"It’d be pretty easy to look at that downward slope and think ‘I need a sports car to get me down that.’" New blog post on only having four weeks of my youth left.Read More
A few months back, I set up a Patreon, on the off-chance people might like to just, I dunno, give me money. I just let it site there for a while with some vague promises of exclusive content and Q&A’s and that, and figured if anyone bothered to show up I’d do all those things.
But the more I thought about it, the more I really like the idea, so i’m revamping the damn thing, and realised it might not the the worst damn idea in the world to actually let people know about it.
So, I have a Patreon!
That’s all well and good, you might be saying, but why the hell would you want to give me money every month? Well, for the not-exactly-princely sum of $2 a month, you will get access to the following:
A new short story, every single Thursday. So far there are already six stories available for members, so you’ll already be getting great value for money. So far there’s a tale of a mysteriously missing gas tanker, a gluten-intolerant vampire, a psychic kid, and a zombie story with a real kick in the tail.
You'll also get exclusive access to WIP, character and world profiles, member-only blog posts, exclusive content, discounts on merchandise, and a monthly Q&A with me. That’s all for roughly £1.54 a month in British Pounds, or £3756.59 in post-Brexit money.
If you want to really support me, you can opt for the higher tiers. $5 a month will get you all the above, plus every single book I release a week before it comes out, and $10 will get you signed print copies, as well as everything else.
So, if you want to show your support, or you just want some cool short stories that you won’t read anywhere else, check out the button below!
As anyone who’s ever been foolish enough to try and write a novel will know, the biggest thing standing between you and the finished book is not the limits of your imagination, finding the time to write, or even writer’s block. No, the true enemy of the writer is procrastination.
It’s amazing, once you commit to sitting in the chair and getting some words down, how many other things present themselves as utterly urgent. Ironing, the internet, the urgent need to sharpen pencils. Or, in my case, making Spotify playlists.
It’s an addiction. I have hundreds of them, all arranged in folders, almost all created when i should have been writing. Today may well have been my nadir. Today I have completely wasted an entire writing day making a playlist of music to listen to while writing.
I am, as I’ve noted before, an idiot.
Still, it’s a pretty damn good playlist, if you’re into writing while listening to an array of music that sounds like the world is coming to an end in the most spectacularly aggressive or miserable way imaginable. It’s crammed full of post rock instrumentals, post metal aggression, and oddball weirdness. And I may have lost a whole day making it, but as I finish editing Sunrise in the next few days and move straight on to writing the second draft of its follow up, Sunburn, it’s going to be a pretty killer soundtrack.
Anyway, if you’re a fellow writer in need of some musical accompaniment, or just a fan of musical genres prefixed by the word ‘post’, check it out below.
Blood on the Motorway: An apocalyptic trilogy of murder and stale sandwiches is out now in ebook and print from Amazon and all other good bookstores. You can get the first book free by joining my mailing list or read along at Wattpad. Oh, and I’ve got a Patreon. Sign up for free books, a free weekly short story, and much more.
If you ever wondered why you can't read my books in Kindle Unlimited, here's why.Read More
Over the course of many books, I’ve compiled a handy list of things that sharpen up my writing, so here it is, for your self-editing needs.Read More
Something happened to me back in November that I can’t seem to shake. A simple interaction over on my weekly mailing list (sent every Tuesday to an elite group of my readers). It was back on the day of the American Midterm elections.
Those of you who know me will know just how obsessive I can get about American politics. It’s a compulsion. It’s like watching sports, except there are no clear winners and somehow we all lose. But I’m very invested in it. I blame Martin Sheen.
Anyway, as America went to the polls, I couldn’t help but reach out to my predominantly American mailing list with a small request. As I wrote in my mail:
“I love the States. The culture of your land runs through me like candy corn. You know how so many Americans consider themselves Anglophiles? Well, consider me the opposite. My favourite bands are American. My favourite authors. Most of my favourite films and tv shows. Hell, I even studied American Politics at University. I consider Aaron Sorkin to be almost at deity level.
So, and please do take this with the greatest of respect (and with the full knowledge this might earn me a few angry responses), as someone who loves your country so much, please can I implore all of you who are Stateside to go and do your best to go out today and vote to save it? It feels increasingly like you guys are standing at some kind of last chance saloon, and I’ll be staying up most of the night tonight to see if you make it through. Hell, if you mail me back to tell me you’ve done so, I’ll even send you a free ebook.”
I sent it. My initial fears that I had opened up a can of American brand gammon on my own arse were swiftly quashed. I had a number of quite lovely responses from readers excited to get out to the polls, some even taking me up on that free book. As the results came in and were not too shabby, there were even a few elated and relieved readers mailing me their stories. And my unsubscribe rate from that particular mail remained fairly low. All told, a good thing.
But, of course, I did get one.
“Guess I’m on the other side and now you've brought this to the fiction I read. You have literally lost me.”
I sent a cordial response, but the tone of that reply, it’s something that’s gotten under my skin in the weeks since. In particular, it’s that one line – “now you've brought this to the fiction I read” – that grabbed me. It brought to mind a lyric from an old Skunk Anansie song I perhaps didn’t understand fully at the time, but which I do now – ‘Yes, it’s fucking political. Everything’s political.’
I consider myself to be a pretty political person, even if I’ve long ago given up on the notion of online debate as a means to resolve the stark differences in our society. But I’m a writer. A writer of genre fiction about killer storms, space monsters and telepaths, yes, but a writer nonetheless. It might not be right out there, front and centre, but politics is key to the stories that I write, and to the characters who live them.
Then yesterday, I had a quick check of my books to see if there were any new reviews, and WOWSERS. This is from the UK Amazon listing for Sleepwalk City.
Apparently I need to brush up on my concept of Western European Identity. I love this review, more than I can say. It's hard to choose a favourite part, but I'm going to go for the errant comma in the third sentence. I’m going to go ahead and assume that for the most part, it’s not going to cost me any sales, and those it might would probably not end up as part of ‘my tribe.’
The Blood on the Motorway trilogy is, at its heart, a story about the battle between good and evil. Not based on any mythological gods or great powers, but on people. It’s about the decisions we make, and the way we approach things. We choose, every day. A thousand small choices, and each of those speaks to who we are as people. Do you approach the world with empathy, or with concern only for yourself? For characters like Tom, Leon, Mira, Burnett, Jen, and the others, it’s these choices that inform who they are, and which rebuild or destroy the fragile world around them. It’s that, personal choice, which decides the balance between good and evil in those stories.
As I’m editing Sunrise, my next novel, I’m seeing the same question play out, albeit on a bigger canvas. But at its heart, I’m still trying to work out that chasm between empathy and its hollow opposite. It’s a story about where we might be heading, about the consequences of the terrible mistakes we seem to be making right now, and how it’ll be choices that get us out of it, in the end. But with space monsters. And telepaths.
I’m not saying that you can’t sit at the opposite end of the spectrum to me and enjoy my books. I welcome everyone. You might disagree with me on, well, everything, and still like my books. That’s great, because my books are not me, and I’m not my books. But I’m not going to entertain for one second the notion of ‘not bringing politics into it’. Because politics is there, in every choice we make. It all goes back to empathy. It’s not ‘keep your politics out of it’, it’s ‘don’t challenge my politics because I’m not comfortable with that.’ And that’s a whole other thing. It’s a choice.
Incidentally, if you’d like to join the mailing list and get weekly updates, a free copy of my first novel, Blood on the Motorway, a free short story, and much more, you can sign up below. Go on, you know you want to.
Blood on the Motorway: An apocalyptic trilogy of murder and stale sandwiches is out now in ebook and print from Amazon and all other good bookstores. You can get the first book free by joining my mailing list or read along at Wattpad. Oh, and I’ve got a Patreon. Sign up for free books, a free weekly short story, and much more
Hey there, a very Happy New Year to you. 2019, eh? Nearly at the end of the second decade of what could charitably be called ‘that difficult third millennium.’ Only 98 more decades to go!
I know, I know, looking back at the past with rose-tinted glasses is a fool’s game, or at least one best left to the Brexiteering Gammons sneering at Vegan Sausage Rolls and Halal Toblerones. But it’s hard not to think back to those first few months of the year 2000 – before those planes flew into a building, when the internet didn’t look like a piss-filled boil, when the Backstreet boys looked like music’s nadir – and wonder how much more of an inexorable decline we’re in for, as a species.
On which note, how would you like some free Apocalyptic books?! I mean, am I king of the segue, or what? I should be on Radio 2 or something. Anyway, Blood on the Motorway is one of over twenty novels and novellas with a decidedly end-of-the-world slant available on Bookfunnel’s ‘In the Dead of Winter’ promotion, which is running throughout January. The price? Absolutely free!
There’s some cracking authors involved in this one, too, including the excellent Steve Turnbull. I can thoroughly recommend you pick up his book Purity, but there’s a load of others in there, too. And, of course, if you’ve not yet picked up Blood on the Motorway, the first book in my apocalyptic thriller trilogy, now’s as good a time as any.
The best part is, Bookfunnel will deliver your free books anywhere you’d like, digitally speaking. Send it to the Kindle App on your phone, send it to Apple Books, Kobo, or just download it straight to your phone. The choice is yours. And what better way to pull yourself away from the fear and loathing of your social media feed than to have a prime slice of apocalyptic fiction to read on your lunch break?
So hit the button now, grab yourself a free book or three, and get your fill of the world’s end before the real thing comes along.
Blood on the Motorway: An apocalyptic trilogy of murder and stale sandwiches is out now in ebook and print from Amazon and all other good bookstores. You can get the first book free by joining my mailing list or read along at Wattpad. Oh, and I’ve got a Patreon, where subscribers get a free short story every single week, along with a range of other goodies.
As I wrote a few weeks back, one of the main advantages of having a blog is the ability to set yourself yearly goals and then look back and judge yourself against them. It’s also one of the worst things about having a blog, so you have to make sure that the goals are reasonable, and achievable by you. For instance, there’s no point in my putting the goal of not being boiled alive in a nuclear strike. As much as that is very much a goal of mine, I have no real input as to whether Donald Trump is going to get his spelling wrong and target Cirencester rather than China. Let’s face it, that’s not entirely out of the realms of possibility.
So, realistic goals achievable by me. Well, let’s start with…
Release three books. This year I should be able to release not one, but two books in the Sunset Chronicles, as well as a collection of short stories. That will be roughly a quarter of a million words published. Phew!
Write two new books. All the books I’ll be releasing next year are already at draft stage, so while I’ll be working on them, I’ll also be writing first drafts of two entirely new books, from an entirely new series. I don’t want to give too much away yet, but it’s a genre I’ve always wanted to write in, and a story that’s been kicking around my head for years. I’m quite excited to get to it.
Build, build, build. Last year I set myself the target to break even, but that was a silly idea, like opening up a shop and deciding you’re only going to buy inventory for the first two years. Running a business, even a creative one, takes investment, and I’ll be continuing to invest in this business to help it grow. Now, if one of the books takes off, great, but I’m not counting on immediate success. And anything that comes in will be used to reinvest. I’m lucky to be in a position to do that. That being said, I’m hoping for a good solid increase in readers.
Find my tribe. I’ll be writing more about this in the new year, but I really want to find some people to be in a writing partnership with. I have some really exciting ideas around publishing in the modern age, and really want to follow in the footsteps of pioneers like the Hawk and Cleaver guys, but I need to find the right people first.
Health. Yadda yadda yadda. Same as every year. I do need to lose weight, and I fully intend to. I will, I will, I will. I’ve recently moved to one of those flexitarian lifestyles you hear the kids talking about these days, but seem to have forgotten that just eating cheese by the gallon won’t make you thin.
Buy a house. This might be subject to Brexit and all that, but that’s definitely top of the list this year. I’ve only put it at number two because I know I really need to lose weight.
Explore our new home. We’ve been down in the south for a few months now, and we love it, so far. But there’s so much to do and explore that at the moment, it’s a bit daunting. Couple that with the fact that we’ve spent so much time and effort getting the kids settled in and making friends, we’ve not really had much time to do the same for ourselves. I want this place to be home, and it’s not, yet.
So there you go. I’ll just leave this here for now, and then come back at the end of the year, see what’s what.
Blood on the Motorway: An apocalyptic trilogy of murder and stale sandwiches is out now in ebook and print from Amazon and all other good bookstores. You can get the first book free by joining my mailing list or read along at Wattpad. Oh, and I’ve got a Patreon.