Is it weird to collect copies of your own books? Maybe it is, but I don’t care. Have a look at this gorgeous little copy of HATER from Japan. It’s taken me a long time to get hold of it, but I’m pleased I did. It’s genuinely very tiny, and also very cool.
Anyway, as usually happens in the summer, I’ve had my head down writing for most of the time. I thought I’d better give you an update of what I’ve been working on. You wouldn’t think so judging from the infrequent updates here, but I’ve actually been really busy.
THE FINAL WAR
The second HATER trilogy is rapidly reaching its conclusion (I’ve taken a break from working on the final scene of book #3 – CHOKEHOLD – to bring you this update). Another quick reminder in case you missed it last time, book #2 – ALL ROADS END HERE – will be released in paperback, ebook and audiobook on 19 February 2019. If you want to bring yourself up to speed in readiness for the new books, I’d recommend reading ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING first, then (re)reading DOG BLOOD. ALL ROADS is a parallel sequel which exists in the same time frame and same location as DOG BLOOD. And it’s a blast. I think you’ll really enjoy it.
THE LAST BIG THING
As you may remember, ALL ROADS was originally scheduled for release this month, and now that it’s moved I have a gap in my publishing schedule. That’s going to be filled with the release of THE LAST BIG THING – a hardcover collection of some of my favourite short stories from those I’ve written over the years; many that are hard to get hold of, along with several more written specially for the collection. Release is tentatively scheduled for the end of October, and there will be more news soon.
You may have noticed that many of the German versions of my books are currently unavailable. Unfortunately two of the German-language publishers I work with stopped trading this year. I’m pleased to announce, though, that most of the titles will be re-released in German through Infected Books later this year.
And at long last my back catalogue will shortly be available as audio books. STRANGERSwill be the first release at the beginning of October, with THE COST OF LIVING the following month.
This is a real unsubstantiated tease and I apologise in advance, but I just wanted to let you know that yes, THE HATER MOVIE is still very much alive and kicking and yes, I hope to have some concrete news to share before the end of the year.
I feel duty bound to draw your attention to CARGO, a top-notch zombie movie which premiered on Netflix this last week. I’ve had my eye on this one for a long time, primarily because of its source material. The film’s based on a stunning short movie which took the zombie-loving world by storm back in 2013. You can watch it here, and I recommend you do. No worries about spoiling the feature length version, because they’re two very different beasts as I’ll explain.
In a desperate bid to outrun a violent pandemic, Andy and Kay have holed up on a houseboat with their one-year-old daughter, Rosie. Their protected river existence is shattered by a violent attack, which sees Kay tragically die and Andy infected. Left with only 48 hours before he transforms into one of the creatures they have fought so long to evade, Andy sets out on a precarious journey to find a new guardian for his child. A flourishing Aboriginal tribe are Rosie’s best chance of survival – but with their merciless attitude toward the afflicted, they also pose a grave threat. A young Indigenous girl becomes Andy’s only chance of safe passage into this sacred community. But unfortunately the girl has no desire to return to her people – she is on a quest to cure her own infected father by returning his stolen soul. Each in their own way is seeking salvation… but they will need to work together if they hope to achieve it.
It’s about time I started posting a few more film and book recommendations here, and what better place to start than with a well-made, lo-fi, slow-burn apocalyptic movie. IT COMES AT NIGHT is a really good movie, which appeared to have been sold really badly (perhaps intentionally) by the marketing team behind it. I thought it was a great film, but it wasn’t the film I thought I was going to see. Here’s a synopsis and a trailer. Click the link below for my brief thoughts.
Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorises the world, the tenuous order a man (Joel Edgerton) has established with his wife and son is put to the ultimate test with the arrival of a desperate family seeking refuge. Despite the best intentions of both families, paranoia and mistrust boil over as the horrors outside creep ever-closer, awakening something hidden and monstrous within the man as he learns that the protection of his family comes at the cost of his soul.
I’ve been really pleased with how well the Voodoo Press German edition of TRUST has been received, and today the book hit a new milestone. We’re number one! Congratulations to Michael Preissl and his team. I’m looking to the Voodoo Press releases of THE COST OF LIVING, ISOLATION and STRAIGHT TO YOU coming soon.
Just wanted to make you aware that BOOKTRACK is running a 24 hour horror sale at the moment. You’ve heard me talk about booktracks before, and this is a great opportunity to get your hands on ISOLATION, THE COST OF LIVING and STRANGERS with a full soundtrack of music and sound effects, for the incredibly low price of $0.99 each! All the information you need can be found at this link.
And while I’m posting, I also wanted to let you know that the new issue of SCREAM MAGAZINE is now available. As usual, it’s chockfull of features and interviews about both brand new and classic horror. THE FOREST, Hammer’s FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL, and much, much more.
Very pleased to announce that BOOKTRACK have released soundtracks to ISOLATION, THE COST OF LIVING and STRANGERS. If you’ve never listened to/read a booktrack before, you’re in for a treat. You get the entire ebook which is synchronised to a soundtrack of music and effects designed to enhance the reading experience. And believe me, it really does.
To celebrate the launch of these three titles, I’ve written a guest blog over at the Booktrack site in which I talk about how music affects my writing. And I’ve even shared the writing playlist I use which has grown organically over many years. I hope you enjoy the booktracks. Please let me know what you think.
Remember me? I know… it’s been deathly quiet around here lately. As I keep saying, there’s a lot happening behind the scenes that I can’t talk about yet (don’t you just hate it when people post that kind of empty, bullshit comment and leave you hanging?!).
I’ve been intending to write this piece for a while, but I didn’t know how to start or when to post it. Today’s the day. Today, if you didn’t know, is Time to Talk day and like thousands of other people, I’m taking five minutes to talk about my experiences with the aim of breaking the silence (and stigma) around mental health. Please don’t switch off. Please read through to the end.
You see, last May, my world fell apart. My personal life, my relationships, my health, my career – everything crumbled and collapsed. None of it made sense anymore, and I couldn’t see a way to start repairing the damage. Hell, I didn’t even know if I wanted to fix things.
That might sound overdramatic, but that’s exactly how it felt. One day everything was fine, the next… Well it still makes me go cold thinking about those days. I’ve spent hours, days, weeks and months since then trying to put everything back together and make sense of what happened, and if there hadn’t been such a stigma about mental health, I think that perhaps my meltdown could have been avoided or at least lessened.
I’d always been the big man. I’d done pretty well in everything I tried to do. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, it’s just the way I am. I work hard. Sometimes too hard. Five years ago I felt invincible with a great family, good health, a lovely home and a career that felt like it was skyrocketing. A couple of years back, though, something changed. We moved house, and I fulfilled my writing obligations. Then, all of a sudden, nothing. Bigger bills, no book deals. I felt increasingly disconnected from everything and everyone, and became increasingly reclusive. My mood changed. I was banging my head against a brick wall. The words didn’t stop coming, but the flood of books I was producing reduced to a slow trickle. I stopped being excited by writing, and it began to feel like a chore. Stories remained uncompleted. Ideas were shelved. I spent more time thinking about what I should have been doing, than actually doing any of it.
I’ll cut a long story short: I was pretty seriously depressed, and I had no idea at all. Or maybe I did know, I just didn’t want to accept it…
Last summer everything came to a head. And contrary to how it felt at the time, being diagnosed with depression wasn’t the end of my world; instead it was a chance to press reset, to get myself back on track, and to learn to love myself and my world again.
Forgive me if that sounds a little saccharine and cliched, because it happens to be true. Thanks to an incredible family, a great GP, and a bunch of other wonderful folk, things are moving in the right direction. I’ve gone back to non-writing work to make sure I mix with other people, and I’m loving the buzz of spending time with folks again. I was worried it might have meant the end of my writing, but I don’t think that’s the case. I’ve written the first draft of a new novel since 1 January. There’s progress on a number of long-gestating projects. Infected Books is growing exponentially. I’m more excited by writing than ever.
As I said at the beginning, it’s Time to Talk day today (find out more about it here and here), and the aim of the day is to reduce some of the stigma around mental health. Lots of people suffer, and a large number continue to suffer in silence. I think I’d known for a long time what was wrong, I just didn’t want to admit it. Bloody hell, I wish I’d been more honest with myself. It would have saved me (and the people I love the most) a heck of a lot of pain and heartache.
I’m a writer, and this site is supposed to be about my books and films, so I’ll finish this piece by bringing it back to the business of writing. Regular visitors here will remember my series of writing articles ‘What Works for Me.’ You might have noticed they dried up around the same time I imploded last spring. It’s been incredibly interesting to look back at the books I’ve written over the last two years or so in light of what I’ve discovered about myself, because if I wasn’t outwardly honest with myself about my health, I definitely had some inkling of what was going on as I’d been writing about my problems all along. I only have to look at the male characters I’d created… there’s Steven Johnson from STRAIGHT TO YOU – a man who is on the verge of losing absolutely everything because he can’t bring himself to face his own demons. There’s Stuart from THE COST OF LIVING – a belligerent, stubborn bugger who’s set on his course and who won’t listen to anyone else, even when they’re clearly right and he’s so very obviously wrong. And then, finally, there’s Scott Griffiths from STRANGERS. I’ve had a huge reaction to Scott, not least because he’s an absolute shit: a total, wretched scumbag who outwardly appears to be dedicated to his family, but who has a seriously warped view of right and wrong and no appreciation of how his behaviour affects those around him. I was terrified and stunned when I read the book back just prior to publication and realised I’d been writing about aspects of myself.
Things are good today. Thanks for sticking with me. There’s some really exciting stuff on the horizon.
While I’ve got my head down working on new projects (and that’s what I am doing, honest), I’m also trying to catch up on an ever-increasing backlog of emails, blurbs, business things to organise, and so on. Sometimes things slip through the net, and I have a feeling that’s what might have happened here. I can’t remember posting about the ebook version of LAST OF THE LIVING.
You’ll probably remember that I released a couple of Kindle-exclusive zombie novellas last year: THE COST OF LIVING and ISOLATION. Together with various other zombie shorts (some reprints, others written specifically for the project), these stories amounted to around 90,000 words of fiction, which is about the length of a novel.
I’m conscious that not everyone like ebooks, so we released all this undead goodness in print as LAST OF THE LIVING. You can find out more about the collection here, and signed copies are available direct from Infected Books or from Amazon or eBay. In keeping with the Infected Books ebook ethos, if you buy the paperback edition of LAST OF THE LIVING – from any source – you’re entitled to download a complementary ebook version. And here’s the bit I don’t think I made clear before: the complementary ebook is available for Nook, iBooks and Kobo as well as Kindle.
Apologies to anyone who’s held off reading the stories because of format issues.
Happy New Year to you all. I thought I’d kick off 2015 with a quick look back at my 2014 releases (just in case you missed any), and a peek at my plans for 2015. Despite being a pig of a year for me on many levels, I was surprisingly productive, releasing two full-length novels (STRAIGHT TO YOU and STRANGERS), a zombie novella collection (LAST OF THE LIVING, which included ISOLATION and THE COST OF LIVING along with a number of other shorts), and the long-overdue limited edition hardcover of AUTUMN: AFTERMATH.
So what does 2015 hold? There’s a lot being planned behind the scenes, and I thought I’d pile the pressure on myself by announcing the major projects I’m working on this year. Notice there are no timescales quoted here (I never seem to keep to them anyway!) but this is the order I’m tackling these novels.
My first middle-grade novel. Think ET meets GODZILLA and you’re halfway there.
THE SPACES BETWEEN: ELYSIAN FIELDS
The first book in my long-teased horror/ science-fiction/ noir crime series. If you’ve not heard me talking about this one before, here’s a quick tease: Several years ago London was destroyed in a white-hot nuclear haze. Millions of people were displaced, and huge numbers ended up in rapidly constructed newcities like Elysian Fields. Designed to house around one hundred thousand, the population of Elysian Fields is several times that. It’s a dangerous, sprawling hell-hole of a place ruled by gangs, violence and fear. When a prominent business leader’s son disappears, social worker Greg Dawson becomes embroiled in the mission to snatch him back. But the more Dawson discovers about Elysian Fields, the more he comes to realise there’s a huge gulf between what we’re being told and reality. In the spaces between the two, absolutely everything changes.
Yes, I know… I’ve finished this book twice already, but I’ve still not got it quite right. I had a rollercoaster year last year, and in the midst of all the ups and downs, I’ve realised where I was going wrong. Mark Thane is a downtrodden and overlooked nobody. When he discovers he only has 17 days left to live, he’s forced to question everything. The country is on the verge of revolution, and Mark unwittingly finds himself at the eye of the storm. This time last week no one knew who Mark Thane was. By the time his number’s up, the entire world will be watching his every move.
A sick and twisted love story. Adam’s wife died last summer. He’s not going to let her die again.
So there you go. Plenty of work ahead. Add to this more signing events and the continued expansion of the Infected empire (Infected Films and Infected Audio, anyone?) and that’s more than enough to keep me busy. I hope you’ll stick around, because 2015 is going to be a cracker!