Tag Archives: books that ate my brain

The Wolf Witch – FREE E-BOOK

HEY, IT’S SOME FREE STUFF. YOU LIKE FREE STUFF, RIGHT?

Course you do.

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 Amazon.com

You save $4.99 on the first book of this brand new horror trilogy, all three books of which are now available for sale in the Kindle Store. It’s an unflinching look at what lycanthropy does for your resume (bad things, as it happens) and why you should never annoy the person who is preparing your dinner.

The whole thing was initially inspired by the stunning photography in the Netflix series Bloodline. As soon as I saw those aerial shots of the Florida Keys I knew I had to write something set against such a beautiful backdrop, and it certainly didn’t hurt that there was the grand old tradition of Southern Gothic to draw upon, with those drifts of Spanish moss and people going Tennessee Williams style crazy from the heat and the bugs and the oppression of their own ugly secrets. I had no exact idea where I was going with it but I knew I wanted the main player to be an old lady named Gloria – I had the Hendrix version of that song thundering through my head all last spring. And I knew the heroine – Blue – was from New Orleans and had been a teenager when Katrina devastated the city.

Then that kind of set me aboard a different train of thought, to a girl who had spent her whole life adrift in some way or another, scurrying ahead of social services who wanted to separate her from her bipolar mother, always wanting to be left alone to fend for herself, right up until those few days in the Superdome when she understood what it really meant to be absolutely, totally abandoned. She was a very solitary, self-reliant young woman and the more I got to know her the more I realised she was a little like Shakespeare’s Miranda, cast adrift and left for dead in the wake of the tempest.

That was when I remembered the production I’d seen at the Barbican some twenty years ago, with Simon Russell-Beale’s stiff, snarling Ariel, chafing at the bit of captivity. And there it all was – a girl cast adrift, who comes to an island of monsters, where there’s a once powerful witch now sliding into her dotage and the spirit she once marshaled to her aid is now figuring out a way to destroy her.

Now take that and set it against a background of skunkroaches, gators, werewolves, fundamentalists and other weird Florida wildlife, and you’ve got yourself a trilogy.

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Isle of Spirits – now available in the Kindle store

It’s a strange feeling, being done with something as huge as a trilogy. On one hand you’re going to miss it and the other you kind of want to punt it out of the door so that it can piss off and start earning its own living. Sort of like having teenage kids, I imagine.

And this thing is a monster baby. This afternoon I put the final touches to the final book, looked at the word count and whistled. The Wolf Witch comes in at a slightly portly 95k, the sequel – which you can buy at the end of this post, hint hint – is a tubby 97k. The final volume – Full Fathom Five – is a beast of almost 118,000 words, which is a monster for me, having cut my teeth on 75k genre fiction. It’s also one of the darkest, wrongest things I think I’ve ever written; there were moments where the story took me to places that were frankly so disturbing that I wondered if I should even go there.

Still, I suppose horror is pretty much the place for disquieting things that make your skin crawl. If I wanted to write about sunshine and puppies (and I actually kind of do) I’d write a children’s book.

Anyway, this is the sequel. You can get it on Amazon and if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber you can get it for absolutely NOTHING. So you should probably do that. After you’ve read the first one, obviously. Otherwise this isn’t going to make a great deal of sense.

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S-T-O-R-M-S-C-O-M-I-N-G

That was the message on the Ouija board, but Blue is a long way from understanding, and as July’s brutal blue moon looms she is forced to face the reality of the weird new world in which she now lives. Gloria, being more wolf than witch these days, is not much help, and Gabe keeps pushing Blue away in a desperate attempt to protect her from the horrors of the full moon.

But Blue’s stared horror in the face too many times already, and keeps right on walking into the realm of the spirit workers, the all-but-extinct wolf witches who once derived their power from pack spirits like the murderous Yael, who’s been a little too quiet for comfort lately.

Also there are power struggles looming when exiled alpha Charlie returns to the Keys in the wake of the cannibal swamp-wolf murders near St. Augustine. And things aren’t going so well for the Okefenokee packs either, at least according to swamp-wolf Ruby, who’s come down south trailing a captive spirit tamer and softer than Yael, but no less potentially dangerous.

When July’s first full moon brings disaster for Joe Lutesinger, Blue finds herself thrown headlong into the role of wolf witch. There’s trouble at home and abroad, no instruction manual beyond an elderly cook book and Gloria’s increasingly in no position to offer help. Gabe can push as hard as he likes, but the more Blue learns the more she realises that even if she wanted to walk away, she’s in this thing far deeper than anyone – least of all herself – ever knew.

Isle of Spirits is the second book in the Keys Trilogy.

 Amazon.com

Lycanthropy and Other Things To Do In The Great State of Florida

So, last summer I had this odd little bet with myself that I could bang out a werewolf trilogy in under six months.

I failed. It took me about thirteen months instead, thirteen months of hairy, bone-crunching, howling-at-the-moon craziness that has left me all but straining at the leash to piss off and write a nice flossy pink bubblegum romance, just to have a break from trying to think up the best ways to describe exposed rib cages and the noises that parts of people’s skulls make when they go bouncing off the kitchen fittings.

If you’re looking for paranormal romance, you might want to give these puppies a pass. Unless you really like knowing what kind of noises that parts of people’s skulls make when they bounce off the kitchen fittings, in which case welcome aboard, fellow weirdos.

So, here it is. Book one in the Keys Trilogy, a happy little bedtime story of Florida lycanthropes, man-eating rednecks and why you should never mess with the kind of crazy old ladies who keep leaving their dentures on the draining board.

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Unfinished family business and a promise of paradise bring Katrina survivor Blue Beaufort to the Florida Keys, but what she finds there is beyond anything she could have imagined. At first glance her new home is nothing more than a small town in a tourist trap, unremarkable save for some unruly neighborhood dogs and a strangely high incidence of red-green colorblindness.

But then there’s the way the local boys tilt their heads when the wind a certain way, like they can smell trouble on the breeze, and while practical-minded diving instructor Gabe doesn’t seem the type to cling to superstition, he still won’t take the boat out when the moon is full.

And then there’s Gloria, a wilful seventysomething eccentric who for years has been den mother to packs of lost boys like Gabe, Joe and black sheep Charlie, but now presents them with the delicate problem of what to do with your elders when they start showing signs of dementia. Doubly difficult when Gloria – who even when healthy used to talk to people who weren’t there – shows signs of a miraculous recovery and drives all the way to Miami in her bedroom slippers.

When Blue steps in to help out, she thinks she’s going to be cleaning house and serving Jell-O and pills to an old lady, but Gloria’s house is not like other houses. The light fitting keeps swinging, and old records keep skipping, and Gloria’s miracle cure seems to have woken something in the house, a whispering entity that seeps into Blue’s dreams and starts showing her things she’d rather not see.

Like that cage in the basement.

As Blue wades deeper into the strange world of the wolf witch and her boys, she soon comes to realise that what happens at the full moon is actually the least of everyone’s worries.

The Wolf Witch is the first book in the Keys Trilogy.

Amazon.com

(This book is FREE to KindleUnlimited Subscribers)

A Box Full of Ashes – now available to buy at Amazon.

It took me over twenty-two years to finally write this novel, and now it’s done.

Except it’s not, because it’s the start of a series and I’ve just started to realise the sheer scale of what I’ve had in my head all this time. It’s going to be a busy few years.

Anyway, A Box Full of Ashes – Eliot & O’Hare book one – is now available to buy in the Kindle store. If you’re tired of vampires as love interests and crave some proper old-fashioned monsters, then do I have a book for you. Liberally seasoned with stage magic, psychology, forensic pathology and lots and lots of garlic, A Box Full of Ashes is an eccentric urban fantasy in which scepticism and the usual accepted rules of reality war with the slow-burning realisation that something out there is eating people.

And it’s not so good at cleaning up after itself either.

Hope you enjoy the book.

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Amazon.com

 Amazon.uk

A Box Full Of Ashes – The Trouble With Vampires

A lot of writers talk about process, and mine goes like this – SHUT UP AND WRITE. I seldom talk about what I’m working on as I find it kills my desire to get the thing finished; it’s like I’ve already got my storytelling jollies by telling it and then there’s no more satisfaction to be had in writing it out.

This also explains why I am not really very good at blogging.

I only feel really safe talking about things when they are very, very nearly done, and even then I feel slightly guilty about it, like when someone tells you that you can open your present before Christmas or your birthday and you do it, but it doesn’t feel right. Not really.

Anyway, remember a few years ago when absolutely everything was vampires and there were vampires on TV and vampires in the bookshops and some of them sparkled and others just had abs and were Alexander Skarsgard and Lindsay Lohan took selfies wearing fangs and everyone got really, really sick of vampires?

Well, shortly after that my brain decided it might be a good time to write a vampire novel.

There were a couple of problems with this. One was that everyone was so tired of vampires that it wasn’t even funny, and the other was that I don’t even like vampires. I enjoyed Anne Rice books when I was a teenager, but I’ve never managed to get through one as an adult. I like Dracula and I think Salem’s Lot is one of the best things Stephen King has ever written, but I have no patience for a bunch of undead mopes whining around the place talking about how hard it is to be beautiful, irresistible, basically immortal and (on more than one infamous occasion) sparkly.

Good fictional characters should change and develop, which is why vampires are at a disadvantage from the start; they’re basically frozen. They never age and never really need to fear death all that much. In fact some of the worst ones just sit about moaning about the fact that they’re never going to die (yes, you at the back with the widescreen forehead) and don’t even have the decency to try and off themselves properly. Seriously, just order some garlic bread and hop on a tanning bed for half an hour. Do the world a favour.

Anne Rice did a groundbreaking thing when she turned the vampire – the monster – into the point of view character. The trouble these days is that it’s been done to death and back, and I thought maybe it was time to take the vampires back to what they used to be; straight up monsters who want to eat you.

The other thing I knew I didn’t want was the kind of urban fantasy where there are vampires wandering around just because.  I wanted something where vampires – impossible, mythical, storybook things – invade the real world. Dracula does this very well, with newspaper clippings and diaries. Salem’s Lot – which uses Dracula as a jumping off point – probably does this even better, with Stephen King effortlessly folding horror into realism as only he can. Another inspiration was Ultraviolet, the sadly short-lived Channel 4 vampire series starring Idris Elba, Jack Davenport and Vampire Beeehl back before his True Blood days. I liked the hard science edge of Ultraviolet and I thought I could do something similar with some characters who have been knocking around in my head in various forms for over twenty years now.

So that’s kind of how I ended up with a mental patient, a slacker magician and an underemployed pathologist up to their eyeballs in a series of extraordinary events that start when a goth spontaneously combusts in a quiet Devon churchyard. Now, I don’t know how far you can be said to be writing ‘urban fantasy’ when part of the action takes place in Sidmouth, but if there’s one thing I’ve always been good at it’s giving myself marketing headaches.

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Read beneath the tag for a first nibble. This takes place when the main characters meet for the first time in the graveyard where a goth named Deborah Messinger goes up in flames. What Francis doesn’t know at this point is that Deborah’s partially cooked corpse is missing, having seemingly walked out of the morgue on her own steam the night before her autopsy. Continue reading

Fifty Shades links page now available

For everyone who’s here for the Fifty Shades stuff, I’ve just added a new page to the site so that you don’t have to suffer the extreme annoyance of searching WordPress tags. Fifty Shades Freed and Darker indexes will be added later, but there should be enough horrible to keep you all amused for the time being. Click the link below to go to the index page or click Fifty Shades Recaps on the page bar above.

For all your ‘When does he pull her tampon out?’ and ‘Is there anal in Fifty Shades of Grey’ search needs.  (And no. There is no anal in Fifty Shades of Grey.)

Fifty Shades of Grey – Chapter Twenty-One: Crackwhore Vertigo

Run, do not walk, to get your free Kindle copy of Fifty Shades of Neigh. Seriously, not even kidding – the giveaway ends at midnight PST.

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Clicky clicky

Got it? Good. Let’s get down to (horrible) business. Continue reading