Get some incredible gritty sci-fi reads from 5 Star rated authors, only 99p/c each.Read More
Hi there from a world that smells distinctly of rotten cabbage. Seriously. I have no idea why, but the world around me that two days ago had blue skies, uncomfortable temperatures and the haze of sea air has been replaced by fog, cold, wind, and the aforementioned cabbage smell. Living in the countryside is weird.
I’ve had a bit of a surreal few weeks for a variety of reasons that I won’t go into now, but I missed the opportunity to mark the second anniversary of my first novel, Blood on the Motorway, which is now officially two years and a few days old. That’s a weird thing to realise, that I’ve had a book baby out there for long enough that its human equivalent would be trashing my living room as it learned to walk. Not only that, but it’s got two siblings that are on their way there, too.
So, in order to honour the anniversary, and given that I’m not going to have a new book out for a while, I’ve decided to relaunch the whole trilogy. I’ve got lovely new covers, new blurbs and the like, and they are a go. So, behold, the new and improved Blood on the Motorway series!
Sexy, aren’t they?
Now we come to the part where I need your help. The point of the new covers and the relaunch is to get the books in front of more readers like yourself, but Amazon and the other stores still see it as a book that’s been out for a few years, so if I’m going to get it in front of readers then we’re going to need to tickle those algorithms.
So, I’ve put Blood on the Motorway at a discounted cost of 99p/99c. If you can spare that, and you’ve not yet bought the book, I’d really appreciate it if you could pick up a copy. If not, if you’ve enjoyed the book why not point them in that direction? Every share on Facebook or Twitter is worth a million ads or posts by me. Or, if you’ve not done so, you could leave a review. Every action like that tickles the mighty algorithm under the chin, and prompts the world’s longest river to put my book in front of more people that might like it. Hell, if we could get Blood… charting in one of the nebulous categories, that’d be amazing.
If you’ve not yet read it, then you’re in for a treat. It's the first book in a trilogy of murder and mayhem set against the backdrop of the end of the world. It follows a disparate group of ordinary people as they try to deal with the fallout.
There's Tom, an ex-student waiting for his life to start or the power to get cut off, whichever comes first. Jen works two jobs, hates both, and most days is too hungover to deal with either. Detective Burnett is trying to work out who the hell has turned his sleepy English village into a murder town.
Then the skies fill with a mysterious storm, and each of them wakes to find streets filled with bodies. The world they knew has gone, and their old lives with it. Now Tom finds himself at the hands of a deranged mercenary, Jen finds herself trying to keep two lovestruck teenagers alive, and Burnett must track down a killer who sees the apocalypse as an opportunity for more mayhem.
Who will survive this gripping and blackly comic saga of murder and stale sandwiches at the world’s end? Well, grab the first book and find out for yourself.
So, if you can spare it, and you want to support your indie author friend, please follow the link and pick up a discounted copy. I’d really appreciate it.
There’s some other rather exciting stuff, but I’ll come to that another time. In the meantime, if you can help get the word out, that’d be amazing.
Good afternoon. I hope you're enjoying your January, the endless void of which has only another seventeen years to endure before we reach February.
Did you know that my third novel, A Final Storm, is on sale now? Did you? Well, that’s not really surprising, since just about every thought that crosses my synapses these days is trying to find ever more convoluted ways to tell people about it. Chances are that if you've crossed my real-world or digital path these last few months, I've told you all about it. I'll have told you that it's the final book in the Blood on the Motorway trilogy (now available as a standalone trilogy, fact fans), that it brings to a close the epic saga of five very different people as they battle serial killers, despots and people who like to dress up like characters from Highlander while trying to survive the end of the world. I'll have told you that it's really rather good, and that you should absolutely spend a few quid on buying it because that's like injecting endorphins directly into my brainstem, and who wouldn't want to do that for a friend?
Those of you who have been paying attention may recall that when it comes to the Blood on the Motorway series, I have a bit of an odd approach to naming my chapters, and indeed my books. Blood on the Motorway is named after a DJ Shadow song, and the second novel, Sleepwalk City, is named for the 65daysofstatic song of the same name. This third novel is from a song by the vastly underrated Swedish goth metal band, Khoma.
The same is true of each and every chapter title in the novels, which are all named after songs that were rattling around the caverns of my mind while I was writing the book. Songs from the likes of Mogwai, Pearl Jam, Oathbreaker, Meshuggah, and PJ Harvey, which is a fairly eclectic mix, of itself. Given what an unspeakable music nerd I am, this is a good way to shoehorn some music trivia into an apocalyptic world where music is very low down people’s lists of concerns, somewhere just below hunger, whether the corpse dangling in the next street might be boobytrapped, and how to battle marauding gangs with a hangover.
The other bonus is that it creates a soundtrack of sorts to the whole proceedings, so that you, the reader, can enjoy the kind of sonic palette that was such a huge part of creating the world of the novel. I’ve made playlists in Spotify for each novel, and you can follow along with the one for A Final Storm below, or check out the soundtracks for the first two books over on my Spotify page, along with some of my other fun playlists.
When I first dreamed of becoming an author, back in the damp and musty days of the 1980’s, there was one image already indelibly etched in my mind about what it was that I wanted to achieve as a writer, and it came from a cinematic masterpiece.
Marty McFly has just come back to the future for the first time and found that his deadbeat parents have transformed into ultra yuppies (and weirdly moved into the EXACT same house as they lived in as deadbeats). Then Biff turns up with a package and the whole family crowds around. They open it, revealing the glory that is the proof copy of George McFly’s first book, which oddly coincides with being about the very thing the whole film was about. ‘Ooooh,’ they all crow, looking at the most generic 80’s sci-fi cover that someone in the props department at Lucasfilm could muster.
I wanted it. Not the book, per se. I wanted the unboxing, the removal of a professionally printed print book, that you have made. A book that without you, the writer, wouldn’t exist in the world.
When the first proof copy of Blood on the Motorway came back, I honestly nearly did a cry. Not because of all the hours I put into formatting the inside myself, or the two previous attempts that hadn’t been quite right. But because I finally had my George McFly moment. Sure, as an indie author I’m not going to be seeing my books in any bookstores anytime soon, and they cost more on Amazon than a traditionally published book, but they’re there. On sale. And there, on my bookcase.
Now, with the release of both A Final Storm and the complete Blood on the Motorway Trilogy, I wanted to give those first two books a revamp, which is exactly what I’ve done. So now, you can finally buy the final book in the series, or any of the books individually, or you can buy the complete trilogy as one doorstopper of a paperback. That last one might set you back a few quid, but hey, it is three whole books of murder and mayhem.
All four books are now reformatted to match each other, and new wraparound covers have been designed for the full series. The whole thing looks, well, chuffing lovely if you ask me. And the best part is that you can go and buy all of them, right now. Even if you just want a really expensive but quite lovely doorstop.
As George says: ‘You put your mind into it, you can accomplish anything.’
Earlier this morning, as I perused the perpetual misery engine that is Twitter, I saw a message from a man wanting book recommendations, specifically from authors. Tell me, he asked, five reasons why I should read your book.
Obviously, my immediate reaction was to mourn for the poor man’s mentions, lost to the void of endlessly self-promoting authors desperate for a slather of free promotion. Then, of course, my author brain kicked in, and I screamed at my screen that I HAVE A NEW BOOK ON SALE.
- It's a rip-roaring apocalyptic adventure of murder and stale sandwiches.
- The world ends, but not in a way you've seen before.
- There's a serial killer on the loose, which is bad timing for all involved.
- The characters are pretty damn cool, and some of them can be quite funny when they’re not fleeing for their lives.
- My mum said it's really good.
By now I imagine you’re saying to yourself that that’s all well and good, but what do other people think? Well, how about the bestselling author of 99 Red Balloons, Elisabeth Carpenter, who said the following: "I loved the Blood on the Motorway series! Set largely in the north of England, we follow a wonderful cast of characters as they try to survive an apocalyptic event that destroys most of the population. It has everything you could want in an end-of-the-world story. Perfect for fans of 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, and ITV's Survivors."
Not bad, eh?
Now, for the first time, the full Blood on the Motorway trilogy is now available as a single box set on Amazon and all the other bookstores, and for the staggeringly low price of £6.99/$8.99. That’s cheaper than buying the first two books and getting the third for free! Not only are you getting three excellent books, but you’re getting them for roughly the same price as a bottle of wine.
As for the guy who wrote the original tweet, well, he deleted that pretty quickly. Either that or the universe took pity on him and deleted it for him before his twitter folded in on itself.
It's Halloween, and that means just one thing. That's a lie, actually, Halloween means lots of things. Pumpkin carving, sexism in fancy dress costumes, kids at their cutest, sugar overloads, and the best Buffy episodes. But for the sake of this announcement, it means one thing: A Final Storm, the final book in the Blood on the Motorway trilogy, is on sale now! You can buy your copy at any of these fine retailers, at the click of a button.
So, what's it about, you may ask? Well, six months have passed since the storm laid waste to humanity, and life is approaching something like normality once more.
In Birmingham, Burnett's new Government is trying to stand on its own feet, while Lydia tries to find some peace. In London, Max is trying to keep his new family together and away from the psychotic gang leader making a play for the ruined city. Out on the road, Tom and Mira are grieving, just trying to stay alive, when bandits come to tear them apart.
But the sky is full of lights once more, and they'll need more than dumb luck to get them through this storm.
Who will survive, and who will thrive, in this heart-pounding finale to the Blood on the Motorway saga?
Find out for yourself, by picking up your copy of A Final Storm, today!
A few months back I was talking to a fellow apocalyptic author, and they were arranging a load of interviews with other authors for their blog, with the slightly odd theme of what to eat during the apocalypse. They sent me over a few questions, which I duly answered, and I never heard anything more. I think, judging by the tone of their questions, that they may have retreated to a survivalist bunker somewhere. After a few months of emails unanswered it seems they’ve forgotten all about these interviews, so I thought I might as well post it here; because what is more indicative of an author’s ego than them posting an interview they did with themselves? Enjoy!
How long have you been writing post-apocalyptic fiction?
I started writing the Blood on the Motorway series about six years ago, primarily off the back of reading the Walking Dead comics and thinking it was a really good idea to see what happened beyond the initial outbreak. Zombies were everywhere at the time so I decided to take a similar look at a world-ending event without the flesh-eating part, because I was more curious about just how people react to the extreme pressure. Being English, I was also interested to see a British take on what has predominantly been a more American genre.
What kind of apocalyptic event do you find most interesting?
As much as I love reading invasion stories, zombie hordes or nuclear apocalypses, what interested me was an event that dramatically reduces the population, but leaves the tools of civilisation unharmed. That way there’s an abundance of food, weaponry, vehicles, at least to begin with, but then it’s interesting to see people trying desperately to hold onto what they can of their old lives, and how people will use any excuse not to face up to reality.
What kind of apocalyptic event do you fear the most?
In terms of my personal fear, the threat of nuclear war has weighed heavily on my mind since I was still a young kid, reading a magazine that showed just how many warheads were out there. This was still during the tail end of the cold war, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared. I think the fact that to survive that in any way you’d have to completely isolate yourself and live your life in perpetual fear… it doesn’t bear thinking about.
Are you a prepper? At what level do you consider yourself? (e.g. beginner, moderate, hardcore)
If there’s a stage before beginner, that’s me. I’d like to think I’d be a bit like Shaun in Shaun of the Dead in the event of a crisis, but I’d probably stumble into a zombie horde while desperately checking Twitter to find out what was happening, and end up live tweeting my grisly demise.
Where do you think the ideal place to live is prior to an apocalyptic event? (e.g. a farm, a beach, an urban sprawl)
If living above ground after the event is a possibility, I’d be inclined to go more for farmland. Find a nice farm, board it up, and wait for it all to blow over. At least, that was my thought until I saw 28 Weeks Later. I’m based in the north of England, where you’re never more than an hour’s walk from some open land, and I think that’s probably the best place to be.
Shelter-in-place, or bug out?
I can’t think of anything worse than being trapped in a shelter, not knowing when you can leave, what’s going on outside. Unless it’s kitted out with a decent bookcase, and a functioning Netflix connection, in which case I could probably survive for a little while.
What do you plan to eat in the apocalypse?
Given my diet of pizzas and pastried goods, this would be my biggest struggle. I’d make my first priority learning how to hunt and cook the nearest available wildlife, but I’d probably just end up roaming from house to house, checking the cupboards for tins of beans for as long as I could.
What foods do you regularly stock in your home that would be adaptable to a post-apocalyptic situation?
I think you can’t go wrong with some pasta and some tinned tomatoes. Who doesn’t love a hastily-prepared pasta meal in the face of apocalyptic mayhem?
What is your preferred preservation method for post-apocalyptic foods? (e.g. canned, vacuum-packed, powdered, freeze-dried)
Tinned or canned foods are going to be a staple of your diet, but they’re bloody heavy if you’re on the move. I’ve had a few of my characters raid their local camping stores and get packets of the astronaut food you see on sale there, but I’ve no idea how edible that really is.
What's the primary factor for you in deciding on a survival food? Taste? Weight? Nutritional Value? Ease of preparation?
Probably a combination of all of the above. If you’re on the move you want lightweight but not oversized food that’s easy to prepare. If you’re holed up somewhere nice, with a wine cellar, you’re probably more focused on what goes well with a nice Shiraz.
What's the worst "survival food" you've ever tasted?
I’m not sure if it’s really a ‘survival food’, but we British seem obsessed with pickling things and putting them in jars. I’d imagine that’d come in quite handy in an apocalypse, but I think I’d rather die before I find myself eating pickled cockles.
What's the best?
After what I wrote before, I’m going to go with wine. I don’t think you could get through the end of the world without it.
Any special survival recipes you have up your camouflaged sleeves?
Spice up your generic pasta dishes with some wild mushrooms, for a fun three-way Russian Roulette game of ‘will this be tasty, will it lead me to trip off my tits, or will this kill me before the bowl is finished?’
What's the best survival food tip you've ever heard? (e.g. using a concrete surface to grind open tin cans)
In doing the research for the sequel to Blood on the Motorway, Sleepwalk City, I found out that if you’re not sure what kind of fuel you have, pour some out. Diesel will burn, but petrol won’t. Could be useful when you’re fleeing the zombie horde in an unfamiliar car.
Blood on the Motorway – An apocalyptic tale of murder and stale sandwiches, is available on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and more besides. The sequel, Sleepwalk City, is available on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and many more.
Welcome to Discovery Park – the chronicle of my increasingly frustrated attempt to listen to every album on Rolling Stone's Top 500 Albums of all-time list, is available now on Amazon Uk, Amazon.com, iBooks, Kobo, and many more.
In a turn of events I would term ‘a bit of a surprise’, I looked at my diary this morning and realised that Blood on the Motorway, my first novel, came out one year ago. Time sure flies when you’re shouting at strangers to buy your book every day.
It’s been a hell of a year. I mean, obviously, but I’m thinking about my book here. It’s been read by hundreds of people, all willing to take a punt on a new writer, something that makes me eternally grateful every day. There have been a few dozen reviews, too, scattered across the various buying platforms. It’s all been rather splendid. Once again, if you’ve been one of the people to take the time or the chance to read the book, or its sequel Sleepwalk City, thank you.
There’s nothing that means more to a writer than to know someone’s out there reading your book. It’s like heroin, which is the only real explanation for any of us writing more books, to be honest. Oh, and if you read it and then took the time to leave a review, you are a sainted and wonderful person and may all of the good things come your way.
Anyway, for the first anniversary, I have news. Blood on the Motorway has a brand new cover! Look!
I love the original cover of Blood on the Motorway, designed by the incredible Dominic Sohor, but with the cover for Sleepwalk City and the final book in the series, A Final Storm, being so different, I wanted to bring it in line with the rest of the trilogy. So, I’ve retained the artwork of Dom’s original, but tweaked it to reflect the rest of the series.
Of course, this means that if you bought the original version in print, you now have an incredibly rare collectible first edition, so congrats to the three people who did that. I have two at home, so maybe I’ll save them for when I’m rich and famous and I’ll sell them to make myself even more rich, and even more famous.
To celebrate this relaunch, of sorts, I’m offering those of you who haven’t had a chance to read Blood on the motorway yet the chance to get their hands on the ebook, completely free! So, if you like apocalyptic horror stories with serious shades of dark humour, why not pick it up today? Just click on the box below, and tell me where to send it.