Category Archives: Messages from Geoff

In which the Author writes his 36th book, guests on Stage 32, and aims for movies & graphic novels…

The site was down for a while recently, but now the internet elves have been fed and all is well. Apologies for the

communication breakdown.

In the interim, there have been a few developments here at Holder Towers.

Firstly I had a guest blog on the splendid film & TV website Stage 32, discussing writing scripts for corporate videos. My thanks to RB, Shannon and Andre at Stage 32 for facilitating this, and to all those who responded to the blog

and their kind comments.

Then I delivered the manuscript for my 36th non-fiction book, another on weird history. Further news on the

publication of this series later in the year.

I’m also delighted to announce that I’m collaborating with a talented illustrator on a vampire-themed bande dessinée (graphic novel). Once the 5-page sample is honed to perfection we’ll be pitching it to French BD publishers.

While all this is happening I’m continuing with the ProSeries screenwriting course at ScreenwritingU, which is superb. I’m slightly in awe of some of my fellow students and their abilities. Me, I’m working on a supernatural western

feature script for the course. I’m also taking a class on writing horror films with a Hollywood producer, which is the

bees’ knees. And I’m writing an entry for the Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest.

So, movies, graphic novels, weird history – exciting times ahead, girls and boys.

In which the Author takes a Halloween tour in Scotland (and looks for further gigs)…

Are you in Scotland and looking for a speaker during Halloween week? In the last week of October I’ll be knocking the French mud off my boots and venturing back to Scotland for a series of talks, and there are a few gaps in the

schedule, so I’m looking for some other opportunities.

Here’s the skinny:

On the evening of Tuesday 28th October I’m talking about ‘Supernatural Scotland’ at the Breadalbane Library in

Aberfeldy, Perth & Kinross.

On Wed 29th (evening) I’m presenting my crowd-pleasing ‘Zombies from History’ to the Edinburgh Skeptics at the Banshee Labyrinth. Warning: may contain corpses.

Thurs 30th (evening) I’m in Perth with the Filmmakers Club.

And in the afternoon of Friday 31st, Halloween itself, I’m at the (drum-roll) Scottish Paranormal Festival in Stirling,

giving a talk entitled ‘Sex, Lies & Poltergeists’: expect scenes of destruction, pointless violence and icky fluids from the very beginning.

So, if you are looking for a Halloween speaker on all matters ghoul and ghast anytime between Monday 27th

October and Saturday 1st November, please get in touch.

In which the Author talks witchcraft on the Spooky Isles site…

That fine institution The Spooky Isles has one of my witterings up today, the subject being the extraordinary (and

unique) Maggie Wall witchcraft monument in Dunning, Perthshire Scotland. Appropriately, it’s part of their Spooky Scotland week.

Maggie-Wall938x150011 - Maggie Wall monument

 

The piece is based on my book Maggie Wall – The Witch Who Never Was and the title itself may give you a clue

about my conclusions regarding this amazing site, the only historical monument to a named witch in the country.

spooky isles MW

 

You can check out the piece here, and while you’re there scope out some of the other goodies on the site. My

thanks to MJ Steel Collins.

 

 

In which the Author enjoys proofreading a fellow scriptwriter’s work…

I’ve just copy-edited and proofread the synopsis for a movie written by a fellow screenwriter. He’s French, and

writes excellent English, but not being a native speaker there are all clearly all kinds of possible traps for the

unwary (for example, written French is typically both longer and more elaborate than written English, and so

sentences in translation can have multiple clauses and last as long as a paragraph, thereby trying the patience of contemporary Anglophone readers).

After a thorough overhaul and extensive proofreading the logline and synopsis are now both suitable for waving in

front of English-speakers in the film industry. Good luck, fellah.

This was the first time I’ve proofed and edited someone else’s work destined for the movie screen (as distinct from books, scripts for corporate videos, business documents etc.) and a fascinating process it was too.

It occurs to me that there may be other screenwriters and filmmakers writing in English but for whom the language is not their mother tongue. If you are in this position and would like an experienced copy-editor / proofreader /

writer to check that everything reads well in English, please get in touch. My rates are, as they say, reasonable.

The story is on Stage 32 and The DispatchStage 32

In which the Author takes part in the Creative Process Blog Tour…

The Creative Process Blog Tour

My thanks to Hilary McGrath for nominating me for this round of the Creative Process Blog Tour, where writers get to answer four questions and whitter on about their innermost creative processes.

Note: every word below is the absolute unvarnished truth.

Except for the lies.

What am I working on?

1) VAMPIRES. 

I’m sending my completed iconoclastic vampire novel Palefaces out to literary agents. The tagline:

Cops – vampires – vampire cops.

There will, almost certainly, be some blood.

 

There will, almost certainly, be some rejections.

the vampire

2) CRIME. 

I’m half way through the writing of Sex, Lies and Croissants, a softboiled crime novel set in southwest France,

featuring a handsome but irredeemably grumpy British detective mixed up with porn stars, religious maniacs and

drunk Frenchmen with guns. First in a series, if the gods be kind.

3796019-gun-and-blood-splatter-murder-scene 5875090-fresh-croissants

3) BLOODY HISTORY. 

I’m working through the proofs for The Bloody History of Britain, which will be published by The History Press in September. This will be my 31st non-fiction book. Expect:

Cannibals from the Dawn of Time

Anarchy in the UK (12th century style)

Pirate Monks

The Six Executions of Henry VIII

Plus Norman genocide, Nazis, Zeppelins, Jacobites, and a surfeit of lampreys.

All this and murders, torture, massacres, punishments, castrations and executions galore. You’ve got to laugh,

haven’t you?

16833yovdsxdqbr

4) SEX.

 I’m using allure, coquetry and a packet of powerful pheromones in the hope of attracting agents or publishers to a non-fiction book on some of the stranger but universal aspects of sex and sexual culture.

 

5) SHERBERT LEMONS.

Notes are being made and ideas corralled for a YA fantasy involving cryptozoology, time travel and sherbert

lemons. There may also be a fantasy/high-tech film screenplay incarcerated in the oubliette.

Book Collage for Site

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My natural tendency when I am writing is to upset the apple cart of expectations.

When writing about vampires, I want to destroy the entire accepted vampiric mythology and create a completely

new take on their origins, behaviour and sexuality.

If I’m setting a crime novel in rural Gascony – beloved by Terry Wogan and other Brits – my hero has to loathe

other expats and everything they stand for.

In The Bloody History of Britain I avoid the clichés of history and tell stories from the shadows: how Scotland

invented the concentration camp, the reason the Wars of the Roses were like a football match, and why King John was marginally better than that narcissistic psychopath Richard the Lionheart.

My ghost books are sceptical about ghosts. My paranormal books interrogate the paranormal rather than just

going ‘Woooh!’ Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, it is my pleasure to tamper with accepted ideas and default genre preoccupations. Punk iconoclasm, that’s what we need.

 Zombie-Geoff_MONOThe Guide to Mysterious PerthshirePoltergeist Over Scotland

Why do I write what I do?

I wrote my very first book, The Guide to Mysterious Perthshire, because I was living in Perthshire and it was

something I wanted to read – but there was simply nothing like it on the market. I write non-fiction on the weird and the strange because of a longstanding conviction that the world is weirder and stranger than most people think,

and that some of the data gathered may actually lead, one day, to a paradigm change.

And I write fiction because it is a socially acceptable way to kill people.

Zombie workshop the Arches Glasgow 30 Jan 2012 18-61

How does my writing process work?

I don’t actually have any ideas myself. I pay a subscription to an ideas-generating company based in the Cayman

Islands and they send me ten creative suggestions a month.

 

Who I nominate next…

I now pass the baton to those fine individuals and writers Kirstie Swain and Moore & Reppion. Good luck, chaps.

In which the Author writes a vampire novel…

After writing dozens of non-fiction books on mysteries, witchcraft, zombies, ghosts, poltergeists, murders,

bodysnatching and other gleeful subjects, I’ve finally finished my first novel.

It’s a vampire novel, which will perhaps surprise no one given my genre tastes, but in addition to featuring serial

killers, explosions, bodily naughtiness, and jokes about Jimi Hendrix, it is also an alternative history.

Basically, I’m attempting to do nothing less than replace the current standard vampire mythology with an entirely

new one based around evolutionary biology and cutting-edge archaeological thinking.

I know, modesty has always been one of my greater faults.

Now that the novel is finished, the real hard work begins: trying to find a publisher or agent. Despite having written 31 non-fiction books, when it comes to getting a first novel published I’m back on the starting block.

I’ll let you know how I get on.