Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Day Of The New Gods (and other stuff)

You know I said recently that I'd sold The Mirror Of The Nameless to Kensington Gore a year or so after the original publisher went out of business? And a second piece to KG which turned out to be a prequel to Mirror entitled The Day Of The New Gods?

Well, I've written the first draft of New Gods. 63k in about five weeks which is pretty fast for me. I'm completely unashamed to say I'm playing to my strengths with this one (which is partly why I managed to write it so fast). I'm starting work on the second draft next week to give it a good tidy, beef up a couple of subplots and make sure the whole thing hangs together. It's a fast-paced, violent action horror that I think of as Lovecraft meets The Long Good Friday even though the finished book went its own way in a few places. Basically, if you like Mirror when it's re-published, you'll love New Gods.

Outside of writing news, one of our cats has developed diabetes which is a shock (I didn't know cats could get it) and no fun for anyone. We're hoping Eddie improves now he's on two injections of insulin a day. Basically, if you have a cat that rapidly loses weight and drinks way more than usual, take him to your vet.

Back on the writing news front, Dead Sun is still free on KindleUnlimited DEAD SUN and while it's not free in paperback, it is massive so you can use it as a doorstop after you've read it. (And once again, all honest reviews are more than welcome - GoodReads, Amazon, wherever).

That's about it for tonight. Be cool.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Where Dead Sun came from

Short answer: I can't remember.

Longer answer: I wrote the first draft of what was then called 'Set around 2008 (and possibly the year before) and after roughly a thousand edits and rewrites, it was published in early 2013 before going out of print a year later. Not that long ago, I know, but I've written a lot more since then and before reading through the original book last year, I hadn't done more than skim it in in the time since. My tale of angels and demons and a threat to all of reality felt like it had been written by someone else other than a few lines I knew were all me. I still liked it, though, which is where the new title and whole doing it myself thing came in. But for where it started ten or more years ago...


I think I had a vague idea for a short story about a guy with a terminally ill daughter who gets involved in a battle between mythical creatures. Events would take place over the course of a single night and he would gain some way of treating his child. Pretty vague and not that original, I'm sure you'll agree, but a concept I was fond of as I've always liked putting the supernatural right beside the familiar. At the time, I wrote a lot more fantasy than horror although my fantasies were becoming quite a bit darker as I went on. 'Set obviously took that basic idea and changed it to a mother who's lost her child. Ditto a change to the other characters, the timescale and the stakes. Instead of a one night fight between whatever creatures they were going to be, I ended up with a joint effort between Heaven and Hell to stop a blockage in death which will eventually lead to the potential destruction of everything.

Structurally, one of the biggest influences was the TV series 24 with Jack Bauer blowing the shit out of the bad guys. While nobody in my book demands to know who anyone is working for or for Chloe to open up a socket, damn it, the growing scale of events and threat 24 was so good at came to mind often while I was writing. That's why the my threat keeps getting worse. Also because it's fun to really fuck things up for your characters, as well.

Ultimately, the book that began as 'Set and became Dead Sun has been a long time in the telling and while I can't remember where the basic idea came from, maybe that's not as important as the tale finally being told.

Dead Sun is free on Kindle Unlimited over here.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Dead Sun - first review

Just a couple of days after publication and the first review for Dead Sun is in and I think you'll agree it's a good one. Like I said the other day, books pretty much live or die based on reviews especially in cases like this, so if you could help me out with spreading the word, that would be splendid.



Saturday, 28 April 2018

Dead Sun published

Today's the day - Dead Sun is now published so it's available from an Amazon near you in print and ebook. I've sorted a universal link so these should take you to the Amazon of your country (which saves me posting several separate links - result). As always, I hope people like my tale; whether you do or not, all honest reviews are more than welcome. Books, especially ones from authors who don't have the backing of a big publisher behind them, sink or swim based on the reviews. Even if a reader thought a book was crap, that review still helps. Although I prefer the nice ones, obviously.

Anway, I'm thrilled to have my tale of angels, demons, dead people and the possible destruction of all reality back in the world. And while Dead Sun is quite a bit lighter than my usual stuff, it's still me. (Bonus points if you spot the cheeky ref to Hometown because, yes, they take place in the same world).

Print copy:


Friday, 27 April 2018

Dead Sun - first chapter

To celebrate Dead Sun being published this weekend, I thought I'd share the opening chapter as a sort of sneak peek at it. So, here it is (links to follow, obviously).

Hope you enjoy.


Standing beside her front door, Emma Cooper gave the car a wave as it followed the curve of the little road from Willow Court. There was a flash of white—Jo sticking a hand through the window for a moment to return the gesture before the car disappeared behind the flats marking the entrance to the Court. As soon as the car was out of sight, the silence of the evening crashed back down again and Emma remained still. Trying to keep her smile fresh even though there was nobody nearby to see it, she watched for Jo, hoping her friend would reappear. After long moments of listening to nothing but her own soft breath, Emma let her smile go and fished out her keys, not thinking of anything else. Refusing to let herself think of anything else.
The metal dug into her palm and she squeezed her hand around it, relishing the discomfort. The approaching sunset covered her house with a warming red light, shining on each brick and on the windows that needed cleaning. As she inserted her key into the lock, she fought the urge to turn. Jo had gone; Emma knew that. Even so, she wanted to be with Jo and Rich, watching TV, talking to people she loved instead of having to face her empty house.
“Get a grip, you stupid cow.” She turned the key. The musty smell of sealed rooms on a hot day ran past her as she opened the door. Out of nowhere, an unbidden mental picture of a month before fell over her eyes and blocked any sight of the entrance hall in her house.
“No,” she whispered. “No.”
The picture faded, leaving the memory of that horrible time in the delivery room to drift away. Still tasting the final cup of tea, Emma let her breath go. At the same time, the stale air inside the house hit. She’d have to give it a clean tomorrow. Keep the windows open, let some of the day in: air and light and fresh.
Kicking off her trainers, she walked through to the living room and tossed her keys and phone to the sofa. Once the curtains and patio doors were open, the outside freshness entered and banished some of the closed-in feeling although not quickly enough. She stood in the doorway, took deep breaths and figured the best plan was to catch up on some box sets, have something to eat and go to bed.
As she locked the patio doors, her mind threw up the picture again, too fast for her to stop it.
She’s pushing when they tell her to, concentrating on anything she can other than the glassy pain, trying to think of how it will be after, of going home with her child and that’s when the hurt changes to something monstrous that isn’t physical. Instead, it’s far deeper than the stupid weight of her body because something’s wrong, something’s—
Emma whirled around, breathing fast. Instead of letting her mind speak a name, she strode to the kitchen, grabbed a Budweiser can from the fridge and swallowed a few rapid mouthfuls. The lager slid down her throat fast, forcing her to concentrate on nothing else for several seconds. Lowering the beer, Emma belched and managed to laugh. The laughter slipped away as the name broke through her barriers.
The doorbell rang.
Stifling a second belch, Emma placed the can by the cooker and returned to the hall to peer at the shape outside, the form indistinct through the frosted glass. A man was all she could work out.
“Who is it?” she said, raising her voice.
For a moment, the hall seemed warmer than it should have even with the sunlight dropping through windows.
“Hi.” The voice was friendly and sure. There was a pause long enough for Emma to think: shit, it’s the godsquad. Just great.
“I need to talk to you.”
“Yeah, I’m sure you do,” Emma whispered. She slid a step closer to the door. “Thanks, but I’m not interested.”
The man gave no reply. Still listening, Emma took a step back to the kitchen with the idea of having a quick look through the window at him.
“I need to talk to you, Emma.”
Still moving towards the kitchen, Emma froze. The warmth in the hall no longer existed. In its place, winter cold crept through the house and made the fine hairs on her arms rise.
“Go away,” she said, grateful her voice held steady. “I’m really not interested.”
“I’m sorry, Emma, but I need to talk to you.”
The man still sounded friendly. Walking as lightly as possible to the living room, Emma grabbed her phone from the sofa and readied it.
“Leave now or I call the police.”
Although she knew it was impossible, she thought she heard the man sigh.
“I wish I could leave, but I can’t. Now please open the door.”
As she licked her lips repeatedly, Emma was dimly aware of a new feeling. Apprehension remained while rising from her mid-section, anger swam in closer.
She stabbed nine three times. “The police will be here pretty quickly, so why don’t—”
The man’s voice interrupted her. Instead of sounding muffled through the front door, it came clearly from the phone.
“It’s about Leoni, Emma.”
Unable to make a sound, Emma dropped her mobile and fell against the doorframe to slide downwards. A great thundering roared on all sides as her heart boomed in her ears. She swallowed repeatedly and tried to pull herself up with her fingertips on the doorframe. Failing, she stared at the front door and crawled to the hall where she slumped beside the bookcase.
“Emma, please. We need to talk.”
She made it another foot and managed to stand. With a hand against her stomach, she walked to the door.
“Leoni?” she murmured.
“Please, Emma.”
Emma reached for the lock. As her fingers brushed the cool metal, her rational mind made a bid to control her actions. It failed. She pushed the lock down and opened the door.
The man stepped back.
“Emma. My name is Xaphan.”
“Xaphan,” Emma repeated. The man extended his hand.
“Will you come?” he said.
Leoni, Emma thought. Ignoring the offered hand, she stepped outside.
Everything turned red.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Ascent (changes)

I found out a few weeks back that there was a high chance the publisher of my book Ascent, which was published last summer, was closing its doors which was obviously shit news for me and all their other authors (and shit news for the publisher, as well). As things were a bit up in the air, I didn't say anything publicly but as I've now had offical word, I can say Ascent is going out of print.


Yesterday, I signed a contract with Hellbound Publishing to re-release it so while it is going out of print, it hopefully won't be for too long. Obviously, The Unredeemed and The Dead Room come first from Hellbound, but you can imagine I'm very pleased to say my tale of regrets, grief and a really nasty thing that exploits both with the poor bastards trapped in Greenham Place will return.

In the meantime, Dead Sun is published in less than a week and I'm working my arse off on the second book for Kensington Gore which is a prequel to the re-release of The Mirror Of The Nameless.

Another in the meantime - the paperback of Hometown (HOMETOWN) is under £6 on Amazon so get yourself a copy if you want to see what my stuff is like prior to the new books.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Interview time

Feels like a fair while since I've done an interview so it's about time. Head this way for a photo of my giant bald head along with info on the background to Dead Sun. Big thanks to Cat for having me on her site, again. As always, I hope you like.


And speaking of Dead Sun, I've just uploaded the final copy after making some last edits. It'll be available in a couple of weeks - links to follow as soon as they're live, obviously. In the meantime, feel free to sign up to my newsletter which I've just started. No spamming, just stuff about my books, covers and all that jazz.