Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Monday, 31 March 2014

Black Mountain #4: The Beast Of Maes Carnedd

Not had time to get a new website organised yet - I'm still unpacking my crates of books - so this one will have to stay in service a little longer, in order to let you know that the latest instalment of the Black Mountain saga, The Beast Of Maes Carnedd, is now available on Amazon, with - as you can see - yet another awesome cover by Neil Williams.

Maes Carnedd lies in ruins now. It’s more than a hundred years since the Welsh mining village, in the shadow of Mynydd Du, was abandoned by its inhabitants.

In the summer of 1903, terror came to Maes Carnedd, and left a trail of corpses in its wake.

Something that killed with the strength and savagery of an animal, but the cruelty and sadism of a man. Something that brought death to its victims in the heart of the woods, in the tunnels of the mines, or behind the locked doors and windows of their own homes.

Only one man knows the truth of the events that doomed Maes Carnedd.

And now it’s time to tell.

'We could all hear Bert Williams' screams, fading away as it dragged him off. And we could have gone after him, but we didn’t. No point. We’d have been dead too. You didn’t see what it did to those men. 

They were torn to pieces. I mean literally. Limb from limb. Like you’d pull a roast chicken apart – rip off the drumsticks, gouge and tear off the breasts. Strip the carcass. We could recognise the faces, just – and by Christ, I wish I hadn’t – but as for the rest? You couldn’t tell which bits were Bill’s and which were Jack’s.
 

As for Bert Williams - no-one ever saw him again, living or dead.'


The first three episodes of Black Mountain, The Red Key, The Ghosts Of Hafan Deg and The Strange Death Of Britt Nordenstam, are all available for download too.

American readers can download the saga here.


Friday, 21 March 2014

And The Birds Fly South For Winter

This is my last morning in the house I've lived in for twelve years. I moved in at the end of 2001, halfway through writing a novella called Until My Darkness Goes, which appeared in my first story collection. I remember that because it's a ghost story, and on my first night alone in the house, as I was writing a suitably creepy scene, a floorboard creaked somewhere and terrified the bejazus out of me. The next night I put some music on, only to switch it off when other sounds intruded. After a moment I realised it was the couple next door. Making love. Very, very loudly. I managed not to bag on the wall and tell him to give her one from me.

I was twenty-seven when I moved in here. Last month I turned forty. I spent the last of my twenties and all of my thirties here. For most of that time I was single, and on occasions despaired of ever not being alone.

Not that I was. I've made good friends living here in Swinton; the guy over the road is one of my best mates. My next door neighbour, a former lodger, is someone I knew at college.

I learned to be happy on my own in this house. While I've lived here, I saw my first books published, and my stories appear in annual 'Best Of' collections. I wrote Tide Of Souls here, and The Faceless.

And I fell in love while I lived here. And that love has deepened, and now I'm moving to another city - Liverpool - to be with the woman I love. A new life begins, exhilarating and scary all at once.

I will miss this house. I'll miss Swinton. I'll miss the little Chinese takeaway up the road where I'm on first name terms with the owners. I'll miss the nature reserve ten minutes walk from my front door and the country park up the road, and all the bits of green belt and natural beauty I've come to know, living here.

But it's time to go.

This is a good little house. It's taken care of me, far better than I've taken care of it. I'm glad that the people buying it from me are friends. I'm glad it will be in good hands.

This might be the last post here on this blog, too. I'm hoping to set up a WordPress site. This blog has been good, but I think I need something different now.

Thanks to everyone who's been following me since I set it up six years ago. Take care, be well and be happy.



Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Strange Death Of Britt Nordenstam

The third instalment of Black Mountain, my serial for Spectral Press, is The Strange Death Of Britt Nordenstam, released at the end of this month.

Once again, the cover artwork is by the immensely talented Neil Williams, who's outdone himself with this stonking cover.

'I could hear him. Not one voice, but dozens. Hundreds. You know your Bible, Mr Ware? ‘Call him Legion, for we are many?’ Many voices, but all one. It was a call and it was beautiful but I could never quite hear it, and I had to. I wanted to follow it. Same as Britt. But it was worse for her, because it was her the devil wanted...

...I could hear it too, and it was calling me up into the pines. Because, you see, Mr Ware, that wood – Coed Capel – it isn’t always as small as it looks. There are places where the pines stretch out and out forever, and the paths through them coil around so you can never find your way back. And the devil’s waiting there for you in them.'

You can download the second episode, The Ghosts Of Hafan Deg, here, and read the first episode, The Red Key, for free here.

Monday, 3 February 2014

X7

X7 is a slim but punchy little anthology from a new small press called Knightwatch, and is edited by Alex Davis. Its theme? The Seven Deadly Sins...
'We are punished by our sins, not for them' - Elbert Hubbard. 
X7 takes you on a sinister, startling and scintillating journey through the deadliest of sins with seven superb horror tales. 
In these pages both hero and anti-hero will succumb to sin and reap the results of their behaviour. Be it the gastronomic society that uncovers a unusual delicacy, a brother seeking to become closer to his lost sister, the wrath of a serial killer – and his psychologist – being unleashed or the simple sin of lazing a while by the waterside, this anthology will shock and surprise and equal measure. 
Featuring new and exclusive stories from Alex Bell, Simon Bestwick, Simon Clark, Tom Fletcher, Amelia Mangan, Gaie Sebold and Nicholas Royle. 
As you can see, it's a bloody good line-up. My own contribution is on the them of Greed, and it's called 'Stormcats.' Here's a quick sample:
'At the bottom of the slope, where a shore of silt and loose stone was forming where the grass had been washed away, lay a tide-mark of straggly fur.
Aaron went down to the water’s edge. Rats, maybe? But he already knew they weren’t.
Cats. All along the shoreline – there had to be thirty or forty of them, washed up at his door. All dead, of course, long-drowned. None, that he could see, still had eyes. Movement in the water – he looked up to see more limp, furred bodies being washed in.
...
He looked down at the cats again, prodded the closest one with his foot.
It moved.
Aaron leapt back. Must be trapped gas, or something inside it, eating it from within. But no; the cat writhed there brokenly, then rolled and rose up on its paws, then looked around and, despite its absence of eyes, it saw him. And when it did, it hissed and arched its spine, the remainder of its bedraggled hair rising on end as it did.
The whole shoreline was moving now, the rest of the cats thrashing back into life and motion – getting to their feet and hissing, arching their backs –
And starting to advance.
Aaron backed away. The ones in the water were moving too. They floundered their way to shore, to join the other cats – the other dead cats – as they advanced on him.'
X7 is available both as a paperback or an ebook.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Ghosts Of Hafan Deg are unleashed!

Black Mountain #2: The Ghosts Of Hafan Deg is now available to buy. You can download it to your Kindle for a mere £1.86 here (or in the US, for $3.07 here.)

The first instalment, The Red Key, will soon be available as a free download as well. In the meantime, you can read it - also free - here.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

World War Cthulhu

World War Cthulhu: Darkest Hour is a new Second World War setting from game company Cubicle 7, a variant on their Call Of Cthulhu RPG. Which may not be of interest if, like me, you're not a gamer yourself. But Cubicle 7 have produced an ebook anthology of horror fiction to accompany the release, and asked the wonderful Jonathan Oliver to edit it.

Jon's a fine editor - I've had the great pleasure of working with him on both Tide Of Souls and The Faceless - and having a story in a previous anthology of his, End Of The Line. World War Cthulhu includes tales from James Lovegrove, Weston Ochse, Rebecca Levene, Robin D. Laws, Gaie Sebold, T.P. Pike, Sarah Newton, Greg Stolze, Paul Finch, John Llewellyn Probert, Jonathan Green, Archie Black and World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar. All fine writers.

Oh, and I'm in there too, with a tale called 'Now I Am Nothing.'

'They’d been crushed flat, but there was no blood... All the blood - all the moisture of any kind, it looked like - had been sucked or squeezed out of them. The bodies were punctured and perforated, and in places the dried, withered flesh was burned, as if by fire or some strong acid. Not all of them still had faces, but the ones that did were still screaming. Even in death...

The dead man stared up at him with the bloody, ragged sockets that had been his eyes. His hands were red claws, pieces of tissue still clinging to them...

 Its great, unending heap of a body glistened greasily; Its hide was smooth, pale and slimy, like intestine, like great sheets of gut. Pale and slimy except for dark, glistening patches that spotted it. Were there holes in the middle of those patches? And if so, what were they? More mouths? No matter. Under that hide things moved, like great armatures of bone. It was as if someone was trying to erect a tent from the inside; the great bulk of It rippled and shifted.' 

You can buy World War Cthulhu here. 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Black Mountain #2 - New Cover Art

The cover art for the second instalment of Black Mountain, The Ghosts Of Hafan Deg, has now changed. Here's a sneak preview: see what you think. 
Llyn Daioni, in North Wales, is a lake about a hundred feet long by fifty wide, hidden in a pine forest, away from the outside world. To look at, it’s as tranquil and picturesque a scene as you could hope to find in Britain.
But when you go to Llyn Daioni, what strikes you most of all is the silence. Not a single bird sings, as if they know not to come near.
Beside the lake is a cluster of strange-looking buildings, their bright colours already fading, symbols of a future that will never come to pass; they are the only surviving monument to a story of greed and ambition that ended in ruin and death.
 You can meet the ghosts of Hafan Deg yourself in just another three days. Watch this space.