Kim Lakin-Smith

Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

Author: Kim (page 3 of 4)


A short while ago, the lovely Sharon Ring of Dark Fiction Review contacted me and asked me to take part in a series of author posts she was collating on the subject of negative reviews. She asked all authors the same series of questions and left it up to the reader to compare and contrast.

Here are my answers:

How do you feel about negative reviews of your work?

Wow, it certainly is painful to read a negative review! Its also humbling, which I think is essential to developing as a writer. I have a number of self-support mechanisms I levy at myself. One: That the reviewer was not my target audience and therefore I should be pleased they hated my story. Two: They’re right – this bit was rubbish and deep down inside I knew it and hoped no one would notice! And three: negative reviews push me to fight harder and produce better work. So I guess after an initial ten minute rant, I mellow, sit back down at my computer and get back to writing my next story.

Are you ever tempted to defend yourself against a particularly negative review?

Not to date. I often write stylistically, say in a 1930s/50s vein, and this is something readers either love or hate. If someone doesn’t like characters talking in slang or has no interest in cool cars, dangerous guys or wild women, they probably won’t ever like my stories, no matter how hard I fight to convince them. Different strokes for different folks I reckon.

Would you ever consider using a negative review as part of the publicity for your next novel or short story, or even consider publishing it on your website alongside more positive reviews?

Are we talking a major slating here? Gosh, that would take some self-belief, wouldn’t it? ‘Here, this person says I’m crap but you might like me’. I love to think that I would have the guts to do that. I would definitely link to a review that was mixed though – we all need a good dressing down now and then!

First published 19th May 2010 –


Preist Okay, so it’s hardly news that I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic genre fodder. After the so-so Legion, the latest movie from the grim-and-bare-it combination of actor Paul Bettany and director Scott Stewart is Priest. The movie is set in a grim gothika of a future where humans have been plagued for centuries by vampires of the none-beautiful variety. Enter Bettany, one of a league of warrior priests who is forced to turn against his own kind and reap personal revenge on the evil bloodsuckers…so far so excellent. And while the trailer leans towards the bleaker end of the stake-em-up genre, it promises to be a welcome addition to the post-apocalyptic cannon.

The Birth, Death and Resurrection of the American Muscle Car

When it comes to muscle car action, it doesn’t get much more iconic than Steve McQueen as Bullitt in a 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 CID Fastback chasing two hit-men in a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T 440 Magnum. From the guttural roar of the engines as experienced from inside the cars to the jaw-jarring seesaw of suspension up and over the hills of San Francisco, the chase encapsulates the muscle car experience – and it’s fast, mean and dirty.

Continue reading

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

I’ve got one thing to say about the trailers for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice which I’ve caught so far. It’s all about the cars, man. And to all intents and purposes, the crew knew it; two accidents involving cars have already lent the film it’s very own ‘cursed movie set’ legend. But if you’re going to spotlight a very rare 1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom, you’ve got to expect some ghosts!

Casting Nicolas Cage as the magician? Hmmm, I’m not sure. I love Cage – he’s excellent as the habitual dark soul in movies such as Ghost Rider, Leaving Las Vegas and Face/Off. But his dry monotone and morose expression seems a little kilter for this Disney juggernaut. All the same, I like the look of the effects – the metallic stylings of the dragon ring and a generous splurge of blue flames.

And the cars…Did I mention the cars?

Suckerpunch. ‘Alice in Wonderland’ with machine guns’

Here’s the blurb:

“A young girl is institutionalized by her wicked stepfather. Retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, she envisions a plan which will help her escape from the facility.”

Any movie that has the tagline ‘Alice in Wonderland’ with machine guns’ gets my vote!

The Roadrunner – BEEP BEEP

Fast and Furious 4 – Trailer

Fast & Furious 4 features a 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner called Hammer. The Roadrunner features in my YA novel Autodrome. This is my favourite muscle car of all time.

Lakin’s Lycanthrope

The full lunar cycle in June was dedicated to werewolves over at the Dark Fiction Review. I chose to review Angela Carter’s short story ‘Peter and the Wolf’.

“As a child, I was petrified of two pieces of classical music. The first was Edvard Grieg’s In The Hall Of The Mountain King, its creepy accelerando diluted somewhat thanks to recent Alton Towers ads. The second was Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter And The Wolf…” read more…

Thirst for the Undead

July 2010 is Vampire Awareness Month over at the blog of writer, editor, publisher, reviewer, filmmaker, and self-confessed cad, Mark Deniz. Continue reading


Renegade City. Futurist Gothika. Mecca of the damned. Where uber rock-band, Origin, is deified and the world’s dark sub-cultures coexist under the umbrella faith of ‘Belief’.

But Roses, the great, Gothic messiah is dead, the tribes are in turmoil, and Renegade’s own home-bred rebels, the Drifters, are quickly becoming a law unto themselves.

The last thing that Druid, Origin’s drummer and reclusive high lord of the Drathcor, wants to do is hunt his brother’s killer, especially since he’s not so sure of foul play, or even the purity of his motives. Against all of his expectations, however, he is soon embroiled with the underbelly of dissension, dirty politics, and a non-believer as jaded with Renegade’s great and secret show as he is – a black-eyed girl called Jezebel.

Druid is tasked with saving the whole city. Street punk, Jezebel will settle for saving her brother. Ever since Harish got in touch with his inner-animal and left her with the scars to prove it, she has made it her quest to return him to the fold. One bleak winter’s night, she succeeds in tracking him to the festering Gothic ruin of the south watchtower, home to the very same ghosts that Druid is chasing, and Harish’s new family, a biker’s chapter of Skinwalkers.

The Thaw

“How do you feel?” my husband asked me last night when I told him I had finished writing my novel, Autodrome. “Not sure,” I answered truthfully, fully aware the answer should’ve been excited, euphoric, nervous, or enthusiastic. In fact, my strongest emotion was relief. Relief that I had somehow wound up at the end of that complex ball of word strings. Relief that the seemingly insurmountable list of ‘notes’ had somehow condensed itself into a few simple sentence insertions. Relief that, if nothing else, I had a start, middle and an end.

About time too. I am a slow writer. There is no getting away from it. I am obsessed with the minutia. Yes, I have a thing for the bubblegum feel of action adventure and stylistics, but my greatest dread is someone catching me out on mechanical details or historical accuracy. Perhaps this is why the writing of Autodrome has really hurt my head!

I remember a period of feeling utterly lost. The last quarter of the novel refused to be written and despite my having plotted the story in detail. I realised it was all in danger of ‘going on a bit.’ Rather than plough on until the bugger gave in, I found myself at a stalemate, unable to convince myself to write words for the sake of it. Writer’s block? I don’t think so. I don’t really believe in the thing. More a case of needing time to sift ideas and resift and resift.

In the meantime, I took solace in that great social tradition, the writers’ convention – or, as it turned out, three of them. Last September, Fantasycon gave Del and I our yearly excuse to return to our spiritual home of Nottingham and sink a beer or several with friends, old and new. November brought a Saturday night at Novacon, featuring an angry robot, free Champagne, and Ian Watson birthing a banana through his jumper. And in-between came Ian Con as it was affectionately named – the birthday extravaganza of writer, publisher and editor, Ian Whates.

Not that writing slunk away on its belly entirely. Instead, I started work on a new novella, a sister piece to Black Sunday, written in May 2009. While Black Sunday is set in the 1930s dustbowl, the new novella emerged as a New Weird-tinged story taking place on a desiccated planet. And it was all going swimmingly well…until the ideas for the last quarter of Autodrome started to fall into some sort of meaningful tea-leaf pattern.

Placing the new novella into the cryogenic sleep pod otherwise known as ‘on the back burner’, I took another shot at Autodrome. And this time, it gave me a way in. Seeing those startling, wondrous words ‘THE END’ after my final round of edits, I couldn’t help but feel relieved. And the thing is I’m pleased with the ending. It came out right in the end…And what does make me feel excited, euphoric, nervous, and enthusiastic is the thought of others reading it now. For me, that’s what this whole writing game is about, hoping others enjoy the world you’ve shaped and want you to shape some more.

Talking of which, its time to defrost the new novella.

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