Thrones. I spent a lot of time in the open area where the stalls, ‘shops’,
and information desks were talking to publishers, book-sellers, jewellers, cosplayers,
and the guys from the BIG BANG comic shop, as well as the ever lovely DECLAN
SHALVEY (still Mackenzie’s favourite artist) and KEIRON GILLON. I bumped into
GARETH POWELL, finally, after being ships in the night all convention. I got to
watch a wonderful cosplay competition called The Masquerade, one evening, which
REALLY highlighted just how talented these people are because most of the costumes/make-up
on display wouldn’t have seemed out of place on stage or screen!
And then the Hugos. I voted on work that I thought was most
worthy of winning a Hugo for the first time in my life and I felt the pressure
of doing so; this wasn’t something that I took lightly. I have to be honest and
say that I didn’t sit in the auditorium for the Hugos, even though I was
intending to …I went and had dinner with friends instead, who realised that I was
very tired and sitting alone for 3-4 hours wouldn’t have been the best thing;
they were right. We watched the
ceremony, and results, via social media instead (as I would’ve done at home 🙂
) and some of the people I wanted to win, did, and some didn’t; that’s the
Hugos. I’m still humbled to have been
part of it. I want to take this moment to say 1/ how great it was to meet
ALASDAIR STEWART, finally, in real life and 2/ that his work is amazing and he’s
a winner in my eyes!
For me though the biggest and best thing about WorldCon was
the people! Meeting people and catching up with them after years. Meeting people in real life for the first
time after years of only communicating via social media. Meeting people for the
first time ever and connecting immediately. The people made WorldCon for me
and, even a week later, I am missing their presence.
So, let’s talk about those people:
First the people that I knew in real life but hadn’t seen in
ages. That was PAT MAHER and ALLEN
STROUD, who I used to run around in muddy fields with and hit people with latex
…that isn’t as rude as it sounds, but maybe, for some, it is weird, because I
am talking about live-roleplaying.; I did say I wore my geek/nerd credentials proudly, didn’t I? Seeing both of
these guys was really nice because, obviously, nostalgia, but both are just genuinely
lovely people too; through ALLEN I also got to meet KAREN, and we spent a lot
of time discussing things very relevant to my life and my children which I am
extremely grateful for …plus, thanks to Karen, somehow, I now find myself a
member of The British Science Fiction Association 😀
Secondly, the Otherworld NI crew. This is a grouping of lovely
local people involved and invested in the SFF community and scene. JO ZEBEDEE
is at the forefront of this and while we see each other occasionally this time
we got to spend some quality time together, as well as sit in on her panels, which
was great. SAM POOTS is a dynamo who was always everywhere but, thankfully, we
got to sit and chat too. PATRICK was
running an awesome D&D game, which seemed to be running non-stop, and the
feedback I heard about it was phenomenal (I’ve even told him he needs to run it
again for us local folks 😉 ). Then there was the ever-awesome KERRY BUCHANAN
who it doesn’t matter how many times I see her she’ll always bring a smile to
my face (and a hug, of course); her panel on disability in the future was
Next – and apologies if I miss anyone (please remind me if you see this and I’ve been a ditz!) – ALL the people I finally met who I only usually spoke to online: PAUL M. FEENEY is someone that I’ve been speaking to for years now, and I’m so glad that we finally got to meet and hang out; he is an awesome writer, and awesome guy, and I hope he realises how great he is! TRACEY FAHEY is part of the Fox Spirit Skulk, a great writer, an immense intelligence and fountain of knowledge, and just such great company and fun to hang out with; even though we’d never met before this weekend it was honestly like hanging out with an old friend. Speaking of the Fox Spirit Skulk I have to say that I finally got to pledge allegiance to the benevolent dictator herself, ADELE WEARING owner/publisher of one of the best presses around, after many years of only social media communication and signing contracts for her …everyone in the Skulk, MR. FOX 😉 (TOM), MARGERT, KATE LAITY, GUSTAV, and CHLOE AND PAUL YATES were just warm, welcoming, and so much fun! PENNY AND SIMON JONES were people I hadn’t spoken to much in the past (or at all 🙂 ) but meeting them was like talking to old-friends, and the hours spent in their company was fabulous. I also finally got to meet LYNDA RUCKER in real life; she’s so cool and as much a hugger as me! 😊
…and then there was DION. I’ve been speaking to Dion,
online, on and off for more than a few years but wasn’t prepared for the force
of nature that I met; I think that I probably spent more time in his company
than anyone else’s during the four days, and it was worth it. He is a very funny guy, but also extremely
warm and caring at the same time, and it was like spending time with the best
friend that you only see every year or so, not someone you’ve just met.
Through the ever-awesome MICHAEL CARROLL (read 2000AD and
Judge Dredd folks!) I met MICHAEL SCOTT and COURTNEY DILLON and, as you do at a
convention about sci-fi and books, we talked about Buffs (bandana type scarfs),
tattoos, and martial arts; I think that I found my other tribe there 😉
I only got to see her a handful of times (her panels were
amazing; Irish horror and supernatural was extremely informative , and the
2000AD panel, with Michael and WILL SIMPSON was the BEST panel I attended 🙂 )
but MAURA MCHUGH was as lovely as ever and has to be commended for the work she
did in putting this WorldCon together; thanks Maura, personally at least, as I
had a blast!!!
Ultimately it was a great experience – though one which
physically wrecked me! 🙂 – and took me a few days to come down for the ‘bubble’
I’d been in and recover from the ‘blues’ of not being there afterwards. Everyone involved in putting it together
should take a bow because I’m sure it was like a swan for you guys – a great experience
for us and madness underneath keeping it running. Thank you for doing it!
Coming out of it I’ve been asked to write for an anthology,
been told to write/pitch a novella for a shared world thing and am pitching an
anthology I’ll edit to a publisher which hopefully will happen. Also, more
locally, I’m hoping to write stuff for a couple of magazines too (I’ve been
asked so would be rude not to).
To sum up: thoroughly enjoyed myself, a little broken by it,
people made this event what it was, and WorldCon – you rocked! 🙂
Flash fiction is something that I have become very fond of; part
prose, part poetry, and all wonderful narrative, telling a story in as few words
as possible can be as rewarding as it is complex. Distilling a novel’s worth of
experience into a few pages, or even a few paragraphs, means that you must pay
attention to not just every sentence that you write, but every word that you
choose. If done properly it should reward the reader too – hopefully – with a
concise and concentrated dose of literature where, in a lot of cases, mood and
tone maters more than plot because you are starting near the end of the story
And that is what makes it so addictive, as both a writer and
reader, to keep on doing.
I’ve been very lucky to have had my shorter work – six-word
stories, drabbles (100 word), micro fiction (less than 250 words), and flash
fiction – published but, more so over the last year I’ve had the absolute pleasure
of being invited to read at Flash Fiction Armagh events in various venues in
Northern Ireland. On the 19th September 2019 I’m going to do it
This time I’m going to be reading a dark fantasy/speculative
fiction piece (with a splash of humour thrown in for good measure), called ‘Playing
Both Sides’ which I wrote during Pride month and plays on my love of geekdom
and the underdog.
Flash Fiction Armagh this time takes place as part of the
award-winning Armagh Food and Cider Festival; the readings take place in a
teepee in the grounds of Crannagael House, which should be amazing! It promises
to be a lot of fun, with cider tasting, locally sourced food, music, and of
course all of the fabulous stories from the amazing writers (and me 🙂 ):
Gaynor Kane At Castleward
Maria Mc Gilly Green and Bitter
Csilla Toldy Wallflower
Jay Faulkner Playing Both Sides
Rachel Toner On The Shelf
Kerry Buchannan The Ages of Nan
Tim Hanna The Birds
Rosemary Tumilty The Homecoming
Ellie Rose Mc Kee The Caller
Brid McGinley Dogs in Space
Gerry Mc Cullough Not Quite Dead
Lorna Flanagan Boots Trudged Across the Yard
Yvonne Boyle The Silver Casino PlayerGary Hunter Rain and Smoke
With thanks, as always, to Byddi Lee and Réamonn Ó Ciaráin,
the organisers of Flash Fiction Armagh, for this opportunity!
Phenomenal UK talent from the worlds of comics and children’s fiction sign on for the return of a football icon.
Rebellion Publishing is proud to reveal its latest set of signings: the creative team for the highly anticipated 2018 reboot of Roy of the Rovers.
Internationally acclaimed comics writer Rob Williams (Amazing Spider-Man, Adventures of Superman) and artist Ben Willsher (2000 AD, Doctor Who Magazine) are the team behind the brand-new Roy of the Rovers graphic novels, beginning with Roy of the Rovers: Kick-Off, to be released 6 September 2018. Best-selling children’s author Tom Palmer (Football Academy, Foul Play) takes the lead on Roy of the Rovers: Scouted, Rebellion’s first foray into middle grade fiction, to be released 4 October 2018.
Also on the Roy of the Rovers team sheet is graphic novel editor Keith Richardson, and Rob Power, who will be editing the middle grade fiction alongside his role as Roy of the Rovers Brand Manager.
• Rebellion to launch a brand new, rebooted Roy of the Rovers in 2018.
• Leading British comic talent Rob Williams and Ben Willsher are the creative team behind new Roy of the Rovers graphic novels.
• Best-selling British children’s author Tom Palmer to write Roy of the Rovers middle grade fiction.
• Publishing plan includes three 56 page hardback graphic novels per football season, launching in September 2018, January 2019 and April 2019.
• Middle grade illustrated fiction titles to be released alongside the graphic novels, launching in October 2018 and following on in February 2019 and May 2019.
Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley OBE commented: “Roy of the Rovers is an enormously exciting project for us, and we’ve been working hard to ensure that we respect the legacy of this iconic British character. We’ve assembled an incredibly strong team to bring Roy Race back for the 21st century, and I look forward to following Roy’s journey through the always exciting world of modern football.”
Rebellion Head of Publishing Ben Smith commented: “We’re delighted to have such a high calibre of creative talent on board for our reboot of Roy of the Rovers. Rob, Ben and Tom’s stories are bursting with all the excitement, drama and football fervour of the classic Roy of the Rovers comics, while giving us a thoroughly modern take on the character. We can’t wait for a new generation of fans to read them.”
Rob Williams commented: “I read and loved Roy of the Rovers as a boy – I even had the old Gola Melchester Rovers kit – and I have very fond memories of the Roy annuals arriving on Christmas Day with wonderful David Sque art on their covers. Roy’s a British football icon. Even now, a ‘rocket’-like goal is a Roy of the Rovers moment. So I’m delighted to be part of the passionate team bringing Roy’s adventures to a new era of football fan.”
Tom Palmer commented: “Millions of girls and boys dream about being their favourite football player and being scouted and playing for their favourite team. I had that dream. Sadly it didn’t come true for me. But, being scouted and succeeding in my trial to write Roy of the Rovers fiction is a dream that has come true. There is no other fictional footballer I would rather be and write. And I intend to write these books with the same passion and commitment Roy shows when he pulls on the red and yellow of Melchester Rovers.”
Ben Willsher commented: “Roy of the Rovers was a big part of my childhood. The annuals stacked up in my bookshelf, and the comics burst out of my cupboards. Growing up I dreamed of helping Roy score goals and lead Melchester to the top…. I finally get to do that- result!”
Rob Williams is a writer, mainly of comic books. He is currently writing Suicide Squad for DC Comics, where his previous credits include Martian Manhunter, Batman 66, Sensation Comics, Adventures of Superman, Legends of The Dark Knight, and Madame X. He has also written Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor for Titan Comics, and Amazing Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America and The Falcon, and Revolutionary War for Marvel. His Rebellion credits include Judge Dredd, The Ten-Seconders, and The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael for 2000 AD. Rob supports Arsenal. In 5-a-side he is, sadly, more Nigel Winterburn than Thierry Henry.
For more information, visit www.robwilliamscomics.co.uk
Tom Palmer is the author of 40 books for children about sport and history. His books include the Football Academy and Foul Play series, published by Puffin, as well as Over the Line, a fictional account of the World War One Footballers’ Battalion. Tom is a regular speaker in schools and works closely with organisations like the National Literacy Trust and the British Council to promote reading for pleasure.
His website is www.tompalmer.co.uk
Ben Willsher is a British comics illustrator, whose credits include Judge Dredd, Durham Red, Strontium Dog, Tharg’s Future Shocks and Sinister Dexter for 2000 AD, alongside extensive cover work for both 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine. Ben has also illustrated several stories for various Doctor Who annuals, and his work has been regularly featured in the Doctor Who Magazine.
For more information, visit www.benwillsher.co.uk
Rebellion is an internationally renowned video games developer/publisher and leading publisher of comics and fiction, based in Oxford, UK. Founded in 1992 by Chris and Jason Kingsley, Rebellion’s titles include the bestselling Sniper Elite series, the wildly popular Nazi Zombie Trilogy, and PlayStation VR title Battlezone. The company is home to legendary UK comic 2000 AD and is the proud custodian of Judge Dredd, and recently acquired an extensive archive of Fleetway comics from Egmont UK, in a deal that included titles such as Roy of the Rovers, Misty, Charley’s War and many, many more. The publishing division is also home to award-winning science fiction imprints Solaris and Abaddon, and is proud to publish some of the finest talents in genre fiction.
Roy of the Rovers is the stuff of legend. Charting the career of charismatic Melchester Rovers striker Roy Race, Roy of the Rovers first appeared as a strip in Tiger in 1954, proving an instant smash with football-mad boys. Graduating to its own comic in 1976, Roy of the Rovers was where a generation of British football fans went for drama and glory, and ran for over 800 issues. Extolling the virtues of fair play, teamwork and great goals, Roy of the Rovers is the definitive football comic, and is set to return in 2018.
On Thursday 22nd March I was invited, along with a selection of other Irish authors, to read at the inaugural Flash Fiction Armagh event held in the Mulberry Bistro in Armagh City. The venue was beautiful, situated opposite on of the city’s two picturesque cathedrals – hey, why have one cathedral when you can have two, right! 🙂 – and there was a very lively and appreciative and receptive crowd in attendance.
The event was very ably organised by Byddi Lee, who coordinates a writer’s group in Armagh City, and herself grew up in Armagh and moved to Belfast to study at Queen’s University. She has since lived in South Africa, Canada, California and Paris before returning to live in her hometown, Armagh relatively recently. She has published flash fiction, short stories and, in 2014, her novel, March to November. She is currently working on a trilogy that starts in Armagh in the near future, where the elderly have suddenly begun to get younger with devastating consequences. Byddi also blogs about life, both at home and abroad called, “We didn’t come here for the grass. www.byddilee.com.
The line-up for the first Flash Fiction Armagh event was selected after their work was submitted for consideration and can be seen below:
Jay Faulker, ‘Rain’
Catherine Carson, ‘Spectrum’
Réaltán Ní Leannáin, ‘Dílis’
Damien Mallon, ‘Reading The Trees’
Pamela Brown, ‘Mansfield House’
Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, ‘The Boy Corps of Eamhain Mhacha’
Trish Bennett, ‘Power of a Peeler’
Karen Mooney, ‘A Fond Farewell’
Seán Ó Farraigh, ‘Neamhchiontach go dtí go gcruthaítear a mhalairt’
Christopher Moore, ‘The Dark Hedges’
Malachi Kelly, ‘Scoring in the Seventies’
It was a really, really strong mix of genres and styles including darker fiction, mythology, poetic literature, etc; while I suppose us writers shouldn’t have our favourites – maybe it’s like choosing between our children – for me (even though it was extremely hard as their wasn’t a single weak story in the whole night) I had two stand-out pieces: Karen Mooney’s’ A Fond Farewell’ was a very personal story about the passing of her father but it was told in such a way that it was about the loss of everyone’s loved ones but it never got saccharine or even maudlin, it was celebratory as well as loving. Catherine Carson’s ‘Spectrum’, for me, though was the stand-out story of the night; it told the tale of a moment in time – probably no more than minutes, at most – in the day in the life of a mother and her growing up too fast/too soon/too hard son with autism, but it also told the tale within a tale of that same son when he was still a small child when he looked at her, and really saw her, and how quickly that moment passed. It was a tale of love and struggles, and constant tiredness and never giving up. I adored it. I adored Catherine’s writing. I cannot wait to read more of her work!
One of my sons, Mackenzie, was with me – and persuaded me to let him stay out waaaaaay after his bedtime – and when asked what his favourite part of the night was, or his favourite story was, he just looked at me, wide-eyed, and said three words: “All of it!” Fair to say he enjoyed himself …though you’d think that there’d have been at least some nepotism in there and he might have said ‘Rain’, ey?! 🙂
For me it was only one of a double handful (certainly less than 10) times I’ve done a public reading – more if you include times I’ve spoken about medical matters I suppose but I don’t count them as, unfortunately, they may be science but their definitely not fiction 🙂 – and only the second that I’ve been filmed. I normally don’t even like photos let alone videos but, this time, I just rolled with it (a very dear friend of mine, whose advice I constantly listen to and always ‘try’ to follow …even if I don’t always manage to ‘do’ it … called Mercedes is amazing in front of the microphone and screen and when I interviewed her on the radio I recall she said just ‘be yourself’, and is always just that, she just rolls with things, no matter how hectic – and our lives are ALWYAS hectic 🙂 ) so I’m taking her advice, again, and posting the video of me, my actual face, my actual voice, reading my actual words.
So one more random weird thing: at the reading I read my piece, ‘Rain’, which is about a fireman who is in the middle of a search and rescue operation for two boys lost in a flood; it’s not the happiest of pieces, and told in first person, from the perspective of the dejected, tired, and very cold fireman who is losing hope very fast. I was told, afterwards, that people enjoyed the story and I read well but – and I’m SO glad I didn’t know this in advance! – there was an actual fireman in the audience and he told me he loved it and I’d really captured the feelings and atmosphere well but … someone that could have been the protagonist was there, listening to me talk about him. Yeah, no pressure!!!~
I’ve just found out that I’ve been nominated for a 2018 British Martial Arts Award!
To say that I am amazed and humbled doesn’t quite begin to explain how I’m feeling but it’s an exceptionally special honour as I approach the 30th anniversary of starting my journey in martial arts this coming April.
Big thanks to Anthony Sean Pillage, Sarah and everyone at Warrior’s Assemble for this, as well as the rest of my instructor team at Imperial Dragon Kung Fu who – literally – are world class: Richard Dawson, Lyndon Irwin, Steve Quinn, Jonny Graham and, of course, to all the students throughout the years because without them I wouldn’t be much of an Instructor now would I? 🙂