Giveaway results

winner-winner-chicken-dinnerWell, the Goodreads giveaways that spanned most of January and February are over.

Following half a day of printing and signing letters, personalising title pages and stuffing envelopes, all the prizes are now in the post.

*pats self on back*

I gave away: Continue reading

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Give-away January!

I’m delighted to announce that all my proposed Goodreads give-aways have been approved.

This means that from the 11th to 24th of January I will be giving away six different titles, totalling 42 books! So entering means there’s a very good chance of winning something. Continue reading

New Year Giveaways

It’s 2017. Extraordinary. Astounding.

Or perhaps nothing more significant than flipping a page on a calendar…

Whatever the case, I’m celebrating by giving away a load of books on Goodreads this month. These are some of the titles I’m hoping to share:

MEATBlack FeathersGarbage ManSplintersclown-wars-toxicBlood Fugue

 

 

 

 

 

So, watch for updates and get ready to pounce – some of these will be signed, out-of-print copies. Meanwhile, wishing you every joy and fulfilment for what is bound to be a year to remember.

Cometh the Crowman, people…

It comes as no surprise to me that images of the Crowman have begun to appear around the world, scrawled hastily on walls and in alleyways in furtive acts of prophecy.

Just to get his dark form out of the mind and onto a ‘canvas’ – whether it be cracked brickwork or a warped timber fence – must be a tremendous relief. I know from long, crushing experience what a burden the Crowman is to carry.

These are the latest pictures. Continue reading

Eco Shock Horror

Broadcaster Alex Smith works tirelessly and single-handedly to bring you cutting edge information and incisive wisdom on the environment: latest science, authors and issues including climate change, oceans, forests, pollution, Peak Oil, the economy and peace.

Listen to his weekly show and you’ll be most dreadfully educated about the ecological challenges we all face.

Alex was kind enough to take an interest in my ecologically inspired horror and fantasy novels, including MEAT, Garbage Man and The Black Dawn series.

We had a great chat, me sitting on my sofa in Northamptonshire recovering from killer man-flu and him somewhere in Vancouver – a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

Take a listen for an in-depth discussion of the eco-horror genre or visit the Ecoshock blog for a written précis and info about the rest of this week’s episode…

Spawning The Black Dawn

This article first appeared at Upcoming4me

blackfeathersPersonally speaking, it’s very rare that a single idea will be strong enough to withstand being written as a novel. It’s far more common that a number of separate incidents, notions and musings will, over time, begin to add up to something more. This is absolutely true in the case of The Black Dawn. Where the series differs in this respect is how long that process took; almost thirty years.

The thread began in school:

When I was fourteen I made a batik in art class. I couldn’t think of a subject so I looked for inspiration in a picture book. I found a photo of three crows silhouetted in a dead tree at sunset and that became the design. The batik was stolen soon after completion. That, and the fact that I received a ‘merit’ for it, makes me suspect it was quite an attractive object. Whatever the case, the iconic design stayed with me and caused me to notice corvids whenever they were around.

crowman, worzel gummidgeIn my early twenties, long before I began to write fiction, I met a performance artist who used to dress in a long black coat and black top hat with feathers in its band. He would paint his face white and ‘entertain’ people at festivals. What’s far more likely, I suspect, is that his character unsettled people; especially children. He called his creation the Crowman. As a child, I’d heard the same name in a TV show called Worzel Gummidge, but I never gave it a second thought – I didn’t like the programme at all, quite honestly – until it was spoken in real life. It sparked the idea of a trickster spirit or shaman. My own imagining of the Crowman began to take shape.Vodou priest

A few years later, I began to take more of an interest in shamanism and the way in which people, usually from less techno-centric cultures, interact with nature. It slowly dawned on me that everything on our planet exists in relationship. Whilst we might have the illusion of being separate from the natural world – say, because we live in a city or have no interest in the outdoors – the reality is that our food and the clothes we wear and all the things we use day to day, even our highest achievements in science, are all dependent on what we find around us in nature or underneath us in the ground. I began to wonder how it was that we could have become so apparently unaware of this. Once I started wondering, I couldn’t stop. And I think it’s likely that this questioning has influenced the majority of my fiction.

Here’s a quaint superstition: some people say that if you find a white feather, it’s because you’ve been visited by an angel. What a lovely idea. I wondered, conversely, what it might mean if you found a black feather. Would that mean you’d been visited by a demon? An angel of darkness?

Whilst I’m not religious, I’m completely fascinated by spirituality and how it manifests in human cultures. Messiah stories are particularly interesting. If you look at them as metaphors for the unfolding of the soul in an individual, these holy works become very much like a hero’s journey. It struck me that I could turn that around just a little; taking an ordinary person’s life and chronicling it as though it were the life of a messiah.

These notions, events and wonderings gathered mass over the years, colliding and amalgamating in my subconscious and occasionally leaping into conscious view. That’s the way things usually happen for me but it’s the ridiculous length of that process that was different in creating Black Feathers and The Book of The Crowman.

If it ever takes that long again, I expect I’ll be looking for a new line of work.TheBookOfTheCrowman-300dpi

Black Feathers and The Book of the Crowman: Reunited

Reunited2

I’m somewhat overwhelmed.

It’s four and a half years since I wrote the opening lines of a novel titled Black Feathers: The Book of the Crowman.

These were the lines:

“When the final days came, it was said that Satan walked the Earth in the guise of a crow. Those who feared him called him Scarecrow or sometimes Black Jack. I know him as the Crowman.”

Seven months later, the first draft was complete but it took almost three years to find a home for the novel – with the wonderful Angry Robot Books. Unfortunately, it was too long to publish in one book so there followed much labour, breaking what was essentially one story into two parts.

Now, however, there’s no need for the story to be split any longer. My copies arrived this morning and they look beautiful together.

With the circle complete, it’s time for me to write a new book…

*gets down to business*