La Cabina (The Phone Box)

I hope you and your loved ones are well wherever you are. I’m in lockdown at home with the family and am trying to write my way through the pandemic. My next project is to start the first book in the new AUTUMN trilogy, but inspiration for that is proving elusive given what’s going on right now.

We all need a distraction in times like this, so I have one for you. It’s been a while since I recommended a movie here, and I’m going to put that right today. It’s a classic short film which, at the moment, is available in its entirety on YouTube, so this post is really just to point you in the right direction.

A little bit of background to begin with. My office window looks out onto our back garden, and one feature in particular. My wife Lisa has – how can I put this? – an eclectic taste in outdoor ornaments, and her prize possession is a genuine K6 telephone box. It was lovingly restored and now takes pride of place in the garden. I’ve joked with a few folks about using it as an isolation pod during lockdown, and the thought of being trapped in the phone box reminded me of the 1972 Spanish movie, LA CABINA (THE PHONE BOX).

If you’re as old as me and remember the horror double bills which used to be shown on Saturday nights on the BBC in the 1980s, you might remember seeing this one. It starts as a gentle, almost comedic short about a man trapped in a box, but over the course of its 30-odd minute duration, the tone shifts completely.

LA CABINA is highly recommended, even in these worrying times when we’re all feeling as isolated as the man in the box. Take care, stay safe, and enjoy the film.

TRUST audiobook now available

Hello everyone. Hope you’re all doing as well as you can be in the circumstances. I wanted to let you know that, at long last, the audiobook version of TRUST is available. Click here for more details. If you want to get hold of a free copy, read on.

TRUST is one of my personal favourites, and I know it’s a book that’s affected a lot of folks over the years. I’ve always loved that CRAIG PATON, the designer of the beautifully otherworldly cover art, described it as an ‘anti-science-fiction novel’. To me, that description has always felt spot on. My other favourite quote came from a reader who said the final chapters of the book were ‘like dozens of pages of falling down the stairs.’ This adaptation has turned out brilliantly. Narrator STEVE WAWMAN has done a magnificent job.

We’re all going through a pretty shitty time at the moment. There’s not a lot I can do to help, but I’m keen to offer a distraction from the pandemic (with a heart-warming tale of alien invasions… or not). I have 50 copies of the TRUST audiobook to giveaway, as well as copies of the audio editions of STRAIGHT TO YOU, STRANGERS and THE COST OF LIVING (probably best to give that one a miss for now!). Fill out the form below and I’ll get copies sent out. It’s first come, first serve, and I’m afraid the codes are only redeemable in the UK and US.

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Remain Calm! (it’s probably going to be okay)

Hello everyone. Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. It’s actually only a few weeks, but it feels like a lifetime. In my 20+ years of writing apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, I never believed we’d ever collectively experience anything like Covid-19. Before you stop reading, don’t worry – this isn’t me using this nightmare situation to try and sell a few books.

Couldn’t resist sharing that video, though. My old pal Iain McKinnon and some of his colleagues made a series of short HATER promo videos back when DOG BLOOD was about to be released, only for us to be unable to use them because it looked like the movie was about to happen.

Anyway, back to the point.

It’s surreal and frightening to be sitting here in lockdown like this. If I’m honest, it does feel like something out of one of my books, and plenty of folks have been quick to point that out. I wrote THE COST OF LIVING when my family and I moved into our current house and set it on our development; now we’re genuinely isolated in our home from a viral pandemic. The AUTUMN series, of course, is all about a world ravaged by a virulent disease, and with the toilet roll panic buying hysteria in the supermarkets, I’ve seen things on the TV news which definitely remind me of HATER (chapter 20 in particular). But for all these similarities, I DON’T THINK THIS IS THE APOCALYPSE.

Terrifying though, isn’t it?

The books I write have always focused on the worst case scenario. You can bet the folks you meet in the first chapter will have been through absolute hell by the time they get to the last page (if they get that far). The infections they’re dealing with are just a MacGuffin designed to cause maximum chaos for my characters to sort out. We are not those characters, and though the disease we’re fighting today is an absolute fucker, I’m hopeful it will be beaten. Things feel so oppressive and grim right now that it’s easy to believe we’re all trapped without hope in a grim Moody dystopia, but we’re not. We can and we will get through this!

Stay safe, stay positive, stay sensible and stay healthy. My sincere best wishes to you and your families. I’m going to make a conscious effort to post here regularly in the coming weeks. I have some freebies and other things of interest I want to share with you (although my stories might be the absolute last thing you want to read right now!).

Read an ebook week 2020

Ebooks were absolutely fundamental to me finding an audience back in the day, so I always like to give the annual READ AN EBOOK WEEK a mention. If you read German, can I cheekily recommend my recent release LEBENSHALTUNGSKOSTEN. Or, if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, why not check out THE LAST BIG THING, which has recently been added to the program.

Or here’s an even better idea… visit a site like SMASHWORDS or AMAZON, shell out a few quid and take a punt on a brand new author.