An apology

There’s lots of really cool stuff going on in the background here (which is probably why there doesn’t seem to be much going on in the foreground… no posts for a couple of weeks which isn’t good).

Unfortunately we’ve had to postpone tomorrow evening’s scheduled live This is Horror podcast. As soon as a rescheduled date is available, I’ll announce it here.

It will all be worth the wait. Promise.

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Forthcoming Events

A quick reminder of a couple of live events coming up towards the end of February.10348376_1777166982508661_903794311070340990_n

On Saturday 21 at 3:00pm I’ll be at SOUTHCART BOOKS in Walsall alongside Wayne Simmons. We’ll be doing one of our famous ‘double-headers’ – talking, reading, signing books and taking questions about our work and the business of writing in general. More details can be found here. And as you can see from the picture to the right, creepy store mascot Claude the Clown is already getting in the mood.

A few days later on Tuesday 24 at 10:00pm (subject to confirmation), I’ll be taking part in the first ever live THIS IS HORROR podcast. You can find more information about the show here, and please send in any questions you’d like answered. We’ll do our best to get through as many of them as we can. Get yourself in the mood by listening to our free JOE AND ME audiobook, and while you’re at it, why not subscribe to the This is Horror podcast using the following links: iTunes / RSS

Time to Talk

I’ve been intending to write this piece for a while, but I didn’t know how to start or when to post it. Today’s the day. Today, if you didn’t know, is Time to Talk day and like thousands of other people, I’m taking five minutes to talk about my experiences with the aim of breaking the silence (and stigma) around mental health. Please don’t switch off. Please read through to the end.

You see, last May, my world fell apart. My personal life, my relationships, my health, my career – everything crumbled and collapsed. None of it made sense anymore, and I couldn’t see a way to start repairing the damage. Hell, I didn’t even know if I wanted to fix things.

That might sound overdramatic, but that’s exactly how it felt. One day everything was fine, the next… Well it still makes me go cold thinking about those days. I’ve spent hours, days, weeks and months since then trying to put everything back together and make sense of what happened, and if there hadn’t been such a stigma about mental health, I think that perhaps my meltdown could have been avoided or at least lessened.

Banging your head

I’d always been the big man. I’d done pretty well in everything I tried to do. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, it’s just the way I am. I work hard. Sometimes too hard. Five years ago I felt invincible with a great family, good health, a lovely home and a career that felt like it was skyrocketing. A couple of years back, though, something changed. We moved house, and I fulfilled my writing obligations. Then, all of a sudden, nothing. Bigger bills, no book deals. I felt increasingly disconnected from everything and everyone, and became increasingly reclusive. My mood changed. I was banging my head against a brick wall. The words didn’t stop coming, but the flood of books I was producing reduced to a slow trickle. I stopped being excited by writing, and it began to feel like a chore. Stories remained uncompleted. Ideas were shelved. I spent more time thinking about what I should have been doing, than actually doing any of it.

I’ll cut a long story short: I was pretty seriously depressed, and I had no idea at all. Or maybe I did know, I just didn’t want to accept it…

Last summer everything came to a head. And contrary to how it felt at the time, being diagnosed with depression wasn’t the end of my world; instead it was a chance to press reset, to get myself back on track, and to learn to love myself and my world again.

Forgive me if that sounds a little saccharine and cliched, because it happens to be true. Thanks to an incredible family, a great GP, and a bunch of other wonderful folk, things are moving in the right direction. I’ve gone back to non-writing work to make sure I mix with other people, and I’m loving the buzz of spending time with folks again. I was worried it might have meant the end of my writing, but I don’t think that’s the case. I’ve written the first draft of a new novel since 1 January. There’s progress on a number of long-gestating projects. Infected Books is growing exponentially. I’m more excited by writing than ever.

As I said at the beginning, it’s Time to Talk day today (find out more about it here and here), and the aim of the day is to reduce some of the stigma around mental health. Lots of people suffer, and a large number continue to suffer in silence. I think I’d known for a long time what was wrong, I just didn’t want to admit it. Bloody hell, I wish I’d been more honest with myself. It would have saved me (and the people I love the most) a heck of a lot of pain and heartache.

I’m a writer, and this site is supposed to be about my books and films, so I’ll finish this piece by bringing it back to the business of writing. Regular visitors here will remember my series of writing articles ‘What Works for Me.’ You might have noticed they dried up around the same time I imploded last spring. It’s been incredibly interesting to look back at the books I’ve written over the last two years or so in light of what I’ve discovered about myself, because if I wasn’t outwardly honest with myself about my health, I definitely had some inkling of what was going on as I’d been writing about my problems all along. I only have to look at the male characters I’d created… there’s Steven Johnson from STRAIGHT TO YOU – a man who is on the verge of losing absolutely everything because he can’t bring himself to face his own demons. There’s Stuart from THE COST OF LIVING – a belligerent, stubborn bugger who’s set on his course and who won’t listen to anyone else, even when they’re clearly right and he’s so very obviously wrong. And then, finally, there’s Scott Griffiths from STRANGERS. I’ve had a huge reaction to Scott, not least because he’s an absolute shit: a total, wretched scumbag who outwardly appears to be dedicated to his family, but who has a seriously warped view of right and wrong and no appreciation of how his behaviour affects those around him. I was terrified and stunned when I read the book back just prior to publication and realised I’d been writing about aspects of myself.

Things are good today. Thanks for sticking with me. There’s some really exciting stuff on the horizon.

If anything I’ve written about affects you or someone you know, please find Time to Talk today.

LAST OF THE LIVING ebook

While I’ve got my head down working on new projects (and that’s what I am doing, honest), I’m also trying to catch up on an ever-increasing backlog of emails, blurbs, business things to organise, and so on. Sometimes things slip through the net, and I have a feeling that’s what might have happened here. I can’t remember posting about the ebook version of LAST OF THE LIVING.

LAST-OF-THE-LIVINGYou’ll probably remember that I released a couple of Kindle-exclusive zombie novellas last year: THE COST OF LIVING and ISOLATION. Together with various other zombie shorts (some reprints, others written specifically for the project), these stories amounted to around 90,000 words of fiction, which is about the length of a novel.

I’m conscious that not everyone like ebooks, so we released all this undead goodness in print as LAST OF THE LIVING. You can find out more about the collection here, and signed copies are available direct from Infected Books or from Amazon or eBay. In keeping with the Infected Books ebook ethos, if you buy the paperback edition of LAST OF THE LIVING – from any source – you’re entitled to download a complementary ebook version. And here’s the bit I don’t think I made clear before: the complementary ebook is available for Nook, iBooks and Kobo as well as Kindle.

Apologies to anyone who’s held off reading the stories because of format issues.

Keep and eye on the Infected Books site in the near future, because we’re going to be announcing a partnership that’ll make it easier than ever for you to claim your complementary ebooks when you pick up an IB release. Why not check out the range today and see if there are any you’re missing? There are always good deals on, and every book you order direct from IB comes personally signed by me!

The Ultimate Undead Collection is out tomorrow

I posted a while back to tell you about THE ULTIMATE UNDEAD COLLECTION – an incredibly low price ebook collection of zombie stories. It’s out tomorrow, so here are all the relevant links and a full list of contents. Enjoy! You’d be hard pushed to find this much zombie goodness elsewhere for such a crazy price.

  • 61CdV-7+4VLQuarantined by Joe McKinney
  • The Last Survivors by Bobby Adair and T.W. Piperbrook
  • The Colony: Genesis (Book 1) by Michaelbrent Collings
  • Autumn: The Human Condition by David Moody
  • Trudge: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse by Shawn Chesser
  • Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming
  • Zombie Wilson Diaries by Timothy W. Long
  • 100 Days in Deadland by Rachel Aukes
  • Dead Hunger: The Flex Chronicle by Eric A. Shelman
  • Dying Days by Armand Rosamilia

AMAZON.COM / AMAZON.CO.UK / AMAZON.CA / AMAZON.DE / AMAZON.ES / AMAZON.IT / AMAZON.AU / IBOOKS / KOBO

SCREAM Issue 28

Cover-28The team behind SCREAM have been long-time supporters of my work, and it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to return the favour and promote each and every new issue of this great horror mag. It gets better and better each month. Maybe it’s just me, but SCREAM seems to regularly prey upon many of my horror weaknesses and it’s become compulsive reading. It manages to feel fresh and contemporary, whilst retaining the look and feel of the horror mags I remember from my youth.

The new issue is out now, and it’s an absolute peach. Packed with plenty of news, reviews and interviews, I particularly enjoyed the interviews with David Morrissey (THE WALKING DEAD), and Jennifer Rubin (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3 – an early horror crush from my younger days!). With features on Italian zombie movies, the new Australian zombie film WYRMWOOD, and THE WOMAN IN BLACK: ANGEL OF DEATH, I’d recommend getting your hands on a copy asap.

Visit www.screamhorrormag.com, or pick up the magazine from any branch of HMV, Forbidden Planet, or any of the newsagents listed hereSCREAM is also now available digitally as iSCREAM!

Two Bald Blokes – Back on the Road

Remember when Wayne Simmons and I embarked on our ‘Never Trust a Man with Hair‘ tour a couple of years back? Well, we’re getting the band back together!

I’m very excited to announce we’ll be appearing together at Southcart Books in Walsall on February 21 at 3:00pm. Hear us read, bicker, reminisce, talk about the future of Infected Books and publishing as a whole, and generally put the world to rights.

fight night

This was originally to be an event hosted by Jasper Bark to support the release of his new Prime Cuts but, unfortunately, Jasper can no longer make it. Keep an eye on Southcart Books, though, as he’ll now be appearing there in March.

Southcart Books can be found on Facebook here, and in the real world here:

 

Recommended Reading: Dead World Resurrection

deadworldWind the clock back a decade, and you’d have found far fewer zombie novels on the shelves than today. There was just a handful of us telling tales of the undead back then… myself, Brian Keene, David Wellington, and Joe McKinney to name but a few. Back to today, and it’s great to see all of my old undead compatriots still producing plenty of top-quality horror fiction. Joe, in particular, has been consistently prolific.

I was honoured a while back to be asked to write an introduction for DEAD WORLD RESURRECTION: THE COLLECTED ZOMBIE SHORT STORIES OF JOE MCKINNEY and I of course jumped at the chance. In this collection (which was recently released by Journalstone), all of Joe’s zombie shorts are gathered together. I hardly need to do the hard sell, do I? This is definitely a book I’d recommend you pick up, and I’ll quote myself as proof (if that’s not too pretentious): “In this collection, by writing about the living dead, Joe has reminded us what’s so great about being one of the living. I hope you enjoy reading (or re-reading) these stories as much as I have.”

DEAD WORLD RESURRECTION is available now.

The Mammoth Book of Sherlock Holmes Abroad

51+5hzeNvFLI mentioned last year that I’d been trying to push myself out of my comfort zone… with this commission I couldn’t have been much further from the kind of stories I usually write: different genre, different era, different setting, different pace. Daunting, yet very rewarding.

I’m very pleased to announce that my Greenland-set story A CONCURRENCE OF COINCIDENCES will appear in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES ABROAD, published by Constable & Robinson in the UK on 2 April, and by Running Press in the US on 14 July.

Edited by the great Simon Clark, the book contains stories by Andrew Darlington; Paul Finch; Nev Fountain; Carole Johnstone; Paul Kane; Alison Littlewood; Johnny Mains; William Meikle; David Moody; Mark Morris; Cavan Scott; Denis O. Smith; Sam Stone and Stephen Volk.

In this wonderful anthology of ‘hitherto lost’ tales, the Great Detective travels to the far ends of the earth in pursuit of truth and justice.

A host of singularly talented writers present a thrilling new dimension to Holmes’s career whilst superbly capturing the spirit, style, suspense and atmosphere of Conan Doyle’s best work.

The book is already available to pre-order. Here are a few handy links: AMAZON.COM / AMAZON.CO.UK / The Book Depository / Waterstones / Barnes & Noble / Indiebound. ebook links and a full list of contents to follow shortly.

28 Days Later

twenty_eight_days_laterAs a responsible father, I think it’s important to ensure my kids have a solid all round education. As such, I see it as my duty to introduce them to cultural milestones. Last night I did just that (I am being sarcastic here, by the way), sitting down with the girls for a family viewing of Danny Boyle‘s seminal 28 DAYS LATER. It had been many years since I’d seen the film, and I was interested to see how it stood up today: what was considered ground-breaking in 2002 might have appeared cliched today. To my surprise, I think I enjoyed the movie more than I ever have done.

A quick glance at my Recommendations page revealed that I’ve never written about this hugely influential movie for this site, so I thought I’d remedy that right now. As usual, a brief synopsis and trailer follows. Click on the link for my thoughts.

An infirmary patient awakens from a coma to an empty room…in a vacant hospital…in a deserted city. A powerful virus, which locks victims into a permanent state of murderous rage, has transformed the world around him into a seemingly desolate wasteland. Now a handful of survivors must fight to stay alive, unaware that the worst is yet to come…

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