Monday, 18 August 2014

New Cover Art for "A Country Fit for Zeros"


As it's been out for a couple of months, I thought it might be fun to refresh my second science fiction short collection with a new cover, courtesy of Richard Ellis (@bookartguy).

It follows the same theme as before - 70s textbook style - but with bolder colours ( as you can see below).

If you're interested, I've also included the Kindle links.

thanks for reading
Kindle Links:



Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Death of the Short Story?

Short stories.
I've loved them since, well, since I could read.  And growing up, they made a huge impact on me.  I usually had a short story book on the go most of the time.  Stephen King's 'Skeleton Crew', Clive Barker's 'Books of Blood' or some other short collection was always on my beside table alongside whatever novel I was reading.

But then, for a variety of reasons, they went out of fashion.  Or at least they disappeared from the shelves of my local bookshops (before the bookshops themselves disappeared.). The magazines I also bought for their short fiction also dropped out view one by one. 

When I first heard about e-books a few years back, my first thought (hope?) was: hey, maybe short stories will make a comeback! Thinking about it logically: people are busier, looking for ever quicker forms of entertainment.  Surely, short stories fit that bill perfectly?

Seems not.  Books have, against trend, been getting longer and longer sprouting series and spin-offs as they go.  People seem to like big, complex books. That's where 'the market' is.

So, why to I still write and publish short stories?  Simply: I love them. I love the way they let you experiment.  Sometimes, they're short and almost silly.  And that is part of their charm.  Plus, they don't outstay there welcome:  an idea that needs only a few pages to bloom, should, only be a few pages long. 

I'm not though a zealot or stupid (or that stupid).  I've a finished long form crime novel "White Lies for the Dead" finished and being prepared for a launch at the end of the year - and I'm halfway through writing a second one "The Handover".

 But I'll still keep putting out short fiction e-books from time to time, hoping that the other fans of short stories out there get a kick out of them.


Sunday, 3 August 2014

People are Strange?


A few of the recent reviews and conversations I've had with people about my writing have hit on the buttons labelled 'strange' or 'warped'.   Which, I think, is a compliment as it's better than saying your work is the product of a banal mind.  Or maybe they just did think I was weirdo.

Truth is, I've always thought that the banality of day to day life - and my life is rather ordinary - pushed your mind into odd flights of fantasy.  For me that started when I was a kid.

Sitting my English language exams at the age of 15, I remember being given the essay title 'The Last Bus Home".  I dutifully scribbled out my 1500 words of imagination and scraped home with a 'C' grade.   I remember afterward discussing what we'd all written in the exam.  Most people had written fairly normal stories (no doubt with better grammar and structure than mine). 

I wrote about being snowed into Croydon bus station with zombies.  Of course, I didn't really know what zombies were back then - this is 20 years before they became fashionable - so my zombies were mutants from leaks at the local gas plant (which had exploded a few years earlier in real life).

I imagine the person from the exam board who marked my paper would probably have failed me on most days, but the story of a schoolboy evading zombies as a blizzard raged was probably a respite from the other essays about journeys to see grannie or going to the vet with a sick dog.  I'm convinced that my early foray into weirdness probably got me through English and let me continue my education.

I'd love to get that essay back from the exam board one day.  I know it would be awful, but that's OK.

Stay strange.