Hey there! Just a quick post, letting you know that for a couple of days the first book of the PORTENTOUS trilogy, Brothers, is FREE to download. I’m hoping it’ll kickstart a few new fans for this other writing project, away from my usual suspense / horror.
It’s been free for a couple of days and is in the top three in a number of download categories. Number one free download in Post-Apocalyptic! (It kinda fits. The story is 4,000 years post an apocalypse!) Anyway, hope you give it a spin!
The trilogy is complete! It’s typical then that it only dawned on me recently that it might be handy for you to have a map of the locations mentioned in the books. I’ve been working off a rough sketch for months. I’ve smartened it up for you guys! Hope it’s of some use.
The temperature dropped about 10 degrees today, so I’m guessing that’s summer over. Therefore it seems reasonable to remind folk about my five Xmas scares in ‘Frightful’. It’s also a nice little intro to my writing if you’re having a look for the first time.
For a few days you can download FRIGHTFUL for FREE! Xmas has come early!
Hi all. Just a quick update and promo. ‘Unlucky Numbers’ – one of my suspense / horror short story collections – is currently free to download for a couple of days. Here’s the link if you’d like to get it:
Just a quick one to let you know that the latest ebook is out. BITTERLY is essentially a short story collection, but with a difference. All twelve stories are set in the same sleepy village. Story 1 and story 12 are basically bookends – they act as prologue and epilogue to the larger tale of a moors fire that unleashes something ancient and evil from the hillside and into the village. The ten tales in between are ten separate instances of suspense and horror, in some way or other brought about by whatever it is that’s ‘in the water’, or ‘blowing in the wind’. They can be read as isolated tales or as part of the bigger picture. It’s entirely up to the reader. So, something a bit different; who knows if it’ll work, but I’m proud of all twelve pieces!
A CHARACTER BY ANY OTHER NAME MIGHT STILL MEET A GRISLY END!
Naming characters is an interesting part of the writing process. Sometimes it’s absolutely crucial to get the right sounding name – and I can agonise over it for days – and sometimes it’s just a case of picking something that sounds age appropriate, and not too similar to one that I’ve used before.
Then there is the other way of naming characters, and I’ve done this once before. Naming them after readers. Only because they want me to, of course! There’s a couple of characters in Portentous 2 named this way, and I’d like to do it again.
Here’s the situation. At the end of next week, my latest short story collection, ‘Bitterly’ comes out. All the stories are set in the same village, so it means there’s quite a large cast – quite a number of new names to conjure up.
If you would like your name – or part of it – to feature in the book, then here’s the deal. Give me an Amazon review, on any of my other titles before the end of April 15th, and I will use your name for a character. It would also be useful if you messaged me about it, so I have it confirmed that you would like me to use said moniker! Of course, it goes without saying that the character would no way represent you (no intentional similarities to people living or dead blah blah blah) as they are already written. I’ll just swap out the name.
This could be a bit of fun, so if you fancy it, let me know!
I started ‘The Deleted’ last summer, put it down for a little while, then finished it in February. I say that straight off the bat, because a couple of people have asked if I wrote it with COVID-19 in mind. Not at all. Hadn’t paid it any attention when I typed THE END, and it had yet to reach the UK at that point. And yet, there are some parallels to social distancing, which wasn’t a phrase I (we) knew at the time, so you won’t find it in there…
The main plot of the novel centres around the internet-based computer game of the title. The premise of the game is that you walk through villages and towns, streets and alleyways, and the whole point is to not touch anyone. To not rub shoulders with a passer by. If you knock them at all they become agitated, and if you touch them too much they delete. To do well in the game you keep your distance. Sounds oddly prophetic now.
I guess when I was looking at a fear to exploit in this book, I was thinking of the idea of personal space. When the characters in the game ‘Delete’ then they come for you in real life and invade your space, and possibly worse. Personal space is a big deal at the minute – all two metres of it – and there are some uncomfortable moments in the book where that is violated. More uncomfortable than intended, I guess, given the current climate. There’s nothing much scarier than the combination of other people and an invisible threat.
Coronavirus aside, there are other points I’d like to mention about ‘The Deleted’ in a ‘story behind the story’ way. (Potential spoilers coming…) The book is from the perspective of mum-of-two, Laura Chance. The behaviour of her estranged husband, Martin, is one of the things she has to deal with. However, for the first month of this story’s existence, and probably for the first five chapters at that time, the gender roles were the other way around! Martin was going to be the character raising two teens. Laura was going to be the wayward parent with all the problems. Martin was going to find some solace at work with a character called Nel…
So why change it? I think it was because as it went on, Martin was basically a version of me, and I wanted to guard against that. Plus, I’d written a couple of female-led stories in ‘A Very Bad Year’ – MOG in particular – that got me thinking about a mother’s bond with her kids. I opted for the swap, the switcheroo. I probably didn’t do justice to being a mum, in the way I might have been able to from a dad perspective, but I still think the novel is richer for having a female protagonist. I think I made the right call.
Another thing. I mentioned a character called Nel a couple of paragraphs ago. She became Sean in the novel. However, at first it was a switch from Nel to Niall, retaining the approximate sound of the name. Sean was called Niall all the way through writing, probably until the last two chapters! Then I remembered that one of my main characters in ‘Corner House’, Coop, had the first name of Niall, and I thought that I should make the change in ‘The Deleted’. It was then a big ‘Find and Replace’ job – Sean for Niall! All good in the end!
At the moment I can’t think of any other little insights for ‘The Deleted’, but if I do I’ll post them.
For now, stay safe, and stay out of the way of other people – in real life as well as in fictitious and sinister computer games…