I’ve got a few events coming up at the end of this year and I wanted to give you plenty of advance notice.
First off, on 30 October, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be heading to the Freemasons Grand Lodge in Dublin where I’ll be guesting at HORROR EXPO IRELAND 2016. This sounds like a cracker: Running from 2pm to 2am Horror Expo Ireland promises an unforgettable and unique experience, which boasts a plethora of horror related events and activities ranging from panels, Q&A sessions, screenings, and paranormal investigations. While it is fair to say that this event is not your average convention, the organisers have provided a public platform which is entirely fan focused, as the audience is afforded an opportunity to critically engage with the genre of horror from a range perspectives alongside some of the industry’s most acknowledged experts.
I guess I could file this post under the ‘What Works For Me’ heading, but it should also be of interest to those of you who are here more for reading than writing, in particular those who’ve already read STRAIGHT TO YOU.
WARNING – MILD STRAIGHT TO YOU SPOILERS AHEAD!
I wanted to talk about locations today: how rather than finding the right scenery to fit your story, sometimes the story can be shaped by a location or, in this case, a journey. If you’ve not read STRAIGHT TO YOU yet, why not grab a low price ebook or signed paperback then come back and see how some of the scenes in the new version of the story came about.
I’ve already spoken at length about how I wanted the rewritten version of STRAIGHT TO YOU to feel more honest and emotional in comparison to the hopelessly naïve original, and I decided early on in the planning process that in order for that to happen I’d need to give the book a foothold in reality.
Here’s me pictured in the idyllic Welsh village of Criccieth last Sunday, and in the background you can see the castle which features prominently in the book. Click the link below to find out more, but please be warned – there are potentially some spoilers ahead.
SKIN’s story is important, as you’ll see, because it has an impact on JACKSON (who I told you about last month). A quick advance warning – SKIN is a story of teenage angst gone wild and, as you’d expect, it features drink, drugs, sex and all the other things teenagers love.
Head over to www.lastoftheliving.net now to read SKIN or to help yourself to some of the other 120,000+ words of free zombie fiction you’ll find on the site.
Check back tomorrow for a launch day update and an exclusive AFTERMATH giveaway.
Earlier this week I showed you the sights of post-apocalyptic Lowestoft thanks to the artwork of David Naughton-Shires. Many of you will know that David also provided a number of pieces of art for www.lastoftheliving.net. I thought it was about time I featured him here and talked a little more about his work.
When the call for Autumn artwork first went out in Summer 2010, David was one of the first to respond. Within days he’d sent me illustrations for Brigid Culthorpe and Jacob Flynn, and even more art soon followed: Karen Chase, Jim Harper and my personal favourite, Office Politics (see below). David’s distinctive style is quite unlike the approaches taken by the other contributors to the site, and I think the mix of approaches works well.
You’ve heard me talking about Lowestoft a lot recently. Ryan Fleming, one of Moody’s Survivors, visited the town after reading THEM OR US and, armed with the book, a local, and a tourist’s guide of the area (written by me), he took photographs of some key locations. The very talented David Naughton-Shires (who you’ve met before if you’ve been a regular visitor here, and who you’ll be meeting again very shortly) then worked a little of his post-apocalyptic magic on the pics. I used them to illustrate my presentation last week, and I thought it would be good to share some of them here. Welcome to Lowestoft!
Okay, maybe that headline’s a little unfair on Lowestoft: it’s not really the end of the world, but it is the east coast town where much of THEM OR US takes place, and it’s where I was last Thursday evening to mark the UK release of the final book in the HATER trilogy.
I’m going to post again later this week and explain more about why and how Lowestoft was the perfect setting for the book, but for now I just wanted to report back on the launch event and thank a few folks for their help in making it a success.
We kicked off with a well-supported Waterstone’s signing, before moving on to Lowestoft Library (a location referenced in THEM OR US) for more signing, followed by an illustrated talk and a question and answer session. Thanks are due to David Naughton-Shires for producing some great post-apocalyptic artwork (an example of which is below, you’ll see more in my next post), and to Iain McKinnon and the cast and crew of Projekt for the video clips I used. You’ll probably not have heard of Projekt before… in early 2010 we produced a series of HATER viral videos which were designed to tell the story of the first book, and set the scene for DOG BLOOD. Unfortunately rights issues prevented us from releasing the footage (and the position’s still the same), but it was great to finally be able to show a few brief snippets.
At this point I need to mention the audience – many of whom had travelled considerable distances to be there (but let’s be honest, you have to travel a considerable distance from anywhere to get to Lowestoft – that’s why it made such a perfect location for THEM OR US!). There were plenty of Survivors there, and huge thanks to them for their ongoing, yet vaguely stalker-ish support. More about that in another post which is coming shortly…
Thanks also to Jane Rothon and the staff of the library for being so accommodating, to Ivan Bunn for the technical support, to Jo and the staff at Waterstone’s for actively supporting the event with real enthusiasm, to the staff at the Chinese restaurant most of us ended up in for the most bizarre dining experience I can remember in a long time, and finally to Emma Bunn for being the glue which held it all together. Emma – if you hadn’t spotted my wife and I out drinking in a Lowestoft pub last summer, the event would never have happened!
As promised, OFFICE POLITICS is now available to read on www.lastoftheliving.net. Of all the 40+ shorts I’ve written based in the AUTUMN world, this is one of my favourites, if not my favourite of all. During the writing of the AUTUMN novels, I’d often come up with interesting scenarios which didn’t quite fit into any of the main books and this was one of them.
We often hear inspiring stories about the survivors of catastrophic events – both real and fictional. These are people who’ve hit rock bottom and picked themselves back up again. People who’ve survived against all the odds. People who’ve stared into the abyss and been dragged back from the very edge to live another day. OFFICE POLITICS is definitely NOT about that kind of survivor.
Simon Walters, the ‘hero’ of the piece, can’t cope with any of what’s happening around him. His solution – his strategy for survival, I guess – is simply to carry on as if nothing’s changed.
Special thanks again to David Naughton-Shires (www.knightwatchpress.info). David originally produced this illustration for me with another story in mind, but I think it suits OFFICE POLITICS perfectly. I hope you enjoy it!
Jacob Flynn is not a particularly nice person, but even he doesn’t deserve what’s about to happen to him. You see, because of certain things Jacob did recently, he’s found himself in absolutely the worst place to be when the world ends.
Another week, another brief slug of free zombie fiction… This week an excerpt from the beginning of AUTUMN: THE CITY has been added to www.lastoftheliving.net, and a new story BRIGID CULTHORPE (brilliantly illustrated once again by David Naughton-Shires). Brigid’s another new character who appears in AUTUMN: PURIFICATION.
Also added to the site this week are a number of great pieces of art from Antony White. Learn more about Antony by visiting his site www.blackpapersky.co.uk. And don’t forget, you can view all the artwork so far added to www.lastoftheliving.net in the ‘art’ section. Please keep checking back, because there’s loads more to come.