Hot and getting hotter…

The weather’s been unprecedented here in the UK recently, with temperatures in the high to mid-twenties every day now for a number of weeks. Apparently we have a couple more weeks of it to look forward to. I’m not complaining – apart from the fact it’s bloody lovely to have a decent summer for the first time in years, it’s also fun to see the effect that a heatwave has on book sales. Whenever the sun appears, STRAIGHT TO YOU has a sales spike.

For those who’ve not read the book, it’s a simple story of a man trying to get to his wife before the sun dies and burns the planet to a crisp. The novel has quite a history to it: it was my first novel but I grew to hate it so rewrote it 20 years later, and it almost kind of nearly reached the big screen. It’s also one of the novels I’m proudest of having written (the 2014 version, anyway).

The novel is currently free to read on WATTPAD, and they recently made it a featured story. If you’ve not yet read it, head on over and give it a go. For maximum impact though, grab a paperback version, lie on your back in the middle of one of the UK’s many parched public parks, and read it before the weather breaks!

Xinners

I’m back from the wilderness temporarily to tell you about the latest Infected Books release. It’s a hugely enjoyable, balls-to-the-wall, gore-filled tale of dodgy dealings and reanimated corpses in the outer rim. As it says in the blurb: it’s Dawn of the Dead meets Battle Beyond the Stars: Romero meets Corman. XINNERS, by my good friend and co-conspirator Wayne Simmons, is a cracking read and it’s available right now from Amazon. It’s zombies in space, man! Need I say more?

Xinners by Wayne Simmons

A proportion of the profits from every copy of XINNERS sold will be donated to MIND, the mental health charity.

Fresh blood required

I’ve had a few quiet years but I’m hopeful that you’ll be seeing a lot more of me in the near future. There are a number of very exciting projects in the pipeline. A great way of keeping up to date with my news would be to sign up for my newsletter, and you can find all the necessary details over here. And yes, before you ask, I’m GDPR compliant. Here’s a link to the privacy policy.

For a long time I gave away a short story to new mailing list subscribers, but now I’ve upped the ante and produced HOW IT WORKS – a tongue in cheek guide to the inner workings of a typical horror author (me!). The book is available in Kindle and ePub formats, and also as a pdf. As well as a biography, frequently asked questions, and a guide to all my current novels, it also contains SCRATCH – the dystopian zombie novella I wrote for Infected Books’ YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE series.

The ebook is designed as a primer for people who are new to my work, so feel free to pass it on to anyone you think might be interested. Chances are if you’re reading this you’re already well versed in my work, but as the title of this post implies, I’m on the lookout for fresh blood…!

Welcome to Essex

Here’s a film recommendation I’ve waited a long time to share. Before I tell you why you should see WELCOME TO ESSEX, let’s wind the clock back a few years…

I’ve mentioned Ryan J. Fleming on this site several times previously. As well as being a connoisseur of all things post-apocalyptic (a number of the film releases I’ve written about here have been direct recommendations from Ryan), he’s also a roving reporter, a long-time member of MOODY’S SURVIVORS, and he even had a starring role as a featured zombie in AUTUMN: AFTERMATH. We can now add film director to that list.

It feels like decades, but it can only have been a few years ago when Ryan told me he was making a film. In this business it’s often hard to have a conversation with anyone who isn’t desperate to tell you they’re writing a book, editing an anthology, working on a screenplay, or directing their first movie. Much of the time these comments are just pipe-dreams or wishful thinking. In Ryan’s case, however, it happened to be true.

Over the following years, he told me about assembling a crowd of more than a thousand zombie extras for a scene in Brentwood High Street, about naming a character (actually a character’s husband) after me (no doubt as payback for AFTERMATH), and about Russell Brand appearing in the film. In 2013 (I think), attendees at the HORROR IN THE EAST convention in Lowestoft actually saw some footage, and we realised he wasn’t just making it all up.

Fast-forward five years, and Ryan’s debut feature – WELCOME TO ESSEX is finally out on DVD. I’ve had the pleasure of watching it, and I can tell you it was definitely worth the wait. I’m not going to review it here, I’m just going to ask you to support Ryan and his team and pick up a copy. Here’s the customary synopsis and trailer:

Overnight, the United Kingdom was consumed by an epidemic of terrifying proportions. The majority of the population were killed in a matter of hours as millions of recently-dead people returned to life and began to attack and kill the living. The disaster spread so rapidly that the government had no time to control the situation. The order to evacuate England was given. But it was too late. Now, the following day, a small group of mismatched survivors find themselves trapped in the famous town of Brentwood, hunted by large hordes of fast-moving corpses. They must learn to work together and reach the last-known point of rescue, Southend-on-Sea, or face certain death. Or worse.

What I love most about WELCOME TO ESSEX is the fact that it exists. The fact that a gent who passionately loves the post-apocalyptic genre can have the desire to make a movie, and the determination and conviction to make it happen. And on such a scale… this film looks the business and everything Ryan promised eventually appeared on screen, including a thousand zombie extras and Russell Brand. Okay, so it’s not the most original horror movie you’ll see this year, but it’s funny (often very, very funny), technically impressive, and filled with more passion and heart than a hundred Hollywood blockbusters combined. Congratulations to Ryan, the team at Smoking Monkey Productions, and anyone involved in the film in any way, shape or form.

WELCOME TO ESSEX. Buy it. Watch it.

Cargo

I feel duty bound to draw your attention to CARGO, a top-notch zombie movie which premiered on Netflix this last week. I’ve had my eye on this one for a long time, primarily because of its source material. The film’s based on a stunning short movie which took the zombie-loving world by storm back in 2013. You can watch it here, and I recommend you do. No worries about spoiling the feature length version, because they’re two very different beasts as I’ll explain.

Here’s a synopsis, courtesy of IMDB:

In a desperate bid to outrun a violent pandemic, Andy and Kay have holed up on a houseboat with their one-year-old daughter, Rosie. Their protected river existence is shattered by a violent attack, which sees Kay tragically die and Andy infected. Left with only 48 hours before he transforms into one of the creatures they have fought so long to evade, Andy sets out on a precarious journey to find a new guardian for his child. A flourishing Aboriginal tribe are Rosie’s best chance of survival – but with their merciless attitude toward the afflicted, they also pose a grave threat. A young Indigenous girl becomes Andy’s only chance of safe passage into this sacred community. But unfortunately the girl has no desire to return to her people – she is on a quest to cure her own infected father by returning his stolen soul. Each in their own way is seeking salvation… but they will need to work together if they hope to achieve it.

Continue reading

ALL ROADS END HERE – important update

Hello. Long time no speak. I’ve had my head down writing the final HATER book  – CHOKEHOLD – but I’m briefly coming up for air to bring you an important update about ALL ROADS END HERE.

On the whole, I’m pleased with how ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING has been received since its release last December. It’s still getting plenty of good press. Just this month, STARBURST magazine called it “a gripping, visceral read, glistening with gore and studded with extreme brutality and with a relentlessly downbeat tone which will please lovers of hard-edged apocalyptic fiction”, whilst SFBOOK REVIEW said it was “clever, convincing, claustrophobic fiction”. Just yesterday, GEEK SYNDICATE published their verdict, with Ian Simpson noting that by the end of the book “you’re likely to be standing in a pile of gore, or not standing at all.”

My publisher has been looking again at how we publish and market the second HATER trilogy, and we’ve decided that these are books which better suit a paperback release. ONE OF US… was hardcover only and is likely to stay that way until we’ve shifted more copies, but ALL ROADS END HERE and CHOKEHOLD will be released as paperbacks from the get-go.

In the case of ALL ROADS END HERE, this means that publication is going to be delayed, unfortunately. The book will now be released on February 12, 2019.

If you’ve pre-ordered the hardcover, please cancel your order. The paperback edition is already available for pre-order here.

Apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment. This is definitely the right approach for the series as a whole and I cannot wait for you to read the remaining books. In the meantime, can I suggest you re-read DOG BLOOD? You’ll be catching up with a few familiar faces in some unexpected places in ALL ROADS END HERE

And again, I’m sorry you’ll have to wait to read the new book. Rest assured I’m working on something to cushion the blow, and I hope to announce an upcoming release for 2018 very soon.