Stay tuned for freebies this weekend, kids. I am about to give the Shameless Self-Promotion tag a good, hard workout. It stands to reason that since I spend so much time writing these books, it would be quite nice for people to read them.
“Well, people often think the magician’s assistant doesn’t do much. She stands around in a skimpy costume and men look at her and she twirls and vanishes, but the assistant is really the one doing most of the tricks. The magician is often just there to present the routine, to add the flourishes and patter, but the nitty gritty, the tripwires and levers and mirrors and drapes that go in to pulling off the perfect illusion – that’s the province of the skinny little girl in the spangles.”
Magician’s assistant Poppy has always been an outsider, dragged from one town to another, spat on for being a carny, for being the wrong sex, the wrong race. Then one rainy night in the Midwest, she finds herself performing card tricks in front of the great Harry Houdini. Fresh from his well-publicised investigation of the medium Mina Crandon, Houdini makes Poppy a proposal; she is offered the opportunity to join his private secret service of sceptics, debunkers and magicians. Her job is to infiltrate spiritualist circles and expose fraudulent mediums, a quest that takes her across the Atlantic and into the lives of two very different young Englishmen, who are about to learn that in spiritualist circles secrets are much more than just common currency.
Due to sexually explicit material Summerland is not recommended for readers under 18.
Posted in books, Dead people, fiction, history, romance, scepticism, spiritualism, Summerland, Things you need to buy right now, writing, YES YOU WANT THIS YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT
Tagged 1920's, books that ate my brain, houdini, parlour tricks, scepticism, seances, shameless self promotion, sir arthur conan doyle, sordid gropings, Summerland, writing
I’m very nearly done with my new historical novel, which is so full of lies, duplicity and sheer bloody cruelty that I cannot wait to write the sequel to Fifty Shades of Neigh and spend the next few months wallowing happily in a big bunch of dick jokes.
I love writing historical fiction, but the main problem with it that all that research you did? All those lovely, carefully catalogued period details? All that time you spend immersing yourself in the popular culture of the era, absorbing the contemporary fads, fashion and slang?
Yeah – shut up about that.
In a good historical novel the characters will use enough contemporary slang to lend a flavour without making it incomprehensible to the modern ear. In a bad historical novel everyone will antiquey-speakey most verily even though yea, it sucketh great donkey balls, and in a really bad historical novel everyone will not only yabber on like they’re at a Renaissance Faire but also discuss the etymology of their gibberish. A really good historical novel will slip you a history lesson without you even knowing it. A bad one will beat you over the head with lumps of Wikipedia a la Dan Brown or go full on Downton and have people say things like “Well, indeed – after the War to end all wars we’re all in need of a little gaiety, and why shouldn’t Lady Ethel get her hair cut like the popular contemporary actress Louise Brooks in this year of our Lord 1926?”
This is not to say you can skimp on the research – you’d better damn well do it. I once came across a vampire novel that was utterly spoiled by the fact that not only was I supposed to believe that the vampire hero had trained as a Catholic priest in late 16th Century England but in the 1650’s had been quite the sexy young thing at the theatres and operas of old London town. You do research so that things like this don’t happen. Then you shut up about it. Research is essential but should remain invisible – sort of like Spanx.
So this is where blogs come in handy. Here’s just a taste of the fascinating stuff that either got a one line mention or kept an urgent playdate with the DELETE key. Continue reading
Posted in books, Dead people, fiction, history, research, scepticism, spiritualism, Summerland, writing
Tagged 1920's, houdini, hysterical histories, jiggly bits, rah rah ro ma ma, research, scepticism, sir arthur conan doyle, spiritualism, Summerland, woooooooo, writing
When I’m not pointing and laughing at pretend ghosts or sideeyeing haunted houses, I like to write books. You might have noticed me doing that from time to time. I am expecting another one in about April – I say about April because you never know how long you’re going to need to get over a first draft. I’m told they’re a lot like episiotomies in that respect.
It turns out – shocker, I know – that everyone on the internet is a writer these days. (I was stunned. Really.) Loads of people are doing this book-writing thing, many of them featured at Goonreads. And no, that’s not a typo.
Goonreads is the brain baby of Something Awful and yet somehow still manages to be less awful than Goodreads. Less frantic animated gifs and less people thinking SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE is a word and is somehow appropriate to be used in a book review. (Yes I am old and no I do not give a fuck.) So go there and look at the books. Some of them are very good. Some of them are simply dreadful, like that My Little Pony parody of Fifty Shades of Grey. Did you ever see such a thing? What kind of sick mind would come up with a thing like that?
You should also follow the shiny new Twitter feed, for promotions, author blogs, writing advice and also because the admin is currently scratching herself and not doing much at all. Such laziness. You can’t get the staff, you know.
Oh, and one more thing – I’m giving away free Kindle books. Totally free. Shiny free copies of Summerland. The only thing I ask in return is a review – on Amazon, on your blog, on Goodreads (if you really must). You get a free book and I get an honest review. Don’t hold back. If you thought it was a reprehensible puddle of filth and the author ought to be locked up on bread and water with nothing but her diseased mind for company then you are perfectly within your rights to say so. That’s the price of putting your shit in the public domain. So go wild. Comment here and I’ll hook you up with a chunk of reading matter.
Posted in books, fiction, Fifty Shades of Neigh, reviews, Summerland, Things you need to buy right now
Tagged books that ate my brain, bronies, ghosts and shit, goonreads, shameless self promotion, sordid gropings, Summerland, writing
Ghosts – what are they? Where do they come from? We may never know.
What we do know is that ghosts are a cheap and interesting source of entertainment and a good way of livening up any slumber party. The main problem with ghosts is that they tend to be shy. It’s like they just don’t want to be photographed, documented or fiddled about with in any way shape or form.
You have to be bold with ghosts – they’re timid. Bigfoot timid. If they were any more timid they’d be hanging out in Loch Ness, pretending to be an extinct marine reptile with an astounding gift for avoiding sonar.
So, allow me to present my simple five step guide to persuading the ghosts in your life to abandon their natural reticence and start doing proper ghost stuff, like banging on walls, setting fire to ouija boards, levitating the kids and killing your sleazy stockbroker boyfriend. (Okay, they might not do the last one – I can’t promise results on any of the below, so you might have to just dump him.) Continue reading
Posted in big steaming heaps of it, Dead people, history, scepticism, spiritualism, Summerland, Things you need to buy right now, wtf
Tagged bullshit, drunks, ghosts and shit, houdini, hysterical histories, lizard men, scepticism, shameless self promotion, Summerland, Throwing up, woooooooo
Going to be making some changes around these here parts, people. I have decided I would like to do a little bit more history. It’s likely I’ll be writing historical novels for a while – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I have bucketloads of research that’s just too interesting to keep to myself for much longer.
The plan at the moment is that I am working on a shortish novel (60k or so) set in 1920’s New York that can work as either a standalone or a companion volume to Summerland. For those who have read Summerland, I’ll give you a clue – it ties into the story Audrey tells Jack in chapter ten. I’m currently staggering across those bleak, mid-novel wastelands that are chillingly familiar to anyone who has ever written a book, but overall I have a good feeling about it. Taps into various fashionable tropes in fiction – the heroine displays worrying eating habits, gets controlled by men and has voices in her head. Except it’s not sexy. It’s just really disturbing, which tends to be the case when the kind of fictional relationships lately portrayed as knicker-moistening collide with the hard, cold unpleasantries of reality.
So, if you would like an idea of the weird corners of history I tend to poke around in, please take a meander through my Brief(ish) History of Spiritualism Pull up a ouija board, stick a sheet on your head and pretend to be dead. It’s all fun and games.
Also, you should definitely follow me on Twitter because I am hilarious.
My historical novel Summerland is currently only $1.24 on Amazon.com and only 77p in the UK, and of course completely free to borrow for Amazon Prime members, so there is really no reason not to take advantage of this offer.
If you’re not interested in the 1920s, the history of Spiritualism, scepticism, Harry Houdini, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, World War I or gardening with malice aforethought, then you might want to buy it for the experimental threeway sex. Which doesn’t happen in the excerpt below. Sorry about that.
This excerpt frames one of the central conflicts of the book, in which Ben meets Audrey and realises that his mother’s death has forced him to reevaluate his whole position on the afterlife.
Posted in books, fiction, scepticism, spiritualism, Summerland, writing
Tagged books that ate my brain, ghosts and shit, houdini, scepticism, seances, shameless self promotion, sir arthur conan doyle, spiritualism, Summerland, writing
I started this blog a year ago, which is a sobering thought considering I started it to promote the book I have only just finished. What can I say? I’m slow, but I get there in the end.
You can now purchase Summerland at Amazon.com or at your local branch of the Amazon Kindle store – just click on the book cover at the side of this page. If you love the cover art (And you should, because it’s marvellous.) hop on over to visit the designer Delilah Des Anges, who when not producing cover art for extremely lazy authors also writes novels and extraordinary poetry. She has also written a very funny and entertaining writing advice book which contains almost as many rude words as I use while typesetting. Almost.
So, here we are. I hope I can tempt you with a free sample for today. Stay tuned – more later. This way for free fiction! You know you want it.
Posted in books, fiction, Summerland, writing
Tagged books that ate my brain, ghosts and shit, houdini, scepticism, shameless self promotion, sir arthur conan doyle, spiritualism, Summerland