This weekend just gone I was a guest at the Phoenix Convention in Dublin. A very small and informal event in comparison to the recent SFX Weekender and the like, it was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and spend a weekend in Ireland with the missus.
The convention has an almost exclusively literary focus which is refreshing. I took part in a number of panels, most notably ‘What do we do with Zombies?’ with Wayne Simmons (who surely by now needs no introduction), and Derek Gunn author of The Estuary and the popular Vampire Apocalypse books.
But it wasn’t all about the living dead (for once). Other panel topics included ‘Mission to Mars: who would you send?’ (answers ranged from George Lucas to Jedward (and if you don’t know who/what that is, I envy you), Justin Bieber and, bizarrely, Geoffrey Boycott!), and ‘Routes into Publishing’ – a discussion about the various options available to writers in today’s rapidly changing marketplace.
Another highlight for me was meeting David Naughton-Shires. For those of you who haven’t come across David, he’s the brains behind Knightwatch Press, a very active member of the Moody’s Survivors Facebook group, and a damn fine artist who’s responsible for some of the artwork over at www.lastoftheliving.net – the new AUTUMN website. David was kind enough to give me several of his original illustrations, and you’ll be able to see them shortly as more stories are added to the site. In fact, he’s illustrated the next three entries I’ll be adding. Check back tomorrow to find out how the end of the world actually turns out to be a good thing for Jim Harper, one of the characters you’ll meet in AUTUMN: PURIFICATION.
The official AUTUMN website is now open for business. As well as information about the five AUTUMN novels, by the end of 2011, the site will also be home to more than 100,000 words of free zombie fiction. The first batch of stories are now live, with more to follow at regular intervals from early March onwards.
You’ll notice that the site is also home to a lot of superb artwork like this:
If you’re an artist and you’d like to get involved, click here to read the submission guidelines. (The illustration above, by the way, is Amy Steadman – Day 3 – by the very talented Craig Paton.)
Enjoy the new site – and the free stories – there’s a LOT more exciting stuff on the way very soon!
Just a quick update to tell you about two new releases.
Gollancz in the UK have today released a mass market paperback edition of DOG BLOOD, whilst in Spain, Minotauro have released a mass market edition of SEPTIEMBRE ZOMBIE – the Spanish translation of AUTUMN. Click either of the book covers above to learn more.
It’s always disappointing to hear of any bookstore closing, but this is particularly sad. Those of you in the UK will probably know that the Waterstone’s chain is struggling with reducing sales and a debt issue, and that it’s closing 60 stores – roughly 10% of its total UK high street presence. I’ve just heard that the Colchester Culver Square branch – where I’ve had a couple of signing events – is closing this Sunday.
Of course, Waterstone’s situation is, unfortunately, not that unusual in an industry which is changing almost by the day and which is struggling on many levels. Corporate decisions like this are easy to gloss over when they’re just another announcement amongst many on the TV news, and it’s easy to forget the impact they have on people’s lives.
So I just wanted to say thank you and good luck to the staff of the Culver Square branch. In particular, thanks to Mark Goddard (Mark’s also an author and runs the www.snakebitehorror.co.uk site), and Adam Hart, the store’s horror buyer. Back in 2006, Adam came across the AUTUMN books and got in touch. He was instrumental in helping me get my Infected Books editions into a decent number of Waterstone’s branches across the country (and as anyone who’s tried to get self-published books stocked in bricks and mortar bookstores will tell you, that’s no mean feat). He ended up appearing in HATER as a thank you!
So thanks again to all at Waterstone’s Culver Square. I wish you the very best for the future.
I’ve not been able to post here much lately, but I’ll be back next week with plenty of Autumn: The City related stuff. In the meantime, here’s another entry in the Post-Apocalyptic Movie Club.
In May 1980 the British government distributed a leaflet called ‘Protect and Survive’ to all homes in the UK. It (along with a series of public information films like the one embedded below) was designed to provide homeowners with practical advice on how to protect themselves in the event of a nuclear attack. The original intention was to have them distributed only in time of a national emergency, but the media interest and ensuing public debate was such that they were given a general release. Fat lot of good they’d have done if the shit really had hit the fan! Shoving a few doors against a wall and covering them in mattresses and cushions might have offered some protection from the initial blast, but such a shelter, like the government publications themselves, would have done little to help the post-attack population cope with fallout, hunger, fear, desperation, cold, devastating injuries, lawlessness, etc. etc. etc.
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Good news – I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be making a return visit to Waterstone’s Leicester on 6th February between 3pm and 5pm to celebrate the re-release of Autumn: The City in the US and UK. Even more good news – this event will be a joint signing with Wayne Simmons to celebrate the re-release of Drop Dead Gorgeous!
Happy New Year to everyone here, on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else this blog gets syndicated. I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and here’s to a fantastic 2011 for all of us.
2011 started well for Kate Prince of Lapenty, France – she’s the winner of my recent AUTUMN ‘name the domain’ competition. Her winning suggestion was ‘last of the living’ which I really liked because, like the books, it puts the emphasis on the living rather than the dead. Congratulations again Kate, and thanks to everyone else who entered. The new website, with a name inspired by Kate’s suggestion, is my first priority for the new year and will be launched soon.
Just a quick reminder that you can still order signed books from www.infectedbooks.co.uk. Copies of the UK hardcover edition of AUTUMN: THE CITY (complete with its ‘angry leaf’ cover – thanks SFX!) will be added at the end of the month. As I mentioned previously, right now I’m donating a sum to charity for each book sold (click here to find out more).
Well that was quite a year! The last 12 months have been incredible, and there’s plenty more planned for 2011. Just to whet your appetite, here’s a taster of what’s due: the final book in the HATER series: THEM OR US (I’ve just seen some proposed cover designs: wow… just wow!), several more AUTUMN books (watch for AUTUMN: THE CITY at the end of January / beginning of February and yes – at long last – AUTUMN: DISINTEGRATION later in the year), the AUTUMN website with over 100,000 words of free zombie fiction, and various other things I’m not allowed to talk about yet (including news of a long-gestating big screen project which I’m really excited about).
My New Years resolution for 2011 is to get more organised. I’ve got a stack of entries for the Post-Apocalyptic Movie Club to write up and post, and I want to talk about a few books I’ve recently read as well. I also owe blurbs to a few folks, so I’ll be trying to catch up on my reading over the holidays. This is my last planned post before Christmas, but I might sneak in a few reviews etc. if the kids let me get close to the computer!
My main reason for writing today though is to thank everyone who has supported me over the last few years, and also those who’ve discovered my books more recently. It really does mean a lot and I hope you’ll all stick around for more. Whatever you’re celebrating, wherever you are, I hope you have a safe, happy and enjoyable holiday season and I’ll leave you with this slice of utter genius from Team Unicorn.
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It always means a lot when something you’ve written has such an effect on someone that it inspires them to create something themselves.
I recently came across this illustration by MishaChanX on Deviantart – the cutest Hater I’ve yet seen! (Click the image for a larger version). Being a typical angry 40 year-old bloke who writes about the end of the world for a living, I always picture the Haters as desperate, vicious, blood-soaked animals. Misha’s approach is very different, but somehow equally disturbing…
Many of you will probably remember the cover of the Infected Books edition of AUTUMN which was itself originally a piece of artwork submitted by a reader (Dave Joseph, if you’re reading this, please get in touch again – I’ve been trying to track you down).
Nick ‘Pinchy’ Pinch, a body piercer who runs Voodoo Body Piercing in Devon, has had the AUTUMN face tattooed on his leg. A massive horror movie fan, Pinchy also has a huge interest in body mods. If you’re in Devon, you won’t have any trouble spotting the guy. Apart from the AUTUMN tattoo, he has horn implants, a split tongue, scarifications, sub dermal implants (including one magnetic one!), and a load more tattoos and piercings. He told me how he loved the cover of the book and it’s watercolour-like appearance.
To find out more about Pinchy and his work, visit him (Nick Pinch) or Voodoo Body Piercing on Facebook.
I’ve been promising it for a while now, but the new AUTUMN website is finally almost here. Some great artwork has already been submitted with more on the way (click here for a reminder of how to get infected involved).
As well as providing masses of information about the books, the characters, the film, the audio adaptation, etc. etc., the site will also be home to a huge amount of free zombie fiction – over 120,000 words at the last count. Much of it will have been available previously as part of Autumn: The Human Condition, but there will also be plenty of brand new material to keep you going between releases next year.
There’s just one thing missing from the site right now, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to run a final competition for 2010. I want you to suggest a domain name. The previous AUTUMN site was www.theinfected.co.uk, but I’ve got plans to use that for something else now (more about that later). I’m looking for a catchy domain name which encapsulates the themes of the books: think of phrases like ‘spread the infection’, ‘slow decay’, ‘the end of everything’… you get the idea.
Use the form below or email your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org (either before the end of the year or when the site goes live – whichever happens sooner). The person who comes up with the best idea (in my opinion), will win a rare copy of the US advance readers edition of AUTUMN, and a copy of the UK DVD of the movie, both signed. The DVD is region free, so you can watch it anywhere in the world.
Good luck! Enter as many times as you like from wherever you are in the world. As always with my competitions, my decision is final.
Updated 1st January 2011 – competition now closed!