Sunday, 29 September 2013

Green men, maniacs and ghastly sea-beasts

To continue the horror theme from my last post, as opposed to the thriller theme I’ve concentrated on for so much this year, I can now announce that DON’T READ ALONE, a new e-collection of my stories and novellas is available for pre-order at Amazon, with an official publication date of October 11th this year.

Here is the cover, as provided by the ever-reliable STEVE UPHAM.

There perhaps isn’t an automatic cross-cover for readers between thrillers and horrors. Some are content to indulge in both, others less so. But as a writer, I have long been fascinated by the two sub-genres and have regularly worked in both, finding many overlaps between the two. It’s only in this last couple of years, of course, that my thriller novels, the likes of STALKERS and SACRIFICE (with HUNTED due out from Avon Books in February) – action-fuelled crime tomes following the investigations of DS Mark Heckenburg – have become bestsellers and have subsequently started to occupy much of my time. But before then, I had a long history of producing horror stories and novellas for magazines and anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic. Some 300 have been published to date, going back to the early 1990s; two of these have been the recipient of the British Fantasy Award, and one of them won the International Horror Guild Award (so I like to think I knew what I was doing).

However, by the nature of the beast, many of the titles in which these first appeared are now deleted, out of print or were the work of small printing houses since defunct; either way, completists are finding them elusive to collect, and new readers can only ever find them as titles in back-lists. As such, in the age of the e-book, it seemed an obvious thing to look at the best of these again, tighten and trim where necessary, and re-issue them as e-collections.

That, somewhat loosely, is the new plan.

DON’T READ ALONE will hopefully be the first in a rolling programme of new e-publications – each containing about 70,000 words – drawing on the best of my short horror stories and novellas, and each one assembled with tales specifically chosen to complement each other but also varying in subject matter so there should always be something for everyone (the one overarching feature, if I say so myself, is fear – I prefer my stories to be as frightening as possible, or at the very least suspenseful and unnerving).

Audio versions and even paperbacks may follow in due course, though I’m not totally sure how that latter scheme will pan out at this early stage. If you’re interested in that, keep watching this space.

The table of contents for DON’T READ ALONE is as follows:

The Old North Road (first published in Alone On The Darkside, 2006, and winner of the International Horror Guild Award): A writer investigating the myths surrounding the Green Man has a terrifying chance encounter on a lonely woodland road ...

The Poppet (first published in Enemies At The Door, 2012): A self-centred student does the dirty on a college pal, only to find his fate interwoven with a mysterious faceless doll ...

Grendel’s Lair (first published in Beneath The Ground, 2003): A callous cop, a brutal criminal, a missing child - and something unspeakable in a derelict air-raid shelter ...

Hell In The Cathedral (first published in The Shadows Beneath, 2000): Brit tourists in the Med are taken on the boat-trip of a lifetime, but find themselves at the mercy of a voracious sea-beast ...

The Baleful Dead (first published in Groaning Shadows, 2009): An ageing metal band hook up at a lonely country manse to record one last album, unaware that their scheming manager has a 'foolproof plan' to summon assistance from beyond ...

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