The Balance – My Debut Novella – Coming 28 April

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It’s both a tremendously exciting and a terrifying time for me, as my debut novella now has a release date. On 28 April, The Balance will be available in all the usual online stockists, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble and so forth. The early release eBook and audiobook versions are available now, with versions appearing on Apple books, Audible and so on in the coming days and weeks. US readers can pre-order the paperback here. There are currently some problems with the Amazon listing of the book, so Kindle users will need to buy direct from the publisher at the link above.

Here’s the back cover synopsis for The Balance:

When myth becomes nightmare … The price of blood is always blood. The Balance Cover High Quality

Natalia’s in trouble. She only looked away for a second, and now her brother’s hurt. Her relationship with her mother is fractured, her brother’s condition is deteriorating, and her only hope lays deep in the unforgiving forest. A secret spoken only in whispers offers a way out. But when help comes in occult forms a sacrifice may be the only way to restore the balance. 

Humanity and nature collide in The Balance by Kev Harrison, a modern reimagining of the Slavic folk tale of Baba Yaga, set in Cold War Poland. 

Why Poland?

Though I’ve now lived and am very much settled in Portugal, I spent three incredible years of my life living and working in Poland. It was a place I knew little or nothing about when I arrived and one that shall now remain close to my heart and forever feel like home.

The person of Baba Yaga is just one of a multitude of characters woven into the fascinating (and often terrifying) folk lore of the Slavic nations. It’s easy to understand how dark folk tales manage to remain so vividly remembered and so present in modern culture when you consider the history of the place.

Few nations have had their borders redrawn as often as Poland and, of course, the scars of both World War II and its status as a Soviet client state throughout the cold war are particularly raw wounds. A friend of mine told me once, as I left the Schindler museum (from where Oscar Schindler saved thousands from execution) in a state of shocked silence, “You learn about history from books. We learn about it from our grandfathers.” Of course, a great many from Great Britain suffered immensely and gave their lives in the second world war, but the stories of Nazi occupation and the quasi-occupied state that followed liberation, with permanent states of rationing, corruption and constant fear for one’s life, explained much about the psyche of the people of the country. They also explained to me the way folk stories, myths and legends have retained their presence in society until today.

I chose this period of the Cold War, in a rural town, in the heart of a harsh Eastern European winter, as the perfect setting for supplies to run short and for desperation to lead people back to the old ways.

I’ll be writing more about The Balance in the coming weeks before the paperback release. In the meantime, here is a preview of the Audiobook, narrated by Desmond Manny:

Warding is Reborn

Two and a bit years ago, when I started taking this writing thing seriously (after a lifetime of being a wannabe writer but never putting the work in!) I wrote some terrible stories, some mediocre stories and some that floated between the two.

Then, I wrote ‘Warding.’

I think every writer has that first piece that they write and think: “Okay, I’m onto something here.”

‘Warding’ was mine.

Written off the back of seeing the compelling submission call for Below the Stairs: Tales from the Cellar, I submitted the story and – in spite of the length of the tale (around eleven thousand words) – Steve Dillon of Things in the Well opted to take a chance on me and my tale.

BelowtheStairsAnd that was my first step toward being a ‘real’ writer.

I’m still new. Still learning all the time. Still improving. But still proud of ‘Warding’, too.

As such, I commissioned a piece of cover art, by Graphics in Design and set about writing some author notes and a short introduction so that, two years later, I could get ‘Warding’ back out into the world.

So here it is, for just 99p/99¢ or a similarly low price, depending upon your territory as well as being available for FREE on Kindle unlimited. I hope you enjoy it.

Get your copy here.

Warding Cover VF-3

New free audio story ‘The Solstice,’ available now on Hawk and Cleaver’s The Other Stories Podcast

TheSolsticeOne of the things I love to do in my fiction is to use real-world folklore as inspiration, conjuring something dark and exciting from it.

This new story, ‘The Solstice,’ is a particular thrill for me, as it’s set in Portugal, my adopted home nation and uses folklore from the north of the country as the backdrop.

The masks described in the story, and the purpose for which they’re made, are still relevant today in the Tras-Os-Montes region of the country. I’d love to know what you think of it.

You can listen in the sidebar, below or wherever you listen to podcasts:

 

New free audio story – ‘Afraid Of My Own Shadow’ now on Tales to Terrify

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*** Trigger warning – This story contains scenes of violence and gore that some listeners may find difficult ***

I’m delighted to announce that my story, ‘Afraid Of My Own Shadow’ has been published today on Tales To Terrify.

This is a story that had a complicated evolution and was actually written twice, once from the perspective of the ‘monster’ as it happened and the other time as it appears here, as a police interview, recounting the events.

My wonderful beta readers unanimously preferred this version, as it ratcheted up the curiosity about the events and the ambiguous nature of what had happened. I hope you enjoy it!

In the same episode, you will also hear Gertrude Atherton’s ‘The Striding Place.’ Listen now, below.

New podcast: Listen to me on Madness Heart Radio with John Baltisberger

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of chatting with John Baltisberger on his podcast, Madness Heart Radio.

On the show, we talked about my story, ‘Contaminated,’ in Madness Heart Press’ first anthology Creeping Corruption, along with my novelette, Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See and my story, ‘Snap’ in the new In Darkness, Delight: Creatures of the Night anthology.

We also got into talking about living in different parts of the world and the effect that has had on me as a person and on my writing, as well as how running, walking and fishing are so compatible with the writing process.

Check it out: