Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Two new Anthologies are out and I'm in great company!

This month sees the release of two anthologies in which I have stories. Both anthologies contain stories by World Fantasy Award Winner - Joel Lane and British Fantasy Award Winner - John Llewellyn Probert so I am in some great company!

First we have 

What's your star sign? Is our fate pre-determined by the constellations and the position of the planets? Can astrology really present an alternative vision to the apparent certainties of science, politics, religion and celebrity culture? Or should its claims of determinism, fate, fortune and personality profiling perhaps be taken with a large pinch of salt? Here are fourteen brand new astrologically themed stories to delight and enthral, spanning the range of science fiction, fantasy and horror, with stories by Doug Blakeslee, Mark David Campbell, Storm Constantine, Adam Craig, Megan Kerr, Joel Lane, Bob Lock, Jet McDonald, David McGroarty, Ralph Robert Moore, Christine Morgan, David Turnbull, Neil Williamson and Stuart Young. What is the secret of the white bull and his labyrinthine ranch? Why should you never trust gifts you win at a funfair? And why are twins always apparently at war with each other? 


Then the next book is

Cthulhu Cymraeg

The old gods are dead … The older gods have returned! Before the American master of the macabre H. P. Lovecraft there was the Welsh wizard of the weird Arthur Machen, who filled his pages with tales of ancient evil. Now, completing the circle, comes a collection of original tales from the land of Machen following in the footsteps of Lovecraft and his uncanny creations. In What Others Hear by John Llewellyn Probert , a musician comes to rural Wales to convalesce in peace. But what terrible secrets hide behind the notes of the music he so loves? Adrian Chamberlin shows us that seemingly innocent old traditions can conceal sinister intentions when dark forces use them to deadly ends in Stranger Crossings. In Charles Black's tale, a brilliant Welsh scholar finds the price of knowledge can cost you everything when he discovers the true purpose of that dreaded tome The Necronomicon. And six more Lovecraftian tales of the otherworldly.




 Click on the book covers to take you to Amazon :)


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Another string to my bow!

Well, I've written books which are in print, I've written e-books, I've had short stories on websites, anthologies, in magazines, in fact I have my stories and poems all over the place. But recently an idea came to me for another possible outlet to plague the unsuspecting world with... dial-a-story. I don't think anyone has come up with this idea before (I'm sure if they have someone will point it out to me in the comments!)
So, basically the idea is this, every month I will upload stories to an 0872 number I've bought and I have an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system put in place to answer and redirect the caller to the story (or poem) of their choice. At the moment you can choose a science fiction story, a fantasy story, a horror story or a poem. Calls to an 0872 number cost 10p per minute from a BT landline and will cost more from mobiles and possibly other network landlines, you'll need to check. Think of it as a dial-up service for the more sophisticated and cerebral individual and at 10ppm it's certainly cheaper than the £1.50p plus that other, more raunchy services, cost (so I've been told!)
Initially all stories and poems will be mine and mostly narrated by me too. however, if the project turns out to be a success I might invite others to participate, perhaps have a guest writer or narrator every month. So, if you want to give the system a try the number is 08726657636

Scifi-Tales is my website.

Stories on dial-up this month are:
  • Science Fiction - Do We Not Bleed? 
  • Fantasy - The Secret Weapon
  • Horror - A Matter Of Taste
  • Poem - Follicly Challenged

At the end of the stories or poem you can leave feedback if you like :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Review of Horror Without Victims

There's a very detailed and excellent review of Horror Without Victims over at Paintthistownred

Bob Lock’s ‘You in your small corner, and I in mine’ concludes this collection and is perhaps the finest example of what Lewis calls “curative force”. This is a short, sweet tale of faith and hope, and how holding on to both, allowing them to become your “armour”, can bring about change for the better.
Many thanks for the kind words, AJ :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

New horror anthology: Horror Without Victims

D.F.Lewis's newest anthology is out and is called Horror Without Victims and my story, You In Your Small Corner, And I In Mine, is the last of the twentyfive horror stories in this well put together tome.

Here is the TOC


THE HORROR – Gary McMahon

CLOUDS – Eric Ian Steele


WAITING ROOM – Aliya Whiteley

FOR AGES AND EVER – Patricia Russo

NIGHT IN THE PINK HOUSE – Charles Wilkinson

POINT AND STICK – Mark Patrick Lynch

THE BLUE UMBRELLA – Mark Valentine

LAMBETH NORTH – Rosanne Rabinowitz

THE CURE – John Travis


LORD OF PIGS – DeAnna Knippling

LIKE NOTHING ELSE – Christopher Morris


SCREE – Caleb Wilson



WALK ON BY – Katie Jones

VENT – L.R. Bonehill


THE BOARDING HOUSE – Kenneth C. Wickson

THE CALLERS – Tony Lovell

STILL LIFE – Nick Jackson

Hope you all enjoy it :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Man Of Many Parts


I've been on a roll lately with stories I've sent into the avant-garde magazine that is Sein und Werden run by the lovely Rachel Kendall as I've had three or four accepted, the latest being for her Exquisite Corpse Anthology. There are over forty short stories in the anthology all written around the exquisite corpse subject and my one is called 'A Man Of Many Parts' and is a SF/Horror/Weird tale that can be read here: STORY
If you get time please give it a read and let me know what you think :)

In other news. The novella I was writing and trying to keep to about 30,000 words or so has now grown to a massive 69,500 words and has become a novel. I'm still writing it and I guess there's about another 10,000 words to go. Because I've wanted to get this done and dusted I've put the sequel to 'Flames' on the back burner again but that has grown to 75,000 words plus and once I get back on it I can see the end arriving fairly quickly. I've also written notes for another two stories but don't know yet what sort of size they'll be, whether novella size or novel but both are science fiction.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A few reviews.

Now and then I review a book or two that I’ve particularly enjoyed and it’s been a while since I’ve done so. That’s not to say I haven’t read any books that haven’t been worth reviewing lately, more so it’s an indication that I’ve been too lazy busy to blog about them. However, that ends now, as here are a few books I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you read, they are all extremely good – and they are not in any order of preference or anything, but perhaps just in order of being read.

Joe Abercrombie’s – The Red Country
I picked up this hard-back book at BristolCon on Sat 20/10/2012 after stalking Joe in the bar and he forced me (at banister-leg-point) to go and buy a copy so he could sign it for me. I did so on the understanding that he would take a signed copy of my ‘The Empathy Effect’ off me. After much tears and gnashing of teeth, he agreed. Here’s the review:

Joe Abercrombie must do the best characterizations that I’ve ever read. They leap off the page, grab you around the throat and, when you gasp in wonderment, slip down your open mouth and lodge in your brain and I’m sure will remain there until the last little grey cells you have wink out. The characters in The Red Country continue this throughout the book, both new characters, and some very recognisable ones too.  Shy South is one of the new characters and is the heroine of the story, a bloody and unwilling heroine much like her stepfather Lamb, a giant of a man who has always been a quiet, perhaps even a cowardly man in her eyes. However, when marauders raid Shy’s farm and kidnap her younger brother and sister she and Lamb set off to The Far Country in pursuit, and as they voyage together begin to realise that both have a dark past that will have to be dragged into the light and utilized if they are ever to liberate the two youngsters and return safely home.
The Red Country takes place in the world that Joe’s created in his First Law Trilogy and many of the characters that populated those stories pop up in this one, however, the countryside and people of this part of his world seems more western/frontier-like and it is a change from the fantasy world setting more usually found in his stories.  This was a book I’d been waiting for in fevered anticipation and wasn’t disappointed with it. Great stuff as usual.

Neal Asher’s – Zero Point

Well, let me come clean straight away, I’m an Asherite and proud of it. I must have read the first book I picked up of Neal’s, ‘Gridlinked’, back in the early part of 2002 and got hooked by his world-building and giant space battles immediately. He’s one of the few authors who’ll take the time to correspond with his fan base and he and I have chewed the fat electronically for a number of years. He’s even given me a tip or two when I’ve been stuck on my own writing and did a back-of-book blurb for me on ‘Flames of Herakleitos’. Nevertheless that wouldn’t stop me from being truthful about a book of his even if I thought it was rubbish (knowing Neal he wouldn’t want it any other way) but I’ve yet to read anything of his that I wouldn’t recommend to any aficionado of science fiction and Zero Point is yet another that gets the brain matter working, the adrenaline pumping and anticipation of his next book gnawing away at you.
Zero Point is the second book of his Owner Trilogy and the follow up to The Departure and really needs to be read after you’ve read the first book in the series. The hero of the story is Alan Saul who, as the story progresses, becomes more and more removed from humanity as his augments take him closer to an intelligence that even he wonders could lead to madness, or strangely enough, perhaps to even a god-like existence. The body count in Zero Point has to surpass everything else Neal has written as the main bad guy (well, gal really) Serene Galahad, who becomes the self-appointed ‘leader-of-the-world’, kills billions of Earth’s Zero Asset citizens without blinking an eye. This is yet another of Neal’s space opera action-fests, albeit set in another universe to his Polity series, and I can’t wait to find out whether Earth will survive his vision of a Margaret Thatcher taken to the nth degree of utter madness. Scary, fast, fantastic!

Tim Lebbon’s – Coldbrook
Coldbrook is only the second novel I’ve read by Tim, the first being Echo City which I thoroughly enjoyed. Coldbrook interested me as it is a tale of m-brane worlds and zombies, and I’ve dabbled in both myself and was curious to see what he would come up with and if I would enjoy his take on things. Well, his take on things were hugely different to mine in his ideas of how zombies pass on the affliction and the results thereof, and I was surprised and thrilled with how he handled it. His idea of m-brane worlds however was very similar to what I envisaged (and what seems to be the standard thinking on this principal) and felt very familiar (and even possible) and got me thinking of a potential zombie outbreak starting at the large hadron collider in CERN and how much time we’d have before the first walking corpses got as far as Wales. It was great to see Welsh protagonists and Welsh locations, even though the book is primarily set in the USA. Tim, like me, lives in Wales and I think it’s his way of tipping-the-hat to the principality.
Coldbrook is both the facility in the USA and the name of the inventor, Bill Coldbrook, of the ‘breach’ which is a gateway between branes that allows the protagonists of the story to step through into an alternative Earth that is both one step, and an infinity, away. However, it isn’t just a one-way system and not only can we go through to the other side but things can come through into our reality and no matter how many fail-safes are set in place to guard against contamination it only takes one person to circumvent them to cause a catastrophe on a world-wide scale. As you watch that one person you can’t help but shout at the book, ‘don’t do it!’
Coldbrook can be read as a standalone novel but I have a feeling Tim might be writing a sequel to this, I hope he does, I’ll be buying it!

Ernest Cline’s – Ready Player One
Ready Player One was recommended to me by my nephew, Gary Harwood who is a computer games designer and knowing that I am an MMORPG geek (albeit an ancient one) I would probably enjoy this story, and boy was he right.
RPO is set in a near-ruined world of 2044 when, after The Great Recession, the majority of Earth’s population live lives online through a game called OASIS that is both immersive and addictive, better-than-life.
The owner/inventor of the game, James Halliday dies and in his will decides to leave all his money (billions and billions) plus a controlling stake in Gregarious Simulation Systems, his company, to whoever discovers an ‘easter-egg’ hidden within the vast game itself. A group of like-minded players discover the first of many clues and combine to solve the quest but discover that a huge corporation, Innovative Online Industries, have employed thousands of employees to play and find the prize for them first. The corporation has no scruples and will do anything to win, will even commit murder, both in virtual reality and in real life to achieve their goals. A fantastic, and highly page-turning story. The only thing that lets it down is too much exposition in the beginning but once past that you are in for a treat.
And that’s my reviewing for a while. My next book to read will be Hannu Rajaniemi’s The Fractal Prince which is his follow up to his excellent The Quantum Thief.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Just a little update.

Well I finally finished my SF/Vampire novella 'Chase The Night' that grew from 40,000 words to 61,000 which probably makes it a small novel more than a novella. A copy has been sent to an indie-publisher who has taken an interest in it so I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but if you are a publisher reading this and want a copy then drop me a line.

Other news, just received my contributor's copies of Sein and Werden's Winter Issue with my story 'Waitering for Godot' in it. This edition was edited by that rapscallion Rhys Hughes who has Spoons For Ears. So I've been published twice in S&W and have decided to go for the hat-trick and wrote and subbed a story for Rachel's Exquisite Corpse edition which is due out in the spring.

I've been pretty busy the last month or two and have subbed about another four short stories to various anthologies so I'm going to need more fingers crossed than I possess,you'll have to help out so get crossing!

The other thing I've been doing is re-reading and editing 'They Made Monsters' the sequel to 'Flames' as it's been a while since I concentrated on it and I needed to remember where I was and what I had in mind! Anyway, I've begun writing the next part of it and at the moment I've got 74,500 words done and I'm very pleased with the result so far. I'm hoping to have this finished and published this summer. Watch this space :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

To hoist The Jolly Roger... or not?


This week I commented on, and got involved in, the great debate on e-book piracy and its merits and drawbacks. As a member on the new Amazing Stories website I was asked to write a piece for the Sunday edition and have done so. If you'd like to weigh in on the deliberation please do so. It would be interesting to have a poll just to see what the groundswell of writers think about piracy. Good or Bad?

Here's the link: Amazing Stories Piracy

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Happy 2013!


Hello everyone and Happy New Year 2013!

Sorry I haven't updated my blog during December but as you all know that is quite a busy month for everyone, including old giffers/writers like me :)
Well, I was hoping to get the sequel to 'Flames of Herakleitos' done and dusted in 2012 but unfortunately only managed to get the dusted part done, i.e. it's gathering virtual dust on a virtual shelf on my hard-drive whilst I've been distracted and writing other things. However, I am determined to get the sequel finished this year, as early into the year as possible. There will be shocks and surprises and if all pans out as I foresee then perhaps even a third book. But there will also be some sadness as a character or two shuffles off the virtual mortal coil of my 'Flames' world.
Most of the end of 2012 was taken up with writing a SF novella which I had almost finished (at last!) it is perhaps slightly bigger than a novella as it has now grown to over 55.000 words and will probably finish at 56,000. It's called 'Chase the Night' and is about humans trying to mine a planet inhabited by vampire-like creatures. Watch this space for further details! (well okay, don't keep looking at THIS particular space but pop back now and then to see if I have uploaded anything else)

I'll be in the winter issue of Sein und Werden again with a short of mine called 'Waitering for Godot' the issue is being edited by the whimsical Rhys Hughes so that should be a weird and wonderful edition. Don't forget I have a story in the Pulp Punk Edition too, which is the last ever print version of S und W I think.

Later on, within the next week or so, I'll be loading a few of the best books I read in 2012 with a little review of each, so watch out for that.

Finally, I'd like to say how excited I am to see Amazing Stories magazine being raised from the ashes by Steve Davidson (Crotchety Old Fan) who, upon finding that the trade-mark name had expired, managed to grab it! Excellent work Steve! He is now in the process of getting the magazine off the ground, into orbit, and finally the stars will be his destination... ok, corny, I know :)
I'll be blogging about Amazing Stories on here from time to time and perhaps, with a bit of luck, get something of mine published on there which would be fantastic, For those too young to know, Amazing Stories started life back in 1926 and had writers such as the like of Asimov, Zelazny, Ursula K. Le Guin etc sending their work in and being featured. Exciting times ahead :) Good luck with it Steve!