Wednesday, August 29, 2012

'Siblings' Anthology Now Available

I am pleased to announce that the 'Siblings' anthology, part of Hersham Horror Books' Pentanth series, is now available.

This book features five stories on the subject of siblings with dark secrets. The other four authors, in addition to myself, are Richard Farren Barber, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Sam Stone and Stuart Hughes.

The book will be officially launched at this year's FantasyCon. We have a signing table there at 12 noon on Saturday 29 September.

'Siblings' is now available to buy from Amazon, in Kindle and paperback format.

Take a look at Hersham Horror Press's website for more info about present and future publications.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Generally I don't post when I'm stressed. When I'm stressed I get grumpy, and I don't want my blog posts to turn into long whinges. However, I am doing so today for reasons I hope will become clear later.

I've had a couple of holidays this summer, which were not stressful in themselves, but coming back to work after time away always makes me regret going away in the first place - the work piles up when I'm gone, and suddenly there isn't enough time to do everything.

I seem to have been struck by a series of ailments over the last few weeks - nothing serious or long lasting, but it has meant I've spent altogether too much time sitting in hospital waiting rooms.

We are in the process of buying and selling property, which is a long, drawn out and stressful process. I'm not going to say too much about this at this stage, because English property law being what it is, nothing is set before exchange, anything can go wrong - and frequently does - before that stage, and so it's best not to assume it's actually going to happen until the keys are in your hand. However, the process involves dealing with estate agents and solicitors, which is stressful enough without all the other stuff going on.

Most crucially, though, I am still wrestling with the WIP. I am mired in the "my writing is rubbish" stage, believing the whole thing needs dismantling and putting back together, and I am not sure where to start.

However, I am starting to think that life stress is connected to writing stress and vice versa. When the writing is going well I am in a much better frame of mind and can pretty much handle whatever life throws at me. When it's not going well, suddenly all kinds of other hassle creeps in - notably, things that wouldn't be bothering me quite so much if the writing was going well. I started today with an early morning writing session that didn't go at all well - I spent much of that hour staring at the page thinking what I had written was complete rubbish. Hence, I didn't have a good day at work, either. When I start the day with a good writing session, the day job is much easier to handle.

So the only stress in my life I should actually be focusing on is my troublesome WIP. If I can kick that into submission, everything else should be a breeze. Even the house move...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Radio Debut

I was going to write a post about leaving writing groups today, but instead I decided to talk about my first radio interview.

Now, as a rule, I like to joke I don't have a face for TV or a voice for radio. Which is why I'm usually behind the scenes. A few years ago, I shot and edited a local TV show called Carl Brown's Reality. I had been interviewed by him on another incarnation of his show but this time I was behind the scenes.

I've also been a freelance magazine writer and have interviewed different people in the community. It's a long way from journalistic writing to genre writing. And it's a long way from being interviewer to interviewee.

My biggest concern is sounding like an idiot and not saying anything significant. At least with writing, I can revise before submitting. Radio interviews? They're live. Of course, I edited the video episodes, removing noise, fixing bad footage, etc.

If you like, you can check out my Edin Road interview here.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Future of Publishing

Bricks-and-mortar book shops have been having a bad time of late. Borders was the latest big chain to file for bankruptcy. In the UK, the only book store chain still in existence in Waterstones, and there are very few independent book shops left.

Meanwhile the popularity of e-books continues to rise. Some Internet murmurings suggest that the rise of e-books is directly responsible for the downfall of bricks-and-mortar book shops.

It could be argued, however, that the demise of the book shop is not down to e-books but online retailers like Amazon, as people switch to doing their shopping online, in the comfort of their own homes.

E-books are not going away any time soon, and the publishing industry, like it or not, has to adapt accordingly. Readers do not expect to pay the same price for an e-book as they do for a hardback. Some readers may prefer to buy the e-book instead of the paper book, but some readers might buy both - they might go to the signing session and buy a pristine hardback copy to keep on their shelf, and buy the e-book as well to read on their daily commute. A few savvy publishers have started to issue the e-book version free to anyone that buys the hardback - this seems like an excellent idea, and will encourage more readers to fork out for the hardback. I myself am reluctant to buy hardbacks, as I do most of my reading on my commute to work. If the e-book was thrown in for free, I might be more inclined to buy the two-for-one, so that I could keep the hardback pristine and shiny on my book shelf whilst reading the e-book on my way to work.

There appears to be some fear that e-books will kill off paper books. There is also a fear of piracy. My view all along has been that there is room in the industry for both, and that the best way to combat piracy is to make books freely available, in all formats and in all regions. Get rid of the DRM system, and make e-books available in a universal format that can be read on all e-readers.

A lot of people claim they are suspicious of e-books because they like the smell and feel of old paper books. Yet I've spoken to many such people, who, upon finding themselves in possession of an e-reader, soon come to adore it. I myself am in this category. Liking e-books doesn't mean one has to stop buying paper books. I just find myself buying even more books these days. I still buy paper books, but I buy far more e-books because I don't have to worry about storage space for e-books.

Another interesting factor, though, is that people who were never readers of paper books but are into gadgets, gain possession of an e-reader and soon find themselves vociferous readers. If e-readers are encouraging more people to read, that's another big point in their favour.

E-books might be the future of publishing, but paper books have their place too. Ultimately the aim of the publishing industry is to get more people to read. Format and retail habits should be secondary - as long as people are buying books to read, does it really matter what format they are in?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Last night, I finished my round of content edits for my short dark fiction suspense story, "Family Tradition," and the story has now been sent to the line editor.

Hard to believe this story releases in three months, give or take a week. I've started lining up guest blogs. Once I have cover art, I'll be able to work on promotion/marketing.

I'd be remiss if I didn't say I was excited to see what the cover artist's rendition will be. I've got an idea of an image I would use, but I'll save that for the trailer. :-) 

Meanwhile, I'm working on revisions for another short story. I don't know the fate of this one. If the editor rejects it, I'll submit it elsewhere.

These are exciting times for publishing. Traditional, indie, digital, small press, etc., whatever you like. As someone who writes multi-genre work, I don't have to worry about some publisher "pigeonholing" my books. If one editor/publisher rejects me, I'll just send my story to someone else. Or I'll self-publish it.(Caveat: Of course, all writers know never to submit a story until it's as well-written and free from errors as it can possibly be.)

Yep, I like having options. :-)