‘Why are you brandishing that nail-gun?’

Greetings to all Connoisseurs of Chaos,

To say the last week has been a busy one would be an understatement. So I thought I’d bring you up to date on some really cool things that are happening in the run-up to Halloween.

 

Firstly, my next book, ‘Beasts, Brutes and Abominations’ is ready for publication. Here’s the timetable:

15th October onwards – E-book available for pre-order at full price of $2.99. If you’ve liked my facebook page then you’ll be seeing a sequence of daily posts leading up to Halloween with a gruesome picture and meme attached. Each one has a link to a story in the book, and here’s an appetiser:

abomination

Saturday 29th Oct – Soft launch on Amazon at  $0.99. This will be your best option for purchase as it’s on a countdown deal. 50,000 words of horror badness for less than a dollar – what’s not to like? For those of you who volunteered to receive an advance copy, this would be the perfect day for you to upload your reviews to Amazon and Goodreads.

Mon 31st Oct – Official launch day. The book will still be $0.99 and if you subscribe to ‘Bargainbooksy’ or ‘BKnights’ you’ll see it advertised there also.

6th Nov – Back to full price of $2.99

The bonus news is that the paperback version will be available at the same time as the e-book, so if you prefer holding a physical version of the book in your hands (and who doesn’t?) then you can purchase it from Amazon for $9.95

I’m really excited about this book release as I think it contains some of my best work yet (though I do say it myself), and I’m sure you’ll have a ball reading it. Many thanks again for all your support.

2. What am I reading at present?

get-shorty imageJust a quickie here. I took a break from reading horror last week and decided to dig into an author I’d wanted to sample for a long time. Elmore Leonard, the master of dialogue. I could have chosen any of his books as he has written so many classics, but in the end I plumbed for ‘Get Shorty.’ You may have seen the film and believe me, the book is a real treat too. Leonard has an amazing way of telling a story almost exclusively through the dialogue. After reading it I can see that his reputation is well deserved. Not a long read and I’d recommend it to anyone. E-bookwise, at present I’m on to Jason Werbeloff’s second book in the ‘Defragmenting Daniel’ trilogy. I’ll be posting a review here soon.

 

 

 

 

secretFinallgraham-smith-1y, I had the pleasure of attending Graham Smith’s launch for his latest detective novel, ‘I know your secret ‘ Graham gave a very entertaining talk, hosted by Matt Hilton (crime/thriller author) where he gave us some juicy insights into his writing process and research. If you want to know why he’s brandishing a nail-gun in the pic to the left, then all I can say is the first few pages open the book with a grisly murder involving the crucifixion of a priest. Graham explained how the nail-gun he’s holding can shoot a nail into stone or iron, fixing anything to the most resistant of surfaces. That’s all I’ll say other than get a hold of his book. I started reading my signed copy as soon as I got home and was hooked from the first sentence.

I know your secret can be purchased via this link: books2read.com/u/mYRZDd 

 

3. Audiobooks and narration

I’m well into narrating my two October projects now – ‘Acadia’ by Sterling Nixon and ‘Dead Gods and Tainted Souls’ by Julius Schenk. If you’re interested in gaining an insight into my narration and production process then I’ve produced a promotional video you can see here.

I thought I’d say a bit about ‘Acadia’ as the experience of recording it has been a revelation into another writer’s process. It’s an epic/dystopian fantasy set in the distant future where most of humanity dwells in a massive sprawling metropolis called Acadia. Existence there is harsh, despite technology having advanced light years. The young are funnelled into the equivalent of a gladiatorial course where the price of failure is to be ‘Rifted’ – not a pleasant experience. Sterling gave me the manuscript together with a whole set of appendices on his world-building, from creatures to customs and from the military structure to the colloquialisms and slang. Here are a couple of examples of Sterling’s vivid imagination:

satanikahnlanguage

In the best traditions of Tolkien, Sterling has put in the graft and created a civilisation which is cohesive and believable, together with a plot that will have the reader/listener gripped from page to page. More news about this in November

 

 

 

4. Review: The Devil’s detective audiobook by Simon Kurt-Unsworth and narrated by David Rintoul

devils-detective

Can be purchased from audible here

For me, this wasn’t an easy book to pick up momentum with. Perhaps it was because Unsworth’s vision of hell is far removed from the conventional judaeo-christian expectation. Apart from the demons, the whole landscape and parameters are alien and devoid of the usual reference points. But such is the genius of the story. This is a hell where people can still die, where suffering occurs, not by the standard ‘fire and brimstone’, but by a myriad of tortures designed to allow the damned a glimpse of hope, only to have it dashed utterly. Into this landscape enters the protagonist, Thomas Fool; an information man employed by ‘The bureaucracy’ (if ever there was a hellish concept then this is the nadir.) His job? To investigate a series of grisly murders so savage that the perpetrator rips the very soul from hapless victims. The strength of Unsworth’s writing is in the descriptions of hell and its inhabitants. Scenes from the Orphanage and Crow Heights will inhabit my nightmares for many years to come. Such visions are the literary equivalent of painters such as Wayne Barlowe and Zidislaw Beksinski. What seem to be unrelated scenes at first build toward a story climax that is terrifying and cataclysmic.

And so to the narration. David Rintoul has an impressive acting and narrating pedigree, and is the perfect vehicle for Unsworth’s depictions and characters. The drama in his delivery lifts this story to even greater heights and I loved his interpretation of characters such as Elderflower, Rakshassas, the demon and The Man of Plants and Flowers – I know, you see how imaginative Unsworth is? As an audio narrator myself, I’ve marvelled at Rintoul’s expression and learned a thing or two as well. With a sequel on its way I’m hoping that author and narrator will be reunited for the audio version.

Postscript – Unsworth’s sequel ‘The Devil’s evidence’ is now published, as is the audiobook, narrated once again by David Rintoul!

5. Unbeatable offer. Michael Brent Collings is running a super promotion at the moment. You can get all of his books at a much reduced price. Here’s what he has to say:

michael-brent-collings

EVERY SINGLE MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS BOOK IS ON SALE ON AMAZON!

Every book – including the bestsellers – is priced at $2.99 or less… that’s at least 40% off! And even multi-book volumes have had prices reduced!

CLICK HERE to go to MbC’s author page, and snap ’em up now… this WILL NOT last forever!

There is something for everyone here! Whether you’re looking for…

Ghosts (like The Haunted; Twisted)

Zombies (The Colony Saga)

Demons (Apparition)

Serial killers (Strangers)

Things that will eat you in an insane asylum (The Loon)

YA fantasy (The Sword Chronicles)

Bram Stoker Award nominees (The Deep; The Ridealong)

Thrillers (This Darkness Light; Mr. Gray)

or even monster murder mysteries (The Longest Con)

… you will find all these (and more!)

I can personally recommend ‘Strangers’. The premise of the story is like no other serial killer novel you will have read before.

6. Just to finish off, a mini-blog to link in with the current ‘Beasts’ theme.

I was out on my constitutional the other day and was mulling, as I often do, over why the dark and mysterious seems to occupy such a place in my thinking and general consciousness. You will have heard me quote Neil Gaiman before when he says “if you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up.”

This truth was brought home to me the other day during a mindfulness meditation class I attended. Those of you familiar with this practice may know that there is an emphasis on ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’. Not that getting things done isn’t important, but living in the modern world has stretched us to the extreme of pushing out the contentment that comes with living in the present, and failing to experience all it has to offer. This week’s class focused on dealing with unpleasant memories or traumatic situations. The instructor led us through meditative practice that encouraged us to acknowledge the presence of these negative events, to study them, not try to solve them. Instead of turning ourselves in knots, we began to learn how to tolerate their presence and contemplate where we felt their influence was in our bodies, exploring them with a sense of curiosity. It’s very hard to put this experience into words; like they say – you had to be there, but it sparked off my imagination in terms of keeping our personal fears, our beasts if you like, close.

Maybe this is the value of allowing the darkness into our lives. We learn to cope with it on our terms so that, when we encounter greater challenges and trauma, we are more prepared and emotionally resilient in weathering the storm. I have personal experience of people I am close to who have syndromes and conditions that mean they hear unpleasant voices and see ‘shadows’. This is not the same as schizophrenia – its correct name is auditory or visual hallucination. The treatment of this condition is to converse with the voices and the shadows. This somehow diminishes their threat and allows the sufferer to begin to lead a normal life again. You can see how this theme has common strands in many different areas.

This is a topic I know I will revisit again sometime. If it doesn’t trigger any vibration or resonance with you now, perhaps just lock it away in a mental vault. These insights sometimes need the passage of time and a change of circumstances to fully appreciate them. In the meantime, let’s recognise that occasionally dwelling on the macabre and the terrifying is not necessarily the sign of a depraved or twisted mind, more an antidote to the horrors of reality.

Next time, a special treat. I’ll be posting one of the stories from ‘Beasts … ‘ – one that sees the return of Mr Absolom.

Excelsior!

Tom

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