Saturday 31 May 2014


In the midst of the ongoing HECK saga, and with WAR WOLF now looking as if it's going to be a major project for me in 2014, I still consider it vital that the TERROR TALES series - the collection of regional British horror anthologies I'm continuing to edit for GRAY FRIAR - continues to roll off the press.

And here, I'm so chuffed to be able to tell you, is the latest installment. It's a wee bit later than planned, but we're all of us having a hellishly busy year. So I hope you can forgive us that.

May I present TERROR TALES OF WALES - now available to be ordered from GRAY FRIAR PRESS, or from Amazon. As usual, the cover hits the spot exactly, this time courtesy of artist NEIL WILLIAMS, while the book itself contains a load of original fiction by some of the horror genre's current finest writers, including STEPHEN VOLK, SIMON CLARK, JOHN LLEWELLYN PROBERT, BRYN FORTEY, PRIYA SHARMA, REGGIE OLIVER and TIM LEBBON.

After our brief tour of the whole British seaside in the last edition, today's launch sees us revert to the normal format of a specific geographic locale, though on this occasion, of course, it's a country in its own right - Wales, which we investigate thoroughly through mythology, history and folklore, but only in their most dark and menacing forms.

Perhaps I'd better shut my gob from this point on, and let the official back-cover blurb do the talking.

Wales – ‘Land of my Fathers’, cradle of poetry, song and mythic rural splendour. But also a scene of oppression and tragedy, where angry spirits stalk castle and coal mine alike, death-knells sound amid fogbound peaks, and dragons stir in bottomless pools …
The headless spectre of Kidwelly
The sea terror off Anglesey
The soul stealer of Porthcawl
The blood rites at Abergavenny
The fatal fruit of Criccieth
The dark serpent of Bodalog
The Christmas slaughter at Llanfabon
And many more chilling tales by Stephen Volk, Tim Lebbon, Simon Clark, Priya Sharma, John Llewellyn Probert and other award-winning masters and mistresses of the macabre. 

With luck that will whet your whistles for more. But in case it doesn't, here's the full table of contents, which I'm sure you'll agree gives it added umph (the italicised items are the 'true' tales with which I always like to intersperse the fictional ones):

Under the Windings of the Sea by Ray Cluley; Legions of Ghosts; Old as the Hills by Steve Duffy; The Beast of Bodalog; The Druid’s Rest by Reggie Oliver; Night of the Bloody Ape; Swallowing a Dirty Seed by Simon Clark; The Devil Made Him Do It; The Face by Thana Niveau; Hoof-beats in the Mist; Don’t Leave Me Down Here by Steve Lockley; The Werewolf of Clwyd; Matilda of the Night by Stephen Volk; The Goblin Stone; The Sound of the Sea by Paul Lewis; A Quick Pint and a Slow Hanging; The Flow by Tim Lebbon; Doppelganger; The Offspring by Steve Jordan; Prophecy of Fire; Dialled by Bryn Fortey; The Dark Heart of Magnificence; The Rising Tide by Priya Sharma; The Hag Lands; Apple of their Eyes by Gary Fry; Beneath the Sea of Wrecks; Learning the Language by John Llewellyn Probert.

Previous books in the series can still be purchased, of course.They can be found at all good online retailers, such as Amazon, or at their point of origin, the GRAY FRIAR PRESS website. For those interested, they are: TERROR TALES OF THE LAKE DISTRICTTERROR TALES OF THE COTSWOLDSTERROR TALES OF EAST ANGLIA, TERROR TALES OF LONDON and TERROR TALES OF THE SEASIDE.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Killing Club imminent, blog tour hits road

As part of what is a pretty big week for me - THE KILLING CLUB is published tomorrow - I today embark on my first ever official blog tour.

What this means is that various bloggers and web-masters have very kindly invited me to write guest blogs for them designed to coincide with the launch of the new novel, at the same time giving a bit of background detail, character notes and so forth.

First of all, I'm hugely flattered to be asked to participate in this. So thanks to all those involved. I couldn't be more grateful. Secondly, it's been amazingly enjoyable. Quite honestly, there is nothing more exhilarating for an author - I'm sure I can speak for others on this - than to be asked to share the thought processes and creative urges that have combined to see your ideas and dreams hit the printed page.

 As authors, we are nothing without our readership. We don't write for ourselves; what would be the point in that? We write to enthuse, excite and delight that great mysterious mass of often unseen folk who provide our audience. And though the modern era and the social networks in particular allow readers to provide instant feedback - which is hugely gratifying, I assure you - we are a self-effacing enough bunch, I think, to never be absolutely sure we are hitting the right spot.

In that respect, how deeply affecting is it to be asked to sit down and chat about it? Could there be a more gentlemanly way to inform an author that he or she is starting to produce the kind of imaginings that many, many others are buying into?

So thanks again to all those who invited me to participate in this tour. I feel hugely honoured. And so, without further ado, here are the tour-dates, so to speak:

Wednesday, May 21 - WRITING.IE

Thursday, May 22 - KILLING TIME


Sunday, May 25 - THE BOOK CORNER

Monday, May 26 - CRIME BOOK CLUB

Tuesday, May 27 - RAVEN CRIME READS

Wednesday, May 28 - LOVE OF A GOOD BOOK

To round off today, I've dressed up this column with some more shots from various underground railway stations in Germany, where the German translations of my Heck novels are being aided and abetted by this very eye-catching poster campaign.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Waxing lyrical on mayhem and murder

We kick off this week with the full interview I did about a month ago with Lars Schafft and Silke Wronkowski, the two charming hosts of KRIMI-COUCH-TV, a massive German website with a strong focus on crime and thriller fiction.

Lars and Silke came all the way over to the UK to have a chat with me in anticipation of the publication of my Heck novels in Germany through prestigious German publisher, PIPER VERLAG

STALKERS, or MADCHENJAGER (as it is known in German), was published in Germany this month. The second in the series, SACRIFICE over here in the UK, RATTENFANGER in Germany, will follow in the autumn. We're all reasonably hopeful that THE KILLING CLUB, due for publication in the UK on May 22 this year, will also be making an appearance in Germany in the near future.

Anyway, the interview is posted above. I always enjoy the opportunity to philosophise about my work (promote it, in other words), and think this occasion went pretty well.

Still on the subject of the Heck novels, THE KILLING CLUB is part of a new HarperCollins promotion, and you can acquire it early in three parts. The first piece, which comprises chapters 1 - 6, comes free HERE, but the second pieces, chapters 7 - 18, is available for 99p HERE.

If you're wondering whether Detective Sergeant Mark 'Heck' Heckenburg - a young Scotland Yard cop who goes exclusively after the maddest and the baddest - is worth your time, a nice review of SACRIFICE appeared today on the BOOK ADDICT SHAUN crime blog.

Now, on a completely different matter, a horror story of mine, THE OLD TRADITIONS ARE BEST, first published in SHADES OF DARKNESS and later in MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR #20 was featured today in a spoken-word version on the excellent podcast site, PSEUDOPOD, as read by top actor ANT BACON (who can be reached on Twitter at @antbacon). It comes in at around half an hour, if I remember rightly, so give yourself a little time on this one. It should be of particular interest to Cornwall lovers, and to those interested in our monstrous myths and fables, especially those centred around the mysteries of the Padstow Hobby Horse, a fun and frolicsome spirit to some, a vengeful demon to others.

Thanks to HARBOUR VIEW, PADSTOW for the picture.