Coming Soon – Made for the Dark: Collected Short Stories

Due out Friday 26 May!

Table of Contents

An Upstairs Room
The Face in the Picture
Tangerine Dream
The Curse of Amen-Ra
Fear and Wonder
Zombies by Moonlight
The Writhing
Bernice
A Soul who wrote by Strange Starlight
Ode to a Night-Gaunt
The Hives
It Follows You Home
The Lift
A Perfect Day
Pteronophobia
His Loathsome Kiss
The Shed
The Bus Shelter
Waiting Room
Last Christmas

Posted in Fantasy, Horror | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Khale the Wanderer Relaunch!

Under A Colder Sun

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Other Distributors

 

Lost is the Night

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Other Distributors

 

Hordes of Chaos

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Other Distributors

Posted in Fantasy, Grimdark Fantasy, Horror | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hordes of Chaos – Sample

“We should get away from here,” Yothyr whispered to Hrekh. “We’ve found ’em. They’re dead. Let’s go.”
“Aye, we’ve found ’em,” Hrekh answered calmly. “But what killed ’em, eh? We need to find that out.”
Yothyr sighed through his teeth and scratched at the stubble on his chin. “We don’t need to find it out, Hrekh. We need to go back, say we found ‘em, and tell the rest not to come here. I don’t want to end up like ’em. Gods’ bones, I don’t.”
The two foragers stared at the remains of their five friends: torn apart, riven from nave to chaps, eyes put out. You could not tell man from woman among them. Death had undone them all some two days ago, or thereabouts.
Every eighth day, foragers were sent out into the Gorenwald: the endless forest of grey, dead trees that spread away from the roots of the mountain range where Tumenfell — the fortress-state of the southern borders — rested. Their task and purpose varied: scavenging for valuables, hunting out the Gorenwald’s denizens to bring them back for medical study, or undertaking errands for the King. There was much talk about the nature of such errands but then there was much talk about the nature of the King. He had names that were spoken when he was not present; old Sick-eye; the Butcher of Barneth; the Yellow King. Though the King had not given them the errand himself, the word had been passed to Yothyr and Hrekh that they were to journey to a certain part of the Gorenwald and report on what they found there. These instructions had led them to the corpses of their mates.
“What did they disturb out here that could do this? What were they sent out to seek for?” Hrekh asked, awed.
Yothyr grunted and spat into the undergrowth. “It doesn’t matter. It’s all death out here.” He waved a thick forearm at the forest, and then cocked his head. “’Ere, what was that?”
“Nothing. The wind that whistles between your ears, most likely,” Hrekh replied.
“Let the Gorenwald take you! I heard somethin’.”
“It’ll take you afore it takes me, son. I’ve been out here foraging some thirty winters. I know its ways better than most,” Hrekh said.
“Aye, well, doesn’t mean you’re not more deaf in the ear than me. I tell you I heard movement, and it weren’t the movement of a man.”
“Huh. You tire me sometimes, Yoth. I’ll do as you bid but mind I’ll tell ’em it was your wish to return, not mine. You’ll have some answerin’ to do once we’re back in Tumenfell.”
“I’ll answer for it. They can warm my feet on hot coals. They can lock me in one of the pits and leave me there. I’ll not be here searching for something that undoes a man’s flesh as easy as a knife guts a pig.”
The two foragers turned away from the slaughter and began to make for the tunnels that would take them safely back into the mountains. It wasn’t far to travel, which troubled Yothyr’s mind. Usually, it was a good seven day walk before a forager encountered something vile out in the Gorenwald. The great forest didn’t get dense and dark as truth until then — out where you had to start lighting your alcohol lantern by day and night in order to see clear ahead.
Hereabouts, the sky’s light still made it through the trees to show the way. The things that could do a man most harm out here lived in shadow and dreaded the light, or so he’d been told since he could first listen and learn.
What’s happening now then, he thought. What could be coming so close to our walls?
Yothyr didn’t get to think on it further as he was interrupted by Hrekh’s piercing scream. “Yoth, it’s got me! It’s bastard well got me!”
Yothyr had precious little learning, so he could barely discern what he was seeing; beyond thinking it something born of a nightmare. The thing clutching at Hrekh’s scalp was like a hand, only made of long, thin bones with wiry hairs growing from the knuckles. As it moved, Yothyr glimpsed the soft, translucent bulb of flesh that must have been its body, and he felt his stomach churn violently. He counted ten limbs, maybe more, all cutting swiftly at Hrekh’s flesh. Yothyr heard and felt the crack of bones breaking as blood darkened the breast of Hrekh’s tunic. His companion’s last word, mouthed silently, was, “Run!”

Posted in Fantasy, Grimdark Fantasy | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Voyage of the Pale Ship LAUNCHED!

The land of Tirlane has fallen to the evil Lamia, but Willow Grey and Henu the Wealdsman escape her clutches aboard the legendary Pale Ship. To free Tirlane, they embark on a voyage that will take them to islands where cats rule over men, ruined cities are inhabited by living statues, and stranger places where spirits can make the wildest and darkest of dreams come true. But it is beyond these isles that the real challenges lie; can Willow Grey survive the perilous trials of the Skeleton Tower? Will Henu face his fears, or be consumed by the darkness growing within him? And what awaits them in the Giants’ Graveyard at the edge of the world – the chance for redemption, or the end of all things true?

Available from:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

All Other Distributors

Posted in Fantasy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

27th Jan – Voyage of The Pale Ship sets sail!

The land of Tirlane has fallen to the evil Lamia, but Willow Grey and Henu the Wealdsman escape her clutches aboard the legendary Pale Ship. To free Tirlane, they embark on a voyage that will take them to islands where cats rule over men, ruined cities that are inhabited by living statues, and stranger places where spirits can make the wildest and darkest of dreams come true. But it is beyond these isles that the real challenges lie – can Willow Grey survive the perilous trials of the Skeleton Tree? Will Henu face his fears, or be consumed by the darkness growing within him? And what awaits them in the Giants’ Graveyard at the edge of the world – the chance for redemption or the end of all things true?

Join the launch party on Facebook to win copies of the book, Amazon giftcards, and a Kindle Fire Tablet!

Posted in Fantasy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Plans for 2017 – In Brief

So what’s the shape of things to come for 2017?

Firstly, the year-long wait is finally over and Voyage of the Pale Ship will be launching on Friday 27th Jan.

After that, I will be working on my first Crime series for the rest of the year with the first three books to hopefully be published in Summer, Autumn, and Winter.

More details to come soon.

Posted in Crime, Fantasy, Thriller | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2016 – A Brief Review

I’ll be going dark soon and taking a break from the online world until the new year. 2016 has been exhausting in so many ways but art and creativity (and caffeine) have just about kept me going despite that so, to round things off, I’d like to give you my favourites from this year.

 

Book of the Year

The House of Fox by SJ Smith – One of the most bizarre novels I’ve ever read. A lot of books are described as defying categorisation but this one actually does. It’s an erotic-horror-comedy-fantasy that will make you laugh, cry, and say ‘oh, hello matron’ – sometimes on the same page. Check it out.

 

Film of the Year

Florence Foster Jenkins – It might be because 2015 and 2016 have been rough for me artistically that this film struck a chord. It’s broadly a biopic though it’s often too funny to become sentimental and one of Meryl Streep’s closing lines will resonate with any artist who has struggled in some way: “People may say I couldn’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”

 

Album of the Year

Antifuture by Erang – the first synthwave album from an artist who has previously focused on medieval dungeonsynth. For those of us who love the 80s soundtracks conjured up by the likes of John Carpenter, Goblin, and Fabio Frizzi, this is essential listening.

Posted in Fantasy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Thank you to Free Kindle Books and Tips!

The Eyes of the Dead was featured today on Free Kindle Books and Tips – do stop by and give them a Like on Facebook or a Follow on Twitter.

Thank you to FKBT for supporting indie authors once again!

TheEyesofTheDead_thumbnail

The critically-acclaimed debut by the author of the Vetala Cycle and the Age of the Flame!

Vampires are loose in the trenches of the First World War.

Passchendaele, 1917. Private Reg Wilson is a man with a name but no memories. A soldier who remembers nothing of life before the fighting began. Until he comes to Black Wood, a tainted place that knows him intimately. There, he will discover a darkness buried long ago by time and dust. An appetite that has been awoken by war. A hunger that will feed upon his blood, his regrets and his worst fears. It will show him what he has forgotten. It will show him nightmare made flesh. And, before he dies, it will make him look deep into the eyes of the dead.

 

Posted in Horror | Tagged | Leave a comment

THE SELF-PUBLISHED FANTASY BLOG-OFF BUNDLE

All Covers Large

Curated by Blair MacGregor

“Ten fine bloggers and blog-sites spent a year considering almost three hundred self-published fantasy books to bring you their ten favorites. It’s hard to imagine you won’t find some gems among them.” — Mark Lawrence

This is a unique bundle, its books chosen not by me, but by reviewers who took part in the first Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off organized by Mark Lawrence. Each reviewer received over twenty-five books and a mission: Choose one. This bundle contains the books those reviewers put at the very top of their list.

The SPFBO Bundle includes some of the coolest indie fantasy around. Crista McHugh’s A Soul for Troublegives you a witch named Trouble, possessed by the god of chaos. William Saraband’s Shattered Sands follows a slave girl suddenly empowered by forces older than the desert itself. You’ll delve into the more-than-murder mystery of Matthew Colville’s Priest, and follow another priest trying to save the world after the gods disappear in Barbara Webb’s City of Burning Shadows. And The Weight of A Crown from Tavish Kaeden serves up the deep epic of a recently-united realm on the verge of fracturing.

There is the sharp warrior who knows the value of leaving heroism behind in Under A Colder Sun by Greg James, and the ruined hero who chances into a way to surmount the past in David Benem’s What Remains of Heroes. Plague Jack delves deep into a brutal world of conspiracies, consequences, and backlash against a conqueror in Sins of the Sovereignty. Ben Galley smacks a young man into a frontier Wyoming filled with blood magick and secrets in Blood Rush. And Michael McClung’s The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble’s Braids—the novel scoring highest in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off—races along with a sassy, smart thief who must find an artifact everyone thinks she already has before she’s killed for it.

StoryBundle lets you choose your own price, so you decide how much you’d like to support the writers. For $5—or more, if you’d like—you’ll receive the basic bundle of five novels in DRM-free ebook format. For the bonus price of at least $15, you’ll receive all ten novels. If you choose, a portion of your payment will go toward supporting different charities such as Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now. Over the years, StoryBundle and its participating writers have donated thousands to support awesome charities doing great work.

The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off Bundle is available for only three weeks, so now is the time to pick up this unique collection of reviewer-beloved fantasy novels, and discover new independent writers who want to take you on thrilling adventures through worlds you’ve never seen with characters you want to know (even if a few of them are rather terrifying). – Blair MacGregor

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you feel generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of five books in any ebook format worldwide:

  • Shattered Sands by W. G. Saraband

  • The Weight of a Crown by Tavish Kaeden

  • Priest by Matthew Colville

  • What Remains of Heroes by David Benem

  • A Soul for Trouble by Crista McHugh

If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of the regular titles, plus five more:

  • Sins of a Sovereignty by Plague Jack

  • The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids by Michael McClung

  • Under a Colder Sun by Greg James

  • Bloodrush by Ben Galley

  • City of Burning Shadows by Barbara J. Webb

The bundle is available for a very limited time only, via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

  • Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.

  • Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth to you. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.

  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.

  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity.

  • Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.

For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook.

Posted in Fantasy, Grimdark Fantasy | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Kane and Wagner: Where Darkness Weaves

Part of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off Bundle!

All Covers Large

220px-Karl_Edward_Wagner_Seattle_1989

I shouldn’t know who Kane is.

I was born in 1980 after the initial run of Kane titles had been and gone. My awareness of the character came about through a rather chequered path. I first read the horror short story, Sticks, by Karl Edward Wagner in 1998. It was visceral and cosmic, and it stuck in my mind for years though I didn’t read more of his work until comparatively recently owing to much of it having gone out of print in the mainstream press by the time I was of the age to be accruing my initial influences.

However, I did have a book of Frank Frazetta artwork that featured the cover for Dark Crusade in all its glory. The background information to the painting also stuck in my mind. Kane sounded like the kind of character that I would like; amoral, villainous and a contrast for the more black-and-white heroes common to mainstream Fantasy fiction. It was an image I would come back to again and again over the years, and wonder whether I would get to read the books about this character.

A few years ago, I was finally able to acquire copies of the original Kane paperbacks and they were everything I hoped they would be. They were also the penultimate piece of the puzzle in the conception of my own character Khale the Wanderer. At that time, his name was Kale Fellhorn which has since been changed for fairly obvious reasons – not just the fact that without the ‘h’, he would be named after a cabbage.

What attracted me to the character of Kane was Karl Wagner’s use of the antediluvian setting popularised by Robert E. Howard and his successors and turning it on its head by doing away with the traditional struggle between Good and Evil. As much as I love Moorcock’s Elric, he was still an agent of Law fighting against Chaos. Khale was a character with shades of grey as was the world he lived in. Long before A Song of Ice and Fire came along, Karl Wagner was drawing a world where kings fought for their own reasons rather than the common good, the gods were of the dark, not the light, and the hero was a villain. George R.R. Martin and the current crop of grimdark authors have certainly developed the template to levels of greater depth, scope and complexity, but I would argue that Karl Wagner was there first and he made the initial template. His lack of recognition being very likely down to much of his work having become obscure outside of select genre circles, which I think is a great shame – hopefully this will change.

Though I never knew the man, I have dedicated Under a Colder Sun to him and his creation as, without them, Khale would be a very different Wanderer.

786c67b1854c26f598f0066a94a95b88

Posted in Fantasy, Grimdark Fantasy, Horror | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment