A couple of weeks ago on my Twitter feed, I alluded to some exciting news:
I couldn’t say any more at the time, because things were still awaiting signatures and so on, but today – I can!
A little over two years ago, my debut novella, The Balance, was let loose upon the world. As any author will likely tell you, this was a moment of pride, terror, enthusiasm and trepidation on a rinse/repeat cycle. I had absolutely no idea whatsoever how it would be received.
Thanks to the amazing reaction of readers over the past couple of years, along with the promotion and word of mouth recommendations of a number of readers and fellow writers, the publisher of the book, Lycan Valley Press Publications, have approached me about putting together four new folkloric horror novellas between now and the end of 2024. I’ve now signed on to do just that.
As readers of my newsletter will know, this summer I’ll be transitioning to a 9 months’ writing/3 months’ intensive working plan for the next few years. I have been lining up projects to make that writing time productive, plotting out the details of the first two books. Both folkloric horror novellas. I’m incredibly excited to be working with Lycan Valley again – who did such an excellent job on the eBook, physical and audio editions of The Balance – and for the serendipitous timing which now means I can get on with the work and focus fully on making these books the absolute best they can be.
I don’t want to give away too much about the new books yet, but the first is going to be loosely connected to this image:
So come, sit around the fire. I’ve got some stories to tell you.
My novella, Below, has resurfaced. After launching last summer, Below was selling steadily, until a meltdown with Silver Shamrock Publishing occurred and the book was pulled from sale, along with the rest of the publisher’s catalogue. Readers of my newsletter will now know that the wonderful Brigids Gate Press kindly stepped in and offered to put the book back out into the world. They had Kealan Patrick Burke of Elderlemon Design tweak the already incredible cover design to distinguish it from the original release and, as of the end of last week, my book is back out there in the world.
Wondering what Below is all about? Here’s the synopsis:
Decades after his grandfather was buried alive in a Californian gold mine, Dr. Nick Jones teams up with an adventure travel influencer to venture underground and film a documentary, telling the story of what really happened.
What should be a dream come true soon becomes a nightmare as someone or something stirs…BELOW.
I recently spoke to Edward Lorn, aka E, on his YouTube show, From The Desk, about Below. You can check out the conversation and find out a little more about it here:
I wanted to go on the record to say that working with Silver Shamrock Publishing put my book into the hands of a huge number of reviewers and got it before an enormous number of eyes via social media. It also afforded me the chance to be edited by the brilliant Kenneth Cain, who taught me an enormous amount about writing technique, even in the process of tightening up this 150-page novella. I’ll be forever grateful for that.
It’s important to point out, though, that even before the situation which brought about the end of the press, there was cause for concern with the Silver Shamrock. I never received author copies of the original release of Below. Nor did I receive any royalty payments. Having spoken to other authors on the roster, I know that I was not the only one in this position. So, while I am saddened by the loss of a publisher who was prepared to take chances on stories other presses were not, it is a chapter which is perhaps better closed.
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.