LAST OF THE LIVING – pre-orders now open

LAST-OF-THE-LIVINGI’m pleased to announce that pre-orders for LAST OF THE LIVING are now open. The book will be officially released on 27 October, but these signed, pre-ordered copies will ship in advance of that date.

All pre-orders received before 20 October will be entered into a competition to win a rare copy of the original Infected Books edition of AUTUMN, along with a genuine (and ever rarer) AUTUMN manuscript from my archives.

Click here to place your order!

One more thing… in keeping with the Infected Books philosophy of not wanting folks to pay for the same thing twice, if you’ve already purchased the COST OF LIVING and ISOLATION ebooks, you can get a £2 discount on your pre-order. Simply use the name of Keith’s (from Isolation) manager as a coupon code at checkout (not case sensitive), and your discount will automatically be applied.

I hope you enjoy LAST OF THE LIVING. As always, don’t hesitate to shout if you have any questions or if you experience any problems placing your order.

Announcing LAST OF THE LIVING

lastofthelivingMany of you have been asking if THE COST OF LIVING and ISOLATION will ever appear in print. The short answer is yes.

I’m really pleased to be able to announce the imminent launch of LAST OF THE LIVING – a paperback collection bringing together the two novellas and associated short stories (i.e. the short story and flash fiction versions of THE COST OF LIVING, as well as WHO WE USED TO BE, TIGHTROPES, MURIEL and WISH I WAS HERE).

Pre-orders will open next week.

ISOLATION – additional short stories

I’ve talked a lot about ISOLATION recently, but I’m conscious I haven’t told you very much about the four additional zombie stories which come bundled with the new novella. I’m going to put that right today.

IsolationSlideTHE COST OF LIVING and ISOLATION ebook releases represent all of my non-AUTUMN zombie output. If you remember, THE COST OF LIVING includes two previous versions of the story. With ISOLATION, I’ve included two previously published shorts, and two which were written specifically to close out this collection.

WHO WE USED TO BE
Originally appeared in John Joseph Adams’ excellent THE LIVING DEAD 2 anthology, and I’ve grown to think of it as the antithesis to THE COST OF LIVING. One minute, everyone in the world dies unexpectedly. A minute later, they all reanimate. The story focuses on a small family unit as they try to prolong their increasingly precarious existence for as long as possible…

MURIEL
Was written for an SFX magazine zombie special. I make no apologies for it being a more mainstream zombie tale than anything else I’ve written, as I was writing for a specific audience. It’s a quick, gory and fun tale of a lone survivor living on his nerves in his parents’ house.

TIGHTROPES
A brand new story set in a world which has just about managed to pull itself back from the brink of the zombie apocalypse. So when we’re used to living alongside the threat of the undead, how long will it be before we slip back into our old ways again…?

WISH I WAS HERE
I’ll say little about this final story, other than it was inspired by a thought that’s regularly struck me… No matter what the reason we’re given for the dead beginning to rise, at the outset there’s a stark difference between us and them. But the longer the situation goes on, the less noticeable those differences become. When the dead walk the Earth, can there be any winners?

I hope you enjoy ISOLATION – early reviews have been great (the ever-reliable BookBloke said: I was once again blown away by the recognisable settings and relatable yet engrossing characters. A gripping read. Treated to four more short stories within this book, all with different takes on zombie fiction, it’s a must have for zombie lovers, people who love gore and violence and people who love stories with exceptional characterisation. It’s one that’s not to be missed”). And finally, for those who’ve been asking, in the coming weeks I’ll be formally announcing LAST OF THE LIVING – a new paperback release which will include ISOLATION, THE COST OF LIVING, and all the other stories I’ve talked about today.

Isolation Locations

I hope by now you’ve had chance to read ISOLATION, and I hope you enjoyed it. Early reviews certainly have been reassuringly positive. Shadowlocked said “Isolation is a taut piece of character driven writing“, and BookBloke said “it’s a must have for zombie lovers, people who love gore and violence and people who love stories with exceptional characterisation“.

One thing you probably didn’t know, is that the park-keepers bungalow – the location where most of the action in ISOLATION takes place – actually exists. When we were planning the original short movie, I did a little location filming which you can see embedded below. It’s only a minute long, and it was filmed at completely the wrong time of year, but hopefully seeing where Keith and Anna make their last stand will enhance your enjoyment of the book.

This footage was, in fact, taken in a park near my parents’ house in Birmingham where I grew up. Like Keith, as a child I spent many days mucking around in the streams and fields in the park, building dens and hiding from imaginary monsters and aliens and the like. Fortunately for me, unlike Keith, all my monsters were make-believe.

ISOLATION is available from AMAZON.COM | AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.DE | AMAZON.ES | AMAZON.IT | AMAZON.CA | AMAZON.COM.AU

Isolation

Cast your minds back a few years, and some of you might remember ISOLATION – a short film project I announced along with Will Wright but which, for various reasons, never made it to screen (though I hope it still might). I’m pleased to announce the release of an adaptation of my original screenplay. You can pre-order it now, and it’ll be available to download from tomorrow (20th).

ISOLATION (which also includes four additional zombie short stories – two of which were previously unpublished) is a companion novella to THE COST OF LIVING. There are no connections between the stories, but they’ll appear together in a combined print edition later this year. Here’s the ISOLATION blurb:

IsolationKeith’s in his early twenties. No girlfriend, no hobbies, no future. He spends his days working in an office and his evenings, weekends and just about all his free time looking after his alcoholic dad.

And then the zombie apocalypse changes everything.

Suddenly Keith’s free. For the first time in a long time, he’s got nothing to worry about (apart from several hundred thousand reanimated corpses heading his way).

But then he meets Anna, and everything changes again. Cocky, cool, confident… she’s everything Keith isn’t. Holed-up together in an isolated bungalow, besieged by the living dead, will they survive, or will they tear each other apart before the dead can get anywhere near?

Download ISOLATION for the paltry sum of $2.99/£1.99 from AMAZON.COM | AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.DE | AMAZON.ES | AMAZON.IT | AMAZON.CA | AMAZON.COM.AU

Cover art is again by the brilliant David Shires and, as with THE COST OF LIVING, I’m experimenting with Amazon exclusivity for now. If you want the ePub version of the book, simply buy the Kindle edition, then send me a copy of your receipt and I’ll email an ePub version back to you asap.

I’m very proud of this one. I hope you enjoy it.

What Works For Me

It’s been several months since I last posted anything in my What Works For Me series of writing tips/ thoughts. There are several very good reasons for that. Most importantly, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to work out what exactly does work for me.

You’ll probably have seen endless debate online over the last few months about the merits of independent versus traditional publishing, and also about the position/ value of indie authors as highlighted by the ongoing Hachette vs. Amazon debacle.

I started out Indie. I was Indie before most. I’m so old school that I genuinely used to email pdf and Word versions of AUTUMN to interested folks back in the day. I did well from it, and if I hadn’t done what I’d done, I’d probably have never written HATER and it might not have found its way onto the desk of the folks who passed it on to Guillermo del Toro all those years ago… When Thomas Dunne Books of New York made an offer for the publishing rights back in 2007, I didn’t hesitate to accept.

CostofLivingSo now we’re another seven years or so down the line, and the marketplace has changed beyond all recognition. Indie authors are in a better place now: more accepted, and with better tools and technologies at their disposal.

THE COST OF LIVING proved to be a turning point for me. I’ve been stunned by the success of my little ebook – it’s sold remarkably well and has opened my eyes to the full potential of independent publishing again. With the recent relaunch/ rebranding of INFECTED BOOKS, I feel like I’ve regained the control you inevitably lose when you publish traditionally, and I’m ready to take full advantage of that.

So, to stop a long story getting any longer, I’ll just say this: for now, although I’m technically what you’d call a Hybrid author, I feel 100% Indie again. So what does this mean? Well, for a start you should watch for another surprise release later this week (you can pre-order it now – I’ll tell you more tomorrow), and then look out for STRANGERS – my brand new, full-length novel, coming from Infected Books in November this year.

Missing in Action – an update

Yes, I’m still here and still alive. It’s been a couple of weeks so I thought I should update you and let you know what I’ve been up to (to prove I’ve actually been working). So here we go:

STRANGERS

I’m 15,000 words into the second draft of this brand new novel. A spate of brutal murders occur in and around a small town. The bodies of the dead – savagely mutilated, defiled – are piling up with terrifying rapidity. There’s no apparent motive, and no obvious connection between the killings, but they all started when Scott Griffiths and his family arrived in town…

AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION

Is written and edited, and is currently being formatted before going to print. The cover art (which is spectacular – I’ve added a glimpse below) and full ordering details should be announced next week. This book has become a labour of love. It’s a fitting end to the AUTUMN series and I’m insanely proud of all 150,000+ words of it.

ATHCSlice

AUTUMN: AFTERMATH

The UK hardcover being produced in conjunction with Gollancz has been delayed. Sincere apologies. I’ll provide a further update as soon as I know more.

17 DAYS

The book’s finished, but we’re still discussing what to do with it. More news as soon as I have it.

ISOLATION

We’ve a meeting arranged for next week to get ISOLATION moving towards the screen, and an update will follow in due course.

EVENTS

Watch this space for some cracking summer events in Coventry, Cardiff and Avilés, Spain which will be announced next week.

PREVIOUSLY UNANNOUNCED FREE ONLINE SERIALISED NOVEL…

…will be kicking off in early July. Again, more details coming very soon.

Have a good weekend!

What’s next?

I’m conscious that there are a lot of empty spaces on this site right now. The HATER and AUTUMN series are all but finished (though not quite) and the serialisation of TRUST is well underway, but other than that I don’t seem to have many updates to share with you right now. That’s largely because I’m working on a number of new projects, and there’s not a lot to tell about any of them just yet. In any event, I thought I’d give you the barest of details to try and whet your appetites and keep your interest. It also might explain why I’m not around here as much as I’d like.

In no particular order then, here are the projects I’m currently planning/writing/developing/working on…

17 DAYS
A brand new novel which I hope to have written by the end of September. Those of you who’ve been following me for a while might remember MARK THANE – an aborted serialised novel from 2005/6 (I think). 17 DAYS takes the germ of Mark Thane’s story and beefs it up by adding a few healthy dollops of social breakdown and urban terrorism into the mix. It’s actually broader in appeal than anything I’ve written before, I think, and I love it.

THE SPACES BETWEEN
A five (and a half) book series set in a dystopian future not too far removed from today’s reality. Greg Dawson is an armed social worker and one of the few remaining people who still genuinely gives a damn about anyone else. Many of the social and political problems we’re facing today have continued to fester, and the UK has become a dangerous place to live (unless you’ve got power and/or money, and 99% of the population have neither). Dawson’s work brings him into contact with the extremes of the social spectrum, and a series of diverse cases results in him uncovering things no one should have to face. There’s a rumour the world’s going to end soon, but that’s the very least of Dawson’s problems. This one’s going to take a while to see the light of day – it’s an intricate story, so all the individual books have to be fully mapped out before I start writing. With a little luck, I’ll be writing the first book in the series – tentatively titled TOMMY – in early 2013. Think CHILDREN OF MEN meets QUATERMASS, and you’ll start to get an idea of the direction I’m taking with this one.

STRAIGHT TO YOU
I’ve been really pleased with the reception TRUST has had, so I’m going to continue the resurrection of Infected Books by dusting down and re-writing my debut novel from 1996. The plan at the moment is to have the book reworked by early 2013, and to serialise it next year in the same way I’m currently serialising TRUST.

STRANGERS
A quick, dark and dirty horror novel. A really nasty little number. As close to a vampire novel as I’m ever going to get (with absolutely no fangs, capes or sparkly teens). This book is currently being scoped out with a view to (hopefully) trying to bash it out at speed in 2013.

AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION
Pretty much all of the stories which made up the original release of THE HUMAN CONDITION are now available online at www.lastoftheliving.net. But there’s more… new stories were written to accompany DISINTEGRATION and AFTERMATH, and to further expand the AUTUMN universe (did you read JOE & ME?). I’d like, therefore, to produce a definitive version of The Human Condition (mass market paperback, eBook, limited edition hardcover) which collects up EVERY additional AUTUMN story. ETA – the second half of 2013.

ISOLATION
A brief final word about Isolation, which I announced at the beginning of the year and have so far completely failed to update you about. It is happening. It will be made. We have a great team working on the project but, inevitably, it’s having to take second place to all our other (paying) commitments. It will be worth the wait, I promise. We’re going to be meeting in the coming weeks to get things moving. More news soon.

So there you go. If I’m not posting much on here, that’s why. I am busy, honest!

Goodbye! (For a short while)

I know I’ve not posted here with much regularity recently, but I wanted to let you know I’ll be around even less for the next couple of weeks. I’m moving house tomorrow and, as I work from home, I’m moving offices too. It’ll be at least a week before I’m back online.

I’ll be able to keep a cursory eye on my emails, so please do keep sending stuff through, though it’ll take me longer than usual to reply. And if you’re in Birmingham on 8th July, don’t forget I’ll be at the Shock and Gore festival at the Electric Cinema (see the poster below and click here for more information).

Plenty to let you know about when I get back, including a few new releases and some long overdue ISOLATION news. Of course, then it’ll almost be time for the launch of TRUST, and pre-orders for the limited edition hardback version will be opening.

Right. Got to turn off the computer and get shifting. See you on the other side.