Tag Archives: ghosts

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 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.

In which the Author is on le French TV…

Sacré bleu! On Saturday 2nd November the popular mid-evening French TV magazine

programme “50 Minutes Inside” broadcast a piece called “Légendes d’Ecosse” (Legends

of Scotland), on the Scottish predilection for all things supernatural and spooky, especially at Halloween.

Amidst the Harry Pottering and the actors in ghost paint, some beardy bloke in a Doctor

Who scarf waffled on about ghosts and bodysnatching:

geofftf1You can see my contributions in the full replay here and also at “le document d’Inside: Légendes d’Ecosse”.

“50 Minutes Inside” (or “50mn Inside”) is broadcast on TF1, the French equivalent of

BBC1. My thanks to reporter Tania Meppiel and cameraman Pierre for an enjoyable two

days’ filming at Scone Palace and St Andrews.

legendes d'ecosse

 

In which the Author embarks on a Halloween tour of Scotland…

From 26th October to the 12th November I’m back in Scotland for a ‘Halloween tour‘ of lectures, talks and events. I’ll have books on sale at each event.

1. SATURDAY & SUNDAY 26TH & 27TH OCTOBER, SCONE PALACE, PERTH.

TALK: ‘THE BODYSNATCHERS OF SCONE (plus the puma, the witch and the severed head)’

Join Geoff as he delves into the dark world of the Resurrectionists, the strange collaboration of hardened criminals and respectable medical men who broke into coffins and stole bodies for the dissecting tables of the anatomists.

Bodysnatching ahoy!

Time: 1pm

Tickets: £10 (include grounds admission) – 01738 552300 or  visits@scone-palace.co.uk or  www.scone-palace.co.uk

SPECIAL: On the Saturday the talk (and the subsequent visit to the Palace graveyard) will be filmed by TF1 (the

French equivalent of BBC1) for a ‘Halloween in Scotland’ special to be broadcast in France on 2 November. Come

along and be on television!

 

2. THURSDAY 31ST OCTOBER – SKEPTICS IN THE PUB, EDINBURGH.

TALK: ‘SCOTTISH WITCHCRAFT’

Scottish witchcraft has by now developed its own mythology, a set of ideas that ‘everybody knows’. Geoff’s talk

will attempt to separate fantasy from historical reality, which is both stranger and more sordid than most people

suspect. By way of illustration he will detail his own groundbreaking investigations into the famous Maggie Wall

Witchcraft Monument in Perthshire, a B-listed historical monument (and favourite trysting spot for the Moors

Murderers) that, as the painted inscription states, supposedly commemorates “Maggie Wall burned here as a

Witch 1657”. The key word, boys and girls, is “supposedly”.

Venue: The Banshee Labyrinth
 29-35 Niddry Street
 Edinburgh 
EH1 1LG

Time: 7.30PM

Free – More details at http://edinburgh.skepticsinthepub.org/Event.aspx/1768/Witches-in-Scotland

3. SATURDAY 9TH NOVEMBER, GLASGOW – SCOTTISH SOCIETY OF PSYCHICAL RESEARCH ANNUAL

CONFERENCE.

TALK: ‘SEX, LIES AND PARANORMAL GLASGOW’

Venue: Hilton Glasgow Grosvener Hotel, 
Grosvener Terrace, Great Western Road / Byres Road, Glasgow

Time: from 10 am to 4.40 pm

Tickets: £35: http://www.sspr.co.uk/index.html

 

4. TUESDAY 12TH NOVEMBER: THE EDINBURGH FORTEAN SOCIETY.

TALK: ‘ZOMBIES FROM HISTORY’

Zombie culture didn’t start with George Romero. Here be medieval chroniclers’ sworn-to-be-true tales of the

plague-spreading undead; the pugilistic zombie of Paisley; archeological evidence of Anglo-Saxon and Romano-

British fear of the walking dead; several ‘Ladies with the Ring’, all supposedly revived in the grave by jewel-stealing

gravediggers; the man who was hanged and buried – and then revived; the Cumbrian Crusader whose corpse was still bleeding 800 years after his death; and the bog body that solved a modern murder mystery.

Warning: contains corpses. 

Venue: The Counting House, 38 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DD

Time: 7.30pm

Cost: £1 – http://www.edinburghforteansociety.org.uk/index.html

Poltergeist Over ScotlandParanormal Perthshire11 - Maggie Wall monumentzombies cover for blog

Paranormal GlasgowScottish Bodysnatchers - A Gazetteer

zombies cover for blog 3

In which the Author reanimates some historical zombies…

The Walking Dead. Walkers. Biters. Eaters. The Infected. The Contaminated. The Re-animated. Revenants. The

Living Dead. Whatever you want to call them, the zombie apocalypse is coming. You know it, I know it.

So, faced with the inevitable, what do you do? Do you wait until that dull bloke from No.37 is lurching through the

French windows, intent on feasting on your entrails? Or do you step up, take some pride in your actions, and take out some of history’s big guns before you are finally eaten?

If the latter, then you are in the right place. The end of September sees the publication of Zombies from History: A Hunter’s Guide, the all-in-one guidebook on how to take out sixty high-value targets from Britain’s illustrious (and

ignoble) past. The good and the great mix with famous criminals, rebels and pirates. Do you itch to take on one of

the grandees of nineteenth century literature, or test yourself against an axe-wielding medieval bampot? Wrestle

with Nelson? Battle with Boudica? Then this, friend, is your opportunity. Where they are buried, what wounds and weaknesses they bear, height, age, difficulty level – everything the fully prepared and thoughtful zombie hunter

needs to know.

Note that contemporary zombie culture did not start with Night of the Living Dead. The dead have been returning

for centuries. Zombies from History is therefore peppered with accounts of those who were declared dead but yet

lived; those who survived the hangman’s noose or were buried alive; and descriptions of bog bodies, preserved

corpses and mummified remains. In addition, there are juicy bits of folklore, tall tales and unlikely legends

concerning the walking dead, most taken from historical accounts that stretch back more than a thousand years.

Over the next few days and weeks I’ll be sharing some zombified portraits of famous Britons.  To kick off, here’s

the king of the car park, Richard III, on the book’s cover.

zombies cover