Glenn James

‘Pass The Salt’ by author Glenn James

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Dark Fantasy Writer and Illustrator Glenn James has a long standing familiarity with Doctor Who. In the summer of 2014 he was asked to undertake a rather special commission for a private collector, a man with a deep and affectionate knowledge of the programme. The resulting illustration followed a very unusual route, as the following article reveals.

© By Glenn James 2014                                                                                                                                                               (Black Biro and Ink, Black watercolour Paint and Chinagraph Pencil on Mount board.)

© By Glenn James 2014 (Black Biro and Ink, Black watercolour Paint and Chinagraph Pencil on Mount board.) Left to right: The War Doctor (John Hurt), the 8th Doctor (Paul McGann), the 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccleston), the 10th Doctor (David Tenant), the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith), River Song (Alex Kingston), Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman, standing), the First Doctor (William Hartnell, seated centre), the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi, standing), the 2nd Doctor (Patrick Troughton, seated), the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker, standing), the 3rd Doctor (Jon Pertwee, seated), the 6th Doctor (Colin Baler, with cats), the 5th Doctor (Peter Davidson), and the 7th Doctor (Sylvester McCoy)

As a fantasy artist I have been asked to undertake some unusual works in my time, but this one was a real challenge: How to portray all the incarnations of Doctor Who together, and do something really fresh and original with the composition.

Putting all the Doctors together is no new thing in artistic terms. You often see illustrations or posters depicting all of them in one composition, and this was especially true at the time of the 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013.   Conventionally this is usually a matter of showing the various actors faces side by side in one illustration, usually in chorological order of the incarnations, with the most current one to the fore. (more…)

‘A Certain Smile’ by Guest Author Glenn James

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

I won’t cry for help. I know there’s only one soul out there who can hear me, and I’m too frightened as it is. They must be pretty close by now, I can hear the movements getting nearer, and it’s too horrible to think about; I need to save my strength. No-one else will hear me now, I’m too far off the beaten track, and the chances are pretty remote.

It’s like being lost in the Everglades. Tall weeds and bushes follow the path for miles, clinging to its fringes like an encroaching disease. Like a ghost suffering from a fever, it wanders crazily, winding in and out of odd little copses where you aren’t even sure how close to the river you are anymore. It’s really deceptive, because all of a sudden you see it’s only about a foot away through the brambles. One minute you are right next to the cocoa coloured waters, and the next you could be a hundred yards back inland. I don’t believe a bird could see that route clearly from above, so tangled and winding is the path.

Every now and then a clapped out a knackered boat will loom up through the leaves out of nowhere, its stained bow yoked to the bank with a filthy umbilical cord of slimy blue-nylon rope. There are quite a few along the way, their tiny walkways overflowing with rough firewood, and the hoods over their cabs permanently aloft, weathered grey-green and patched with gaffer tape. Ancient bikes and nervous dogs are stationed on the decks, and little disturbs their solitude, except from the ebb and flow of the tide, the silent swans, or the raucous cries of the rowing coaches bumping along the opposite bank at dawn and dusk, swearing at their crews. (more…)

‘Wulfcleaver and the Lost Gold’ by Guest Author Glenn James

Friday, February 28th, 2014
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

The following work was written for the Potteries Museum and Art gallery, in Staffordshire, England, about their celebrated and internationally renowned Saxon find, The Staffordshire Hoard.

This amazing collection of artefacts, martial in content, has some of the most amazing examples of Anglo Saxon artwork ever found, and is thought to date from the reign of king Penda, last Pagan King of Mercia in the 7th century.

But… There is no record of this amazing treasure. No record or even legend makes reference to it, and its origins are lost in the mists of antiquity….

Dark Fantasy Writer Glenn James penned the following story about whom it belonged to, how it came to be buried, and why it was lost all those centuries ago….

Behold, hearken and listen! How bottomless is the wound to tell of an unmatched treasure once lost, and given up to all memory.  But what glory to tell of the valour and prudence which vouchsafed it before the all seeing eye of the creator of the world into the safekeeping of the soil, in the bosom of the kingdom.  (more…)

‘Blood Ties’ by Guest Author Glenn James

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

 

Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

BLOOD-TIES”:  A Review of “Dracula: The Undead” By Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt

With grateful thanks to Dacre Stoker for his insights and thoughts into the writing of the novel.

Sometimes you sit down to read a book quite happy to simply discover where the story is going to take you.  In the case of “The Undead”, if you are a fan of anything gothic, you would approach it with quite a degree of anticipation: metaphorically wanting to either ward it off, or embrace it, to either approach it with a crucifix stretched out before you in a trembling hand, or in the mood to rip a cross away to expose your neck.  For we are treading on hallowed ground, and the dead are restless in their tombs. (more…)

An Expression of Dissatisfaction by guest author Glenn James

Saturday, December 15th, 2012
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

(Or “In Loving Memory”)

T’was a tough time of year to be contemplating a burial, but there you go.  At least it wasn’t Mansell’s job to have to hack a hole 6ft down through the unforgiving frost, and the rock-hard flinching soil, but that’s what the grave diggers are paid for.  He was wondering if they’d have to use dynamite, the weather was so unseasonably brutal.  But if someone has the discourtesy to go and fall off the perch in the dead of winter, and leave instructions to be buried on Christmas Eve, what do you expect? It would help if the dear departed had been decent enough to leave a little gratuity, whereby the members of the profession so inconvenienced might perhaps drink to his everlasting peace.  But no, the man had been as tight as a ducks arse, and the job was being done on the cheap.  And a Merry Christmas too you, too, my lords and masters, with knobs on. (more…)

‘Pathvaliant’ by guest author Glenn James

Sunday, July 15th, 2012
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

Glenn James continues his exploration of the civilisation of the great Vampire Royal Houses from his Skaler work, in recounting a curious legend which might sound, in places, oddly familiar…

“There is an inexhaustible fund of lore surrounding the history of the great Born Vampire families, especially those of Pylegrey, deep under the Black Mountains in Wales.  Of course, the ones which fascinate scholars most surround the shadowed Gosmanger Clan, the most ancient of all the Children of Pylegrey, those who found Lucifer himself when he fell to earth.  And of all of these, one of the most popular is a cautionary tale about the earliest sons of the house, Pathvaliant the Skychaser.  Pathvaliant’s tale dates from the days before the Deluge, a few thousand years after the fall of the Sun of the Moring, before the great families withdrew to their labyrinthine dark cities below the earth…. “

Lift up your eyes, lift up your eyes my Children of the Dusk, and look upon the face of the Queen of the Moon, and know her visage.  Know her face in your mind and let not her beauty slip into your heart, for it will fasten a knot there no cunning or artifice can undo.  See her on her cusp of ice, brushing her long flaxen hair forever in the eternal night, idly watching the busy Earth caught in the jaws of ancient Father Id, as he flies forever in his dwindling voyage around the sun. (more…)

‘Carrying A Torch: The Arrival of the Olympic Flame in Staffordshire’ by Guest Author Glenn James

Friday, June 29th, 2012
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

A fire is spreading its way around the British Isles.  It has captured the imagination of the people everywhere and it is spreading a kind of fever, both before it and in its wake.  Where ever it goes, alongside the athletics enthusiasts, people who have previously had little or no interest in sport are turning out into the streets in their thousands, to welcome it, and cheer it on its way.  Carried in ancient tradition by a torch bearer, held proudly head high, it forges its way through the crowds and bursts forth into huge gold cauldrons… To sleep in little Davey Lamps, before going on its way again, leaving unforgettable memories behind it.

It hasn’t even reached London yet, but the Olympic Flame of 2012 has well and truly set Britain ablaze. Thousands will cherish special memories of this unique, once in a lifetime progress, and writer Glenn James and his family saw it arrive in Staffordshire… (more…)

“THE BALLARD OF BONNIE AND HYDE” by Guest Author Glenn James

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

(Following the mysterious disappearance of Doctor Jekyll, and the scandalous appearance of the murderer Hyde’s body in his cabinet, this note was found in Hyde’s pocket by Jekyll’s Servant Poole, and handed to the police.  It appears to be from a woman….)

I swear there is a whiff of sulphur about him, a cologne given to him by Lucifer, and when I smell that I know for certain he is back.  That faint, sickly chemical smell, nothing like anything normal I have ever encountered.  It catches at your throat and makes your head swim, pulls at something inside of you in a way that’s indecent, and you start to feel you are losing yourself to some strange vortex. It’s not normal.

Normal?  Normal I say. Don’t make me laugh.

Nothing is normal about you my dearest, oh, my Star of the Morning.

I just know when he has returned home, without a sound being made or a word being spoken.  He moves as quietly as a cat, and frightening as that can be, he thinks the first I know of it is when I feel his breath on my neck, and his stubble on my cheek.

But I know, I can tell, and like everything else about him, that sickly sweet concoction which he makes such a joke of dabbing behind his ears, sickens and pulls at me.  I could kill him with a stroke of his own razor, slashing till there’s nothing left to rise up like a beast and smite me down, but every time I get up the courage he fixes me with those eyes, that wicked, black-eyed gleam, of such mischief that God would call him a good companion.  And then I burn. (more…)

‘Broken God’ by Guest Author and Poet Glenn James

Sunday, April 1st, 2012
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

“BROKEN GOD”
(From a Vision in a Dream)

And for thirst, in a benighted land,
Long between fields and pastures I walked,
Dry as dust and cracked to pavements,
Beneath a parched unfeeling spring.

Arraigned in green the woods and hedgerows,
Stretched beseeching, uncomprehending boughs
To unyielding clouds indifferent to root and seed,
And brooks ran lower than in the August Dog Days.

At length I saw a tumbled homestead,
Gap tiled, with a drunken stack, smoking consumptively,
Lounging, dry stoned, in a hollow,
And thirst hauled my weary feet to its step.

A weather-fouled door swung to my knock,
And within, a knifing face snatched at my gaze,
As a withered thing with a witches air,
Bade me welcome to her nest. (more…)

‘Oliver Twisted’ by Guest Author Glenn James

Thursday, March 1st, 2012
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

Charles Dickens usually found himself to be a quite well disposed ghost, but much to everyone’s surprise, he was marching through the writer’s haven in Paradise with an unusually thunderous frown, tugging at his beard.

Offers of honeydew and the milk of paradise went un-noticed, and he strode past H.G. Wells and George Orwell without even noticing their cheerful salutation of good morning. Something was on his mind and he needed advise, so he sought a wise soul.

He pulled up a cloud next to a thoughtfully distracted figure with a bald pate, who was beavering away over the summer rep season, and sat down so hard that several cherubs scarpered, and it caused a short and unexpected rain of Hazel Nuts over Newport Pagnel.

“Hmmmmmmm…..” went Charles, sourly and with emphasis. (more…)

‘Norseman on the Threshold’ Part Three: “Of One Body, of One Flesh” by Guest Author Glenn James

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

Following the violent and foundation-shaking haunting’s of Worcester Cathedral by the restless spirit of a murdered Viking, three cautious investigators draw close to finally unravelling the reason for his tortured wanderings…..                                                                               

Although it has had its moments in an illustrious and surprising history, Worcester Cathedral is not used to violent outbreaks of poltergeist activity.  The wild outbreak caused, when two pieces of skin belonging to the tortured Viking who haunts the place were reunited, had a profound and disturbing effect, which changed the places supernatural profile forever.

Mr. Pearman the Librarian and the Very Reverend Godbehere were themselves badly shaken by an experience which left the building reeling.  Every now and again the Gothic vaulting of the roof  in the library shifted alarmingly, and fine showers of dust came down around them at random.  The stones of the floor shifted like badly laid block pathing, and they had a nasty feeling that the whole room was structurally unsound. Godbehere said nothing, but the tone of his sharp looks implied that Pearman was going to be blamed for the damage, and the humble Librarian wondered how he could prove that his lofty superior had caused the whole thing, ignorantly tossing an evil book bound in the dead man’s skin onto the very display case where the rest of his mortal remains were on show.  He was starting to break out in a cold sweat at the fear of losing his pension, when old Professor Harbinger, who walked in right at the end of the explosive haunting, wagged a finger at Godbehere, and said “Now then Christian, can you put this thing down a little more carefully this time? Nowhere near the rest of his skin, if you please, we aren’t ready to fling open the gates of hell just yet!  It’s only ten to ten, and I haven’t even had a cup of tea.  Do you think a coffee table might be a good resting place for it….” (more…)

“The Stormpiper” (Or “The Sound of the Wind in the Treetops”) by Guest Author Glenn James

Friday, December 9th, 2011
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

It sang like a mournful lost lover, the winter wind through the treetops, and Carey reached out to it with all his heart. The lost song of the wind caressed and called to him, reaching longingly out as she called down the chimney in the dead of the night, whistling between the houses like a lost soul, and treading the forest roof like a searching ghost.

It called to Carey achingly, as he paused in his walk through the forest, eyes closed and face raised to the black and bare February branches against the cloud-chased winter sky, and lost himself in her song.

It was an ancient Beech wood, surprisingly close to the city centre, and it was his sanctuary, his refuge. Reforestation was being encouraged all along the line of the ancient woodland track, and Carey walked here all the time at night, enjoying the simple serenity away from modern life.  He hated the intrusive, unsympathetic cut of amber streetlights dissecting the night, and longed for older days when a soul could take pleasure in his surroundings:  For days long gone, when you could walk uninterrupted and treasure the dark caress of the wind in the trees, and look forever at the eternal unfolding variety of the stars, (and actually see them), without any of their wonder being diminished by cheap artificial light.

Here, you could recapture something of that shadowed pleasure. The wind ran her fingers searchingly through his hair, and spread the long tails of his coat wide like the canvas of a tall ship, as Carey stood alone in the night with a blissful smile.  And when Carey happened to open his eyes in the light of a crescent moon, he discovered with some surprise that he was not alone.  Way above him, high over the treetops, he thought he saw something move. (more…)

“Norseman on the Threshold” by Guest Author Glenn James

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

An attempted burglary at the ancient Worcester Cathedral results in two very curious and disturbing discoveries: One of the intruders is found in a fathomless coma before the great East Doors, and a curious and disturbing book is discovered close to the tomb of the notorious Plantagenet Monarch, wicked King John…. Unfortunately this is just the start of a series of shocking and unprecedented haunting’s, whose cause go back a very long way indeed…..

Part Two: Books and Bindings

By Glenn James © Copyright Glenn James 2011

When Tracey Trancey was found in an unconscious state, below the great East doors of Worcester Cathedral early in the morning by a shocked Verger, he made an uncannily intuitive leap in the dark that something must be amiss.  He had just found the scattered crowbars, torch, and levers down by King John’s Tomb, and quickly putting two and two together he made a quick search of the perimeter of the building.  He didn’t expect to find the perpetrator lying in such a mangled state right under the great East window, and was on his mobile to the old bill before he thought to check her pulse.  When he rather shamefacedly thought to do so, he found she was dead to the world, and anxiously informing the constabulary about the situation he half ran, half walked back to the Verger’s Office, where his news bulletin caused considerable consternation and much dropping of digestives into hot tea.

The rather sinister little book, with it’s deeply embossed skin covering, was not immediately noticed amongst the scattered tools, and went unregarded for some time. It bided it’s time quietly. (more…)

“A Shock to the System” by Guest Author Glenn James

Monday, November 14th, 2011
Author Glenn James

Guest Author Glenn James

It’s Alive!

Incredibly, Universal’s “Frankenstein” is nearly 80 years old.  Like Lugosi’s “Dracula”, with which it shares it’s venerable birthday year, the film has become a horror icon of the 20th Century, and made a legendary star of its principal performer, the beloved Boris Karloff, and the monster which he, Colin Clive, Jack. P. Pearce, James Whale,  and Junior Lemmlie unleashed on the unsuspecting world in 1931.

Gothic Fantasy Writer Glenn James has a deep seated love for their film, and took huge early inspiration as a writer from finding out that Whale came from the same part of the Midlands as himself in England.  Whilst passing Dudley Castle on his route to college as a student, he discovered that it is widely thought to have inspired Whales watchtower in “Frankenstein,” and penned the story “A Shock to the System” during his journeys.  This is a love-letter to Karloff, and Whale’s Universal films, and in celebrating the movies 80th anniversary, delves into where Dr. Frankenstein might have got his information concerning the reanimation of dead tissue….. (more…)

‘Hungry George’ by Guest Author Glenn James

Monday, November 7th, 2011
Author Glenn James

Author Glenn James

Gothic-Fantasy Writer Glenn James was haunted by a question: What would it be like if one vampire haunted another vampire? Out of this premise developed the conflict between his characters Skaler and Prince Germane, and the whole cycle of his Gosmanger stories, which are meeting with an excellent response: (“Pass the Remote” was published in The Eerie Digest earlier this year.) “Hungry George approaches the world of his vampires from a rather different angle and throws a revealing light on the shadowed Prince Germane….

“You never see Hungry George; you can just feel him feeding.  It’s just one of those things, like an uncommon certainty that it’s going to rain, or that someone whom you know has died.  One can simply just tell he has someone over for dinner….

On very rare occasions you can hear a bit of a struggle, but never for very long, and whatever is going on stays discretely behind that cracked and blistered door.  Occasionally there are black dustbin liners, taken discretely away by a fellow from the dog food company, and they always seem to have shall we say a certain weight and organic volume, but questions are never asked.

Hungry George must be absolutely ravenous, because these bags of his table leavings are voluminous, and collected rather regularly. (more…)

‘Norseman on the Threshold’ by Guest Author Glenn James

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
Author Glenn James

Author Glenn James

(This serial was inspired by the History, Hauntings, and legends of Worcester Cathedral in England:  It was written originally as the inaugural serial of  the “42 Genre-Specific Open-Mic-Night,” in Worcestershire. It is affectionately dedicated to the late Leonard Amesbury by his friend, the author.)

“Norseman on the Threshold”

By Glenn James

Part One: “Lupus Rex”

Worcester Cathedral sleeps calmly on the banks of the River Severn, quiet in its golden stone, and basking in the rise and fall of centuries.  Little happens nowadays to disturb its contented sleep, as the warlike days when armies laid siege to its demure skirts, and the peaceful river ran red with vanquished causes, are long since past.

In these godless times, it is merely a timeless symbol of the city, striding through the centuries almost absentmindedly, so much a part of the landscape it’s hardly even registered properly by most people looking right at it locally.

But deep inside it’s wall’s and fabric, in between its foundations, crypts, and long forgotten chambers, deeds done with less than a valiant heart fester resentfully still in secret.  The dark cloisters at night, when the last tourists and choristers have gone home are not “unpopulated”.  They are far from empty in any conventional sense, and their paths are walked in silence by those who would not be seen. (more…)

‘A Gentle Footfall on the Stairs’ by Guest Author Glen James

Saturday, October 1st, 2011
Author Glen James

Author Glen James

As carvings go it was pretty crude, the most basic stone head you will ever see. Nothing more than a broadish pebble, about the size of a saucer, with rudimentary depressions for eyes, a misshapen nose, and a lopsided gash for a mouth.

I hated the damn thing.  I had always hated it, as far back as I could go in my memory into childhood.  It totally gave me the creeps, and I did NOT want it. Why the hell give it to ME of all people?  I know I’m interested in art but I would rather lop off an ear.

This head always sat smack in the centre of my Uncle Gwilliam’s dressing table for years, for all the world like some Pagan Idol, and we were all scared stiff of it.  Two generations of my family refused my grandmothers requests to go upstairs on errands because of this thing, sitting solemnly on a Nottingham Lace doily, and staring at the chimneypots and pigeons opposite through the window.  There was something inherently evil about the bloody thing, which none of the adults seemed to notice, and all of us earned a scolding from my Grandmother for not taking fresh towels up to the airing cupboard, or bringing down the ironing, because of being “So damn silly about a lump of old stone.” (more…)

Crookbarrow by Guest Author Glenn James

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Author Glenn James

Author Glenn James

© By Glenn James 2009

I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not know of Crookbarrow Hill.  Despite all attempts to block it out I could even see it in my sleep, and it will be before my dying eyes when I finally close them forever.  I don’t think it will be long now, and I can see the shadows lengthening beneath its lonely tree.

It was once a fascinating mystery, a strange, pudding-basin shaped mound we would see from the windows of our coaches as we passed, heading off on holiday, with a single tree on top.  My mother was convinced it was an ancient burial mound, and swore that it was man made, and I was sure even then that she was right.

I shake now to think that I know for certain that she was right, and I can almost see the funny side of the thought that archaeologists are said to finally talking about cutting into the hillside.

It won’t happen.  Something unexpected and wild will stop it, because there is something sleeping under that hill, deep down inside, way down under the questing roots of that old chestnut tree, which fidgets’ in it’s evil slumber, and does not want to be disturbed. (more…)

Pass the Remote by Guest Author Glenn James

Friday, July 1st, 2011
Matricia Regina: The Matriarch of the Gosmangers and her inner court

Matricia Regina: The Matriarch of the Gosmangers and her inner court

Thomas didn’t realize he was doing anything irritating, until a shrill voice barked at him from across the room. “Tom! Pack that in, can’t you? You’ve already ruined one arm of the chair! Look at the size of that hole, anyone will would think we have mice. Now pass the remote.”

Her voice was like a sergeant major with particularly bad PMT.  Haughty, with a trace of well hidden insecurity, somewhere deep down under all the projected superiority. It was a tone most of them tried to avoid at all costs, and he pulled his twitching fingertips away from that fiddly rim of raised braid around the trim of the armchair, and sucked them back up his sleeve like a retreating tortoise.  But unconsciously, his busy fingers probed the huge hole he had picked in the other arm, too, nosing thoughtlessly through the foam rubber stuffing, until she shouted at him again

“Tom!  Bloody well cut that out, or you can sling your hook! I’m not kidding, you’re out if you don’t leave that chair alone.  That’s the third one you’ve ruined in six years.  Now collect all the mugs up, and make us all a drink.  It’s your turn. And pretty please with sugar on, pass the damn remote!”

Guilty fingers fumbled over the device, almost a foot long and surprisingly heavy, as he passed it to Mary without meeting her eyes.  She was the custodian and keeper of the holy hoofer doofer, and he passed it like a religious relic. (more…)