Normal service will be resumed shortly…

This is just a quick update to say that I’m hoping to be releasing new books very soon. Unfortunately, family problems have got in the way and I’m having to spend all my time dealing with various issues that are taking up 100% of my time.

I hope to be back up and running with new releases in the next month or two. First to be released will be the rest of Vampire Asylum along with new Joanna Mason, Lupine Howl and Broken Red. There are also a couple of new series coming, but I’ll say more about those later.

So, yes, I just wanted to say that I haven’t been sucked into a black hole. I’m still here, and normal service will be resumed shortly. As a way of saying sorry for the delays, I’ll be having lots of free offers once I’m back up and running, including copies of the new books. Stay tuned for more details!

A new cover for The Girl Who Never Came Back

girlwhonever1The Girl Who Never Came Back has a new cover today, and I’m hoping that it’s one that better reflects the content of the book. It’s quite a big change, but I think that the old cover made it look more like a horror or supernatural novel, when in fact that’s just a very small part of the story.

Other than that, I’ve been working on the rest of Vampire Asylum and The Devil’s Photographer. This’ll probably be my last post before Christmas, so I hope everyone has a great time and that 2014 turns out to be an excellent year!

Some thoughts about swearing in The Girl Who Never Came Back

girlwhonever1A few people have commented on the fact that one of the characters in The Girl Who Never Came Back swears a lot, and some people seem to be offended, so I thought I’d explain why I wrote it like that.

When I start a new book, I always decide which (if any) characters will swear, and which won’t. I do this because I think that swearing is one of the many small things that reveal something about a character.

Some people never swear. Some swear all the time. Some only swear under pressure. Some swear because they want to offend other people, or because they actually enjoy it. Others swear without even thinking. There are so many reasons. I know people in real life who swear like Charlotte. Personally, I hardly ever swear, because I worked in a kindergarten a few years ago and had to make a conscious effort to stop. I’m not usually offended when other people swear around me, unless there are young children nearby.

In the case of Charlotte, I decided that she should swear a lot. In an early scene, her sister Ruth even comments on this. However, by the end of the book, Charlotte has mostly stopped swearing (as well as drinking) while Ruth is the one who tosses out a few f-bombs, including one while her daughter is nearby. This is on purpose, and it’s a very small part of the characterization of the two sisters. Maybe I didn’t make it clear enough, so I’ll go back and take a look.

The point I’m trying to make is that the swear words aren’t just tossed in lazily. Charlotte is a bit of an extreme case, but again, there’s a reason for it. I know some readers think she’s not a very likable character, and I can see that, but personally I like her. I think that beneath the swearing and the blustering and the sarcastic comments, she’s someone who has always sensed that something’s not right with her life, but that’s something that comes out in the story. She uses swear words to annoy her sister, and it works, at least in the beginning of the book.

But if you don’t like the fact that Charlotte swears in The Girl Who Never Came Back, I respect your opinion and understand if you’re offended. Just like in real life, some of my characters swear and some don’t, and I’m not going to change that. However, I do mention swearing (along with violence and sex scenes, if they’re present) in book descriptions, because I think people should know what they’re getting when they download a book. I think I’ll update the description for The Girl Who Never Came Back and mention that there’s a lot of swearing.

In the meantime, the new Journey to the Library series has absolutely no curse words of any kind…

The Girl Who Never Came Back, plus new Abby Hart, Ward Z and Finality!

girlwhonever1First, The Girl Who Never Came Back has been out for about a week. It was a total departure from my usual style, being not only a little shorter than usual but also completely avoiding the horror aspects. I enjoyed writing it, and I hope that people like it!

A few reviewers have commented on the fact that the main character, Charlotte, swears a lot. Well, I can’t deny it, it’s true. She swears like an effing soldier. The thing is, it’s a key part of her character, and it’s also part of her journey. At the start of the book, Charlotte swears frequently and her sister criticizes her for having a ‘potty mouth’. By the end of the book, their situations are reversed: Charlotte has toned her language down, while her sister is the one who’s swearing. This is intentional. Some of the character in my books do swear a lot, but there’s always a reason for it. It’s certainly not intended to be gratuitous!

Moving on, December will see the conclusion of the Ward Z series, about a zombie outbreak in an isolated hospital ward. There’ll also be the beginning of a new Abby Hart series, titled Vampire Asylum, which will see Abby confront an ancient evil. And there’s Finality, which is set in a futuristic world where humanity has begun to explore space. I’ve always wanted to write a kind of space opera series, and finally I worked out the story I wanted to tell. I’m planning three series of Finality, and each one will have a very different tone.

That’s the latest update! I guess we’re in the run-in to Christmas now, so things are gearing up. It was quite surprising to see how the US tradition of Black Friday seemed to become more visible in British stores the other day. Not that I’m complaining, of course. And now, the dog and I are going to hit the hay for the night!

Getting to Know You…

It’s weird how memories work, isn’t it? The reason I’m writing this post is that something weird happened to me this evening, and I thought I’d share it.

So I was in the kitchen, making a cup of tea (as usual), and suddenly I hummed the chorus from the song ‘Getting to Know You’, from ‘The King and I’. If you don’t know it, it’s an insanely catchy number that’s best known in this version by Julie Andrews.

The reason I found this weird, though, was that it brought back a really strong memory. When I was little, about five or six years old, I used to love singing this song. I sang it over and over, almost obsessively. And then, apparently, I just forgot about it. I don’t think I’ve thought about it for almost three decades, until tonight, when suddenly it popped back into my head while I was walking across the kitchen to get a mug.

It’s strange to think that the memory of that song was somewhere deep in my mind, floating about until suddenly, by chance (?), it burst into the open and I hummed it again. Kinda makes me wonder what else is percolating in the depths of our minds. I’ve often wondered if every memory is stored somewhere in our brains, even if we can’t access them all. Now I’m wondering even more.

And, needless to say, I’ve now got that song stuck in my head…

Joanna Mason, a Dark Season box set, and coming soon: Ward Z!

deadanddyingcomp1First, The Dead and the Dying: A Joanna Mason Novel is out now from Amazon, priced $2.99. It’s the story of a detective who discovers that she’s dying, just as a copycat serial killer strikes.

I originally started the story a couple of years ago, but I wasn’t happy with its direction and I worked on it for a long time (including changing the main character, John Mason, into a woman named Joanna) before I was finally happy with it. There are no ghosts, vampires or monsters in this one, although I tried to include a few moments of horror.

I’m planning a second Joanna Mason novel soon, titled The Company of Angels, and I’ve planned out an initial trilogy of books. I know how Mason’s story ends, but I haven’t quite nailed down her route to that final destination. Not yet, anyway…

darkseasonboxsetMeanwhile, the complete Dark Season series has been dusted down for a box set edition. I figured it had been a while since the series finished, so now would be a good time to give it a small refresh.

On that note, Abby Hart is going to be back soon in the Vampire Asylum series, which sees her travel to one of the vampire world’s darkest secrets. It’s going to be a real old-fashioned gothic blood-fest!

Also, Ward Z starts soon. It’s the story of the staff and patients of a cancer ward who are thrown together when the hospital is quarantined. There’s a patient in one of the rooms who has started to display some disturbing symptoms, and while the title might lead you to assume that this series is all about zombies, there are actually some surprises in store. Well, and zombies…  Ward Z is scheduled to start in a few days’ time, along with the rest of the second series of Mass Extinction Event.

Finally, I realized the other day that I’m almost at 500 likes on Facebook. I’m not the kind of person who obsesses over numbers, but 500 seems huge to me. Thanks to everyone who has taken a look at my Facebook page and this blog! I’m hoping to organize some competitions and giveaways soon, but I’ll have more news on that later…

Darper Danver out now from Amazon, plus new Library books!

darperdanvercomplete2Darper Danver: The Complete First Series is out now from Amazon at the usual price of $2.99. It’s the story of a girl who meddled with a dark spirit that lurks on the edge of her home-town, with tragic results. I’m planning three series in total, and the first series ends on a pretty big cliffhanger!

Other than that, I’m putting the finishing touches to a new series based on The Library. After The Library came out earlier this year, I felt as if I still hadn’t finished with that world, and the new series, Journey to the Library, is designed to have (hopefully) a little more humor. I don’t know how many books there will be in the saga of the Library, but I have some ideas worked out already, so hopefully Journey to the Library won’t be the last.

There are also new Joanna MasonMass Extinction Event and Abby Hart books on the way soon, and I swear that The Devil’s Photographer will be continuing soon too. That series has undergone something of a change since I started working on it, but I’m hopeful that people will like the new direction. Anyway, I’m off to watch episode two of Sleepy Hollow, and then, if I’m not too tired, I’m going to read some more of the new Stephen King book, Doctor Sleep, which I’m loving so far. It’s very different to The Shining, but it’s fascinating to see how the story continues.