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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.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Hometown available to pre-order

Yep, my new book, Hometown, is available to pre-order. Publication date isn't until 21st July but you can make sure you get a copy then by heading over to Amazon UK now. I'll be posting a lot (probably too much) about the book nearer the time so stand by your beds for all that guff in the next few months.

In the meantime, here it is. Hometown.

Monday, 28 March 2016

All the flesh and blood

I've started work on the outline for the second draft of my most recent book after finishing the outline for the next one. As I mentioned here at some point, I don't usually have two outlines or rough drafts of different books on the go at the same point, but I fancied doing it a little differently with these tales. In any case, I planned on redrafting this one before now but coming down with the plague the week before last messed up that plan (I had a wisdom tooth out and spent days feeling like I had the flu - still not 100% now but such is life). The first draft came up very short at barely 50k so I gave it my usual read through and worked out what plotlines needed expanding, what needed binning and what new ones needed adding. With a bit of luck, I'll be able to start afresh by next weekend. And here's the thing:

This book is shaping up to one of the darkest things I've written, and because of that, I've really had to give it some thought. Not because of thinking I'm going too far or because I'm censoring myself but because it's easy in horror to make the victims little more than tools to cut and stab. Horror's come a long way since the days of shitty stalk and slash films and books where the victim was usually a good-looking woman who'd forgotten to put on her bra, but it's still guilty of exploiting this sort of crap and that doesn't interest me at all. Hero, killer, final girl, or the idiot who asks 'who's there?' when the lights go out: they're all characters with personalities, and as easy as it is to just chop someone's head off, it's also weak and dull. With that in mind, I'm doing all I can to ensure the people who don't make it all the way to the end of this one are as much flesh and blood as those who do.

And there is quite a lot of blood.

Friday, 11 March 2016

9 Tales At The World's End

It's available sooner than I expected which is a nice surprise - you can order a copy of the collection featuring my tale Rapture now. 9Tales At The World's End is on Amazon UK over


and Amazon US over


Jolly nice cover, as well.