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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Latest interview up

Done me another interview. This one is with the very nice writer Diane Dooley. You can read the interview over here - more thoughts on writing, horror, Hometown, and dentists.

Shudder.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Pimping myself like a bad motherfucker

I've been thinking a lot lately (for obvious reasons) about promotion when it comes to getting my name out there especially when I've got a new story published or a book in this case. Other than making it clear where people can find my site or buy my stuff, it's not as easy as you might think. Interviews, yes; review copies sent out, yes; a reminder for relevant links such as Good Reads, Amazon or my author page over at Caffeine Nights - all possible and as easy as a tweet or posting on my blog.

Trouble is, a million other writers are in my position. Without an agent, more or less unknown and reliant on hopefully not irritating the shit out of people by constantly tweeting links or requests for a review on Amazon. I've read countless pieces of advice on self-promo that mostly boil down to be yourself, be interesting, be funny and talk about stuff other than your work. All well and good, of course, and all sound advice. But if people don't actually know you've got a book out or a new short story published, then they aren't automatically going to look for your fiction.

With this in mind, Caffeine Nights and I have sent out a press release to local papers, magazines and radio over the last week in the hope that a little promotion will do a lot of good. No replies yet although it's still early days. The funny thing about trying to get your name out there is that it isn't at all fun. Generalising a bit, but nothing makes a writer feel like more of a dickhead than talking about their own stuff. You're asked what the book's about and you try to find a way of summarising a 90k novel into a few lines that will be interesting, funny and make people want to buy it.  You try that with what you do for a living. Pretend you need to really sell your role to someone in three sentences.

Go on.

Not easy, is it?

Writing and editing aren't too difficult for me most days. Pimping myself without sounding like or feeling like or looking like and ending up as a morose teenager...that's hard.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Hometown - visual inspiration

While I have zero talent when it comes to drawing anything, I do like to picture scenes or locations from my books. When it came to Hometown, I had images in mind before I'd written a word. I've always had a thing for normal, known places turned a little...odd. Unused traintracks for example. I was on a train a few years ago, pulling into a station and noticed a bunch of old tracks covered in weeds, all rusting and half-obscured by the undergrowth. Once upon a time, they would have been used, of course, but at that point, they were just metal lines left in the ground. I quite liked that. If there'd been some global pandemic or war, the tracks would have looked much as they did on that day.

Now, expand that image to a street or a city centre or the entire city. Or a country. Everything still more or less in one piece but covered in weeds, windows broken, doors boarded up and damage from smoke or water leaks marking brickwork.

I quite like that, too.

With that in mind, coming up with descriptions for the other side (the underside if you like) of the town in my book was easy. All I had to do was think about those old traintracks and bear in mind the look of a couple of films: Silent Hill and Escape From New York  - one of which gets a cheeky mention in Hometown.





Saturday, 30 July 2016

Guest post - an essay from Sara Jayne Townsend

Very happy to welcome my friend Sara Jayne Townsend to my blog for a guest post...





The Endurance of Horror
By Sara Jayne Townsend

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, it’s hard not to notice that we are living in a troubled world. Political strife. Terrorist strikes.  Civil war tearing countries apart.

Fiction has always been a way of escaping from the real world, but what’s popular in genre changes depending on what’s going on in the world. In the 1990s, cyberpunk was a hot genre. But in the early 21st century, the near-future dystopia it portrayed is uncomfortably close to the mark and it has, understandably, lost popularity. Instead we’ve seen the rise of steampunk – an idealised version of the past that has enough of a fantasy element to provide escapism. And allows, as an added bonus, an excuse to dress up in top hats and corsets.

Horror, too, has always evolved with society. What scares us in fiction has always reflected what’s scary in the real world. In the 50s, fear of the stranger (the ‘Red under the Bed’) manifested itself in stories of alien invasion. In the 60s, fear of nuclear war led to stories about mutant monsters. More recent decades have given rise to environmental disaster stories, conspiracy theory stories and society being decimated by deadly viruses, to name just a few of modern fears.

The modern world, though, is far more complex. In such times, there is generally a rise in fantastical monsters. The supernatural and the mythical – things that are scary, but that we know aren’t really real – provide a way of getting scared ‘safely’.

And, of course, there are always zombies. Because you know where you are with zombies. Things that are no longer human, have no conscience and no sentient thought beyond the need for fresh human flesh, are quite clearly the bad guys and things you can go after with a shot gun without any kind of moral dilemma. In real life, the bad guys are not always quite so straightforward.

The other thing to note about horror fiction is that it lets you escape to a world that is far worse than real life. If you’re reading about a world where humanity has been decimated and the handful of survivors are being pursued relentlessly by zombies, or a supernatural nasty has the protagonists literally fleeing for their lives, your own everyday worries might not seem so bad in comparison.



Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror, and someone tends to die a horrible death in all of her stories.  She was born in Cheshire in 1969, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there.  She now lives in Surrey with two cats and her guitarist husband Chris.  She co-founded the T Party Writers’ Group in 1994, and remains Chair Person.

She decided she was going to be a published novelist when she was 10 years old and finished her first novel a year later.  It took 30 years of submitting, however, to fulfil that dream.

Her latest release is SUFFER THE CHILDREN, a supernatural horror novel that is out in e-book format on 9 August 2016, and is available now for pre-order from MuseItUp Publishing.

Learn more about Sara and her writing at her website and her blog. You can also follow her on Twitter and Goodreads, and buy her books from Amazon UK and Amazon US






SUFFER THE CHILDREN

Orphaned at eighteen, Leanne's life is adrift in a sea of grief and drug use. She washes up on the shore of estranged relatives, the Carver family, struggling with loss of their own. The transition from her South London council estate to her new home in the Surrey middle-class suburbs is difficult for Leanne.

But beneath the respectable veneer of the quiet neighborhood, something terrifying lurks. Displaced and troubled teenagers are disappearing. Leanne recruits her cousin Simon and his girlfriend Carrie to help get to the bottom of the sinister mystery. Can the three of them stop a creature of unimaginable evil before Leanne becomes a target?
  


 
 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Hometown - US release

Cry your pardon, but I've ballsed up. Turns out the US release for Hometown is 1st February next year. It's a distribution issue that I didn't realise affected the date to such an extent. I honestly thought the publication date was the same all over; alas, it isn't.

So, anyone on the other side of the pond will have to wait a bit longer. In the meantime, you can still have a go of my other stuff either in print or on Kindle.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

30% off Hometown

A quick post to say Hometown is on the UK Amazon with 30% off. Yes, I know they don't have any in stock but that should be sorted very soon (it was the same yesterday and all the copies available in the morning sold by the afternoon). Either way, you can still get it for the reduced price. Which is better than a poke in the eye.

Amazon 30% off

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Hometown - published today

So, today's the day. Over a year in the making but here we are. Hometown is published today. As you might have guessed, I'm very chuffed with the way this one turned out so I'm hoping people enjoy the book. Feel free to let me know either way (I'm all for honest reviews, not having smoke blown up my arse).

It's available at several sites, but I figure Amazon is the one most people use, so:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

And not to forget the ebook version.