Under the microscope

With just three days left to the launch of my historical sorcery thriller To Snare A Witch, AltGothTalent magazine puts me under the microscope.

I tell why I’m excited to be writing in the Kindle age, how I’m reinventing Hammer Horror for a modern generation and reveal my unexpected link to the Cadbury chocolate-making family.

Read all about it by clicking HERE

The countdown has begun

Really excited. The launch of my historical sorcery themed book To Snare a Witch is only six days away. This coming Tuesday, July 17th, it’ll be going live.

It’s set in the 17th century, in the reign of Charles 1st and not long before the outbreak of the English Civil War, and follows the torments of beautiful Elizabeth Fiennes when she becomes the object of lust of Sir Henry Cruttendon, the 3rd Earl of Banbury, and the country’s most evil nobleman.

He is determined to make her his mistress, even if it means framing her for witchcraft. But his plans go awry and soon both he and Elizabeth are plunged into a nightmare of wickedness and vengeance – where no one is quite what they seem and even the innocent aren’t safe.

The book is the first in a chilling witchcraft series which proves that once you’ve started down a corrupt, supernatural path, there is no way to escape, no redemption without pain, loss and eternal damnation.

The question is, will Elizabeth be prepared to pay that price?

The buzz is already building and this opening volume is scheduled for a 9-day blog tour from this Monday. But don’t worry – if you act quickly you can still grab To Snare A Witch at the pre-order price of 99p/99c by clicking HERE.

 

 

Naughty or nice – you tell me!

These days I’m a very confused lad. I haven’t got a clue who I should be – or at least, I haven’t a clue about how I should project myself to readers. I’m bemused about how to speak, what to wear and, most importantly, how to behave. And it’s driving me nuts.

Mean, moody and looking miserable. Ah!

It all began about six months ago when I clinched a three-book deal to write Gothic horror and dark fantasy novels and had to put my previous writing career as a humorist to one side to concentrate full-time on creating monsters and supernatural mayhem.

From  a keyboard angle it wasn’t much of a switch, merely going for gore instead of gags, screams of fear rather than screams of laughter. But from the PR and author brand point of view it wasn’t so straight-forward.

I assumed that I’d present myself as a dark, eerie, mysterious figure in black, scowling at the camera and hanging around in graveyards for inspiration. I’d look like I’d just emerged from sleeping in a coffin in a crypt in Whitby, part Goth, part mystic.

And for a while that’s what I plumped for. All my publicity pictures made me look more like  a vampire than the ones I wrote about. I managed to avoid becoming a Victorian dandy in leather and lace, but I certainly didn’t come across as approachable or someone you’d trust to look after your cat. In fact, some friends said I looked like a third rate stage hypnotist and quizzed me on whether I was going to grow a ridiculous goatee beard and go around with fake stage blood around my lips.

But two things quickly suggested a rethink was in order. The first was the realisation that I was falling into the trap of going for a stereotypically hackneyed image of what I thought people would assume horror writers looked like. It only took a fairly fleeting glance at my fellow dark fantasy authors to note that they weren’t going in for the cheap theatricals. They looked normal, friendly, happy and, dare I say it, – nice! And indeed, the more I conversed with them, this proved to be the case. And it didn’t seem to harm their sales that they appeared like the boy or girl next door and not a deranged undertaker.

Cheery, cheeky chappie – the real me.

The second thing that made me think was the fact that I started doing podcasts, Meet the Author slots and Facebook lives and couldn’t keep up the spooky Vincent Price act. I naturally like to joke, smile, laugh and mess about. And the disjoint between real me and scary fantasy me was growing too wide to bridge.

So I’ve arrived at a bit of an impasse. And I need advice. Do I abandon ALL the Halloween hi-jinks If so, how do I convince people that this gormless, grinning gagster in jean and t-shirt is capable of turning out genuinely scary historical horror books? Or do I try to achieve some sort of happy medium? Perhaps looking like an happy medium, if not an amused clairvoyant.

Please tell me, because I’m genuinely baffled – and the Hammer Horror outfit has to be back at the costume shop by this time next week or they’re going to charge me double.

 

 

PUTTING THE BITE BACK INTO VAMPIRES

I’ve always wanted to write a chilling nosferatu series, pitting mankind against the most alluring, mysterious and deadly monsters to ever walk the Earth. I’ve been obsessed by vampires since sneaking out of school to watch Hammer Horror films at my local fleapit.

But when it came to actually planning the first of my Blood Riders books I came to a startling realisation.  Vampires had been – if you’ll pardon the pun – done to death.  A tidal wave of self-published horror novels had flooded the market with fang-filled fiends, so many that the bloodsuckers seemed hackneyed and dull.

Added to that, there was huge confusion about what a vampire was. Depending on who you spoke to, they wore tight leather cat suits and fired machine guns, acted like consumptive Victorian poets –  all lace shirts and languor – or hung around with teenagers and twinkled.

My mission was to make these creatures of the night genuinely scary again – and original, offering elements and twists that would surprise and intrigue. So I tackled the problem from two directions. Firstly, a back to basics make-over.

My monsters were going to be… well, monstrous – vicious, cold, amoral predators with supernatural speed, strength and intelligence. They’d view humans as playthings to satisfy ALL their appetites. And to up the ante, they’d be able to communicate  telepathically over short distances.

These would not be the kind of creatures to give you a playful nip on the neck, they’d rip your entire throat out in a single visceral gulp and go on to devour half your face.

Secondly, I wanted them to have a new context, a new environment in which to hunt and slay, so I made my 19th century Transylvania  a mirror of the American wild west – lawless, violent, desolate and unpredictable. A decade on from a war between mortals and monsters, the vanquished aristocratic vampire families are holed up on reservations. To stray from their safe havens makes them fair game for bounty hunters.

Crimson Siege charts the horrifying consequences when the favourite son of the feared Modjeski vampire house is kidnapped and held in a small town jail. His kin invade the town but rescuing their leader leads to death, terror and destruction for both sides,  as the small community is defended by the only man vampire-kind has good reason to fear…

I hope I’ve injected a dose of newness and awe into the genre. My fingers are crossed horror fans will think so too.

This post originally appeared on the Books ‘n’ All website as part of the launch blog tour.

Less than 24 hours to go!

Less than 24 hours to go the launch of my Gothic horror vampire chiller CRIMSON SIEGE – Blood Riders Book One and I’m beside myself with excitement. It’s my first full-length novel so I’m anxious to see what the reaction of readers will be.

I set out to write the kind of book I’d want to read, fast paced and packed with twists and surprises – as well as a number of sub-plots and mysteries. Plus, of course, loads of vampire hunting action…

This is the amazing cover for the paperback. Check it out at – http://geni.us/9E27uh