Download the press release here
You can purchase Occupied from Amazon at this link in paperback, hardback or Kindle.
Well, this blog has gotten biannual? Everything I make goes up on Patreon nowadays. I give it all there, and I usually don’t know what to say here.
The big news is my first poetry collection, Chaos Magic, has just come out in paperback. The ebook release is Feb 27th. It has 40 poems collected over 10 years: memoir, pop culture, politics, surrealism… the cover photography is by @luckgalindo with typography and back cover by John Robbins.
Chaos Magic launches at the free Scribes and Scribblers Con on Discord, 27-28 Feb. The coming event has presentations on writing mental health, creating a relationship with readers, and writing deaf characters. I’ll be presenting on breaking into comics, (with everything I’ve learned in 20 years in there), talking about sociological narratives and writing politics, and giving a reading in a ‘Meet the Writer’ session. You can get into the event with a click of this link: https://discord.com/invite/H7W8m7c and find out more at https://sascon.online
The podcast is up to seven episodes now. I’ve had a lot of great stuff: reviews of Joss Whedon’s work long before it’s fashionable; a dip into the supernatural pantomime that is Baywatch Nights, an interview with Belfast church tourer Bronagh Lawson, and this weekend, a deep look at Channel 4’s Teachers series, feat. a younger Andrew Lincoln. You can look those up on my Spreaker page. https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-drew-and-look-podcast
Speaking of Baywatch Nights, two of my short fictions were read on a recent episode of ‘Evenings with Mitch Buchannon’, the show devoted to the so-bad-its-good series. Give them some love at their Anchor pages. https://anchor.fm/eveningswithmitch/episodes/Bonus-Mitch-Episode-5—Mitch-Vs-Valentines-Day–Listener-Episode-Pitches-eqeafe
I’m also doing some work as assistant editor of The Runabout, the leading Star Trek zine for the fan community in the UK and Ireland. Some of my arts contribute to the latest issue which you can see at https://20thfleet.org.uk/region/the%20runabout.html
Meanwhile over at Patreon there’s a few sample chapters from my next big thing, Occupied, a story of Occupy Belfast; there’s poems, music reviews, and comics, like the silly ones I created from the works of Gearóid P. Mannion. I’ve put those below. If yer wondering where I’ve got to, I usually pop up in one of these places:
Amazon-Author / Twitter / Facebook / Spotify / Instagram
Cheers, from Andy!
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Good day you and you. I have updates. June didn’t feel so busy, but apparently, well… Most shorts and poems are in publisher’s slush piles, waiting to be noticed like tidal waves. The first three chapters of Occupied were sent out to a dozen agents. Big Finish got my pitch and excerpt for the Doctor Who Short Trips audio. They offer an opportunity to a newb every June as part of the Paul Spragg Memorial Award. I’ll soon be editing a short tale callled ‘The Apology’, which features a Doctor-esque character. I’ve commissioned illustrator Jenika Ioffreda (Vampire Free Style) to draw a special place-holder image to go with it. Patreon readers can see some of her concept sketches at https://www.patreon.com/posts/close-up-38943158
There’s a final script into Phoebe Xavier, the editor of Sidereal Apogee at 123Go! Comics. ‘The Sugar Skull Shoot-Out’ is a hard-boiled western, drawn by the versatile talent Jorge Luis Gabotto. You should drift from here over to Jorge’s Instagram. Patron at Patreon Sinead Mannion gifted me a copy of The Long-Lost Short Stories, written by her late brother Gearoid.
Sinead and I are hoping a few of Gearoid’s stories can be adapted to comic strip form. In the meantime,The Long-Lost Short Stories is available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited at this location.
Later this month, I’ve some great stuff coming up on Patreon. Two variant scripts and outlines from an un-developed comic: S.P.I.D.E. features the return of Dan and Ape as they get their hands on some hi-tech in 2000AD-esque thrills. There’ll be more poetry, beginning with ‘The Verging‘. My telly writing podcast makes it’s debut early in August through Patreon and our friends at Nerdgeist.
I’m tempted to run another video-cast of readings, this time as a fundraiser, after seeing Wee Gamers’ Andy Brown’s twelve-hour model build and paint session. One thing at a time though.
Wishing you a great weekend.
I’ve been a bit rubbish at promoting The Lost Tribes since publishing it at the tail end of 2018. In hindsight, it was a bad choice for a second novel. It has none of the hooks of altruism or education which have garnered me good reception. Indeed, it’s a nasty book with no redeeming characters, and the central epic of the Ulster Cycle is purposely anti-academic, told through an unreliable berate-r narrator.
(For an actual sourced rendition of these legends, buy up Patrick Brown’s Cattle Raid of Cooley graphic novel.)
‘Spide’ is a slang term in popular usage in Northern Ireland referring to feckless male troublemakers, junkies and layabouts. Another variant is ‘steek’. In England the equivalent is ‘chav’, so I’m told. Spide’s roots come from 1970s Ulster paramilitaries, who wore spider tattoos on their necks, before becoming more casually used. (I suspect that word link muted one editor to compromising over a similarly branded but tangential work.)
The short novel is narrated by Dan Spide, who along with his sidekick Ape, is typical of those Irvine Welsh archetypes to be found on any low-rent council estate: swilling cheap lager; sexist; racist; horizons peaking with the next welfare cash or anticipated beating.
‘The Lost Tribes’ is a multi-fold extension, viewing the scoundrels’ own psychological turmoil in the wider culture of local authority figures with batshit insane philosophies. It’s a feature of N. Ireland’s political communications that a small vocal elite polices with literal Bible truths , Westboro Baptist ethics and tacitly endorsing paramilitary acts.
A subset of these subscribe to an Ulster-British concept where they self-identify as direct descendants of Israel’s lost tribe of Dan. Peter Robinson. Nelson McCausland. Edwin Poots. Never mind that the lost tribe of Dan has more biblical links to God’s banished, (necromancy, for one), these lead politicos and their advisors draw their family trees from Jeremiah and Jacob through Conchobar, Nuada and classical Irish myth. Stories where study tells of alteration to improve the fiction. The time displacement reeks.
I wanted to understand and show the perspectives of Dan and Ape and of these crazy rulers of the world. I’ve paired their ‘truths’ with the train route between Northern and Southern Ireland , making for a sort of psycho’s geography. It’s stories within stories, a slow build into an Indiana Jones romp, if Indy was a paranoid xenophobe. I’ve read their literature. The sources make for the most un-credible conspiracy theories.
Spide: The Lost Tribes is available by Amazon and on Kindle at a low, low price (or free with Kindle Unlimited)
It is with great sadness I am publicly withdrawing my support for the Belfast SF event, Titancon. I’d been a fixture there since the first in 2011, appearing as a headline guest with Absence and The Magnificent One Day Comics Factory; making financial plans and promotions in the 2013-2014 committee, putting together comics creators who’d drawn Irish Myth: Will Simpson, Paddy Brown and Paul Bolger, teaching people how to self-publish…
Seven great years of workshops, panels, blogging, flyering, readings, camaraderie and making ends meet in Titancon. Then, sadly, in the eighth year with a new committee hosting Eurocon, I became the target of sustained abuse and slander at the hands of their then Logistics Manager. The resulting complaint did little to assuage him, and when I stood up to him, we were both removed. So, my only committent was a panel with one of the star guests, whose trip I’d half-funded. Then, a week before the event (of which I’d planned networking and enjoying) I was asked to organise the comics panels. Except I was outside the communications circuit. I found the dealers I’d brought in with queries. Nothing had been done in my three months absence. My replacement, the Chair, hadn’t even spoken to them. The panels weren’t in place, though the programmer had the decency to apologise. I spent the week apologising to people, directing them, trying to answer questions I didn’t know the answer to, managing guests and giving tech support with no time for myself. It was the worst con experience of my life.
It was actual fucking trauma. Not hyperbole. Not anything any-one should have to go through. Cumulatively, it took its toll on the relationship with my partner. We’ve broken up, in part due to Titancon’s particular pressure. Then it got weirder. Weeks later I spoke up for a main-stay author who’d been sidelined. This comment, along with the official complaint about bullying, was enough for the Chair to exclude me from returning to the committee. I’d laid down a vision for 2020 which she was acting on, even been proposed for Chair, and the sidelined author given a spot on the committee, but no, not I. And then, the ex-Logistics chief who made my life hell for months in front of the committee, well he was returned to his role. He was indulged by committee. The Chair, having witnessed it, knew well what she was doing as did others. There was no innocence about it. Despite earlier odd remarks badmouthing a founding, having a GRRM-less event (returning GRRM was Titancon’s goal since 2011), and suggesting for our private Coach Trip we refer visitors to public transport. Beyond foolishness, there’s a malevolent interference at play, even an ableist angle.
And that’s as deep as I’ll go for a lot of this is too upsetting for me to recount. This statement may hurt my career or cause people who don’t know better to hurt it. I’d rather people were warned off danger.
Titancon, I don’t regret much of what I’ve given you this decade. It’s been a blast, truly, deeply. I gave so much of me to making Eurocon a joy for others. I played fair when you did not. The reverbstorm of this on my life is still being felt. Some ‘opportunities’ are not worthy of us, traps to suck us up and throw our skins in the ditch. If you feel torn over loyalty to me and the con, it’s not my choice. What do you do? What do I want you do? Honestly? Cut that baby in two. Fuck ’em. Forget ’em. I hope Titancon has a welcome traffic accident and sucks on a cuckoo’s cloaca.
Goodbye, Titancon. I’m free.
– Andy Luke
Well, well. Helluva few months. I took time out for Ljerka’s visit. Together with Richard we got to Belfast Zoo were there are mostly monkeys, and I love monkeys.
I’ve been immersed in AS-Level History, teaching Germany and Russia, and it seems to have worked out. Since then it’s been clearing sweeps. Paid jobs: a poetry commission, some think tank research, and publishing and planning distribution for that agnostic mag I edited. You can buy copies from me for £2 (& £1 p&p), and Patreon patrons get them free on request.
End result: this is my first year making a profit from writing! *Takes a bow*
I’ve overhauled a few entries for anthologies, been involved co-running Mixed Jam for Inspire Wellbeing. This one’s new. I’ll be serving as Northern Ireland’s Deputy Municipal Liasion for NaNoWrimo 2019. (Nah-Know-Rye-Mo: National Novel Writing Month) Lots of plans for reaching out to people who want to be part of inclusive communities. I’ll be at Eurocon 2019. The committee are rolling out the red for the comics track this year. The fees for the artist’s alley are frankly enviable. They’ve agreed to a Community Table, ala Caption, where bods can set their books down for us to sell while they wander the convention. [Link]
Thanks to a partnership with Comic Book Guys Belfast, Eurocon will be hosting not only George RR Martin, Peadar O’ Guillin and Pat Cadigan but also James Roberts, one of my favourite writers. Transformers Lost Light driver James will be signing at the Great Victoria Street shop on Thursday and joining the festival at the weekend, where I’ll ask him about MTMTE and forthcoming Starcadia Quest.
That’s Thursday 22nd August!
Last night I finished Paragon: an original sci-fi novel by Rowan J. Coleman. A good debut of widescreen invasion epic. The latest issue of 2000AD inspired Sector 13 has shorts was enjoyable. Look-out-for artists Donna Anita Black, Joseph V. Parangle and Morgan Brinksman illustrate shorts which are inter-linked through the anthology. Peter Duncan and Andrew Pawley’s Cthulhu Kids #2 got a second read, for the sheer audacious fun of it. Pawley’s art bursts with slapstick energy and flamboyant designs.
Richard Barr has relented to my decade of begging for a podcast. So in a few months we’ll be looking at TV, Film, Comics, but so much, much more. The format is to co-host with a third guest each few weeks. Podcasting itself is our first subject, and so we’ll be talking to the enthused and prolific Nutty Nuchtchas about how to do it well. It’s a month away, so you could check in with Nutty while you wait. [Link: http://nimlas.org/blog/%5D
I’ll be talking about Jessica Jones in late July at The Defenders Podcast. The first episode is up at https://defenderspodcast.wordpress.com/
Television: well, I binged Season 1 of The Tick. Soo much fun, and a good natured romp too. Slowly working through American Gods Season 2. Re-binged Deadwood where 2,980 “fucks” were given, “an average of 1.56 utterances… per minute.” Yep, I’m saw it. The movie picks up thematically from the series and has a different yet same feel, albeit in a big form. Best tv-to-movie since Firefly/Serenity.
There’s about six books worth of material exclusively at patreon.com/andyluke, give me a dollar.
Really, give me a dollar. There’s the chance to get original art, a new sixteen page comic coming, and a first-look at new novella Thor’s Day in Juno.
Find me on:
Paragon by Rowan J. Coleman
Unicron by John Barber and Alex Milne
The House That Groaned by Karrie Fransman
Justice League 3000 by Giffen, DeMatteis and Kolins
Thor’s Day in Juno, by myself. It needs developed for the August release.
Queer as Folk by Grace Petrie (Bought at her excellent gig last night)
No-One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut by HMHB (appropriately enough, I’ve not got a copy)
Any solo work by Cerys Matthews (As I’ve pretty much exhausted Catatonia plays)
Meantime, I need to go to the pool, learn Croatian, be engaged in some kind of communal home cleaning practice, write a poem about a pretty place (we all should), and go to the pool again. Peace and love.