I’ve had a song going around my head for a few weeks now, while I’ve been taking something of a scorched earth policy to my creative empire — The Orange Juice post-punk classic, Rip It Up. If you’re not familiar, these lyrics in particular are currently freewheeling somewhat sardonically about my cranium:
And there was times I’d take my pen
And feel obliged to start againRip it Up, by Orange Juice
If you’ve been following my journey since the early days of Blood on the Motorway, then you’ll know that I’m somewhat partial to a rebranding. Part of this is down to an undiagnosed but who-the-hell-am-I-kidding-of-course-I-do case of ADHD, part of it is that I’ve somewhat fallen in love with the visual design side of my creativity and I like making new covers.
When I decided to quit writing early in 2023, I took all my books down from sale. Part of this was self-interest (I didn’t want to find myself checking sales constantly or being sucked into updating stuff periodically or maintaining a website, all that jazz. The other part was the sage self-realisation that if I ever did come back, I wouldn’t want to just… come back. So I just took it all down.
Since deciding to come back sometime around October, I decided that it was time to bring everything I had done so far back with a sense of coherence. A house style, if you will. I wanted to take everything I’d learned from a design perspective and cook up something that means that, moving forward, you’re gonna know when something’s mine. I think I’ve achieved that, and so, it’s time to emerge from this cocoon, hopefully with more grace than Derek Smalls climbing out of his.
So, here’s all the news that’s fit to print:
Blood on the Motorway is the first book to come back on sale. Not only does my first novel have a swanky new cover, it is now permanently free in ebook, which will be the case for all my books moving forward. If you want a paperback version (and who wouldn’t, with them looking this sexy?), these should be around in the next week or so. I’ll let you know as soon as they are, or you can visit the new page for the Blood books right bloody here on my new website:
Did you say website?
I did! You may have noticed that things look a bit different around here, and that’s all part of the branding, baby. Have a look around, and make sure you sign up for the newsletter. I’m no longer offering a free download to go with your subscription because all my books are going to be free anyway, but you’ll see new sections for the Blood and Sunset Chronicles series, as well as the podcasts.
Podcasts, you say?
Again, yes. Glad you’re paying attention. Bleakwood, my horror anthology podcast, came back a few months back and has had new episodes written by Dan Howarth, Kev Harrison, Sam Tindale, and me! Check it out if you like a short spooky tale every month.
All Creatives Now is the podcast I run with the aforementioned Kev Harrison, horror author extraordinaire, in which we talk to creatives of all different stripes about their creative journeys. Since we came back we’ve had chats with Zomblogalypse co-creator Miles Watts, and horror authors T.C. Parker and Alan Baxter. Come check it out!
Some general housekeeping
You may have noticed that this blog post, and the newsletter that likely brought you to it, are no longer on Substack. I feel like most of the last year has been a bit like the end of The Lost Boys when Grandpa wearily exclaims: “One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach: all the damn vampires.” Just substitute Santa Carla for the internet, and vampires for Nazis, and you have a pretty neat summation of 2023.
As much as I liked the promise of what Substack could be, I couldn’t continue to use a service that not only turns a blind eye to far-right extremism, but amplifies it, monetises it, and hides behind spurious free-speech debates that wouldn’t hold water in my son’s debate classes. The same goes for Twitter, which is why you’ll no longer find me at either. For the moment the Substack will act as an archive for all my old blog posts going right the way back to my Livejournal days, but I’ll likely find somewhere else to hide that. As for social media, you’ll find me now at Bluesky, Threads, and Instagram, as well as round the back of my local Dixon’s, chuffing away on twenty menthols. No, probably not that last one, actually.
I’m back! Over the next few weeks the rest of the Blood Trilogy will be back on sale, and then it’ll be the Sunset Chronicles, as well as an upcoming brand new book for you all to enjoy in the coming months. I’ll be back in the next few days with my customary run down of the year just gone (with some fun playlists) and a look ahead to the year of ALL THE ELECTIONS. Won’t that be fun?
If you want to drop me a line leave a comment below, and if you’ve never read Blood on the Motorway before, now’s the time to get in on the action. And remember, if you like what you read, tell EVERYONE.