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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Hometown - a soundtrack

While I'm not as into my music as I used to be (must be an age thing. You reach your late thirties and everything beyond a certain point just sounds shit), there are still bands, songs, singers and tunes that still really matter. With that in mind, I'm linking to this as a soundtrack to Hometown. If it had one, of course. Anyway, this piece of music sums up the story and a certain character pretty much perfectly.



Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Hometown - 21/07/2016

I’ve been meaning to blog for the last week or two but have focused instead on working on the editor’s comments for Hometown and fixing my numerous mistakes—possible favourite being the moment a character took a bottle of beer from a fridge which then became a can of beer on the next page—and giving it a final read to make sure everything is sorted. Now that everything's done and the book has been improved, I can take a breath and appreciate what this all means.

For those who’ve been paying attention, you’ll know Hometown was published a few years ago as an ebook by an American publisher who have since closed, meaning that version has been unavailable for a while. When the rights reverted to me, I had no idea what would happen with the book or if anything actually would. Of course, I could have just done it myself within days of getting the rights back but that would have been a mistake. So I did my research, checked out a few publishers I liked the sound of and sent off the opening chapters without much hope of it going anywhere. The email that came back from one to request the entire manuscript was a very nice surprise, and again, I sent my stuff in without much hope mainly because nearly all writers think the reply will be a polite stick your book up your arse to any submission.

That didn’t happen.

Caffeine Nights replied a little while later to say they wanted to publish the book which was of course just ducky with me. I’d changed the title from the original to the name of the main character prior to my initial email but that didn’t feel like a great idea simply because it didn’t give a potential reader much of a clue about the story. All right, that’s worked for Stephen King more than once, but I’m not Mr King so the title changed again to Hometown which sums up the tale in a nice, concise way.

A year later and here we are. Hometown, originally my first published novel, will become my first published novel in print on the 21st July. And, as a bonus, it’ll be roughly 7000 words longer than the first release, making it (hopefully) a richer, more developed story.

I’m thrilled to have my dark tale of regret, grief and friendship brought back to life and looking forward to hearing what people think of it.

UK release Hometown

US release Hometown

Friday, 3 June 2016

Rapture - available now

Chuffed to report that the collection featuring my end of the world story Rapture has been published. You can buy it this way and over here for the US release.

I'm very happy with how this one turned out so I hope you like it, too.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

It's a little bit funny

My brother is friends on Facebook with a local photographer. That's not the funny part. Turns out this guy posted a photo on Facebook last week of four kids back in the very late seventies/early eighties out on a suburban street, dressed in their horrible seventies clothes with a horrible seventies car parked on the road. The photographer asked if anyone could identify the kids as he's putting together a book of old pictures and would like to place the street if not the kids.

My brother could identify three of the kids. Himself, me and our sister. He'd be about six, our sister around ten and yours truly no older than two - which explains why I'm on a trike. The funny thing is the mix of emotions at seeing such an old photo completely out of the blue. As a writer, I'm almost constantly on the look out for inspiration whether I realise it or not (and most of of the time, it's definitely a case of not), and there's always been something I've found not totally likable about that time period but still interesting. I think it's because of all the changes Britain went through during the eighties (thanks, Thatch) and here's a photo right on the edge of those changes. Four kids, none of whom cared about anything other than eating, sleeping, playing and arguing about whether it was going to be Tiswas or Saturday Morning Swapshop, and none of whom had a clue about what was coming up in their lives between that shot being taken and best part of forty years later.

So, a mix of emotions. A little sadness for no good reason. A big laugh at the shocking clothes. A wish to somehow tell the kid on the trike to get ready for the rest of his life. And something ticking over in my head about a story I think nearly all writers want to tell at some point: their childhood. In my case, a suburban street of Victorian terraces, Top of the Pops on a Thursday night and a meadow at the end of the road where anything might lurk.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Yet another short story to be published - All The Time In The World

Well, it seems I'm on a little bit of a roll at the moment. My short story All The Time In The World (title nicked from the Bond film and Satchmo's song) will be published in October by the lovely people at Creepy Campfire Quarterly.

I had a lot of fun with this one...which probably says something about me we shouldn't think about.

Enjoy the sunny weekend, people.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Another short story sale - Hungry

Pleased to let you know I've sold another short story. Hungry will be published at some point in the next few months by 9 Tales who published my last story Rapture. Release date to follow, obviously.

Oh, and this tale is a nasty one. Sorry about that*

*Not in the least bit sorry.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

A dirty little secret

Anyone want to hear a confession?


Just sometimes.

I (and probably all other writers) loathe writing.

There. I said it. The cliched image of the writer joyfully hammering away on a laptop in Starbucks while occasionally getting a flash of inspiration from an overheard witty comment, and then emailing their agent the book without needing to edit the fucking thing to within an inch of its life is just that - a big, fat cliche with close to zero basis in reality.

A while back, one of my writer friends wrote a blog post in which he said he loves having written, loves the finished result but hates the actual process. It's very easy to get behind that unless, and I mean this with the best will in the world, you're not a writer or in a relationship with one. Most of the time, writers do like what we do. Otherwise, why would we do it? For the money? Haha. Don't make me laugh. No. We do it for the finished result of getting that tale or character in our heads down on paper and hopefully having found a way of saying what we wanted to months or years before.

It is, of course, self-pitying wank of the highest order for me to moan about writing. I don't have to do it. The agent I haven't got isn't getting stroppy emails and phone calls from publishers demanding my next masterpiece by tomorrow or they'll send the boys round to break my thumbs (this is how publishing works). Very few people would give a monkey's if I never wrote again, but that isn't why I keep going and haven't stopped since writing my first book all the way back in 1998 - 99. Even when I want to tell the words to fuck off and have to face getting in from work to sit in front of this computer to work on a book that nobody in the world might ever read and I loathe the process of writing anything, I keep going.

Because that's how it's done sometimes. Hate the writing, love the story.