I don’t care How It Ends, as long as it ends

I’m very proud of the Recommendations page on this site. It’s built up over the years to be a fairly substantial list of movies I’ve watched and books I’ve read that I’ve enjoyed enough to want to publicly recommend. Of course, not every book or film fits into that category.

I’ve long been a fan of bad movies. I think if you’re even remotely interested in the art of storytelling, you can learn as much from a bad film as you can a good one. So I’ve rejigged the recommendations page to include movies which I’m happy to recommend, and those I’m not. Which brings me onto today’s film…

You might recall the time when a production company were planning to option STRAIGHT TO YOU but changed their minds at the last minute, only to release a movie a couple of years later which shared a suspiciously high number of similar scenes, themes and story beats with my book. When I started getting emails earlier this year about another movie with a not too dissimilar premise, I was concerned. I needn’t have been. Netflix’s HOW IT ENDS is nothing like STRAIGHT TO YOU. It is, however, a masterclass in how NOT to tell an apocalyptic story.

When a mysterious disaster turns the country into a war zone, a young lawyer heads west with his future father-in-law to find his pregnant fiancée.

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Hot and getting hotter…

The weather’s been unprecedented here in the UK recently, with temperatures in the high to mid-twenties every day now for a number of weeks. Apparently we have a couple more weeks of it to look forward to. I’m not complaining – apart from the fact it’s bloody lovely to have a decent summer for the first time in years, it’s also fun to see the effect that a heatwave has on book sales. Whenever the sun appears, STRAIGHT TO YOU has a sales spike.

For those who’ve not read the book, it’s a simple story of a man trying to get to his wife before the sun dies and burns the planet to a crisp. The novel has quite a history to it: it was my first novel but I grew to hate it so rewrote it 20 years later, and it almost kind of nearly reached the big screen. It’s also one of the novels I’m proudest of having written (the 2014 version, anyway).

The novel is currently free to read on WATTPAD, and they recently made it a featured story. If you’ve not yet read it, head on over and give it a go. For maximum impact though, grab a paperback version, lie on your back in the middle of one of the UK’s many parched public parks, and read it before the weather breaks!

Straight to You: Postapokalyptischer Thriller

The German language edition of STRAIGHT TO YOU (my debut novel – written in 1994, published in 1996, re-written and re-published in 2014) is now available from my fine friends at Voodoo Press. You can find more information here. Special thanks to Craig Paton for revising his original cover design for the new release.

I’ve talked a lot about this novel in the past. For those who are late to the party or who missed it first (or second) time around, find out why the book was re-written, why the story takes place in very specific locations, and read about how Hollywood wanted to film the novel but didn’t buy the rights and kind of did it anyway!

Straight to You: Postapokalyptischer Thriller is available now in paperback and ebook.

Read an ebook week – free and discounted ebooks available

It’s the 9th annual READ AN EBOOK WEEK. It’s an event I’ve posted about numerous times before and I’m pleased to continue to support the initiative. I’ve been an advocate of ebooks right from the beginning – those pre-Kindle days where I’d email Word, pdf, Mobipocket or lit (remember Microsoft Reader?) copies of AUTUMN to anyone who showed interest. It worked a treat, with more than half a million free copies of AUTUMN being downloaded between 2001 and 2008 when the series was acquired by Thomas Dunne Books.

Ebooks haven’t proved to be the print killer that everyone initially feared. To me, they’re something that compliments but doesn’t replace the physical version. I travel a lot at the moment, and my trusty Kindle has been a godsend on many recent plane and train trips.

So please join me in celebrating the humble ebook by sharing this post and other READ AN EBOOK WEEK articles. To mark the occasion, I’ve got a number of titles on special offer:

STRAIGHT TO YOU – 20 years old today and available free to read at Wattpad

On the very day that I celebrate twenty years since STRAIGHT TO YOU was first published, I’m pleased to announce that the entire novel (the far superior 2014 version) is available to read at WATTPAD. Please read, review and share to your heart’s content.

Straight to You cover

Want a signed print version of the book at a reasonable price? Visit www.infectedbooks.co.uk where you can pick up heavily discounted copies of the 1996 original hardcover and the 2014 paperback.

And to mark the book’s 20th anniversary, enter code sty20 at checkout and help yourself to another 20% off STRAIGHT TO YOU.

Straight to You – the journey is almost over

Right, we’re very nearly there. Just a few chapters left to go in the serialisation of STRAIGHT TO YOU on WATTPAD to mark the twentieth anniversary of the book’s original release.

In today’s chapter, Steven’s almost reached the end of his journey, but he has one last unexpected hurdle to clear.

For those of you who are late to the party, STRAIGHT TO YOU turns twenty on Monday 26 September. I’ll be posting the next chapter this coming Thursday, then the final four chapters on Monday, meaning the entire novel will be available free to read online.

Stay tuned. The ending of the story is definitely worth waiting around for.

STY

UPDATE 22 September – the second of this week’s chapters is now online.

Straight to You – final two weeks

The free serialisation of STRAIGHT TO YOU at WATTPAD will soon be complete. The book will be 20 years old on 26 September, and the entire novel will be available to read online from that date. Now is a great time to start reading (if you haven’t already). Chapter 23 has just gone live.

UPDATED 15 SEPTEMBER – the second of this week’s chapters has now been added.

Mummified bodies and nuclear meltdowns

Just a few chapters left to go now in the free serialisation of STRAIGHT TO YOU at WATTPAD. The second of this week’s chapters is now available to read, and Steven begins to realise the full enormity of what’s happening to the world around him (hence the clickbait title of this post). Click here to read.

In other news, I’d like to make you aware of a great new edition of the THIS IS HORROR podcast wherein a load of great authors (and me) offer up their most valuable piece of writing advice. Listen here or click the graphic below.

tih-109-writers-craft-talk-best-writing-advice-with-20-writers

Your last phone call home

Straight to You coverWe’re on the last leg of STRAIGHT TO YOU now. Steven’s nearing either a). his destination, b). the impending apocalypse, or c). both. Post-apocalyptic movies and fiction are often filled with big, spectacular show-stopping moments, but it’s often the quieter, more personal scenes which affect me most. I remember feeling desperately sad when I wrote the chapter of the novel which has been posted over at WATTPAD today.

You’re hundreds of miles away, with no hope of ever getting back to the people you love that you’ve left behind. Imagine the pain of your last phone call home.

Chapters 19 and 20 of Straight to You now available

STRAIGHT TO YOU chapter 19 is now available to read at WATTPAD. Steven has a little company to help him through this part of his increasingly testing journey. It’s midway through October, and the temperature’s at least 25 degrees higher than it should be. Things are getting tougher by the minute (and it’s looking like there probably aren’t too many minutes left…)

STY

UPDATE 1 September: chapter 20, the second of this week’s chapters, has now been added to Wattpad. Read it here.