The Nights Are Drawing In….

images…the temperature is dropping, leaves are changing colour. Halloween is approaching. I always associate this time of year with stories and reading. I read and write all year round, of course, but there’s something about the long evenings and the cold outside that awakens the hibernation urge, making curling up with a good story and a hot drink the best part of the day. 

It also provides the perfect backdrop for everything spooky, atmospheric, dark and sinister. 

To that end, please find below a list of my favourite spine-chilling tales that are at their best when read at this time of year, preferably by the light of an open fire with the curtains drawn and the wind howling outside. If you can arrange such things, of course. Otherwise a sofa and reading lamp serve just as well. 

The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements 

61busvE+xRL__SX323_BO1,204,203,200_This book is dripping with atmosphere. The setting is wild, the characters evocative. The mood is the perfect mix of increasing desperation and just-out-of-reach redemption. It locked me in right away and didn’t let up until the gut-wrenching end. One of the best books I’ve read this year.

‘Maybe you’ve heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there’s something up here, something evil. 

Mercy Booth isn’t afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father’s study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching. 

When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can’t see it yet.’ 

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski 

51xHGJVwgVLA new twist on the classic paranormal thriller. Told in the format of a podcast similar to the popular Serial, Wesolowski (as well as being a good chum of mine) is an expert at keeping you engaged whilst slipping sinister details past your guard. He uses multiple timelines and cleverly-timed plot twists so you’re never quite sure what you know. Until it’s too late 

‘1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby. 

2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame… 

As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth.

A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.’ 

Collected Ghost Stories by M R James 

61nSDjYBgbL__SX314_BO1,204,203,200_The master of the spooky, sinister and downright weird. M R James has been a favourite of mine for many, many years. There is something about his stories that is just so…out there. There’s a reason these stories are classics and continue to be popular to this day. A must for anyone craving chills and thrills.  

‘Considered by many to be the most terrifying writer in English, M. R. James was an eminent scholar who spent his entire adult life in the academic surroundings of Eton and Cambridge. His classic supernatural tales draw on the terrors of the everyday, in which documents and objects unleash terrible forces, often in closed rooms and night-time settings where imagination runs riot. Lonely country houses, remote inns, ancient churches or the manuscript collections of great libraries provide settings for unbearable menace, from creatures seeking retribution and harm. These stories have lost none of their power to unsettle and disturb.’ 

The Woman In Black by Susan Hill 

91HN+g3fS7LYes, I know there’s a movie with Daniel Radcliffe. Yes it’s jumpy, sinister, atmospheric. But honestly, the book is something else. Lower-key, but the spookier for it in my opinion, and an all-round more sinister conclusion, this one is a must for a rainy evening when you’re alone in the house. 

‘Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the sole inhabitant of Eel Marsh House. The house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black – and her terrible purpose.’ 

 

There’s a little to keep you going. And I also have a short spooky story of my own, Cenwick Priory, available here should you wish to indulge your need for creeps and shudders further. 

Later, folks. Stay spooky

 

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SciFi, Romance, Drafting & Grafting

Greetings all.

A general update on all my various goings-on.

First off, I had a simply wonderful weekend at Scarborough Science Fiction festival in April, as usual. Thanks so much to readers old & new as well as fellow fanatics that took

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My stall at Scarborough SciFi Festival. SciFi by the sea always a treat.

the time to come and say hi. Not least, thank you to the reader that told me she keeps the Orbit Series by her bed just to have it within easy-reach for re-reads. Made my day/weekend/year, in fact.

I’m spending the rest of the year concentrating on several all-new projects. I have the first draft of book 1 of a new series, Waste (Indiana Jones meets Mad Max, anyone?), to edit and shop around, whilst I try my hand at something in entirely different genre. Romance, in fact. Well, paranormal/romance/mystery/thriller crossovers to be precise.

Can’t be having it too simple, now, can I?

Granted, at first glance this appears to be a dramatic swerve away from all my projects so far. But as my focus has always been on character and relationships, albeit with an out-of-this-world backdrop, it was a pretty natural step for me. I’m a firm believer in it always being worth trying new things and I enjoy keeping my hand in with drafting whilst editing and shopping round a finished project.

Gotta keep writing, after all!

Stay tuned on Facebook or Twitter for more regular updates. And pictures of cats, most likely.

Again soon, my friends!

 

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It’s the most story-filled time of the year

apple-trees-in-winter-alamy-c3kkb7-580x435One of my favourite things about Christmas is the stories associated with it. It’s a time when we all re-visit many of their favourite stories, films and books. The comforting familiarity of these classics that, for many of us, have been with us since childhood, coupled with the long, dark evenings that provide ample justification for curling up with a book or in front of the TV, make this time magical for me.

So, here again in all its snow-clad glory, is a link to my Christmas-themed Short Story ‘Bleak Midwinter’ – my own re-telling of one of my most favourite festive tales.

Enjoy!

Bleak Midwinter

 

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‘Life Cycle’ performed for #WordsAloud

UntitledHere’s a wonderful video of some lovely people performing my short story ‘Life Cycle’ at Lancaster Fun Palace’s event ‘Words Aloud’ at the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster.

So nice to hear it out loud, a completely new experience and most welcome.

To see the video, follow this link: https://youtu.be/iXQHgp3DQuc

To read the original story, click here

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I do enjoy a bit of cross-genre fun

Werewolves howl. Phantoms prowl. Halloween’s upon us now! So let’s settle down with something on the spooky side of crime fiction. Here’s the first of this week’s special selection of chilling thrillers, exploring the mysterious hinterland between hardboiled noir and the beasts which prowl in the far beyond… Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg Let’s kick […]

via Criminal Halloween Reading — MurderMayhem&More

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Lancaster Event – The Orbit Series Turns 3. Book signing and CAKE

It’s hard to believe buy 3 years ago this month Zero, book 1 in the Orbit Series, launched. To celebrate that and the two sequels that have followed, I’m teaming up with Alternative Clothing and Gifts Store Ahoy in Lancaster (which also turns 3 this month!) to celebrate with book signings, raffle, cake and more.

Find out more on the Facebook event here.

See you there!

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Update

Hi everyone!

Just a quickie.

First off, CoxCon was so amazing. Thanks to John and Gen and all you wonderful folks, I sold a record amount of copies. I want to thank everyone who came to speak to me, talked to me about reading/writing/scifi/films, bought the books or made the special effort to come and see me to tell me how much then enjoyed them. Made my year, it really did.

I’m not in this for the sales, I’m in it for the stories. Writing stories that people enjoy, in however small a way, is my Primary Directive. Discovering I’m achieving that never gets old.

I’m channelling all the positive energy into the next project. Draft 1 of Book 1 on the new series is going well. I’m about 1/2 way through, hoping to have a manuscript finished and ready to pitch to agents at the beginning of 2018. Nail biting stuff! But it’s so much fun trying something different.

More details soon!

In the mean time, this October will be the anniversary of book 1 in the Orbit Series, Zero, launching back in 2014. The Orbit Series is 3 years old! To celebrate I’m going to do a local book signing event in Lancaster at the wonderful Ahoy shop.

All covers

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It is also Ahoy’s third birthday too so we’re going to have a joint birthday party: cake, books, sale on awesome clothes. What else could one need at a weekend?

Date and details to be announced soon!

Peace & love, fellow adventurers

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Counting Down to CoxCon 22.7.17

Greetings all.

This week I am mostly beavering away at Draft 1 of Book 1 of a brand new SciFi series (oooooo tease…all I’ll say right now is Indiana Jones meets Mad Max), getting super excited to be drafting something new and counting down to the epic gaming/youtube event that is CoxCon.

CoxCon is Sat 22nd and Sun 23rd July this year at the Telford International Centre, Midlands. I’m excited because it’s always such a great event with great vibes and really friendly people.

Looking forward to seeing faces old & new and getting updated on what’s new in the world of gaming (something I am woefully uninformed on!). Interest in the Orbit Series is always high too and it’s so fun speaking to people who are part way through or have finished the series.

Find out more about the event and order your tickets here

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Guests this year included Youtuber/gaming aficionado Jesse Cox (of course), the lovely couple Sam Strippin & Dodger and the always-hilarious Crendor.

I don’t claim to be any kind of expert, or even know very much at all, about the subject matter of their very popular YouTube stations, but what I do know is they are a kind, friendly bunch and enormously entertaining performers. Though I will miss seeing my good friends John & Genna Bain this year (popular Youtubers/games reviewers/cosplay geniuses and, also, to all intents and purposes my brother- and sister-in-law) but will be seeing them another time very soon, so very pleased about that.

This is my only current booked event in the near future. I have pared it back on events this year to concentrate on drafting the new novel, though I may do an 3-year anniversary event in Lancaster in October to commemorate the day book 1 in the series, Zero, was launched three years ago.

Wow, has it been 3 years? It’s so weird, three years isn’t that long, but so much has happened and the books have come so far, it feels like these stories have always been a part of me. Perhaps they have, and it just took that offer from Dagda Publishing in 2014 to get the ball rolling. It’s been a dream come true, in short, and it’s not over yet.

Stay up to date on Facebook and Twitter for any dates of any more events and news of the new series. And cat pictures and SciFi memes, most likely.

Peace be with you, friends.

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Silence Re-Release & SciFi by the Sea

Good afternoon, all!

I’m very pleased to announce that Book 3 in the Orbit Series Silence has been re-edited and is now slimmer, trimmer & better edited (phew!). Copies of the new edition are currently only available in hardcopy straight from me either in person for £8.99 at the Scarborough SciFi festival 8th & 9th Apr or through the post (contact me through Facebook or Twitter to arrange and order, £10 including postage )

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New Edition Released Mar 2017

 

I am hoping to have the Amazon files updated ASAP so you can get it for your Kindles and/or order internationally.

I’m so happy that Orbit Series is complete and out there, chugging along under its own steam and (hopefully) building its own momentum. It’s been one heck of a journey!

Never to rest on those laurels, I’ve already started drafting a new series. It’s super exciting playing with brand new characters in a brand new setting. That’s all I will say for now.

For now, I’m just getting excited for Scarborough SciFi Festival weekend of 8th April! Always have such fun at that event.

Scifi Poster

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Silence Re-Release Mar 2017

Hey all!

Silence, the third and final instalment of the Orbit Series, has had a spruce-up. Story is unchanged, but language has had a polish. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, hang fire for this newer, shinier edition due for release this March.

Details soon!

Click here for the rest of the Orbit Series for Kindle or as Paperback from Amazon

Click here to read more about the Orbit Series

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All covers

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