Friday, 31 December 2021

Goodbye to 2021

Well, here we are. We've dragged ourselves towards the end of yet another year which, I think we can all agree, hasn't been much of an improvement on 2020. All we can do is keep going towards better days.

In the writing and publishing world, it's been pretty eventful for me. Signing with an agent after submitting my work for twenty-two years was the big one. I still can't quite believe it took me so long especially as I was genuinely convinced in my early twenties that the first book I sent off would net me a publishing deal. Note: it really didn't. A very long time coming, I'm sure you'll agree. Plenty of days and weeks of wondering what the hell I was doing with my time. Obviously, there are no guarantees of success even with an agent, but it's a good start. I've given my agent another book since the one she signed me for and I'm getting feedback from some writer friends on a third. Fingers crossed at least one of them takes off.

I finished my Lovecraftian action horror series which was a blast. Especially proud of that series as I'd begun work on the third and final book when I heard the publisher of the first two was closing, meaning I had an orphaned book underway and zero chance of anyone else taking the series. I could have binned the series there and then, but with the work underway, I really wanted to see where it went. Glad I kept at it. I don't think there'll be anything along the same lines in my future, so if you want to have some balls to the wall action, violence and terrible language, then this is the series for you.

Along with the Nameless trilogy, I had my most recent horror from Hellbound. Winter Graves is a crime/horror that I now realise sent me on the way to the stuff I'm writing now: horror that mixes more of the real world we all know with something that's come out of the dark. I'm very happy with how Winter Graves turned out - hoping it takes off in the new year.

There were also a few short stories accepted for the first time in a while. As much as I love the short form, the market seems to have shrunk and/or publishers are going for themed tales which is fine, but I rarely write with a theme in mind. Not sure how much time I'll dedicate to the short tale from next year. If an idea really grips me, then of course, I'll write it. We'll have to see how that goes.

Going in 2022, I'm aiming to complete work and edits on stuff for my agent within the next six weeks or so, finish an outline for a new book and write it. It goes without saying I'm also hoping for a publishing deal to land in my lap, but as with so much in the publishing world, that's another case of wait and see. Outside of that, I'll be keeping my head down, limiting my contact with people and pushing on for those better days I mentioned.

All my stuff including the Nameless trilogy and Winter Graves is available via this link.

If you're not able to purchase for whatever reason, you could do me the next best thing and either ask your local library to stock my books or simply spread the word on sites like Goodreads. For a writer in my position, word of mouth is invaluable.

Take care of yourselves and each other. Read some good books. Keep going.

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Winter Graves - now available

Here it is, people. My new horror from Hellbound is now available in paperback and on Kindle. It's a good one if I do say so myself. Feel free to spread the word, leave a review and all that. Books live and die on their reviews, so any help would be much appreciated.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Winter Graves cover reveal

Been a fair while since I last blogged. To be honest, there hasn't been a lot of book news other than working on edits for my agent, checking my email and outlining a few new ideas. But now I'm back with an update - it's cover reveal time for my new horror from Hellbound. I'm very happy to share the cover for Winter Graves and to say it'll be published on Tuesday.
While the worst winter to hit Britain for decades paralyses the country, a brutal killer is targeting teenage girls. Beside a lonely stretch of river, Jimmy Marshall witnesses the first murder take place. Powerless to stop it, Jimmy tells himself there was nothing he could have done. But now a second victim has been discovered. And a third. The police suspect Jimmy knows more than he’s saying and the criminal family of one of the girls want answers by any means necessary.

As Jimmy desperately tries to uncover his connection to the violence, the anniversary of another terrible event is rapidly approaching in the howling winds and the blizzards. Born in the snow and the ice, something monstrous connected to Jimmy’s past is reaching a grasping hand into his present.

Caught in a hell twenty years in the making, Jimmy has three days to find an inhuman murderer before the white of a nation’s winter runs red with blood.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

The Nameless out now

The third and final part in my Lovecraftian action horror series is now available. Writing these three books has been way too much fun and while it's sad in a way to be done with the tale, I'm very happy to have them out in the world. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them. And don't forget you can still get the first two for a low price. Links below. 

Monday, 12 July 2021

A new interview

Been a while since I've had an interview to share - got one now, though. The lovely people at have given me the chance to ramble and talk my usual rubbish. You can read it here: 

I'll have more to say about the books I'm working on in the next week or two, so watch this space.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

On (eventually) getting an agent

I've been thinking for the last couple of weeks whether or not to post about my journey to getting an agent. On one hand, I don't know how interesting it would be to most people. On the other, it's been a big part of my life for a long time and now that I'm here. . .well, maybe I know what I'm talking about.

As mentioned before, I submitted my first works to an agent in 1999. I was 22. I'd written a load of loosely linked short stories, a ton of bad poems and I was nearing the end of my first book. I sent several of the shorts off to a London based agent - and bear in mind, this was through the post. In the UK of 1999, the internet was something for pervs and nerds. That meant email was, too. Most agents and publishers wouldn't have given a toss about a website for their company. So, I had to send the printed stories and a return stamped envelope and wait for the money to roll in.

Oddly enough, it didn't come in. What did come was a phone call from the agent. A landline phone call. She asked me about my stuff, what else I was working on, my background and so on. I tried to come across like I knew what I was talking about and not be too deflated when she politely declined to work with me or take any more of my short pieces. She agreed to look at future work, so I promptly worked my bum off on finishing my first book, sent it to her (again with the stamped envelope) and waited for the big cash. Several weeks later, I got my first real rejection. Over the following years, I grew used to the sight of an envelope through my letterbox with my own writing on the front. I had plenty of time and opportunity to get used to it. Email and websites were developing, but like everything else in the publishing world, it was slow and that meant relying on the post as well as the time it took an agent or publishers to tell me to sod off.

I wrote more. A lot more. Shorts, books, fewer poems until I eventually gave those up (my last one was in 2009 when my wife and I got married) and more books. In 2013, an American e-publisher which existed for all of about a year took two of my books. Agents still weren't interested in my tales even though they were much improved from the crap I wrote in the late 90s and early 2000s. Those two books went out of print pretty quickly, leaving me with a collection of short stories I was planning to publish myself and spreadsheets for other books which were rapidly filling with the dates of rejections. Around 2014, the agent who phoned me in '99 passed away. I kept writing.

A small Scottish publisher took two of my books, then went out of business. Hellbound in the States has taken five with a sixth to be published this year. I put the two from the Scottish publisher out (with the third to follow in a few months). Agents showed slightly more interest than they had. On average, I subbed each new book to a minimum of sixty or seventy agents. One or two requested the full novel which wasn't a great result. I began to expand my style from outright horror to more grounded thrillers (which I now learn might be referred to as speculative thrillers) and agents nibbled more frequently, but never bit. I wrote more.

After the utter shitshow that was 2019 for me on a personal level, I wrote a spec thriller last year in the middle of an utter shitshow for the entire planet. I subbed it. Again. Again. I wrote another couple of books and subbed my thriller. Again. Again. Then, near Christmas, I had a request from an agency for the entire book. A definite result. I sent it off and worked on new stuff as well as my new books. After a few months, the agent and I had some encouraging back and forth emails, then a Zoom call to discuss the books, my other work and where we might like to go from there. I made some changes to the story and sent it in. I wrote more.

Three weeks later, we had another Zoom.

Twenty-two years after that first phone call to the departed agent and the discussion about my godawful short stories, I signed with an agency on the back of the spec thriller with plans for others including the book I am currently writing.

And there we are. Of course, a few paragraphs it's taken you a couple of minutes to read doesn't include the seemingly endless rejections, the day jobs, the constant support from my wife in the face of what the fuck am I doing with my time and the surety I was lying to myself about my ability to write a novel anyone would want to read. I could write an entire book about all that. In the end, the writing is what matters. Because it's all I'm any good at, so why would I not do it?

I'm 44 in a few months. Being 22 in 1999 is a memory. That first submission is still here, though. Along with the hope it would lead to something.

Funny thing is, it might have taken a while but it did lead to something.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Long time coming

Remember 1999? A long time ago, wasn't it? I was 22; I had a head full of dreams (if not hair); I was yet to meet my wife while I shared a house with my brother, worked in a record shop and spent my free time writing books and short stories that I was convinced would sell the first time I sent them anywhere.

They did not.

Since I submitted my first work to agents in 1999, I've written twenty-one books, more shorts than I can recall and had rejections literally in four figures. I've self-published a couple of books and had a few published by indies. The record shop is as long gone as my hair, but not my dreams.

Cut to 2021.

After twenty-two years, I'm now represented by a literary agency. As of yesterday, I have signed with The Liverpool Literary Agency on the back of what I'm calling a speculative thriller. The idiot kid I was back in '99 can't quite believe this any more than the slightly less of an idiot adult I am now. In any case, I've got a book to edit prior to it going out on submission and another which needs a fresh draft. I best get cracking.

Cheers, people.