Sunday, 23 September 2018

Ascent - republished next month

Happy to report that my novel Ascent, which was published summer last year but then went out of print at the start of this year when the publisher closed, is coming back to life. I thought it wouldn't be for another few months, but it turns out it's a lot sooner. Next month, in fact. Hoping to have more info such as a new cover and links soonish. In the meantime, here's the updated cover blurb to give you an idea of the tale.

When terrorists target an American airforce base with a nuclear bomb, Kelly Wells races to find her sister in a nearby office block, desperate for them to be together in their final moments. At the same time, a handful of others fight their way through a panicked city to reach the building—frantic to make it to loved ones before the device ignites less than fifty miles away.

In the frozen instant of the detonation, Kelly, her sister and three strangers are locked in that moment and trapped in the offices. But they are not alone. An ancient god from the deepest pits in the earth has woken and knows their most private secrets and guilt. Now, horror takes the form of their darkest dreams to draw sustenance from their terror, and the beast stalking them will dine well.

Because everybody is afraid of something.

I've posted about this one before and how it was a struggle to write and produce a final version I was happy with, so there's no need to go over that crap, again. It's enough to say it's a book I'm proud of and I was gutted when it went down the pan this year. But, thanks to Hellbound Publishing, it's on its way back.

In other news, I'm working on a few short stories for the first time in a while and just aiming to have a bit of fun with them without worrying too much about potential markets. Next weekend, I'm going back to the second draft of my most recent book for the big read-through. That one is a little different to my usual stuff - more of a dark thriller than out and out horror. Anyway, lots to do. And if you want to be updated every now and again, sign up to my newsletter over 'ere -

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Thursday, 6 September 2018

A new interview

Done me an interview with the great Gingernuts of Horror which is pretty sweet. You can read my rambling thoughts on The Mirror Of The Nameless, my other books, horror in general and all that this way.

Feel free to share it around along with the other good stuff on the site. And while you're at it (and if you're not already), you need to follow GNOH on the Twitter and even on the Facebook. And also while you're at, you could do worse than getting yourself a copy of Mirror. Or any of my books for that matter.

books glorious books

Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Mirror Of The Nameless published today

Yep, today's the day. The Mirror Of The Nameless is published in paperback and ebook. And because I'm just that great, it comes with a bonus short story (The Rejecting Earth) as well as a look at the followup novel The Day Of The New Gods. You can get a copy on Amazon or go old school and find a bookshop.

UK AMAZON LINK

US AMAZON LINK

Once again, any and all reviews (positive or negative) are more than welcome. They're pretty much essential, so if you can spare me a few lines to let others know what you thought, that would be sweet.


Thursday, 30 August 2018

The Mirror Of The Nameless - opening chapter

Two day to go before my new one is officially released so I figured why not offer up the opening as a preview? Linkage to follow. And as I've said before, if you like Mirror, you'll love the follow-up - The Day Of The New Gods.




THE MIRROR OF THE NAMELESS



The Children of Naz Yaah—the Little Nazs—ran at me across the dirty street and my first thought was a simple one.
I should have gone a different way home.
There were six of them, all big men waving their handguns or clubs. Each wore the uniform of the Little Nazs— smart black trousers, polished boots, jet-black coats over black shirts. And glinting in the light cast by the few working streetlights, the familiar white line curved its way down their shirts; the distinctive white line of Naz Yaah the Worm.
“Hello, sacrifice,” one yelled. Another struck me in the back with a metal pole. I dropped to the ground. As much as I attempted to pull myself through the dirt and stinking rubbish spread over the pavement, it did no good. The men were too close. One booted me in the stomach. I rolled over and blinked away the tears of pain, gagging and coughing.
A few of the men giggled, their laughter high-pitched and nervous. All stank of cheap beer, the stuff with which I was all too familiar.
One of the men, the leader I presumed, crouched down in front of me and pulled me upright into a sitting position. Thin scars lined his cheeks. Greying stubble grew around them. His eyes were wide, staring. A tell-tale amount of white powder clung to his nostrils. Unlike the others, he was large, not fat but muscular, broad-shouldered and dangerous.
“Your name, sacrifice?” he said.
Although there was no point in delaying, I stayed quiet. The man yanked my wallet out of my jacket, thumbed through it and slid my ID card free. The cracked plastic bent between his fingers.
“Dave.” I held my stomach and fought for breath. So close to the ground, the reek of garbage made me want to vomit. “Anderson.”
“So I see.” He placed my wallet back in my pocket and slapped my arms as if we were old friends. “Congratulations, Dave Anderson. You’ve been chosen as an offering to our Lady Naz Yaah. May she welcome our humble offering. May she swallow your soul and cast you into her belly for all eternity.”
The giggling again. Not from all of them, though. That might have given me some hope. No. Enough of the Little Nazs were believers. Even if a couple of them were just along for a laugh or for a free snort or to just get a kick from killing, it didn’t help me.
“Against the wall,” the leader told the others.
They shoved me hard against the side of a terraced house, the brickwork loose and flaking. Although we were on one of the many densely populated streets less than half a mile from the centre of town, no lights shone in the windows. Nobody walked the streets here after nightfall. Not a curtain twitched. All because nobody wanted to end up like me, a sacrifice. The leader raised his gun. Levelled it with my forehead. Behind him, the other Little Nazs laughed and shuffled. I wished for the real squads of sacrificers to appear. The people who worked for the Department of Public Order, who took prisoners and volunteers and the sick to offer them to our gods. They didn’t look kindly on the freelancers surrounding me. Not at all. It was about order to the people in charge, all about keeping things calm. Even the police would’ve been better than the men with their makeshift weapons. This group of ex-coppers and drunks, their focus was the denial of our terrible situation. But then, the same could be said for everybody else.
“Oh, Lady Naz Yaah, our dear one, our sweet ruler. We, your playthings, wish to give you this man as a symbol of our devotion. A gift of gratitude for your continued and eternal rule, for allowing our existence in your universe.”
  “Amen,” shouted the other men.
  “You are permitted your final words,” the leader said to me.
It’s funny. I’d often wondered what they’d be. As has everyone, I imagine. After all, we never know when Naz Yaah and her siblings will tire of their involvement in our world. It could be today, tomorrow or the day after. And it’s been like that for decades. Which explains the state of the world today and the position I was in.
I drew breath and stared at the man’s face beyond his gun. Sweat coated my entire body even though I hadn’t been walking fast when they jumped me. The night was as sticky as ever. Eleven o’clock and dark for just the last hour. Another hot day. Another short, hot night and nobody gets any sleep. And the same tomorrow and the same the day after. What a world. What a miserable, shitty world.
“I love my daughter,” I said to the man with the gun.
“Love is meaningless. Naz Yaah rules all.”
I kept quiet. I’d said my final words and would say nothing more.
“Naz Yaah will eat your soul.”
His finger tightened on the trigger.
 

Sunday, 26 August 2018

The Mirror Of The Nameless coming (very) soon

My Lovecraftian novella The Mirror Of The Nameless is published on 1st September in print and ebook which, as you can imagine, I'm very happy about. It was originally published about six years ago in ebook only and went out of print when the original publisher closed. So, having it back to life and in paperback as well is pretty sweet. It also gave me chance to revisit the story for the first time in a while and write a prequel novel which will be published hopefully early next year.

I've always been fond of Mirror because it's all story. I knew it was going to a be a novella so I didn't have the space to bog it down with too much background. Hence why it's one of those tales that's on the move before page one. The reader can get on board or get knocked down. As I've said more than once before, it's Mad Max meets Lovecraft. So it's that your thing, get yourself a copy next weekend.


Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Interview with Ramsey Campbell

Thanks to Sam Missingham over at Lounge Books, I've been able to interview the legendary horror writer Ramsey Campbell. Ramsey has been an influence on countless writers for decades as well as being Britain's greatest living writer of dark fiction. And as he took the time to answer my questions, he's all right with me and free to marry my sister.

You can read the interview OVER HERE, and if you can do me a solid and spread it around, that wound be dandy.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

How to kill your book stone dead

I've been taking my writing seriously since the mid 90s and submitting my work to agents and publishers since 1999. My first sub resulted in a call from the agent (the late Carolyn Whitaker) who asked me various questions while I ummhed and ahhed and said nothing of any value. The work I sent her was crap with a capital C but the fact she took the time to call me and offer encouragement was the coolest thing to happen to me since I got a reply from James Herbert to a letter I wrote him ten years previously.

So, that's more than twenty years of writing with an eye on publication, ten years since my first short story was published and six since the first book. And here's the thing - it doesn't get any easier. The work, the writing, the subbing stuff to agents and publishers and wondering if they will either give a shit or reply at some before I die of old age. The only real change is the ease of subbing. No more stuffing envelopes, buying stamps (remember those?) and trekking to the post box. No more waiting for the postman to stuff an envelope through the letter box, seeing my handwriting and realising it's the return envelope...then realising as it's the same weight and size as the one I sent, that means it's just the sample sent back with a cursory note to say thanks but no thanks. None of that bollocks now. These days, writers can get the same result through email either in a matter of hours (my personal record) or close to three years (also my personal record).

Sending work out has changed, but the words have not. Back when I first started, I had next to no idea what I wanted to say and usually made it up as I went along. The results were directionless, boring messes. Now, I outline and use that as a rough guide. Plotlines sometimes go their own way and characters behave in ways I wasn't expecting which is fine. It's their story, after all. I'm a much faster writer now and usually come up with a draft in about two months. Case in point, I'm working on the second draft of a book currently called Terminal State. I finished the first draft back in January but had to leave it to work on other stuff. It was thin and underdeveloped so I expanded various issues and set to work on the second draft around a month ago. I'm currently 55k in which is good going for me until a couple of nights ago. It felt like I was slogging through mud. The words just didn't want to come and those that did were flat and lifeless. I realised after a while that I had two consecutive scenes that didn't do much for the plot other than lead into a third. They were dragging the pace down to a crawl. That wasn't the only issue. I was looking at the book from a publishing point of view: would anyone like it enough to request the full manuscript based on the opening? If not, what can I change to improve my chances? On the tiny chance that someone goes for it, will they like the entire book or think it goes down the bog halfway through? All questions to kill a draft of a new book stone dead.

Even after more than twenty years, I still have days when the words don't come. Sometimes, there are reasons as I've mentioned; other days, it's just life being a pain in the arse. So, I'll continue with my new book and I won't think about how it's a little different to my usual stuff just as I won't think about the publishers who maybe, just maybe, will give me a call to talk about it.