Thursday, 24 November 2011

Bargains in Ebooks

Looking for presents for Christmas? Got a Kindle?

The first three Vampire Gene titles are available in a variety of Ebooks.

Here are the bargain places to buy them :

'Killing Kiss' Kindle = £3.98            Buy the paperback for £8.99
'Futile Flame' Kindle = £4.99           Buy the paperback for £8.99
'Demon Dance' Kindle = £4.99        Buy the paperback for £9.99

Monday, 21 November 2011


WATERSTONES, Liverpool One, Liverpool. 26th Nov 2011

Sam Stone will be launching her new book, Hateful Heart, Book 4 The Vampire Gene Series, at this very popular store. David J Howe will also be there with his new collection talespinning.

Time: 12-4pm Date: Saturday 26th November.
Address:Waterstones, 12 College Lane, Liverpool, L1 3DL.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Demon Dance Does Digital

Finally Demon Dance is available to read in digital format. The first to filter through is here.

Shame they haven't used the new version of the cover but you can't win 'em all.

If you have IPad, IPhone, Kindle or Sony, the book will be coming through any day now in those formats. So, watch this space :)

Sunday, 13 November 2011

An Interesting Encounter

Anyone who knows me well will know that I am not a fannish type of person and I'm very unlikely to squee no matter who I meet. I don't care very much for celebs who have made their career on being in programmes such as Big Brother for example. What I do admire, however, is real talent and people who've worked for their status. I have favourite artists such as Anne Sudworth, Vincent Chong, Russell Morgan, and of course Rick Fairlamb who did such a wonderful job on my new vampire gene book covers. I naturally admire good writing. Among my favourite authors are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Sheridan Le Fanu, Tanith Lee, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Kelley Armstrong, John Ajvide Lindqvist and Graham Masterton.

Yesterday I was signing at Arndale Centre Waterstones in Manchester with David J Howe promoting our latest books when I had an interesting encounter. Okay I had been told that Noel Fielding star and creator of The Mighty Boosh would also be there but I didn't expect quite the crowd that turned out. His talent is undeniable and he is enjoying the fruits of his labour for his surrealist comedy and art.

I caught my first glimpse of Noel when he came down from the Green Room around 12 noon and immediately went out into the crowd of adoring fans (400 or more) and greeted them with a very friendly and approachable manner. There was much screaming and excitement that rippled through the crowd and this was totally infectious. Then Noel went into the window of Waterstones and proceeded to do an art demonstration by painting a picture directly on the window. Inside and outside there were crowds of teenagers screaming and cheering - and what a lovely bunch they were too!

I couldn't see very much at that stage because I was in the middle of the store at my table and David and I were technically working. But I did go over and introduce myself and Noel immediately shook my hand and kissed me on the cheek. Which was nice!

After the demonstration, Noel went back upstairs and I managed to catch a few moments with him. It was there that I learnt he also had the lovely Dave Brown with him who also works on The Mighty Boosh and is a photographer, choreographer and comedian in his own right. I was a bit of twit yesterday because I didn't get a pic of Dave but used his fabulous photographic skills to take the pics of me with Noel on my camera. But in defense of myself I was a little flustered as I felt really cheeky going to ask them to sign the book during their short break. I'd obviously sneaked off to the green room to say hello and I really wasn't sure how I would be greeted. I needn't have worried of course as they both welcomed me with loads of hugs and kisses as well!

Okay exaggeration - 2 from Dave - 6 from Noel. Maybe it was me who was doing most of the hugging too!

As the afternoon progressed Noel and Dave began signing their new book which is called The Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton. You can buy a copy HERE. It's a beautiful book with a padded cover, full colour prints of art work and photographs and of course - scribblings done by Noel - designed and most of the photography by Dave. Currently Waterstones are selling it with a £4 discount - you would normally pay £19.99 for it and it is worth it too! Noel and Dave's fans were queueing for autographs for hours and were incredibly upbeat and fun to be around. I was talking to a lovely group of girls as they waited and even spotted people I knew among the crowd. Each fan was given autographs and photo opportunities and lots of time as Noel and Dave patiently greeted them.

As I said earlier - I'm not easily impressed by 'celebrity' but what I am impressed with is talented celebs who understand the nature of fandom and treat their fans with respect and kindness. This is what I saw yesterday - and a whole lot of fun was involved in it all too. Noel and Dave enjoyed talking to people.

As I was leaving I went over to say goodbye to them. Noel was talking on a fan's phone to yet another fan - brownie points again I'd say! I said goodbye, Noel had requested a copy of Zombies and I arranged for one each for him and Dave to be left for them in the Green Room. (Hope they like it!)

Once again I got another kiss and hug from them both. When I turned, some of the lovely girls I'd been talking too were waving to me from the crowd. (Now wishing I'd asked their names - but hopefully I'll see them again).

I came away very happy yesterday. We'd had a brilliant selling day and we'd met some really nice people - everyone was lovely.

Noel and Dave I salute you. You are talented, fun, and most of all you appreciate the fans that made it possible for you to be where you are today. I don't think you'll ever be spoilt by showbiz. You both seem to have your feet firmly on the ground. Well done guys. Great meeting you and I hope we do meet again.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

GalaxyFest 2012

Just a reminder that GalaxyFest 2012 in Colorado Springs tickets will be going up this Monday. You can still purchase your weekend pass at the previous rate.

The weekend will be hosting a long list of guests including Sam Stone, David J Howe, Frazer Hines and Kevin J Anderson.  For full guest list see HERE

To buy your pass click HERE

More news of exciting ways to get involved to follow shortly.

Monday, 7 November 2011


WATERSTONES, Arndale Centre, Manchester, 12th November 2011.

Sam Stone will be launching her new book, Hateful Heart, Book 4 The Vampire Gene Series, at this very popular store. David J Howe will also be there with his new collection talespinning.

Time: 12-4pm Date: Saturday 12th November.
Arndale Centre, Manchester, M4 3AQ

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Where ideas come from ...

This morning I woke at six am, and thinking it was an unGodly hour to get up on a Sunday, decided to make myself go back to sleep. That's easier in Autumn, as the morning was still very dark and so I let my mind drift onto the current novel, and posed myself a problem as I fell asleep. When I woke, two and a half hours later, the problem was solved and I could see for the first time all of the story for this book laid out before me. And particularly the extra plots that would be running through it, which was the subject of my problem.

This is one of the ways that ideas form for me - or indeed how literary problems sort themselves out.

David J Howe calls this the 'What if ...' and that's a good way of starting to thinking about what I perceive as 'the problem'. You can see his thoughts on 'The Power of If ...' HERE.

Half sleep germination has its problems of course. You could go back into full sleep and completely forget the idea that seemed so viable when you were drifting off. I know a few writers who keep a notebook beside the bed for such moments. That's never really worked for me though as I prefer to brood on ideas before committing them to the page in any form.

The other thing I do is people watch. Sometimes I don't even realise I'm doing it, but a moment of observation will appear in the strangest of places. In 'Demon Dance' for example, a conversation from my childhood surfaced in my memory and formed the dialogue of two incidental characters hiking in Llanberis. So even the things you observed as a child can be used to colour or create a scene or a character if the content fits.

Ideas spring from a casual comment, a fleeting conversation, sometimes they come from reading the works of others, which is why authors are often so well read. I have a habit of avoiding reading current fantasy or horror while I'm working. I prefer to read other things instead as I don't like to inadvertently take on someone else's ideas. It's better to create worlds with the surety that you aren't reproducing a world you've recently read about.

New writers, however, should read as much as possible. It's were you learn about your market place ... but I think that's another blog for another day.

If you want to know where ideas really come from though, I suggest you look deep into your own mind. My ideas come from deep inside mine. They are part of who I am. They are drawn from the things I've experienced in life (that's not to say I've met vampires, werewolves, aliens or been thrown through a time-portal back to the Garden of Eden). Normal, or abnormal experiences, however, are used to give the characters I write about genuine feelings and depth.I won't get into the old cliches about my childhood, or the things I've suffered. Everyone has been through experiences good and bad which a good writer uses to make their characters behave in a way that's believeable.

The reality is all the ideas should come from you.

A way to generate ideas of course is to brain-storm (PC fanatics will hate it that I use this term). Some people do this by writing a synopsis that works out all the kinks in the plot before they begin writing. It's a good method if it works for you as it gives you a road-map before you start, and makes it easier for you to write the full piece. Others do the 'What if ...'

Talking through the plot of a story, explaining it to someone else, can also help you come up with better ideas. I brain-storm with my partner David: he's great at making me think about things a bit more. He'll ask me questions about my characters and I realised that by answering the questions I was able to fully develop my own understanding of the characters and their behaviour - thus improving the narrative.

As you begin to explore the limit of the story the possibilities suddenly become boundless. Ideas are limited only by your own imagination. That's not to say all ideas are good ones. Some are non-starters. I sometimes dream new ideas. My story 'The Toymakers House', which features in my horror collection Zombies in New York and Other Bloody Jottings, came from a nightmare I had. I was writing the collection at the time, and so I was forcing myself to write one story after another. In many ways this is harder than writing an entire novel. Simply because a novel is based around one main theme, or idea, with set characters. Writing a collection meant I had to create many characters, many themes and plots and keep them all within around 8000 words each. 'Toymaker' wrote itself, as the nightmare was so vivid that I knew the location, the characters and the awful things the toymaker did before I starting writing. My subconscious mind had already created it. I don't really know where this 'idea' came from though - other than some inner recess of my resting mind. This doesn't always work out though. I had another nightmare recently that I woke from thinking this would make an excellent novel, but when I sat down to write up the synopsis I felt no real passion for the story and it just didn't have the same depth that 'Toymaker' had for me.

Fears and phobias are always good to use - especially your own. I have a fear of heights and this is enhanced because I also suffer occasionally from Labrynthitus (an inner ear problem that makes you feel dizzy to the point of falling down and being sick - not an aversion to the David Bowie movie!). When I'm in high places that dizziness comes on and I'm convinced I'll fall. The idea of vertigo as a plot is not an original one - but how you use it can be.

You see you can't just discuss 'where ideas come from ...' without exploring their execution. But I'll end my thoughts here for today and ask you the question that is frequently asked of me ...

'Where do you get your ideas from?'

It's hard to come up with one main answer isn't it? But I guess the ideas can come, in the first instance, from what inspires you.