Friday, April 30, 2004

Here's the Tombstones Award Winners for 2004:

Anthology - Exorcising Angels by Simon Clark and Tim Lebbon
First Novel - His Father's Son: Dante's Rage by Diana Bennett
Novel - Night of the Werewolf by Harry Shannon
Long Form Fiction - Anti-Claus by Graham Masterton
Short Form Fiction - Modificatium Eli-X by Hertzan Chimera and Alex Severin
Webzine - Camp Horror

congrats to all the winners.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

I was sitting there on my weeks' holiday in between jobs. And this idea for a series of interconnected novellas just popped into my head. I couldn't even explain it, but it was a sheer moment of clarity. I felt like I had been run over by the proverbial juggernaut. I had planned to start writing my fourth full-length novel KING ANGEL in this free period. I had the narrative of KING ANGEL worked out and after a few weeks' research into those aspects of death I want to include in it, KING ANGEL could have begun, quite happily. It should have begun by now...

So why am I writing the first of three stream-of-reality novellas starting with DALIVILLE? What's Daliville about? Can't tell. Not that I can't tell you. There's nothing I hate more than NEED TO KNOW, but to be honest; I got this wild, creative idea and 70 headings last night. It's an intriguing free-form concept and I reckon I can get about 15,000 words down a week (working week) until I have about 30,000 words. Should be finished on Daliville by the end of May at that rate, then it's a quick jaunt inland to Hoppertown.

The full 50,000 word project is called FREELANCER, it contains three novellas in one book tracing the exploits of central character "Clarke" through the locales of the fishing village of Daliville, the urban backwaters of Hoppertown and the troubled inhabitants of Baconstrasse.

it will hopefully make very little sense to anyone.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Hertzan Chimera has a new Newsletter for his new "green is good" website; thanks to Alex Severin for her sterling design and web work on the site, it's fucking gorgeous. The Newsletter will contain EXCLUSIVE MATERIAL AND COMPETITIONS not found on either the website or this blog.

The first surprise of the new Newsletter will be an exclusive EXCERPT of my werewolf/angel story which recently made it into the as-yet-untitled UK horror anthology! This is an antho of UK (and UK resident) authors and includes short stories by Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley, Graham Masterton, Guy N. Smith and Simon Clark. My short story is entitled 'Blood Beast (song of the angel).' I'm thrilled to be part of this one! .

The second surprise will be the chance to win a fully-illustrated oversized-paperback signed copy of ANIMAL INSTINCTS which contains 32 shock-horror short stories from Hertzan Chimera and 32 black and white full-page illustrations from psycho-erotic master Mitch Phillips. The book is 8.5" x 11" perfect-bound.

ANIMAL INSTINCTS started out as a concept very similar to some of the key themes in Doctor Moreau’s Island of genetic freaks – although it became more of a social than genetic study of cross pollination.

What would happen if you transplanted animal mores, needs and, yes, instincts into contemporary cultural settings. How would the reader perceive the twisted narrative? Could this animal mentality affect the way the stories were actually written. The way a panting gazelle is torn apart by hyenas, could the very fabric of the written sentence suffer grammatical shearing and tearing of structure when subjected to the animal passion of these tales?

In this jaw-dropping collection of pure animal lust you will find reflections of the horror of the whim of survival and how it could at any moment be upon us in its hordes, devouring our minds. Bears feed at salmon-fat summer beaches. A bullfighter is gutted open by his love for the joust. Crab shells hide emerging sexual swap. Macaque monkeys greet as only they know how.

sign up now for the Hertzan Chimera Newsletter and ANIMAL INSTINCTS could be yours.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

It took a few weeks of painting and repainting and repainting to get used to the medium but the conclusion is I really like Acrylics. I absolutely HATE the painting I've come up with: the palette is all wrong: the composition is all wrong: the technique is all wrong: the initial surface is all wrong: the final surface is all wrong: thank god I only wasted a 1/2 scale canvas. I have some strategies for work that is more representative of my dream and the full-scale canvases should be in soon, according to the Art Shop in town. I saw a very nice gallery owner today who gave me some pointers on a potentially much better technique to achieve the softness of SKIN I am after.

it's all looking very exciting now for the first full-scale one.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The first test painting in the SKIN series is coming along nicely, it's half-size; 8" * 8". The final SKIN paintings will be 16" * 16" - this first one is a test of both subject and this new acrylic medium. Acrylic is certainly different from the oil paints I used to paint the psycho-erotic series' of the mid-eighties-to-nineties. There's a nice consistency to the acrylic paint medium once you get into it and which, though not as direct and sexy as the oil medium, has a chocolatey charm all of its own. You can build up the image in layers too, so you can have as spiky or softened an image as you need. I am on the third pass on this current painting and it's a wild ride. I haven't really got my hands dirty with art since the mid-nineties and it's bringing back all the memories of hours spent in a creative fugue.

I gotta sort out a gallery once I have this sample - that should be fun.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

It has been over ten years since Mike Philbin put paint to canvas. Something just broke within the artist and it no longer held the allure it once did. But now, a new, more abstract, less serious artist has emerged from the flames of a failed career as a horror writer. It's all for the best, you see. Anything that happens has little or no negative connotation and all the positive connotations a creative could dream for. The other revelation is that I will no longer be creating under the name Mike Philbin - as earlier advertised, Hertzan Chimera will be the name I will engrave on all future surrealistic endeavours, whether writing, art or film. Here's the first pair of DIGITAL SKETCHES for a series of 16*male and 16*female (16 inch * 16 inch, acrylic on canvas) paintings that I will be working on over the coming months once I have found a London gallery keen to support this new fun aspect of my artistic journey. Poetic Inhalation website has just uploaded a Gallery of these digital sketches - thanks again to Star and Andrew for their continued support.

this will be such fun to return to actual painting, the back of my neck is tingling...

Friday, April 16, 2004

Well, it's official - I am 'between jobs' as they tend to say in Hollywood, darling. The game studio where I have worked for the last four years "Sick Puppies of Oxford" was closed down last week by head office. The Ghost Master team has been disbanded; the team members took redundancy or otherwise scattered around the remaining studios within Empire Interactive to perform sundry art & prog duties long and short term.

It's a weird feeling. It has been a good seven or eight years since I was creatively "free" in this way. I have worked hard in the daytime as Mike Philbin, 3D lead artist and animator. I have three released games successfully under my belt; Medievil1, Medievil2 and Ghost Master. In the evenings and weekends I have worn the kinky external underpants of the Hertzan Chimera alter-ego. This unexpected event has given me the chance to seriously reconsider my life as a creative entity.

Do I return to the 'factory' feel of commercial games production for a fourth project?
Do I return to the 'garret' of the artist I denied back in the early nineties?
Do I enter into the field of journalism and uncover the truths behind the creatives I share this small planet with?
Do I consider the writer in residence offer?
Do I move out of Oxford?

rest assured that whatever happens from now on won't be THE END OF CHIMERA

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

It always does one good to escape the torturous world in which one is forced to live. This is sometimes facilitated by travel. Hertzan Chimera's human body recently indulged itself in a week's holiday abroad, in France. I'll stop speaking in the third person now.... it's silly. For the first three days of our trip myself, my wife and daughter stayed with friends in the Eastern region of France up near the Belgian, Luxembourg border, an old steel village called Longuyon. The place we stayed was right in the countryside, a converted barn complex of five two-bed ground-floor dwellings surrounding a central courtyard. The farmer who had done the conversions was a keen sculptor and the front and back of all the dwellings were decorated with these natural-wood sculptures in a naive but appealing style.

Then it was onto Paris. We spent four days in Paris and with us that means four days of walking. We did the whole touristic bit; the Champs Elysee, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musee d'Orsay, MontMartre and the Sacre Coeur. We ate in restaurants and had a great family experience. We were never bored.

The highlight of the trip (for me) was a chance poster we saw in a shop window, FRANCIS BACON RETROSPECTIVE. Usually these posters are years out of date and nothing but depressing showing only what you've missed. But not this one. Francis Bacon has always been one of my favourite painters, his eye for colour and his general bohemian attitude to art is a real charm. Not only did the museum have thirty-odd paintings, it also had an actual Velazquez painting, the one that inspired his Pope paintings from the late fifties. Downstairs in the basement, a Bacon documentary done for Swiss TV in the seventies showed Bacon at his face-shining, drunken best.

When I got back, I checked out how my site was doing with it's new green design and WOW if it didn't all go insane that Saturday - 90 Unique Visits alone on that day with 79 Reloads also noted for that one, crazy afternoon.

my company aims to close down our Oxford studio, so I decided to take redundancy to concentrate on creativity

Friday, April 02, 2004

As Gordon Gekko echoed in THE film of eighties, GREEN IS GOOD. I paraphrase quite liberally. Here's the gist of it, it's Spring. I got sick of the pastel blue palette of the old site. The new site has the same content but is all industrial and exotic and freaky and GREEN

by the time you click the link above, it'll be there

Sadly, my avant garde book of horror writer interviews SPIDERED WEB didn't make the final nomination list for this year's STOKER award - but I did recieve the consolation of a GALLON of embarrassingly positive reviews for my current paperback releases, all available through Shocklines:

1) Midwest Book Review reviews the recent Cyber Pulp Chimera releases Chim+Her, Spidered Web + Chimeraworld #1; reviewer Diana Bennett.

2) The Dream People review my novel of sci-fi-sex-horror SZMONHFU; reviewer Gary West.

3) Camp Horror review SPIDERED WEB and UNITED STATES; reviewer Stephanie Simpson-Woods (who also interviews Chimera after giving her judgement on his product).

4) As a wacky bonus for all those into the more surreal side of writing, there's a column up on Camp Horror that may ring some bells, UBIQUITOUSLY.

I have no idea what sales impact good reviews have these days...
Well, it was another scramble to the finishing line this issue but the FUCK HORROR issue of Terror Tales has just gone online. Here's the line-up for this second issue:

INTERVIEWS (this issue we have Ingrid Pitt, Momus, Todd Tjersland, Matt Cardin...
120 DAYS OF BUNNY lifestyle by polycarp kusch
HORROR METAL music interviews by Destiny West
HOW TO WRITE HORROR FICTION constructive article by Randy Chandler
HOW not TO WRITE HORROR FICTION devil's advocate by Robert Lee
JAPANESE EYE views of Japan by Quentin S Crisp
GAME SURGERY views of non-mainstream games by Alex Sulman
FICTION 1 - 10 stories
FICTION 2 - 10 more stories
ARTIST - feature artist Sean Simmans
BOOK REVIEWS - all the latest reviews
MESSAGE BOARD - connect with Terror Tales via the message board


thanks to everybody who gave their honest interpretation of the guidelines, it's not always as simple an analysis as you'd expect...

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Just went to see DAWN OF THE DEAD last night, here in the UK. What did I think of this remake? Well, I liked the first twenty minutes of it very much. Then it went all soapy, then I sorta didn't care about all the monotony of head shots. The ending though - watch the credits for the intercut ending. I did like the trailer for SHAUN OF THE DEAD though... good old British humour, eh?

Still nothing beats ZOMBIE, FLESH EATER by Lucio Fulci for pure physical brainlust.

in fact, I don't like any Romero films at all, they're soulless