Towards the end of this year, Samhain Publishing, under the auspices of chief editor Don D'Auria, will be bringing out an ebook version of my 2005 supernatural novella Under the Ice. It's set in Helsinki, Finland, in the dead of winter, and features a revenant, which I suppose is just a fancy way of saying 'zombie.' That's all I'm telling you about the plot for now, but the terrific cover by Scott Carpenter has already been approved, and here it is.
People have been asking me -- on message boards and forums -- for quite a while now whether any of my self-published ebooks are available through anything else but Kindle. And the answer until this week has been NO. But now I've got two of my short story collections up on Smashwords. Dark Futures is a compendium of my sf/horror fusion tales, from the pages of The 3rd Alternative, Black Static and suchlike, with a cover by the excellent Steve Upham. Whereas The Immortal Sherlock Holmes: Volume I comprises four of my modern day Holmes stories, 'The Desert King' in Arizona, 'The Hidden Shore' in the Carribean, 'The Terror in the Park' in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the Las Vegas based 'The House of Blood,' originally published in GaslightArcanum: Dark Tales of Sherlock Holmes. Both books have gone onto Smashwords' Premium Catalog, btw, and so they ought to be available on Kobo etc. fairly soon. You can find out more about them HERE.
Some authors can write all day and then cheerfully read all evening. Others can't. And unfortunately, I'm very much afraid that I fall into the latter category. I can't properly concentrate on my own work while reading the work of other people.
Why? Well in my case, I'm afraid it's a matter of a thing called 'voice.' And I'll give you an example. I was working on one of my Raine's Landing supernatural thrillers. They're set in a fictional town of the same name in Massachusetts, and are mostly narrated by the central character, a certain Ross Devries. He's never left his hometown once in his life, because of a curse on the place. You get the general picture?
Anyway, I was working on a scene he was narrating one day. And the previous evening, I had been reading one of Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire novels. And before I knew it, Ross's voice -- the voice of someone who's a lifelong northeast coast, New England man -- was ringing through my head with a very heavy Southern accent, redolent of fried turkey and grits. Hey, how 'bout them Salem witches, y'all. And I couldn't get rid of it all day. That's how much other people's work can sometimes affect me.
Honestly, it drives me nuts, because I love to read. Between projects, I do so as much as I can. I devour books when I'm vacationing, and half enjoy catching the flu, because it stops me working and allows me to get a little more reading in. But the point of all this is that I have now joined Goodreads. As you can tell from the scenario above, my personal reviews of books won't be too frequent, but I'll do it when I can. And I'd love to hear your opinions of both my and other writers' efforts. You can look me up right here.
Even writers have it tough sometimes. It's been a pretty busy year so far. There've been the various edits of my new supernatural thriller -- TROPIC OF DARKNESS from Pocket Star/Gallery -- to deal with. I've a new horror novel on the boil. And to add insult to injury, I honestly thought that I was getting near to a final version of my fifth Raine's Landing novel -- SPEAK OF THE DEVIL -- only to realise it needs a couple more drafts at least before it's properly complete.
Ah, the joys of being a perfectionist!
Throw in an absolutely terrible British winter which has lasted right until the end of April, and by the middle of that monthI was absolutely drained and needed, very badly, to get away for a while.
A couple of days scootching around on the Internet and Louise had come up with an inexpensive one-week deal in, of all places, Ibiza. You know, hangout for hippies in the Sixties and Seventies, now the favoured destination for all-night clubbers. But we went for it.
We wound up in a nice hotel which was a little isolated and was, frankly, pretty quiet. Very early in the season, you see ...it had only just opened, and I doubt if a quarter of its rooms were occupied. But right outside the entrance was a bus stop, and in ten minutes you could get into the heart of the island's capital, Ibiza Town, and what a joy that was. The harbour was nice enough -- face it, they always are. But heading away from that, you come into the Old Town, all tall, gaily-painted old houses with wrought iron balconies, and leafy, cafe-lined squares. Absolutely charming. But the best was yet to come.
Past the Old Town is the mostly 16th Century walled city of Ibiza Town, founded -- I think -- by Philip II of Spain. We're talking huge walls, massive fortifications, cannons at the top. To defend against whom? I'm not quite sure. Pirates? Corsairs? Even the Perfidious Brits?
You go in through the main entrance -- across a drawbridge, no less -- and suddenly realise that you've wound up somewhere very special. And it's not just the lovely old architecture. The whole of the walled city is built on the slopes of a very steep hill, so that the streets running acrosswise are normal lanes, but the streets running upward are not lanes at all but flights of stone stairs, hundreds of them, heading in every which direction. And the place is no museum -- people live there by the thousand. I could have wandered there for hours, and I generally did.
I hear that Luca in Italy is built along similar lines but, never having been there, I found Ibiza Town's walled city quite unique, a place of special magic. There's a lot more to that island than just clubbing.
Further down this blog, you'll find an interview with Canadian author and publisher Clayton Bye. And now I'm in an anthology of his. It's horror, and it's different and unsettling stuff. At 334 pages, The Speed of Dark has 27 stories by 19 authors from across the world, all of them by invite, and includes my latest Birchiam-on-Sea tale, 'Across the Tracks.'
For the whole of today, Saturday 23rd February, one of my collections of horror tales -- The Books of Shadow: Volume II -- is absolutely free on Amazon Kindle. A dozen of my best creepy tales, all of them originally published between the Eighties and the present day. There are two other books in this series, by the way. You can find out more about them HERE.
I've never cared too much for Xmas. Honestly, I find it dull. So once family duties are over, Louise and I like to get away for New Year if we possibly can. This year it was Palma, capital of Mallorca, a charming town with a large and beautiful Old City, full of winding streets, Arab baths, and amazing buildings including a huge and very beautiful cathedral. I thought I'd share some of it with you (rather late in the day, because I've been pretty busy since I got back).