This is the first update here in a while and it’s good news, to tell you that my East London occult gangster bloodbath, ‘Communion’ has been adapted by the fine people at Tales to Terrify. If you read my recent newsletter, you may already be aware of this, but if not, here’s everything you need to know:
Featuring in Tales To Terrify’s episode, alongside the story ‘Tinnytus’ by Colyn Rogers, is my story ‘Communion.’ Until now, the only way to read this story was by picking up my short fiction collection, Paths Best Left Untrodden, or by breaking into my house and reading it on my computer, which seems like a lot of work. So now, for the first time, you can check the story out, recreated wonderfully by debut narrator Andrew Gibson, here:
Were Tales: A Shapeshifter Anthology, featuring my story, ‘Refuge,’ was released yesterday through Brigids Gate Press. I was invited to contribute a story to the anthology by editor S. D. Vassallo, with the instructions to try and use a shapeshifter that wasn’t the archetypal werewolf.
I put my thinking cap on and started scouring the web and various folklore sources for shapeshifters from cultures around the world. After some narrowing down and plotting out of some potential scenarios, I was torn between the Kitsune of Japan – a magical were fox – and the Berserker of northern and eastern Europe.
Just as my indecisiveness was beginning to get me down, the central character of my eventual story, Johan, came to me in crystal clarity and I was set on the Berserker from there on in. Johan is an older protagonist. One who’s seen and done pretty much everything in his life and has the scars to show for it. But also someone who has rejected the violence of the past. Now he has something beyond himself to protect. I hope people will get as much out of reading the story as I did in writing it.
What I didn’t know when I sat down to write ‘Refuge’ was quite how talented the other writers and poets on the TOC were going to be. I’m honoured to share pages with people like Jonathan Maberry, Gabino Iglesias, Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason (aka the sisters of slaughter), Linda Addison, Eric J. Guignard, Cynthia Pelayo, Beverley Lee, Alyson Faye, Stephanie Wytovich, Laurel Hightower, Tabatha Wood, Stephanie Ellis, Catherine McCarthy … I could go on and on (and on!). Hell, even the introduction was written by a legend in Ronald Kelly. It goes without saying that I’m delighted to be among such talented people.
Already near the top of the ‘Hot New Releases’ list on Amazon for horror, I hope and believe this book is going to be a big hit. Don’t miss it, grab your copy here.
So, here and in my newsletter, I’ve been dropping teasers about new releases for a while. But with all of them, I’ve been waiting on permission to talk about them. That permission has arrived and so I’m here to share the news.
First up, coming in August is Below, my new novella, released through Silver Shamrock Publishing on August 17th. With it coming from Silver Shamrock, I knew it was going to have cover art by Kealan Patrick Burke’s other-worldly Elder Lemon Design. What I had not anticipated, however, was that it would be this level of masterpiece:
To say I’m pleased with it is to downplay my emotional response a thousand fold. I’m confident the cover will sell copies of the book to people who’ve never heard of me and who have no idea what’s held within those 146 pages. And that, after all, is the idea.
What is within those pages, you might ask?
Here’s the synopsis: Nick has revered his grandfather his entire life. The absent hero, his namesake, buried alive in his final act of courage an ocean and thousands of miles away. Jess has outgrown her status as an all-action social media celebrity and the endless demands that come with it.
Adventure Travel TV has thrown this unlikely duo together, promising Jess the launchpad she craves and Nick the chance to tell his grandfather’s story first-hand, in the newly uncovered mine that still holds his remains from the twilight days of the gold rush. Is it a dream come true or a nightmare as someone or something stirs…BELOW.
Watch out for my appearance on the Deadheadspace podcast in early August (hopefully among others) when I’ll be talking about the book.
Later in the year, there are two incredibly exciting anthologies featuring stories of mine.
The first of these is A Silent Dystopia. Edited by David T. Griffith and released through Demain Publishing, this book is a collection of stories set in Dave Jeffery’s A Quiet Apocalypse universe. If you’re not familiar with the subject matter, I strongly recommend you familiarise yourself with the original canon of three books A Quiet Apocalypse, Cathedraland The Samaritan.
Dave has been tremendously kind to me since I began writing and, to be asked to contribute a story to an anthology which explores a fictional world which has moved me so profoundly was one of the most surreal moments in my author-life to date.
My story in the book is titled ‘The Courier’ and features a smuggler called Saul, based in the south west of England and, I believe, is one of my strongest pieces to date.
‘The Courier’ will appear alongside stories by Steve Stred, Stephanie Ellis, J. A. Sullivan, John Palisano and others in a book that I hope and believe fans of the AQA series will really get a lot out of.
Finally, my story, ‘Refuge’, has been accepted to appear in another of this year’s most exciting anthologies. The first release from the brand new publishing house, Brigid’s Gate Publishing, Were Tales: A Shapeshifter Anthology features stories and poems of were-creatures. ‘Refuge’ is set in Sweden, and features a were-creature native to the norse region. It will sit alongside work by a multitude of incredible writers and poets, including Jonathan Maberry, Linda D. Addison, Stephanie Ellis, Eric J. Guignard, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Laurel Hightower, Cina Pelayo, Gabino Iglesias and many more. More news on this and A Silent Dystopia when pre-order links are live.
I’m freshly returned from a (socially distanced) holiday in Malta and have a few projects coming to fruition. First up is my story, ‘Shaft,’ which is featured in the latest (and final) edition of Trickster’s Treats, the annual halloween, charity anthology from Things in the Well. As you may know, after putting out almost forty excellent releases over the past few years, Steve Dillon has decided to call it a day running the press, to focus more on family life and his own writing. So many people have been given a break by Steve, myself included, with my first proper sale coming for ‘Warding’ in his anthology Below the Stairs: Tales From the Cellar, you can read more about that here.
But onto Trickster’s Treats 4: Coming, Buried or Not. This anthology has been edited by Louise Zedda-Sampson and Geneve Flynn, and it was a great experience, as Things in the Well anthos usually are, with some great editing bringing the most out of my story. The story is called ‘Shaft,’ but has nothing to do with a policeman who breaks all the rules. It’s set at Stonehenge in the UK, where a circular shaft was recently discovered nearby. That news story fused with the call for the anthology and the story kind of wrote itself. There is some visceral nastiness that I think and hope readers are going to get a thrill out of.
Curfew is the second release of mine to come through Demain Publishing’s Short Sharp Shocks range of titles. My first one, Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See, first saw the light of day last April and was my first solo release. I’m pleased to say that novelette is still finding new readers today and, by and large, they seem to be enjoying it.
Curfew moves away from folk horror in a sense, yet retains certain elements of it. A small community, strange practices and the main characters as outsiders all feature here. But I do feel the vibe is different from both Cinders… and The Balance. I won’t say much more, as it’s not a terribly long tale and I don’t want to spoil it. For now, it is available only in eBook format, but it will be reproduced in paperback format early in 2021, and my short story ‘Haldjas,’ which was originally produced in audio on Hawk and Cleaver’s The Other Stories podcast, will be appearing in print for the first time.
I’m thrilled to announce that my story, ‘A Precious Quarry’ is the feature story on today’s Tales to Terrify. This story is a sci-fi horror piece, set on an experimental mining vessel sent out to drill precious minerals from huge lumps of space rock in the asteroid belt of our solar system. Let’s just hope that when such projects start to come to fruition in reality over the next few years, things don’t go as badly as they do for the crew of the Pegasus.
This story was written in 2018 and found its first home in Things in the Well’s superb sci-fi horror anthology, Beyond the Infinite: Tales from the Outer Reaches. Getting a slot in this anthology was a bit of a dream for me, as it meant my story sat side by side with masters of horror, like Ramsey Campbell and Brian Lumley, as well as H. G. Wells – a sci-fi legend from the town where I grew up.
But enough blathering from me, check out the story for free, below and I hope you enjoy it – Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!