Forthcoming Events

A quick reminder of a couple of live events coming up towards the end of February.10348376_1777166982508661_903794311070340990_n

On Saturday 21 at 3:00pm I’ll be at SOUTHCART BOOKS in Walsall alongside Wayne Simmons. We’ll be doing one of our famous ‘double-headers’ – talking, reading, signing books and taking questions about our work and the business of writing in general. More details can be found here. And as you can see from the picture to the right, creepy store mascot Claude the Clown is already getting in the mood.

A few days later on Tuesday 24 at 10:00pm (subject to confirmation), I’ll be taking part in the first ever live THIS IS HORROR podcast. You can find more information about the show here, and please send in any questions you’d like answered. We’ll do our best to get through as many of them as we can. Get yourself in the mood by listening to our free JOE AND ME audiobook, and while you’re at it, why not subscribe to the This is Horror podcast using the following links: iTunes / RSS

Two Bald Blokes – Back on the Road

Remember when Wayne Simmons and I embarked on our ‘Never Trust a Man with Hair‘ tour a couple of years back? Well, we’re getting the band back together!

I’m very excited to announce we’ll be appearing together at Southcart Books in Walsall on February 21 at 3:00pm. Hear us read, bicker, reminisce, talk about the future of Infected Books and publishing as a whole, and generally put the world to rights.

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This was originally to be an event hosted by Jasper Bark to support the release of his new Prime Cuts but, unfortunately, Jasper can no longer make it. Keep an eye on Southcart Books, though, as he’ll now be appearing there in March.

Southcart Books can be found on Facebook here, and in the real world here:

 

SCARDiff 2014

Unfortunately it looks like I’m now not going to be able to make it, but I wanted to give a plug to this year’s SCARDiff on 19 October. Last year’s inaugural expo was one of the best events of 2013, so can I urge everyone who can to get themselves down to Cardiff for a day chockfull of cracking horror. Tickets are a miserly £6.66 – an absolute steal. Click the image below or visit the website at www.scardiff.co.uk to find out more.

Scardiff2014

The Girl in the Basement giveaway

While you’re waiting for my SPACES BETWEEN competition results to be announced next week, why not head over to Infected Books where there’s a GIRL IN THE BASEMENT giveaway running.

Pick out the names and artists of five songs mentioned in chapters seven and eight of the book for a chance to win SCARdiff tickets or signed books from Wayne Simmons. You’ve a week to enter.

gitbslide

You’ll need to have read THE GIRL IN THE BASEMENT first, of course. Pick up a copy for just 99c/77p from AMAZON.COM | AMAZON.CO.UK

The Girl in the Basement

GirlintheBasementI’ve a surprise Infected Books release to tell you about today – but it’s not something I’ve written. Instead, I’m delighted to welcome Wayne Simmons to the Infected Books fold with his nasty little ebook short: THE GIRL IN THE BASEMENT.

If you’re a regular here, you’ll know Wayne and I go way back. You’ll also know that I’ve a number of plans in place to dramatically expand the reach of my Infected empire (books now, films next…), and this is part of those plans. This release came about as a result of endless hours spent travelling between events, discussing publishing as a whole and our own takes on the ongoing (and, frankly, boring as hell) traditional versus independent publishing debate.

I really think you’ll enjoy THE GIRL IN THE BASEMENT. It’s a horrible little tale of a girl held against her will by a captor whose sanity is less than certain… You can read more about the story at the Infected Books site here, and the book can be purchased for a paltry 99c/77p via any of these links: Kindle / iBooks / Nook / Smashwords / Kobo. The excellent cover art is by Sion Smith of Skin Deep Magazine fame.

And why today to unleash this little monstrosity on the world? Why, because it’s Wayne’s 40th. Please join me in wishing Mr Simmons a very happy, horror-filled birthday!

The genesis of THE COST OF LIVING

CostofLivingIf you’ve already got the book, you’ll already know this but, if not, I thought it would make an interesting post. Did you know that I wrote three entirely different versions of THE COST OF LIVING, and that all three are included in the ebook?

It just goes to show the effect a format can have on the story you’re trying to tell.

The first incarnation of THE COST OF LIVING came back in 2010 when I was invited to put together a story for John Joseph Adams’ excellent LIVING DEAD 2 anthology. A different tale altogether ended up in the book (WHO WE USED TO BE), but I also finished PRIORITIES – the 5,000 word short story of mom, dad and disgruntled older son, trapped in their home at Dad’s insistence with no way out, surrounded by hordes of zombies.

I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the story. A while later I was invited to write a piece of flash fiction by my friends at THIS IS HORROR, and I decided to strip back THE COST OF LIVING to bare bones. Just 750 words.

But I still wasn’t happy. It seemed to me that whenever I tried to write the story, I was being curtailed by its length. I never saw THE COST OF LIVING as being long enough to make a full novel, but I knew it needed more than the short formats I’d already tried. So, at the beginning of this year, I started writing again with the sole aim of telling the story I wanted, irrespective of word count and length.

And I’m absolutely blown away by the reception you’ve given the 38,000 word novella version of THE COST OF LIVING, so much so that I’m planning to return to the format sooner rather than later. One novella a month, perhaps?

Wayne Simmons says: “THE COST OF LIVING is character-driven zombie horror at its very best. No fan of the genre should be without it.” And Chris Hall at DLSReviews.com says the book is: “A truly superb post-apocalyptic story.”

If you haven’t yet read THE COST OF LIVING, it’s available for $1.99/£1.22 from AMAZON.COM | AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.DE | AMAZON.ES | AMAZON.IT | AMAZON.CA | AMAZON.COM.AU

What Works For Them

I had some great responses to my post about planning last week, several from fellow authors who were keen to tell me how they do things. As I keep taking great pains to work out, the What Works For Me posts are exactly that: what works for me. I thought it would be interesting, though, to share What Works For Them. It illustrates perfectly my point that there are no ‘one size fits all’ rules to writing.

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PLASTIC JESUS by Wayne Simmons

plastic-jesusBy now Wayne Simmons should need no introduction. He’s a good friend, my industry partner in crime, and a fine writer. His new novel, PLASTIC JESUS, was recently released by Salt Publishing, and it goes without saying that I’m going to recommend you read it. But I’m not just saying that because Wayne’s my mate, I’m saying it because PLASTIC JESUS is an original and thought-provoking novel and it’s a damn good read. The book has a wonderfully realised setting (more about Lark City in a minute), and a cast of genuinely interesting (and hopelessly flawed) characters. Here’s the blurb. Click the link below to find out more.

Plastic Jesus grabs you by the throat. From the opening paragraph, without warning, it plunges you into a world of fear and confusion and visceral emotion. When it spews you back out again, you are left dizzy, overwhelmed – and desperate to read more. And it’s then that you take your first fearful steps into Lark City…

It is the near future, following a devastating Holy War. Once part of the US colonies, Maalside, the New Republic, now stands alone in the Pacific, separated from the heartland by 200 miles of salty ocean. Lark City is its capital, watched over by a 50 foot, pouting, stiletto-heeled and garter-belted ‘Miss Liberty’, a crude parody of the famous landmark across the water.

In this brutal neon jungle, Code Guy Johnny Lyon writes a Jesus social networking AI, to rebrand religion following the war. But something goes wrong; a virtual hell breaks on the streets of Lark – a violent, surreal and uncontrollable social breakdown.

Caught in this terrifying web of danger are Sarah Lee, Johnny’s co-worker, drug lord Paul McBride who is determined to exploit the chaos to wipe out his enemies, and McBride’s junkie daughter, a prostitute called Kitty.

Now, only Johnny can save Sarah, Kitty and the city.

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UK Festival of Zombie Culture

This is a quick post to publicly thank Zombie Ed and everyone involved in the UK Festival of Zombie Culture last Saturday. As always it was an excellent event: a gracious host (Ed), the usual suspects (myself, Wayne Simmons, Adam Millard and Sean T Page), loads of great traders (the Zombie Shop team) and staff, and about 500 rabid fans all crammed into the Phoenix arts centre in Leicester to watch a marathon thirteen hours of zombie movies (click here to see what you missed).

Since I started writing zombie books we’ve become overrun by the living dead. Back then there only seemed to be me, Brian Keene, David Wellington and a handful of others doing anything with zombies, but over the course of the last decade our undead friends have shuffled out from the fringes of horror to take up their current position right in the middle of the mainstream. In some respects that’s great, but I’ve been increasingly worried that zombie fatigue will soon start setting in. On the basis of what I saw in Leicester this weekend, we’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about.

A picture tells a thousand words they say, so I’ll save myself some typing and let these excellent photographs from the very talented Grace Elkin do all the talking instead. You can see the rest of her pictures here.

Make sure you’re signed up to receive the Zombie Times (click here if you’re not signed up already), and do yourself a favour: when tickets for the 2014 event go on sale, get in quick. This is an annual event that no self-respecting zombie fan can afford to miss. Special thanks, as always, must go to the man in the first photo below: the driving force behind the festival and the Zombie Times, the one and only Zombie Ed.

UK Festival of the Undead - photo by Grace Elkin photography (www.graceelkinphotography.co.uk)UK Festival of the Undead - photo by Grace Elkin photography (www.graceelkinphotography.co.uk) UK Festival of the Undead - photo by Grace Elkin photography (www.graceelkinphotography.co.uk) UK Festival of the Undead - photo by Grace Elkin photography (www.graceelkinphotography.co.uk) UK Festival of the Undead - photo by Grace Elkin photography (www.graceelkinphotography.co.uk)