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Saturday, 24 September 2016

Hail to the King, baby

A couple of weeks ago, I went into my local Waterstones and asked them if they could get Hometown in stock. They were happy to although not as happy as me when I went back to see it on the shelf a short while later. After going back in the other day, I was more than happy to see the shot below.

No jokes, no need to say too much other than the eleven year old I used to be crapping myself over 'Salem's Lot, Pet Sematary and The Shining and falling in love with It and then joining the quest for the Tower (long days and pleasant nights) would not believe this photo is real. To be fair, the thirty-eight year old I am now isn't quite sure of it, either.

Hail to the King, baby.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Friends (no, not the TV show)

For some reason, I was thinking other day about my friends - probably one of those round the houses thought processes that starts off with one thing, goes to another and ends up linking in the most tenuous way possible to the original idea. In any case, it's my birthday in a couple of months. Thirty-nine this year so no prizes for guessing when I hit the big four oh. Almost forty and when it comes to friends (as in the ones I have in day to day life rather than the good people I've met online), I've made no more than a few new ones in the last decade or so. I'm seeing a couple tonight and case in point, I've been friends with them since we were sixteen or seventeen. This is obviously a fine thing. And it's got me thinking: the friendships we make at pivotal points-whether or not we know these are pivotal points-are the ones that last. And by pivotal, I don't mean huge, life-altering events although that can be the case, of course. I'm talking about the times that mould us into the people we end up being. That can be when you're five and in your first year of primary school and you play at lunchtime with the kid who'll one day be joint best man at your wedding.

It can be forming a bond with a guy based on not much more than drinking too much cheap lager and laughing at Beavis & Butthead, and then realising you've made a friend for life.

It can be a cold October day, sitting in your History class and bored out of your head by the repeal of the Corn Laws so you share that boredom with the guy next to you and the girl on the desk behind.

It can be sitting in a pub beer garden when only a few of the group are old enough to legally drink and someone makes a shit joke that you laugh at and still laugh at twenty years later when you think of it.

It can be working in your job and expecting nothing to change when a pretty girl comes in for an interview and you get talking and not too long later, you're living together and you ask her to marry you and she says yes.

The little moments. The pivotal moments. That's where friendship comes from, grows from. It's when the darkness is lit with little lights.


All the colour fell out of Mick’s face and out of Will and Karen’s coats, then out of the walls, then out of the floor. Everything around him became a dead grey. The steady beat of the music dropped into a tuneless drone; the men and women around him and crowding the long bar became transparent. Andy stared through them, tasting the cry in his mouth and wondering from far off if it would be as faded and ghostly as everything around when it finally arrived. The drinkers became shadows and the sounds of their voices and laughter were the distant rumble of thunder.
The grey of the floor vanished. The floor was gone. Andy stared at an endless black that dropped into nothing. He stood over it, a meaningless mote in the void.
His cry finally broke free and he fell into the nothing, Mick beside him, Stu, Karen and Will above, then below. Black swallowed him.
The world was darkness.
Darkness lit with little lights.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Short story sale - The Sisters In The Green

A few months back, I mentioned writing a short story that was a fair bit longer than my usual. The Sisters In The Green clocked in at 8,500 words which wasn't a problem for me as I'd planned on telling a longer tale.

And thankfully, it's also not a problem for Bride of Chaos magazine who have accepted it for publication close to Christmas. As they also took my stories Rapture and Hungry, you can colour me happy.

Here's the visual inspiration for Sisters - an area I liked the look of as soon as I saw it.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Hometown - promo poster

A sweet promo poster for Hometown which you can get the ebook copy for less than two quid and the paperback for under a tenner.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Latest interview up

Done me another interview. This one is with the very nice writer Diane Dooley. You can read the interview over here - more thoughts on writing, horror, Hometown, and dentists.


Saturday, 13 August 2016

Pimping myself like a bad motherfucker

I've been thinking a lot lately (for obvious reasons) about promotion when it comes to getting my name out there especially when I've got a new story published or a book in this case. Other than making it clear where people can find my site or buy my stuff, it's not as easy as you might think. Interviews, yes; review copies sent out, yes; a reminder for relevant links such as Good Reads, Amazon or my author page over at Caffeine Nights - all possible and as easy as a tweet or posting on my blog.

Trouble is, a million other writers are in my position. Without an agent, more or less unknown and reliant on hopefully not irritating the shit out of people by constantly tweeting links or requests for a review on Amazon. I've read countless pieces of advice on self-promo that mostly boil down to be yourself, be interesting, be funny and talk about stuff other than your work. All well and good, of course, and all sound advice. But if people don't actually know you've got a book out or a new short story published, then they aren't automatically going to look for your fiction.

With this in mind, Caffeine Nights and I have sent out a press release to local papers, magazines and radio over the last week in the hope that a little promotion will do a lot of good. No replies yet although it's still early days. The funny thing about trying to get your name out there is that it isn't at all fun. Generalising a bit, but nothing makes a writer feel like more of a dickhead than talking about their own stuff. You're asked what the book's about and you try to find a way of summarising a 90k novel into a few lines that will be interesting, funny and make people want to buy it.  You try that with what you do for a living. Pretend you need to really sell your role to someone in three sentences.

Go on.

Not easy, is it?

Writing and editing aren't too difficult for me most days. Pimping myself without sounding like or feeling like or looking like and ending up as a morose teenager...that's hard.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Hometown - visual inspiration

While I have zero talent when it comes to drawing anything, I do like to picture scenes or locations from my books. When it came to Hometown, I had images in mind before I'd written a word. I've always had a thing for normal, known places turned a little...odd. Unused traintracks for example. I was on a train a few years ago, pulling into a station and noticed a bunch of old tracks covered in weeds, all rusting and half-obscured by the undergrowth. Once upon a time, they would have been used, of course, but at that point, they were just metal lines left in the ground. I quite liked that. If there'd been some global pandemic or war, the tracks would have looked much as they did on that day.

Now, expand that image to a street or a city centre or the entire city. Or a country. Everything still more or less in one piece but covered in weeds, windows broken, doors boarded up and damage from smoke or water leaks marking brickwork.

I quite like that, too.

With that in mind, coming up with descriptions for the other side (the underside if you like) of the town in my book was easy. All I had to do was think about those old traintracks and bear in mind the look of a couple of films: Silent Hill and Escape From New York  - one of which gets a cheeky mention in Hometown.