Wednesday 22 February 2012

Tales of Cotswolds terror - ready to order!

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the next volume in my new series of 'regional' horror anthologies, TERROR TALES OF THE COTSWOLDS is now available to pre-order direct from its publisher, GRAY FRIAR PRESS, to be unleashed on the world next month.

Hopefully those who enjoyed the first volume in this series, TERROR TALES OF THE LAKE DISTRICT, will need no further convincing, but for those who haven't yet read that one, and for those who don't know the UK too well, this anthology will concentrate on the Cotswolds, a beautiful, serene and very rural area of south-central England, which also happens to be steeped in folklore and mythology and has a very brutal history (stretching from the Roman invasion of Britain right through to the fearsome events of the English Civil War). But hey, why don't I just shut my mouth and let the back cover blurb do the talking ...

The Cotswolds – land of green fields, manor houses and thatched-roof villages, where the screams of ancient massacres linger in the leafy woods, faeries weave sadistic spells, and pagan gods stir beneath the moonlit hills …

The flesh-eating fiend of St. John’s
The vengeful spirit of Little Lawford
The satanic murders at Meon Hill
The ghastly mutilation at Wychavon
The demon dancers of Warwick
The cannibal feast at Alvington
The twisted revenant of Stratford-upon-Avon

And many more chilling tales by Ramsey Campbell, Simon Clark, Alison Littlewood, Reggie Oliver, Joel Lane and other award-winning masters and mistresses of the macabre.

The book contains 12 works of original horror fiction set in the Cotswolds, and two classic reprints. It also features numerous anecdotal tales concerning supposedly true incidents of Cotswold terror.

In case your appetites haven’t been whetted enough, here is the full table of contents:

In the Dark And In the Quiet by Alison Littlewood
Fury From Beyond
Straw Babies by Gary McMahon
A Bizarre And Terrible Event
Charm by Reggie Oliver
The Grimmest Castle In England
Hoxlip And After by Christopher Harman
The Undead Who Wander The Wye
The Shakespeare Curse by Simon Clark
Oxford’s Black Assize
The Scouring by Thana Niveau
The Cannibal Feast
Wassailing by Steve Lockley
Bloodbath Under A Spectral Sun
The Silent Dance by Joel Lane
What Walks In Ettington Park?
Waiting For Nicky by Antonia James
The Satanic Slayings at Meon Hill
The Horror Under Warrendown by Ramsey Campbell
Worcester’s Most Odious Relic
The Lurker by Gary Fry
The Beast Of St John’s
The Cotswold Olimpicks by Simon Kurt Unsworth
God’s Dire Warning
A Taste of Honey, A Horror Of Stone by John Llewellyn Probert
Lovell’s Long Wait
Bog Man by Paul Finch

Once again, I wholeheartedly thank these authors for their efforts, not to mention Steve Upham, whose artwork adds a new dimension to any project he's connected with, and Gary Fry of Gray Friar Press, without whom none of this would have been possible. (As a footnote, the book will be also be available from most good online retailers, AMAZON UK and AMAZON US for example, in a few weeks' time).

Well, what are you all waiting for ... enjoy!

Monday 13 February 2012

AFTER the chill horror comes the SHOCK

More ebook news now for those keen to join the electronic reading revolution.

My first published collection of short stories, AFTER SHOCKS - which came out from ASH-TREE PRESS way back in 2001, and subsequently went on to win the British Fantasy Award in 2002 for 'Best Collection' - is now available on Kindle (courtesy of ASH-TREE EBOOKS), and may either be purchased at AMAZON UK or AMAZON US for the bargain basement prices of £3.92 and $6.79 respectively.

I'm absolutely delighted that AFTER SHOCKS will now live again. Partly because it's been out of print for so long - several readers have contacted me in recent times while seeking a copy, and I haven't been able to assist - but also because it neatly represents what I consider to be my first wave of supernatural and fantastical writing.

Though I was already classed as a professional writer back then, in the distant candle-lit years of the 1990s, my efforts were primarily in TV. Running parallel to this, though, was my interest in short fiction - particularly short fiction of the spooky variety - for which there were very few outlets save those in the independent press.

Titles like ALL HALLOWS, THE THIRD ALTERNATIVE, GHOSTS & SCHOLARS, KIMOTA, PEEPING TOM, TERROR TALES, NASTY PIECE OF WORK, ROADWORKS, UNREAL DREAMS, STRIX, etc - and many others too numerous to mention (all the product of literary folk whose imaginative work within the genre was matched only by their determination to keep it going despite the lack of interest shown at the time by the mass-market) comprised the main horror and fantasy magazines wherein I first honed my skills as a teller of short stories and novellas.

I owe a lot to the many editors I worked with back then, not to mention those fellow writers who followed that same route at roughly the same time (many of whom went on to have great careers of their own, of course).

I particularly owe a lot to Chris and Barbara Roden of ASH-TREE PRESS, who thought so much of my work that they voluntarily showcased it in the beautiful hardbacked tome that was the original AFTER SHOCKS. Now that they're showcasing it again in this electronic version, I owe them doubly as it may entice a whole new generation of readers.

The book contains 18 short stroies, some of them originals and some of them reprints. Its full TOC is pasted in below, but I've interrupted the list here and there to include a couple of choice extracts, which hopefully will whet people's appetites to read more.


The Knock At The Cellar Door
The After Shock ... he was clad in dark, badly stained overalls and was massive of build, with huge shoulders and great forearms covered in oil and coal-dust. He was also wreathed in black smoke, which seemed to be streaming up around him, so his face was hidden, but I didn't need to see it to know that he was peering directly at me and in no friendly way ...
Devils Of Lakeland
The Magic Lantern Show
The Wolfman’s House
Eleanor’s Garden
A Night on Dragon Rock
Teresa’s Torment
To The Castle
The Altar
The Hotel On The Borderland ... beneath the visage of this feral monster, there lay another kind of fiend. One he was far more familiar with; one whose preferred hunting ground was the urban wasteland rather than the marsh, the tenements and alleyways rather than the forest; whose weapons were bombs and bullets rather than claws and teeth. Yet all that, it seemed, had changed ...
The Punch And Judy Man
The Dandy Dogs
Enemy Ours
The Fimbulwinter

Saturday 11 February 2012

Get hold of MEDI EVIL 1 absolutely FREE!

For anyone who hasn’t yet read any of my MEDI-EVIL historical horror and fantasy trilogy, released on ebook last April, and is strongly tempted to go for it – now would be the time.

MEDI-EVIL 1 is on promotion this weekend, on Kindle. That means you can download it absolutely FREE OF CHARGE for two days: today (Saturday) and Sunday.

In case you need further temptation, MEDI-EVIL 1 contains three novellas of our turbulent past.

In the first, THE BLOOD MONTH, two Viking brothers, recently converted to Christianity, flee the vengeance of their king and take refuge with their aged uncle in a remote corner of northern Greenland. Unfortunately, they arrive during morketiden, when the midwinter sun never rises, and find a long-hall and village under siege by a terrible something, which moves faceless and silent through the darkness and the frozen mist, and one by one, is killing people in the most personal and hideous ways …

In the second, FLIBBERTIGIBBET, we travel back to the chaotic days of Elizabethan London, where guilt-stricken secret agent Robert Urmston is brought out of voluntary retirement – not to catch heretics or spies of the Spanish king – but to track down a new kind of enemy, an unknown maniac who is terrorising the teeming slums south of the River Thames with a series of ghastly, ritualistic murders, which have the potential to bring down the entire government of England …

In the third, THE GODS OF GREEN AND GREY, a young Roman officer takes a small cohort of men into the misty and unexplored swamps of eastern Britain, and there commences to build a series of bridges. Very quickly, however, he and his troop find themselves under attack – not from local tribesmen or dangerous animals, but from a family of cannibalistic ogres, who are determined to ensure that knowledge of their existence is not taken back to civilisation …

If you fancy picking up a copy of this ebook – absolutely FREE – call in at AMAZON UK or AMAZON US and download it right now. Remember, the offer runs out at the end of tomorrow (Sunday, Feb 12th).

As a mark of its quality, MEDI-EVIL 1 is currently positioned 14th in the ‘Kindle Fantasy and Historical’ section and is in the top 100 for ‘Kindle Horror’.

Thursday 2 February 2012

The Devil's work is never competely done

Just time for a few unrelated bits and pieces this week, as I'll shortly be off to the SFX Weekender in Prestatyn, where I'll be sitting on a panel or two, and signing anything anyone cares to put in front of me.

First of all, we are slowly but surely moving up through the gears with our sequel to THE DEVIL’S ROCK. The above shot was taken in my living room last week, where I spent a couple of days with director Paul Campion (also pictured) as we thrashed out the final storyline for the sequel.

I can't give too much away, but as I said, there'll be more Nazis, more demons and many more grisly deaths.

The image on the right, meanwhile, accompanied a recent American review of the original film - the Wolfman writing on THE WOLFMAN COMETH - who opened his assessment in that pleasingly straight-to-the-point American way, with:

"ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! How can anyone, ANYONE, see this poster and not want to fucking see it? THIS LOOKS INSANE. Lady with sharp teeth. Nazis. Not much clothing. Blood. Brass knuckle/stabby knife combo thingy. The word 'DEVIL' in the title. I had to fucking see it!"

Yep, that's pretty much the kind of enthusiasm we'll be seeking to evoke with the second film. Meanwhile, in another review, Rob Morrish, columnist at legendary US horror mag, CEMETERY DANCE, has now given us his views regarding KING DEATH, and most generous he is in them.

Writing about the book on his TWILIGHT RIDGE blog, he describes the tale as "a picture-perfect period piece of historical horror set during the time of Europe’s Black Plague", adding that it is "both atmospheric and authentic, a rewarding exercise in medieval madness".

Still on the subject of KING DEATH, I've now received a copy of the cover for Paula Guran's YEAR'S BEST DARK FANTASY AND HORROR, 2012, in which it will be appearing.

Check it out left.

As I say, folks, it's just a quick one this week. However, to whet your appetites for future installments, work on TERROR TALES OF THE COTSWOLDS has progressed much more quickly than was anticipated. Definitely watch this space for forthcoming announcements on that project. And shortly before I put this post to bed, I received some very interesting news regarding my back-catalogue of ASH-TREE PRESS books - hopefully I've have more to tell you about that next time.