Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Sisters In The Green available to order

Greetings on cold winter evening. To fit the weather (even though it's set in the summer), the collection that features my (long) short story The Sisters In The Green is available to pre-order. Release date is 22nd December.

Over at these links:

UK Amazon

US Amazon

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Telling myself a story

Last weekend, I finally decided I'd had enough of researching my next book and sat down to start the first draft. I had enough info to begin it; I had my outline and a character sketch and I had a clear plan for how I wanted to get it from the opening to the end. I knocked out about 2,500 words over a few hours which is, roughly speaking, my average rate. It was a little messy but that's fine. It's a first draft after all, and while I know some writers who like to have every page pretty much perfect before they move on to the next one, that isn't me by a long way.

So, the next day I had a quick read of the preceding few hundred words and began my session. Within minutes, I hit a wall. Everything was off with the story. I tried it from a few different angles, but after best part of three hours, I'd written a little less than fuck all. Whichever way I went for it, nothing worked. Listening to my wife's suggestion of leaving it alone and sleeping on it made sense, and it took to the next afternoon for me to realise I'd started the book in the wrong place - too much going on, too much to keep track of and too many characters appearing all at the same time. I binned the original opening, started it from a later scene with the plan of summarising what happens before in either conversation or a few memoy scenes. So far, it appears to have worked. I'm about 8k in and while it's (again) messy as hell and I can already see that scenes will need moving around to make sense, it's not awful. I haven't got a fix on the characters yet although it's slowly coming with a couple of them and it's all quite loose and baggy compared to the tight, streamed story I wanted to write. No matter though. That's what the next drafts are for.

Anyway, the whole thing has reminded me of something I know but it's something I keep forgetting whenever I start a new book. For me, the first draft is telling myself the story. Nobody else: just me. While I have an outline and know what I want to say, the story is in charge and I have to tell it to myself before I tell anyone else. Over the next few months, that's exactly what I'll be doing with this tale of family and how to survive the end of the world.

And for what it's worth, now America has put Greg Stillson in charge, it's become that much harder to scare people with fiction.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

About a thousand years ago

About a thousand years ago (well, the mid to late nineties), I was part of a tight group of friends which meant quite a few nights in various pubs or in people's houses to drink cheap lager and watch them flick their dog ends on the garage roof so their parents didn't find out they smoked. Pretty much the same as anyone else at that age.

Jump forward twenty years and, for the most part, trips to the pub with a big group has died a quiet death. Kids, work, money issues, marriages, separations, people moving away, day to day life and the general passage of time...it's all had an effect. And while (again for the most part) the group I was part of back then is still tight, it seems these days we only all get together for big occasions like weddings. As the last one was a couple of years back, it's fair to say there's been no big gathering without a reason for doing so in a long time. Until yesterday, that is.

A mate of mine who's now married with a baby and living in sunny Kent orgainsed a reunion of sorts for this weekend. When he first mentioned it, I assumed he meant everyone piling into a pub on a Saturday night but that's because my wife and I don't have any kids. The plan was for a giant lunch which meant people could bring the small ones and not have to sort babysitters. Now that more of us have kids than don't, it only made sense.

In any case, beer was drunk, food was scoffed and babies dribbled while the time between now and back when kids were a ridiculous idea (ditto being best part of forty) mattered but only in the good ways because we're still here. Different, but still here.

And if you want that length of time summed up in a photo, it won't be the group shots we took at the end of the gathering. For me, it's this shot from the lake outside the pub where we took a walk while the sun went down.

And it's in every single word of Hometown.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Hungry now available

Two short stories in one month? You lucky people. Anyway, the collection 9Chews which features my piece Hungry is now available for best part of sod all. You can buy 9Chews at these links -

UK Amazon

US Amazon

Enjoy your next meal.

Monday, 17 October 2016

All The Time In The World now published

Happy to say the collection featuring my story All The Time In The World has been published - links below. I enjoyed writing this one quite a bit and have to thank Louis Armstrong for the title.

UK link

US link

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

New novel coming next year

I'm beyond chuffed to announce the news I've been sitting on for the last week - I've got another book to be published. Ascent will be published next June by Crowded Quarantine Publications. You can read the bumpf about it at the link below. LOTS more to come about this one between now and then.


Saturday, 1 October 2016

Is anyone Hungry?

The collection that my short story HUNGRY is featured in has a release date - 26th October. It'll be in 9Chews published by Bride Of Chaos and you can pre-order it now for a lower price. It's a nasty tale, this one, and caused my wife to say: "There's something wrong with you."

Which I class as a result.

Linkage: 9Chews